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Marcus Garvey: Afro-American Political Leader Essay


Marcus Garvey was a prominent Afro-American political leader. He originally hailed from Jamaica but his political activities were conducted mainly in America. Being the enthusiast of the capitalistic ideas, he was convinced that the Afro-Americans, as well as other black people all over the world, had to combine their efforts for a creation of such institutions that would be able to consolidate power and wealth in their ownership. Among other organizations, he founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association.

His ideas were highly influenced by an approach of Booker Washington.

Marcus Garvey was born in Jamaica where he learned the trade of typesetter and began to study journalism. Later on, after an unsuccessful attempt to organize a trade union, he left Jamaica and arrived at England where he attended lectures at the University of London. Having arrived at the USA in 1915, he stated that the black people had to gain a measure of respect by strengthening their economic wealth. With this purpose, he was trying to organize a chain of Afro-American enterprises, which were able to realize their activity independently from the government economic. Though this project was not successful, Garveys persistence made him rather popular among black people.

Garvey was successful in organization of bright public events. He was the originator of the newspaper Negro World, which was very popular in the USA. Practically every year he organized forums with the participation of the Afro-Americans. During these forums, they used the flag of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, which was represented by the combination of the red, black and green stripes. This flag is still popular among the Afro-Americans.

Being a black nationalist Garvey, nevertheless, in achieving his goals had no scruples about interaction with white racist organizations. After his meeting with the authorities of the Ku-Klux-Klan, he was severe criticized by the Afro-American leaders. One of the major opponents of Garvey was Philip Randolph. He was the originator and the head of the Brother of Sleeping Car Porters, which was the first American trade union with the overwhelming majority of black people.

Randolph accused Harvey of the collaboration with white racists. Moreover, Randolph was sure that Garvey was planning a reparation of black people back to Africa. Garvey denied such charges, though he had really sent his representatives to Liberia in order to investigate opportunities for new business projects. The Garveys aim was not the reparation of black people, but the organization of new modern economically independent communities in Africa. His views awoke an echo in hearts of many progressive Afro-American intellectuals.

In 1925 Garvey was sentenced to be confined charging with a mail fraud. Garvey repelled this accusation, and even some of his critics considered them unfair.

Two years later, he was pardoned but as a severe offender without the American citizenship, Garvey was deported to his native country.

Later on in London Garvey began to publish a new journal the Black man. This journal criticized such outstanding public figures as Joe Louis, Paul Robeson and George Baker because of the fact that these people were unable to become the leaders of the Afro-Americans.

However, Garvey was also unsuccessful in expanding his organization. He was rather popular in the USA but at the final stage of his political activity, he worked in England. Garvey died in 1940 in London.

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1. IvyPanda. "Marcus Garvey: Afro-American Political Leader." June 25, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/marcus-garvey-afro-american-political-leader/.


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IvyPanda. 2020. "Marcus Garvey: Afro-American Political Leader." June 25, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/marcus-garvey-afro-american-political-leader/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Marcus Garvey: Afro-American Political Leader'. 25 June.

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