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The Contributions of Marcus Garvey.

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There were many important people of the Harlem Renaissance. Aside from such renowned individuals such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, people are not aware of the many other influential people from the racial segregation time period. Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jr., born August 17th 1887, also known as the "Black Moses" is one of those leaders most people are unaware of. It is a shame because he was a great man and through his actions, his beliefs, and the man he was he made many contributions to the Harlem Renaissance.

Jamaican and US black nationalist leader. In 1914 Marcus Garvey along with Amy Ashwood founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). After moving to the United States in 1916, he established branches of the UNIA in New York's Harlem and many other ghettos all over the country. Garvey was black and he was proud of it. By 1919 the rising "Black Moses" claimed to have an enormous amount of followers at about 2 million. It was to these people Garvey spoke of a "new Negro," proud of being black. His newspaper Negro World, which was in circulation from 1919 to 1933 ("Encyclopedia of Black..." pg.342), stressed and believed, an independent black economy could exist within the framework of white capitalism. Garvey was one of the main people in establishing black-run businesses, one of which was the Black Star shipping line ("Marcus Garvey Timeline" pg.2). In 1920 he convened an international convention to unify blacks and encourage trade between Africa and the US. On September 10th, 1919 the British colonial secretary authorized the West Indian governments to introduce legislation to suppress The Negro World and other publications considered seditious. However all of Garvey's influence and power was shattered by accusations of mail fraud. Shortly thereafter Garvey was shot and wounded in an assassination attempt by George Tyler. Which sadly led to, in 1922, Garvey's influence declining rapidly for being indicted for mail fraud. After serving two years in prison his sentence was revoked and he was deported. This marked the collapse of the first important black-nationalist movement in the US.

Garvey was a very skilled man. His major contributions came in his ability to speak to a crowd and open up people's eyes. It was Garvey who instilled in the African American youth of the Harlem Renaissance a sense of unity with other blacks and taught them to be proud of who they were and proud of being black as he was. Not only was Garvey a skilled speaker but he was a skilled poet as well. He wrote hundreds of poems stating his beliefs and how he felt about the way the world was turning out. It is through these poems that one can see the man Garvey really was. Garvey's works and philosophy represent many things to many people. He believed in one god, one aim, and one destiny for his life ("Marcus Garvey Biography" p.1). His main aim was for the redemption of Africa and to this he devoted everything, as well as his personal life. Many of Garvey's ideas were influenced by the work of and efforts of Jamaican Dr. Robert Love. The two men were keen and active supporters of the dignity and uplift of Black women, particularly young Black girls. Garvey's believes came to carry on to many more significant leaders of the Harlem Renaissance.

Garvey had always wanted his voice and ideas to be heard. He was always hardworking and even began working at thirteen as an apprentice at his godfather's printing business in St. Ann's Bay, the town of his birth ("Marcus Garvey Timeline" pg.1). At the age of twenty-two Garvey got his first shot at reaching out to others and published Garvey's Watchman. However the paper ceased after its third issue. Three years later Garvey moved to London and got a high-class education at Birkbeck College ("Marcus Garvey Biography" p.1). After having many of his articles published in magazines such as the African Times and The Orient Review, Marcus Garvey began gaining more and more ears. His actions such as establishing The Black Star Line and the UNIA provided a solid amount of followers, which created a backbone for the Harlem Renaissance to expand on.

Through Garvey's actions, believes, and himself he created a role model for others to follow. He inspired many during an era not all that long ago. Marcus Garvey should be looked at as a grandfather figure in a sense because if it were not for him, there might not have been a Martin Luther King or Rosa Parks and racism could be at a total different level.

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