The foundation of our liberation is economic and educational independence based on racial solidarity.
In 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. We 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 MosiahGarvey 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.”
When 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.
This was one of the major problems that the Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey addressed during his lifetime and that Minister Louis Farrakhan continues to address.
As Dr. Tony Martin writes in his book Race First: The Ideological and Organizational Struggles of Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association, 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 house. Mr. 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, and Africa.
African people do not control our economic resources at the level we should.
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 President General. On August 2,
1920, after a massive parade of thousands of well drilled, uniformed
ranks of the UNIA, 35,000 delegates from all over 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
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 is 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
BlackCommentator.com Columnist, Conrad W. Worrill, PhD, is the National Chairman Emeritus of the National Black United Front (NBUF). Click hereto contact Dr. Worrill.