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In an often-overlooked speech given in 1937 in Nova Scotia, Canada, Marcus Garvey admonished his audience that real freedom was possible only when the Negro race freed itself from the bondage of mental slavery. 

Said Garvey: “We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind. Mind is your only ruler, sovereign. The man who is not able to develop and use his mind is bound to be the slave of the other man who uses his mind…”   

Garvey was challenging his audience, as he was to do throughout his lifetime, to examine the concept that unless Black people liberated themselves to a vision of wider possibilities, then they would always be subject to the idiosyncrasies of others. Garvey’s message was later set to music, and immortalized through the genius of Bob Marley in his world-famous anthem Redemption Song.  

Garvey was born in humble circumstances in the Parish of St. Ann, Jamaica in 1887. Eventually settling in Harlem, New York, Garvey’s bold initiatives covered a wide spectrum that included publishing, developing the framework for his economic venture, the Black Star Line Shipping Company, and founding the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in 1914. 

Membership in the UNIA was estimated at between six and eleven million people. Such was Garvey’s broad appeal that the UNIA had over 850 branches throughout the world, including the Caribbean. Garvey’s appeal influenced a wide cross-section of African leaders, including Jomo Kenyatta and Kwame Nkrumah, as well as other leaders such as Elijah Mohammed, Malcolm X, and Louis Farrakhan. 

Garvey won international acclaim due to his passionate belief in black pride, unity, and a common destiny of the Black race. Garvey’s message, powerful and impactful, found popular reception even in the disparate places where Blacks were found. His wide following, however, engendered hostile reactions from a world that could not envision the freedom of Black people.

In 1927, Garvey was deported from the United States on trumped-up charges of mail fraud.  Despite this, he attracted wide support upon his return to his native Jamaica. He entered politics, founded Jamaica’s first political party, The People’s Political Party, and won election as a Councillor in the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation.  

Following an unexpected electoral defeat in Jamaica, Garvey died in England in 1940, broken-hearted by a sense of betrayal by his own people. There is no question of his powerful legacy of self-reliance, black pride, and universal black unity; that legacy remains unmatched. In 1964, Jamaica named Marcus Garvey as her first National Hero.

For his force of impact and his compelling legacy of lasting possibilities for his race, we – the “Woke” generation – honor Marcus Garvey as a prophet among his people – a prophet whose message appealed to international brotherhood and solidarity, with no one race superior to another, and all living together in peace and unity.

Today we join hands to make that clarion call for the exoneration of Marcus Garvey; real justice demands no less. The time is now, as there is no better time to do right than the present. Together we can; yes, we can!

Remember Garvey’s powerful words: “Up you mighty race! You can accomplish what you will.”

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Comment by Jeffrey L Donovan on February 20, 2022 at 7:18am

When I went to America, I was expecting to be embaced by the Black American, instread, I got hostility, and was called all kind of degrating names from many of them. Could not believe after seeing Black in American walking around with the Black Power sign and addressing one another as Brother and sister, that the reception would have been so negative. Having to endure things like Go back to Africa where you wore a string between your legs and eat with your hands, was very shocking. Over time I realize that Black Hate was Malignant. However, I should not have been so surprised because we here in the Caribbean and those across the African Continent are also suffering from ABI Nuerosis (Acceptance of Black Inferiority. We continue to brutalize and kill each, sometimes by the dozens in one weekend. Marcus Garvey was right on point, and we cannot expect other people to love us when we constantly demonstrate that we hate ourselves.

Comment by John Smith on February 18, 2022 at 12:10am

Went back to ages!!

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Comment by stephen myers on February 17, 2022 at 7:03pm

Jim Jones proved slaves will be slaves, gangs bangers prove self hate, all the great ones were betrayed and killed by other Black people. Tribal division still exist to this very day, what a cursed race, in the end most sell out to whites, they give them white women to pacify their Black power farts, and the white man gets all the fine women while you get the butt ugly Black women to breed with to down breed thugs and hood rats, I think most are breast fed by donkey milk they produce in labs along with the baby food that is laced with chemicals to destroy the brain cells, no way a race is stuck on stupid this long in history while other races advance, but wait, you don’t see these other races on talk shows with whites, go figure what integration has done.

Comment by Lu on February 16, 2022 at 12:49pm

It does not take much for people of color to turn on each other for crumbs. MENTAL SLAVERY IS OUR DOWNFALL 4EVER MORE. 

COONS WILL NEVER GET IT.

SELAH

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