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LETTER OF THE DAY - Praising Garvey

Published:Saturday | July 28, 2012 | 12:00 AM


I write in response to a letter published in The Gleaner on Thursday, July 19, 2012 and captioned 'Garveyism is an outdated ideology'.  In Lipton Matthews' diatribe, he only succeeded in proving his lack of knowledge of Garvey's life and works.

Garvey, at the turn of the 21st century, was voted in the top 100 philosophers of all time, among Plato, Socrates and other esteemed scholars.

Matthews' misguided attempt to tarnish the excellent memory of Garvey must have an ulterior motive. Garvey was honoured as Jamaica's first national hero in 1964, an enviable achievement.

In 1914, Garvey started the Universal Negro Improvement Association, which was dedicated to the upliftment of all African descendants. Its membership grew to more than seven million, and touched the lives of millions more. He was seen as a singular threat to all the white world's kings, presidents, premiers and other power brokers.

Garvey did not hate white people, as some misguided individuals would claim. And he did not preach hatred for any other racial grouping. He taught black people to be confident, self-reliant, honest and dignified. This would elevate black people from being serfs.

The national hero was a visionary and philosopher of no mean order.


Garvey strongly believed in education, and wrote the book Message to the People, a tome on training all persons aspiring to become leaders.

On science, he articulated that a polytechnic university should be built in every parish, as he knew that the 21st-century world would be built and ruled by science and technology.

Garvey was not a pessimist, as Matthews claims. He inspired blacks to work towards owning their own businesses. The Black Star Line shipping company is still the only black-owned commercial fleet. It failed not because of mismanagement, as claimed by the critics, but by sabotage. The history is there to be read.

Marcus Garvey is the greatest African descendant who ever walked the face of the earth. Who has inspired more people than him? I end with one of his famous quotations: "The ends you serve that are selfish will get you no further than yourself, but the ends you serve for all in common will get you into eternity."


President, Marcus Garvey League