Marcus Garvey’s Birthday Celebration Unites Community

Denver, CO – On Wednesday, August 17th, 2016 the National Black United Front and All-African Liberation sponsored an event entitled “Dialogue-4-Survival: A Tribute to Marcus Garvey”. The event took place at the Crossroads Theater in the Five Points District, a historically Black neighborhood known as the “Harlem of the West” from the 1920’s-1950’s.

Throughout the evening there were 13 presenters who answered the question, “What does Marcus Garvey mean to you in this current day?” Many of the presenters shared similar sentiments of unity, pride, and of strengthening a Black economy. The presenters included Andre Hakeem Furious, Star Bailey, Quincy Shannon, Lydia Morton, Cha-ka, Jarobe, Xavier, Issac Soulah, Nefertiti, Jesse Parris, Brother Jeff, Queen Mother Nola, and Chairman Seku.

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Marcus Garvey in his U.N.I.A. military attire

Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr. was born on August 17th, 1887 in Saint Ann’s Bay, Jamaica. At a young age, Garvey realized that Black African people, no matter what country they were living in, inside Africa or outside, were too often marginalized and in the lower class. This inequity and suppression of Black Africans propelled Garvey to work towards uplifting these people.

We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery, for though others may free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind. Mind is our only ruler; sovereign.” – Marcus Garvey

In 1914, Garvey formed the United Negro Improvement Association (U.N.I.A.) with the goal of unifying “all the Negro peoples of the world into one great body and to establish a country and government absolutely on their own.” The U.N.I.A. became the largest mass-movement in African American history with millions of members.

Marcus Garvey

He came to the United States for the first time in 1916 and in 1918 began publishing the Negro World Newspaper. A main concern of Garvey was to create economic independence for African Americans, so in 1919, he formed the Negro Factories Corporation and a shipping company called the Black Star Line to transport passengers back to Africa.

Seeing the effects and importance that Garvey was having, the government of the United States of America instantly perceived Mr. Garvey and his activities as a threat. The first of the FBI’s (named BOI at the time) many COINTELPRO (code name for counter intelligence programs) targets was Marcus Garvey. In a memo from special assistant J. Edgar Hoover of the BOI to Special Agent Ridgely, it clearly states their motive to send away this powerful leader who was “agitating the negro movement”.

Unfortunately, however, he has not as yet violated any federal law whereby he could be proceeded against on the grounds of being an undesirable alien, from the point of view of deportation. It occurs to me, however, from the attached clipping that there might be some proceeding against him for fraud in connection with his Black Star Line propaganda and for this reason I am transmitting the communication to you for your appropriate attention.” – J. Edgar Hoover, BOI assistant, October 1919

While trying to raise money for the shipping company, Garvey and the U.N.I.A. solicited funds from investors for stock options through the mail. This business plan resulted in a mail fraud conviction for Garvey who was sentenced to 5 years in prison and then deported.

After his deportation, Garvey moved to London where he continued his activism until his death on June 10, 1940. Garvey and his strong beliefs have continued to live on through his proud followers who are still working towards self-determination and economic independence.

2nd Annual Marcus Garvey Day

On Sunday, August 21, 2016, a large crowd of about 200 throughout the day came to Axum Park in Denver to continue the celebration of Marcus Garvey. The all-day event had a speaker’s panel, musicians, kid’s activities, performances, speeches, food and vendors.

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Photo Credit: FoKus Magazine


Watch our Livestream of the Dialogue event here:

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