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Marcus Garvey: Look For Me in the Whirlwind

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Online Forum: Marcus Garvey and Africa
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Is it true that Mr. Garvey never set foot in Africa?

Answered by Barbara Bair:
It is true that Marcus Garvey never set foot on the continent of Africa. He was prevented from doing so by federal U.S. officials and British officials who would not grant him passport rights to travel to Africa because of their fears of his potential impact as what they termed a political "agitator." Garvey nevertheless had an enormous impact in Africa, especially in West Africa and in South Africa.

Despite his inability to travel there and the suppression of his Negro World newspaper, news about Garveyism spread and contributed to the developing anti-colonial movements of the 1920s. Africans educated in Britain were among those who were exposed to Garveyite ideas, and who brought Garvey's philosophies home with them when they returned to Africa. Many of these people were instrumental in the African independence movements that led to the very sovereignty of African nations that Garvey had long demanded in his lifetime.

Though Garvey never was able to go to Africa, representatives from African nations attended the annual UNIA conventions in New York. Delegations of UNIA experts traveled to West Africa as part of negotiations--which ultimately failed--to establish an ongoing UNIA presence in Liberia. And after Garvey's death, both his wives, Amy Ashwood and Amy Jacques, traveled separately to Africa and were lauded there.

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