Marcus Garvey

Jamaica-born British political activist, Pan-Africanist, orator, and entrepreneur (1887-1940)

Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr., National Hero of Jamaica (17 August 188710 June 1940) was a publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, Black nationalist, orator, and founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL).

Marcus Garvey


  • Look for me in the whirlwind or the storm, look for me all around you, for, with God's grace, I shall come and bring with me countless millions of black slaves who have died in America and the West Indies and the millions in Africa to aid you in the fight for Liberty, Freedom and Life.
  • Our union must know no clime, boundary, or nationality… let us hold together under all climes and in every country…
    • The philosophy and opinions of Marcus Garvey or Africa for the Africans (Majority Press, 1986 ed.), p. 163. ISBN 0912469242.
  • Hungry men have no respect for law, authority or human life.
    • Reported in Ashton Applewhite, Tripp Evans, and Andrew Frothingham, And I Quote: The Definitive Collection of Quotes, Sayings, and Jokes for the Contemporary Speechmaker (St. Martin's Press, 2003), p. 84. ISBN 0312307446.
  • We were the first Fascists, when we had 100,000 disciplined men, and were training children, Mussolini was still an unknown. Mussolini copied our Fascism.
    • 1937 interview reported by Joel A. Rogers, "Marcus Garvey," in Negroes of New York series, New York Writers Program, 1939, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York.
  • We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind. Mind is your only ruler, sovereign. The man who is not able to develop and use his mind is bound to be the slave of the other man who uses his mind.
  • If you have no confidence in self you are twice defeated in the race of life. With confidence you have won even before you have started.
    • Philosophy and opinions of Marcus Garvey: or, Africa for the Africans‎ (Routledge, 1967), P. 10. ISBN 0714611433.
  • The Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities' League is a social, friendly, humanitarian, charitable, educational, institutional, constructive, and expansive society and is founded by persons, desiring to the utmost, to work for the general up lift of the Negro peoples of the world. And the members pledge themselves to do all in their power to conserve the rights of their noble race and to respect the rights of all mankind believing always in the Brotherhood of Man and the Fatherhood of God. The motto of the organization is: One God! One Aim! One Destiny! Therefore, let justice be done to all man kind, realizing that if the strong oppresses the weak confusion and discontent will ever mark the path of man, but with love, faith and charity toward all the reign of peace and plenty will be heralded into the world and the generations of men shall be called Blessed.
    • ‘The Spiritual Brotherhood of Man’, preamble to the constitution of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities' League, quoted in Amy Jacques Garvey, More Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey (2012), pp. 37–38
  • When the facts of history are written Haile Selassie of Abyssinia will go down as a great coward who ran away from his country to save his skin and left the millions of his countrymen to struggle through a terrible war that he brought upon them because of his political ignorance and his racial disloyalty.
    • "The Failure of Haile Selassie as Emperor" The Blackman, April, 1937.
  • When the war started in Abyssinia all Negro nationalists looked with hope to Haile Selassie. They spoke for him, they prayed for him, they sung for him, they did everything to hold up his hands, as Aaron did for Moses; but whilst the Negro peoples of the world were praying for the success of Abyssinia this little Emperor was undermining the fabric of his own kingdom by playing the fool with white men, having them advising him[,] having them telling him what to do, how to surrender, how to call off the successful thrusts of his [Race] against the Italian invaders. Yes, they were telling him how to prepare his flight, and like an imbecilic child he followed every advice and then ultimately ran away from his country to England, leaving his people to be massacred by the Italians, and leaving the serious white world to laugh at every Negro and repeat the charge and snare - "he is incompetent," "we told you so." Indeed Haile Selassie has proved the incompetence of the Negro for political authority, but thank God there are Negroes who realise that Haile Selassie did not represent the truest qualities of the Negro race. How could he, when he wanted to play white? How could he, when he surrounded himself with white influence? How could he, when in a modern world, and in a progressive civilization, he preferred a slave State of black men than a free democratic country where the black citizens could rise to the same opportunities as white citizens in their democracies?
    • "The Failure of Haile Selassie as Emperor" The Blackman, April, 1937.


  • A Race without the knowledge of its history is like a tree without roots.
    • Though often attributed to Garvey, this statement first appears in Charles Siefert's 1938 pamphlet, The Negro's or Ethiopian's Contribution to Art.

Quotes about Marcus GarveyEdit

  • Marcus ... maintained forcibly that although the Afro-American people were legally "free" as a people, something of the slave mentality was still characteristic of them. Mentally they were still in chains on account of the crippling effect of an inferiority complex. Somehow the sunlight must be allowed to flood the dark corners of their minds, so that they could be truly free and truly men, confident of holding their own with men of other races.
  • Marcus Garvey...roused the consciousness of the Negro from New York to British Guiana and from the Gold Coast (Ghana) to Kenya. Without ever setting foot in Africa he was able to kindle nationalism in the hearts of the young Kenyatta, Azikiwe and Nkrumah, giving them a purpose for dedicating their lives to their country.
    • 'Transcending insularity', The Times (7 February 1966), p. 22

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