Marcus Garvey

This essay Marcus Garvey has a total of 859 words and 4 pages.

Marcus Garvey

Historians familiar with Garvey's career generally regard him as the preeminent symbol of the
insurgent wave of black nationalism that developed in the period following World War I.
Although born in Jamaica, Garvey achieved his greatest success in the United States. He did so
despite the criticism of many African-American leaders and the covert opposition of the United
States Department of Justice and its Bureau of Investigation (forerunner of the FBI). As a young
man, Garvey had preached accommodation and disavowed political protest, advocating loyalty
to the established colonial government. His views, however, underwent a radical transformation
after he arrived in the United States in 1916. The emergence of the radical New Negro
movement, which supplied the cultural and political matrix of the celebrated Harlem
Renaissance, to a large extent paralleled Garvey and his post-World War I "African
Redemption" movement.

Garvey established the first American branch of the UNIA in 1917--1918 in the midst of the
mass migration of blacks from the Caribbean and the American South to cities of the North. It
was also a time of political awakening in Africa and the Caribbean, to which Garvey vigorously
encouraged the export of his movement. In the era of global black awakening following World
War I, Garvey emerged as the best known, the most controversial, and, for many, the most
attractive of a new generation of New Negro leaders. Representative Charles B. Rangel of
New York has noted that "Garvey was one of the first to say that instead of blackness being a
stigma, it should be a source of pride" (New York Times, 5 April 1987).

Black expectations aroused by participation in World War I were dashed by the racial violence
of the wartime and postwar years, and the disappointment evident in many black communities
throughout the U.S., Africa, and the Caribbean allowed Garvey to draw dozens of local leaders
to his side. Their ideas were not always strictly compatible with Garvey's, but their sympathy
with his themes of "African redemption" and black self-support was instrumental in gathering
support for the movement from a vast cross-section of African-American society. Similarly,
Garvey's message was
adopted by a broad cross-section of educated and semi-literate Africans and West Indians
hungry for alternatives to white rule and oppression.

The post--World War I years were thus a time when a growing number of Africans and West
Indians were ready

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