On this day on 1940, we lost Marcus Garvey, founder and first President-General of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League – UNIA-ACL, commonly known as UNIA, through which he declared himself Provisional President of Africa. Ideologically a black nationalist and Pan-Africanist, which in 1919 had 30 branches and over 2 million members.
Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jr, born 17 August 1887 – 10 June 1940, was a Jamaican political activist, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator.
Garvey was born to a moderately prosperous Afro-Jamaican family in Saint Ann’s Bay, Colony of Jamaica and apprenticed into the print trade as a teenager. Working in Kingston, he became involved in trade unionism before living briefly in Costa Rica, Panama, and England. Returning to Jamaica, he founded UNIA in 1914. In 1916, he moved to the United States and established a UNIA branch in New York City’s Harlem district. Emphazising unity between Africans and the African diaspora, he campaigned for an end to European colonial rule across Africa and the political unification of the continent. He envisioned a unified Africa as a one-party state, governed by himself, that would enact laws to ensure black racial purity.
He was committed to the belief that African-Americans needed to secure financial independence from white-dominant society, Garvey launched various businesses in the US including the Negro Factories Corporation and Negro World newspaper. In 1919, he became President of the Black Star Line shipping and passenger company, designed to forge a link between North America and Africa and facilitate African-American migration to Liberia.
Today, we join the rest of the world to remember and honor him, the man who gave us the Pan African flag which turns 100 years old this year, created August 1920.
Rest On, Warlock.