I believe one of the most influential African Americans of all time is Marcus Garvey. Marcus Garvey achieved accomplishments in not just one, but many areas. His accomplishments ranged from a worldwide Black political organization, The Untied Negro Improvement Association, to the first, and to this day the largest Black-owned multinational businesses, the Black Star Lines. Marcus was criticized by many of his fellow African American leaders because many of his projects failed. In despite of that, Marcus Garvey talent to attract followers towards his beliefs is inspiring. Marcus Mosiah Garvey was born into a poor family on August 17, 1887 at St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica. Marcus was born the youngest of 11 children. His father was a stonemason who supposedly descended from the maroons. Maroons are African American slaves who defended their freedom from British and Spanish invaders. Garvey had to itemize his pride in the unmixed African heritage of his parents. Marcus grew up and received little education in Jamaica, so he was largely self-taught. At age 14 Marcus had to find work in a print shop to help out his family. Marcus began to doubt the value of trade union after he was involved the first printers strike of 1907. Marcus Garvey began to complain about the mistreatment of African workers to British authorities and was appalled by the little response and that left him very skeptical about any hope for justice from the white people (Rogoff 72). In 1912 Marcus Garvey studies abroad in London. He began writing African publications and became an avid supporter of African independence. I believe the turning point in Marcus Garvey’s fight for African freedom and equality came after he read Booker T. Washington’s book, Up From Slavery. Garvey “responded warmly to it’s thesis of black self help” (Kranz, Koslow 86). With that notion in mind Marcus Garvey returned to Jamaica in 1914 ready to make a difference. Marcus was not noticed for just one
Bibliography: “Black Nationalism” Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 24 Feb. 1999
Universal Negro Improvement Association. Madison Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 1969.
University of California Press, 1987.
Of African Americans. New York: Checkmark Books, 1999.
the times have not yet caught up to Marcus Garvey, an early Champion of Ethnic Entrepreneurship.” Journal of Small Business Management 3 (1998) 66-71