Marcus Garvey (Early years)

Marcus Garvey (Early years)

Screen Shot 2017-04-30 at 21.17.55(17 August 1887 – 10th June 1940)

Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jr. is known to a lot of people as one of the founders of Pan Africanism. He was born in St. Ann’s Bay Jamaica as the youngest of 11 children, 9 of which did not survive to adulthood. He started experiencing racism in his primary school in Jamaica. In 1910 he started travelling through Central America and he stopped in Costa Rica, where he worked for a daily newspaper for a couple of months.

In 1912, he left Jamaica for Birkbeck College in London to study law and philosophy. He was inspired by Duse Mohamed Ali the publisher of African Times and Orient Review paper he worked for in London. Booker T Washington and other Pan Africanists. He lived in London for 2 years.

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In 1914 he returned to Jamaica and started the United Negro Improvement Association. He chose this name because he felt like it embraced the purpose of all black humanity. This name came to him after he learned of the horrors black people faced in Africa. Throughout his life the UNIA helped black people all over the world to receive a quality education.

In 1916 he arrived in America on board the SS Tallac, after communicating with Booker T Washington. He met with other black leaders in around America. In May 1917 him and 13 others founded a branch of the UNIA in America. He condemned the St. Louis riot that broke out in the summer of that year. He spoke on the fact that America claims to support democracy and still victimize black people. He said in a speech he delivered in Harlem “a time to lift one’s voice against the savagery of a people who claim to be dispensers of democracy”.

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In June 1919 the UNIA set up it’s first business and incorporated the Black Star line in Delaware. Marcus Garvey was the president and he acquired the first ship he named SS Frederick Douglas in September 1919. The ship was to aid transport of goods and African Americans throughout the African global economy. This black star line formed a winery and the sales of its stocks were about $600,000 (close to $9,000,000 today). This attracted the attention of many, both admirers and enemies. After this the Black Star line started developing problems some people claim to be from poor book keeping and money mismanagement. Soon after the District Attorneys office of New York began monitoring him.

Marcus Garvey planned to develop a chain of businesses (e.g restaurants and grocery chains) in Central America, West Indies and Africa. He loved Liberia because it was a colony of free blacks from the United States. He wanted to further develop the country, so he launched a program in 1920 to build universities, railroads and industrial plants. European powers interested in Liberia stopped this from happening.

He got married and 1919 and divorced within 4 months. He got married again in 1922 to Amy Jacques Garvey and had 2 sons together.


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