October 26, 1917 – Black Dispatch
Courtesy of the Oklahoma Historical Society
‘Neath a weary load upon dusky head,
Upon American streets is the tread
Of an uncrowned type of heroine,
Their labors untrumpeted and unseen.
It to her helpmate, life chance is denied
With undaunted courage, she stems the tide,
Meets some of homes needs, help make it fair;
That he may find a kingship there.
When manhood is shackled, into its place
Nature oft forces a courageous race
Of women, who with heroic spirit,
Stamp within unborn children the merit
Denied their fathers. For what man’s disdain
Keeps from one generation, the next will gain.
We see them in rain, in cold and the heat,
As they pass us with patient, toil worn feet.
Behind some great universities wall
It is the boy or girl for whom she gives all
Sometimes the more sacrificial her fire
The less we praise it, the more we require.
Whipped with the lash, until the reddened stain,
Of her life blood ran from opening vein,
In slavery’s hour, this type was true
To virtue. Today life’s way they pursue
As heroically. No scorn or slight
Can change her ideals, she sees aright;
That duty done, in higher worlds will mean
That she will be more than an uncrowned queen.
Lady Henrietta Vinton Davis, International Organizer, delivered a brilliant farewell address to the members of the Los Angeles Division on December 27, in which she told in her usual graphic way of the struggles the Negro undergoes in his fight for complete independence. Miss Davis recited a conversation she had with a Mr. Michael, a California Jew, who drew a parallel of the Negro and the Jew both fighting for a restoration of their ancient homeland.
“It is indeed a pleasure to be with you again, said Miss Davis. “I am glad to have this opportunity, and I am proud that I was here last night. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed the children here in their recitations, seeing them playing–how free they were in Liberty Hall. That is as it should be: they should have freedom to enjoy themselves. And I thought last night that as an organization you should set aside one night of each month and call it children’s night. Let them have a little time after the program. Of course it won’t always be Christmas; you won’t always have a Christmas tree; but you can make the children happy.
The Curse of Race Prejudice
“We all look back at the pleasant time that we had when we were children. And I throw out that suggestion tonight–one night in each month we should call children’s night.
“I was surprised there were not more people here last night. We should all be interested in the children they are our future hope; they are our future leaders. And we should train and do what we can toward the training of our children.
“Colored children have so much to make them unhappy. I know that from my experience. The time comes when they learn they belong to a race that is segregated, despised and jim-crowed for no other reason than that they are black; and it is a sad day for a colored child. So it behooves us to make our children as happy as we can. And I shall be glad indeed when we can found a nation in Africa where our children can grow up free and untrammeled from prejudice. That’s what I am working for and that is what every member of my race should work for, that our children can enjoy a greater freedom than we have ever been permitted to enjoy. And I think that all of us should become enthusiastic workers in the U.N.I.A. in the interest of the little ones.
Forced to Wander in Alien Lands
“When I saw this dear woman last night, when I saw how she got the children together and trained them, not only for the sake of the Negro children, but for the children of Los Angeles as well, I said: ‘She is a noble woman and I honor and love her, and I shall never forget her.’
“I am glad the dove of peace is hovering over Los Angeles. I shall feel better satisfied than if I had left last week. I feel that my mission has been fulfilled, that what Marcus Garvey sent me for has been done and my mission performed. I feel that I shall leave you all in harmony and peace, looking forward instead of backward, working hopefully for the improvement of the U.N.I.A.
“What a boon you have before you, the redemption of your fatherland. A gentleman called on me today–you know Mr. Michael. And he likened the condition of my people to the condition of his people. He said that the Jews had been forced to wander in alien lands just as the colored people are forced to wander in alien lands; that the Jews are a scattered people and that the colored people are likewise scattered–not because they want to be a scattered people, but because of the prejudice and hatred of other men. He called attention to the fact that the Jews for years had worked for the redemption of their land, Palestine, and that the Negroes were busy likewise redeeming Africa. And he expressed the belief that the time is not far distant when Palestine should be populated with its scattered sons and daughters, and that the Jew and Negro should be well side by side in love and harmony as in ancient times.
“What a beautiful thought, my friends. He did not suppose that I would come here tonight and tell it, but I must tell it, for it shows the beauty of his mind. And he said he would leave here tonight to trael in the interest of the U.N.I.A. The Jews have scattered their propaganda throughout the world, and they have had divisions in their ranks as we have had amongst our people. These divisions exist; we cannot escape; but we must learn to bear them, to grasp the situation, learn to become victorious over them, and by overcoming them we shall only become the stronger.
“As I listened to Rev. Matthews I said: A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches. Although he knows me, I do not know him: it is so with thousands of people throughout the world wherever I go. I have all my life been a busy woman, and just as he says, I go to my home, stay there maybe half an hour, and I am gone again. I cannot enjoy the quietude of my own home, but I have chosen to wander for the benefit of my race. I am not compelled to do it from circumstances. I would not need to do it, for all my life I have been so busy that I could afford to go home and sit down and read the newspapers about the current events; but I cannot see my people suffer without doing my best to alleviate their suffering. And if I die trying to alleviate their suffering I shall feel that I have not died in vain. Because I could have it comfortable by my own fireside is no reason why I should not feel the suffering of my sisters and brothers in the South, in the East and in the Western part of this country, in the West Indies, in Central and South America and in Africa.
“I feel their troubles because I am identified with my race. I know my people in Alabama, in Mississippi, in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky and Oklahoma. I know them in the country, on the farms and the plantations, because I have lived with them on those farms and plantations. I know them in the beautiful islands of the West Indies; I know just what they suffer there–a little different from what we suffer here, but they are suffering just the same. And those suffering are crying to high heaven. I known them in Ecuador, Peru, British Guiana, French and Dutch Guiana, and I sympathize with them in their struggles.
“Memories crowd my mind as I think of the many deeds of cruelty that I have seen in my travels against my people. And if you could have seen what I have seen, if you could have felt what I have felt, you , too, would take up the cause for your race; you too would be as I, ready to cross the continent at any time, at any hour, for the sake of your race. But words fail to describe some things; they have to be seen and felt to be really understood.
“However, in this, my farewell speech to you, I leave my blessing with you and trust that from this time forth you will go on in the bonds of love and unity, and that you will cast aside all things that are detrimental to your growth. You should look forward to buying this property. You can do this by adopting a practical program. You have about a hundred members, I believe. You can double up the number in a month if everybody will go out and get one member. Don’t try to get everybody, but try to get just one, and try to convince them that this society is the only salvation of the Negro; that it is the only organization which solves the Negro problem. It will be no problem to Negroes if they will fall into this movement. We have been a problem to ourselves, because sometimes we have misrepresented ourselves. As our friend has said, this is a crazy city. I don’t want to take the impression from him that all the Negroes here are crazy, but I have known two or three that were crazy. And they re not only undesirable citizens, but they should be loked up; but they are not members of this division of the U.N.I.A.” (Laughter.) “No, they are not members–and they show their insanity by not being members.” (Laughter.) This is their first trace of insanity. They are not members, or they have been members and deserted the cause.
“The Los Angeles division has been tried as by fire and it has come out as pure gold. So see that you do not tarnish that gold, that that gold becomes brighter and brighter, and that when Garvey comes here that gold shall dazzle the eyesight. But you have to keep it shiny, otherwise it will grow dull like everything else does. But I think by mapping out a program and keeping busy you will so outline your couse of actions the coming year that by the end of 1923 you will make a splendid record. And I hope before the end of next year I may be privileged to come to you again.
“You have plenty of friends who are waiting to see what you are going to do to join you. They want to see if you are free of past nonsense. They feel life is too short to fritter away in foolish things; but to gain our goal we must do it by hard work, by steady work.
“Speaking of the children again, someone expressed the hope that we would have schools in Liberia. I want to say a number of years ago Rev.___________ established a college in Liberia. We are going to enlarge that college and put it on a footing with any other college in the world. That is another thing we have to look forward to–the development of the Liberian College. A part of this Liberian Construction Loan is to be used for the higher educational development of youths in Africa.
“I suppose you all read Prof. Picken’s article in The Negro World. He is a scholar, a man of experience, and when he speaks he says something. And when he writes he gives you something to remember. I read it at one sitting. I would not let anything come between me and my article. For Brother Pickens has answered our enemies: he has given them a knockout blow in the solar plexus so they can’t come back at all. So read that article. He has told us it is the greatest organization in the world. Yet he is a professor of the N.A.A.C.P. But he is not afraid of losing his job. He comes down to Liberty Hall whenever he feels like it. And we ask him to speak and he expresses his sentiments. Sometimes he just likes to steal in and listen to Marcus Garvey, for he thinks, as we think, that Marcus Garvey is the most remarkable person living today. It is something to hear him, and it is more to know him. And to know him is to respect and revere him. I received a telegram from him today, and I think so much of it I am just carrying it around, because in it he wished me a merry Christmas and a happy new year. In it he told me to be in Chicago on the ninth of January and to be in New York city on the eleventh of January. And by the help of God I am going to be there. And although it means I have to speak to a large audience that night and have to leave immediately for New York, yet I don’t mind it.. I am glad to have the opportunity to do as my chieftain bids me. I shall possibly leave your city tomorrow afternoon or tonight, and I am asking you to do your best–for Marcus Garvey expects you to do it–towards giving a splendid collection.
“I am not a beggar–I never begged until I came to the U.N.I.A. It sort of gets me, you know, to do it. But I am begging for your race, and I am ready to go to the uttermost parts of the world in my efforts for their behalf. I have been doing this for four years now, doing without sleep, getting into large cities in the early morning hours, with no one to meet me. And the thought of doing something for my race has warmed my heart and has made me not feel weary, has made me go on. So I am asking you now to come forward and give me your Christmas offering. Kindness has been shown me while here, and it shall not be forgotten. I have been comfortably located while here and I thankyou; but I am on my way now, so help me on. You know you used to sing, ‘Help the weary traveler on the lonesome road.’ So I shall be the weary traveler on the lonesome road, but I shall be thinking of you with thoughts of love and hope.”
The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth on them. This is an advertisement taken from the Washington Bee newspaper dated Saturday October 22, 1892. It is an advertisement for Ida B. Wells’ lecture held at Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, D.C. Her subject that night was “Southern Mob Rule.” She was introduced by Timothy Thomas Fortune, editor of the New York Age and later an editor of the Negro World Newspaper. Presiding at the event was Mary Church Terrell.
Amy Jacques Garvey, ”New York Jews Raise Over Six Million Dollars – What of Negroes?” Originally published in The Negro World, 5 June 1926.
The United Jewish campaign to raise $6,000,000 in Greater New York alone for the relief of Jews of Eastern Europe ended a few days ago. The amount was over-subscribed by $656,000. The national campaign aims to raise twenty-five million dollars, and from all indications this amount will also be over-subscribed.
The Bureau of Jewish Social Research estimates that there are only 3,600,00 0 Jews in this country, yet their ambition is to raise the enormous sum of twenty-five million dollars; not for their own benefit here, but to send to Europe to help their fellow-Jews who are in need. Such an example of racial love can not be too highly commended, as we ponder over the fellowship of these people, our thoughts return to our own race; but ah, how different it is with us. Fifteen million Negroes in America and what genius could get them to subscribe one dollar each for any laudable purpose that would benefit them here? As for sending money abroad to benefit Negroes in other countries, why almost every Negro newspaper would raise a storm of protest, and petty Negro politicians would shed greedy tears at the idea of American dollars going to help “foreign” Negroes. “Let them help themselves,” some of us would growl, “and if they can’t, that’s their hard luck.”
This accursed selfishness of the Negro has been his undoing, and until the Universal Negro Improvement Association has reached the heart of each and every one, he will continue to think of national boundaries and ignore racial ties.
Before Marcus Garvey gave birth to his great idea of a united Negro race — excepting none whether they be one per cent. or one hundred per cent.–West Indian Negroes were regarded by us as monkeys, and both groups regarded the African Negro as a maneater, thus unknowingly succumbing to the white man’s propaganda, and carrying out his policy of divide and rule. But Marcus Garvey showed them the folly of their way; he congregated thousands from different parts of the world in international conventions, where they heard each other’s tales of woe, compared notes, looked into each other’s eyes and felt the kinship of blood, and realized that all Negroes were brothers and their destiny was one. Now the Universal Negro Improvement Association can proudly boast of millions of members, whose concern is not where you were born, but are you a Negro.
This organization has a drive on for one million new members and one million dollars, to carry on its work of Negro uplift and African redemption, and we sincerely hope that the Jews will not put us to shame; but that in proportion to our meagre earnings we will oversubscribe the amount, which is a small amount indeed for the great work planned by our leader.
Jewish women have played an important part in making their campaign a success, and it is up to Negro women to rally to the call and round up the recruits and the dollars. One Jewish woman alone collected $161,200. Surely Negro women who have collected moneys to build so many churches, will now turn their attention to nation building, and thereby ensure the future for posterity.
This money must be raised and raised quickly. Extending the campaign over long indefinite periods will not help. A few hundred thousand dollars in the treasury of the organization could accomplish much along all lines, but small amounts coming in spasmodically cannot be used to advantage. Women! This is your opportunity to make your contribution to the race. Let the world know that Negroes can and will support their own cause and protect their brothers anywhere and everywhere.
JULY 20, 2013 is HENRIETTA VINTON DAVIS GRAVE MARKER UNVEILING
-Events to recognize cultural icon-
Washington, DC –Today the Henrietta Vinton Davis Memorial Foundation (HVDMF) announced plans to unveil a marker at the grave of its namesake in National Harmony Memorial Park. The Foundation has as its mission to raise awareness of the life and legacy of Shakespearean actor, elocutionist, dramatic reader and activist Henrietta Vinton Davis.
Miss Davis remained relatively unrecognized until July 1983 when an article entitled “Henrietta Vinton Davis and the Garvey Movement” by Professor William Seraile was published in the journal ‘Afro-Americans in New York Life and History’. Nearly a year later, acknowledgment of her contributions increased with the publication of the book ‘Shakespeare in Sable’ written by Professor Errol Hill of Dartmouth University. Her home in Northeast Washington, DC has been listed on Cultural Tourism DC’s African American Heritage Trail since 1999.
On Saturday July 20, 2013 the HVDMF starts the day off with an award presentation and celebration at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library, culminating with the unveiling of a marker at Miss Davis’ grave site at National Harmony Memorial Park. Guest speakers and celebrants include:
Dr. William Seraile (Bruce Grit), Barbara Eklof (For Every Season), Kevin Grace (Friends of Joe Gans), Nnamdi Azikiwe (Vinton Davis Weblog) and Mwariama Kamau (UNIA). Producing partners for the occasion are Vaunita Goodman (MTPC) and Michon Boston (Iola’s Letter). Clayton LeBouef (Something The Lord Made, The Wire, Homicide) will serve as Master of Ceremonies.
In 2008, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty issued a proclamation designating August 25 ‘Henrietta Vinton Davis Day.’ The decree acknowledged Davis as the first African American to work at the DC Recorder of Deeds office beginning in 1878, before Frederick Douglass was appointed Recorder. She made her career debut as a Shakespearean actor, elocutionist and dramatic reader in Washington, DC on April 25, 1883 where she was introduced by Douglass, a family friend. The proclamation acknowledges the success of Miss Davis as a public speaker and cultural icon.
Celebration / Award Presentation recognizing Vera J. Katz, (Professor Emerita Howard University Theatre Arts) and others will be conducted in the A-5 Auditorium 11am-1:30-pm at the Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial Library 901 G Street, NW, Washington, D.C. (202) 727-0321
Livication / Henrietta Vinton Davis Marker Unveiling will be conducted 3pm-5pm at her grave site in National Harmony Memorial Park 7101 Sheriff Road Largo, MD (301) 772-0900
Events are free and open to the public.
About Henrietta Vinton Davis
For thirty-five years after her debut performing “Shakespearean delineations”, original plays and dramatic readings with her own performing company, and local troupes throughout the United States, South America and the Caribbean, Henrietta Vinton Davis broke new ground as a successful theatrical artisan. Her commitment to her craft gained her recognition as the first African American “woman of the stage.”
During 1919, a year notable for its “Red Summer,” she joined the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League headed by Marcus Garvey.
As a leader of the African Redemption Movement, Davis made use of her acting skills to promote the aims and objectives of the UNIA. Her ability to “transport her listeners” to another place with her oratorical skills played a key role in both attracting members to the organization and promoting the Black Star Line Shipping Company. As such, she was elected to numerous positions including International Organizer, and Third Assistant President General of the UNIA. Additionally, as Vice President and a Director of the Black Star Line, Davis was the de facto authority aboard the Black Star Line’s flagship vessel, the S.S. Yarmouth, on its maiden voyage. The ship was laden with a cargo worth upwards of $5.000.000 destined for the Caribbean. On the ship’s return Marcus Garvey proclaimed Miss Davis “the greatest woman of the [African] race today” in a meeting at the UNIA’s Liberty Hall.
About The Henrietta Vinton Davis Memorial Foundation
Initially organized to raise funds for a marker at the grave of Lady Henrietta Vinton Davis
in 2005, the mission of The Henrietta Vinton Davis Memorial Foundation has evolved to include publishing books, producing plays, films/videos and conducting symposiums educating the general public about her life and the times in which she lived.
A scene from the play Christophe by William Edgar Easton
Marcus Garvey is the source for Bob Marley’s well known phrase in “Redmption Song:”
Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; None but ourselves can free our minds.
That famous lyric originated with Marcus Garvey. In his 1937 speech “The Work That Has Been Done” given at Menelik Hall in Nova Scotia Garvey states:
We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind.
The mental emancipation Garvey spoke about has yet to become significantly widespread among the human race. One indication humanity has yet to achieve mental emancipation is the fact criminal charges are still on the records of the United States Federal Government. Does such fact Garvey’s of universal emancipation warrant his exoneration? With such a powerful statement having influence on people worldwide to the extent they seek further knowledge as to source of Bob Marley’s lyrics it would seem the answer is in the affirmative.
The only evidence used to convict Marcus Garvey was actually an absence of evidence. At trial a single empty envelope was presented. Allegedly the envelope once contained a flyer which suggested the Black Star Line owned a ship named for Phillis Wheatley, the first African-American to have published poetry. Garvey was out of the USA at the time and therefore could not have created such a flyer if one actually existed.
The lynching of Laura Nelson. "The Strangest Fruit of All" is a planned documentary on the lynching of Black Women.
Click here to order a Shield of Righteous Power t-shirt. Your purchase of the Shield of Righteous Power T-shirt aids in funding the production of the documentary "The Strangest Fruit of All: Black Women Who Were Lynched."
We want to make a documentary on Black women who were lynched. We plan to produce the video in honor and recognition of the 148 African American women who are known to have been lynched and those whose names we do not know. We intend to have 148 women speak the names of the women on the list, the date they died and the place where they were made into martyrs. We also intend showing footage from the locations where they joined the ancestors, as well as interviewing Professor Maria Delongoria, Dr. Daniel Meaders and others for their insight into the lynching of women.
1. At least 148 black women are known to have been lynched in America.
2. We want to inform the public of the true nature of lynching.
3. Would you be willing to share this message with others? In so doing we increase awareness and gain support for this project.
Though the phrase “emancipate yourself from mental slavery” is commonly associated with “Redemption Song” by Bob Marley, few know the concept originated with Marcus Garvey. During a speech given in October 1937 at Nova Scotia’s Menelik Hall entitled “The Work That Has Been Done,” Garvey stated:
We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind. Mind is your only ruler, sovereign. The man who is not able to develop and use his mind is bound to be the slave of the other man who uses his mind …
Marcus Garvey Menelik Hall Sydney, Nova Scotia October 31, 1937 From the speech “The Work That Has Been Done.”
Marcus Garvey’s memory has been kept alive worldwide. Schools, colleges, highways, and buildings in Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, and the United States have been named in his honor. Garvey has also been immortalized in song and literary works both fiction and non. What follows is an attempt to delve into the influence Marcus Garvey continues to hold despite the fact he joined the ancestors more than seventy years ago. Efforts to render him something “other” than influential by those who oppose the redemption of Africa continue to the present.
Of primary significance is the Red, Black and Green flag. which was presented to the world nearly one-hundred years ago on August 13, 1920. Since then it has been adopted as the Black Liberation Flag. The Red, Black and Green is not just a pop culture symbol referencing Garvey. It is also the flag of the Sovereign United States of Africa. Garvey, in his words, works and deeds mentioned the United States of Africa numerous times. Most notably was its first appearance in his poem “Hail United States of Africa. “The United States of Africa first saw light in a 1924 poem by Garvey and is still discussed to this day.
In 1980, a bust of Garvey was placed in the Organization of American States’ Hall of Heroes in Washington, D.C.
Kwame Nkrumah named the national shipping line of Ghana the Black Star Line in honor of Garvey and the UNIA. Established on 10 September 1957, the state shipping line was 60 percent owned by Ghana and 40 percent owned by Israel. The first ship it purchased was named the “Volta River.” Nkrumah also named the national soccer team the Black Stars as well. The black star at the center of Ghana’s flag is also inspired by the Black Star Line. The company’s assets were sold in 1982 by the Provisional National Defense Council.
During a trip to Jamaica, Martin Luther King and his wife Coretta Scott King visited the shrine of Marcus Garvey on June 20, 1965 and laid a wreath. In a speech he told the audience that Garvey “was the first man of color to lead and develop a mass movement. He was the first man on a mass scale and level to give millions of Negroes a sense of dignity and destiny. And make the Negro feel he was somebody.” Earlier that day at the National Arena, Dr. King was given the Keys to the City of Kingston after delivering another 40-plus-minute address. In his introductory remarks he was quoted as saying that “In Jamaica I feel like a human being.”
King was also the posthumous recipient of the first Marcus Garvey Prize for Human Rights on December 10, 1968 issued by the Jamaican Government and presented to King’s widow.
Garvey and Rastafari
Rastafarians consider Garvey a religious prophet, saint and sometimes even the reincarnation of John the Baptist. This is partly because of statements renowned to have been uttered by him in speeches throughout the 1920s, usually along the lines of “Look to Africa, when a black king shall be crowned for the day of deliverance is at hand!”
His beliefs deeply influenced the Rastafari, who took his statements as a prophecy of the crowning of Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia. Early Rastas were associated with the African Redemption movement in Jamaica. This early Rastafari movement was also influenced by a separate, proto-Rasta movement known as the Afro-Athlican Church that was outlined in a religious text known as the Holy Piby — where Garvey was proclaimed to be a prophet as well. Thus, the Rastafari movement can be seen as an offshoot of Garveyite philosophy. As his beliefs have greatly influenced Rastafari, he is often mentioned in reggae music, including that of Burning Spear and Dubwize (New Zealand).
Pop culture references
There have been pop culture references to Marcus Garvey since he first came on the international scene. Garvey is cited repeatedly in a diverse variety of books, songs and films as a legend worthy of emulation. As such, he stands out among leaders, historical and contemporary, for having continuously sustained a broad cultural relevance.
One of the first such instances was probably the tune “West Indies Blues” composed and written by New Orleans musicians J. Edgar Dowell with Spencer and Clarence Williams in 1923. The tune contains the lyrics relating to Garvey:
Some time soon or later, When I come back to this great land, You better watch me, Harvey, ‘Cause I’m gonna be a great big man Like my friend Marcus Garvey!
The team was also responsible for another Garvey related tune “The Black Star Line”, first recorded by jazz singer Rosa Henderson in 1924 for Vocalion’s Aeolian label. It’s chorus lays out the plan:
Get on board country man, I say, get on board, leave this land, Gwine back on be Black Star Line. A-get on board, country man,
The reggae genre stands out for continuing to pay homage to Garvey as a great man worthy of recognition. Bob Marley, one of the most famous Rastafarians, coincidentally had his first hit song “Simmer Down” during early 1964. At the time negotiations had commenced on the disinterment and enshrinement of Garvey as the first National Hero of Jamaica. The song has a theme similar to that of Garvey’s own “Keep Cool”.
Marley refers to Marcus Garvey in his song “So much things to say”, saying, “I’ll never forget no way: they sold Marcus Garvey for rice.” The song criticizes anyone willing to betray independent African leadership and the pittance the traitors receive (hence the phrase “for rice”).
Marley’s, “Redemption Song” and “Africa Unite” echo the basic tenets of Garvey’s philosophy. ‘Redemption Song’ is significant in this instance in that a key phrase “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery; none but ourselves can free our mind‘ is a paraphrase from a speech given by Garvey in 1937 while touring Nova Scotia. The entire speech was published in Garvey’s ‘Black Man’ magazine.
Burning Spear, a well-known Jamaican reggae artist, has repeatedly mentioned Garvey, in albums including Garvey’s Ghost and Marcus Garvey. He released “Marcus Garvey ” in 1975, with two of the songs mentioning Garvey. Throughout Burning Spear’s career, Garvey has been a major influence on nearly every song.
Sinead O’Connor’s reggae-influenced 2005 album Throw Down Your Arms opens with a cover of Burning Spear’s song “Marcus Garvey”. O’Connor performed the song that year on The Late Late Show sporting a Garvey t-shirt. Erstwhile reggae producers Sly and Robbie joined her along with the Jamaican All-Star Band.
The group Culture wrote a song about Marcus Garvey’s “prophecy” on leaving the Spanish Town prison entitled “Two Sevens Clash.” The 1976 album of the same name also had the song “Black Star Liner Must Come”. In 1975 Big Youth recorded a song entitled “Marcus Garvey Dread” on his album “Dreadlocks Dread”. The Gladiators, a reggae band, often sing of Marcus Garvey, for example, their song “Marcus Garvey Time.” Jamaican harmony trio The Mighty Diamonds wrote a reggae song called “Them Never Love Poor Marcus”, referring to Garvey. They also refer to him in their song “I Need A Roof”.
In the intro to The Orb’s song Towers of Dub a prank caller, Victor Lewis-Smith, phones the London Weekend Television security desk and leaves a message for Haile Selassie saying that he should meet Marcus Garvey in Babylon. The ska band Hepcat has a song entitled “Marcus Garvey” on their album “Scientific”. The band Piebald has a song entitled “If Marcus Garvey Dies, Then Marcus Garvey Lives” on their album “If It Weren’t For Venetian Blinds, It Would Be Curtains For All Of Us.”
Zacheous Jackson Conscious message reggae music singer/songwriter refers to Marcus Garvey in his songs “Garvey Garvey” and “The Conspiracy” , which highlight the work of Marcus Mosiah Garvey and the conspiracy against him, and Zacheous also mentions Garvey in another of his songs called “Too Much A Wi”.
In the 1987 song “The Spirit Lives” on the album “Hold On To Love” by “Third World” the following verse appears:
Oh, the spirit lives
It’s living in the people and it can never die
Marcus Garvey, he lives on
He told his people they’ve got to be strong
One God, one aim, one destiny
Let Marcus Garvey live in you and me – well
Hip hop groups also stand out for having included references in their songs to Marcus Garvey. Progressive hip hop group Arrested Development, in their epic song “Revolution” (from the soundtrack to the 1992 Spike Lee directed film Malcolm X) mentions Garvey near the beginning and end of the song. Hip Hop duo Black Star (consisting of rappers Mos Def and Talib Kweli) took the name of their debut album from the Black Star Line. The group Brand Nubian on their 1993 album “In God We Trust” had a song ‘Black Star Line’ with Redd Foxx. The cut was redolent with themes reminiscent of the 1924 song of the same name but with Garveyism in every verse.
Rapper Nasir Jones (AKA. Nas) made reference to Marcus Garvey in his debut album from 1995 Illmatic. In “Halftime” ( a song originally issued as a single and part of the 1992 Zebrahead soundtrack) he raps,
Nas also appears on the Wu-Tang Clan album The W in the song “Let My Niggas Live” with the following lyrics:
I scream at the mirror, curse, askin God, “Why me?”
Run in the black church, gun in my hand, y’all try me
I’m God-son, son of man, son of Marcus Garvey
Rastafari irie, Ha-ile Selassie
On another Wu-Tang Clan track ‘I Can’t Go To Sleep’ featuring Isaac Hayes, the RZA states the following:
‘They… Exported Marcus
Garvey ’cause he tried to spark us
With the knowledge of ourselves, and our forefathers’.
The video has images of Nelson Mandela, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy.
In the song “Ah Yeah” from the album KRS-One a verse is as follows:
They tried to burn me, lynch me and starve me So I had to come back as Marcus Garvey, Bob Marley They tried to harm me, I used to be Malcolm X They thought they had me By puttin holes in my chest Nowadays through hip-hop I manifest Now I’m on the planet as the one KRS. Kickin the metaphysical…spiritual… tryin to like get with you showin you you are invincible Whether you know it or not you’re in a race against time the finish line is control of your mind…Ah yeah
Ludacris, in his popular video replete with numerous African elements “Pimpin’ All Over the World”, is wearing a T-Shirt with Garvey’s image and the legend: “A people without the knowledge of their past, history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots,” a quote attributed to Marcus Garvey. The Haitian-American rapper Wyclef Jean, in his appearance on Chappelle’s Show, performed his song “If I Was President”, that references Garvey:
“Tell the children the truth, the truth … tell em about Marcus Garvey …”
Dead Prez refers to Marcus Garvey in most of their songs and live by his Red, Black and Green philosophy.
Daz Dillinger refers to Garvey in the song “Our Daily Bread”, in his album “Retaliation, Revenge and get Back” on Deathrow Records.
The perennially sampled funk group Funkadelic has the Red, Black and Green flag on the Pedro Bell drawn cover of their 1978 album “One Nation Under a Groove”. The image portrays a group of people planting the flag on the planet earth in a manner reminiscent of the Iwo Jima flag raising. The flag has the letters “R&B” emblazoned across it in white.
Other References to Garvey
Jazz Musicians Roy Ayers, Pharoah Sanders and Gil Scott-Heron each have completely different songs with the title “Red, Black and Green”. The Red, Black and Green flag originated with the organization Garvey founded, the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League on August 13th during their 1920 convention.
Fictional books also have made mention of Garvey, although to a lesser degree than in the musical realm. He is referenced in African-American novelist Ralph Ellison’s ‘Invisible Man’ on page 272 of the Vintage printing, while the Random House edition of 2002 has him mentioned in passages on pages 206 and 277. Ellison may have used Garvey as the basis for the book’s character Ras the Exhorter. He is a West Indian black nationalist “demagogue” who eventually leads to the book’s protagonist having an epiphany about his membership in a white-controlled group known as “the brotherhood”.
In The Autobiography of Malcolm X, his name is stated as “Marcus Aurelius Garvey,” referencing Roman Emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius. Malcolm’s father, Earl Little was both a UNIA Division President and distributor of the Negro World newspaper. The first chapter of the book is essentially about three topics: Marcus Garvey, Malcolm’s father the Rev. Earl Little, and the organization of which they were both members, the U.N.U.A.
The HBO television drama, The Wire, has an episode where African American mayoral candidate Clarence Royce uses Marcus Garvey posters in his campaign to win votes in majority Black Baltimore, Maryland. Royce is then accused by State Delegate Watkins of hiding behind the posters to win votes.
Garvey is mentioned in three episodes of the HBO’s Boardwalk Empire series: “The North Star,” ‘White Horse Pike,” and “Farewell Daddy Blues.” Actor Jeffrey Wright portrayed Dr. Valentine Narcisse in the series. Narcisse came to be involved in efforts by J. Edgar Hoover to provide intelligence on the UNIA.
The 2003 film and directorial debut of Denzel Washington, “Antwone Fisher” features the Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey. Main character Antwone Fisher (played by Derek Luke) receives a copy of The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey from Dr. Jerome Davenport (played by Washington) as a gift.
1. The Black 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential African-Americans, Past and Present By Columbus Salley, Page 82, 1999, Citadel Press.
2. Daily Gleaner June 20, 1965: Martin Luther King Jr. visits Jamaica
3. M.G. Smith, Roy Augier and Rex Nettleford, “The Rastafari Movement in Kingston, Jamaica,” Kingston 1960, p.5
4. The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers, Vol. V: September 1922-August 1924 (Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers), University of California Press, Page 801.
5. Damian Marley – Confrontation, Welcome To Jamrock Album,
6. Sinead O’Connor – Marcus Garvey on youtube
7. Third World The Spirit Lives Lyrics
8. Arrested Development Videos on VH1
9. YouTube – Nas – Halftime
10. TRUE Shit – Wu-Tang’s Let My Niggas Live/I Can’t Go To Sleep
11. Wu Tang Clan – I Can’t Go To Sleep Ft. Issac Hayes
12. Ludacris – Pimpin’ All Over The World: Golden Palace Version
13. “Antwone Fisher” 1:12 at Caption Swap, last accessed on October 31, 2007
Here’s a little speech by Lady Davis reflecting her spirituality and her understanding of our need for reparations.
“As I think of our people, I feel that that great law of nature, the law that runs throughout all nature and is irrevocable, the law of compensation, we have to pay. The white man has forgotten that great law of compensation. When he committed his dastardly deeds, he thought that he would not have to pay for them. But he has had to pay for them with his blood. That is what has been demanded by God and so he will have to pay the price more and more. He will have to pay for the 300 years of slavery tat he put upon the Negro people. He will have to pay for all the money that he failed to give them in compensation for their labor. He will have to pay for the dragging and wrenching from the Negro mother’s breast of her little babe. He will have to pay for the stripes he helped to put upon the back of the Negro by way of punishment, as he said. And this accumulated debt of hundreds of years, the Anglo-Saxon is beginning to pay for and he will have to pay to the last penny. He has only commenced to pay the compensation that that great law of nature requires of all of us.
We must all pay our debts; and the white man’s debts to the world, his debts to the darker races and the people of the world, have only just commenced to be paid.”
Click here to buy your Shield of Audacious Power T-shirt. 2011 marks 91 years of Red, Black and Green. “This Flag of Mine: Towards 100 Years of Red, Black and Green” is a short documentary on the history of the flag. Part two will be released later this year covering the history of the flag from the 1960s up to the present.
August, 13 2020 will be the 100th anniversary of an historical event which continues to reverberate among the human race today. The Red, Black and Green flag was presented to the world as the flag of all African people on August 13, 1920. It was resolved to be the symbol of African nationhood and the entire African race in declaration 39 of the 1920 Declaration of Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World. It had been 20 years since Will A. Heelan and J. Fred Helf put pen to paper and wrote the song “Every Race Has a Flag But the Coon.” Before then, people of African ancestry saw no use for a flag other than of the country where they lived. The power of a symbol for people of African ancestry has been recognized ever since. More than 90 years ago over 20,000 members of the Universal Negro Improvement Association gathered at Madison Square Garden. They were attending the first month long International Convention of the Universal Negro improvement Association, chaired by Marcus Mosiah Garvey.
Marcus Garvey prophet, legend and first National hero of Jamaica founded the UNIA in 1914. His work with the UNIA influenced people like Kwame Nkrumah, Jomo Kenyatta, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Bob Marley, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King,Jr., and W.E.B. Dubois with his concept of African Redemption. Marcus Garvey was a builder of institutions. He along with the members of the UNIA started the Black Star Line Shipping Company. Garvey also was publisher and editor of the widely distributed Negro World weekly newspaper. He is known for saying: “Show me the race or nation without a flag and I will show you a race of people without any pride.” Why is the red, black and green our flag? First, flags are cloth designs communicating or signifying identity. Additionally, flags are for a nation, to publicly display patriotism or unity. The colors Red, Black and Green resonate with black people everywhere. The colors Red, Black and Green resonate with black people everywhere. The colors are said to have originated the flag of the Zanj or Zinj empire of Iraq. Red has powerful symbolic meaning. The color Red is for the color of blood shed in the cause of Black Liberation down through the centuries. In nature red is a color of warning. Red also indicates fruit is ripe for eating. It gets the viewers attention, carries a strong reaction and informs us what we see is important. Black points to the color of our noble people. The color represents Africans at home and abroad. The original name for Ancient Egypt, which everyone knows is in Africa, was Kemet. KMT in the original Kemetic language means the “Black Land” or “Land of the Blacks.” Black does not emit or reflect light; it absorbs all frequencies of the visible electromagnetic spectrum. Light interacts with atoms and molecules to convert to other forms of energy. As black absorbs light, it absorbs energy making black a thermal energy collector. Black is a color of authority and power. Judges and lawyers wear black robes. Priests, rabbis, and ministers wear black as well. Black is worn on important occasions. Black limousines are usually in abundance at such events. Sports teams have modified their uniforms so they have black in their away colors as it is perceived to impart a psychological advantage to the wearer. In accounting being “in the black” means all one’s debts have been paid and a profit is being generated. Black is also the color of the universe as is easily seen by looking at the night sky. Scientists have determined the universe consists primarily of Dark Matter. This matter accounts for the gravitational pull in effect throughout the universe. MELANIN!!! What makes black people black? MELANIN!!! Melanin is the aromatic chemical which makes black people black. It comes in several colors including red, yellow, brown and black. That’s why black people come in all colors. Green symbolizes the enormous, abundant, natural wealth of our Motherland Africa. In every natural sense Africa is the most blessed. Africa is a continent where land, people, mineral and plant resources have always been in abundance. During the African Independence explosion and civil rights movement of the 1960s the RBG saw a resurgence of popularity. In addition to the RBG being used as a model for flags in countries gaining independence such as Kenya, Zambia, Sudan, Libya, Ghana and others it was used as a symbol for unity in the United States of America. Along with independence came the need to express a national identity. One expression of national identity occurred in Jamaica. This was accomplished through the naming of “National Heroes” the first of which was Marcus Garvey. Garvey’s enshrinement in Kingston’s National Heroes Park on November 15, 1964 drew worldwide attention to his widow, Amy Jacques Garvey. During the sixties she authored two books “Garvey and Garveyism” and “Black Power in America: The Power of the Human Spirit.” Garvey and Garveyism was originally published in 1963, going through at least four printings by 1978. In it she laid out what Marcus Garvey did for Jamaicans in particular and Africans the world over in general. In Black Power in America: The Power of the Human Spirit, she explored the idea of Black Power and its origins with the words, works and deeds of Marcus Garvey. Amy Jacques Garvey also wrote a pledge to the flag entitled “THIS FLAG OF MINE” “THIS FLAG OF MINE” by Amy Jacques Garvey Regardless of what is told of it, Here’s to this flag of mine The Red, Black and Green Hopes in its future bright Africa has seen. Here’s to the Red of it, Great nations shall know of it In time to come. Red blood shall flow of it, Historians shall write of it, Great flag of mine. Here’s to the Black of it Four hundred millions back of it, Whose destiny depends on it The RED, BLACK and GREEN of it, Oh, Flag of Mine. Here’s to the Green of it Young men shall dream of it, Face shot and shells of it Waving so high. Here’s to the whole of it Colors bright and pole of it Pleased is my soul with it Regardless of what is told of it, Thank God for giving it Great Flag of Mine. Jesse Jackson symbolically opened the Black Expo by tying a red, black and green ribbon to “tie ourselves closer together.” Jackson also referred to it as a “love knot.” 12,000 people attended the first African Liberation day all displaying the red, black and green. During the Jena 6 protests RBG flags were in abundance. George Augustus Stallings broke from the Catholic Church and started the Imani Temple African-American Catholic Congregation. It’s altar is covered in RBG cloth. Of course the Red, black and green made itself known during the development of Kwanzaa. The million man march was another event where the RBG was invoked as a symbol of unity. An experimental “black survival curriculum” for the development of African Americans in Newark, NJ had as one of it’s mainstays the displaying of the RBG in classrooms. Each day started with a salute to the flag. Dick Gregory ran in the 1973 Boston Marathon wearing a red, black and green tracksuit, the colors of Chicago’s Malcolm X University, which he represented. Lawrence In 1971 Lawrence Hamm, although only 17 years old, pushed through a resolution by the Newark School board requiring all schools where the student body was greater than 50 percent African American to display the RBG in its classrooms. Now you know the true history of the flag of all people of African ancestry. Rally round the Red, Black and green flag by displaying it in your home, school, office and car. Celebrate the Red, black and Green flag. Wear Red, black and Green, gather publicly worldwide and pledge allegiance to our flag, especially on August 13th of every year. Tell everyone the true history of OUR FLAG…the Red, Black and Green Displaying the Red, Black and Green celebrates the Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey, the Aims and Objectives of the UNIA, Africa’s coming redemption and a renewed African identity. Pride in our people and knowledge of our true history will grow…a history directly connected to the origin of the entire human race. The red, black and green flag conjures up images of Egypt better known as Kemet, Ethiopia and Timbuktu. Visions of the Ghana, Mali and Songhay empires spring to mind as well. Kerma, Napata and Meroe of the Nile valley in addition to The Great Zimbabwe include just a few of the great civilizations which the red, black and green flag inspires us to contemplate. We can rightfully boast to the whole world…all history, all culture, all thought originated in Africa and emanated outward. Awareness of Africa and our true destiny as African people will expand. We will deliberately and intentionally enter our rightful place in history, for as Dr. John Henrik Clarke still tells us “all history is a current event.”