Marcus Garvey’s Biography

The work and philosophy of The Right Excellent Dr. Marcus Mosiah Garvey represents many things to many people. Whatever people may think of him or his efforts for the race, Dr. Garvey had: “One God”,One Aim”, “One Destiny” for his life. That aim was the “Redemption of Africa“. To that he subsumed everything, even his personal life.

The work and philosophy of Dr. Garvey is therefore a paradigm for the intentions he held with respect to Africa and the people that were dispersed from its’ shores. Some left independently others were brutally removed for economic gain and exploitation. Within the paradigm Dr. Garvey furthered; for the continuum of his work and the future of the race; are the elements of redemption and uplift of his race. In order to make this a living reality Dr. Garvey established the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League in 1914 in Jamaica. Through the UNIA-ACL Dr. Garvey conveyed the view, like other African Leaders and organizations before him, that until Africa is free and redeemed, not only in name but dignity, no one would be free, Black or White. Dr. Garvey held the belief of the “Brotherhood of Man”. Through this precept he attempted to convey that whatever ones’ race we are all bound together by the Creator which is Spirit. The Creator has purpose. That purpose does not include being made a slave or subjugated for any circumstances.

The Right Excellent Dr. Marcus Mosiah Garvey was born in Jamaica at St. Anns Bay located on the North Coast of the Island on August 17, 1887. He deceased on June 10, 1940 in Fulham London, England. Many see him as a prophet. Rastafarians liken him to John the Baptist because he conveyed through his utterances and example the sacredness of maintaining the continuity and nationhood of the vast Continent and its’ people wherever they are on the globe. Circumstances surrounding his passing have never been investigated or made public hence leaving an air of mystery and concern about the details of his decease.

In 1987, for the Centenary of his birth, the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, in keeping with international celebrations of his life and work, established a park in honor of The Right Excellent Dr. Marcus Mosiah Garvey on North End Road in Fulham. It is located near the Olympia Exhibition Center. On the same day a plaque was unveiled on the house where he deceased. Both events were opened by Mayor Janet Adagoke, a Nigerian, for Hammersmith and Fulham. The Mayor was supported in her duties by: the Jamaican High Commission as well as Lord and Lady Pitt of Hampstead. A plaque placed on the house in Fulham where Dr. Garvey conducted the affairs of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League has been hidden by a gutter and paint. A sign was placed in the Park to identify its’ importance. It has since been maliciously removed and not replaced. Communications have taken place with the Planning Department and Environmental Services of Hammersmith and Fulham Council for several years concerning the status of the Marcus Garvey Park and  Memorials. These are the departments known to have responsibility for these matters. However they have not carried out any satisfactory maintenance on the Park or Memorials in keeping with the stature of the beloved national hero of Jamaica. The Hammersmith and Fulham Council have agreed in principal that the Garvey Memorials are in need of additional attention.

The North End Road of the Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, since the 60’s, has been known for its’ right wing activities characterized by the National Front Movement. The Hero for the National Front, at the time, was Enoch Powell who made the much publicized Rivers of Blood” speech. In this speech he predicted that the streets of England would run with blood as a result of racial violence and disturbances. Enoch Powells’ words rang true, with the publication of the Scarman Report by Her Majesty’s Government (relating to civil disturbances in Brixton April 10-12 1981 arising from Swamp Operations of British Police); as well as recent racial bombings in Brixton and the East End of London. These bombings resulted in deaths and untold grief.

Nevertheless, racial violence is not new to Britain. One has only to examine the period during World War I and the attacks in British seaport towns on Black servicemen and seamen. A representative was sent to Europe, by the US President, from the Tuskegee Institute to investigate complaints from Black Servicemen regarding racial bias from both the British and American military. In addition the international eugenics movement had an impact on the military through its’ emphasis on “Racial Hygiene”. This encouraged racial separation and I.Q. testing by the US military. The influence of eugenics in the military during WWI was based on the faulty premise of the innate inferiority of Blacks and the supposed superiority of Whites. The basis of this was the inappropriate use of the science of ethnology and other adverse propaganda.

The military of both countries regulated Black servicemen to degrading and demeaning work on grounds of race. Men directly from the African Continent were termed “Natives” and; based on British Constitutional law and policy; excluded from access to equal opportunities with white British servicemen. African Americans were excluded from access to equal opportunities based on “Jim Crow” laws in the United States. Their status was simply that of “niggers” serving in the US military. Lack of access to hospitals and medical attention led to a disproportionate number of deaths amongst Black servicemen. Those Blacks who became officers were non commissioned and responsible only for Black Servicemen. Initially; when they were finally allowed to enter the war effort; Black Nurses could only provide medical care to Black servicemen. The Garvey Movement, particularly the Universal African Black Cross Nurses, contributed to the health and social care of Black servicemen returning from World War I. On returning, to the US, African American servicemen were lynched and degraded North and South by many whites because of their race.