The Legacy Of Marcus Garvey in Barbados 2014

With the beginning of the 20th century, black workers in Barbados became involved in the ideologies of Marcus Garvey. It was evident that the time period following the emancipation of slaves was very similar to the slave system, the only exception being that the blacks were no longer slaves, but their actual situation was not greatly improved upon, due primarily to the white planters who dominated the local government and who were so intent on keeping blacks oppressed and under the whites' control.

It became evident to the workers that organized mass political action could produce the objectives and results they desired. In 1919, Clement Inniss began publishing the Barbados Herald, which published working-class views of the political situation within Barbados each week. Marxist ideologies also began surfacing in Barbados, which really intrigued black workers to help make change happen.

Let us pause here for a moment and compare what was said in the previous paragraph to the Barbados of today. I started by telling you that black workers became involved in the ideologies of Marcus Garvey. Today the average black worker in Barbados knows very little if anything at all about Marcus Garvey. Before getting into the why Marcus Garvey and his legacy is not now known in Barbados let us look at the principle focus of the man.  Marcus Garvey was determined that the black man would not continue to be kicked about by all the other races and nations of the world, and a new world of black men, not peons, serfs, dogs, and slaves, but a nation of sturdy men making their mark upon civilization and causing a new light to dawn upon the human race.

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How did Marcus Garvey address his determination? Economic development through the creation of industries and the education of black people with a focus on self pride through a greater awareness of self as Afrikan descended people was the answer for Marcus. To do this he had to organize himself, thus he formed formed the Universal Negro Improvement and Conservation Association and African Communities League.  He established the Negro World newspaper so he could express his ideas and philosophies; Garvey’s motto was "One God, One Aim, One Destiny." Journeying back to the first paragraph once again we see that it is said that after emancipation conditions for the slaves were not greatly improved. After independence in 1966 how have conditions improved for the black man juxtaposed to the ideology earlier expressed by Marcus Garvey. We cannot deny that we can now own a nice house, a fancy car, here and there one or two blacks have acquired economic wealth, free education and have developed a grouping that is called the middle class. However can we say we have attained what Garvey called a nation of sturdy black people? We have a government consisting of black people, but do we have a black government? Who controls the economic power of this island? Has our education liberated us from serfdom? Has our education brought us pride in ourselves as black people? Have we risen from the level of consumer in any great way? Are we as black people treated as second class? Have we been complacent in the face of legal and economic segregation? Who has the monopoly on menial labour? We could ask so many questions in this vein but I think the picture being painted here is crystal and the reality is, they all lead us to one conclusion. In the grand scheme of things, we are just better fed, clothed, housed and educated slaves still turning the wheels of economic development for others instead of ourselves as Garvey envisioned it. Would it then be safe to say the lost legacy of Marcus Garvey has contributed to our present state of being, a state of servitude, a state of modern day slavery?

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If we agree with the synopsis of the previous paragraph, would it not stand to reason we need to revisit the Philosophies and Opinions of Marcus Garvey and other women and men who were of similar thought processes as far as the empowerment of black people is concerned? Seeing that the legacy of Garvey has been effectively nullified in Barbados, how then do we breathe that vital breath of life into it so that we all can live? In the philosophies and opinions of Simba Simba we need to revolutionize the system to one that meets the needs of the masses. We need a mass grouping that can attract the attention of politicians and their friends. What I speak of here is the power of the people, a critical mass. I speak of the collective pooling of resources, economic and otherwise, to assist with black business development and the creation of black industries - the kind of grouping that by its collective power can influence and contribute to the change in our educational and health care systems.  Only such a group can effectively control means of mass communication to the populace. Clearly our government and trade unions are not meeting the needs of the people and for the most part have kept us at a point of comfort detrimental to our development.

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I say we need to call on Anubis and in the whirlwind resurrect the spirits of the Marcus Garvey, the UNIA and The Negro World, what say you?

This article has 3 Comments

  1. I agree 100%.

    It is devastating to think that Barbados like the rest of the world, the minorities are in control of the majority.

    ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. Im so passionate about starting an African schhol. We need one yesterday.

  2. The work has already began…..it is up to all of us now…u.n.I a.barbados….if you know what l mean ….walk good .davidguru.

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