As the morning of the 17th August broke, rain filled the air and the weather report called for the possibility of a tropical depression. Through the early downpour of rain, members of the African Heritage Foundation (AHF) made ready to celebrate the birthday of the Hon. Marcus Mosiah Garvey. While preparations ensued, it was noted by several of the members of the AHF that impending predicted weather was the energy of Marcus. After all, Marcus had said, “Look for me in the whirlwind or the storm, look for me all around you, for, with God’s grace, I shall come and bring with me countless millions of black slaves who have died in America and the West Indies and the millions in Africa to aid you in the fight for Liberty, Freedom and Life”. It was also noted that the weather would prevent most people that intended to attend from doing so.
What would transpire that evening was an intimate groundings centered on the Hon. Marcus Garvey. However preceding the groundings, the AHF would launch its Warri club, “Warri Warriors Barbados”.
Sister Andrina, the MC. of the launch, would get the evening started by inviting one of our elders to bless the proceeding by pouring libations to our ancestors as they were invited in to take charge of what was to come. As the libations were poured those present were asked to call the names of the ancestors they would like to invite into the space. Following this Sister Andrina would give a brief history of the AHF. Cyndi Marshall one of the four young poets from Barbados recently chosen to visit South Africa, shared two of her pieces with those present. Following her presentations which were very well received, she was asked to share her experience of visiting South Africa. Although she shared several experiences she would have had in South Africa, what she would leave with the gathering was that she felt as though she was at home in a place she knew very little about. Young Ibriel Holder secretary of “Warri Warriors Barbados” would then be invited to give a presentation on the history of the game Warri. This she did and then invited attendees to learn the game as she and members of the club demonstrated how the game was played.
Pouring of libations
Cyndi Howell and Ras Simba
Sister Andrina Alleyne
Quote: “Having had the wrong education as a start in his racial career, the Negro has become his own greatest enemy. Most of the trouble I have had in advancing the cause of the race has come from Negroes. Booker Washington aptly described the race in one of his lectures by stating that we were like crabs in a barrel, that none would allow the other to climb over, but on any such attempt all would continue to pull back into the barrel the one crab that would make the effort to climb out. Yet, those of us with vision cannot desert the race, leaving it to suffer and die.”
During the previously mentioned activity the rain had stopped falling. It was now time for the intended celebratory for Marcus to commence. The skies changed once more and rain threatened once again. The decision was taken to move this portion of the activities inside “Liberty House” the headquarters of the AHF. As the last person made their way inside, the heavens opened once again and the rains poured down. Once again it seemed that Marcus was directing the affairs of the evening.
Ras Simba, president of the AHF would MC. the Marcus Garvey groundings, and would start by giving a very brief history of how he came to be so influenced by the Hon. Marcus Garvey, that he would in imitation, flattery and honour to him, created an organization that was intended to carry on the work of Garvey in Barbados. He would then invite young Ibriel to give the first reading of a Marcus Garvey speech. “Man Know Thyself” is what she read and it would end like this “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”. This was followed by some heartfelt introspections of pan-Africanism in Barbados and how it was manifesting itself and relevance to the country.
Sister Andrina would then be invited to read “Look For Me in the Whirlwind”, one of the more well-known speeches of Marcus. The elder who was invited to pour the libations had printed out a speech by Marcus Garvey which he intended to share at the groundings. As it turned out, the speech he brought was the very same one Sister Andrina read. In this speech Garvey said, “Any leadership that teaches you to depend upon another race is a leadership that will enslave you. Any leadership that teaches you to depend upon another race is a leadership that will enslave you! …America under George Washington did it. Africa with 400 million Black People can do it. If you cannot do it, if you are not prepared to do it then you will DIE. You race of cowards, you race of imbeciles, you race of good for-nothings, if you cannot do what other men have done, what other nations have done, what other races have done, THEN YOU HAD BETTER DIE”.
After that reading a brother stated that liberation movements focused on their mandate, which ultimately lead to the neglect of other issues that needed addressing. He gave the example of the women’s liberation movement that neglected the issue of the weak black family structure while it focused on the empowerment of women. It was told to him that the pan-African agenda was a humanist centered movement that sought to re-civilize the world through the liberation of Africa and her descendants worldwide.
The groundings ended with a blessing from one of the elders in attendance. The evening ended with a mix and mingled that featured the playing of reggae music in tribute to Marcus Garvey, games of Warri being played and more discussions centered around the Hon. Marcus Garvey.
The AHF thanks everyone who contributed to making the evening a success.
African Heritage Foundation