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Marcus Garvey: Look For Me in the Whirlwind












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Online Forum: Efforts of the Marcus Garvey Movement Beyond the United States
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From what I've read so far about Marcus Garvey on this website, one might mistakenly think that all his contributions to the world was cultivated in the United States. What of his efforts in the West Indies, Jamaica and other countries. Where is the documented history of his contributions made to the people and consciousness of this region?
Paul Boswell
Brampton

Answered by Barbara Bair.
"Marcus Garvey: Look for Me in the Whirlwind" did concentrate mainly on Garvey's influence and experience in the United States. Part of the meaning of the subtitle, for me, is Garvey's power as a visionary or prophet, and of Garveyism as a foretaste of black liberation struggles to come. The ongoing political impact of Garvey far transcends his personal life, and because of this, the Garvey movement to me--despite its internal foibles, compromises, and limitations, and especially despite the tragedy of the external repression directed against it--was not a failure, but a success.

The long-ranging impact of Garvey in the Caribbean and Africa are a good part of this success. Garvey transformed racial consciousness, and many of his philosophies of black sovereignty and anti-colonialism were later manifested in independence movements. What Garvey began was lived out in other generations.

On a specific level, Garvey had an active career after he was deported from the United States. Soon after his release from prison, he made an important organizing tour of Britain, France, Belgium, and Germany with Amy Jacques Garvey, and traveled to Geneva to renew the UNIA petition to the League of Nations. In 1928, he founded the People's Political Party in Jamaica and ran for public office under its auspices. The PPP was a radical reform party. It advocated greater self-government for Jamaica under British colonial rule. It advocated a minimum wage for working class Jamaicans, the promotion of locally owned industry, land reform, and other measures. Garvey also continued to speak and write, publishing the _Blackman_ newspaper in Jamaica, an evening newspaper called the _New Jamaican_, and later, in England, the _Black Man_ magazine. Garvey also launched a new UNIA enterprise, Edelweiss Park, which served as a community center and social and political gathering place for working class Jamaicans in Kingston.

Plays, concerts, elocution contests, dances and recitals performed there were important parts of Garveyism's cultural legacy. Garvey hosted UNIA conventions in Kingston and in Canada. And, as events led to large-scale economic Depression and into the hostilities of World War II, he took up residence in England. You can find good discussion of Garvey's impact in the Caribbean and internationally in the work of Rupert Lewis, including his biography of Garvey (_Marcus Garvey: Anti-Colonial Champion_) and his edited collections (produced with Patrick Bryan and Maureen Warner-Lewis).

Documentation of Garvey's career after he left the United States can be found in volume seven of _The Marcus Garvey and UNIA Papers,_ edited by Robert A. Hill and Barbara Bair. Documents about his far-ranging impact in Africa--including the UNIA organizing efforts in Liberia, Garvey's many speeches and writings about African affairs, the reception of Garveyism in various regions of Africa, and the political repression that Garveyism faced from European colonial powers--can be read in volume 9 of the Garvey Papers, for which Robert A. Hill serves as editor in chief. These works are listed in the Web site bibliography.

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