MARCUS GARVEY, "Back-to-Africa" leader, was the most widely known of all the agitators for the rights of the Negro and one of the most phenomenal. Arriving in the United States poor and unknown, within four years he became the most talked-of black man in the United States and the West Indies, and perhaps in the world.
He was born in Jamaica, West Indies, of very humble parents. His father was a breaker of stones on the roadway. He himself went to the denominational school and dreamed of doing great things. He read Plutarch and worshipped Napoleon. On Sundays he pumped the organ in the Wesleyan Methodist Church at St. Ann's Bay, of which his parents were members. Later Garvey became a Catholic.
Leaving school at sixteen, he went to work as an apprentice in the printing plant of P. Austin Benjamin in Kingston. Six years later he was the foreman. In the meantime he had been organizing the printers of the city and soon afterward led them in a successful strike for better pay. An elocutionist also, he once won a first prize for his delivery of "Chatham on Liberty." Incited by this success, he began agitation for the political' rights of the blacks of the island, who, though in the majority, were of lower social caste than the mulattoes. He went also among the West Indian laborers who were recruited for work in the neighboring republics and urged them to demand more pay and better working conditions. He was arrested for this in Port Limon, Costa Rica.
Please watch the Video:
Burning Spear Sing of Marcus Garvey
The words that sowed the seed of the Rastafarian movement
"We do hope that Ras Tafari will live long to carry out his wonderful intentions. From what we have heard and what we do know, he is ready and willing to extend the hand of invitation to any Negro who desires to settle in his kingdom. We know of many who are gone to Abyssinia and who have given good report of the great possibilities there, which they are striving to take advantage of.
The Psalmist prophesied that Princes would come out of Egypt and Ethiopia would stretch forth her hands unto God. We have no doubt that the time is now come. Ethiopia is now really stretching forth her hands. This great kingdom of the East has been hidden for many centuries, but gradually she is rising to take a leading place in the world and it is for us of the Negro race to assist in every way to hold up the hand of Emperor Ras Tafari."
Published November 8, 1930 in his Jamaican newspaper, The Blackman: