In His Own Words
Marcus Garvey came to the United States penniless in 1916. In just eleven years, he built the first large black nationalist movement the country had seen. Famed as a public speaker, idealized as a leader, and notorious to some for his separatist and inflammatory beliefs, Garvey's impact was undeniable.
Hear the narrated words of Marcus Garvey on his organization, the Universal Negro Improvement Association; his Black Star Line venture into commercial shipping; and his 1925 arrest.
Universal Negro Improvement Association
"We have no animus against the white man. All that we have as a race desired is a place in the sun... If sixty million Anglo-Saxons can have a place in the sun,... if sixty million Japanese can have a place in the sun, if seven million Belgians can have a place in the sun, I cannot see why... four-hundred-million black folks cannot... If you believe that Africa should be one vast empire, controlled by the Negro, then arise...
For four and a half years the Universal Negro Improvement Association has been advocating the cause of Africa for the Africans- that is, that the Negro peoples of the world should concentrate upon... building up... a great nation in Africa.
When we started our propaganda toward this end several of the so-called intellectual Negroes who have been bamboozling the race for over half a century said that we were crazy, that the Negro peoples of the western world... could not live in Africa.
I trust that the Negro peoples of the world are now convinced that the work of the Universal Negro Improvement Association is not a visionary one, but very practical... Now that the work of our organization has started to bear fruit, we find that some of these "doubting Thomases" of three and four years ago are endeavoring to mix themselves up with the popular idea of rehabilitating Africa in the interest of the Negro.
It is only a question of a few more years when Africa will be completely colonized by Negroes, as Europe is by the white race."
Source: A Place in the Sun
Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers, Volume II, August 1919 - 31 August 1920.
Source: Africa for the Africans
Negro World, April 22, 1922
The Black Star Line
"We black folks believe so much in the omnipotence of the white man that we actually gave in all hope and resigned ourselves to the positions of slaves and serfs for nearly five hundred years. But, thank God, a new day has dawned and all black men of the twentieth century see themselves the equal of all men.
"Oh! ye of little faith". The Eternal has happened. The Negro incorporated a steamship enterprise by the name of the the Black Star Line; he placed $500,000 of common stock on the market at $5 a share, and in ten weeks he sold so many shares to his own people that he was able... to take over the first steamship ever owned by the race in modern times.
The temporary ruin of the Black Star Line in no way affected the larger work of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, which now has 900 branches with an approximate membership of six million. This organization has succeeded in organizing the negroes all over the world and we now look forward to a renaissance that will create a new people and bring about the restoration of Ethiopia's ancient glory."
Source: Negroes of the World, The Eternal Has Happened
Negro World, December 6, 1919 [editorial letter by Marcus Garvey]
Source: The Negro's Greatest Enemy
"The Negro's Greatest Enemy," Current History, September, 1923
"I want you, the black peoples of the world, to know that W.E.B. Du Bois and that vicious Negro-hating organization known as the Association for the Advancement of "Colored" People are the greatest enemies the black people have in the world... .[B]e warned... Don't allow them to fool you with fine sounding press releases, speeches and books; they are the vipers who have planned with others the extinction of the "black" race.
My work is just begun, and when the history of my suffering is complete, then future generations of Negroes will have in their hands the guide by which they shall know the "sins" of the twentieth century.
With God's dearest blessings, I leave you for awhile."
Source: "Look for Me in the Whirlwind"
Message from Atlanta Prison, February 10, 1925