Garvey, Marcus Mosiah (Black Nationalist And Pan-African Theorist)

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garvey_marcus_mosiah_300x300Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr., ONH (17 August 1887 – 10 June 1940),was a Jamaican political leader, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator who was a staunch proponent of the Black nationalism and Pan-Africanism movements, to which end he founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL). He founded the Black Star Line, part of the Back-to-Africa movement, which promoted the return of the African diaspora to their ancestral lands.

Prior to the twentieth century, leaders such as Prince Hall, Martin Delany, Edward Wilmot Blyden, and Henry Highland Garnet advocated the involvement of the African diaspora in African affairs. Garvey was unique in advancing a Pan-African philosophy to inspire a global mass movement and economic empowerment focusing on Africa known as Garveyism. Promoted by the UNIA as a movement of African Redemption, Garveyism would eventually inspire others, ranging from the Nation of Islam to the Rastafari movement (which proclaims Garvey as a prophet).

Garveyism intended persons of African ancestry in the diaspora to “redeem” the nations of Africa and for the European colonial powers to leave the continent. His essential ideas about Africa were stated in an editorial in the Negro World entitled “African Fundamentalism”, where he wrote: “Our union must know no clime, boundary, or nationality… to let us hold together under all climes and in every country…”

“broke, alone and unpopular”. Due to travel restrictions during World War II, his body was interred (no burial mentioned but preserved in a lead-lined coffin) within the lower crypt in St Mary’s Catholic cemetery in London near to Kensal Green Cemetery. Twenty years later, his body was removed from the shelves of the lower crypt and taken to Jamaica, where the government proclaimed him Jamaica’s first national hero and re-interred him at a shrine in the National Heroes Park.In tribute to his many contributions, Garvey’s bust has been displayed in the Organization of American States’ Hall of Heroes in Washington, D.C. The country of Ghana has named its shipping line the Black Star Line and its national soccer team the Black Stars, in honor of Garvey.

In London there are no markings at the cemetery where his body was held for many of those of the African and Caribbean diaspora to pay tribute to this Jamaican national hero. However, a blue plaque was placed outside the house where Garvey once resided at 53 Talgarth Road, Kensington, and a second blue plaque was placed outside 2 Beaumont Crescent, London, W14 9LX, the offices of the UNIA where Marcus Garvey and UNIA members conducted their important work. There is also a small park named after him between North End Road and Hammersmith Road near Olympia.

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