Marcus Mosiah Garvey
The information that inspired this piece was sourced from various websites including Marcus Garvey’s profile on ‘notablebiographies.com’. I’d like to share with you my findings on the great founder of the phrase ‘Look for me in the Wind’ the great Marcus Garvey
Imagine to begin with I intended to add Marcus Garvey to my second book of black powerful leaders entitled ‘Black Marvellous and Proud Volume 2’
But I was so impressed that I was forced in fact compelled to change my point of view,
AND WHY? Well after studying Marcus Garvey’s life, and the direction that it took,
I decided that this heroic man earned the right to be the final poem to add to this book.
The great Marcus Mosiah Garvey was named the FIRST JAMAICAN HERO and he was very impressive leader;
Without doubt millions of uneasy folks VIEWED him as an encouragement and a great reliever.
He was born to Marcus Garvey, Sr. and Sarah Jane Richards in St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica, on 17th August 1887.
Marcus's parents had many children, in fact, including Marcus there were a total of 11.
Now, at this time in St. Ann’s bay the whites were rich and the blacks were poor,
The blacks were also faced with an array of the country’s racist and suppressing laws.
Sarah, Marcus’s mother was a farmer and a domestic worker, she adored every step Marcus made;
He was the last surviving child, therefore all her positive aspirations and goals upon his shoulders she laid.
Now, this deep love, helped to BOOST his confidence, drive and ambition for the rest of his life,
And taught him to appreciate women and later have deep love and affection towards his wives.
But! Marcus had a precarious relationship with his father, who was a stonemason by trade,
(in other words, he built and maintained graves)
He was a man that was frustrated with racial tension and the role that he was forced to play.
As a result he remained suppressed and embraced isolation throughout most of his days.
Now, one day Marcus’s father allowed him to climb into a grave & purposely left him there to drive a lesson home -
To be mindful that you cannot trust anyone to rescue you, you must rely on yourself alone.
Marcus begged and pleaded with his father to assist him on that day, but to no avail;
Yes indeed the harsh lesson was taken on board, his father’s intention certainly did not fail!
Marcus’s father was also known to have a large library, where Marcus learned to read,
And it is evident his father had a big influence on Marcus and the philosophy and values that he believed.
When Marcus was a child he was well known to have the ability to spell anything presented to him -
He was like a human dictionary, despite the complex words brought to him, his intellect would always win.
Interestingly Marcus relayed that as a child he played with children, both black and white,
But he soon discovered that black relationships with the white race were not so cheery and bright.
One of his dearest friends, a white girl called Joyce, was sent to England at 12 years old & told not to speak to Marcus again -- Indeed Marcus truly felt that he lost a dear and true friend.
Her father made it clear that Marcus was a Niger and Joyce must not associate with them -
And so the reality that the black race was not viewed as equal became very apparent to Marcus from way back then.
At 14, Marcus was forced to leave school by the colonial education system, I could hardly comprehend this -
But, that didn’t stop Marcus, he ventured into the world and became a young printer apprentice.
In 1903 he travelled to Kingston and by 1907 he was elected Vice President of the Kingston Union but he noticed things were not right.
In fact the printer's working conditions were so poor that in 1908 Marcus helped to lead a printer’s strike.
Marcus was sacked, nonetheless, he felt dignified having made a stand for the printer’s rights -
Thereafter, Marcus travelled throughout America publishing a variety of newspapers, using powerful techniques -
With the intention to educated his people and assist them to remain steady on their feet.
Between 1912-14 Marcus moved to England and studied at Birbeck College,
Where he became acquainted with Duse Muhammad and many other black activist colleagues.
In 1914 Marcus read and then used ‘Raising up From Slavery’ written by Booker T Washington as a philosophy guide;
He also realised that poor treatment of black people was not just in Jamaica but, in fact, worldwide.
After this he returned to Jamaica and attended a debate in Kingston where he met his first wife, Amy Ashwood - a 17-year-old activist.
He was almost swept off his feet with her strong and impressive black philosophical practices.
Marcus and Amy teamed up together and formed the U.N.I.A the Universal Negro Improvement Association -
And the A.C.L also, known as the African Communities league which became another powerful organization.
Thereafter during March 1916 Marcus received an invitation from Booker T Washington and departed from Jamaica -
And on the 9th May 1916, he conducted his first of many public lecture tours throughout America;
Two years later the first U.N.I.A division in the U.S was formed and of course, Marcus was the main accreditor;
By 1919 the U.N.I.A had 30 BRANCHES AND OVER 2 MILLION SUPPORTERS,
Despite the infuriated governments and the associated negative reporters.
Marcus quite rightly declared, "A race without authority and power is a race without respect,"
This reality Marcus spent the rest of his life ensuring his people did not forget.
In 1919 he also made plans to provide means to leave America, and founded the ship ‘Black Star Line,’ -
His intention was to lead his people to Africa and leave the hindrance of racism and discrimination behind.
During the same year, Marcus and Amy Ashwood held an elaborate wedding, on Christmas day,
But within months the marriage was in deep turmoil, Marcus decided to split so they could go their separate ways.
Amy, on the other hand, rejected Marcus’s decision & the prospects of divorce, so, she put up a real fight;
In fact earlier that year a man called George Tyler came to the U.N.I.A office and shot Marcus on sight
And it was Amy who spontaneously confronted Tyler and in doing so risked her own life.
Nonetheless, Marcus divorced Amy in July 1922 and then married Amy Jakes, allegedly Amy Ashwood’s maid of honour and friend,
(This is according to the ‘American experience’ - people & events website contents).
Irrespectively, Marcus worked vigorously to support an essential cause, for the black race to stand tall,
Imagine it was his own people that COLLABORATED with the American government that initiated him to fall.
You know the type, the stab in the back traitors, that think, ‘to hell with anything or one but me’,
It amazes me what folk will do for greed and power! Some will stoop to a disturbingly low degree.
By 1923 Marcus was constantly targeted, degraded and then falsely accused before the courts,
Faced with a racist jury, false witnesses and fabricated case reports.
From that moment Marcus’s fate was no secret, it was clear that the authorities had already made their decision -
This Negro agitator must be silenced! And for five years Marcus remained imprisoned.
As usual, the American authorities completely stripped Marcus and took EVERYTHING he had;
Meanwhile newspapers circulated fictitious stories in an attempt to make his good reputation look bad.
Now, prior to this, the Liberian government was deeply pressured and therefore withdrew the land that they promised to the Marcus Garvey organisation,
Instead it was given to the white American industrialist Harvey Firestone, which MUST have generated DEEP frustration.
And the expensive equipment that was shipped over to Liberia for Marcus and his travellers was also seized,
Again, it amazes me how even now WE SIT AND WATCH while the political rulers are free to do as they please.
Meanwhile, Amy Jakes became Marcus personal secretary & laboured intensely to publish his speeches while Marcus was in jail;
She also met with public officials & U.N.I.A. officers to continue her husband’s work and raise funds for his extortionate bail.
Following Marcus release in 1927, Marcus & Amy eventually had two boys Marcus Mosiah Garvey Junior & Julius Winston Garvey, born in 1931 & 1933 -
At last of Marcus and Amy were indeed able to successfully extend their family tree
Now, Marcus Garvey campaigned against many things for black people including lynching, equal rights & racial discrimination;
He underlined the need to have separate black institutions under black leadership, in order to avoid deprivations
Among many works, Marcus manufactured black dolls, allowing him to address an essential black cultural market gap,
And promoted the importance of why black children should play with dolls that are like themselves! Black.
The U.N.I.A was promoted by their Negro world newspaper, published in English, Spanish, French, Europe, Canada, and America from 1918 to 1933,
Therefore it’s fair to say, the U.N.I.A was influential, supported and expanded to a very impressive degree.
Marcus was deported to Jamaica in 1927 despite massive public appeals and distress
Thereafter he moved to England in1935, where he continued to express,
That until Africa is liberated and his people are free he would continue to protests.
Alas, Marcus died in England on the 10th of June, 1940 primarily because he was so unwell, exhausted and distraught-
But it is evident that the final straw was when Marcus read his own death summary in yet another disrespectful and misleading newspaper report.
Now, no doubt, Marcus made mistakes and some poor decisions, as all humans tend to do,
But one thing is evident! The passion he had to bring about better conditions for his people is something that we should ALL pursue!
Please bear in mind, this is only a small segment of this MARVELLOUS MAN’S life - there is much, much more!
Therefore I strongly advise you to take the time to research and venture through Marcus Garvey’s historical doors.
Marcus Garvey promoted respect for the flag of African liberation and the black star of Africa, AND! This continues to inspire generations of African nationalists to this very day,
Given the facts before me it is fair to say, in terms of black pride Marcus Garvey MOST CERTAINLY helped to pave the way.
In my opinion, Malcolm x Malcolm’s X parents, Elijah Muhammad, The Black Panthers, Muhammad Ali, Bob Marley, And Tupac were all inspired by Marcus Garvey
And these are but a few significant figures influenced by the Marcus Garvey movement -
Figures that recognized and embraced his teaching to enhance their people’s personal improvement.
So in conclusion my brother/sister, I believe that we should always KEEP IN MIND the great Marcus Garvey’s dedication And the beneficial philosophies of his inspiring organisation.
I hope this poem has helped you to see the essence of how IMPERATIVE it is to UPHOLD UNITY AND PRIDE
And also the power and progress that is generated whenever individuals keep an active, positive, spirit alive.
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