“Of all the literature that I studied, the book that did more than any to fire my enthusiasm was Philosophy and Opinions of Marcaus Garvey”l published in 1923”.
If you are an African anywhere in the world and you have not read that book, consider your life incomplete. Indeed, if we were a serious people, we would teach Garvey in our schools all over the world. Nobody should finish primary school, much less college, without knowing about Marcus Garvey, the man originally from Kromantse in the Central Region of modern Ghana, the man who shook up Pan-Africanism like nobody, until Nkrumah came along.
But suffice it with the following excerpts, for now, and then take a listen to his biggest spokesman alive today, Burning Spear (the Man from up in the Hills) and a tribute from Afro-Brit reggae icon, Maxi Priest.
- A race without authority and power is a race without respect.
- The political readjustment of the world means that those who are not sufficiently able, not sufficiently prepared, will be at the mercy of the organized classes for another one or two hundred years.
- Knowledge rules the world and ignorance carries the burden. .
- No race in the world is so just as to give others, for the asking, a square deal in things economic, political, and social.
- If you have no confidence in self you are twice defeated in the race of life. With confidence you have won even before you have started.
- When of our own initiative we strike out to build industries, governments, and ultimately empires, then and only then will we as a race prove to our Creator and to man in general that we are fit to survive and capable of shaping our own destiny.
- The battles of the future, whether they be physical or mental, will be fought on scientific lines, and the race that is able to produce the highest scientific development is the race that will ultimately rule.
- A race that is solely dependent upon another for its economic existence sooner or later dies.
- So many of us find excuses to get out of the Negro race, because we are led to believe that the race is unworthy—that it has not accomplished anything. Cowards that we are! It is we who are unworthy, because we are not contributing to the uplift and up-building of this noble race.
- All peoples are struggling to blast a way through the industrial monopoly of races and nations, but the Negro as a whole has failed to grasp its true significance and seems to delight in filling only that place created for him by the white man.
- The only protection against injustice by man is power—physical, financial, and scientific.
- Chance has never yet satisfied the hope of a suffering people. Action, self-reliance, and vision of self and the future have been the only means by which the oppressed have seen and realized the light of their own freedom.
- There is nothing in the world common to man that man cannot do.
- What others have done we can do.
- The ends you serve that are selfish will take you no further than yourself, but the ends you serve that are for all will take you into eternity.
- Let Africa be the Black Star among the constellation of nations. [Garvey coined the term “Black Star”. Ghana owes him the recognition, at least].
- Education is the medium by which a people are prepared for the creation of their own particular civilization, and the advancement and glory of their own race.
- Be as proud of your race today as our ancestors were in the days of yore. We have a beautiful history, and we shall create another in the future that will astonish the world.
- How dare anyone tell us that Africa cannot be redeemed, when we have 400 million men and women with warm blood coursing through their veins?
- The power that holds Africa is not Divine. The power that holds Africa is human, and it is recognized that whatsoever man has done, man can do.
- The whole world is run on bluff. No race, no nation, no man has any divine right to take advantage of others. Why allow the other fellow to bluff you?
- Every student of political science, every student of economics, knows that the race can only be saved through a solid industrial foundation, that the race can only be saved through political independence. Take away industry from a race; take away political freedom from a race, and you have a group of slaves.
- Leadership means everything—pain, blood, death.
- The Negro who lives on the patronage of philanthropists is the most dangerous member of our society, because he is willing to turn back the clock of progress when his benefactors ask him so to do.
- If the European wants to see God through his eyes, let him. We Africans will see God through our own eyes.
- If the Negro is not careful he will drink in all the poison of modern civilization and die from the effects of it.
- Hungry men have no respect for law, authority or human life.
- The world does not count races and nations that have nothing.
- There can be no peace among men and nations so long as the strong continue to oppress the weak. So long as injustice is done to other peoples, just so long will we have cause for war, and make a lasting peace an impossibility.
- I am not opposed to the white race as charged by my enemies. I have no time to hate anyone. All my time is devoted to the up-building and development of the Negro race.
- Preparedness is the watchword of this age. For us as a race to remain, as we have been in the past, divided among ourselves, is but to hold ourselves in readiness for racial extermination at the hands of the stronger race, the race that will be fit to survive,
- Point me to a weak nation and I will show you a people oppressed, abused, taken advantage of by others. Show me a weak race and I will show you a people reduced to serfdom, peonage, and slavery. Show me a well-organized nation and I will show you a people and a nation respected by the world.
- Propaganda has done more to defeat the good intentions of races and nations than even open warfare.
- We of the Negro race are suffering more than any other race in the world from propaganda—propaganda to destroy our hopes, our ambitions, and our confidence in self.
- So long as Negroes occupy an inferior position among the races and nations of the world, just so long will others be prejudiced against them, because it will be profitable for them to keep up their system of superiority. But when the Negro by his own initiative lifts himself from his low state to the highest human standard he will be in a position to stop begging and praying and demand a place that no individual, race or nation will be able to deny him.
- I know no national boundary where the Negro is concerned. The whole world is my province until Africa is free.
- The man or woman who has no confidence in self is an unfortunate being and is really a misfit in creation.
- Sloth, neglect, indifference caused us to be slaves. Confidence, conviction, action will cause us to be free men today.
- The strong will always live at the expense of the weak.
- Don’t expect others to respect you when you have no respect for yourself.
- All I have I have given to you.
- Look for me in the whirlwind or the storm, look for me all around you…look for me everywhere, for my cause shall rise again to plague the conscience of the corrupt.
- IMPORTANT DATES IN THE LIFE OF MARCUS GARVEY
- August 17, 1887 Born in Jamaica
- July 15, 1914 Establishes Universal Negro Improvement Association in Jamaica (UNIA)
- March 6, 1916 Arrives in the United States to raise funds for UNIA; later decides to stay
- June 27, 1919 Establishes Negro Factories Corporation and Black Star Shipping Line
- January 1922 Accused of “mail fraud”—part of political conspiracy to destroy Garvey and UNIA
- June 1923 “Convicted” by court
- September 1924 Black Cross Navigation and Trading Co. formed to replace collapsed Black Star Line.
- February 25, 1925 Loses appeal in U.S.; jailed Feb. 28.
- December 1927 Garvey is deported to Jamaica, despite his requests that he be sent “back home to Africa”
- June 10, 1940 Dies of stroke in London
Compiled by I, Nii Moi Thompson, a Garveyist.