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Marcus Garvey

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        Marcus Garvey was a controversial and influential leader of people of African descent during the early 20th Century. Garvey tried to establish a new nation lead by people of African descent. Born in St. Anne Jamaica, Garvey grew up with two factors that influenced him very differently. His father, a mason, taught him to not rely on anyone else. His mother told him that he had the ability to do great things and saw him as a powerful figure.

        The movie discussed his early life and how he was gifted with the skill of oratory. He worked as a printer, joined Jamaican nationalist organizations, toured Central America, and spent time in London. After arriving in the America, Garvey traveled the country and lectured. After touring, Garvey settled in New York City and formed Universal Negro Improvement Association to promote a separatist philosophy of social, political, and economic freedom for blacks. However, over the next few years the movement began to unravel due to opposition from black critics and governmental harassment. By 1922, the federal government indicted Garvey on mail fraud charges.

Garvey is a representation of the power of civil dialogue and power because of his oratory skills and his visions for a unified black nation.  Although in his first speech in the United States he had tremors and even fell off the stage at one point. Yet, as he spoke more, he was better able to influence the masses with his usual impassioned oratory. Garvey was also such an excellent orator because of his use of black pride as well. For all his use of his printed and spoken word, he understood the psychological appeal that came from non-verbal symbols and physical activities. This includes the special uniforms, the African legion, and the Black Star Line, and the huge parades he created.

        Garvey is remembered for his civil dialogue because of his vision of black unity. Though there were other black power leaders, Garvey was the biggest Black Nationalist. Garvey envisioned an all black state lead by himself. He worked to make this dream come true in the form of the UNIA. Through the association Garvey set up the Black Star Line, a travel option for people of color that catered to them. The Black Star Line transported goods and people from black communities around the globe. Garvey hoped that this travel line would be the start of a black trade and the beginning of the economy for his all black nation state. Though the line generated a lot of attention, the line failed to establish itself and would be the end of Garvey in America.

After awhile, Garvey fell in to obscurity and experienced a major decline of support yet his influence remains. His message of pride and dignity inspired many in the early days of the Civil Rights movement in the 1950’s and 1960s and has been honored on many occasions for his influence.

Word count: 487

 Questions: Why do you think Garvey differed from other early civil rights leaders in his goal for the future of black people?

Should minority groups strive to develop separately, or should they assimilate to achieve success?  



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