“If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life,” said Marcus Garvey.
Grassroots activists around the globe will commemorate the 129th anniversary of the birthday of Black nationalist icon Marcus Mosiah Garvey this Wednesday, Aug. 17, with a number of cultural events worldwide. The annual tradition is one of the longest running tributes to an African ancestor throughout the diaspora.
Some wonder how large of a movement Garvey would be able to amass if he were physically alive today, with the current technology available at his disposal.
“Garvey reached several millions worldwide with his newspaper, The Negro World, nearly a century ago,” noted Brooklyn activist and social critic, La Meh Nua. “Nowadays people have the internet, social media, YouTube, pushin’ nonsense on there, and get excited with a few thousand followers or views. Just imagine how far Garvey’s words would travel and how many people he’d reach, today?”
Partly inspired by pan-African progenitors Hubert Harrison and Edward Wilmot Blyden, Garvey ardently advocated for Africans throughout the diaspora to unite and become an unstoppable force in combating European imperialism.
“Garvey had the largest worldwide movement of Africans working together for a common cause,” stated street scholar, Brother Sekou. “At that time Africa was colonized by Europe and the United States, who wanted to stop him because Garvey’s efforts were breaking the chains that they have had on our minds and our bodies.”
Garvey in his own words: “Never forget that intelligence rules the world and ignorance carries the burden. Therefore, remove yourself as far from ignorance as possible and seek as far as possible to be intelligent.”
The 76th annual Black Power Parade commemorating Garvey’s birthday was established in 1940 shortly after his passing by his lieutenant Carlos Cooks. It departs at 5 p.m. from the northwest corner of the park which now bears his name, on 124th Street in Central Harlem.