this present era of economic and educational onslaught against
the African Community in America,
it is important that we understand that the rise of the
African Centered Education Movement should be linked to
our quest for economic independence.
must free the “African mind” through African Centered Educational
activities so that we might better understand the importance
of economic self-reliance.
model that we draw strength from in pursuing economic and
educational liberation is the model established by the Honorable
Marcus Mosiah Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement
Association (UNIA) in the 1920s.
more I read and study about Marcus Garvey, the more I am
amazed at the great contributions he made to African people
to become a self reliant and self sufficient people. At
the core of Marcus Garvey’s program was his urging of African
people to acquire education and economic power. As he always
started, “A race without power is a race without respect.”
we examine the economic condition of Africans in America, and throughout the world, we find one
glaring problem - African people do not control our economic
resources at the level we should. This is primarily due
to our miseducation as a people. In a disproportionate manner,
African people depend on the European and Asian world for
food, clothing, and shelter. More often than not, the European
and Asian worlds are the producers, processors, distributors,
and wholesalers. African people are the consumers.
was one of the major problems that the Honorable Marcus
Mosiah Garvey addressed during his lifetime and that Minister
Louis Farrakhan continues to address.
Dr. Tony Martin writes in his book Race
First: The Ideological and Organizational Struggles of Marcus
Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association (Contributions
in Afro-American and African Studies, No. 19) , which is one of the best books written on the
works of Marcus Garvey, “Marcus Garvey, unlike his major
rivals in the United States, built a mass organization that
went beyond civil-rights agitation and protest and based
itself upon a definite, well thought out program that he
believed would lead to the total emancipation of the race
from white dominion.”
implement his program, Garvey set up the Negro Factories
Corporation (NFC). Its objective was to build and operate
factories in the big industrial centers of the United
States, Central America, the Caribbean,
and Africa. The NFC established a chain
of cooperative grocery stores, a restaurant, a steam laundry,
tailor and dressmaking shop, a millinery store, and a publishing
Garvey also established a steamship company, The Black Star
Line. He envisioned a fleet of steamers carrying passengers
and establishing trade among African people of the United
States, Central America, the Caribbean,
the summer of 1920, Garvey launched his full blown program
at the First Annual Convention of the Universal Negro Improvement
Association (UNIA) of which he was the founder and first
August 2, 1920, after a massive parade of thousands of well
drilled, uniformed ranks of the UNIA, 35,000 delegates from
allover the United States and some twenty-five countries
convened at Madison Square Garden, in New York City. It
was, according to the New York Times, one of the
largest gatherings in the history of the hall.
Martin explains that, “Central to the ideological basis
underpinning Garvey’s program was the question of race.
For Garvey, the Black man was universally oppressed on racial
grounds, and no matter how much people try to shy away from
this issue, the fact is, this is still true today.”
Malcolm X used to say, it was our Blackness “which caused
so much hell not our identity as Elks, Masons, Baptists
or Methodists.” If we are ever to become a liberated people
this idea must be deeply rooted in the day to day organizing
and mobilizing of our people as we seek economic and educational
liberation. Far too many Africans in America
have abandoned this idea in their organizing projects.
Garvey understood that the foundation of our liberation
was economic and educational independence based on racial
solidarity. There are numerous lessons we can learn from
the legacy of the Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey. Without
economic independence tied to the acquisition of political
power, African people in America
and African people everywhere will continue to be the subjects
of the whims of other people.
this regard, Garvey said, “...you can be educated in soul,
vision and feeling, as well as in mind. To see your enemy
and know him is a part of the complete education of man...
Develop yours and you become as great and full of knowledge
as the other fellow without entering the classrooms.”
Columnist, Conrad W. Worrill, PhD, is the National Chairman
of the National Black United Front (NBUF). Click here
to contact Dr. Worrill.