American Series Introduction
Volume I: 1826--August 1919
Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) form an important link in the historical struggle of black Americans for freedom, justice, and equality. This struggle has encompassed a wide range of popular movements that, in turn, have established a distinctive tradition of black thought and action within American history. The shifting course of this struggle has brought both hope and despair to black Americans, especially when they have undertaken independent efforts to achieve self-emancipation. This independence was particularly evident in the struggle spearheaded by Marcus Garvey and the UNIA in America, when unprecedented numbers of black Americans sought to define a dignified existence outside the dominant power of white American society.
The result has been a unique moral and political discourse through which black Americans have articulated a profound racial consciousness. Indeed, in the African Diaspora and in Africa itself, the discourse of social and political protest has borrowed significantly from the idiom of freedom forged by the black American. Similarly, with each wave of black movement in America, a strategic identification with Africa has reaffirmed the cultural bonds and has broadened the historical meaning of black freedom.
Marcus Garvey and the UNIA present a sizable enigma, however, in the history of those manifold black movements. Over sixty years have passed since Garvey and the UNIA came to America and shortly thereafter confronted a startled world, but the questions that they posed have remained only imperfectly understood. Garvey himself in his latter days was struck by the force of the enigma. This is particularly reflected in his efforts to find an explanation for the UNIA's meteoric rise and its decline:
The Universal Negro Improvement Association was the greatest and strongest movement ever started among Negroes. In a comparatively short time this organization enrolled more members throughout the world than almost all other Negro Organizations put together. Thousands of Branches were established, and by indications it would have seemed almost impossible for such a movement to wane, but the unexpected happened. The movement did wane, and the wild enthusiasm of its millions of members cooled down, and in some instances to indifference. One would wonder at the cause of this.
It becomes essential, therefore, to attempt to elucidate the development of Garvey and the UNIA. Nevertheless, it is not the purpose of the present introduction to detail the myriad functions of the UNIA throughout the over nine hundred divisions and chapters that operated in the United States, Canada, the British Isles, Africa, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Nor does it attempt to review every controversy in which Garvey and the UNIA became embroiled. All that it is possible to attempt within the limits of an introduction is an overview that will clarify the underlying stance of Garvey and the UNIA in relation to their historical context.
Foundations of Garveyism
At the simplest level, Marcus Garvey and the UNIA symbolize the historic encounter between two highly developed socioeconomic and political traditions: the social consciousness and drive for self governance of the Caribbean peasantry and the racial consciousness and search for justice of the Afro-American community. The dominant social consciousness of the Caribbean was the special creation and possession of a fiercely proud and independent peasantry. As the black majority, their real achievement throughout the post-emancipation period was the development of a dynamic and expanding peasant economy that, in some places, even challenged the dominance of the plantation system. By 1860, the former slaves in Jamaica were thus able to forge themselves, in the words of Thomas Witter Jackson, into "an independent people notwithstanding their humble position."
Garvey came to America endowed with this Caribbean ideology. His early views had been shaped by the nexus within the peasant economy of Jamaica, in which independent peasant cultivators and artisans played an important role. Garvey's father was an artisan of some repute, a bricklayer in the rural town of St. Ann's Bay, Jamaica. His mother's family were small farmers. The rural integration of artisan and peasant groups frequently occurred at the level of the extended family, which provided much of the labor force in agriculture. At a political rally in Kingston in September 1929, Garvey described his own early connection with the economy of peasant production through his relationship with his maternal uncle, Joseph Richards:
He worked and planted out 25 acres of land in canes, ground provisions and every imaginable agricultural produce you can think of in Jamaica. He had one farm that brought him an income of about £100 per year. He had up to his mule sending his bananas to market on Mondays, and he was expanding and he was intelligent and he was able to educate me because my father would not do it. I helped to keep his books and so at the week end I got a commission of 13/-- for selling bananas, some of which I got honestly and some I stole [laughter].
As a printer trained by his godfather in St. Ann's Bay, Garvey belonged to the artisan elite, but he always honored his peasant roots in post-emancipation Jamaican society. His choice of 1 August, the anniversary of slave emancipation in the British West Indian colonies, as the annual date for the holding of the UNIA conventions, is significant.
Racial caste oppression in the United States bequeathed to the African-American community a different legacy. Garvey always acknowledged this difference, declaring the "difficulty about the West Indies [to be] that the Negroes there haven't the racial consciousness possessed by the Negroes of the United States nor those of Africa." The paradoxical source of a strongly motivated and highly developed racial consciousness did not escape his notice:
The American Negroes are the best organized and the most conscious of all the Negroes in the world. They have become so because of their peculiar position. They live in very close contact with organized racial prejudice, and this very prejudice forces them to a rare consciousness that they would not have had otherwise.
Garvey's failure to make headway with the UNIA in Jamaica, which was what impelled him to visit the United States in 1916, could be attributed to the absence of a clear-cut racial consciousness in Jamaica. One of his early Jamaican benefactors, R. W. Bryant, confirmed the reality of Garvey's early failure: "Marcus Garvey had . . . an uphill fight in Jamaica. He did not meet with the success he was hoping for." Garvey's assessment was that in 1916, Jamaicans "were not sufficiently racially conscious to appreciate a racial movement because they lived under a common system of sociological hypocrisy that deprived them of that very racial consciousness." Conversely, he felt that the American Negro would respond to his calls to racial action because in the United States, "the Negro was forced to a consciousness of his racial responsibility."
In America, the climate of opinion amply confirmed Garvey's estimate. A Washington Bee editorial of July 1918, entitled "A Moses Needed," stands as an important prolegomenon foreshadowing the role of prophet that Garvey would ultimately attain: "The colored race is greatly in need of a Moses---one that is not hand-picked or controlled by the blandishments of official environment---a man of the people and designated by the people." The time was thus ripe for the convergence of the contrasting traditions of racial and social consciousness that the program and ethos of the UNIA would comprise. The appearance of Garvey and the UNIA on the American scene would help to precipitate a new era of militant black leadership and would, indeed, answer the contemporary call for a "black Moses." To the powerful racial consciousness of African-American nationality, Garvey and the UNIA would join a Caribbean consciousness of popular sovereignty and an intense preoccupation with the structure of the state. Writing to the Negro World, (12 February 1921) from Chicago, J. Arthur Davis made the following assessment of Garvey: "This leader from the West Indies, the freedom of whose people antedates that of the American Negro and who are better schooled in the science of government and the arts and devices of Caucasian domination, henceforth will be our foremost American." When observers at a later stage commented that the UNIA constituted, in fact, a black government in exile, they were testifying to the successful imbrication of the two traditions that constituted the framework of Garveyism.
Garvey as the Self-Made Man
When Garvey arrived in America, not only did he enter "a country of self-made men," to quote Calvin Colton (Junius Tracts, 1844), but he came to Harlem, the emerging capital of black success in America, which had superseded such traditional centers of black achievement as Philadelphia, Atlanta, Durham, North Carolina, and Washington, D.C. Garvey's meteoric rise to fame and international prominence was simultaneous with Harlem's attainment of recognition as the political and cultural capital of the "new Negro." Going forth from this heightened atmosphere of racial optimism and enterprise, Garvey preached a doctrine of racial success and political achievement. Moving beyond his earlier failure in Jamaica, Garvey geared himself for success, admitting in 1919, "the world has laughed at me, but I am going to strike a blow." An ever-present anxiety over failure and a compensatory insistence on measurable success would remain constant underlying Garvey's radically shifting policies and political methods. Garvey's single-minded preoccupation with achieving success at all costs would give him decisiveness and would contribute to his significant ability as a propagandist by allowing him to seize every opportunity, no matter how superficial, to advance his cause. However, while this decisiveness was his great strength as a leader, it also proved to be the cause of his many costly misadventures.
Garvey drew parables from his own life for the moral and intellectual instruction of his followers: "I am trying to make everyone a Marcus Garvey personified," he stated in 1937, and, in truth, he always presented himself as the prototypical self-made man. Holding his life up as a mirror before his public, Garvey carried this message to listeners in the West Indies in 1937. In Montserrat he announced, "I came from a surrounding not better than many of you, but my mind lifted me out of my surroundings." In St. Kitts he told his audience, "If you know the world you know that the greatest men had humble beginnings." Looking back on his crowded life in 1934, Garvey tried to draw out its defining quality:
I was born in the country town of St. Ann's Bay. . . . And in my tender years I went to . . . [my father's] books and I gathered inspiration, and what inspiration I gathered, changed my outlook from the ambition of wanting to be a wharf-man or a cow-boy, and made me look forward to being a personality in the world. Nobody helped me toward that objective except my own mind and God's good will, and during 44 years of struggle I brought myself from the possibility of a cow-boy to a man who is known in many continents."
Garvey's essential proposition for his black readers and audiences was always the same: success as the basis of equality and recognition. Speaking before a Liberty Hall audience on 11 July 1920, Garvey again referred to his own youthful experience:
I can recall having read and studied in the same class room with white boys, but up to now none of them has made a better success in life than I have on their own initiative. Hence, I come to the conclusion that I am as good as any white man.
Garveyism as the Religion of Success
As the evangel of the gospel of black success, Garvey's program of racial self-determination conceptualized and instituted an important political variation on the white norm of success. "I have been trying to lift men out of themselves," he declared, calling upon his racial compatriots with his famous injunction: "Look Up, You Mighty Race."
The success ideal was central to Garvey's racial perspective, and the ideology of the American cult of success exerted a profound influence on the evolution of his program for racial independence. Furthermore, Garvey's guiding philosophy was entirely in accord with the long-standing African-American struggle to succeed despite white opposition. This identity of aim might explain in part the immediacy with which black Americans gravitated toward the program of the UNIA. In 1944, Gunnar Myrdal, in his classic An American Dilemma (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1964), made special note of the fact that the "vicarious satisfaction [taken] in the present-day achievements of individual Negroes" was important, since according to him, its effect was to "help build up a 'tradition of success,' the lack of which has helped to keep Negroes down in the past" (p. 755). This "tradition of success" went back much further, however, as attested by the fact that the home reading libraries of many black Americans from the turn of the century onward included a significant number of success manuals produced by black authors (e.g., James T. Haley, comp., Sparkling Gems of Race Knowledge Worth Reading [Nashville: J. T. Haley & Co., 1897]; I. Garland Penn et al., Afro-American Home Manual and Practical Self-Educator, Showing What to Do and How to Do It; Being a Complete Guide to Success in Life [Philadelphia: National Publishing Co., 1902]; G. P. Hamilton, Beacon Lights of the Race [Memphis: E. H. Clarke & Bro., 1911]; and Joseph R. Gay, Progress and Achievements of the Twentieth Century Negro. . . . A Handbook for Self-Improvement Which Leads to Greater Success [n.p.: 1913]).
Finally, what Merle Curti has termed "the cult of getting ahead through one's own efforts" was the doctrine retailed by Garvey in frequent exhortations, such as his Negro World editorial headline of 1 October 1921:
Negro Must Climb in the Achievement of Higher Things---Race Must Conquer the Alps of Oppression---There Should be a Will Not to Surrender---Negro Should Feel Himself a Sovereign Human Being---Man Should Harness the Elements and Nature and Use Them to His Will.
In an editorial in the Negro World of 11 October 1919, William Ferris underscored the radical significance of Garvey's translation of the doctrine of business success into a new belief in emancipation for black Americans:
What we want is another Emancipator who will tell the Negro youth, "You can succeed in big business just as you have succeeded along other lines of intellectual and mechanical endeavor, if you study business as you study the other subjects and trades and learn the detail necessary to success. You can even sail the high seas and run a steamship line . . ."
In his promotional pamphlets and speeches, Garvey not only quoted at length from Elbert Hubbard, American author of the popular and influential success manuals A Message to Garcia (1899) and Health and Wealth (1908), but he recommended a degree of discipleship: "Get a copy of [Hubbard's] Scrap Book. Ask any publisher in your town to get it for you. It contains invaluable inspiration." In 1922, a Negro Factories Corporation advertisement for shares declared that "Enthusiasm Is One of the Big Keys to Success," averring that "from the time Marcus Garvey was twenty, he held an enthusiastic vision of great accomplishment for himself and his race." In a 1925 editorial entitled "The Person Who Succeeds," veteran black journalist and later editor of the Negro World T. Thomas Fortune wrote, "in his front page article in The Negro World last week, President-General Marcus Garvey talks about success. . . . Is this not a splendid picture to frame in the mind and shape the conduct by? We think so." Garvey's inspirational maxims appeared regularly on the cover of each issue of Black Man, his last journal, edited in Jamaica and later in England, reinforcing the mind-power credo of the success cult: "Be a Man by Doing the Deeds of Men" (BM, 1 December 1933); "Blackman! What Is in Thy Bosom? Pluck It Out---Is It Genius? Is It Talent for Something? Let's Have It!" (BM, 1 February 1934). His poems were couched in the same idiom: "Go and Win" (BM, 1 December 1933); "Find Yourself" (BM, 1 February 1934); "Be King of Circumstances" (BM, 1 October 1935). In like fashion, a front-page article in Garvey's Blackman newspaper in Jamaica declared in the headline:
Let Us Give off Success and It Will Come
As Man Thinks So Is He
Popular response to Garvey's success myth enabled his racial ideal to become transformed into a militant eschatology of racial redemption. A surviving fragment from an unidentified black Philadelphia magazine proclaims:
Ride on, Marcus Garvey. You haven't begun to spend till you have spent billions of dollars and millions of lives. Ride on, Marcus Garvey. Thinking men and women are with you. Let the Black Horse ride and hold the balances high that the world may see justice for all mankind. If billions must be spent to hold the balances high, spend God's billions and call for millions more.
In this perspective, white society was thus seen as vanquished by the triumphant and avenging black prophet of a millennium of racial success. Such beliefs, held by numerous black adherents and sympathizers, created a constant counterpoint to Garvey's shaping ideas and ultimately invested Garvey himself with a transcendent mythic meaning. In consequence, an important feature of Garvey's broader legacy has been its continuing influence at a fundamental level of folk consciousness. This folk legacy augments the legacy of influence used by cultural and political activists at various stages throughout the Pan-African movement.
Radical millennial sects, such as the Black Muslims in America and the Rastafarians in Jamaica, have provided the principal expression in the folk idiom of the retention of Garveyism. In essence, Garvey's inspirational message of success had an effect tantamount to religious conversion upon many of his followers. A UNIA devotee in Panama informed the Negro World in December 1921: "We people down this way regard your movement as a religion." Even so, Garvey outspokenly declared himself to be not religious in the traditional sense and repeatedly defined his concerns as secular. In closing the second UNIA convention (1921), he asserted that "we are living in a material world, even though it is partly spiritual, and since we have been very spiritual in the past, we are going to take a part of the material now, and will give others the opportunity to practice the spiritual side of life."
Garvey's position was, indeed, problematic for many black religionists who were otherwise sympathetic. Robert Athlyi Rogers, founder of "The Afro-Athlican Constructive Gaathly" and author of The Holy Piby (Woodbridge, N.J.: Athlican Strong Arm Co., 1924), articulated his doctrine of Ethiopian divinity in part by assigning to Garvey the leading role among the three prophets of "the redemption of Ethiopia and her suffering posterities." Rogers was forced to acknowledge Garvey's clear lack of piety. He could not conceal his dilemma, but he divested himself of the burden of its resolution by placing the issue (and Garvey) outside the realm of mortal controversy:In the year of 1921 Garvey spake, saying: I have no time to teach religion.
Because of this saying Athlyi took up his pen and was about to declare him not an apostle of the twentieth century.
And it came to pass that the word of the Lord came to Athlyi saying, blame not this man, for I the Lord God, hath sent him to prepare the minds of Ethiopia's generations, verily he shall straighten up upon the map [of life].
[The Holy Piby, p. 23]
Throughout his life Garvey remained impatient with what he saw as the piety of traditional black religion and with anything else that he felt might interfere with the pursuit of worldly personal success. In a 1937 article, significantly entitled "The Cold Truth," Garvey urged blacks "to argue their way out to success" by recognizing that "with all its religion and its philosophy, the most potent factor of the world's civilization is its austere materialism, through which races and individuals see themselves enthroned, guaranteed and protected by the strength of their own practical achievements, in politics, in industry, in commerce, in education, and in the general field of economics."
In view of Garvey's explicit stance, it would be wrong to assume that his fundamentalist followers simply failed to grasp the secular basis of his doctrine of racial success. Actually, their traditional religious fervor was converted into a new spiritual inspiration through Garvey's advocacy of the metaphysic of success. When Garvey declared that "there are people who would not think of their success but for the inspiration they receive from the U.N.I.A.," he recognized that his followers had eminently practical reasons for supporting the UNIA. The fact that their reasons were frequently cloaked in the mystique of traditional religious inspiration should not obscure the pragmatism of their actions. The UNIA rank and file essentially experienced Garvey's teachings on two distinct levels, the one mundane, the other mystical. In this context, what Garvey taught can be reconciled with what his followers actually chose to believe. This merger of realism and faith pervaded all aspects of the Garvey movement and was given frequent, vivid testimony. At the 1926 UNIA convention, for example, the secretary-general presented the following resolution:
Everything points to the star of hope, born 38 years ago, and which came upon our horizon in 1918. In him we behold our one destiny, outlined and emerged into a program, comprehensive, all-inclusive, and sane. It goes without saying, that Marcus Garvey, this star of hope, has given to the black peoples of the world new life, desire, and ambition.
This resolution followed the collapse of the Black Star Line Steamship Company and Garvey's imprisonment for mail fraud in 1925. The Black Star Line represented perhaps the most ambitious of Garvey's efforts to channel his success gospel and the fervor of his followers into racially oriented commercial ventures, even though the Black Star Line proved to be a financial disaster, with the total operational deficit on its three vessels estimated at $476,169.58. Garvey's constant faith in what he termed "the possibility of achieving success and glory," particularly through the stock promotions of his shipping and investment schemes, was, in fact, symptomatic of more than racial nationalism or the disturbed conditions of postwar racial strife.
Garvey was not the first black figure with an imaginative shipping scheme as part of a program of African return. The idea dates back to Paul Cuffee in the early nineteenth century. In 1918 and 1919, the first man to announce plans for launching such a program was not Garvey but an itinerant East African known as Prince U. Kaba Rega, who had smuggled his way from Canada to the United States in 1916.
The "prince" claimed to have been born in Unyoro, Uganda, on 18 July 1876. A United States Bureau of Investigation informant described him in August 1920 as "nothing more nor less than a negro agitator attempting to stir up trouble among the negroes of this country and the south in particular, exhorting them to radical actions on account of the lynchings, and also exhorting them that they have no flag." But Prince Kaba Rega devoted most of his time and effort to preaching the religion of African missions in America on behalf of the body he founded, known variously as the African Interland Missionary Society or the Ethiopian Interland Interdenominational Missionary Society. Its American headquarters was in New Orleans, and its African headquarters was listed as "Unyoro, British East Africa," no doubt a reference to Bunyoro in Uganda. Prince Kaba Rega communicated his desire to organize an African return in a letter dated 23 April 1918 to the principal of Tuskegee Institute, R. R. Moton. The prince mentioned having spent the last three years "appeal[ing] to the people of my race." He wrote Moton of his plans:
I have plans by which means I will be able to raise a great deal of money from my race for shipping facilities providing that the Government of the United States will grant me the privilege of demonstrating the possibilities and opportunities of the resources of Liberia to my people. I believe within a short time, I can raise money enough from my people for the purchasing of a steam ship for the usage of this Government and to the credit of my race.
This letter is dated a full year before Garvey's formal announcement in April 1919 of his plan for establishing the Black Star Line. Because he did not, however, articulate possible stock investment plans and because he had no access to a propaganda organ along the lines of Garvey's Negro World, it is understandable that Kaba Rega's plan would fail.
The frenzy of economic speculation that swept the United States after World War I provided the psychological context that goes far toward explaining why Garvey couched the proposal of the Black Star Line in the manner that he did. In the words of W. P. G. Harding, this was "a time of fatuous optimism and of reckless extravagance, a period of expansion, speculation, extravagance, the like of which has never before been seen in this country or perhaps in the world" (The Formative Period of the Federal Reserve System [Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1925], pp. 163, 297--298). The speculative mania that fueled this postwar economic revival reached such fantastic proportions between April 1919, the month when Garvey launched the Black Star Line stock promotion, and the early summer of 1920 as to threaten the credit structure of the United States, causing Treasury Secretary Carter Glass to state in his annual report for fiscal 1919: "All sense of values seems to have departed from among us" (quoted in Joseph S. Davis, The World Between the Wars, 1919--1939: An Economist's View [Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1975], p. 85).
Black Americans were by no means immune to the speculative fever of the postwar economic boom. The outbreak of a parallel mania of speculation in the black community was disclosed by Charles E. Hall of the Department of Labor, writing in November 1919 in response to an inquiry from National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) assistant secretary Walter F. White. While Hall's standpoint was negative, his statement nonetheless conveys something of the speculative quality that characterized an important aspect of the racial activism of blacks in the immediate postwar period:
They [blacks] are being "welfared" to death. Every little grafter and graftee, every pseudo sociologist and every hypocritical preacher, every angel and every gambler, every orator and every shyster, every good natured simpleton and every sycophant, every bully and every weak-brained pretentious fool and every highwayman and liar are working overtime with an alleged welfare scheme to help (?) the "man and brother."
At the time of the first UNIA convention in August 1920, the idea of the speculative stock mania was picked up by the New York Age and applied to the proceedings. The newspaper commented in its editorial of 14 August that "the persistent appeal for subscriptions gives the whole meeting the appearance of a gigantic stock jobbing scheme, put forth under the guise of racial improvement."
In 1921, Hodge Kirnon ventured to analyze the source of popular motivation that accounted for the fantastic pace at which the UNIA's various stock promotion schemes were propelled. Kirnon observed that "the enterprising investors supported [the Black Star Line] largely on the basis of the extraordinary remunerations which were promised in a very limited time." Within little more than two and a half years (July 1919 to February 1922), the Black Star Line was to sell approximately 153,026 shares of stock. At $5 per share, the total invested was nearly $765,130, a sum subscribed by approximately 35,000 individual stockholders, according to the estimate of the government auditors.
Despite the failure of the Black Star Line steamship line as well as the other commercial undertakings, Garvey's translation of the enthusiasm of traditional black religion into the new metaphysic of success remains a seminal accomplishment. "So far as I can see the movement has ceased to be simply a nationalist movement," reported a Bureau of Investigation confidential informant in August 1920; accordingly, the agent claimed, "among the followers it is like a religion," with Garvey "looked upon as a black Moses." In retrospect, it is not surprising to find that Garvey characterized his career as "20 years of inspirational agitation."
Hodge Kirnon's discerning eye caught this fundamental quality of Garvey's appeal: "It is to be observed that Garvey is gradually succeeding in idealizing even the business end of the U.N.I.A.," he declared, adding: "Garvey is spiritualizing a commercial affair." In the context of the times, Garvey's teaching shared an important affinity with New Thought, the influential and popular religion of mind power as the key to success. This was the essential meaning underlying the Negro World's front-page caption, "The UNIA Considered in Light of New Religion," which accompanied Garvey's weekly editorial greeting on 16 October 1920. New Thought represented, in the words of Richard Weiss, "a new gospel of success which came to supplant the earlier rags-to-riches myth [and] gave belief in the individual's power for self-direction a new lease on life by providing it with a rationale viable in the context of an industrialized society." Its appeal was manifest throughout the years of Garvey's "inspirational agitation." In promoting the sale of the volumes of his Philosophy and Opinions, Garvey described it as "the Text-Book of Negro Inspiration," assuring purchasers: "When you read this Book you will be ready for the Battle of Life." The transcendent height to which Garvey's thought aspired derived from his belief that "we have kept in communion with the Source of all knowledge, with the Source of all Wisdom." In the closing stages of his career, Garvey explicitly alluded to the importance of New Thought for blacks.
Garvey's radicalizing influence on organized black religion was confirmed in the select band of talented black clergy who entered the ranks of the UNIA and contributed significantly to spreading its success gospel. William H. Ferris, who was not only an ordained minister but one of the UNIA's top elected officials and the editor of its official organ, was probably first to recognize the crucial importance of this particular achievement. Ferris told a Liberty Hall audience that "this UNIA has preached a new gospel to [the Negro race] and has in it the potency of a new religion" (NW, Saturday, 26 June 1920). Ample evidence pointed to a fusion between the radical wing of the black church and Garvey's doctrine of success. It is instructive to note that Rev. J. D. Brooks, secretary-general of the UNIA in 1920, in describing the feeling that his membership in the UNIA had produced in him, should have told the same Liberty Hall audience that Ferris addressed that "I feel now that I am a full-fledged minister of the African gospel." This synthesis was perhaps best exemplified in the person of Rev. J. W. H. Eason, who so "caught the vision" that he won election as the "Leader of American Negroes" at the UNIA's convention in August 1920.
Civilization as the Mirror of Success
In 1938, with only two years remaining to his life, Garvey reflected on the moral of existence before his last audience in the West Indies: "At my age I have learnt no better lesson than that which I am going to impart to you to make a man what he ought to be---a success in life." In summary, he advised that "there are two classes of men in the world---those who succeed and those who do not succeed. For Garvey, however, success was measured solely according to the criteria of white Europe's achievements, despite Garvey's being the most outspoken black opponent of continued European domination of Africa in the postwar period. Paradoxically, he held up to blacks the system of European civilization as a mirror of racial success. In this context Garvey expressed strenuous opposition to black folk culture, which he viewed as inimical to racial progress and as evidence of the retardation that for generations had made for racial weakness. "Spiritual and Jazz Music are credited to the Negro," Garvey conceded, but "it was simply because we did not know better music." Garvey's overriding concern with cultural replication rested on the assumption that "the future of our world holds very little for groups not organized on the basis of our present civilization." In refracting black aspirations through the cultural and historical mirror of the dominant civilization, Garvey came to believe that all history was a process of duplication in which the positions of Africa and Europe had at one time been reversed:
The World today is indebted to us for benefits of civilization. They stole our arts and sciences from Africa. Then why should we be ashamed of ourselves? Their MODERN IMPROVEMENTS are but DUPLICATES of a grander civilization that we reflected thousands of years ago, without the advantage of what is buried and still hidden, to be resurrected and reintroduced by the intelligence of our generation and our posterity.
From this hypothesis, Garvey could perhaps rationalize his rejection of black folk culture as incidental to his vaunting of a much different and prototypical black civilization inherited by white Europe. In mirroring European civilization, blacks could reclaim their own.
When asked where the Negro could "build [his] nation, kingdom or empire [and lay] the foundation of his industrial and commercial marts," Garvey's answer contained no trace of doubt:
There are more than two hundred million Negroes in Africa with a continent that is large and resourceful. Let him build there, let him build his own nations, let him build his own civilization, let him show the world a duplicate in Africa of what exist[s] in Europe.
For Garvey, then, history conformed to a cycle of success and failure: "Just as the Negro ruled once and lost his power, so some of the races that are ruling now will in the cycle of things lose their power." He foresaw "great hope for the Negro to be restored to his true political position, because sooner or later some of these dominant nations and races will fall." Garvey at other times could not help but inveigh against his racial compatriots' failure:
Our civilization to-day is the positive result of the creative thought of those who are actually mastering our politics, our sciences, our industry. The Negro laments his position in the midst of these changes, whether they be upward or downward, but has failed within modern times to apply himself to the willingness of doing---of creating for himself, thereby establishing his own place in civilization.
In 1925 Garvey assured his followers: "It is because we have studied history that we of the Universal Negro Improvement Association have started toward empire."
Garvey deliberately orchestrated a set of cultural and political parallels to inculcate a "success mentality" among black people. As early as 1914, he urged black people to "look around and take a leaf out of the book of EXAMPLES set before you by our [white] friends and benefactors---our brothers of Salvation." In America, he stated "that even as there is a White Star Line owned by white men, there is going to be a Black Star Line owned by black men."' In 1920 Garvey also declared in presenting the prospectus of the UNIA's $2 million "Liberian Construction Loan": "The Gold Cross of African Redemption will be to Negroes what the Victoria Cross of England has been to Englishmen, and the Iron Cross of Germany has been to the Germans." He adopted the aristocratic titles, honorary degrees, and the assorted panoply of devices symbolizing the grandeur of Europe's achievements. Garvey defended these controversial actions by exhorting his followers:
You can have your own king, your own emperor, your own pope, your own dukes, your own everything---therefore, don't bow down to other races for recognition. . . . A white king has no more right to drive in a golden coach than your king and sovereign. Their pope has no more right of putting on sacred robes than your pope. . . .
Equality was the goal behind such strict correspondences: not to overtake the white race but to elevate the black man to "a normal existence" as "a standard creature." He also desired "the Negro . . . coming into his own as a standardized race." This was "the philosophy taught in a nutshell by the UNIA." Garvey added: "Until you can produce what the white man has produced you will not be his equal." A 1934 article in Garvey's Black Man reaffirmed the view that "when the Negro can produce scientists, statesmen, philosophers, leaders, creators, similar to those of the white race, and when he can lay down a proper system of civilization, which is of the standard of the white man, [will] the prejudice from which he now suffers . . . disappear as the mist before dawn of day." He readily admitted: "In fact, I am criticising the black man. I am a queer critic, but I am a logical one." He regularly inveighed against the perceived failures of his race:
Unfortunately, among the sentimental, emotional and sometimes superstitious, people of ultra mental slackness are members of the Negro race who dream and see visions, not in the sober practical way but as actuated and influenced by pure emotion. Such a practice has led the race to no appreciative goal, but to the contrary has left us dumped in the gutter of practical life.
In Garvey's view, any support to the aesthetic revival of black folk culture had to be rejected, and he viewed such exercises as further perpetuating the cultural and political humiliation of Africa. Garvey thus pronounced his anathema upon the entire body of literature produced during the Harlem Renaissance of the middle and late 1920s. "Our race, within recent years," he declared, "has developed a new group of writers who have been prostituting their intelligence, under the direction of the white man, to bring out and show up the worst traits of our people." He named the key literary figures, spurning them all: "Claude McKay, the Jamaican Negro, is not singular in the authorship of such books. W. E. B. Du Bois, of America; Walter White, Weldon Johnson, Eric Waldron [sic], of British Guiana, and others, have written similar books, while we have had recently a large number of sappy poems from the rising poets."
Culture served, in Garvey's view, as a propaganda vehicle for the concept of dominance. To be justifiable, black literature should inculcate in the black man the same "dominant idea of control" monopolized by the white man: "He [the white man] feels he must govern, that no one must be above him. Such a feeling inspires him to its accomplishment and so he is a ruler everywhere you find him." Garvey's own literary efforts exemplified this intent. Coronation of an African King, a three-act play written and produced in 1930 by Garvey in Kingston, dramatized those ceremonial symbols of regnant power adopted officially by the UNIA at its second convention in 1921. The Negro World headlined in the following terms: "ANCIENT ETHIOPIAN CEREMONIAL COURT RECEPTION REVIVED AMID SCENES OF UNUSUAL POMP, MAGNIFICENCE AND SPLENDOR BY U.N.I.A. Like his great hero Napoleon, Garvey "took to believing in Semblances," to quote Thomas Carlyle. Indeed, his first wife went so far as to remark on the manifestation of Garvey's "Napoleonic complex." The same association also appears in the fictionalized portrait that Garvey received in Duse Mohamed Ali's auto-biographical story, "Ere Roosevelt Came," wherein he appears in the thinly disguised character Napoleon Bonaparte Hatbry.
Climbing the Ladder of Success
At the age of eighteen Garvey said that he had felt "a yearning for service of some kind, because of [his] training in the first government---government in the family." This search for service involved Garvey in the simultaneous pursuit of material success. In his view, success was a requisite to leadership, just as leadership was a requisite to effective service. Thus, the paradigm of the self-made man was integral to Garvey's governing conception of racial leadership and service.
Garvey's adherence to the ideals of service and success, on the one hand, and to the practical boosterism of the self-made man, on the other, created a peculiar tension in his later relationships with both W. E. B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington. The antagonism between Du Bois and Garvey was more cultural than political. It stemmed from the struggle between the nineteenth-century New England patrician ideal, translated by Du Bois into his concept of "the Talented Tenth," and the competing ideal of the self-made man that provided Garvey with his rationale. "Many American Negroes," Du Bois asserted, viewed Garvey's meteoric rise as the "enthroning of a demagogue, who with monkey shines was deluding the people and taking their hard-earned dollars." Garvey, for his part, accused Du Bois of setting himself up as "the highest social dignitary." Garvey saw in himself the idealized self-made man who triumphed over continual disadvantage in a heroic struggle for success and survival. On this basis he drew a harsh distinction between Du Bois and himself:
Marcus Garvey was born in 1887; Du Bois was born in 1868; that shows that Du Bois is old enough to be Marcus Garvey's father. But what has happened? Within the fifty-five years of Du Bois' life we find him still living on the patronage of good white people, and with the thirty-six years of Marcus Garvey's (who was born poor and whose father, according to Du Bois, died in a poor house) he is able to at least pass over the charity of white people and develop an independent program originally financed by himself to the extent of thousands of dollars, now taken up by the Negro people themselves. Now which of the two is poorer in character and manhood?
Then, in a bold assertion of his self worth against "Du Bois [who] personally had made a success of nothing," Garvey declared:
Suppose for the proof of the better education and ability Garvey and Du Bois were to dismantle and put aside all they possess and were placed in the same environment to start life over afresh for the test of the better man? What would you say about this, doctor? Marcus Garvey is willing now because he is conceited enough to believe that in the space of two years he would make you look like a tramp in the competitive rivalry for a higher place in the social, economic world.
This ethic of "competitive rivalry" that aroused such hubris in Garvey was strongly abhorrent to Du Bois on philosophical and cultural grounds. Beyond the special African-American quality of Du Bois's experience, his social outlook had been profoundly shaped by the New England morality of patrician service and sacrifice. Du Bois could not have viewed with equanimity the brash and headstrong claims to "competitive rivalry" of his self-made Jamaican antagonist.
Conversely, Garvey shared with Booker T. Washington a deep commitment to the success ethic and its application to the goal of racial improvement. Washington rooted his racial uplift program in the gospel of the self-made man, and he "wished to be seen by the world, as the American success hero in black." Indeed, Garvey perceived similarities between his own confrontations with Du Bois and the earlier Washington--Du Bois controversy. "When Booker T. Washington, by his own effort and energy, attempted to climb the ladder of success among his people," Garvey claimed, "we had the sage of Atlanta, Berlin, and Harvard, who attacked him most viciously from every quarter."
Du Bois, in his famous critique of Washington in The Souls of Black Folk (1903), attributed Washington's possession of the "mark of the successful man" to what he said was "his singleness of vision and thorough oneness with his age." This was an expansion upon Du Bois's earlier Dial magazine critique (16 July 1901) of Washington's autobiography, Up from Slavery, in which Du Bois asserted that Washington had "by singular insight . . . intuitively grasped the spirit of the age that was dominating the North," mastering "the speech and thought of triumphant commercialism and the ideals of material prosperity." This capacity explained "Mr. Washington's success, North and South, with his gospel of Work and Money."
Such attributes were, of course, entirely synonymous with the reigning gospel of success, but in Du Bois's view, they "raised opposition to him [Washington] from widely divergent sources." This was, indeed, the crucial factor that gave the split between Washington and Du Bois the character of "two warring ideals," to borrow the phrase made famous by Du Bois in another context. The two men represented opposing American ideals of civilization, within and through which each sought to legitimize his separate vision of the "strivings" of African Americans.
Booker T. Washington was in fact responsible for producing his own impressive body of conduct-of-life literature, on which the character-ethic stage of the success cult rested to a significant degree. These are, in addition to his major autobiographical writings, The Story of My Life (1900) and Up from Slavery (1901), Black Belt Diamonds (1898), Sowing and Reaping (1900), Character Building (1902), and Putting the Most into Life (1906). This nineteenth-century philosophy of the character ethic also deeply pervaded Garvey's outlook, which he translated into essays with such titles as "The Character of Races" (Philosophy and Opinions 2: 134), "The Negro and Character" (BM 1 [May--June 1934]: 5--6), and "Character! Character! Character! A Vital Necessity" (BM 2 [September--October 1935]: 6--7).
But significant differences in viewpoint between Washington and Garvey reflected the impact of societal change. In holding up "the self-made black capitalist as a hero of his race," C. Vann Woodward notes that "Washington went back to a bygone day for his economic philosophy," which he describes as consisting "of the mousetrap-maker-and-beaten-path maxims of thrift, virtue, enterprise, and free competition." Woodward also notes that "it was the faith by which the white middle-class preceptors of his youth had explained success, combined with a belief that, as he expressed it, 'there is little race prejudice in the American dollar.' In short, Washington's philosophy of uplift reflected the nineteenth-century character ethic, with worldly success rewarding such homely virtues as diligence, industry, and frugality. Its emphasis, as noted by Richard Weiss, "was on the balanced, ordered, harmonious nature of the social organism." In effect, Woodward suggests, Washington's philosophy "dealt with the present in terms of the past," and, in economic terms, was "more congenial to the pre-machine age than to the twentieth century," when massive industrial expansion in America progressively reduced the options for success to the petty entrepreneurial trades.
Conversely, Garvey was the archetypal black spokesman of the success cult's most optimistic phase, at the end of World War I, when the vision of success became subsumed by the rush to financial speculation. Nontraditional opportunities became available to the small entrepreneur with the dramatic rise of finance capital to a position of dominance in the American political economy. The process was already well under way by the war's beginning, and postwar America emerged as the new banking capital of the world, bringing with it large-scale financing and control of industrial development. Garvey's philosophy of success would come to incorporate the chief mental attributes imparted by the period of industrialization and by the new era of American economic growth. These were the aggressive virtues of self-mastery, mind power, determination, energy, ambition, force of will---all the virtues of personal dominance, which, according to Garvey, assured "that [one would] win the battle over others."
Confraternity and Self-Culture
When he left Jamaica for America, however, Garvey's point of view had reflected Booker T. Washington's nineteenth-century ethic. With the launching of the UNIA in 1914, Garvey had renounced participation in local Jamaican politics, declaring that "the society [UNIA] is non-political" and reportedly asking his followers "to eschew politics as a means of social improvement." Establishing a collegiate and social fund within the UNIA, he had proposed an industrial farm and institute in Jamaica, to be based "on the same plan as the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute of which Doctor Booker T. Washington is head."
At the outset of the UNIA, in 1914, Garvey's decision to eschew politics was perfectly suited to the organization's social program, which espoused the principles of confraternity, liberal humanitarianism, and self-culture. As Garvey himself proudly admitted during its first year of operation, the UNIA was like "any other humanitarian society in the British Empire." Its essential purpose was "to achieve the highest standard of civilised culture," and its stated aim was "to establish a Universal Confraternity among the race," from which came the word universal in the title of the UNIA.
Garvey actually established two separate entities in 1914 under the combined title of the Universal Negro Improvement and Conservation Association and African Communities League. The distinction was not merely semantic, since it reflected a basic dichotomy of purpose which made the UNIA, as originally conceived by Garvey, only the fraternal-benevolent arm of the wider movement. This was conveyed in the first five of the original list of ten "General Objects":
To establish a Universal Confraternity among the race.
To promote the spirit of race pride and love.
To reclaim the fallen of the race.
To administer to and assist the needy.
To assist in civilizing the backward tribes of Africa.
Objects six through ten, conversely, described the "imperial" character of the African Communities League (ACL), a concept that Garvey used as a metaphor for his ideal of racial dominion. Garvey's view of empire stemmed from the same conception that had become enshrined in the ethos of late Victorian England and the age of high imperialism that it ushered in. It paralleled, moreover, the Edwardian view of the British Empire, which Lord Curzon defined as "a great historical and political and sociological fact which is one of the guiding factors in the history of mankind." Historian Michael Howard declared that in pre-1914 Britain, "Empire, Race and War . . . were seen as facts of life to be accepted if not indeed welcomed; certainly ones that presented challenges to be met and problems to be solved if disaster was not to ensue." Garvey, in disclosing that the full title of the ACL, was the "African Communities (Imperial) League," provided an important clue to certain characteristics that it shared with the program of the Imperial Federation League (IFL) in Great Britain. Between 1884 and 1887, this body was largely responsible for moving the ideology of imperialism beyond that of a general sentiment and translating it into a specific program that looked toward "the permanent unity of the Empire" on the basis of closer union between Great Britain and her white self-governing colonies.
A similar vision of imperial union animated Garvey's declaration, in 1914, that the objectives of his organization were also "to strengthen the imperialism of independent African States," and "to establish Commissionaries or Agencies in the principal countries of the world for the protection of all Negroes, irrespective of nationality." Equally important, Garvey's initial concept of racial unity rested on a perspective of imperial federation that was similar to that enunciated by the IFL. In his October 1913 article published in the African Times and Orient Review, entitled "The British West Indies in the Mirror of Civilization---History Making by Colonial Negroes," Garvey not only voiced his support for a future federation of the British West Indian islands, which he said was "sure to come about because the people of these islands are all one," but even more important, he prophesied that this "turning point in the history of the West Indies" would make "the people who inhabit that portion of the Western Hemisphere . . . the instruments of uniting a scattered race who, before the close of many centuries, will found an Empire on which the sun shall shine as ceaselessly as it shines on the Empire of the North to-day" (p. 160). In reality, therefore, Garvey's racial vision accurately expressed the prevailing ideology of race and empire that to a significant degree shaped the political consciousness of the Edwardian era and the language that expressed it.
The distinguishing feature of the UNIA and ACL was thus their respective embodiment of the fraternal and imperial principles. Not until the middle of 1918 did the two entities become fused politically, at which time the UNIA-ACL's Constitution and Book of Laws declared in its statement of aims (article I, sec. 3), that among its objectives was "to assist in the development of Independent Negro Nations and Communities." Even so, the UNIA maintained a distinct role as the membership organization of the movement, while the ACL was its avowedly propagandistic and commercial wing.
The essential fraternal character of the UNIA did not go unnoticed. In 1922, in his perceptive analysis of Garvey and the UNIA, Hodge Kirnon stated that "there is no indication that Garvey meant it [the UNIA] to be anything more than a fraternal order." Harry Albro Williamson, the leading bibliophile of black Masonry, later wrote an important article on Prince Hall Masonry for the Negro World (3 June 1922). Amy Jacques Garvey later recalled that Garvey became a Mason "through the influence of John E. Bruce and Dr. [F. W.] Ellegor [but] he did not attend Masonic meetings, he was always too busy, so the connection dropped." Moreover, she disclosed that UNIA chapters operated quite freely within the ranks of black fraternities.
During the final four years of his life, Garvey turned even more emphatically toward the Masonic ideal based on secret knowledge. With the defeat of Ethiopia in the Italo-Ethiopian War of 1935--1936 and the rapid escalation of militarism throughout Europe and Asia, Garvey revised dramatically his previous estimates of what political movements alone could be expected to accomplish. Thus, he viewed as problematic the absence of "masonry in his [the Negro's] political ideals," noting that "there is nothing secret in what he is aiming at for his own hope of preservation." Garvey was alluding to the evolution of the fraternal idea from its earlier craft stage into a potent political vehicle, one based on the organization of secret revolutionary brotherhoods.
From the start, the UNIA shared numerous features with fraternal benevolent orders. The UNIA's governing Constitution and Book of Laws held the same status and function as Freemasonry's Book of Constitutions and Book of the Law. The UNIA's titular "potentate" was clearly analogous to the "imperial potentate" of the Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, or black Shriners. The High Executive Council of the UNIA and ACL reflected the Imperial Council of the black Shriners and the Supreme Council of Freemasonry in general. The elaborate and resplendent public displays by the UNIA, particularly during its annual conventions, drew upon the example of the black Shriners and other fraternal groups. On 6 August 1921, the Negro World reported that at the opening of the Second International Convention of the UNIA, the potentate, Gabriel Johnson, "wore a military-shaped helmet, with large flowing white feather, closely resembling the uniform hat worn by Masons on special parade occasions" (p. 3). Other features shared with fraternal orders included solemn oaths and binding pledges, special degrees of chivalry (such as the Cross of African Redemption, Knight of the Sublime Order of the Nile, and Knight of the Order of Ethiopia), and an auxiliary Ladies' Division with its own "lady president" (article 5, sec. 5). An editorial in the Negro World (30 April 1921) entitled "A Word Regarding Titles," pointed out that "the Order of Free and Accepted Masons, the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows and other religious and fraternal bodies have a hierarchy of titles. And we do not see wherein the U.N.I.A. is introducing an innovation."
The UNIA and ACL performed an important benevolent function through provision of death benefits to members, a service all black fraternal orders had been obligated to offer because insurance companies did not extend coverage to black people. "The distinctive thing about Negro [voluntary] associations," wrote Gunnar Myrdal in An American Dilemma, "has been the death benefit and sickness insurance features of some Negro lodges and benevolent societies" (p. 955). In like fashion, the UNIA and ACL financed its benefit program through assessment of dues and fees: a monthly subscription of twenty-five cents; the annual Parent Body tax of one dollar; and the death tax of ten cents (article 8, secs. 1 and 3).
The principles of organized benevolence were formally enunciated in the third and fourth objects listed in article 1, section 3, of the constitution of the UNIA, namely, "to reclaim the fallen of the race," and "to administer to and assist the needy." The UNIA's separate charter of incorporation was filed in June 1918, "to promote and practice the principles of Benevolence, and for the protection and social intercourse of its members." Similarly, the preamble to the constitution stated that "the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities' League is a social, friendly, humanitarian, charitable, educational, institutional, constructive and expansive society, and is founded by persons, desiring to the utmost, to work for the general uplift of the Negro peoples of the world." Article 5, sections 47 and 48, provided for loans to members and for an employment bureau for members in each local division.
This extensive commitment to fraternal and benevolent endeavor directly reflected the fact that Garvey's own position as a printer had made him a member of the Jamaican artisanry elite. Mutual improvement associations had served for many years as vehicles for the social aspirations of this group within urban Kingston. Prominent among these were the Jamaica United Brotherhood, Jamaica Labourers' Cooperative League, Royal Prince Albert Mutual Society, Jamaica Workmen's Mutual Aid and Benevolent Society, the Franklin Town Benevolent Society, and numerous branches of Masonic lodges.
In addition to the goals of mutual improvement and organized benevolence, the UNIA also sought to develop among black people the ideal of cultural self-improvement. The stated aim of the UNIA's Collegiate Industrial and Social Fund in October 1914 was "to establish educational and industrial (day and evening) training colleges for the purpose of the further education and culture of our boys and girls." This was echoed in the Constitution and Book of Laws, which declared that the UNIA undertook "to establish Universities, Colleges, Academies and Schools for the racial education and culture of the people." A contemporary close acquaintance of Garvey, one who "during the years came into daily contact with him," later would write that "even in the days when Garvey was just another youngster about town . . . he went about forming debating groups and societies for promoting culture and racial pride." This might help to account for the UNIA's extensive program of lectures and debates, which provided a community forum for the principle of self-culture and improvement. Weekly UNIA lectures included such subjects as "Self-Industry," "Self-Appreciation," "Duty of Citizenship," "Despair and Its Cure," "Music," "Spiritual and Moral Law of Man," "Hygiene and Its Relation to Public Health," "Character," "Cooperation," "Sanitation," "Education and What It Means," "The Signs of the Times," "What Shall We Do with the Child," and "Thrift." Similar discussion programs had popular precedence in the existing agencies of self-culture in Kingston, such as the Wesley Guild and the East Queen Street Baptist Temperance and Literary Society.
The UNIA charter of incorporation promised to serve the development of its members' "mental and physical culture." When Garvey settled down to organizing the UNIA in New York, he immediately promoted what he termed "social uplift work." He proposed the erection of a $200,000 building in Harlem to be, in his words, "the source from which we will train and educate our people to those essentials that will make them a more cultured and better race."
In effect, through the organization of the UNIA, Garvey devised a combination fraternal body and popular lyceum. The fusion of the two distinct but overlapping traditions of fraternalism and self-culture was made explicit in the UNIA's constitution in the section governing the issuance of charters and the setting up of local bodies:
Sec. 4. A charter may be issued to seven or more citizens of any community whose intelligence is such as to bring them within respectful recognition of the educated and cultured of such a community, provided there is no chartered division in such a community.
A constant throughout Garvey's career was his self-proclaimed role of public lecturer. As Garvey himself put it:
I am a public lecturer, but I am President-General of the Universal Negro Improvement Association. As a public lecturer I endeavour to help to educate the public, particularly of the race, as I meet that public . . . if the public is thoughtful it will be benefited by the things I say. I do not speak carelessly or recklessly but with a definite object of helping the people, especially those of my race, to know, to understand to realise themselves.
The influence on Garvey of the combined lyceum-chautauqua era requires further research, but it is apparent that Garvey achieved through the organization of the UNIA a dynamic linkage between the traditional forms of racial confraternity and the educational programs of self-culture. This organization was also responsible for "generat[ing] the national industrial education movement, emphasizing self-help and economic and moral uplift"; out of it eventually emerged the whole system of "Negro industrial and agricultural education" between 1880 and 1900. "Negro industrial training" was, in reality, an applied branch of the system of vocational education pioneered by the self-culture movement during the second half of the nineteenth century for the education of artisans and adult workers. According to John Cawelti, moreover, the self culture movement provided "another important ideological source of the philosophy of success." Through the Jamaica period (1914--1916), Garvey advanced the goals of benevolence and self-culture, not only as the basis of his social program but as the alternative to local political involvement.
Garvey adopted methods characteristic of the established agencies of self-culture and moral and intellectual improvement, including lectures, debates, adult classes, popular entertainments, religious exercises, and the publication of correspondence courses. A typical report of a 1914 UNIA meeting, for example, stated that "Mr. H. B. Green spoke on the value of a 'stock of good information combined with character.'" Typical, also, were programs including musical and elocutionary performances. The UNIA became noted for the excellence of its large choirs and orchestras and its recitation programs. At Edelweiss Park, the UNIA headquarters in Jamaica, Garvey added an amphitheater for large musical programs and promenade concerts, which were in addition to the usual UNIA agenda of political meetings, inspirational lectures, recitations, elocution contests, and historical pageants. As a result, the UNIA in Jamaica exerted a powerful formative influence on the evolution of popular theater.
As with the era's renowned speakers of the lyceum-chautauqua lecture circuit, Garvey's popular image was that of "an orator of exceptional force." In January 1919 a handbill for an address in Washington, D.C., described Garvey as "the Greatest Orator of the Negro Race" whose "reputation as an orator is world-wide, having addressed thousands in England, Scotland, France, Germany and America." In December 1920, Garvey was again termed "the Greatest Negro Orator of the Twentieth Century." The Black Star Line was described in November 1920 as "the result of a Herculean effort on the part of Marcus Garvey, world-famed Negro orator." "Again and again the Negro is brought back," the editor of Garvey's Negro World, William H. Ferris maintained, "to the Fable of Hercules and the Wagoner and to Emerson's doctrine of Self-Reliance." In fact, Ferris argued, Garvey "preached with telling force and earnestness Emerson's gospel of self-reliance." Furthermore, Ferris averred that "there is something in Emerson's advice to 'Hitch your wagon to a star,'" which was undoubtedly the same inspiration as the advice that Garvey used in his exhortation to "lift up yourselves men, take yourselves out of the mire and hitch your hopes to the stars; yes, rise as high as the very stars themselves."
Transition to Radicalism
Garvey originally came to America to learn more about Tuskegee and to enlist support for his own Jamaican version. Instead, he became converted in America to the primacy and efficacy of political goals. "[The] new spirit of the new Negro does not seek industrial opportunity," Garvey said in 1921. He "seeks a political voice, and the world is amazed, the world is astounded that the Negro should desire a political voice, because after the voice comes a political place, and nobody thought the Negro would have asked for a place in the political sun of the world."
In abandoning his earlier static view of political abstinence, Garvey was not renouncing "the teachings of the great sage of Tuskegee"; he was assessing the needs of the time. Speaking at Liberty Hall in New York in October 1921, Garvey prefaced his analysis of the evolution of the UNIA into a political organization:
Unfortunately the world is about to have a rude awakening, in that we have started to evolve a new ideal. The new ideal includes the program of Booker T. Washington, but it does not stop there. The new ideal does not mean to exclude anything that Dr. Booker T. Washington did or said, but we have taken all that and have even gone further. And it seems that the world has been slow in appreciating the fact that there is a new ideal.
Garvey believed that "if Washington had lived he would have had to change his program." In the place of Washington's outdated accommodationism, Garvey claimed to offer "a correct interpretation of the new spirit of the new Negro," which presented "a new problem---a problem that must be solved not by the industrial leader but by the political leader." All this resulted from Garvey's discovery in the United States that "politics is the science that rules the world . . . although industry has a great deal to play in it." An immense distance separated Garvey's "non-political" program in Jamaica from his radically transformed vision of political independence. This vision made him the foremost beneficiary of the nationalist mood that emerged full-scale among black people after 1918.
When we trace the development of the original interrelationship within the UNIA of programs of racial confraternity and self-improvement through cultural and educational uplift, the question must arise: Why did Garvey's political outlook shift from these original priorities? Indeed, this shift coincided with the onset of what Garvey aptly termed "the great rush toward the Organization by the masses." At this turning point, the UNIA became convened from a fraternal and educational organization and mushroomed into a mass political movement with "the momentum that was necessary to bring it forcibly before the world as a great racial factor."
The catalyst was the outbreak in this period of intense racial conflicts signaled by the pogromlike East St. Louis riot of July 1917. During this time, the black populations of many northern industrial cities had almost doubled with the great wave of black migration from the south. The veritable explosion of postwar race riots, climaxing in May through September 1919, was also sparked by the awakened racial consciousness of black soldiers returning from France. Black racial militancy regarding the riots led the Department of Justice to acknowledge in its 1919 report on "Radicalism and Sedition Among the Negroes as Reflected in Their Publications" that a "dangerous spirit of defiance and vengeance [was] at work among the Negro leaders and, to an ever increasing extent, among their followers." At about the same time, Major J. E. Cutler of the Military Intelligence Division of the War Department reported a "growing influence of radical publications and of a new type of radical race leader," which he said "constitute[d], a critical juncture in the history of the colored race in this country." After studying the conditions that gave rise to the "race consciousness among the colored people today which is of recent origin," Cutler concluded: "Beyond a doubt, there is a new negro to be reckoned with in our political and social life."
Richard Maxwell Brown, in his study of American violence, notes that "during the period of the first World War and after . . . there were 13 major race riots (and at least 15 minor ones in 1919 alone)." Brown describes the emergence of a new level of armed black resistance: "Although whites were still generally dominant, the riot activity was more equal, featuring 'mass, uncoordinated battle' in which 'large, relatively evenly-matched sections of each community attacked members of the other communities.'" Major riots took place in Houston, Texas (1917), Knoxville, Tennessee (1919), Washington, D.C. (1919), and Chicago (1919). Race riots also occurred in Charleston, South Carolina, Longview, Texas, Omaha, and Elaine, Arkansas.
A new era had begun in the evolution of racial consciousness among black people. The impact of mass resistance by black people, who faced unprecedented levels of white racial violence both during and after the war, emboldened Garvey to enlarge the range of his political discourse and action. Impelled by the explosive racial crisis, Garvey quickly sought a new political legitimacy for the UNIA, seeking relevance within the contending currents of black resistance. Garvey's associate, William H. Ferris, would later note that "the East St. Louis, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Elaine, Arkansas, riots fed Garvey's agitation fires and he loomed upon the horizon as a dauntless and fearless race champion."
The Mirror of Nationalism
The metamorphosis of the UNIA did not go unnoticed at the time. In January 1922, Hodge Kirnon noted that "an association of Negro peoples with the redemption of Africa as its ideal and 'Africa for the Africans' as a slogan seemed entirely foreign to Garvey's mind at the time (of the rounding of the UNIA in New York in the spring or early summer of 1918)." But, Kirnon observed, "they have become the cardinal and distinctive features of the movement; also the shaping and inspiring forces to both its numerical and spiritual growth." Kirnon suggested that these changes in Garvey's original views "were simply the outcome of a broader perspective which Garvey had gained in the course of time; aided in all probability by his native keenness and shrewdness which permitted him to see their effectiveness at the time."
At the critical moment, spurred by the crises of war and racial riot, Garvey moved beyond the premises of benevolence and self-improvement to articulate a political program of "African Redemption." The immense upheavals that also engulfed the world during and after the Great War wrought a major change in Garvey's entire outlook. In November 1920 Garvey wrote, "never before in the history of the world has the spirit of unrest swept over as it has during the past two years." He termed it "the age of unrest, the age of dissatisfaction," perceiving its impact as broader and more complex than that of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars:
The Napoleonic wars which disturbed nearly all of Europe did not usher in the universal sway of unrest as did the recent World War. When an American President began to talk about making the world safe for democracy and about the self-determination of peoples and nations, he gave voice and expression to the, pent-up thoughts and feelings of men, and oppressed classes, races and nations felt that at last the much talked-of millennium had come. The failure of the Peace Conference at Versailles and the fact that Ireland, India, Egypt, Africa, the Negroes of the Western Hemisphere and the toiling masses everywhere continued to groan under the yoke of oppression, soon disillusioned them. Then came the recoil and the reaction, and we have as a result the present unrest.
Garvey continued to emphasize the central importance of the postwar nationalist conjuncture. Speaking before the second UNIA convention, in August 1921, he declared: "All other races are on strike now. . . . Four hundred million Negroes are striking (applause) and we are striking now with a vengeance, never to be abused, never to be tossed about, never to be kicked about again, because we have found a way to liberty." William H. Ferris editorialized in February 1922 that "the same desire for justice and liberty which De Valera has voiced for Ireland, Mahatma Ghandi [sic] for India and Egyptian leaders for Egypt, Marcus Garvey has voiced for Africa."
The Influence of Ireland
Far more than any other nationalist struggle, the Irish revolutionary struggle assisted in focusing Garvey's political perspective. Dramatically symbolized in the "blood sacrifice" of the Easter Week Rising of 1916. the Irish cause provided the major ideological mainspring for Garvey's radical political transformation. Even the slogan made famous by Garvey, "Africa for the Africans at home and abroad," echoed the oft-repeated Irish slogan "the Irish race at home and abroad."
Garvey was not alone in his response to the Irish revolt, just as he had not been alone in his proposal for a black merchant marine nor in his advocacy of African emancipation. In one sense the split among black radicals of the period along nationalist or socialist-communist lines was expressed in the primacy assigned either to the Irish or to the Bolshevik revolutions. Hubert H. Harrison, the chief intellectual spokesman of the "new Negro" nationalism, broke with the Socialist party in 1914, and in 1917 he suggested that "the colored people rise against the government just as the Irish against England unless they get their rights." Strong support for the Irish cause also came from Cyril V. Briggs during his radical-nationalist phase, prior to his joining the Workers' party in 1921. In the August 1919 issue of his journal, the Crusader, Briggs commented on "Approaching Irish Success." In February 1921 he heralded the Irish struggle with an editorial, "Heroic Ireland---the Irish Fight for Liberty the Greatest Epic of Modern Times and a Sight to Inspire to Emulation All Oppressed Groups." The Crusader's exchange of subscription advertisements with the Irish revolutionary journal Sinn Feiner evoked favorable comments from Irish readers. Moreover, Briggs's creation of the secret African Blood Brotherhood for African Liberation and Redemption (ABB) in the summer and fall of 1919 drew upon the example of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, the body responsible for planning and executing the Irish Easter Week Rising of 1916. The motto of the ABB was, "Those only need apply who are willing to go the limit."
If the most compelling contemporary model for postwar black nationalist revolutionaries was the Irish revolution, just as the inspiration for ideological conversion among black people to socialism and communism was the model of the Russian revolution, it was also true that Garvey's familiarity with the ideas and rhetoric of Irish nationalism dated from before the war. As early as 1910, Garvey was assistant secretary of the National Club of Jamaica, a group whose activities marked the first attempt by Jamaicans to create a nationalist political platform. The club's founder, S. A.&nbp;sG. Cox, absorbed the influence of the Sinn Fein movement while he was enrolled as a student, beginning in 1905, at the Middle Temple in England. Representing a radical break with the established tradition of the Irish home rule movement, Sinn Fein offered a program of Irish national restoration through the winning of political independence for Ireland and the revival of Gaelic culture. The Jamaican historian Richard Hart has pointed out that "for [the National Club's] newspaper Cox chose the name Our Own, a rough translation of the Irish nationalists' Sinn Fein." In a manner similar to Garvey's later Black Star Line, the constitution of the national council of Sinn Fein in 1906 proposed in its economic program to advance the objective of a national government in Ireland by "the re-establishment of an Irish mercantile Marine to facilitate direct trading between Ireland and the countries of Continental Europe, America, Africa, and the Far East." From its first convention in November 1905, Sinn Fein also proposed the establishment of an Irish consular service abroad. This was essentially the same idea enunciated by Garvey in 1914 based on his plan "to establish Commissionaries or Agencies in the principal countries of the world for the protection of all Negroes, irrespective of nationality."
Garvey's subsequent stay in England during 1912 to 1914 coincided with the period of uninterrupted crisis in both England and Ireland over Irish home rule, which climaxed in the Irish independence struggle, the Easter Rising of 1916. After World War I, Garvey repeatedly acknowledged his identification with the heroic epic of the Irish struggle. Speaking at the formal dedication of Liberty Hall, the UNIA's general meeting place, in July 1919, Garvey announced that "the time [had] come for the Negro race to offer up its martyrs upon the altar of liberty even as the Irish [had] given a long list from Robert Emmet to Roger Casement." The name chosen for the UNIA meeting place reflected an appreciation for Liberty Hall, Dublin, the symbolic seat of the Irish revolution and the site where the Irish Citizen Army had launched the Easter Rising on 23 April 1916.
Garvey consistently accorded the Irish independence struggle primacy among all other national movements of the era, including those in India, Egypt, China, the eastern European states, and the movement to secure a Jewish homeland in Palestine. His strong identification with Ireland's tradition of patriotic martyrdom inspired him to proclaim in a Chicago speech in 1919, "Robert Emmet gave his life for Irish independence . . . and the new negro is ready to give his life for the freedom of the negro race." Ultimately, Garvey was to be compared by William Ferris to Saint Patrick, the Irish patron saint: "the same courage which St. Patrick showed in delving the pagan gods of Ireland Marcus Garvey shows in defying Anglo-Saxon caste prejudice."
The UNIA's call for an "International Convention of the Negro Peoples of the World," issued on 1 March 1919, followed by one week the Third Irish Race Convention attended by six thousand Irish-Americans on 22 to 23 February 1919 in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia convention, which climaxed a series of Irish-American mass meetings begun in December 1918, calling for official American recognition of Ireland as an independent republic, was sponsored by the Friends of Irish Freedom, which had itself grown out of the first meeting, in 1916, of the Irish Race Convention. One of the principal informers on "Negro subversion" for the Military Intelligence Division (MID) alleged that Garvey and the Friends of Irish Freedom were linked. MID disclosed in its confidential "Weekly Situation Survey" of 23 June 1920 that its informer, R. D. Jonas, had publicly declared that "the Friends of Irish Freedom had aided in establishing the Black Star (negro) Steamship Line which would ultimately carry arms to Africa." Beyond the timing of the UNIA's convention call, however, Garvey's statement inaugurating a "$2,000,000 Convention Fund" has a further significance. "We think the time has come for the Negro to find a universal leader," Garvey declared, adding, "if Germany is to follow the Kaiser, if England is to follow George V . . . and Ireland is to follow De Valera, then the time has come for four hundred million Negroes to follow a Negro elected by themselves."
Garvey's reference to the president of both Sinn Fein and the Irish republic, Eamon de Valera, was especially meaningful. De Valera's arrival in America on 11 June 1919 received spectacular coverage by the American press. Although de Valera's American visit was ultimately not an unqualified political success, he scored a major propaganda triumph for the Irish cause during the eighteen months he spent in the United States through an "incalculable but far-reaching" impact on American public opinion. "Above all, in anything he said and did," state his biographers, "he showed that the Irish were in deadly earnest and engaged in a life and death struggle from which there would be no turning back."
When the long-awaited UNIA convention opened on Sunday night, 1 August 1920, amid great pomp in Madison Square Garden, Garvey began his speech by announcing dramatically:
I have in my hand . . . a telegram to be sent to the Hon. Edmund De Valera, [sic] President of the Irish Republic: "25,000 Negro delegates assembled in Madison Square Garden in mass convention, representing 400,000,000 Negroes of the world, send you greetings as President of the Irish Republic. Please accept sympathy of Negroes of the world for your cause. We believe Ireland should be free even as Africa shall be free for the Negroes of the world. (loud applause) Keep up the fight for a free Ireland. Marcus Garvey, President-General of the Universal Negro Improvement Association." (applause)
On 30 August, the convention elected Garvey to the post of "provisional president of Africa," while a banner in the convention's closing parade on 31 August 1920 was emblazoned: "A President for Ireland; Why Not One for Africa?" The same symbolic identification was also present in the UNIA leaflet of December 1920 announcing the meeting that de Valera was to have addressed. While the address by de Valera did not take place as planned, the leaflet pointed to his significance for the UNIA:
Come and See the Irish President
Among the Speakers will be
His Excellency Hon. MARCUS GARVEY
Provisional President of Africa
His Excellency Hon. EAMON De VALERA
Provisional President of Ireland
Although the convention's original call spoke of the founding of an "African Empire," Garvey told Charles Mowbray White on 18 August 1920 that he was "leaving for [Africa] . . . to set up a Republic." In another interview conducted in August 1920 by Charles Mowbray White, W. E. B. Du Bois revealed his belief that Garvey and his followers were "allied with the Bolsheviks and the Sinn Feiners in their world revolution. . . . " The example of de Valera's clandestine travel between America and Ireland also became an object of emulation for Garvey. In his speech at Liberty Hall on the evening of 6 January 1921, he alluded to his impending departure for the Caribbean and Central America: "Two weeks from this I shall suddenly disappear from you for six or seven weeks," he told his audience. "You won't hear from me during that time, but don't be alarmed because we Negroes will have to adopt the system of underground workings like De Valera and other white leaders." Two weeks later, Garvey told a UNIA meeting in Philadelphia: "They said that they are going to keep me out of Africa. They said they were going to keep De Valera out of Ireland, but he is there."
Shortly after the close of the first UNIA convention, Liberty Hall was the scene of a meeting attended by about fourteen Irish sympathizers. Speeches were delivered by Dudley Field Malone and other leaders of the boycott of English ships, which had been called by Irish longshoremen in order to try to force the British government's release of Terence MacSwiney, the lord mayor of Cork. MacSwiney's hunger strike, according to Robert Kee, "uniquely concentrated attention from all over the world on the spirit and determination of Irish militants" (The Green Flag, p. 696). Indeed, at the closing session of the first UNIA convention, Garvey announced that he had dispatched a telegram "to Father Dominick, confessor of the Lord Mayor of Cork, and it read 'Convey to McSwiney [sic] sympathy of 400,000,000 Negroes'" (NW, Saturday, 11 September 1920).
Following the convention, the Bureau of Investigation reported that Garvey sent Rev. J. W. Selkridge "down to the docks to urge all the Negro longshoremen not to load British ships, which pleased the Irish strikers, who learned that Garvey had sent him down to aid them" (DNA, RG 65, file OG 329359). A measure of Garvey's immense reverence for MacSwiney, who finally died on the seventy-third day of his hunger fast, can be gained from his declaration: "Hundreds and thousands of Irishmen have died as martyrs to the cause of Irish freedom. . . . They compelled the attention of the world and I believe the death of McSweeney [sic] did more for the freedom of Ireland today than probably anything they did for 500 years prior to his death" (NW, 17 December 1921).
At the start of the Second International Convention of Negroes, in August 1920, Garvey dispatched cables to Eamon de Valera in Dublin and to King George V in London. In his cable to de Valera, Garvey assured him: "We, the Representatives of 400,000,000 Negroes of the World assembled in the 2nd Annual International Convention, send GREETING, and pray that you and your fellow COUNTRYMEN will receive from the hands of the British your merited freedom." Garvey informed the British monarch that "on principle, nothing would please the 400,000,000 Negro peoples of the World more, except the freedom of Africa, than the granting of freedom to the four and a half million people of Ireland, and also the emancipation of the poor people of India, and Egypt."
Shortly afterward, Garvey's support of the Irish republican cause reached its apogee. On 6 December 1920 the Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed, leading to the end of hostilities and to the eventual establishment of the Irish Free State. The treaty itself was a compromise agreement, however. It represented a good deal less than the independent republic that the Irish nationalists who had fought since the Easter Rising had demanded. Eamon de Valera and many other Irish nationalists denounced the treaty as a betrayal of Ireland's national sovereignty. The consequent fateful split among the Republican leadership would bring on the Irish civil war and ultimately dismember Sinn Fein.
While the future of Ireland hung precariously in the balance, Garvey did not delay in declaring his stand on the treaty. On 11 December 1921, before the critical debate in the Irish parliament, Garvey summoned a special mass meeting at Liberty Hall. He spoke on "Ireland and Africa," stating that "we have a cause similar to the cause of Ireland." Garvey made plain his support for the negotiated settlement with England: "I am glad that Ireland has won some modicum of self-government. I am not thoroughly pleased with the sort of freedom that is given to them, but nevertheless I believe that they have received enough upon which they can improve. . . ." Garvey then read a cable, to be sent to the leading Irish treaty negotiator Arthur Griffith, signed "Marcus Garvey, Provisional President of Africa." The cable informed Griffith: "Six thousand of us assembled in Liberty Hall, New York, representing the four hundred million Negroes of the world, send you congratulations on your masterly achievement of partial independence for Ireland. The stage is set for a greater day for Ireland. Long live the new Irish Free State." Immediately after the treaty was ratified by the Irish Republican parliament, Garvey issued the following announcement:
The Irish have succeeded, first among the trio of Egypt, India and Ireland, in winning a place of mastery among the nations of the world. Some time last night the Irish Parliament, with a majority of seven, voted for the ratification of the agreement . . . thus elevating Ireland and the Irish people from the position of serfs, peons, to that of masters.
The evolution of Garvey's ideology of political nationalism closely mirrored the rise and fall of the two historic phases of the Irish nationalist movement, namely, the constitutional nationalism of home rule and the revolutionary nationalism of Sinn Fein. The harsh and violent transition between the two paved the way for Garvey's own transitional development. From being dependent on his alliance with the "liberal-minded" wing of the colonial and imperial establishments, Garvey found that his admiration of the revolutionary nationalism of Sinn Fein, under conditions of violent racial upheaval in America, refocused his articulation of the race question: "Africa must be for the Africans, and them exclusively." This ideological transition, moreover, was enhanced and deepened by Garvey's identification with the awe-inspiring blood sacrifice of Irish patriotic martyrdom, which symbolized in very dramatic ways both the recovery of Irish political independence and racial redemption. Thus, if Garvey's rapid entry into the swirling currents of postwar nationalist agitation did contribute to the turbulent quality of the epoch, he was guided to a remarkable degree by the example of the Irish struggle waged both in Ireland and from America.
The figure most symbolic of the Irish movement was Eamon de Valera. As Garvey admitted in July 1932, "we have watched his career for several years both in Ireland and the U.S.A., where he carried on a relentless propaganda in the interest of Irish Republicanism." He stated further, "we understand him (de Valera) and the spirit of the people he represents." In the long shadow cast by the totemic figure of Eamon de Valera, Garvey's perception of politics experienced a radical new life, while the black republicanism of the UNIA's political program of African self-determination was emblematic of revolutionary Irish republicanism between 1919 and 1921.
Retreat from Radicalism
Garvey's speeches after July 1921, when compared to his prior revolutionary rhetoric, reveal the start of a new political phase. Typical of his earlier revolutionary posture was his famous exhortation, delivered in Madison Square Garden on 30 October 1919, which not only electrified the black world but also alerted European governments to the danger inherent in the movement's spread, particularly in Africa. Garvey boldly proclaimed: "It will be a terrible day when the blacks draw the sword to fight for their liberty. I call upon you 400,000,000 blacks to give the blood you have shed for the white man to make Africa a republic for the Negro." Garvey's speeches employed the same general rhetoric until his departure from the United States on his tour of the West Indies and Central America in February 1921. On the eve of his departure from America, while addressing a mass meeting in Philadelphia in January 1921, Garvey reportedly urged: "Get together from now on and be ready to get into Africa. . . . [B]uild battleships and raise armies, after we get a good foothold in Africa, which must positively be in the next twelve months."
For over four months Garvey languished in the Caribbean while his repeated applications for a reentry visa to the United States were denied. Suddenly, on 25 June 1921, Charles L. Latham, the American consul in Jamaica, notified Garvey that the State Department had approved his visa application. In the view of J. Edgar Hoover, the principal architect and coordinator of Garvey's exclusion, the abrupt change in the State Department's policy was a disappointment, and the unusual circumstances warranted a special Bureau of Investigation inquiry. Suspicions fell upon Harry Alexander McBride, an official in the Visa Control Section of the State Department. Prior to taking his position on 27 December 1920, McBride had served as the acting general receiver of customs and financial adviser in Liberia. Although in the end the bureau's investigation remained inconclusive, indications were that McBride granted approval for Garvey to receive a visa on the basis of a bribe from the UNIA's assistant counsel-general, William C. Matthews. Matthews was said to have acted through Henry Lincoln Johnson, the recorder of deeds in Washington, D.C., and probably the leading black politician in the Republican party. Johnson had also earlier consulted Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes on the matter of Garvey's request for readmission.
Whatever the cause of the abrupt change in the government's policy of exclusion, the impact on Garvey's political course was immediate. Garvey had prepared the ground to some extent by his policy of noninterference in local affairs during his Caribbean travels. Wherever he visited, Garvey was careful to point out his respect for the established order. Thus, he told an audience on his first stop in Cuba: "I do not come here to interfere with the labor question or the political question where governments are concerned." On his return, the first signal of a volte-face came during Garvey's speech at the mass meeting in Liberty Hall welcoming him back to Harlem after nearly five month's absence. A special agent of the Bureau of Investigation who attended the meeting reported that "this change in Garvey's attitude is not yet fully understood." But it did not take too long for others in the leadership of the UNIA to understand. Within a few days the same agent noted that the acceptance of Garvey's new political line was spreading: "For some unknown reason all the officials of the Black Star Line and Garvey's other organizations seem to have undergone a change of mind. They are very patriotic in their speeches and have eliminated all the antiwhite talks and in its place [are] preaching loyalty to the U.S.A." After speaking personally with Garvey two days later, the same agent provided additional evidence that Garvey had embarked on a major change in political direction: "Garvey is now more patriotic and is preaching nothing but loyalty to the flag. His recent experience must have taught him to take another sane course." Less than two months later, on 1 September 1921, Garvey filed his declaration of intention to become a citizen of the United States of America.
Surrender to Racial Purity
Until Garvey's departure from America in early 1921, the militancy of his commitment to the struggle for black rights was unsurpassed in both eloquence and fervor. Thus, after the Washington riot in July 1919, Garvey reportedly announced that "the Universal Negro Improvement Association will be the most powerful factor in freeing the black man in the United States." With his political change of course in July 1921, however, Garvey abandoned his earlier espousal of resistance. Garvey's retreat from radicalism acquired a special logic, so that the dogma of racial purity now became the basis of the UNIA's search for legitimacy. The main target of the policy was Du Bois, whom Garvey accused, together with Emmett Scott, of "using their influence with the government after I had left the country to prevent my return." In reality, however, Garvey was seeking to neutralize the political influence that he presumed his opponents possessed by trying to distinguish himself on the basis of racial purity.
Garvey first articulated this new strategy in August 1921 at the second convention of the UNIA. He then cabled a lengthy resolution to the League of Nations, the ostensible purpose of which was to inform the league of the UNIA's "repudiation" of Du Bois's forthcoming Second Pan-African Congress, scheduled for later that month in London, Brussels, and Paris. The cable stated "that the said W. E. B. Du Bois and his associates who call the Congress are making an issue of social equality with the white race for their own selfish purposes, and not for the advancement of the Negro Race, and that the idea of their holding a Congress in European Cities is more for the purpose of aggravating the question of social equality to their own personal satisfaction, than to benefit the Negro Race." This statement's strong echo of Booker T. Washington's famous indictment of "social equality," delivered at the Atlanta Exposition in 1895 was not accidental. The UNIA's resolution went on to make explicit the fears that "social equality" evoked among whites:
We further repudiate the [Pan-African] Congress because we sincerely feel that the white race like the Black and Yellow Races should maintain the purity of self, and that the Congress is nothing more than an effort to encourage Race suicide, by the admixture of two opposite Races . . . and [the Negro] therefore denounces any attempt on the part of dissatisfied individuals who by accident are members of the said Negro Race, in their attempts to foster a campaign of miscegenation to the destruction of the Race's purity.
In a statement published shortly afterward by the New York World, on 9 September 1921, Garvey upbraided "the Dr. Du Bois group" and called attention to the fact that "the Universal Negro Improvement Association believes that both races have separate and distinct destinies, that each and every race should develop on its own social lines, and that any attempt to bring about the amalgamation of any two opposite races is a crime against nature." The following month Garvey praised President Harding's Birmingham, Alabama, speech, which had emphasized that "race amalgamation there can never be." Harding justified his position on the ground that the maintenance of "natural segregations" between the races was the result of "widely unequal capacities and capabilities." In springing to the support of Harding amid the controversy that his remarks created, Garvey called upon blacks everywhere to "follow President Harding's great lead," and he urged them to "stand uncompromisingly against the idea of social equality." Garvey further asserted that Harding's speech made him "one of the greatest statesmen of the present day."
The other side of Garvey's attack against "social equality" took the form of an assertion that "America is [a] White Man's Country." "Why should I waste time in a place where I am outnumbered and where if I make a physical fight I will lose out and ultimately die," Garvey asked. Garvey also managed to shift the blame for white America's racial exclusivity from white prejudice to black failings. In another broadside against Du Bois, Garvey argued that "[Negroes] have done nothing praiseworthy on their own initiative in the last five hundred years to recommend them to the serious consideration of progressive races . . . . [T]hey have made no political, educational, industrial, independent contribution to civilization for which they can be respected by other races, thus making themselves unfit subjects for free companionship and association with races which achieved greatness on their own initiative."
Garvey was, in fact, attempting to present himself before the white American establishment as the potential architect of a new racial "compromise." This was, indeed, a far cry from the sentiment that Garvey voiced when, at the close of the August 1920 convention, he was reported in the Negro World of 11 September as having "hurled defiance at the 'crackers' of the South." During this period of political retreat, Garvey embarked on his various flirtations with Senator T. S. McCallum of Mississippi and with the infamous Ku Klux Klan, setting the precedent for his subsequent alliances with John Powell, leader of the Anglo-Saxon Clubs of America, with Earnest Sevier Cox, leader of the White America Society, and still later in the 1930s with Sen. Theodore G. Bilbo, the scourge of Mississippi black people. When Garvey spoke at Carnegie Hall on "The Future of the Black and White Races," on 23 February 1923, the audience was assured that "the Universal Negro Improvement Association believes in the purity of all races and respects the rights of all peoples." It was no mere accident, moreover, that the second volume of Garvey's Philosophy and Opinions should have begun with the statement written in October 1923 entitled, "An Appeal to the Soul of White America" (pp. 1--6).
Garvey's espousal of the doctrine of racial purity, beginning in the summer of 1921, however, did not originate with his alleged West Indian misreading of the supposedly different system of racial segmentation in America. "Not only did Garvey advocate race purity," E. D. Cronon comments in Black Moses, "but as a Jamaican black he attempted to transfer the West Indian three-way color caste system to the United States by attacking mulatto leaders" (p. 191). This view echoed Du Bois's earlier statement in his essay "Back to Africa," in which he claimed that Garvey brought to America "the new West Indian conception of the color line" (p. 541). "Imagine, then, the surprise and disgust of these Americans when Garvey launched his Jamaican color scheme," Du Bois recounted (p. 542). The same view, with only minor modification, was taken by the black sociologist Charles S. Johnson in his essay in Opportunity, August 1923, wherein he adjudged that Garvey "hated intensely things white and more intensely things near white" (p. 232). Yet in proposing the creation of a "United States of Africa" in June 1922, Garvey made it plain that his whole outlook was based upon "the White Man's civilization [as] a splendid example to Negroes."
In their attempts to comprehend the rationale behind Garvey's stance on racial purity, observers have missed the significance of Garvey's political change of course in the summer of 1921. Garvey's promulgation of the doctrine at this precise juncture served a more fundamental political purpose. If, indeed, Garvey was guilty of using the Jamaican or West Indian color-class system as his model (which American commentators have described incorrectly as a "color caste" and have said he counterposed to the traditional American system of proscription based on racial caste), such usage merely facilitated the real import of his revised political message. Prior to his reentry crisis in 1921, Garvey had not found it necessary to resort to the argument of racial purity or to attack "social equality." Garvey's decision to seek a resolution of his conflict with the American state brought about the change. His belief at the time that his political opponents conspired to use the state against him prompted him to challenge their influence by provoking the issue of "social equality" while promoting his commitment to the ideal of racial purity. This shift was made all the easier by the fact that it came after Garvey's protracted absence from America. His loss of critical contact with the pulse of the movement's rank and file probably led him to overestimate the importance of his political critics and, correspondingly, the readiness of the American state to enter into meaningful dialogue with him. Garvey's new strategy, moreover, increased the competition within black American leadership, a competition based in part on ideological differences but prompted, as well, by the desire for official sanctions and rewards.
Garvey undoubtedly felt justified in making a concerted pitch for official backing because the threat of continued official harassment would have further aggravated the twin crises of the Black Star Line's bankruptcy and the dismal collapse of the UNIA's initial attempt at Liberian colonization in the summer of 1921. For these reasons, therefore, much more was at stake than the question of opposing typologies of racial classification. Indeed, the disintegration of the UNIA as a radical political force began the moment Garvey resorted to the ideology of racial purity.
As the popular thrust of the Garvey movement was blunted, the UNIA paled in contrast to the phase when, in Garvey's own words, "the organization flared forth in all its mighty ways, and for years after held the theatre of the world spell-bound, forcing men as well as races and nations everywhere to think, and some to immediately act."
In his first published message from Jamaica following his deportation from the United States in December 1927, Garvey called for patience from his followers. "It will take me some little time," he advised them, "to write the new creed of the Association and to perfect the sign by which we shall conquer." But this was never to happen. Everything that Garvey tried would fail to reignite the old enthusiasm among the black masses.
As Garvey tried to "re-establish the confidence that the masses have in the U.N.I.A.," he contrasted his efforts to the UNIA's earlier phase of mass mobilization. "Unlike the first period of the Organization's existence," Garvey explained, "there is no flare of trumpets, there is no wave of banners, there is no beating of drums, because the time is too serious and our experiences are too rich in knowledge to make us still resort to this method of getting people together." In his last journal, the Black Man, he instituted a much less militant line in the editorial policy than had been the case with the Negro World: "The policy of the [Black Man] Magazine is based upon conditions as they actually are, and the thoughtful method of solution as far as our race is concerned. The Negro World, the official organ of the Universal Negro Improvement Association in early days was a propaganda organ. The Black Man will be a constructive mouthpiece."
Garvey made a last attempt from Jamaica to revive the demoralized UNIA with the Seventh International Convention of the Negro Peoples of the World, in August 1934. He seized upon the opportunity of his opening address to give some justification for the change in his leadership and in his outlook:
My American co-workers and whole-hearted supporters wondered why for nearly three years I remained quiet, why I did not send to them fiery messages, why I did not attempt to continue stirring them up in enthusiasm. I could not have done that to their good and benefit, because of the peculiarity of the new order. I knew they would have been hungry, I knew that they did not follow my advice in the thirteen years prior, that of economically entrenching themselves, so that they could be their own producers and masters. I realized that in the new order they were still seeking the goodwill of the man who still controlled them. This is my explanation, my friends.
The explanation reflected Garvey's decision, however, to jettison once and for all his belief in a strategy of resistance as the key to popular mobilization. He determined instead to settle on a return to the UNIA's original abstinence from political struggle. Although claiming that he viewed it as only a temporary setback, Garvey clearly admonished the delegates at the seventh convention: "Others are learning that they cannot gain much to-day by being too aggressive; we have to be very compromising, and if we have to be more compromising than other peoples, it is because of our peculiar position---a position that we have invited [upon] ourselves." In the year following the convention, Garvey again reminded his adherents that "today, the scenes have somewhat changed, and the great fight toward racial salvation has to be undertaken from different angles."
At the UNIA's eighth convention, in August 1938 in Toronto (which was to be his last), Garvey was forced to defend his leadership, not against external opposition but against criticism from within his own organization. He asserted that the administration of the UNIA "has not changed in its ultimate object, it has not differed, it has said nothing that would cause anybody with a reasonable mind to think that the UNIA is not the same Association that was started when you all knew it in the United States of America." Nonetheless, Garvey did concede that the UNIA "may have to change methods of operation, but it has not in any way changed its object."
Africa as the Site of Success
However complete the denouement of Garvey and the UNIA, Garvey's underlying purpose remained fixed. Fundamentally, Garvey conceived his racial mission as the achievement of black success. "Negroes, get busy quickly looking after yourselves and your business," Garvey exhorted, "and your business is to get as much out of the earth in common with other people as you can." The novel feature of Garvey's success creed was its combination with the doctrine of nationalism.
Because they were denied the vivifying message of success, in his view the most terrible denial of all, Garvey sought to implant in black people an energizing vision that he translated into the philosophy of racial pride. "There is a destiny of human success, of human accomplishment, being the result of human labour and human energy," Garvey declared; "let us look forward then to these things as our natural right." Garvey's black creed of pride in success promoted an autonomous Africa as the political precondition for translating his "inspiring vision" of racial progress. "Why should I lose hope, why should I give up and take a back place in this age of progress?" he asked. Instead, he linked politics and success as parts of a single vision of racial regeneration: "If I had the power of a Divine Magician," declared Garvey, "I would reach into the mind of every Negro and stir him to individual and collective action: yes, I would set him to restore the Empire of the glorious Ethiopians."
Africa thus existed ontologically for Garvey on two separate levels. The first level was vividly illustrated in the iconography of the Black Star Line, which declared: "Africa, the Land of Opportunity." Speaking at the Second International Convention of Negroes in August 1921, Garvey assured his listeners that "by our success of the last four years we will be able to estimate the grander success of a free and redeemed Africa" (Philosophy and Opinions 1:93). Through this dream of success, Garvey perceived Africa as the land of the black self-made man: "We want to build up Cities, Nations, Governments, Industries of our own in Africa," he appealed during the same year, "so that we will be able to have a chance to rise from the lowest to the highest positions in the African commonwealth." The second level was cultural and was summed up in Garvey's belief that the "world is looking for culture in the highest civilisation and that culture may be recognised as being national in its many branches." Garvey had originally assented to the older, providential view that it was necessary, as the UNIA General Objects expressed it, "to assist in civilizing the backward tribes of Africa." As events transpired, however, the belief in the redemption of a benighted Africa became transformed into a belief in the political primacy of Africa, now seen as the locus and agency of a regenerated national culture and of racial success. Said Garvey: "We may make progress in America, the West Indies and other foreign countries, but there will never be any real lasting progress until the Negro makes of Africa a strong and powerful Republic to lend protection to the success we make in foreign lands. Let us therefore unite our forces and make one desperate rush for the goal of success." Garvey thus found a reciprocal basis for what he termed "the work of redemption and accomplishments," by which he meant, simply, the gospel of success for Africans "at home and abroad."
The Success of Propaganda
If Garvey and the UNIA sounded the possibilities of success, the cultural and political dimensions of their program were dependent on forging an expansive vision of Pan-African solidarity. Garvey spelled out the theme of Pan-African fusion succinctly: "Africa will be the natural centre of Negro salvation, but Africa can only and will only play her part when properly inducted into the necessary knowledge which is to be her salvation. That knowledge must come from America, the land of present opportunities."
The force that sustained this Pan-African amalgam was what Garvey himself described as the UNIA's "twenty-five years of propaganda activity." In this view, the UNIA was a veritable black international, and, indeed, Garvey's organizing skills were well suited to this purpose: "I am reputed to be a good organizer and a good speaker and a good writer, and that has brought me into prominence." Garvey's training as a printer and journalist and its contribution to his extraordinary skill as a propagandist have yet to be sufficiently appreciated. Claude McKay, otherwise a harsh critic of Garvey, was probably the first to emphasize this aspect of Garvey's achievement when he affirmed that "[organized propaganda] was Marcus Garvey's greatest contribution to the Negro movement," adding that he saw Garvey's "pioneer work in that field [as] a feat that the men of broader understanding and sounder ideas who will follow him must continue." Hodge Kirnon offered the same assessment in 1927: "Garvey is primarily an organizer and a propagandist. . . . In these fields he is supreme." In fact, William Ferris would recall at the time of Garvey's death in 1940 how he had "sprung sensation after sensation upon a startled world, almost rivalling the tale of Aladdin's lamp and of the Arabian Nights." C. L. R. James would also stress Garvey's significance as a propagandist: "When you bear in mind the slenderness of his resources, the vast material forces and the pervading social conceptions which automatically sought to destroy him, his achievement remains one of the propagandistic miracles of this century. . . . In little more than half of ten years he made [the cause of Africa and of people of African descent] a part of the political consciousness of the world."
The ultimate justification Garvey offered for his various commercial ventures was their propagandistic function. Its acceptance was well stated by William L. Sherrill when he explained to a Liberty Hall audience in August 1923, "The Black Star Line was only a means to an end; the grocery stores and laundries were only means to that end. We started these things in an effort to show Negroes that commercially they could do big things in commercial lines." At the same time, however, Sherrill's statement is an example of the UNIA's consistent overvaluation of propaganda, which led Garvey always to link a scarcity of resources with the need to propagandize. Garvey himself made this overvaluation clear when, for instance, he declared in August 1920 that "in the conduct of a movement of the vast size and all-embracing scope as the UNIA, money is required, is indispensable; otherwise it would be impossible to spread the propaganda necessary to continue its life and gain new adherents and followers." The success of the UNIA did not ultimately extend beyond the organized propaganda stage. Sherrill admitted as much in 1923, when he reported that after five years of mass mobilization, "the program of the U.N.I.A. is in its propaganda stage."
Paradox and Prophecy
The history of Marcus Garvey and the UNIA therefore consists essentially of the several complex stages through which a "vision of success" came, in Garvey's words, to be "undertaken by an organized race group." The legacy of this phenomenon, which inspired unprecedented feelings of black unity at the time, is still felt in different parts of the black world.
Yet the relationship between Garvey and the UNIA was paradoxical. On the one hand, as Hodge Kirnon noted, the UNIA was "the outgrowth of the ideas, convictions and persistent and energetic activities of Garvey." On the other hand, the UNIA possessed an objective historical reality with a powerful dynamic all its own, and over which Garvey could exercise very little control. This phenomenon, the independent and intractable reality of the UNIA, was therefore separate from the personality of Garvey. "Once [Garvey] dominated the U.N.I.A. movement," Kirnon declared; "now, while he is the soul of it, he is very much the servant of it."
A further irony was the paradox that animated the vision behind Garvey's program of African renascence. When he spoke about "the average Negro [who] doesn't know much about the thought of the serious white man," Garvey was alluding to the side of the vision that drew upon the intellectual traditions of Euro-American culture. At the same time, however, Garvey also sought after an original source in the black racial experience as the basis for the vindication of his ideas: "What is in my mind," he told the final UNIA convention in 1938, "is purely Negro." On this basis, Garvey's definition of a Negro leader was "a man who has nothing else in his head than what concerns the Negro and leading the Negro towards it." In truth, this paradox made Garvey, in the words of Amy Ashwood Garvey, his first wife and UNIA cofounder, "a strange mixture of a man---[a mixture of] racial doubts and racial aspirations."
Despite this paradox, Garvey possessed a genuine, prophetic vision of the emancipation of Africa. In 1935, as he surveyed the world's approaching return to the battlefield, Garvey proclaimed, "There is no doubt that the Negro's chance will come when the smoke from the fire and ashes of twentieth-century civilization has blown off." This impending clash would "come with a mighty rush---a sweeping rush that will take men off their feet everywhere." When the final outbreak of war was only a matter of months away, Garvey, amid dire penury and personal and political isolation, boldly announced, "Africa is a country of the future. Her inhabitants, her everything tend toward an Africa of the natives, where they will rise to govern as other men are governing." Garvey would not live to see Africa independent, but within two decades, history would begin to prove the accuracy of Garvey's vision and give credence to his claim that it was "the Universal Negro Improvement Association that breathed the spirit of nationalism in 1918 [which] was really the precursor or forerunner to an age when nationalism would be necessary for the protection and existence of the Negro."
LOS ANGELES ROBERT A. HILL
The Marcus Garvey and UNIA Papers project formally began in June 1976 at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, under the sponsorship of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. The edition was transferred the following year to the Center for Afro-American Studies, University of California, Los Angeles. In July 1979 a two-year grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Research Materials Division, was awarded to the edition for work on the first three volumes of the Papers.
The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers are based on a comprehensive survey of all the presently available historical manuscripts and records pertaining to the life and work of Marcus Mosiah Garvey as well as to the popular worldwide organization that he f ounded and led from its inception in 1914 until his death in 1940. As the record of the only organized international mass movement of persons of African descent and as the history of a mass social phenomenon, these Papers go beyond a preoccupation with the fortunes of a single, even if major, historical figure. Their focus is as much on the participation of members and supporters as on Garvey's activities as the political leader of the movement.
During its collection phase, the project undertook a far-reaching search for the widely scattered manuscript sources. Unlike most other large-scale editions, the Garvey and UNIA Papers project was not blessed with an original, parent collection of personal or organizational records. The documents in the present collection, therefore, have been retrieved from 93 official archives that contain 119 relevant record groupings; 35 manuscript collections; and 25 private manuscript holdings, personal as well as institutional. Source locations have included the United States, Canada, Central America, the Caribbean, western Europe, Africa, and Asia. This process of recovery has made for an important methodological advantage, however, since the problem of locating the surviving documents has revealed much about how the movement spread. As the underlying process of the movement's proliferation became clearer, the process of collection was enhanced in turn.
For this edition, the project has collected approximately twenty-five thousand archival documents and original manuscripts, which represent the most comprehensive historical profile of the Garvey phenomenon ever assembled. The documents thus recovered, and upon which the edition bases its selection, fall into seven principal categories: personal correspondence of Garvey, official correspondence of the UNIA and governmental officials, organizational records of the UNIA, investigative intelligence records, legal and court records, published newspaper documents, and iconographic materials.
Mere numbers of documents and repositories, however, do not tell the complete story. Even more important than the extensive compass of the documentary sources has been their lode of rich detail, which describes the myriad organizational problems that confronted Garvey and the UNIA at each step. Moreover, close diplomatic relations between the United States and western European countries with colonial possessions in Africa created a considerable traffic of political intelligence relating to Garvey and the UNIA, which fills a critical aspect of the movement's international character.
Recovery of these important official records compensates in part for the destruction or loss of most of the UNIA's organizational records, which, along with the loss of Garvey's personal papers, represents a great liability to historical research. The major loss has been the records of the UNIA's supervising parent body, which underwent a major disturbance when the United States District Attorney's office seized the records in 1922 as evidence to be used in the mail fraud trial of Garvey and his associates. Later, in September of the same year, a fire in the basement of the three-story brick building that housed the main offices of the UNIA and the Negro World destroyed a part of their joint archives. The parent body's remaining records were further dispersed after February 1925 because of the outbreak of violent factional strife within the UNIA's leadership immediately following Garvey's imprisonment for mail fraud. Soon afterward, successive foreclosures caused the UNIA parent body to move to rented quarters, a fact that further disrupted the records. Whether the remaining parent body's records or only a portion of them were transferred to Jamaica after Garvey was deported is still not known. Finally, when he moved his headquarters from Jamaica to London, in March 1935, Garvey was forced to leave behind in Jamaica the great majority of his records, which were subsequently lost when the UNIA's headquarters in Jamaica fell under the auction hammer as a result of mortgage foreclosure. Finally, the wartime devastation of London in 1941 and 1942 destroyed the records accumulated and stored at Garvey's final headquarters.
A similar loss has afflicted the documentary sources of other black radical movements throughout the greater part of African-American history. For our immediate purposes, however, when we examine the period after 1918, we see that the record of destruction presents the same limiting picture. In a list of "colored newspapers" by the National Negro Press Association in November 1923, it was reported that there were "upward of 300 Negro [weekly] newspapers published in the United States," a number more than double the 141 newspapers published in the period of 1916 to 1919. Of the 18 cited as "the better publications" by the National Negro Press Association in 1923, copies of only 6 newspapers are available today, representing approximately 2 percent of the overall total. For the entire period of 1916 to 1923, the number of surviving black newspapers increased to 12 out of a total of more than 300. The only factors to alleviate this bleak situation are the newspaper clipping collections developed by Hampton Institute's George P.&bsp;Peabody Library and the Tuskegee Institute News Clippings File, 1899--1966, begun by the famous Tuskegee Institute archivist and sociologist Monroe N. Work.
Garvey's Literary Legacy
To date there has been only a single attempt to edit Garvey's extant speeches and writings. This was The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey, compiled by Garvey's second wife, Amy Jacques Garvey, from material that had appeared mostly in the Negro World. Published in two volumes, the entire work was intentionally propagandistic and apologetic. When the first volume was published in early 1923, Garvey was engaged in a campaign to attract support for his legal defense against a federal mail fraud indictment, and this placed a politically self-serving character on the production of the text. This fact also explains why none of Garvey's speeches and writings from the UNIA's radical phase, between 1918 and February 1921, were chosen for the volume. Yet this radical period holds the key to an understanding of the explosive rise of the movement. Garvey's earlier controversial statements, however, were obviously considered a political liability, in light of his attempt to cultivate a "liberal" image in order to create a degree of acceptability to the American establishment as well as to highlight the element of political persecution in the government's indictment. Thus, the first volume of Garvey's Philosophy and Opinions serves mainly to delineate the strategic turn in the political line of the UNIA; unfortunately, it has institutionalized a distorted picture of the militant stage of the UNIA and its mass following.
The second volume merely continued this revisionist strategy. When it appeared in the fall of 1925, Garvey had begun serving sentence in the Atlanta federal penitentiary, and his overriding objective at this time was to secure an executive pardon and commutation of his five-year prison sentence. His wife-editor later described how Garvey intended to attract political support through the publication of the second volume:
I thought I had done almost the impossible, when I was able to rush a first copy of Vol. II to him, but he callously said, 'Now I want you to send free copies to Senators, Congressmen and prominent men who might become interested in my case, as I want to make another application for a pardon.'. . . After two weeks he telephoned me to come and bring all acknowledgements of books sent; then he informed me that as soon as I was stronger, I should make a list of the favorable ones, and go to the capital to lobby on his behalf.
It should be clear from such testimony that both volumes of Garvey's Philosophy and Opinions have to be used with care in the scholarly evaluation of his literary legacy. There is also a further reason for caution. In attempting to establish the text of a speech by Garvey contained in the first volume of Philosophy and Opinions, Randall K. Burkett discovered that "the religious language has there been altered by Mrs. Garvey so that the familiar passage from Psalms 68:31 is substituted in place of some of Garvey's more rhapsodical passages concerning Jesus." Burkett also disclosed that "numerous other changes from the Negro World versions have been made in this and many of the speeches published in Philosophy and Opinions."
Principles of Editorial Selection, Transcription, and Annotation
The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers will be published as a letterpress edition of selected documents reflecting: first, the personal and political career of Garvey; second, the history and spread of the UNIA; and third, the external response to both Garvey and the UNIA from official and unofficial quarters. It is thus our objective to offer, as far as is possible, a comprehensive reconstruction of the origin, development, and spread of the UNIA under Garvey's leadership, between its founding in 1914 and his death in 1940. While a few areas remain for which documentation is not yet available, we hope that as the edition progresses, new discoveries of documents will continue to be made. These will be announced and published whenever possible.
Among the documents that are now recovered, highest priority in selection is given to Garvey's correspondence and written manuscripts. In cases where Garvey wrote identical letters to several individuals, the one selected has been the letter considered to have had the greatest impact. Garvey's published writings have been selectively used to avoid unnecessary repetition of subject matter. Recipients' copies of letters are used whenever possible, but file copies, retained draft copies, and transcripts are used in the event that an original text cannot be located.
The next priority of selection is given to second- and third-party material. Second-party documents comprise letters and documents addressed to Garvey and/or the UNIA, while third-party documents consist of contemporary letters, documents, and published material containing information about Garvey and/or the UNIA. Third-party documents, particularly intelligence dossiers and secret or confidential official correspondence, frequently contain, in addition to data on Garvey and the UNIA, extensive information about other closely related individuals and groups. In such cases, the relevant material has been extracted from the document, and the extrapolation has been indicated by ellipses.
The transcription of the text is governed by rules that are set out in detail in the statement of Editorial Principles and Practices (see p. xcvii). The text thus established also employs specific textual devices, so that a critical text as well as one that is authentically descriptive of the original document is produced. The edition has not encountered the usual dilemma of most historical editing, namely, a choice between "exact reproduction" and "modernization" of text, since the documents conform to modern usage throughout.
Regarding annotation, information pertaining to biographical, textual, historical, and bibliographical matters is provided in two ways: first, in a fully descriptive source note showing the provenance of the document as well as its textual character by means of editorial abbreviations and symbols, and second, in a series of numbered explanatory footnotes. All reasonable effort has been made to identify personal names, but many of the persons who were active participants in the UNIA have proved impossible to identify. Annotation of individuals is made upon their first appearance, although additional information may be presented at subsequent stages where necessary. Extended biographical essays on a number of key figures annotated in the text are presented in appendix I. The essays, based on original primary research, were necessitated by the scarcity of reliable biographical data in the secondary literature. The reader can either consult them in conjunction with the relevant texts in the volume or they can be read separately. Since many documents frequently are valuably annotated by information contained in documents that appear elsewhere in the volume, cross-referencing will be possible through the Index.
Plan of Publication
Publication of the edition is based on three broad divisions. The Main Series consists of documents that record both the political career of Garvey and the history of the UNIA in the United States of America. It will include the records of Garvey's leadership which directly relate to the evolution of the UNIA in America, in spite of his absence from the country following deportation to Jamaica in 1927. The African Series contains the documents recording the spread of the UNIA and Garvey's ideology throughout sub-Saharan Africa. The Caribbean Series records the impact of the UNIA throughout the Caribbean as well as among the circum-Caribbean population areas of Central and South America.
Decisions on ordering the documents have been far from easy. Criteria have been the principal relevance of a document and its origin. For example, the UNIA's spread throughout Europe's colonial empire in Africa and the Caribbean moved centrifugally from the UNIA's American base. At the same time, the UNIA's spread confronted a wide array of political counter-responses from European imperial governments. Most of the documents recording these responses have been placed within the African and Caribbean series. The Main Series, however, was chosen for documents that relate chiefly to evaluation of the United States government's request for information or investigative findings. Similarly, correspondence between European diplomats in America and various officials of the United States government has been retained as part of the Main Series. In essence, the three series encompass the whole range of reciprocal actions that trace the network established between the UNIA's parent body in America and UNIA divisions and chapters throughout the United States, the Caribbean, and Africa, and, correspondingly, between interests that felt threatened by the Garvey movement. A reading of all three series is ultimately essential to an accurate understanding of the UNIA's complexity as an international movement.
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