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Marcus Mosiah Garvey

Edited by Baba Kwasi - A Story for Children


Marcus Mosiah Garvey (1887-1940), devoted his life to the cause of correcting the injustices that blacks were subjected to,  everywhere they were found. Garvey, in 1914, founded and became the charismatic leader of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (U.N.I.A.). Its purpose was to improve the conditions of black people everywhere. He was convinced that success demanded the building of a strong economic base so that blacks will be self-sufficient. This led to the establishment of  various business ventures, including the Black Star Line, The Negro Factories Corporation and The Negro World. These efforts at economic independence were variously successful. However, through the U.N.I.A., Garvey was extremely successful in educating blacks about their history and  of their inherent strengths. In fact, he was masterful in his ability to mobilize millions of supporters to the black issues of the day.

Marcus Mosiah Garvey (1887-1940)">

Truly, for many blacks, Garvey provided a vision of the endless possibilities once they systematically eroded the barriers to their success. Many felt a renewed sense of dignity, and of destiny, through Garvey's unceasing advocacy. 

In 1922, the promise that Garvey represented was shattered by the charges brought against him by the United States: mail fraud. They tried, convicted, and sentenced him to five years in prison. He served two years and nine months, was released and deported to his homeland, Jamaica. Discredited, he sought to revive the U.N.I.A. and so he left Jamaica for England, where he died in 1940. With his death, the monumental impact of his life and work became more broadly recognized and acknowledged. He was inducted as Jamaica's first national hero, and leaders like Kwame Nkrumah, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. cite him as the inspiration for their work. Today, Marcus Garvey is revered as a hallmark of black leadership and one of the great visionaries of this century.