Marcus Garvey

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African American Literature II
April 5, 2011

Marcus Garvey
Marcus Moziah Garvey was born on August 17, 1887 in St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica. Garvey is known for his controversial “Back to Africa” movement. Growing up, Garvey had to quit school at the young age of fourteen to help support his family. Although he never experienced first-hand the prejudices of the world as far as slavery, through working many jobs he did witness many who did. Having traveled around Central and South America, he saw a common trend: “Wherever whites and blacks are found together, the whites were sure to be exploiting the blacks—a situation he was determined to change” (Gates 996). Garvey became the symbol of the controversial Black Nationalist and black liberation movements. Attracting millions of supporters, Garvey would preach the importance of blacks and whites being separate. The primary themes to Garvery’s Pan-Africanism beliefs are racial pride, Black Nationalism, and black nationhood.

To start, Garvey preached the message of Pan-Africanism based on the idea that blacks would never receive fair and equal treatment in the United States. In 1914, Garvey founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association, or UNIA. The UNIA’s main objective was to uplift blacks in the world. While his message was widely received by the majority of blacks, there were many who felt threatened. Garvey alienated many black civil rights leaders for working toward the integration of blacks and whites, while white racists, like the Ku Klux Klan, embraced the idea of blacks leaving the United States for Africa and supported Garvey and his efforts. In 1916, Garvey arrived in Harlem, New York and witnessed the renaissance led by “The New Negro”, as described by author Alaine Locke. Harlem was the magnet for talented black dancers, singers, poets, actors, business people, and tourists from around the world. Indeed, Harlem was the Great Mecca of new and evolving black talent. Garvey started a...
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