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26.09.2011 07:32 Age: 7 yrs
Category: engl Karibik Allgemein / Politik

One More Reason to Exonerate Marcus Garvey: Gratitude

What goesaround…comes around. Both good and bad. In this case, it is my gratitude to Marcus Garvey, who has inspiredmy writing and the creationof this blog, which has fueled my desire for his exoneration.
I taughtMarcus Garvey for many years and the typical response of my students, if theyhad heard the name Marcus Garvey, was similar to the scene Justin Hansford describes in "Jailinga Rainbow":
Garvey' Oh yeah, that Back to Africa guy, right' Didn’t hehave some crazy scheme to put Black people on a ship and send them to Africa tocreate some empire in the jungle or something' Well, that’s pretty crazy! That’swhy it never worked anyway.
The firsttime, I heard those words or similar sentiments, my blood boiled. But I learned "tokeep cool." Marcus would have liked that. They were students--young,inexperienced, innocent. And I was their teacher, so I would have to teachthem.
I'd have toteach them that Marcus Garvey's mission was more than the Black Star Line. That the Black Star Line was one of theexpressions of Garvey's mission: the upliftment of Africans. I'd have to teachthem that Garvey's quest began from an epiphany after he had witnessed the many injusticesagainst New World Africans:
I was determined that the black man would not continue to bekicked about, as I had seen in Central America, and as I read of it in America.Where is the black man's government' Where is his King and his kingdom' Whereis his President, his country, his men of big affairs' I could not find them,and then I declared, 'I will help to make them.' My brain was afire.

Garveyrecognized the systemic nature of the oppression, which Rastafari would later name as Babylon. It was a s[h]ystem, as Peter Tosh would say that was foundedon injustice because it excluded New World Africans from competing for the goodand services in the national and world economy. This system was enforcedeconomically and militarily to enslave the bodies of New World Africans. Butthe most effective method was the insidious propaganda:Africans were inferior to Europeans. In other words, White privilege  was the norm and anything else was, well...not proper.
Notonly did Europeans and their descendants promote this propaganda (and why shouldn'tthey' They were rational agents acting out of self-interest), but Africans andtheir descendants also believed this and sometimes acted against their ownself-interests. Hence, Malcolm X'sobservation about field slaves and house slaves.
MarcusGarvey sought to establish a countercultureof resistance of European values while at the same time building a solideconomic base for New World Africans, which he hoped would increase their self-reliance,self-esteem, and sense of identity. Garvey rightly diagnosed the centralchallenge within the Black community, which is revealed in how we think about eachother and ourselves: As Man Thinks So Is He.

MarcusGarvey's cause was justice, plain and simple. And it is ironic that unjustmethods were used to malign his good name and to bring about hiseventual imprisonment on fraudulent charges.
Yet,despite the calumnies brought against him, Marcus Garvey continued to work forjustice and freedom of Africans. I imagine him every day putting on his suitand his hat and working for the liberation of his people. Some days it wasglitzy and glamorous, like speaking to thousands of supporters in MadisonSquare Garden and on other days, it was dodging stones from misguided children.
Butthis is the nature of the struggle…a lutacontinua…. day-by-day, brick by brick…one mind at a time.
Marcuswas fighting for something larger than himself and as a teacher who encounterson a daily basis the effects of this lack of identity, lack of self-esteem andself-reliance, the exoneration of Marcus Garvey's name, it is hoped, will  clear the name of a Black man who was unjustlyconvicted; honor the legacy of  a hero inthe struggle for Black identity, and draw attention to the work of MarcusGarvey, especially his ideas about personalresponsibility and success, which are sorely needed in our community.
Therefore,we are petitioning President Barack Obama to  exonerateMarcus Mosiah Garvey  and toclear his good name.

Here is the link to sign thepetition: ShortURL:   wh.gov/gW7

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