Editorial

Spread Marcus Garvey's life and teachings even more

Thursday, August 17, 2017

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On this date 130 years ago, in St Ann's Bay, the Jamaican couple of Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Sr, a mason, and Sarah Jane Richards, a domestic worker, welcomed into the world a son who eventually grew to become one of the most influential and inspirational black leaders of his era.

In fact, so respected was he that the Universal Negro Improvement Association he founded in 1914 — when he was just 27 years old — to better the lives of people of Africa and the African Diaspora was able to boast a membership of four million by 1920.

Today, no one can dispute that National Hero The Right Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jr's ideas and work have been foundational to all struggles for the liberation of black people everywhere since his untimely death in June 1940 at the still young age of 52.

That fact was befittingly pointed out by American black leader Malcolm X who is reported as saying, “Every time you see another nation on the African continent become independent you know that Marcus Garvey is alive. Had it not been for Marcus Garvey and the foundations laid by him, you would find no independent nations in the Caribbean today. All of the freedom movement that is taking place right here in America today was initiated by the work and teachings of Marcus Garvey.”

We reiterate that the importance of Mr Garvey is not only in the example he set by his leadership and accomplishments, but derives from the fact that many of his goals are yet to be fulfilled. Additionally, his philosophies and teachings are still very relevant to the people of Africa, and indeed the globally dispersed people of African descent.

That is one of the reasons that we are looking forward to the documentary being produced on his life by film-maker Mr Roy Anderson in collaboration with Mr Garvey's son, Dr Julius Garvey.

We expect that this film will give viewers not just an insight into Mr Garvey's personal life, but will demonstrate the value and relevance of his philosophy and teachings to youngsters today — black youngsters, in particular —many of whom are uncomfortable about their race.

We also hope that after its completion and release the film will be shown in schools, universities, and in communities across the island as there are still too many of our people who have no sense of identity and who, straddled by a sense of entitlement, have grown materialistic.

We will forever be grateful to professors Robert Hill and Rupert Lewis, two exceptional Jamaican scholars, who have made it their life's mission to keep Mr Garvey's name and teachings at the forefront of people's minds.

The body of work on Mr Garvey produced by both men is more than impressive and should be recommended reading for students and other individuals who need to know our history in order to better appreciate who we are as a people.

We hope that the nation will today pay due respect to its first national hero and the man who some people called “The Black Moses”.

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