Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey
Philosophy and Opinions of
edited by Amy Jacques-Garvey
Dedicated to the true and loyal members of the Universal Negro Improvement Association in the cause of African redemption.
This volume is compiled from the speeches and articles delivered and written by Marcus Garvey from time to time.
My purpose for compiling same primarily, was not for publication, but rather to keep as a personal record of the opinions and sayings of my husband during his career as the leader of that portion of the human family known as the Negro race. However, on second thought, I decided to publish this volume in order to give to the public an opportunity of studying and forming an opinion of him; not from inflated and misleading newspaper and magazine articles, but from expressions of thoughts enunciated by him in defense of his oppressed and struggling race; so that by his own words he may be judged, and Negroes the world over may be informed and inspired, for truth, brought to light, forces conviction, and a state of conviction inspires action. The history of contact between the white and Black races for the last three hundred years or more, records only a series of pillages, wholesale murders, atrocious brutalities, industrial exploitation, disfranchisement of the one on the other; the strong against the weak; but the sun of evolution is gradually rising, shedding its light between the clouds of misery and oppression, and quickening and animating to racial consciousness and eventual national independence Black men and women the world over.
It is human, therefore, that few of us within the Negro race can comprehend this transcendent period. We all suffer in a more or less degree; we all feel this awakened spirit of true manhood and womanhood; but it is given to few the vision of leadership; it is an inspiration; it is a quality born in man. Therefore in the course of leadership it is natural that one should meet opposition because of ignorance, lack of knowledge and sympathy of the opposition in understanding fully the spirit of leadership. With the dawn of this new era, which precedes the day of national independence for Negroes, it is well for all members of the race to understand their leadership; know what its essentials, its principles are, and help it to attain its goal and liberate a race in the truest sense of the word.
In Chapter 1 of this volume I have endeavored to place before my reader's gems of expression convincing in their truths. Chapter 2 deals with definitions and expositions of various interesting themes. Chapters 3 and 4 contain a collection of brief essays on subjects affecting world conditions generally and Negroes in particular. In Chapter 5 I have reproduced what I consider two of the best speeches of my husband. It is my sincere hope and desire that this small volume will help to disseminate among the members of my race everywhere the true knowledge of their past history, the struggles and strivings of the present leadership, and the glorious future of national independence in a free and redeemed Africa, achieved through organized purpose and organized action.
New York City
February, 23, 1923
History is the landmark by which we are directed into the true course of life. The history of a movement, the history of a nation, the history of a race is the guide-post of that movement’s destiny, that nation's destiny, that race's destiny. What you do today that is worthwhile, inspires others to act at some future time.
Chance has never yet satisfied the hope of a suffering people. Action, self-reliance, the vision of self and the future have been the only means by which the oppressed have seen and realized the light of their own freedom.
Life is that existence that is given to man to live for a purpose, to live to his own satisfaction and pleasure, providing he forgets not the God who created him and who expects a spiritual obedience and observation of the moral laws that He has inspired.
There is nothing in the world common to man, that man cannot do.
The ends you serve that are selfish will take you no further than yourself; but the ends you serve that are for all, in common, will take you even into eternity.
It is only the belief and the confidence we have in a God why man is able to understand his own social institutions, and move and live like a rational human being. Take away the highest ideal: faith and confidence in a God, and mankind at large is reduced to savagery and the race destroyed.
A race without authority and power, is a race without respect.
Criticism is an opinion for good or ill, generally indulged in by the fellow who knows more than anyone else, yet the biggest fool. There is no criticism that calls not forth yet another. The last critic is the biggest fool of all, for the world starts and ends with him. He is the source of all knowledge, yet knows nothing, for there is not a word one finds to use that there is not another that hath the same meaning, then wherefore do we criticize?
Fear is a state of nervousness fit for children and not men. When man fears a creature like himself he offends God, in whose image and likeness he is created. Man being created equal fears not man but God. To fear is to lose control of one's nerves; one's will, to flutter, like a dying fowl, losing consciousness, yet alive.
Ambition is the desire to go forward and improve one's condition. It is a burning flame that lights up the life of the individual and makes him see himself in another state. To be ambitious is to be great in mind and soul; to want that which is worthwhile and strive for it; and to go on without looking back, reaching to that which gives satisfaction. To be humanly ambitious is to take in the world which is the province of man; to be divinely ambitious is to offend God by rivaling him in His infinite majesty.
Admiration is a form of appreciation that is sometimes mistaken for something else. There may be something about you that suggests good fellowship when kept at a distance, but in closer contact would not be tolerated, otherwise it would be love.
Religion is one's opinion and belief in some ethical truth. To be a Christian is to have the religion of Christ, and so to be a believer of Mohammed is to be a Mohammedan but there are so many religions that every man seems to be a religion unto himself. No two persons think alike, even if they outwardly profess the same faith, so we have as many religions in Christianity as we have believers.
Death is the end of all life in the individual or the thing; if physical, the crumbling of the body into dust from whence it came. He, who lives not uprightly, dies completely in the crumbling of the physical body, but he who lives well, transforms himself from that which is mortal, to immortal.
Faithfulness is actuated by a state of heart and mind in the individual that changes not. No one is wholly faithful to a cause or an object, except his heart and mind remain firm without change or doubt. If one's attitude or conduct changes toward an object, then one has lost in one's faithfulness. It is a wholeness of belief overshadowing all suspicion, all doubt, admitting of no question; to serve without regret or disgust, to obligate one's self to that which is promised or expected, to keep to our word and do our duty well. There are but few faithful people now-adays.
Prohibition is to abstain from intoxicating liquor, as it makes us morbid and sometimes drunk. But we get drunk every day, nevertheless, not so much by the strength of what we sip from the cup, but that which we eat, the water we drink, and the air we inhale, which at fermentation conspire at eventide to make us so drunk and tired that we lose control of ourselves and fall asleep. Everybody is a drunkard, and if we were to enforce real prohibition we should all be dead.
There is no strength but that which is destructive, because man has lost his virtues, and only respects force, which he himself cannot counteract. This is the day of racial activity, when each and every group of this great human family must exercise its own initiative and influence in its own protection, therefore, Negroes should be more determined to-day than they have ever been, because the mighty forces of the world are operating against non-organized groups of peoples, who are not ambitious enough to protect their own interests.
Wake up Ethiopia! Wake up Africa! Let us work towards the one glorious end of a free, redeemed and mighty nation. Let Africa be a bright star among the constellation of nations.
A man's bread and butter is only insured when he works for it.
The world has now reached the stage when humanity is really at the parting of" the ways. It is a question of "Man Mind Thyself."
The political readjustment of the world means that those who are not sufficiently able, not sufficiently prepared, will be at the mercy of the organized classes for another one or two hundred years.
The only protection against injustice in man is power: physical, financial and scientific.
The masses make the nation and the race. If the masses are illiterate, that is the judgment passed on the race by those who are critical of its existence.
The function of the Press is public service without prejudice or partiality, to convey the truth as it is seen and understood without favoritism or bias.
Education is the medium by which a people are prepared for the creation of their own particular civilization, and the advancement and glory of their own race.
Nationhood is the only means by which modern civilization can completely protect itself. Independence of nationality, independence of government, is the means of protecting not only the individual, but the group. Nationhood is the highest ideal of all peoples.
The evolutionary scale that weighs nations and races, balances alike for all peoples; hence we feel sure that someday the balance will register a change for the Negro.
If we are to believe the divine injunction, we must realize that the time is coming when every man and every race must return to its own "vine and fig tree."
Let Africa be our guiding star: our star of destiny.
So many of us find excuses to get out of the Negro race, because we are led to believe that the race is unworthy, and that it has not accomplished anything. Cowards that we are! It is we who are unworthy, because we are not contributing to the uplift and upbuilding of this noble race.
How dare anyone tell us that Africa cannot be redeemed, when we have 400,000,000 men and women with warm blood coursing through their veins? The power that holds Africa is not divine. The power that holds Africa is human, and it is recognized that whatsoever man has done, man can do.
We of the Negro race are moving from one state of organization to another, and we shall so continue until we have thoroughly lifted ourselves into the organization of government.
Be as proud of your race today as our fathers were in the days of yore. We have a beautiful history, and we shall create another in the future that will astonish the world.
What the night is to the day, is woman to man. The period of change that brings us light out of darkness, darkness out of light, and semi-light out of darkness are like the changes we find in woman day by day. She makes one happy, then miserable. You are to her kind, then unkind. Constant yet inconstant. Thus we have woman. No real man can do without her.
A happy but miserable state in which man finds himself from time to time; sometimes he believes he is happy by loving, then suddenly he finds how miserable he is. It is all joy, it sweetens life, but it does not last. It comes and goes, but when it is active, there is no greater virtue, because it makes one supremely happy. We cannot hold our love, but there is one love that never change or is mistaken, and that is God's. The longer we hold our love, the nearer we approach like unto our Creator.
The whole world is run on bluff. No race, no nation, no man has any divine right to take advantage of others. Why allow the other fellow to bluff you?
Every student of political science, every student of economics knows that the race can only be saved through a solid industrial foundation; and that the race can only be saved through political independence. Take away industry from a race; take away political freedom from a race, and you have a group of slaves. Peoples everywhere are travelling toward industrial opportunities and greater political freedom. As a race oppressed, it is for us to prepare ourselves that at any time the great change in industrial freedom and political liberty comes about, we may be able to enter into the new era as partakers of the joys to be inherited.
Lagging behind in the van of civilization will not prove our higher abilities. Being subservient to the will and caprice of progressive races will not prove anything superior in us. Being satisfied to drink of the dregs from the cup of human progress will not demonstrate our fitness as a people to exist alongside of others, but when of our own initiative we strike out to build industries, governments, and ultimately empires, then and only then will we as a race prove to our Creator and to man in general that we are fit to survive and capable of shaping our own destiny.
The world ought to know that it could not keep 400,000,000 Negroes down forever. There is always a turning point in the destiny of every race, every nation, of all peoples, and we have come now to the turning point of the Negro, where we have changed from the old cringing weakling, and transformed into full-grown men, demanding our portion as men.
I am not one of those Christians who believe that the Bible can solve all the problems of humanity. The Bible is good in its place, but we are men. We are the creatures of God. We have sinned against Him; therefore it takes more than the Bible to keep us in our places. Man is becoming so vile that to-day we cannot afford to convert him with moral, ethical, physical truths alone, but with that which is more effective—implements of destruction.
Leadership means everything: pain, blood, death.
To be prosperous in whatever we do is the sign of true wealth. We may be wealthy in not only having money, but in spirit and health. It is the most helpful agency toward a self-satisfying life. One lives, in an age like this, nearer perfection by being wealthy than by being poor. To the contended soul, wealth is the stepping stone to perfection; to the miser it is the nearest avenue to hell. I would prefer to be honestly wealthy, than miserably poor.
To be free from temptation of other people's property is to reflect the honesty of our own souls. There are but few really honest people, in that between the thought and the deed we make ourselves dishonest. The fellow who steals, acts dishonestly. We can steal in thought as well as in deed, therefore to be honest is a virtue that but few indulge. To be honest is to be satisfied, having all, wanting nothing. If you find yourself in such a state then you are honest, if not the temptation of your soul is bound to make you dishonest. This applies to the king and the peasant alike.
All peoples are struggling to blast a way through the industrial monopoly of races and nations, but the Negro as a whole has failed to grasp its true significance and seems to delight in filling only that place created for him by the white man.
The Negro who lives on the patronage of philanthropists is the most dangerous member of our society, because he is willing to turn back the clock of progress when his benefactors ask him so to do.
No race in the world is so just as to give others, for the asking, a square deal in things economic, political and social.
Men who are in earnest are not afraid of consequences.
No one knows when the hour of Africa's redemption cometh. It is in the wind. It is coming. One day, like a storm, it will be here. When that day comes all Africa will stand together.
Any sane man, race or nation that desires freedom must first of all think in terms of blood. Why, even the Heavenly Father tells us that "without the shedding of blood there can be no remission of sins?" Then how in the name of God, with history before us, do we expect to redeem Africa without preparing ourselves, some of us to die.
I pray God that we shall never use our physical prowess to oppress the human race, but we will use our strength, physically, morally and otherwise to preserve humanity and civilization.
For over three hundred years the white man has been our oppressor, and he naturally is not going to liberate us to the higher freedom, the truer liberty, and the truer democracy. We have to liberate ourselves.
Every man has a right to his own opinion. Every race has a right to its own action; therefore let no man persuade you against your will, let no other race influence you against your own.
The greatest weapon used against the Negro is disorganization.
If you have no confidence in self you are twice defeated in the race of life. With confidence you have won even before you have started.
At no time within the last five hundred years can one point to a single instance of the Negro as a race of haters. The Negro has loved even under severest punishment. In slavery the Negro loved his master, he safe-guarded his home even when he further planned to enslave him. We are not a race of haters, but lovers of humanity's cause.
Mob violence and injustice have never helped a race or a nation, and because of this knowledge as gathered from the events of ages, we as a people in this new age desire to love all mankind, not in the social sense, but in keeping with the divine injunction "Man Love Thy Brother."
Preparedness is the watch-word of this age. For us as a race to remain, as we have been in the past, divided among ourselves, parochialtizing, insularizing and nationalizing our activities as subjects and citizens of the many alien races and governments under which we live—is but to hold ourselves in readiness for that great catastrophe that is bound to come—that of racial extermination, at the hands of the stronger race—the race that will be fit to survive.
Humanity takes revenging crime from one age to the next, according to the growth and development of the race so afflicted. But the perpetuation of crime through revenge and retaliation will not save the human race.
Europe is bankrupt today, and every nation within her bounds is endeavoring to find new openings, new fields for exploitation—that exploitation that will bring to them the resources, the revenue and the power necessary for their rehabilitation and well-being. We are living in a strenuous, active age, when men see, not through the spectacles of sympathy, but demand that each and every one measures up in proportion to the world's demand for service.
The attitude of the white race is to subjugate, to exploit, and if necessary exterminate the weaker peoples with whom they come in contact. They subjugate first, if the weaker peoples will stand for it; then exploit, and if they will not stand for subjugation nor exploitation, the other recourse is extermination.
If the Negro is not careful he will drink in all the poison of modem civilization and die from the effects of it.
There can be no peace among men and nations, so long as the strong continues to oppress the weak, so long as injustice is done to other peoples, just so long will we have cause for war, and make a lasting peace an impossibility.
Hungry men have no respect for law, authority or human life.
I am not opposed to the white race as charged by my enemies. I have no time to hate anyone. All my time is devoted to the up-building and development of the Negro race.
When nations outgrow their national limits, they make war and conquer other people's territory so as to have an outlet for their surplus populations.
The world does not count races and nations that have nothing.
Point me to a weak nation and I will show you a people oppressed, abused, taken advantage of by others. Show me a weak race and I will show you a people reduced to serfdom, peonage and slavery. Show me a well organized nation, and I will show you a people and a nation respected by the world.
The battles of the future, whether they be physical or mental, will be fought on scientific lines, and the race that is able to produce the highest scientific development, is the race that will ultimately rule.
Let us prepare today. For the tomorrows in the lives of the nations will be so eventful that Negroes everywhere will be called upon to play their part in the survival of the fittest human group.
Let us in shaping our own destiny set before us the qualities of human justice, love, charity, mercy and equity. Upon such foundation let us build a race, and I feel that the God who is divine, the almighty Creator of the world, shall forever bless this race of ours, and who to tell that we shall not teach men the way to life, liberty and true human happiness?
Day by day we hear the cry of "Africa for the Africans." This cry has become a positive, determined one. It is a cry that is raised simultaneously the world over, because of the universal oppression that affects the Negro.
All of us may not live to see the higher accomplishment of an African Empire: so strong and powerful, as to compel the respect of mankind, but we in our lifetime can so work and act as to make the dream a possibility within another generation.
We are living in a civilization that is highly developed. We are living in a world that is scientifically arranged in which everything done by those who control is done through system; proper arrangement, proper organization, and among some of the organized methods used to control the world is the thing known and called "propaganda."
Propaganda has done more to defeat the good intentions of races and nations than even open warfare.
Propaganda is a method or medium used by organized peoples to convert others against their will.
We of the Negro race are suffering more than any other race in the world from propaganda—Propaganda to destroy our hopes, our ambitions and our confidence in self.
Slavery is a condition imposed upon individuals or races not sufficiently able to protect or defend themselves, and so long as a race or people expose themselves to the danger of being weak, no one can tell when they will be reduced to slavery.
When a man is a slave he has no liberty of action; no freedom of will, he is bound and controlled by the will and act of others; as of the individual, so of the race.
Slavery is not a condition confined to anyone age or race of people. Slavery has been since man in the different distribution of himself, scattered here, there and everywhere, has grown and developed, wherein one race will become strong and the other race remains weak. The strong race has always reduced the weak to slavery. It has been so in ages past, it is so now in certain parts of the world, and will be so until the end of time.
The great British nation was once a race of slaves. In their own country they were not respected because the Romans went there, brutalized and captured them, took them over to Rome and kept them in slavery. They were not respected in Rome because they were regarded as a slave race. But the Briton did not always remain a slave. As a freed man he went back to his country (Britain) and built up a civilization of his own, and by his self-reliance and initiative he forced the respect of mankind and maintains it until today.
The powers opposed to Negro progress will not be influenced in the slightest by mere verbal protests on our part. They realize only too well that protests of this kind contain nothing but the breath expended in making them.
They also realize that their success in enslaving and dominating the darker portion of humanity was due solely to the element of force employed (in the majority of cases this was accomplished by force of arms.)
Pressure of course may assert itself in other forms, but in the last analysis whatever influence is brought to bear against the powers opposed to Negro progress must contain the element of force in order to accomplish its purpose, since it is apparent that this is the only element they recognize.
To be learned in all that is worthwhile knowing. Not to be crammed with the subject matter of the book or the philosophy of the class room, but to store away in your head such facts as you need for the daily application of life, so that you may the better in all things understand your fellowmen, and interpret your relationship to your Creator.
You can be educated in soul, vision and feeling, as well as in mind. To see your enemy and know him is a part of the complete education of man; to spiritually regulate one's self is another form of the higher education that fits man for a nobler place in life, and still, to approach your brother by the feeling of your own humanity, is an education that softens the ills of the world and makes us kind indeed.
Many a man was educated outside the school room. It is something you let out, not completely take in. You are part of it, for it is natural; it is dormant simply because you will not develop it, but God creates every man with it knowingly or unknowingly to him who possesses it, that's the difference. Develop yours and you become as great and full of knowledge as the other fellow without even entering the class room.
Some of the men of the Negro race aggravate the race question because they force the white man to conclude that to educate a black man, to give him opportunities, is but to fit him to be a competitor for the hand of his woman; hence the eternal race question.
But not all black men are willing to commit race suicide and to abhor their race for the companionship of another. There are hundreds of millions of us black men who are proud of our skins and to us the African Empire will not be a Utopia, neither will it be dangerous nor fail to serve our best interests, because we realize that like the leopard we cannot change our skins. The men of the highest morals, highest character and noblest pride are to be found among the masses of the Negro race who love their women with as much devotion as white men love theirs.
Prejudice of the white race against the black race is not so much because of color as of condition; because as a race, to them, we have accomplished nothing; we have built no nation, no government; because we are dependent for our economic and political existence.
You can never curb the prejudice of the one race or nation against the other by law. It must be regulated by one's own feeling, one's own will, and if one's feeling and will rebel against you no law in the world can curb it.
Prejudice can be actuated by different reasons. Sometimes the reason is economic, and sometimes political. You can only obstruct it by progress and force.
"Radical" is a label that is always applied to people who are endeavoring to get freedom. Jesus Christ was the greatest radical the world ever saw. He came and saw a world of sin and his program was to inspire it with spiritual feeling. He was therefore a radical. George Washington was dubbed a radical when he took up his sword to fight his way to liberty in America one hundred and forty years ago. All men who call themselves reformers are perforce radicals. They cannot be anything else, because they are revolting against the conditions that exist. Conditions as they exist reveal a conservative state, and if you desire to change these conditions you must be a radical. I am, therefore, satisfied to be the same kind of radical, if through radicalism I can free Africa.
Government is not infallible. Government is only an executive control, a centralized authority for the purpose of expressing the will of the people. Before you have a government you must have the people. Without the people there can be no government. The government must be, therefore. an expression of the will of the people.
Evolution and the Result
Evolution bring us changes that sometimes make us fail to recognize ourselves even after a lapse of centuries. When the great white race of today had no civilization of its own, when white men lived in caves and were counted as savages, this race of ours boasted of a wonderful civilization on the banks of the Nile.
It may sound good for some Negroes to say that they were born here or there, and they do not intend to go anywhere else but where they saw the light of day. But let me say to you men, the world is small and humanity in the many and various race groups, is growing larger every day.
A race that was ten millions fifty years ago is today sixty millions. A race that was thirty millions fifty years ago is today ninety millions; how many will they be tomorrow and the world is not growing larger?
What will happen through the multiplication of all these various race groups, of those who are in power, of those who are strong, those who have at their command the forces of nature, through which they can exploit the weak and ultimately exterminate them? What will happen to you, the weak and unprepared, when the strong becomes more numerous even though the world remains at its present size?
Ah, if you will but think down the future and compare the possibilities of that future with the happenings of the past you will come to the conclusion that there is no other salvation for the Negro but through a free and independent Africa.
Whilst geographically speaking the world has ever been in its natural divisions as we know it, and see it, yet, politically speaking, the world has changed, and is still changing. Yesterday we had the Roman empire, we had the Grecian empire, we had even before the Carthaginian, the Assyrian and the Babylonian empires. What has become of them? They have gone into the oblivion of the past, because of human progress, because of the development of certain races as against the stagnation of others; but even yesterday we also had the great German empire; we had the Russian empire; we had the empire of Austria and Hungary. Where are they now? They too, are travelling toward the oblivion of the past. Today we have the great French empire, the British empire and other great commonwealths. Will they stand?
Ah, I think not, because evolution and human progress bring changes, and in the changes no man can tell what will happen tomorrow as against what exists today. Therefore, I say to the four hundred million Negroes of the world, prepare yourselves for the higher life, the life of liberty, industrially, educationally, socially and politically.
A hellish state to be in. It is no virtue. It is a crime. To be poor, is to be hungry without possible hope of food; to be sick without hope of medicine; to be tired and sleepy without a place to lay one's head; to be naked without the hope of clothing; to be despised and comfortless. To be poor is to be a fit subject for crime and hell. The hungry man steals bread and thereby breaks the eighth commandment; by his state he breaks all the laws of God and man and becomes an outcast. In thought and deed he covets his neighbor's goods; comfortless as he is he seeks his neighbor's wife; to him there is no other course but sin and death. That is the way of poverty. No one wants to be poor.
Power is the only argument that satisfies man.
Except the individual, the race or the nation has POWER that is exclusive; it means that that individual, race or nation will be bound by the will of the other who possesses this great qualification.
It is the physical and pugilistic power of Harry Wills that makes white men afraid to fight him. It was the industrial and scientific power of the Teutonic race that kept it for years as dictator of the economic and scientific policies of Europe.
It is the naval and political power of Great Britain that keeps her mistress of the seas.
It is the commercial and financial power of the United States of America that makes her the greatest banker in the world. Hence it is advisable for the Negro to get power of every kind.
Power in education, science, industry, politics and higher government. That kind of power that will stand out signally, so that other races and nations can see, and if they will not see, then feel.
Man is not satisfied or moved by prayers or petitions, but every man is moved by that power of authority which forces him to do even against his will.
Humanity everywhere is struggling toward political freedom and economic opportunity. In this struggle we are confronted with the rivalry of the keenest minds of the age; each race and nation seeking to present its best to the world.
So much is expected of each by the different rivals, that it becomes impossible to reach an amicable settlement and to establish universal confidence.
It can be plainly seen that no one race or nation trusts the other. There is a Universal Suspicion that hovers over the conduct of every great leader representative of his race or nation. It is this suspicion that limited the Washington four pact treaty; it is this suspicion that caused the failure of the Genoa Conference; it is this suspicion that is going to wreck ultimately many of the nations and empires of today, thereby throwing into obscurity many of the races that now dominate the affairs of men. We as a race, are called upon to play our part, and we must do it well. In the spread of this universal suspicion that causes nation to distrust nation, and race to distrust race, we also have our distrust which makes it impossible for us to believe in anyone else but ourselves.
Dissertation on Man
Man is the individual who is able to shape his own character, master his own will, direct his own life and shape his own ends.
When God breathed into the nostrils of man the breath of life, he made him a living soul, and bestowed upon him the authority of "Lord of Creation," He never intended that that individual should descend to the level of a peon, a serf, or a slave, but that he should be always man in the fullest possession of his senses, and with the truest knowledge of himself. But how changed has man become since creation?" We find him today divided into different classes—the helpless imbecile, the dependent slave, the servant and the master. These different classes God never created. He created man. But this individual has so retrograded, as to make it impossible to find him—a real man.
As far as the Negro race is concerned, we can find but few real men to measure up to the higher purpose of the creation, and because of this lack of manhood in the race, we have stagnated for centuries and now find ourselves at the foot of the great human ladder.
After the creation, and after man was given possession of the world, the Creator relinquished all authority to his lord, except that which was spiritual. All that authority which meant the regulation of human affairs, human society, and human happiness was given to man by the Creator, and man, therefore, became master of his own destiny, and architect of his own fate. In process of time we find that only a certain type of man has been able to make good in God's creation. We find them building nations, governments and empires, as also great monuments of commerce, industry and education (these men realizing the power given them exerted every bit of it to their own good and to their posterity's) while, on the other hand, 400,000,000 Negroes who claim the common Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man, have fallen back so completely, as to make us today the serfs and slaves of those who fully know themselves and have taken control of the world, which was given to all in common by the Creator.
I desire to impress upon the 400,000,000 members of my race that our failings in the past, present and of the future will be through our failures to know ourselves and to realize the true functions of man on this mundane sphere.
Some Negro leaders have advanced the belief that in another few years the white people will make up their minds to assimilate their black populations; thereby sinking all racial prejudice in the welcoming of the black race into the social companionship of the white. Such leaders further believe that by the amalgamation of black and white, a new type will spring up, and that type will become the American and West Indian of the future. This belief is preposterous. I believe that white men should be white, yellow men should be yellow, and black men should be black in the great panorama of races, until each and every race by its own initiative lifts itself up to the common standard of humanity, as to compel the respect and appreciation of all, and so make it possible for each one to stretch out the hand of welcome without being able to be prejudiced against the other because of any inferior and unfortunate condition.
The white man of America will not, to any organized extent, assimilate the Negro, because in so doing, he feels that he will be committing racial suicide. This he is not prepared to do. It is true he illegitimately carries on a system of assimilation; but such assimilation, as practiced, is one that he is not prepared to support because he becomes prejudiced against his own offspring, if that offspring is the product of black and white; hence, to the white man the question of racial differences is eternal. So long as Negroes occupy an inferior position among the races and nations of the world, just so long will others be prejudiced against them, because it will be profitable for them to keep up their system of superiority. But when the Negro by his own initiative lifts himself from his low state to the highest human standard he will be in a position to stop begging and praying, and demand a place that no individual, race or nation will be able to deny him.
A form of religion practiced by the millions, but as misunderstood, and unreal to the majority as gravitation is to the untutored savage. We profess to live in the atmosphere of Christianity, yet our acts are as barbarous as if we never knew Christ. He taught us to love, yet we hate; to forgive, yet we revenge; to be merciful, yet we condemn and punish, and still we are Christians.
If hell is what we are taught it is, then there will be more Christians there than days in all creation. To be a true Christian one must be like Christ and practice Christianity, not as the Bishop does, but as he says, for if our lives were to be patterned after the other fellow's all of us, Bishop, Priest and Layman would ultimately meet around the furnace of hell, and none of us, because of our sins, would see salvation.
The Function of Man
God placed man on earth as the lord of Creation. The elements—all nature are at his command—it is for him to harness them subdue them and use them.
Edison harnessed electricity. Today the world reflects the brilliancy of his grand illumination. Stephenson, through experiments, has given us the use of the steam engine, and today the railroad train flies across the country at a speed of sixty miles an hour.
Marconi conquered the currents of the air and today we have wireless telegraphy that flashes news across the continents with a rapidity never yet known to man.
All this reveals to us that man is the supreme lord of creation, that in man lies the power of mastery, a mastery of self, a mastery of all things created, bowing only to the almighty architect in those things that are spiritual, in those things that are divine.
In the fight to reach the top the oppressed have always been encumbered by the traitors of their own race, made up of those of little faith and those who are generally susceptible to bribery for the selling out of the rights of their own people. As Negroes, we are not entirely free of such an encumbrance. To be outspoken, I believe we are more encumbered in this way than any other race in the world, because of the lack of training and preparation for fitting us for our place in the world among nations and races. The traitor of other races is generally confined to the mediocre or irresponsible individual, but, unfortunately, the traitors among the Negro race are generally to be found among the men highest placed in education and society, the fellows who call themselves leaders. For us to examine ourselves thoroughly as a people we will find that we have more traitors than leaders, because nearly everyone who essays to lead the race at this time does so by first establishing himself as the pet of some philanthropist of another race, to whom he will go and debase his race in the worst form, humiliate his own manhood, and thereby win the sympathy of the "great benefactor", who will dictate to him what he should do in the leadership of the Negro race. It is generally "You must go out and teach your people to be meek and humble; tell them to be good servants, loyal and obedient to their masters. If you will teach them such a doctrine you can always depend on me to give you $1,000 a year or $5,000 a year for the support of yourself, the newspaper or the institution you represent. I will always recommend you to my friends as a good fellow who is all right," With this advice and prospect of patronage the average Negro leader goes out to lead the unfortunate mass. These leaders tell us how good Mr. So and So is, how many good friends we have in the opposite race, and that if we leave everything to them all will work out well.
This is the kind of leadership we have been having for the last fifty years. It is nothing else but treachery and treason of the worst kind. The man who will compromise the attitude of his country is a traitor, and even so the man who will compromise the rights of his race can be classified in no other way than that of a traitor also.
Not until we settle down as four hundred million people and let the men who have placed themselves in the lead of us realize that we are disgusted and dissatisfied, and that we shall have a leadership of our own and stick by it when we get it, will we be able to lift ourselves from this mire of degradation to the heights of prosperity, human liberty and human appreciation.
Present Day Civilization
We are circumvented today by environments more dangerous than those which circumvented other peoples in any other age. We are face to face with environments in a civilization that is highly developed; a civilization that is competing with itself for its own destruction; a civilization that cannot last, because it has no spiritual foundation; a civilization that is vicious, crafty, dishonest, immoral, irreligious and corrupt.
We see a small percentage of the world's populace feeling happy and contented with this civilization that man has evolved, and we see the masses of the human race on the other hand dissatisfied and discontented with the civilization of today—the arrangement of human society. Those masses are determined to destroy the systems that hold up such a society and prop such a civilization.
As by indication, the fall will come. A fall that will cause the universal wreck of the civilization that we now see, and in this civilization the Negro is called upon to play his part. He is called upon to evolve a national ideal, based upon freedom, human liberty and true democracy. Divine Apportionment of Earth
God Almighty created all men equal, whether they be white, yellow or black, and for any race to admit that it cannot do what others have done, is to hurl an insult at the Almighty who created all races equal, in the beginning. The white man has no right of way to this green earth, neither the yellow man. All of us were created lords of the creation, and whether we be white, yellow, brown or black nature intended a place for each and everyone.
If Europe is for the white man, if Asia is for brown and yellow men, then surely Africa is for the black man. The great white man has fought for the preservation of Europe, the great yellow and brown races are fighting for the preservation of Asia, and four hundred million Negroes shall shed, if needs be, the last drop of their blood for the redemption of Africa and the emancipation of the race everywhere.
Universal Unrest in 1922
The human race is universally disturbed because of the many injustices inflicted upon the masses by the dominant powers. The privileged classes have for centuries dominated the will of the masses, and as it would appear, have ground out of the toiling millions the last drop of sweat. These millions are now in rebellion. They are striking everywhere—in England, France, Germany, America and other parts of the world. Those who are not on strike are shaking their fists in bloody revolution as a protest against the industrial and political systems of the day. In this big noise for world readjustment in the affairs of the human race, four hundred million Negroes cry out for better consideration and for justice.
Present day statesmen are making the biggest blunder of the age if they believe that there can be any peace without equity and justice to all mankind. Any attempt at disarmament when half the world oppresses the other half is but a farce, because the oppressed will make their oppressors get armed sooner or later.
Cause of Wars
The world is not yet perfect. It is in chaos; yes, in confusion and out of this confusion will come many more upheavals that will shake its very foundation. Fool not yourselves that the conferences that have been held, and will be held in the future, are sufficient to settle the disgruntled state of the world, and the dissatisfied condition of humanity.
They have not gone down to the root of all evils that give cause to the great discontent, they will never be able to establish a permanent peace and present to us a settled world.
The history of the past teaches us that we have had many wars, each more deadly, each more catastrophic, and even as the war of 1914–18 was the most deadly we have experienced for ages, so in the very near future we shall see the most bloody conflict ever waged by man. Whether it is to be a war of the races or of the nations, no one can tell, but so long as this injustice continues; so long as the strong continues to oppress the weak; so long as the powerful nations arrange among themselves to oppress the weaker ones, and to keep the more unfortunate of humanity in serfdom, and to rob and exploit them, so long will the cause of war be fed with the fuel of revenge, of hatred, and of discontent.
The political re-adjustment of the world means this—that every race must find a home; hence the great cry of Palestine for the Jews—Ireland for the Irish,—India for the Indians and simultaneously Negroes are raising the cry of "Africa for the Africans", those at home and those abroad. It is a cry for political re-adjustment along natural lines, and this re-adjustment has come out of the war of 1914–18, because, we, as Negroes, realize that if (with our knowledge and experience of western civilization) we allow the world to adjust itself politically without taking thought for ourselves, we would be lost to the world in another few decades.
The Fall of Governments
The fall of nations and empires has always come about first by the disorganized spirit,—the disorganized sentiment of those who make up the nation or the empire. The one class opposing, fighting against the other, the other class seeking to deprive them of the essentials of life which are necessary for the good and well-being of all. The class that ruled in the past and the class that rules now in government, are the people who have always provoked the spirit of those who are ruled. Hence you have social revolutions, civil strife, which ultimately result in the downfall of the empire or the nation. What has happened in the past will happen again. I am not attempting to prophesy the destruction of any of the now exiting empires or nations, but the empires and nations themselves are going to their own ruin. In Europe we hear of great industrial unrests. Laborers uniting themselves and marching to the representatives of governments asking for better conditions to alleviate their suffering. Instead of the representatives seeking to pacify and satisfy those who are in need, the representatives of such governments adopt a strong-armed policy to prosecute and persecute those who suffer and appeal for aid from the nation or the empire.
What happens? The dissatisfied who are driven away by the majesty of the law, go back to those who suffer with them and scatter throughout the nation or the empire the spirit of dissatisfaction that ultimately breaks out in civil strife, social disorder, which in turn brings the downfall of the nation or the empire.
People who rule (being selected by the masses of their own) forget when they come into power that they have an obligation to those who placed them in authority and through selfishness arrogate to themselves all that is good within the nation to the exclusion of those who suffer and to the exclusion of those who placed them in their positions of trust. Hence Monopoly—industrial, commercial and economic—which places power in the hands of the select few, and through the selfishness of administration by the few they cause the majority of the masses to exist always in want. Through this want, a spirit of dissatisfaction springs up among the people, and they, in their passion, seeking to correct the evil, tear down governments.
Great Ideals Know No Nationality
My enemies in America have done much to hold me up to public contempt and ridicule, but have failed. They believe that the only resort is to stir up national prejudice against me, in that I was not born within the borders of the United States of America.
I am not in the least concerned about such propaganda, because I have travelled the length and breadth of America and I have discovered that among the fifteen million of my race, only those who have exploited and lived off the ignorance of the masses are concerned with where I was born. The masses of the people are looking for leadership; they desire sincere, honest guidance in racial affairs. As proof of this I may mention, that the largest number of members in the Universal Negro Improvement Association (of which I am President-General) are to be found in America, and are native born Americans. I know these people so well and I love them so well, that I would not for one minute think that they would fall for such an insidious propaganda. All intelligent people know that one's nationality has nothing to do with great ideals and great principles. If because I am a Jamaican the Negro should not accept the principle of race rights and liberty, or the ideal of a free and independent race; then you may well say that because Jesus was a Nazarene the outside world should not accept his doctrine of Christianity, because He was an "alien."
Because Martin Luther was born in Germany, the world should not accept the doctrine of Protestantism. Because Alexander Hamilton and Lafayette were not born in America, Americans should not accept and appreciate the benefits they bestowed upon the nation. Because Marconi was an Italian, we of the new world should not make use of wireless telegraphy. Again I say, great principles, great ideals know no nationality. I know no national boundary where the Negro is concerned. The whole world is my province until Africa is free. Purpose of Creation
The man or woman who has no confidence in self is an unfortunate being, and is really a misfit in creation. God Almighty created each and every one of us for a place in the world, and for the least of us to think that we were created only to be what we are and not what we can make ourselves is to impute an improper motive to the Creator for creating us. God Almighty created us all to be free. That the Negro race became a race of slaves was not the fault of God Almighty, the Divine Master, it was the fault of the race. Sloth, neglect, indifference caused us to be slaves. Confidence, conviction, action will cause us to be free men today.
Purity of Race
I believe in a pure black race just as how all self-respecting whites believe in a pure white race, as far as that can be. I am conscious of the fact that slavery brought upon us the curse of many colors within the Negro race, but that is no reason why we of ourselves should perpetuate the evil; hence instead of encouraging a wholesale bastardy in the race, we feel that we should now set out to create a race type and standard of our own which could not, in the future, be stigmatized by bastardy, but could be recognized and respected as the true race type anteceding even our own time.
Man Know Thyself
For man to know himself is for him to feel that for him there is no human master. For him Nature is his servant, and whatsoever he wills in Nature, that shall be his reward. If he wills to be a pigmy, a serf or a slave, that shall he be. If he wills to be a real man in possession of the things common to man, then he shall be his own sovereign.
When man fails to grasp his authority he sinks to the level of the lower animals, and whatsoever the real man bids him do, even as if it were of the lower animals, that much shall he do. If he says "go." He goes. If he says "come," he comes. By this command he performs the functions of life even as by a similar command the mule, the horse, the cow performs the will of their masters. For the last four hundred years the Negro has been in the position of being commanded even as the lower animals are controlled. Our race has been without a will; without a purpose of its own, for all this length of time. Because of that we have developed few men who are able to understand the strenuousness of the age in which we live.
Where can we find in this race of ours real men? Men of character, men of purpose, men of confidence, men of faith, men who really know themselves? I have come across so many weaklings who profess to be leaders, and in the test I have found them but the slaves of a nobler class. They perform the will of their masters without question.
To me, a man has no master but God. Man in his authority is a sovereign lord. As for the individual man, so of the individual race. This feeling makes man so courageous, so bold, as to make it impossible for his brother to intrude upon his rights. So few of us can understand what it takes to make a man—the man who will never say die; the man who will never give up; the man who will never depend upon others to do for him what he ought to do for himself; the man who will not blame God, who will not blame Nature, who will not blame Fate for his condition; but the man who will go out and make conditions to suit himself. Oh, how disgusting life becomes when on every hand you hear people (who bear your image, who bear your resemblance) telling you that they cannot make it, that Fate is against them, that they cannot get a chance. If 400,000,000 Negroes can only get to know themselves, to know that in them is a sovereign power, is an authority that is absolute, then in the next twenty-four hours we would have a new race, we would have a nation, an empire, resurrected, not from the will of others to see us rise,—but from our own determination to rise, irrespective of what the world thinks.
A Solution for World Peace: 1922
We hear a great deal of talk about world peace today. Wilson of America, Lloyd George of England, Clemenceau of France a few years ago prophesied at Versailles a reign of peace. Up to the present many of the leading statesmen of the world have pledged themselves to a program of world peace. Many conferences have been held (political as well as industrial) for the purpose of settling the question of peace; but up to now none of them has laid the foundation for a real peace, for a lasting peace. The peace of the world cannot be settled by political conferences, or by industrial conferences only. If we are to have a world peace it will only come when a great inter-racial conference is called. When Jew will meet Gentile; when Anglo-Saxon will meet Teuton; when the great Caucasian family will meet the Mongolian, and when all will meet the Negro, and then and there straighten out the differences that have kept us apart for hundreds of years, and will continue to keep us apart until doom's day, if something is not done to create better racial understanding. If white men continue to exploit yellow men, if white men continue to exploit black and brown men, if yellow men continue to exploit brown and black men, then all we can look forward to is a reign of wars and rumors of wars. So long as Anglo-Saxons oppress Indians; so long as the French exploit the black race; so long as the Russian murders the Jew, so long will the cause for war be found, and so long will man continue to fight and kill his brother.
If England wants peace, if France wants peace, I suggest to them to pack up their bag and baggage and clear out of Africa, because Africa in the future will be to them what Europe has been for the last three hundred years—a hot bed of wars, political intrigues and upheavals,—and Europe has changed many a time politically. Once the great Napoleon ruled, the Czars ruled and but recently the German Eagle was the symbol of fear. Today England stands out as the most brilliant star in the European political constellation. But what of tomorrow? Africa with her threatened upheaval will produce the same conditions in another century as Europe has done in the past. Can we not see that we are marching headlong into the abyss of eternal destruction? Can we not realize that we are not laying the foundation of peace? Can we not realize that we are but provoking the sleeping passions of the races? How long do you believe that four-hundred million Negroes will allow themselves to be exploited by alien races, robbed and murdered? Just so long until the truth is brought home to them, and then when the sleeping giant awakens, even like Samson, he may bring down the pillars of the temple.
The war of 1914–18 has created a new sentiment throughout the world. Once upon a time weaker peoples were afraid of expressing themselves, of giving vent to their feelings, but today no oppressed race or nation is afraid of speaking out in the cause of liberty. Egypt has spoken, Ireland has spoken, Poland has spoken and Poland is free, Egypt is free, Ireland is also free. Africa is now speaking, and if for seven-hundred and fifty years Irishmen found perseverance enough to have carried the cause of freedom on and on until they won, then four hundred million Negroes are prepared to carry on the fight for African liberty even if it takes us to the seat of the Most High, yes if it takes us until judgment day, we shall fight the cause on and on without relenting. The world may scoff at us, the world may deride us, but there have been many surprises for the world before, and there will be many more. Englishmen scoffed at the Colonists when they agitated for independence in America, but their scoffs and derisions did not prevent George Washington from giving us the glorious Stars and Stripes. Men laughed at the propaganda of Tolstoi. The Czar himself impugned the idea of a more liberal Russia, but today Lenin and Trotsky rule. Yes, the Louis's laughed at the propaganda of the Liberals of France, but the French Monarchy is no more. Today Frenchmen take pride in the new democracy of France; so that others may laugh at us today because we are agitating the question of a free and independent Africa, but tomorrow, who knows, Africa will loom up as the greatest Republic in the world.
God as a War Lord
God is a bold Sovereign—A Warrior Lord. The God we worship and adore is a God of War as well as a God of Peace. He does not allow anything to interfere with His power and authority. The greatest battle ever fought was not between the Kaiser of Germany on the one hand and the Allied Powers on the other, it was between Almighty God on the one hand and Lucifer the Archangel on the other.
When Lucifer challenged God's power in Heaven and marshaled his forces on the plains of Paradise, the God we worship and adore also marshaled His forces, His Archangels, His Cherubims and His Seraphims, and in battle array He placed Himself before them with the royal standard of Heaven. He faced the opposing general Lucifer with his hordes on the battle plains of Heaven and there the Great War began. The whole universe shook as the battle raged between the two opposing forces, and as God the Creator gained the upper hand of Lucifer, what did He do? Did He hoist the white flag of peace? No, God Almighty, God the Omnipotent took hold of Lucifer and flung him from the heights of Heaven to the depths of hell, thereby proving that He is a God of war as well as a God of peace. And when anyone transgresses His power He goes to war in defense of His rights.
Man is only a little lower than the angels; the angels are only a little lower than the creator, but the Creator, has bequeathed to angels and to men the same principles, the same policies that govern Him as God. And even as he goes to war in defense of His rights, so man goes to war in defense of his rights.
I believe with Napoleon. When someone asked him "On what side is God?" he replied. "God is on the side of the strongest battalion." Napoleon was right. He had a true concept of God. God is really on the side of the strongest peoples because God made all men equal and He never gave superior power to anyone class or group of people over another, and anyone who can get the advantage over another is pleasing God, because that is the servant who has taken care of God's command in exercising authority over the world.
The Image of God
If the white man has the idea of a white God, let him worship his God as he desires. If the yellow man's God is of his race let him worship his God as he sees fit. We, as Negroes, have found a new ideal. Whilst our God has no color, yet it is human to see everything through one's own spectacles, and since the white people have seen their God through white spectacles, we have only now started out (late though it be) to see our God through our own spectacles. The God of Isaac and the God of Jacob let Him exist for the race that believes in the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. We Negroes believe in the God of Ethiopia, the everlasting God—God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, the One God of all ages. That is the God in whom we believe, but we shall worship Him through the spectacles of Ethiopia.
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 arc 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 cotton fields 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 thralldom 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 subjects.
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 descendants of those who, through their advocacy, descendants 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 there from 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 there from, 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 Negro Problem in America
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 disfranchisement. 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 overwhelming 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 is 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 ruin and disaster. White Propaganda About Africa
This propaganda of disassociating Western Negroes from Africa is not a new one. For many years white propagandists have been printing tons 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 Contact with 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 awakening, 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 the world.
Belief that the Race Problem will adjust itself a Fallacy
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 disorganization in the Nation, and in that state certain things happened by mere chance. In the chance, dozens of black men became Senators and Congressmen. This opened 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 masters within these United States of America.
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 cannot 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 defenseless 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 aid 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 airplanes by the Christian whites.
The above are but few examples of the many atrocities committed on our defenseless 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 themselves 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 Governor, 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 Barabbas, the robber and Jesus whom they called the King of the Jews, and they cried, "Crucify Jesus and let Barabbas 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. And 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 races. 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 million's 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 defenseless 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 tenaciously 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 farther 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, martyr-like, 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 worthwhile. 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 fire 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 embarrass 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 bringing 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 mosquitoes," "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 came 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 farfetched, 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 assistance.
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 tremendous 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 Asiatic 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 farseeing 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 organization.
"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 support.
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 centuries.
Deceiving the People
There is many a leader of our race who tells us that everything 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 practiced 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, brutalize 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 Timbuktu 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 masters 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, and 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 you 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.
Speech Delivered on Emancipation Day at Liberty Hall in New York City: January 1, 1922
Fifty-nine years ago Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation declaring four million Negroes in this country free; several years prior to that Queen Victoria of England signed the Emancipation Proclamation that set at liberty hundreds of thousands of West Indian Negro slaves.
West Indian Negroes celebrate their emancipation on the first day of August of every year. The American Negroes celebrate their emancipation on the first of January of every year. Tonight we are here to celebrate the emancipation of the slaves in this country.
We are the descendants of the men and women who suffered in this country for two hundred and fifty years under that barbarous, that brutal institution known as slavery. You who have not lost trace of your history will recall the fact that over three hundred years ago your fore-bears were taken from the great Continent of Africa and brought here for the purpose of using them as slaves. Without mercy, without any sympathy they worked our fore-bears. They suffered, they bled, they died. But with their sufferings, with their blood, which they shed in their death, they had a hope that one day their posterity would be free, and we are assembled here tonight as the children of their hope.
I trust each and every one of you therefore will realize that you have a duty which is incumbent upon you; a duty that you must perform, because our fore-bears who suffered, who bled, who died had hopes that are not yet completely realized. They hoped that we as their children would be free, but they also hoped that their country from whence they came would also be free to their children, their grand-children and great grandchildren at some future time. It is for the freedom of that country—that Motherland of ours—that four and a half million Negroes, as members of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, are laboring today.
This race of ours gave civilization, gave art, gave science; gave literature to the world. But it has been the way with races and nations. The one race stands out prominently in the one century or in the one age; and in another century or age it passes off the stage of action, and another race takes its place. The Negro once occupied a high position in the world, scientifically, artistically and commercially, but in the balancing of the great scale of evolution, we lost our place and someone, other than ourselves occupies the stand we once held.
God never intended that man should enslave his fellow, and the price of such a sin or such a violation of Heaven's law must be paid by everyone. As for me, because of the blessed past, because of the history that I know, so long as there is within me the breath of life and the spirit of God, I shall struggle on and urge others of our race to struggle on to see that justice is done to the black peoples of the world. Yes, we appreciate the sorrows of the past, and we are going to work in the present that the sorrows of our generation shall not be perpetuated in the future. On the contrary, we shall strive that by our labors, succeeding generations of our own shall call us blessed, even as we call the generation of the past blessed today. And they indeed were blest. They were blest with a patience not yet known to man; a patience that enabled them to endure the tortures and the sufferings of slavery for two hundred and fifty years. Why? Was it because they loved slavery so?
No. It was because they loved this generation more—isn’t it wonderful. Transcendent? What then are you going to do to show your appreciation of this love, what gratitude are you going to manifest in return for what they have done for you? As for me, knowing the sufferings of my fore-fathers I shall give back to Africa that liberty that she once enjoyed hundreds of years ago, before her own sons and daughters were taken from her shores and brought in chains to this Western World.
No better gift can I give in honor of the memory of the love of my fore-parents for me, and in gratitude of the sufferings they endured that I might be free; no grander gift can I bear to the sacred memory of the generation past than a free and a redeemed Africa—a monument for all eternity—for all times.
As by the action of the world, as by the conduct of all the races and nations it is apparent that not one of them has the sense of justice, the sense of love, the sense of equity, the sense of charity, that would make men happy, and make God satisfied. It is apparent that it is left to the Negro to play such a part in human affairs—for when we look to the Anglo-Saxon we see him full of greed, avarice, no mercy, no love, no charity. We go from the white man to the yellow man, and we see the same unenviable characteristics in the Japanese. Therefore we must believe that the Psalmist had great hopes of this race of ours when he prophesied "Princes shall come out of Egypt and Ethiopia shall stretch forth her hands unto God."
If humanity is regarded as made up of the children of God and God loves all humanity (we all know that) then God will be more pleased with that race that protects all humanity than with the race that outrages the children of God. And so tonight we celebrate this anniversary of our emancipation, we do it not with regret; on the contrary we do it with an abiding confidence, a hope and faith in ourselves and in our God. And the faith that we have is a faith that will ultimately take us back to that ancient place, that ancient position that we once occupied, when Ethiopia was in her glory.
Christmas Message to the Negro Peoples of the World. December 1921
Fellow men of the Negro Race, Greeting: — to us is born this day the Child Jesus—the Christ. The Shepherds and wise men are now wending their way toward Bethlehem, there to behold the Wonder of God. Because, there, in a manger, is to be found the Baby Christ who is to be the Redeemer of the world. And so our thoughts go back for more than nineteen hundred years. We hear the shout "Hosanna in the Highest, blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord."
With all the preparation the human race has made to welcome into the world the Christ who is to redeem us, we find ourselves still in confusion, still fighting, still exploiting, still merciless in our onslaught one upon the other. But on this Christmas morn may we not all members and brothers of the great human family, forget our differences, and in one glorious chorus sing put to the world "Peace, perfect peace?". Christ died to free Mankind.
When we come to consider the Brotherhood of Man and the Fatherhood of God, and that this Child of our own flesh, yet spirit of the Great Creator has been sent to link us nearer to our common Father, will we not admit of the reason that there should be but very little differences between us, What will we gain fighting the battle of man against man? Absolutely nothing but death; and was not this Child Jesus sent into this world to teach us the new life, the life of Love, of Charity, the Life of Mercy? What greater example do we desire than that which He gave in His own Life? He suffered; He died that others might be free. Yet even with the great object of the Cross before us, even though He died on Mount Calvary to make us free; even though He overcame death, the grave and hell to demonstrate to us the new life possible to each and everyone, we have not yet turned from the path of sin to enter into the glory of His Eternal Kingdom.
The spirit of Christmas instead of planning a career of sin on this Christmas morning, may we not lift our thoughts to that grand and noble Father who save to us on this day His Royal Son, whom He has made our brother, and ask Him to bless each and every one of us that our hearts may be touched with the true spirit of the first Christmas morning? That first day in the stable at Bethlehem was a beacon of a new born hope, for with the birth of the Prince of Peace there came to us an age of spiritual grace, which in its course sought to link man nearer to his God, and coming down the ages for more than nineteen hundred years, we have tried to preach Him as He appeared to us in His innocence, His Love and in His Charity.
Christ labored for thirty three years to teach us the way to glory, but in His career man, his brother sought the life that he could not give; he persecuted Him, he derided Him, he jeered Him and at last he crucified Him. But when that which was physical in the Christ died, the spiritual continued, and from earth betook its flight to heaven, there, probably, for all eternity, to look down upon the sinful, wicked world, and still to shower upon us blessings that we really need. We shall never succeed in taking the Spirit of Christ out of the world, because in some of us, still, there is that spark of love, charity, and mercy that links us to our God. But may we not ask the Great Omnipotent, the Great Creator, our Eternal Father to send once more into the world, just at this time and oh, how we pray that it be on this Christmas morn, our brother Christ, so that He may calm the raging storm and in truth pour out His benediction upon a corrupt world, a soulless human race, and make us subjects fit for Eternal Life?
Hail! the New born King
As with the angels let us sing, "Hail the New Born King, the Prince of Peace, Hail to the Son of Righteousness, for with Thee there is life, without Thee there is death". For as thou died upon Calvary's mount to make us better, to redeem us from our sins, may we not hope for a continuance of that love even for today? and knowing Thee in Thy bountiful love for all mankind, may we not further ask that Thy Spirit lighten up our hearts and bring to us by the touch of Thy grace, the knowledge of the Everlasting Brotherhood of Man, and the Eternal Fatherhood of God?
As the angels now rejoice in heaven over this new birth, so we rejoice on earth, four hundred millions of us, who are members of this Negro race, feeling that Thou art our King, that Thou art our Savior, that thou shalt be our Emanuel. We love Thee because Thou art the Son of God. We praise, worship and adore Thee because Thou art the Prince of Peace.
The Prince of Peace our guide today
Let others in their sin, in their wickedness seek after the infant Life that Thou gaveist to all mankind. We in our simplicity shall find refuge for Thee even in the land of Egypt. Yes, the world of sinful, wicked men cried out "Crucify Him! Crucify Him! But Lord because Thou art our Master, because Thou art our Prince of peace, because Thou art our Redeemer, we shall render unto Thee all help possible, even in bearing the Cross up the heights of Calvary, for in life Thou hast been our friend; in death we know Thou shalt remember us, and now that Thou art sitting at the right hand of God, the Father, now that Thou hast conquered death, the grave and hell, surely in Thy mercy Thou shalt remember us. So today even though hundreds of years have rolled by since Thy crucifixion, we know that there is in Thine heart, there is in Thy soul a warm spot for the Sons and Daughters of Africa whose forebears bore the cross for Thee up the heights of Calvary to thy crucifixion.
We sing and shout with the angels; we ring our joy bells; we blow our horns in praise because Thou art indeed the Jesus, the Christ, the Emanuel to us, the Son of Righteousness, the Prince of Peace.
As sons and daughters of Africa, may not four hundred millions of us the world over on this Christmas morn pray for the redemption of that Motherland which sheltered our Blessed Redeemer when the wild, wicked men of the world sought His life; in the same manner wild, wicked men seek the lives of Negroes today, and burn, lynch and kill them because they have not the strength that makes man mighty. But with the Almighty Power of God and with the guidance and mercy of our Blessed Lord we feel that one day Ethiopia shall stretch forth her hand, and whether it be at the second coming or before, we shall all sing our Hosannas, shout our praises to God for freedom, for liberty, for life.
"For Christ is born of Mary,
And gathered all above
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love.
O morning stars, together
Proclaim the holy birth,
And praises sing to God our King,
And peace to men on earth."
The Resurrection of the Negro
Easter Sunday Sermon Delivered at Liberty Hall
New York City, N. Y. April 16th, 1922
The Lord is risen! A little over nineteen hundred years ago a man came to this world called JESUS. He was sent here for the propagation of a cause—that of saving fallen humanity. When He came the world refused to hear Him; the world rejected Him; the world persecuted Him; men crucified Him. A couple days ago He was nailed to the cross of Calvary; He died; He was buried. To-day He is risen; risen the spiritual leader of creation; risen as the first fruit of them that slept. To-day that crucified Lord, that crucified Christ sees the affairs of man from His own spiritual throne on high.
After hundreds of years have rolled by, the doctrine He taught has become the accepted religion of hundreds of millions of human: beings. He in His resurrection triumphed over death and the grave; He by His resurrection convinced humanity that His cause was spiritual. The world felt the truth about Jesus too late to have accepted His doctrine in His lifetime. But what was done to Jesus in His lifetime is just what is done to all reformers and reform movements. He came to change the spiritual attitude of man toward his brother. That was regarded in His day as an irregularity, even as it is regarded to-day. The one who attempts to bring about changes in the order of human society becomes a dangerous imposter upon society, and to those who control the systems of the day.
The desire to enslave others
It has been an historic attitude of man to keep his brother in slavery—in subjection for the purpose of exploitation. When Jesus came the privileged few were taking advantage of the unfortunate masses. Because the teaching of Jesus sought to equalize the spiritual and even the temporal rights of man, those who held authority, sway and dominion ought His liberty by prosecution, sought His life by death. He was called to yield up that life for the cause He loved—because He was indeed a true reformer.
The Example set by Christ
The example set by our Lord and Master nineteen hundred years ago is but the example that every reformer must make up his mind to follow if we are indeed to serve those to whom we minister. Service to humanity means sacrifice. That has been demonstrated by our blessed Lord and Redeemer whose resurrection we commemorate this day. As Christ triumphed nearly two thousand years ago over death and the grave, as He was risen from the dead, so do I hope that 400,000,000 Negroes of to-day will triumph over the slavishness of the past, intellectually, physically, morally and even religiously; that on this anniversary of our risen Lord, we ourselves will be risen from the slumber of the ages; risen in thought to higher ideals, to a loftier purpose, to a truer conception of life.
The Hope of the UNIA
It is the hope of the Universal Negro Improvement Association that the 400,000,000 Negroes of the world will get to realize that we are about to live—new life—a risen life—a life of knowing ourselves.
How many of us know ourselves? How many of us understand ourselves? The major number of us for ages have failed to recognize in ourselves the absolute masters of our own destiny—the absolute directors and creators of our own fate.
To-day as we think of our risen Lord may we not also think of the life He gave to us—the life that made us His instruments, His children—The life that He gave to us to make us possessors of the land that He himself created through His Father? How many of us can reach out to that higher life; that higher purpose; that creative world that says to you are a man, a sovereign, a lord—lord of the creation? On this beautiful spring day, may we not realize that God made Nature for us; God has given it to us as our province, our dominion? May we not realize that God has created no superior being to us in this world, but Himself? May we not know that we are the true lords and creators of our own fate and of our own physical destiny?
The work of the Universal Negro Improvement Association for the past four and a half years has been that of guiding us to realize that there should be a resurrection in us, and if at no other time I trust that at this Easter-tide we will realize that there is a great need for a resurrection—a resurrection from the lethargy of the past—the sleep of the past—from that feeling that made us accept the idea and opinion that God intended that we should occupy an inferior place in the world.
No Superiority or Inferiority
Men and women of Liberty Hall, men and women of my race, do you know that the God we love, the God we adore, the God who sent His Son to this world nearly two thousand years ago never created an inferior man? That God we love, that God we worship and adore has created man in His own image, equal in every respect, wheresoever he may be; let him be white; let him be yellow; let him be red; let him be black; God has created him the equal of his brother. He is such a loving God. He is such a merciful God. He is such a God that He is no respecter of persons, that He would not in His great love create a superior race and an inferior one. The God that you worship is a God that expects you to be the equal of other men. The God that I adore is such a God and He could be no other.
Some of us seem to accept the fatalist position, the fatalist attitude, that God accorded to us a certain position and condition, and therefore there is no need trying to be otherwise. The moment you accept such an attitude, the moment you accept such an opinion, the moment you harbor such an idea, you hurl an insult at the great God who created you, because you question Him for His love, you question Him for His mercy. God has created man, and has placed him in this world as the lord of the creation, as the sovereign of everything that you see, let it be land, let it be sea, let it be the lakes, rivers and everything therein. All that you see in creation, all that you see in the world, was created by God for the use of man, and you four hundred million black souls have as much right to your possession in this world as any other race.
Created in the image of the same God we have the same common rights, and to-day I trust that there will be a spiritual and material resurrection among Negroes everywhere; that you will lift yourselves from the doubts of the past; that you will lift yourselves from the slumbers of the past, that you will lift yourselves from the lethargy of the past, and strike out in this new life—in this resurrected life—to see things as they are.
See life as Others see It.
The Universal Negro Improvement Association desires that the four hundred million members of our race see life as the other races see it. The great white race sees life in a attitude of sovereignty; the great yellow race sees life in a similar way, that is to say that man, let him be white or yellow, sees that he is master and owner and possessor of everything that God has created in this world, and given to us in Nature; and that is why by knowing himself, by understanding, himself, and by understanding his God, man has gone, throughout the length and breadth of this world, conquering the very elements, harnessing Nature and making a servant of everything that God placed within his reach.
As he has done that for thousands of years pleasing God and justifying his existence, so we are appealing to the members of our race to do that now in this risen life, and if you have never made up your minds before I trust on this Easter Sunday you will do so.
Masters of your own Destiny
I repeat that God created you masters of your own destiny, masters of your own fate, and you can pay no higher tribute to your Divine Master than function as man, as He created you.
The highest compliment we can pay to our Creator; the highest respect we can pay to our risen Lord and Savior, is that of feeling that He has created us as His masterpiece; His perfect instruments of His own existence, because in us is reflected the very being of God. When it is said that we are created in His own image, we ourselves reflect His greatness, we ourselves reflect the part of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, and when we allow ourselves to be subjected and create others as our superior, we hurl an insult at our Creator who made us in the fullness of ourselves.
I trust that you will so live to-day as to realize that you are masters of your own destiny, masters of your fate; if there is anything you want in this world it is for you to strike out with confidence and faith in self and reach for it, because God has created it for your happiness wheresoever you may find it in nature. Nature is bountiful; nature is resourceful, and nature is willing to obey the command of man—Man the sovereign lord; man who is supposed to hold dominion and take possession of this great world of ours.
The difference between the strong and weak races
The difference between the strong and weak races is that the strong races seem to know themselves; seem to discover themselves; seem to realize and know fully that there is but a link between them and the Creator; that above them there is no other but God and anything that bears human form is but their equal in standing and to that form there should be no obeisance; there should be no regard for superiority. Because of that feeling they have been able to hold their own in this world; they have been able to take care of the situation as it confronts them in nature; but because of our lack of faith and confidence in ourselves we have caused others created in a like image to ourselves, to take advantage of us for hundreds of years.
For hundreds of years we have been the footstool of other races and nations of the earth simply because we have failed to realize to recognize and know ourselves as other men have known themselves and felt that there is nothing in the world that is above them except the influence of God.
The understanding that others have gotten out of life is the same understanding that 400,000,000 Negroes must get out of this existence of ours. I pray that a new inspiration will come to us as a race; that we will think of nature as our servant; that we will think of man as our partner through life, and go through the length and breadth of this world achieving and doing as other men, as other nations and other races.
Speech Delivered at Liberty Hall in NY City during the Second International Convention of Negroes. August 1921
Four years ago, realizing the oppression and the hardships from which we suffered, we organized ourselves into an organization for the purpose of bettering our condition, and founding a government of our own. The four years of organization have brought good results, in that from an obscure, despised race we have grown into a mighty power, a mighty force whose influence is being felt throughout the length and breadth of the world. The Universal Negro Improvement Association existed but in name four years ago, today it is known as the greatest moving force among Negroes. We have accomplished this through unity of effort and unity of purpose, it is a fair demonstration of what we will be able to accomplish in the very near future, when the millions who are outside the pale of the Universal Negro Improvement Association will have linked themselves up with us.
By our success of the last four years we will be able to estimate the grander success of a free and redeemed Africa. In climbing the heights to where we are today, we have had to surmount difficulties, we have had to climb over obstacles, but the obstacles were stepping stones to the future greatness of this cause we represent. Day by day we are writing a new history, recording new deeds of valor performed by this race of ours. It is true that the world has not yet valued us at our true worth but we are climbing up so fast and with such force that every day the world is changing its attitude towards us. Wheresoever you turn your eyes today you will find the moving influence of the Universal Negro Improvement Association among Negroes from all corners of the globe. We hear among Negroes the cry of "Africa for the Africans". This cry has become a positive, determined one. It is a cry that is raised simultaneously the world over because of the universal oppression that affects the Negro. You who are congregated here tonight as Delegates representing the hundreds of branches of the Universal Negro Improvement Association in different parts of the world will realize that we in New York are positive ill this great desire of a free and redeemed Africa. We have established this Liberty Hall as the centre from which we send out the sparks of liberty to the four corners of the globe, and if you have caught the spark in your section, we want you to keep it a-burning for the great Cause we represent.
There is a mad rush among races everywhere towards national independence. Everywhere we hear the cry of liberty, of freedom, and a demand for democracy. In our corner of the world we are raising the cry for liberty, freedom and democracy. Men who have raised the cry for freedom and liberty in ages past have always made up their minds to die for the realization of the dream. We who are assembled in this Convention as Delegates representing the Negroes of the world give out the same spirit that the fathers of liberty in this country gave out over one hundred years ago.
We give out a spirit that knows no compromise, a spirit that refuses to turn back, a spirit that says "Liberty or Death", and in prosecution of this great ideal—the ideal of a free and redeemed Africa, men may scorn, men may spurn us, and may say that we are on the wrong side of life, but let me tell you that way in which you are travelling is just the way all peoples who are free have travelled in the past. If you want Liberty you yourselves must strike the blow. If you must be free you must become so through your own effort, through your own initiative. Those who have discouraged you in the past are those who have enslaved you for centuries and it is not expected that they will admit that you have a right to strike out at this late hour for freedom, liberty and democracy.
At no time in the history of the world, for the last five hundred years, was there ever a serious attempt made to free Negroes. We have been camouflaged into believing that we were made free by Abraham Lincoln. That we were made free by Victoria of England, but up to now we are still slaves, we are industrial slaves, we are social slaves, we are political slaves, and the new Negro desires a freedom that has no boundary, no limit. We desire a freedom that will lift us to the common standard of all it men, whether they be white men of Europe or yellow men of Asia, therefore, in our desire to lift ourselves to that standard we shall stop at nothing until there is a free and redeemed Africa.
I understand that just at this time while we are endeavoring to create public opinion and public sentiment in favor of a free Africa, that others of our race are being subsidized to turn the attention of the world toward a different desire on the part of Negroes, but let me tell you that we who make up this Organization know no turning back, we have pledged ourselves even unto the last drop of our sacred blood that Africa must be free. The enemy may argue with you to show you the impossibility of a free and redeemed Africa, but I want you to take as your argument the thirteen colonies of America, that once owed their sovereignty to Great Britain, that sovereignty has been destroyed to make a United States of America. George Washington was not God Almighty. He was a man like any Negro in this building, and if he and his associates were able to make a free America, we too can make a free Africa. Hampden, Gladstone, Pitt and Disraeli were not the representatives of God in the person of Jesus Christ. They were but men, but in their time they worked for the expansion of the British Empire, and today they boast of a British Empire upon which "the sun never sets." As Pitt and Gladstone were able to work for the expansion of the British Empire, so you and I can work for the expansion of a great African Empire Voltaire and Mirabeau were not Jesus Christ, they were but men like ourselves. They worked and overturned the French Monarchy. They worked for the Democracy which France now enjoys, and if they were able to do that, we are able to work for a democracy in Africa. Lenin and Trotsky were not Jesus Christ, but they were able to overthrow the despotism of Russia, and today they have given to the world a Social Republic, the first of its kind. If Lenin and Trotsky were able to do that for Russia, you and I can do that for Africa.
Therefore, let no man, let no power on earth, turn you from this sacred cause of liberty. I prefer to die at this moment rather than not to work for the freedom of Africa. If liberty is good for certain sets of humanity it is good for all. Black men, Colored men, Negroes have as much right to be free as any other race that God Almighty ever created, and we desire freedom that is unfettered, freedom that is unlimited, freedom that will give us a chance and opportunity to rise to the fullest of our ambition and that we cannot get in countries where other men rule and dominate.
We have reached the time when every minute, every second must count for something done, something achieved in the cause of Africa. We need the freedom of Africa now; therefore, we desire the kind of leadership that will give it to us as quickly as possible. You will realize that not only individuals, but governments are using their influence against us. But what do we care about the unrighteous influence of any government? Our cause is based upon righteousness. And anything that is not righteous we have no respect for, because God Almighty is Our leader and Jesus Christ our standard bearer. We rely on them for that kind of leadership that win make us free, for it is the same God who inspired the Psalmist to write "Princes shall come out of Egypt and Ethiopia shall stretch out her hands unto God". At this moment methinks I see Ethiopia stretching forth her hands unto God and methinks I see the Angel of God taking up the standard of the Red, the Black and the Green, and saying "Men of the Negro Race, Men of Ethiopia, follow me". Tonight we are following. We are following 400,000,000 strong. We are following with a determination that we must be free before the wreck of matter, before the crash of worlds.
It falls to our lot to tear off the shackles that bind Mother Africa. Can you do it? You did it in the Revolutionary War. You did it in the Civil War; you did it at the Battles of the Marne and Verdun; You did it in Mesopotamia. You can do it marching up the battle heights of Africa. Let the world know that 400,000,000 Negroes are prepared to die or live as free men. Despise us as much as you care. Ignore us as much as you care. We are coming 400,000,000 strong. We are coming with our woes behind us, with the memory of suffering behind us—woes and suffering of three hundred years—they shall be our inspiration. My bulwark of strength in the conflict for freedom in Africa will be the three hundred years of persecution and hardship left behind in this Western Hemisphere. The more I remember the suffering of my fore-fathers, the more I remember the lynchings and burnings in the Southern States of America, the more I will fight on even though the battle seems doubtful. Tell me that I must turn back, and I laugh you to scorn. Go on! Go on! Climb ye the heights of liberty and cease not in well doing until you have planted the banner of the Red, the Black and the Green on the hilltops of Africa.
Statement on Arrest
I believe that true justice is to be found in the conscience of the people, and when one is deprived of it by the machinations and designs of the corrupt, there can be no better tribunal of appeal than that of public opinion, which gives voice to conscience and that is why I now appeal to the conscience of the American people for justice.
I believe that all races have their peculiar characteristics, the Jew fights the Jew, the Irish fights the Irish, the Italian fights the Italian, and so we have the Negro fighting the Negro. As a Negro schooled in the academy of adversity, with the majority of my race, I have ever had a wholesale desire to work for the race's uplift. Recently out of slavery, we have had but a meager chance to rise to the higher heights of human development as a people. At Emancipation we were flung upon the civilized world without a program. Unlike the Irish and the Jew we had no national aspiration of our own. We were left to the tender mercies of philanthropists and humanitarians who helped us to the best of their ability.
In the Negro's struggle to get somewhere every member of the race took a selfish course all his own. There was no group program or group interest. The only cause that held us together as a people was religion. During the days of slavery Religion was the only consolation of the Negro, and then it was given to him by his masters. Immediately after the Emancipation, when the Negro was thrown back upon his own resources, the illiterate race preacher took charge of us, and with the eye of selfishness he exploited the zeal of the religious. Our emotions were worked upon by our illiterate preacher—leaders of the early days.
The masses of us having found new employment for which we received pay, were able to contribute to the partial upkeep of our own church life, thus making it profitable for the preachers of our race to exploit us in the name of God, without giving us a program by which we could redeem ourselves.
After the illiterate preacher—leader, came the illiterate race-politician who also had no program for the higher temporal development of the race. He, like the preacher, had his selfish plans of using and feeding upon the emotions of the people. These two illiterate parasites, who extracted all that was worthwhile from the people travelled hand in hand until we reached the first mile stone of higher intelligence, then the illiterate preacher and politician had to give way to a more intelligent class, who, unfortunately, with only a few exceptions, scattered here and there, followed and are still following in the footsteps of the old preachers and politicians to plunder and exploit the masses, because they had no vision.
And now I come to the source of my troubles, in fighting the battles of the masses. I come to the people in the role of the reformer and say to them, "A wake! the day is upon you, go forth in the name of the race and build yourselves a nation, redeem your country Africa, the land from whence you came and prove yourselves men worthy of the recognition of others". This is the offence I have committed against the selfish Negro preachers and politicians who have for more than half a century waxed fat at the expense of the people. The shout goes up, "We cannot allow Garvey to preach his reformation and expose us to the people. The people will become too wise. We will lose our standing among them and they will not support us. We must "get" Garvey. We must discredit him before the people. We cannot do it ourselves, because we have no power. We will frame him up; we will lay traps for him; we will state all manner of charges against him to the various departments of government so that the government will prosecute him for us."
Such have been the ravings, machinations and designs of a certain class of Negro politicians and preachers against me because of my reform work of three and a half years among my people that has over four million followers.
Jews, Irish and Reformers of all races have had their troubles and trials with their own people, so I am satisfied to bear the persecution of my own that they might be free. I trust no one from the people would believe that I could be so mean as to defraud a fellow Negro, either directly or indirectly. I have an ideal that is far above money, and that is to see my people really free.
Others of my race oppose me because they fear my influence among the people, and they judge me from their own corrupt, selfish consciences. There is an old adage that says, "A thief does not like to see another man carrying a long bag", and thus the dishonest ones of our preachers and politicians believing that I am of their stamp, try to embarrass me by framing me up with the law. I have had to dismiss from the employ of the Association, and caused the arrest of many dishonest preachers and politicians, and now their fraternities are out for revenge. Poor misguided mortals! How can they, when the conscience and soul of a man cannot be incriminated from without?
The Negro Ministry needs purging and with the help of God and the people, we shall in a short while, show to the world a new race by the purification of those who lead. I desire to say that I have a great amount of confidence in several of the preachers and politicians of my race today, but the great majority need purging, because among them we have gamblers, thieves, rogues, vagabonds and these are the ones who are fighting me at this time.
There has never been a movement where the leader has not suffered for the cause, and not received the ingratitude of the people. I, like the rest, am prepared for the consequence.
The following preamble to the constitution, of the Organization, was written by the Founder and speaks for itself:—
The Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities' League is a social, friendly, humanitarian, charitable, educational, institutional, constructive and expansive society, and is founded by persons, desiring to the utmost, to work for the general uplift of the Negro peoples of the world. And the members pledge themselves to do all in their power to conserve the rights of their noble race and to respect the rights of all mankind, believing always in the brotherhood of man and the fatherhood of God. The motto of the organization is: "One God! One Aim! One Destiny!" Therefore, let justice be done to all mankind, realizing that if the strong oppresses the weak confusion and discontent will ever mark the path of man, but with love, faith and charity towards all the reign of peace and plenty will be heralded into the world and the generations of men shall be called blessed.