Indeed, Marcus Garvey was a great man. I arrived at this conclusion after putting his life into perspective! From then on, I understood the man better — and his greatness shone brightly through. Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr — as he was affectionately called — came into this world on the 17th of August 1887. He was born on the Island of Jamaica to a father who worked as a mason. His mother was a domestic worker. Marcus’ father was a bookworm. The man read everything and shunned nothing! Of course, he passed this trait on to his son without knowing. So, Marcus Garvey grew up with an insatiable appetite for knowledge. He would become a ferocious reader and a lover of books — just like his old man. Marcus’ love for adventure compelled him to leave the Island of Jamaica for Central America. England was to be his next stop! Whilst in England, he corresponded with Booker T. Washington — the African American author, educator, philosopher and Civil Rights Leader.
On the 23rd of March 1916, Marcus Garvey boarded a ship for America. He arrived in the United States at a time — when segregation was in full effect. Racism dictated every day living! You had, for instance, Black and White schools. Blacks couldn’t worship with Whites in the same church. Public places — like restaurants were segregated. Blacks could eat in a restaurant alright! However, they were designated at the back where the White customers couldn’t see them. The transport corporations held the same policy. Their policy was; if you’re Black, get in the back. All over America, Blacks were being lynched, raped and murdered by their White oppressors. It’s documented in the American Constitution that Blacks are 3/5 of a human being! And so, the Blacks were treated as such until Marcus Garvey, Jr started a movement to debunk this nonsense. By doing so, Marcus became a threat to the racist establishment of America. J. Edgar Hoover— the FBI director at that time — called Marcus Garvey the negro agitator! For Marcus, it was the beginning of the end for his popular movement. He would be ruined!
On the 30th of June 1960, the Republic of Congo became an independent African country. A brilliant man by the name of Patrice Lumumba was sworn into office as the country’s first prime minister. From the word go, Patrice wanted to right the wrong. In other words, he wanted to give back to his people what he felt had been stolen from them. Their sense of dignity and pride, to be precise. So, he held the Belgian colonizers accountable. He brought their crimes and shame to light. In brief, he accused them of wrongful doing. Of course, the Belgians were displeased with him. They felt disgraced! Mind you, the colonizers were expecting a leader who would bow lowly before them — not someone who would question their authority! They were very disappointed in Lumumba — to say the least. Patrice’s bravery was considered an affront — his honesty a thorn. King Baudouin of Belgium, who had previously offered his assistance to Patrice, changed his mind. For Patrice, the clouds were gathering. The die was cast!
In Ghana, Dr Kwame Nkrumah rose in our midst. A shinning star! His message was simple. The unity of all African states for the benefit of all Africans. Now, not only did Dr Kwame Nkrumah talk the talk — he also walked the walk. He helped finance some of the revolutions — which resulted in the independence of some African countries. Dr Nkrumah saw the bigger picture! For instance; he saw a continent with one economy with a single currency to match — just like Maummar al-Qaddafi. He saw a continent where raw materials become finished products for sale. This wasn’t a bad idea. No! In fact, it was very progressive for its time. But, what happened? Well, we all know what happened. Dr Nkrumah was betrayed! And, do you who did it? We did it! Yes, the West wasn’t in favor of a united Africa. It’s not a secret! In fact, they have never been in favor of us uniting — and understandably so. Mind you, a united Africa is more powerful than an atomic bomb. They know it — and it is the truth! That said, the West cannot keep us disunited unless we want to remain disunited ourselves. The West cannot keep us down unless we allow them to do so.
Unfortunately, we have always sided with the West to keep ourselves down. We have always collaborated with them to thwart our progress. We have always collaborated with them to either overthrow or assassinate our astute leaders. The record has shown! Marcus Garvey was betrayed by his own people. And, who are they? Black people! Patrice Lumumba was betrayed by his own people. And, who are they? Black people! Dr Nkrumah was betrayed by his own people. And, who are they? Black people! You see, we Africans are our own enemies. We seem to be self-destructive! Any leader who has ever sought our ascension has been brought down by our own hands — not the West. We betray them in life and then build statues to honor them in death. Indeed, how foolish. But, what can we do? This is our way! The late Bob Marley once asked; how long shall they kill our prophets — whilst we stand aside and look? Well, I am sorry to say this, but Bob got it wrong. We Blacks betray our prophets of progress to death. We are to blame — not them! In brief, it’s not the West — which is keeping us down. We are keeping ourselves down! Now, you can take it, or leave it alone.