In celebration of Jamaica’s first national hero Marcus Mosiah Garvey Anniversary, August 17, 2012 marks the 125th anniversary since his birth on August 17, 1887 in St. Ann. Marcus Garvey journey came to light in 1907 working as a foreman at the largest printing company in Kingston. As a result of Mr. Garvey seeking better working condition and wages for the workers, they went on strike. Eventually, the business owners were able to get the workers back to work but barred Marcus Garvey from the printing industries.
In 1910 he traveled mainly in Central America and Europe while speaking to influential blacks in Africa. Marcus Garvey’s plans were to bring educated and financially independent blacks together and find their rightful place and be treated as equal. In 1914 at the age of 27, he returned to Jamaica and launched the “Universal Negro Improvement Association” or the UNIA on Emancipation Day, August 1st. The idea was to improve the lives of blacks around the world.
The motto of the organization is, “One God! One Aim! One Destiny!” which states, “Therefore, let justice be done to all mankind, realizing that if the strong oppresses the weak, confusion and discontent will ever mark the path of man but with love, faith and charity towards all the reign of peace and plenty will be heralded into the world and the generations of men shall be called Blessed.”
In 1916 he moved to the US to carry on the works and over the years, the UNIA grew to about 4 million members with more than 1000 branches in many countries. As a result of Marcus Garvey teachings, many African leaders were influence by Garvey including ANC (African National Congress) leaders in South Africa, Elijah Muhammad along with Malcolm X father who was an organizer of the UNIA.
As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stated “Garvey was “the first man, on a mass scale, to give millions of Negroes a sense of dignity and destiny… Dr. King went on to say, Marcus Garvey gave us a sense of personhood, a sense of manhood, a sense of somebody’s.”
“Marcus Garvey Day” will be celebrated in Jamaica on August 17 each year. Minister of Education Mr. Ronald Thwaites announced to the Jamaica Teachers Association that the teachings and philosophies of Jamaica’s first National Hero Marcus Mosiah Garvey will be fully launched into the new academic year 2012 – 2013. Garveyism has always been taught in schools but without a formal curriculum.
Marcus Garvey impact on the world has been recognized by people around the world. During a time when blacks were supposed to be seen and not heard, Marcus Garvey was The Provisional President of Africa. He was telling Negroes to stand up and be counted at a parade held in Harlem, Manhattan New York on Lenox Avenue in August of 1922. Marcus Garvey Steamship Corporation which was the transportation to bring blacks to Africa failed and he was charged with fraud by American authority. Mr. Garvey served five-years and then deported to Jamaica in 1927.
Marcus Garvey went to Jamaica started the PPP (People’s Political Party). His party loss because during those times people had to pay to vote and the majority of people was poor. Immediately, Marcus Garvey started the movement for full adult suffrage where everyone could vote. He later moved to England in 1935 and passed away in England in 1940 and never lived to see Adult Suffrage passed under Chief Minister Mr. Norman Washington Manley. In 1964 Marcus Mosiah Garvey was declared Jamaica’s First National Hero. Our next hope as Jamaicans is to see Marcus Garvey getting fully pardon by a United State President. Mr. Garvey mission and vision of equality and justice for all will live on forever. Happy Anniversary Mr. Garvey and thanks for the blue print which put us on the path to where we are today.