The African Heritage Foundation (AHF) is hosting a beach party called "Virtuous Woman" on the 26th August 2016 in honor of the strong black women who have stood up and fought for our liberation. In particular this event is focused on the women of the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), an organization created by Amy and Marcus Garvey. This is a fund raising event that is intended to assist the AHF with the printing of its new line of children's educational material, a story coloring book series.
The AHF story coloring book series will be based on the character of a teenager who is 17 years old called "Pumping". "Pumping" comes from a broken home and lives with her father, younger brother and sister. Her father is a Pan Africanist who educates his daughter in various areas of African culture in theory and practical applicable lifestyles. As such "Pumping" is able to be a voice of reason, direction and inspiration to her peers. The first series of 13 books will cover topics such as beauty definition, youth meditation, emancipation, tradition healing, sex and sexuality, conflict resolution, bullying and responsibility to name a few. This first series of books will be catering to the 5 - 9 age group. Although these books will be directed to girls, it is intended that boys also be introduced to this literature. The plan is for every daycare, pre and primary school be stocked with these books. With your support the AHF intends to have its first book of the series published by December 2016.
As mentioned in the opening paragraph "Virtuous Woman" is an activity hosted by the African Heritage Foundation that focuses on the contributions of women to our liberation struggles, in particular the women of the UNIA. One such woman was Henrietta Vinton Davis (1860-1941) an elocutionist and dramatic actor who later in life worked closely with Marcus Garvey as a leader of the Universal Negro Improvement Association — African Communities League (UNIA-ACL). Garvey's UNIA was a mass self-reliance movement founded in Jamaica in 1914 and incorporated in New York State in 1918. The progenitor of the modern "black is beautiful" ideal, Garvey is best remembered as a champion of the back-to-Africa movement. Davis was born in Baltimore and earned her public school teaching certificate in Maryland at the age of 15. In 1878 she became the first black woman employed by the Office of the Recorder of Deeds. Hired by General George Sheridan as a copyist, she remained in the job when Frederick Douglass was appointed in 1881. That same year she began studying drama and made her first appearance as an elocutionist, a public speaker employing a dramatic style of delivery, on April 25, 1883, in Washington, introduced by Frederick Douglass. She went on to tour the Northeast and Midwest as a popular speaker. In the 1890s, Davis became interested in the work of Marcus Garvey, and in 1919 she gave up her career to work with Garvey. Over time she became UNIA's vice president, its first international organizer, and a director of the Black Star Line, founded in 1919 as a shipping line to foster black trade, transport passengers among the United States, the Caribbean, and Africa, and to serve as a symbol of black grandeur and enterprise.
Another woman that is not well know to us is Laura Adorkor Kofi. Kofi was the daughter of a king in the British West African colony of Gold Coast, now called Ghana. She had been told a prophecy said she would be a messenger to a distant land and had immigrated to America by about 1917, said Vibert White, an associate history professor at the University of Central Florida.
She was a field director in the Universal Negro Improvement Association. Kofi opened Garvey’s group to new possibilities in the South, drawing thousands to speeches she delivered in Jacksonville, Miami and Tampa and swelling membership rolls in a part of the country that Garvey didn’t frequent. She also started her own organization, the African Universal Church and Commercial League, that preached the Gospel along with self-help and a positive black identity.
“Marcus Garvey had never met a person of the underclass who could speak as well as she could. Everywhere she went, she packed an audience. She was a commanding speaker. Called “Mother Kofi” by admirers, the minister had more than 25,000 followers by the mid-1920s, White said, and headquartered herself in Jacksonville as a progressive city of opportunity with a port that could grow trade with Africa.
In the month of March while delivering a sermon in a Miami church a man in the congregation pulled a gun out and shot her in the head, killing her. Churchgoers beat to death the man, as others who had arrived with him made a desperate escape from the building.
The third and final woman from the UNIA we will feature in this article is Vivian Seay. Seay, Vivian, (1881-1971), was the founder and head of Belize’s Black Cross Nurses, a Garveyite, reform politician, and civil servant, was born to Francis and Margaret Myvett in colonial British Honduras. In 1918 she signed a major petition, organized in Belize Town, which demanded reform of the Crown Colony and Unofficial Majority systems in order to avoid popular rebellion. She likely joined other middle-class female volunteers during the influenza epidemic crisis of late 1918-1919, and certainly entered the arenas of public health nursing and social work at about this time. In March 1920 she founded the Black Cross Nurses, and in April 1920 she became treasurer of the new Belize Town UNIA branch’s female executive. Belizean Garveyism by this time was a politically reformist force, loyal to the British Empire, and opposed to the popular rioting of July 1919. Seay led the Nurses for the rest of her life; they became a launching pad for her growing political influence and activism through the 1950s.
On 1 August 1934 she and the Nurses led a parade to mark the centennial of slave abolition. In December 1934 during the height of anti-colonial fervor she proposed a Women’s Land Settlement Scheme to be funded by the Colonial Development Fund, which would have moved fifty single mothers out of Belize Town onto their own farms. In February 1935 she led two meetings, one under the auspices of the Nurses, to argue that women’s voting age in a proposed partially-elected legislature be 21, equal to men’s. The British government awarded her the MBE (Member of the British Empire), the first Belizean so recognized. In 1938 she led the Nurses in collecting data on the diet, housing and income of 35 working-class families in Belize Town, which became a printed report presented to the members of the West India Royal Commission when they visited in November. It emphasized male-headed families struggling with unemployment. Appointed Inspector of Midwives in 1941, she became a paid civil servant. In 1948 she became the first female Justice of the Peace in Belize.
Hailed by all factions when she died in Belize City and beloved by many, a street in Belize City is named after her and she is featured on a Belizean postage stamp. Seay epitomized the tension between empire loyalty and Creole nativism in Belizean middle-class politics. Her sustained female-centered activism was central in expanding and legitimizing “respectable” women’s political activism in Belize but always took a didactic stance toward working-class mothers, families, and organizations.
It is hoped that this article not only inspires your support for this activity but also encourages you to do some more research on the many women that made the UNIA the largest mass movement of African descended people in history to date.
"Virtuous Woman" takes place at the Pirates Cove Beach on the 26th August. It starts at 11pm and finishes at 6am with a $10 breakfast being served at 5am. Breakfasts are by order and you can call or whatsapp 838 5776 to do so. Tickets for the show are available from Ruff N Tuff Boutique, no 17 Roebuck St, Dalls Discount on Swan Street and the Oxygen Boutique in Sheraton Mall. Tickets are $30 and you pay $40 at the door. Specially invited guest for this event is internationally acclaimed reggae artist Warrior King who is a current member of the UNIA. The name of this event "Virtuous Woman" is the title of a well know Warrior King tune. Not so well know is that the words from this song are the words of Marcus Garvey. Along with accompanying artist such as Brimstone, LRG, Empress Gad, Twinman, Shala Maat and sister Onika short presentations will be made by three sisters on the virtuous woman and the value of her contribution to our society.
International contributions to this fund raising activity are appreciated and very much welcomed. Our goal is to raise $8000 to assist us with the printing, marketing, distribution and sales of the fist 2000 story coloring books. Should you want to make a contribution to this project please call or whatsapp 1 246 268 7084.
We would like to say a word of thanks to our sponsors, Mo Forward TV, Tastees, Kick and Redda Fyah,
Show starts at 12am so don't be late.
If you are interested in a payed live stream of this show please let us know.
Hear more about the show. This is our promotional CD. Enjoy. Beach Party from 4am to 6am. Sweet Vibes Beach party with Sweet Vibes DJs Fadda Crab, King Yella, Keba and Black Spider. They will meet Freedom Sounds with Jerry Dan, Turkey and Run it Red.