The 79th annual Marcus Garvey Black Power Parade, which treks through Central Harlem, is scheduled for this Saturday afternoon. It departs from the corner of 124th Street and Marcus Garvey Park West, at the very park which honors his legacy. This is one of the oldest traditions honoring an African ancestor in the Western hemisphere.
Born Aug. 17, 1887, in St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica, he would go on to navigate the African diaspora seeking the commonality amongst his people. He utilized the common means of that time to spread his message and accomplish this goal, primarily the printed word.
Through his self-published The Negro World newspaper he amassed millions of loyal readers worldwide who sought the empowering information it provided. With the newspaper published in six different languages, he was sure to reach many Africans, regardless to which foreign powers they had been previously colonized by.
As an integral participant in the reinvigorating Harlem Renaissance during the 1920s, he joined intellectual forces with many prominent like-minded Africans who also called NYC home, namely Arturo Schomburg, A. Phillip Randolph and Hubert Harrison, just to name a few.
Garvey’s United Negro Improvement Association set up chapters across the globe and advocated Black Nationalism. It was a major influence on many movements which came after it. It consistently advocated Black self-determination, self-empowerment, self-love and self-reliance, which also immensely helped to raise people’s self-esteem.
“Always try to associate with people from whom you can learn something. All the knowledge that you want is in the world, and all you have to do is seek it,” said Garvey.
Garvey also said, “We must give up the silly idea of folding our hands and waiting on God to do everything for us. If God had intended for that, then he would not have given us a mind. Whatever you want in life, you must make up your mind to do it for yourself.”
Upon Garvey making his transition on June 10, 1940, his loyal lieutenant Carlos A. Cooks and his African Nationalist Pioneer Movement implemented this annual festivity in his honor.
Participants are asked to gather at 5p.m. at the corner of 124th Street and Mt. Morris Park West (near 5th Avenue), and be ready to leave at 6 p.m. Other events are scheduled throughout the weekend.
“The events begin at 12:30 p.m., continuing until 10 p.m. at the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building’s Community Garden,” said Sister Yaa-Asante Waa, ANPM administrator.