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Marcus Garvey: Look For Me in the Whirlwind











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Primary Sources: Belief That Race Problem Will Adjust Itself A Fallacy

Belief That Race Problem Will Adjust Itself A Fallacy
by Marcus Garvey

Some of our leaders in the Negro race flatter themselves into believing that the problem of black and white in America will work itself out, and that all the Negro has to do is to be humble, submissive and obedient, and everything will work out well in the "Sweet bye and bye." But the keen student will observe this, -- that a terrible mistake was made between forty and fifty years ago when black men were elected to legislative assemblies all over the country, especially in the southern states and even at the National Capitol when representatives of this race occupied seats in Congress. The mistake was made as far as the white people were concerned. There was a state of dis-organization in the Nation, and in that state certain things happened by mere chance. In the chance, dozens of black men became Senators and Congressmen. This opened up to the eyes of the white nation the possibility of the black man governing the white man in these United States of America -- the possibility of the black man making laws to govern the white man? This possibility drove them almost to madness, in suddenly rejecting the spirit of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence of Lincoln that "all men are created equal," hence a determination was arrived at, that never again would it be possible for the race of slaves to govern the race of masters within these United States of America.

Some of us believe that this slave race of ours will live in the United States of America and in the future again become law makers for the white race (our slave masters of sixty years ago). Nothing of the kind has happened in all human history. There is not one instance where a slave race living in the same country (within the same bounds as the race of masters that enslaved them and being in numbers less than the race of masters) has ever yet ruled and governed the masters. It has never been so in history, and it will never be so in the future. The hidden spirit of America is determined that it shall never be, caring not what hopes and promises we get.

But history has recorded where a race of slaves through evolution, through progress, has risen to the heights where they ruled and dominated those who once enslaved them, but that race of slaves has always had to betake itself to other habitats (usually their own native land) and there, apart from those who once enslaved them, developed a power of their own, a strength of their own, and in the higher development of that strength, and of that power, they, like others, have made conquests, who once enslaved them. So for us to encourage the idea that one day Negroes will rise to the highest in the administration of this white government, is only encouraging a vain hope.

The only wise thing for us as ambitious Negroes to do, is to organize the world over, and build up for the race a mighty nation of our own in Africa. And this race of ours that cannot get recognition and respect in the country where we were slaves, by using our own ability, power and genius, would develop for ourselves in another country in our habitat a nation of our own, and be able to send back from that country,--from that native habitat -- to the country where we were once enslaved, representatives of our race, that would get as much respect as any other ambassadors from any other race or nation.

Excerpt from Amy Jacques-Garvey, ed. Philosophy & Opinions of Marcus Garvey. New York: Athenaeum, 1969.



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