Best of The Beat August 17, 2017
Best of The Beat on Afropop: 130 Years of Marcus Garvey

Today, Aug. 17, we commemorate the 130th anniversary of the birth of Marcus Garvey with a reprint from a very special issue of The Beat in 1987, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his birth. Compiled by contributing editor Sister Morri, the feature is a selection of documents and artifacts compiled from the research of prominent Garvey scholar Dr. Robert Hill’s Marcus Garvey and UNIA Papers project, a 10-volume history of Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association of the 1920s-‘30s.

Marcus Garvey has inspired every major black movement of the 20th century, both in Africa and the Americas. Followers of Garvey's ideology include Hon. Elijah Muhammad, Minister Louis Farrakhan, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. Also leaders of African independent states such as presidents Nnamdi Azikiwe, Kwame Nkrumah, Jomo Kenyatta, Nelson Mandela, Patrice Lumumba and Julius Nyerere. (

Also among Garvey’s followers was Leonard Howell, founder of the Rastafarian faith and culture, who himself became a member of the UNIA.

Garvey’s tireless advocacy laid the groundwork for Black Power and the civil rights movement, the Back to Africa movement and Pan-Africanism, and inspired hundreds of reggae songs advocating returning to the Motherland. Despite controversy and persecution, Garvey worked relentlessly for equal rights, freedom and justice for his race. He died in 1940. Five years later, just 22 miles from his birthplace of Ann’s Bay, Jamaica, Robert Nesta Marley was born in the mountain village of Nine Mile. Marley was to carry the mantle of Marcus Garvey with songs of liberation and redemption during his lifetime, and continues to provide courage and hope to countless people all over the world to this day.

Look for me in the whirlwind or the storm, look for me all around you, for, with God's grace, I shall come and bring with me countless millions of black slaves who have died in America and the West Indies and the millions in Africa to aid you in the fight for Liberty, Freedom and Life. —Marcus Garvey

Compiled here you will find:
"Excerpt from First Message to the Negroes of the World from Atlanta Prison, Feb. 10, 1925"

Amy Jacques Garvey, “A Note on the Evolution of Garveyism” (1972)

Excerpt from a speech at Bethel Church, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. (The Blackman magazine, Oct. 1937)

Excerpt from a speech delivered at Liberty Hall, New York City, during the Second International Convention of Negroes, August 1921,
"The Call to Africa," editorial. (The Blackman newspaper, May 15, 1920)


More about Marcus Garvey from "Best of The Beat on Afropop"

Dem Talk About Marcus Garvey: The Rootsman Meets the Professor

From Marcus to Marley: Prophecy and Reggae Music


Afropop Continue to