Marcus Garvey's Influences

Topics: African American, Black people, Marcus Garvey Pages: 3 (1101 words) Published: June 13, 2006
Marcus Garvey's influences

America has a long history of discrimination against non-white peoples. White Americans are responsible for the eradication of Native Americans from their native lands, and for the importation of Black people from Africa for enslavement. Today racism is not even close to what it had been 150 years ago, when slavery was still legal; however the changes have come gradually. The Harlem renaissance was a pivotal time for the recognition of black culture in the US, and Marcus Garvey emerged as a strong and cunning political leader. During the Harlem Renaissance, Marcus Garvey was instrumental in defining the black identity in the World, and the fundamental basis of this goal was black self-determination.

From his early days, Marcus Garvey was aware of political injustices. He was born in Jamaica in 1887, the youngest of 11 children. He experienced racism firsthand from a schoolmate that called him a derogatory name because of his race. When Garvey got older, he moved to Central America, where he worked to form unions that would help workers receive better working conditions. It was here, in Central America that Garvey began to see racism "on a worldwide scale" (BBC Historic Figures). Later on, Garvey attended college in England, where he gained knowledge of politics, and of other black political movements in the rest of the world. Garvey started from meager beginnings as a discriminated boy in poor Jamaica, and rose to be a powerful, educated man who was in a position to make an impact on the world stage.

Garvey lived during a difficult time for black people. Lincoln's Emancipation had granted blacks freedom from slavery, but they were still treated as second class citizens. Black people had served in World War I, but there were race riots that showed that whites were not yet willing to treat blacks differently, thus denying them any respect for their contributions to the war effort (Van Leeuwen 1). Garvey looked for a method with...
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