Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lecture: Garvey & Garveyism

Marcus Garvey SquareImage by howieluvzus via Flickr

Garvey and Garveyism

Marcus Garvey shared the Biblical cycle of enslavement, liberation and development. He borrowed from the concept of the Jewish enslavement in the Bible, and looked to that example in a search for identity, consolidation and development. However, his theory of natural rights comes not from the Bible, but from a lack of it. Christian rhetoric was used to gain the attention of church going Blacks.

SONS OF HAM: Cursed son of Noah, burned by the sun, bears that mark. An attempt by pro-slavery Christians to justify slavery with a Biblical explanation. In 1883 Crummel issued his response to these theories:

1. Curse was pronounced upon Canaan, not on Ham.

2. Curse fell upon Canaan, had effects, but not on Ham.

3. Neither Ham nor his three sons were involved in this curse.

4. Negro race is not descended from Canaan.

5. Slavery is not uniquely a condition of Negroes.

6. Canaan is obviously not Gabon, Ghana or the Congo

Maybe the only thing they got right was the burning by the sun, but not intergenerational affliction.


IDENTITY: Who are we? Where do we come from? What is our past? What is our destiny?

CONSOLIDATION: All Negroes are of Africa and of one race. Africa for Africans at home and abroad.

DEVELOPMENT: Build the community, trade with each other, use and develop skills together, create business relationships within the community, create international African patterns of commerce.

BACK TO AFRICA: An outgrowth of work by Dubois and Blyden. Blyden had lectured in the West Indies about African repatriation in 1862 and he had influenced those who Garvey learned from. Africans came to English-speaking West Indies, gained skills through apprenticeships, then returned to West Africa.

EACH TO THEIR OWN: Races and cultures are different. They must make their own worlds. If they compete in the same realm there will be conflict.

p.135 top

p. 135 middle

p.135 bottom


African sense of social order was shattered by slavery.

There was no remaining God, but stolen gods of Jehovah, Allah and Yahweh.

There was no indication in history of rights and responsibilities.

African roots had been shattered by slavery.

So, in the absence of religion or ideology, and under the cruel influence of exile and slavery, a conception of the natural rights of all races was developed. P. 141

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