Marcus Garvey: “The Principles of the Universal Negro Improvement Association”

(1922)

Long before the term Black Power became a rallying cry for dispossessed communities throughout the African diaspora, the noted Jamaican activist Marcus Mosiah Garvey gained international recognition for opposing power arrangements that adversely affected the life chances and experiences of African-descended peoples. Presenting universal truths that transcended geographical, class, and national boundaries, Garvey built a global, Pan-African movement that galvanized blacks from the dirt roads of Clarksdale, Mississippi, to the impoverished streets of Kingston, Jamaica. No small factor in Garvey’s massive appeal was the self-determinist impulse, a dominant theme in his classic 1922 speech “The Principles of the Universal Negro Improvement Association” (UNIA). Over the course of this energetic and impassioned address, which Garvey delivered in New York City on November 25, 1922, the UNIA leader assails the arrogance of white privilege, decries those who embrace a politics of...

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Marcus Garvey (Library of Congress)

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