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​Marcus Garvey - Documentary

​Marcus Garvey - Interview

The Great Civil Rights Leader Marcus Garvey

Marcus Mosiah Garvey   1887-1940








It takes courage for a person to go against the odds and the thinking of the masses of people.  Marcus Garvey was such a person.  He wanted to change the way his people were being treated.  He also felt that blacks should take a greater command of their destiny.

Marcus Mosiah Garvey was born on August 17, 1887, in St. Ann's Bay, Jamaica, the youngest of eleven children.  His mother and father were pure African heritage.  At an early age, Marcus learned to take pride in his race.  He attended elementary school in St. Ann's Bay.

Marcus was a very bright student and could speak very well.  He was an excellent reader who tried to read every book he could find.  He would often read the dictionary to increase his word knowledge and reading skills.  But, at age 14, Marcus had to quit school and go to work to help support his family.

Garvey became a printer's helper in Kingston, Jamaica.  In this newspaper job, he learned many skills that would be useful to him later.  In 1910, he went to Central and South America in search of better jobs.  In each city he visited, it disgusted him to see the prejudice aimed against his people.

In 1912, he went to London, England and studied at Birkbeck College.  There he met African students for the first time.  Because of his new friends, he became interested in African independence.  He then began to write for the Africa Times and Orient Review.  Upon reading Booker T. Washington's book, Up From Slavery, he was deeply moved by Washington's teachings of Black self-improvement.

In 1914, Garvey returned to Jamaica, convinced that blacks must find ways to help themselves.  So, he and a small group of friends founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA).  The UNIA promoted racial unity through education, racial pride, business development, and trade with Africa.

In 1916, wanting to start a trade school, Garvey came to the United States seeking the support of Booker T. Washington.  Yet, Washington died before Garvey's arrival.  Within two months, Garvey had recruited nearly 2,000 members in the UNIA organization.  He traveled throughout the United States preaching racial pride and independence.

Within five years, more than 1,000,000 blacks had joined the UNIA.  The UNIA had chapters in every major city, the West Indies, Central America, and South America.  In 1918, to further spread his teachings, Garvey began to publish the Negro World, which became a leading weekly newspaper.

In 1919, Garvey started the Black Star Ship Line, consisting of three steamships.  His Negro Factories Corporation provided loans and help to blacks seeking to start their own businesses.  He sold stock to blacks at $5.00 a share to finance the ship line, restaurants, a chain of grocery stores, and a publishing house.

In 1922, however, the UNIA fell upon hard times, and Garvey was falsely arrested and convicted for mail fraud.  After many appeals in the courts and receiving support from many friends, Garvey began his serving jail sentence in 1925.  In 1927, his five year prison sentence was suspended, and President Coolidge ordered Garvey to return to Jamaica.

In 1940, Marcus Garvey died in London at the age of 52.  He was survived by his second wife and two sons. We can remember Garvey best for his great ability to organize the masses of blacks.  He would often state, "Up you mighty race, you can accomplish what you will."


Excerpt from A Gift of Heritage - Black Civil Rights Leaders


This is only a summary of the life of The Great Marcus Mosiah Garvey