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Marcus Garvey Calls for Pan-Africanism and Race Pride

Marcus Garvey, a Jamaican immigrant, was the leader of the largest black mass movement in the nation's history.  His Universal Negro Improvement Association, which had chapters throughout the U.S., the Caribbean and Africa, promoted race pride, economic self-sufficiency in the black community, and pan-Africanism.  At its height, the U.N.I.A. boasted millions of members, a shipping line that connected North America, the Caribbean and Africa, and a weekly newsletter.  Garveyism was a welcome alternative to racism, assimilation, or colonialism for black people in the United States and around the world.  


...I embrace this opportunity of writing to you to convey the hearty good wishes of the first International Convention of Negroes...  

We wrote fifty-four articles into the Declaration of Rights, and those articles we have given to the world with the warning, with the understanding that four hundred million Negroes will sacrifice the last drop of their blood to see that every article comes true. No more fear, no more cringing, no more sycophantic begging and pleading; but the Negro must strike straight from the shoulder for manhood rights and for full liberty. Africa calls now more than ever...

You have made me President General of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League, a social, industrial and commercial organization.  This organization seeks no warfare; it seeks not to deprive others of what is theirs; it seeks to build an economic base for the NEgro wheresoever he lives. Please give to this organization all the help you possibly can. Help it to become a power of commercial strength so that, as we and our children grow into older manhood, we may be able to find a way by which to live so as to preserve our own existence.  

Steamships must be bought and built. In countries like Liberia railroads must be built. Industrial plants must go up if the race is to rise in greatness. Are you prepared to do your part? Men, can you be a commercial power by bowing at the footstools of other races? Can you become and industrial power by giving all energy and wealth to other races? The answer is No. But you can become a great commercial and industrial power by amassing and pooling your own industries and forming your own commercial enterprises...

[Let] us also remember the Black Star Line Steamship Corporation. The command has gone forth, "Ships and more ships." Africa must be linked to the United States of America. Africa must be linked to South and Central America. Africa must be linked to the West Indies, so that there can be an unbroken intercourse between the four hundred million Negroes of the world...


Source | Marcus Garvey, Editorial Letter, Negro World, 11 September 1920.
Creator | Marcus Garvey
Item Type | Newspaper/Magazine
Cite This document | Marcus Garvey, “Marcus Garvey Calls for Pan-Africanism and Race Pride,” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed November 28, 2023,

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