Philosophy and Opinions
THE SLAVE TRADE
Three hundred years ago no
Negroes were to be found in this Western Hemisphere, we were to be found exclusively in
Africa. Just about that time a large number of white people (called Colonists)
settled in America. They desired laborers to help them in the country's development.
They turned to Asia, and were unable to use the yellow man. At that time a
man named John Hawkins (afterwards knighted) asked permission of Queen Elizabeth of
England to take the blacks from Africa into her colonies of America and the West Indies
and use them in their development. The Queen asked, "what consideration will
you give them?" Hawkins said "They will be civilized and Christianized in
the Colonies, for in their own country they are savages and barbarians."
Under these pretenses the British Queen signed a charter empowering John Hawkins and others to remove from Africa millions of our fore-parents - men, women and children - who were sold in the slave markets of the Southern States of America and the West Indies. Parents were separated from children, husbands from wives. All scattered in this Western Hemisphere to work in the cottonfields of the Southern States of America and the sugar plantations of the West Indies.
The Negroes who were sold in the West Indies remained as slaves for two hundred and thirty years and those sold in America for two hundred and fifty years. The West Indian Negroes were emancipated eighty five years ago by Queen Victoria of England, and the American Negroes fifty eight years ago by Abraham Lincoln.
We - the Negroes in this Western Hemisphere are descendants of those Africans who were enslaved and transported to these shores, where they suffered, bled and died to make us what we are today - Civilized, Christian free men. Should we not, therefore, turn our eyes towards Africa, our ancestral home and free it from the thraldom of alien oppression and exploitation?
NEGROES' STATUS UNDER ALIEN GOVERNMENTS
Within modern times the Negro
race has not had any real statesmen, and the masses of our people have always accepted the
intentions and actions of the statesmen and leaders of other races as being directed in
our interest as a group in conjunction with the interests of others. Such a feeling
on our part caused us to believe that the Constitution of the United States was written
for Negroes, as well as the Constitutions of England, France, Italy, Germany and other
countries where Negroes happen to have their present domicile, either as citizens or as
That we suffer so much today under whatsoever flag we live is proof positive that constitutions and laws, when framed by the early advocates of human liberty, never included and were never intended for us as a people. It is only a question of sheer accident that we happen to be fellow citizens today with the decendants of those who, through their advocacy, laid the foundation for human rights.
So this brings us to the point where, as a people, we can expect very little from the efforts of present day statesmen of other races, in that their plans, (as far as advantages to be derived therefrom are concerned) are laid only in the interests of their own people and not in the interest of Negroes; hence it is imperative that Negroes as a people evolve just at this time a statesmanship sufficiently able to cope with the designs and movements that are being made that will (except we prevent it) ultimately mean our doom and destruction.
THE NEGRO AS AN INDUSTRIAL MAKE-SHIFT
The Negro's prosperity today,
limited as it is, is based upon the foundation laid by an alien race that is not disposed
to go out of its way to prepare for the economic existence of anyone else but itself;
therefore our present prosperity as far as employment goes, is purely accidental. It
is as accidental to-day as it was during the war of 1914-18 when colored men were employed
in different occupations, not because they were wanted, but because they were filling the
places of men of other races who were not available at that time. Negroes are still
filling places, and as time goes on and the age grows older our occupations will be gone
from us, because those for whom we filled the places will soon appear, and as they do we
shall gradually find our places among the millions of permanent unemployed. The
thing for the Negro to do therefore, is to adjust his own economic present, in readiness
for the future.
A race that is solely dependent upon another for its economic existence sooner or later dies. As we have in the past been living upon the mercies shown us by others, and by the chances obtainable, and have suffered therefrom, so will we in the future suffer if an effort is not made now to adjust our own affairs.
LACK OF CO-OPERATION IN THE NEGRO RACE
It is so hard, so difficult
to find men who will stick to a purpose, who will maintain a principle for the worth of
that principle, for the good of that purpose, and if there is a race that needs such men
in the world today, God Almighty knows it is the race of which I am a member.
The race needs men of vision and ability. Men of character and above all men of honesty, and that is so hard to find.
The greatest stumbling block in the way of progress in the race has invariably come from within the race itself. The monkey wrench of destruction as thrown into the cog of Negro Progress, is not thrown so much by the outsider as by the very fellow who is in our fold, and who should be the first to grease the wheel of progress rather than seeking to impede it.
But notwithstanding the lack of sympathetic co-operation, I have one consolation - That I cannot get away from the race, and so long as I am in the race and since I have sense and judgment enough to know what affects the race affects me, it is my duty to help the race to clear itself of those things that affect us in common.
WHITE MAN'S SOLUTION FOR THE
Immediately after the signing
of the Emancipation Proclamation in America, the white man started to think how he could
solve the new problem of the Negro.
He saw that the Negro could not be slaughtered by wholesale killing in that it would be a blot on American civilization, he therefore had to resort to some means of solving the problem, which meant the extinction of the Negro in America.
The plan he decided on was as follows:
"Now that America is undeveloped and we have but 34,000,000 in population (30,000,000 being white and 4,000,000 black) a number not large enough to develop the country as we want it, we will use the 4,000,000 blacks until we have built up the country, sufficiently and when we no longer need their labor, we will throw them off and let them starve economically and die of themselves, or emigrate elsewhere, we care not where. Then no one can accuse us of being inhuman to the Negro as we shall not have massacred him."
A hearty welcome is extended
to white people from all parts of the world to come to and settle in America. They
come in by the thousands every month. Why? The idea is to build up a vast
white population in America, so as to make the white people independent of Negro labor;
thereby depriving them of the means of livelihood, the wherewithal to buy bread, which
means that in a short while they will die of starvation.
Those of us who study industrial conditions among the race must have noticed that Negroes in America have been thrown out of jobs that they occupied formerly, and their positions taken by European Immigrants. Now if the white people have not reached the apex of their intention industrially, as far as the development of the country is concerned, and they have exhibited such a degree of prejudice since they started their plan; how much more prejudiced will they not become in the next one hundred years when their population will be doubled by emigration and birthrate? This is the problem the Negro has to face in America.
THE TRUE SOLUTION OF THE NEGRO PROBLEM - 1922
As far as Negroes are
concerned, in America we have the problem of lynching, peonage and dis-franchisement.
In the West Indies, South and Central America we have the problem of peonage, serfdom, industrial and political governmental inequality.
In Africa we have, not only peonage and serfdom, but outright slavery, racial exploitation and alien political monopoly.
We cannot allow a continuation of these crimes against our race. As four hundred million men, women and children, worthy of the existence given us by the Divine Creator, we are determined to solve our own problem, by redeeming our Motherland Africa from the hands of alien exploiters and found there a government, a nation of our own, strong enough to lend protection to the members of our race scattered all over the world, and to compel the respect of the nations and races of the earth.
Do they lynch Englishmen, Frenchmen, Germans or Japanese? No. And Why? Because these people are represented by great governments, mighty nations and empires, strongly organized. Yes, and ever ready to shed the last drop of blood and spend the last penny in the national treasury to protect the honor and integrity of a citizen outraged anywhere.
Until the Negro reaches this point of national independence, all he does as a race will count for naught, because the prejudice that will stand out against him even with his ballot in his hand, with his industrial progress to show, will be of such an overwhelmning nature as to perpetuate mob violence and mob rule, from which he will suffer, and which he will not be able to stop with his industrial wealth and with his ballot.
You may argue that he can use his industrial wealth and his ballot to force the government to recognize him, but he must understand that the government is the people. That the majority of the people dictate the policy of governments, and if the majority are against a measure, a thing, or a race, then the government is impotent to protect that measure, thing or race.
If the Negro were to live in this Western Hemisphere for another five hundred years he would still be outnumbered by other races who are prejudiced against him. He cannot resort to the government for protection for government will be in the hands of the majority of the people who are prejudiced against him, hence for the Negro to depend on the ballot and his industrial progress alone, will be hopeless as it does not help him when he is lynched, burned, jim-crowed and segregated. The future of the Negro therefore, outside of Africa, spells rain and disaster.
WHITE PROPAGANDA ABOUT AFRICA
This propaganda of
dis-associating Western Negroes from Africa is not a new one. For many years white
propagandists have been printing toils of literature to impress scattered Ethiopia,
especially that portion within their civilization, with the idea that Africa is a despised
place, inhabited by savages, and cannibals, where no civilized human being should go,
especially black civilized human beings. This propaganda is promulgated for the
cause that is being realized today. That cause is COLONIAL EXPANSION for the white
nations of the world.
At the present time the world is not producing enough food to feed all its inhabitants. The strong are fed and the weak starve. That is why there are famines in certain countries, even though those countries produce certain things for human consumption. The strong go there and take the food and send it home just as how Great Britain and France go into Africa, take out the products and ship them away to feed Europeans and leave Africans to starve. The strong will always live at the expense of the weak.
This rush for territory, this encroachment on lands, is only a desire of the strong races, especially the white race, to get hold of those portions and bits of land necessary for their economic existence, knowing well, that, in another two hundred years, there will not be enough supplies in the world for all of its inhabitants. The weaker peoples must die. At present Negroes are the weakest people and if we do not get power and strength now we shall be doomed to extermination.
THE THREE STAGES OF THE NEGRO IN
THE WHITE MAN
I believe, as far as the
Negro is concerned politically, that there are three stages relating to our contact with
the white man:
The First Stage in the life of the Negro in this Western Hemisphere was the stage when the white man shackled us in Africa and brought us here and kept us for two hundred and fifty years. During this period we worked and received no recompense, no pay for our labor, and we were satisfied because of the white man's Christian teaching "Learn to labor and to wait."
The Second Stage was the thing called Emancipation, which we have enjoyed for fifty-eight years. This stage came when they gave us partial freedom, and a petty existence by way of wages, and we were satisfied during that stage to do just what they told us to do. We worked for small wages and voted Republican Democratic and so forth, until after fifty-eight years we discovered that a change was necessary.
Now we have entered into the Third Stage of our existence, wherein we say to the white man "After two hundred and fifty years of slavery and fifty eight years of partial freedom under your leadership we are going to try but fifty years under our own direction.
This new stage calls for all the manhood within the race and means that we must throw off all the conditions that affected us in the first and second stages, and go out and do - acquit ourselves like men in the economic, industrial and political arena.
BOOKER T. WASHINGTON'S PROGRAM
The world held up the great
Sage of Tuskegee - Booker T. Washington - as the only leader for the race. They
looked forward to him and his teachings as the leadership for all times, not calculating
that the industrially educated Negro would himself evolve a new ideal, after having been
trained by the Sage of Tuskegee.
The world satisfied itself to believe that succeeding Negro leaders would follow absolutely the teachings of Washington. Unfortunately the world is having a rude atwakening, in that we are evolving a new ideal. The new ideal includes the program of Booker T. Washington and has gone much further.
Things have changed wonderfully since Washington came on the scene. His vision was industrial opportunity for the Negro, but the Sage of Tuskegee has passed off the stage of life and left behind a new problem - a problem that must be solved, not by the industrial leader only, but by the political and military leaders as well.
If Washington had lived he would have had to change his program. No leader can successfully lead this race of ours without giving an interpretation of the awakened spirit of the New Negro, who does not seek industrial opportunity alone, but a political voice. The world is amazed at the desire of the New Negro, for with his strong voice he is demanding a place in the affairs of men.
BELIEF THAT RACE PROBLEM WILL
ADJUST ITSELF A
Some of our leaders in the
Negro race flatter themselves into believing that the problem of black and white in
America will work itself out, and that all the Negro has to do is to be humble, submissive
and obedient, and everything will work out well in the "Sweet bye and bye".
But the keen student will observe this, that a terrible mistake was made between
forty and fifty years ago when black men were elected to legislative assemblies all over
the country, especially in the southern states and even at the National Capitol when
representatives of this race occupied seats in Congress. The mistake was made as far
as the white people were concerned. There was a state of dis-organization in the
Nation, and in that state cortain things happened by mere chance. In the chance,
dozens of black men became Senators and Congressmen. This oponed up to the eyes of
the white nation the possibility of the black man governing the white man in these United
States of America - the possibility of the black man making laws to govern the white man?
This possibility drove them almost to madness, in suddenly rejecting the spirit of
the constitution and the Declaration of Lincoln that "all men are created
equal", hence a determination was arrived at, that never again would it be possible
for the race of slaves to govern the race of mastcrs within these United States of
Some of us believe that this slave race of ours will live in the United States of America and in the future again become law makers for the white race (our slave masters of sixty years ago). Nothing of the kind has happened in all human history. There is not one instance where a slave race living in the same country (within the same bounds as the race of masters that enslaved them and being in numbers less than the race of masters) has ever yet ruled and governed the masters. It has never been so in history, and it will never be so in the future. The hidden spirit of America is determined that it shall never be, caring not what hopes and promises we get.
But history has recorded where a race of slaves through evolution, through progress, has risen to the heights where they ruled and dominated those who once enslaved them, but that race of slaves has always had to betake itself to other habitats (usually their own native land) and there, apart from those who once enslaved them, developed a power of their own, a strength of their own, and in the higher development of that strength, and of that power, they, like others, have made conquests, and the conquests sometimes have enabled them to enslave those who once enslaved them. So for us to encourage the idea that one day Negroes will rise to the highest in the administration of this white government, is only encouraging a vain hope.
The only wise thing for us as ambitious Negroes to do, is to organize the world over, and build up for the race a mighty nation of our own in Africa. And this race of ours that can not get recognition and respect in the country where we were slaves, by using our own ability, power and genius, would develop for ourselves in another country in our habitat a nation of our own, and be able to send back from that country, - from that native habitat - to the country where we were once enslaved, representatives of our race, that would get as much respect as any other ambassadors from any other race or nation.
EXAMPLES OF WHITE CHRISTIAN CONTROL OF AFRICA
The world has seen many fair
examples of white Christian control of Africa:
The outrages of Leopold of Belgium, when he butchered thousands of our defenceless brothers and sisters in the Belgian Congo, and robbed them of their rubber.
The natives of Kenya South East Africa armed with sticks and stones rebelled against the injustices and brutality of the English, and were hewn down by machine guns, because they did not supply the demands of the invaders.
The Hottentots of South West Africa in rebellion against similar brutality and exploitation, using spears and leather shields to protect themselves, were bombed from aeroplanes by the Christian? whites.
The above are but few examples of the many atrocities committed on our defenceless brothers and sisters in Africa by white exploiters and invaders. Surely the introduction of chemical gas among the natives of Africa would place them in a better position to handle "the alien disturbers of African peace."
It strikes me that with all the civilization this Western Hemisphere affords, Negroes ought to take better advantage of the cause of higher education. We could make of ourselves better mechanics and scientists, and in cases where we can help our brothers in Africa by making use of the knowledge we possess, it would be but our duty. If Africa is to be redeemed the Western Negro will have to make a valuable contribution along technical and scientific lines.
THE THOUGHT BEHIND THEIR DEEDS
Behind the murder of millions
of Negroes annually in Africa is the well organized system of exploitation by the alien
intruders who desire to rob Africa of every bit of its wealth for the satisfaction of
their race and the upkeep of their bankrupt European countries.
If we of the Western World take no interest in the higher development of the African natives, it will mean that in another hundred years historians and writers will tell us that the black man once inhabited Africa, just as the North American Indian once inhabited America. But those of us who lead are well versed in Western civilization and are determined that the black man shall not be a creature of the past, but a full-fledged man of the present and a power to be reckoned with in the future.
SIMILARITY OF PERSECUTION
Christ came into the world
centuries ago to redeem lost mankind. From the age of twelve to His Crucifixion He
taught the doctrine of salvation without fear of the great and mighty ones of His day.
But His fellow Jews became jealous of His success and sought means to get rid of
Him. They argued among themoelves saying, "How can we do it. We have no
power, no judges, and if we lay hands upon Him, He will have us apprehended by the Roman
authorities. The best thing we can do is to frame him up". So they made
certain statements to the Roman Government which had Jesus incarcerated, while His brother
Jews shouted with joy as they had accomplished their desire.
When Jesus was brought to trial Pontius Pilate, the Govermor, did not care to send Him to prison as He had not interfered with the honor and reputation of any Roman citizen, and the Romans were not jealous of the work of this Jew. But the Jews who were jealous of Christ said, "This man is preaching against Caesar and the State; He is preaching the doctrine of rebellion among the peaceful Jews and citizens of the State; if you do not convict this man, you are not a friend of Caesar". Pilate being thus forced against his will, was compelled to decide against Jesus, even though he knew that Jesus had done no wrong.
After He was condemned Pilate still hoped to get his conscience clear by letting Jesus go, in that he Pilate was empowered to release one criminal on Feast Day. When the time came for the condemned men to be crucified Pilate asked them to choose between Barrabas, the robber and Jesus whom they called the King of the Jews, and they cried, "Crucify Jesus and let Barrabas go". Pilate said, "What evil hath he done", but they cried the more "Crucify him".
So we have a relative position at this time. Selfish, jealous Negroes know they can do nothing to impede the progress of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, and if left alone we will go on organizing Negroes throughout the world, so they say: "We cannot handle Garvey and his Organization, as we have no power, let us go to the State and Federal authorities, and frame him up, let us say he is an anarchist, a seditionist and is speaking against the government". Like the Jews of old, they cry "Crucify him," or rather, "Send him to prison, deport him."
During Christ's sojourn on earth He taught many lessons, among them: "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness" sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." This declaration has inspired men through all ages to make their sacrifice in the cause of human liberty.
When we recount the many noble deeds of the heroes and martyrs of the various nations and races of the world, who have sacrificed their lives in the cause of freedom, we will readily realize that this declaration of Christ has proved itself true. Through the sacrifice of Jesus and the yielding up of His life on Calvary's Cross, the world today has caught an inspiration that will live forever. In the time when He taught His doctrine few men believed in and followed Him, but after the lapse of centuries we find that Christianity has become the greatest moral force in the world. As with Christianity, so with every great human Movement taught under similar circumstances.
May we not say to ourselves that the doctrine Jesus taught - that of redeeming mankind - is the doctrine we ourselves must teach in the redemption of our struggling race! Let us therefore cling fast to the great ideal we have before us. This time it is not the ideal of redeeming the world, such as was the ideal of Jesus, but it is the ideal of redeeming and saving 400,000,000 souls who have suffered for centuries from the persecution of alien raees. As Christ by His teachings, His sufferings and His death, triumphed over His foes, through the resurrection, so do we hope that out of our sufferings and persecutions of today we will triumph in the resurrection of our newborn race.
SHALL THE NEGRO BE EXTERMINATED?
The Negro now stands at the cross roads of human destiny. He is at the place where he must either step forward or backward. If he goes backward he dies; if he goes forward it will be with the hope of a greater life. Those of us who have developed our minds scientifically are compelled, by duty, to step out among the millions of the unthinking masses and convince them of the seriousness of the age in which we live.
From Adam and Eve
We are either on the way to a
higher racial existence or racial extermination. This much is known and realized by
every thoughtful race and nation; hence, we have the death struggle of the different races
of Europe and Asia in the scramble of the survival of the fittest race.
As we look at things we see that the great world in which we live has undergone much change since the time of the creation. When God created the world, and all therein, He handed His authority over to the two beings He created in His own image; namely, Adam and Eve. From the time of Adam and Eve the human race has multiplied by leaps and bounds. Where we once had two persons to exercise authority over the world, we to-day have one billion five hundred millions claiming authority and possession of the same world that was once the property of the two.
The Tragedy of Race Extinction
When the Colonists of America
desired possession of the land they saw that a weak aboriginal race was in their way.
What did they do? They got hold of them, killed them, and buried them
underground. This is a fair indication of what will happen to the weaker peoples of
the world in another two or three hundred years when the stronger races will have
developed themselves to the position of complete mastery of all things material.
They will not then as they have not in the past, allow a weak and defenceless race to
stand in their way, especially if in their doing so they will endanger their happiness,
their comfort and their pleasures. These are the things that strike the thoughtful
Negro as being dangerous, and these are the things that cause us who make up the Universal
Negro Improvement Association to be fighting tenacicusly for the purpose of building up a
strong Negro race, so as to make it impossible for us to be exterminated in the future to
make room for the stronger races, even as the North American Indian has been exterminated
to make room for the great white man on this North American continent.
The illiterate and shallow-minded Negro who can see no farilier than his nose is now the greatest stumbling block in the way of the race. He tells us that we must be satisfied with our condition; that we must not think of building up a nation of our own, that we must not seek to organize ourselves racially, but that we must depend upon the good feeling of the other fellow for the solution of the problem that now confronts us. This is a dangerous policy and it is my duty to warn the four hundred million Negroes of the world against this kind of a leadership - a leadership that will try to make Negroes believe that all will be well without their taking upon themselves the task of bettering their condition politically, industrially, educationally and otherwise.
The time has come for those of us who have the vision of the future to inspire our people to a closer kinship, to a closer love of self, because it is only through this appreciation of self will we be able to rise to that higher life that will make us not an extinct race in the future, but a race of men fit to survive.
The Price of leadership
Those of us who are blazing
the way in this new propaganda of the Universal Negro Improvement Association to enlighten
our people everywhere are at times very much annoyed and discouraged by the acts of our
own people in that consciously or unconsciously they do so many things to hurt our deeper
feeling of loyalty and love for the race. But what can we do? Can we forsake
them because they hurt our feelings? Surely not. Painful though it may be to
be interfered with and handicapped in the performance of the higher sense of duty, yet we
must, martyrlike, make up our minds and our hearts to pay the price of leadership.
We must be sympathetic, we must be forgiving, we must really have forbearance, so that
when the ignorant and illiterate fellow who happens to be a member of your own race stands
up, to block the passage of some cause that you believe would be to his benefit and to
yours as a people you will be able to overlook him, even though he fosters his opposition
with the greatest amount of insult to your intelligence and to your dignity.
The excuse that some of our most brilliant men give for not identifying themselves with race movements is, that they cannot tolerate the interference of the illiterate Negro, who, being a member of the same organization, will attempt to dictate what you should do in the interest of the race, when his act is based upon no deeper judgment than his like or dislike for the person he is opposing, or the satisfaction it would give him to embarrass the person he feels like opposing. Many an able leader is lost to his race because of this fear, and sometimes we must admit the reasonableness of this argument; but as I have said leadership means martyrdom, leadership means sacrifice, leadership means giving up one's personality, giving up of everything for the cause that is worth while. It is only because of that feeling that I personally continue to lead the Universal Negro Improvement Association, because like every other leader, I have had to encounter the opposition, the jealousy, the plotting of men who take advantage of the situation, simply because they happen to be members of the organization, and that we may have to depend upon their vote one way or the other for the good of the cause. Not that some of us care one row of pins about what the other fellow thinks but when it is considered that we can only achieve success through harmony and unity, then it can be realized how much one has to sacrifice as a leader for getting that harmony that is necessary to bring about the results that are desired.
The White Race
We desire harmony and unity to-day more than ever, because it is only through the bringing together of the four hundred million Negroes into one mighty bond that we can successfully pilot our way through the avenues of opposition and the oceans of difficulties that seem to confront us. When it is considered that the great white race is making a herculean struggle to become the only surviving race of the centuries, and when it is further considered that the great yellow race under the leadership of Japan is making a like struggle, then more than ever the seriousness of the situation can be realized as far as our race is concerned. If we sit supinely by and allow the great white race to lift itself in numbers and in power, it will mean that in another five hundred years this full grown race of white men will in turn exterminate the weaker race of black men for the purpose of finding enough room on this limited mundane sphere to accommodate that race which will have numerically multiplied itself into many billions. This is the danger point. What will become of the Negro in another five hundred years if he does not organize now to develop and to protect himself? The answer is that he will be exterminated for the purpose of making room for the other races that will be strong enough to hold their own against the opposition of all and sundry.
An appeal to the Intelligentsia
The leadership of the Negro
of to-day must be able to locate the race, and not only for to-day but for all times.
It is in the desire to locate the Negro in a position of prosperity and happiness
in the future that the Universal Negro Improvement Association is making this great fight
for the race's emancipation everywhere and the founding of a great African government.
Every sober-minded Negro will see immediately the reason why we should support a movement of this kind. If we will survive then it must be done through our own effort, through our own energy. No race of weaklings can survive in the days of tomorrow, because they will be hard and strenuous days fraught with many difficulties.
I appeal to the higher intelligence as well as to the illiterate groups of our race. We must work together. Those of us who are better positioned intellectually must exercise forbearance with the illiterate and help them to see the right. If we happen to be members of the same organization, and the illiterate man tries to embarras you, do not become disgusted, but remember that he does it because he does not know better, and it is your duty to forbear and forgive because the ends that we serve are not of self, but for the higher development of the entire race. It is on this score, it is on this belief, that I make the sacrifice of self to help this downtrodden race of mine. Nevertheless, I say there is a limit to human patience, and we should not continue to provoke the other fellow against his human feelings for in doing so we may be but bringlag down upon our own heads the pillars of the temple.
AFRICA FOR THE AFRICANS
For five years the Universal
Negro Improvement Association has been advocating the cause of Africa for the Africans -
that is, that the Negro peoples of the world should concentrate upon the object of
building up for themselves a great nation in Africa.
When we started our propaganda toward this end several of the so-called intellectual Negroes who have been bamboozling the race for over half a century said that we were crazy, that the Negro peoples of the western world were not interested in Africa and could not live in Africa. One editor and leader went so far as to say at his so-called Pan-African Congress that American Negroes could not live in Africa, because the climate was too hot. All kinds of arguments have been adduced by these Negro intellectuals against the colonization of Africa by the black race. Some said that the black man would ultimately work out his existence alongside of the white man in countries founded and established by the latter. Therefore, it was not necessary for Negroes to seek an independent nationality of their own. The old time stories of "African fever," "African bad climate," "African mosquitos," "African savages," have been repeated by these "brainless intellectuals" of ours as a scare against our people in America and the West Indies taking a kindly interest in the new program of building a racial empire of our own in our Motherland. Now that years have rolled by and the Universal Negro Improvement Association has made the circuit of the world with its propaganda, we find eminent statesmen and leaders of the white race coming out boldly advocating the cause of colonizing Africa with the Negroes of the western world. A year ago Senator MacCullum of the Mississippi Legislature introduced a resolution in the House for the purpose of petitioning the Congress of the United States of America and the President to use their good influence in securing from the Allies sufficient territory in Africa in liquidation of the war debt, which territory should be used for the establishing of an independent nation for American Negroes. About the same time Senator France of Maryland gave expression to a similar desire in the Senate of the United States. During a speech on the "Soldiers' Bonus." He said: "We owe a big debt to Africa and one which we have too long ignored. I need not enlarge upon our peculiar interest in the obligation to the people of Africa. Thousands of Americans have for years been contributing to the missionary work which has been carried out by the noble men and women who have been sent out in that field by the churches of America."
Germany To The Front
This reveals a real change on
the part of prominent statesmen in their attitude on the African question. Then
comes another suggestion from Germany, for which Dr. Heinrich Schnee, a former Governor of
German East Africa, is author. This German statesman suggests in an interview given
out in Berlin, and published in New York, that America takes over the mandatories of Great
Britain and France in Africa for the colonization of American Negroes. Speaking on
the matter, he says "As regards the attempt to colonize Africa with the surplus
American colored population, this would in a long way settle the vexed problem, and under
the plan such as Senator France has outlined, might enable France and Great Britain to
discharge their duties to the United States, and simultaneously ease the burden of German
reparations which is paralyzing economic life."
With expressions as above quoted from prominent world statesmen, and from the demands made by such men as Senators France and McCullum, it is clear that the question of African nationality is not a far-fetched one, but is as reasonable and feasible as was the idea of an American nationality.
A "Program" At Last
I trust that the Negro
peoples of the world are now convinced that the work of the Universal Negro Improvement
Association is not a visionary one, but very practical, and that it is not so far fetched,
but can be realized in a short while if the entire race will only co-operate and work
toward the desired end. Now that the work of our organization has started to bear
fruit we find that some of these "doubting Thomases" of three and four years ago
are endeavoring to mix themselves up with the popular idea of rehabilitating Africa in the
interest of the Negro. They are now advancing spurious "programs" and in a
short while will endeavor to force themselves upon the public as advocates and leaders of
the African idea.
It is felt that those who have followed the career of the Universal Negro Improvement Association will not allow themselves to be deceived by these Negro opportunists who have always sought to live off the ideas of other people.
The Dream Of A Negro Empire
It is only a question of a
few more years when Africa will be completely colonized by Negroes, as Europe is by the
white race. What we want is an independent African nationality, and if America is to
help the Negro peoples of the world establish such a nationality, then we welcome the
It is hoped that when the time comes for American and West Indian Negroes to settle in Africa, they will realize their responsibility and their duty. It will not be to go to Africa for the purpose of exercising an over-lordship over the natives, but it shall be the purpose of the Universal Negro Improvement Association to have established in Africa that brotherly co-operation which will make the interests of the African native and the American and West Indian Negro one and the same, that is to say, we shall enter into a common partnership to build up Africa in the interests of our race.
Oneness Of Interests
Everybody knows that there is
absolutely no difference between the native African and the American and West Indian
Negroes, in that we are descendants from one common family stock. It is only a
matter of accident that we have been divided and kept apart for over three hundred years,
but it is felt that when the time has come for us to get back together, we shall do so in
the spirit of brotherly love, and any Negro who expects that he will be assisted here,
there or anywhere by the Universal Negro Improvement Association to exercise a haughty
superiority over the fellows of his own race, makes a tremenduous mistake. Such men
had better remain where they are and not attempt to become in any way interested in the
higher development of Africa.
The Negro has had enough of the vaunted practice of race superiority as inflicted upon him by others, therefore he is not prepared to tolerate a similar assumption on the part of his own people. In America and the West Indies, we have Negroes who believe themselves so much above their fellows as to cause them to think that any readjustment in the affairs of the race should be placed in their hands for them to exercise a kind of an autocratic and despotic control as others have done to us for centuries. Again I say, it would be advisable for such Negroes to take their hands and minds off the now popular idea of colonizing Africa in the interest of the Negro race, because their being identified with this new program will not in any way help us because of the existing feeling among Negroes everywhere not to tolerate the infliction of race or class superiority upon them, as is the desire of the self-appointed and self-created race leadership that we have been having for the last fifty years.
The Basis Of An African Aristocracy.
The masses of Negroes in
America, the West Indies, South and Central America are in sympathetic accord with the
aspirations of the native Africans. We desire to help them build up Africa as a
Negro Empire, where every black man, whether he was born in Africa or in the Western
world, will have the opportunity to develop on his own lines under the protection of the
most favorable democratic institutions.
It will be useless, as before stated, for bombastic Negroes to leave America and the West Indies to go to Africa, thinking that they will have privileged positions to inflict upon the race that bastard aristocracy that they have tried to maintain in this Western world at the expense of the masses. Africa shall develop an aristocracy of its own, but it shall be based upon service and loyalty to race. Let all Negroes work toward that end. I feel that it is only a question of a few more years before our program will be accepted not only by the few statesmen of America who are now interested in it, but by the strong statesmen of the world, as the only solution to the great race problem. There is no other way to avoid the threatening war of the races that is bound to engulf all mankind, which has been prophesied by the world's greatest thinkers; there is no better method than by apportioning every race to its own habitat.
The time has really come for the Asiatics to govern themselves in Asia, as the Europeans are in Europe and the Western World, so also is it wise for the Africans to govern themselves at home, and thereby bring peace and satisfaction to the entire human family.
THE FUTURE AS I SEE IT
It comes to the individual,
the race, the nation, once in a life time to decide upon the course to be pursued as a
career. The hour has now struck for the individual Negro as well as the entire race
to decide the course that will be pursued in the interest of our own liberty.
We who make up the Universal Negro Improvement Association have decided that we shall go forward, upward and onward toward the great goal of human liberty. We have determined among ourselves that all barriers placed in the way of our progress must be removed, must be cleared away for we desire to see the light of a brighter day.
The Negro is Ready
The Universal Negro Improvement Association for five years has been proclaiming to the world the readiness of the Negro to carve out a pathway for himself in the course of life. Men of other races and nations have become alarmed at this attitude of the Negro in his desire to do things for himself and by himself. This alarm has become so universal that organizations have been brought into being here, there and everywhere for the purpose of deterring and obstructing this forward move of our race. Propaganda has been waged here, there and everywhere for the purpose of misinterpreting the intention of this organization; some have said that this organization seeks to create discord and discontent among the races; some say we are organized for the purpose of hating other people. Every sensible, sane and honest-minded person knows that the Universal Negro Improvement Association has no such intention. We are organized for the absolute purpose of bettering our condition, industrially, commercially, socially, religiously and politically. We are organized not to hate other men, but to lift ourselves, and to demand respect of all humanity. We have a program that we believe to be righteous; we believe it to be just, and we have made up our minds to lay down ourselves on the altar of sacrifice for the realization of this great hope of ours, based upon the foundation of righteousness. We declare to the world that Africa must be free, that the entire Negro race must be emancipated from industrial bondage, peonage and serfdom; we make no compromise, we make no apology in this our declaration. We do not desire to create offense on the part of other races, but we are determined that we shall be heard, that we shall be given the rights to which we are entitled.
The Propaganda Of Our Enemies
For the purpose of creating
doubts about the work of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, many attempts have
been made to cast shadow and gloom over our work. They have even written the most
uncharitable things about our organization; they have spoken so unkindly of our effort,
but what do we care? They spoke unkindly and uncharitably about all the reform
movements that have helped in the betterment of humanity. They maligned the great
movement of the Christian religion; they maligned the great liberation movements of
America, of France, of England, of Russia; can we expect, then, to escape being maligned
in this, our desire for the liberation of Africa and the freedom of four hundred million
Negroes of the world?
We have unscrupulous men and organizations working in opposition to us. Some trying to capitalize the new spirit that has come to the Negro to make profit out of it to their own selfish benefit; some are trying to set back the Negro from seeing the hope of his own liberty, and thereby poisoning our people's mind against the motives of our organization; but every sensible far-seeing Negro in this enlightened age knows what propaganda means. It is the medium of discrediting that which you are opposed to, so that the propaganda of our enemies will be of little avail as soon as we are rendered able to carry to our peoples scattered throughout the world the true message of our great orgagnization.
"Crocodiles" As Friends
Men of the Negro race, let me
say to you that a greater future is in store for us; we have no cause to lose hope, to
become faint-hearted. We must realize that upon ourselves depend our destiny, our future;
we must carve out that future, that destiny, and we who make up the Universal Negro
Improvement Association have pledged ourselves that nothing in the world shall stand in
our way, nothing in the world shall discourage us, but opposition shall make us work
harder, shall bring us closer together so that as one man the millions of us will march on
toward that goal that we have set for ourselves. The new Negro shall not be
deceived. The new Negro refuses to take advice from anyone who has not felt with
him, and suffered with him. We have suffered for three hundred years, therefore we
feel that the time has come when only those who have suffered with us can interpret our
feelings and our spirit. It takes the slave to interpret the feelings of the slave;
it takes the unfortunate man to interpret the spirit of his unfortunate brother; and so it
takes the suffering Negro to interpret the spirit of his comrade. It is strange that
so many people are interested in the Negro now, willing to advise him how to act, and what
organizations he should join, yet nobody was interested in the Negro to the extent of not
making him a slave for two hundred and fifty years, reducing him to industrial peonage and
serfdom after he was freed; it is strange that the same people can be so interested in the
Negro now, as to tell him what organization he should follow and what leader he should
Whilst we are bordering on a future of brighter things, we are also at our danger period, when we must either accept the right philosophy, or go down by following deceptive propaganda which has hemmed us in for many eenturies,
Deceiving The People
There is many a leader of our race who tells us that every thing is well, and that all things will work out themselves and that a better day is coming. Yes, all of us know that a better day is coming; we all know that one day we will go home to Paradise, but whilst we are hoping by our Christian virtues to have an entry into Paradise we also realize that we are living on earth, and that the things that are practised in Paradise are not practiced here. You have to treat this world as the world treats you; we are living in a temporal, material age, an age of activity, an age of racial, national selfishness. What else can you expect but to give back to the world what the world gives to you, and we are calling upon the four hundred million Negroes of the world to take a decided stand, a determined stand, that we shall occupy a firm position; that position shall be an emancipated race and a free nation of our own. We are determined that we shall have a free country; we are determined that we shall have a flag; we are determined that we shall have a government second to none in the world.
An Eye For An Eye
Men may spurn the idea, they
may scoff at it; the metropolitan press of this country may deride us; yes, white men may
laugh at the idea of Negroes talking about government; but let me tell you there is going
to be a government, and let me say to you also that whatsoever you give, in like measure
it shall be returned to you. The world is sinful, and therefore man believes in the
doctrine of an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Everybody believes that revenge
is God's, but at the same time we are men, and revenge sometimes springs up, even in the
most Christian heart.
Why should man write down a history that will react against him? Why should man perpetrate deeds of wickedness upon his brother which will return to him in like measure? Yes, the Germans maltreated the French in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870, but the French got even with the Germans in 1918. It is history, and history will repeat itself. Beat the Negro, kill the Negro, burn the Negro, imprison the Negro, scoff at the Negro, deride the Negro, it may come back to you one of these fine days, because the supreme destiny of man is in the hands of God. God is no respecter of persons, whether that person be white, yellow or black. Today the one race is up, tomorrow it has fallen; today the Negro seems to be the footstool of the other races and nations of the world; tomorrow the Negro may occupy the highest rung of the great human ladder.
But, when we come to consider the history of man, was not the Negro a power, was he not great once? Yes, honest students of history can recall the day when Egypt, Ethiopia and Timbuctoo towered in their civilizations, towered above Europe, towered above Asia. When Europe was inhabited by a race of cannibals, a race of savages, naked men, heathens and pagans, Africa was peopled with a race of cultured black men, who were master in art, science and literature; men who were cultured and refined; men who, it was said, were like the gods. Even the great poets of old sang in beautiful sonnets of the delight it afforded the gods to be in companionship with the Ethiopians. Why, then, should we lose hope? Black men, you were once great; you shall be great again. Lose not courage, lose not faith, go forward. The thing to do is to get organized; keep separated and you will be exploited, you will be robbed, you will be killed. Get organized, and you will compel the world to respect you. If the world fails to give you consideration, because you are black men, because you are Negroes, four hundred millions of your shall, through organization, shake the pillars of the universe and bring down creation, even as Samson brought down the temple upon his head and upon the heads of the Philistines.
An Inspiring Vision
So Negroes, I say, through
the Universal Negro Improvement Association, that there is much to live for. I have
a vision of the future, and I see before me a picture of a redeemed Africa, with her
dotted cities, with her beautiful civilization, with her millions of happy children, going
to and fro. Why should I lose hope, why should I give up and take a back place in
this age of progress? Remember that you are men, that God created you Lords of this
creation. Lift up yourselves, men, take yourselves out of the mire and hitch your
hopes to the stars; yes, rise as high as the very stars themselves. Let no man pull
you down, let no man destroy your ambition, because man is but your companion, your equal;
man is your brother; he is not your lord; he is not your sovereign master.
We of the Universal Negro Improvement Association feel happy; we are cheerful. Let them connive to destroy us; let them organize to destroy us; we shall fight the more. Ask me personally the cause of my success, and I say opposition; oppose me, and I fight the more, and if you want to find out the sterling worth of the Negro, oppose him, and under the leadership of the Universal Negro Improvement Association he shall fight his way to victory, and in the days to come, and I believe not far distant, Africa shall reflect a splendid demonstration of the worth of the Negro, of the determination of the Negro, to set himself free and to establish a government of his own.
Philosophy & Opinions of Marcus Garvey, edited by Amy Jacques Garvey (Atheneum, New York 1977).