It is quite clear that African people in America continue to be
miseducated. This problem is discussed in a variety of ways in
conversations everyday in our communities throughout America.
From time to time we should consult the wisdom of those who have
addressed this problem whom we may have forgotten. One such person
who addressed this problem is the Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey,
when he presented his formula for learning in his courses on African
Philosophy in the 1930s. I think it is only appropriate to review Mr.
Garvey’s formula for learning as we continue to build the
Reparations Movement and seek specific guideposts to our development
as a people.
These lessons and guideposts in learning can be found in Message to the People: The Course of African Philosophy, edited by Dr. Tony Martin.
Lesson 1: One must never stop reading. Read everything that
you can read, that is of standard knowledge. Don’t waste time
reading trashy literature. The idea is that personal experience is
not enough for a human to get all the useful knowledge of life,
because the individual life it too short, so we must feed on the
experience of others.
Lesson 2: Read history incessantly until you master it. This
means your own national history, the history of the world, social
history, industrial history, and the history of the different
sciences; but primarily, the history of man. If you do not know what
went on before you came here and what is happening at the time you
live, but away from you, you will not know the world and will be
ignorant of the world and mankind.
Lesson 3: To be able to read intelligently, you must first be
able to master the language of your country. To do this, you must be
well acquainted with its grammar and the science of it. People judge
you by your writing and your speech. If you write badly and
incorrectly they become prejudiced towards your intelligence, and if
you speak badly and incorrectly, those who hear you become disgusted
and will not pay much attention to you, but in their hearts laugh
Lesson 4: A leader who is to teach men and present any fact
of truth to man must first be taught in his subject.
Lesson 5: Never write or speak on a subject you know nothing
about, for there is always somebody who knows that particular subject
to laugh at you or to ask you embarrassing questions that may make
others laugh at you.
Lesson 6: You should read four hours a day. The best time to
read is in the evening after you have retired from your work and
after you have rested and before sleeping hours, but do so before
morning, so that during your sleeping hours what you read may become
subconscious, that is to say, planted in your memory.
Lesson 7: Never keep the constant company of anybody who
doesn’t know as much as you or (is) as educated as you, and from
whom you cannot learn something from or reciprocate your learning.
Lesson 8: Continue always in the application of the things you
desire educationally, culturally, or otherwise, and never give up
until you reach your objective.
Lesson 9: Try never to repeat yourself in any one discourse in
saying the same thing over and over again except when you are making
new points, because repetition is tiresome and it annoys those who
hear the repetition.
Lesson 10: Knowledge is power. When you know a thing and can
hold your ground on that thing and win over your opponents on that
thing, those who hear you learn to have confidence in you and will
trust your ability.
Lesson 11: In reading books written by white authors, of
whatever kind, be aware of the fact that they are not written for
your particular benefit of your race. They always write from their
own point of view and only in the interest of their own race.
Garvey had many other lessons of learning, in his formula that
journalistic constraints will not allow me to elaborate at this time.
However, I encourage you to read Message to the People: The Course of African Philosophy (The New Marcus Garvey Library, and as we celebrate
begin to internalize and incorporate these “Lessons In Learning.”