Leadership"Africa For Africans" - Speech Delivered by Marcus Garvey...

“Africa For Africans” – Speech Delivered by Marcus Garvey at Madison Square Garden, New York


Marcus Garvey was an inspiration to many; however, he encountered much difficulty in trying to implement his plan of returning Africans to Africa. Not only was he fought against by non-Africans, but he was fought against by African-Americans. His speech given at Madison Square Garden, regarding Africa for Africans, Egypt for the Egyptians, Asia for the Asians, and Ireland for the Irish was very emotional and soul stirring to many of African descent.

Marcus Garvey’s plea had a message of liberty for Africans. His message highlighted the point that all men should be free to work for their own salvation. Since other nations were working to achieve theirs salvation, Africans should be allowed to do the same, and they should be given the latitude to create their own cultural heritage. His appeal was to the white world to yield unto Africans a place where they would be able to develop their national freedom; that place being Africa.

His plea was not for Africans to take America from non-Africans, but for those who were not of African descent to return Africa to Africans, and to allow the scattered and abused children of Africa the blessings of returning to their homeland in Africa. He did not believe in any one race having a monopoly on the world since it would be impossible for such a race to govern others and itself.

Garvey felt that no Blackman was good enough to govern whites, and as a result, no white person good enough to govern Blacks. He espoused that the Blackman should have liberty from white oppression. He expressed the thought that other civilizations have failed when they tried to rule others that were not of their own nation. As a result, each should govern its own people and in righteousness everyone should live and let others live in peace.

He expressed the thought that no one had an exclusives right to rule others and that each nation should be equal to the next. He requested that whites should help the Africans return to Africa. He articulated the fact that America has helped the Jews, Poles, Russians, Germans, and Armenians, and should also help Africans return to Africa, thus making Africa for Africans.

Finally, his policy regarding intellectuals Negroes exposed the principle that they are no less cunning than their illustrious teacher. This casts such individuals in the light of being a rouge and likewise a vagabond. Individuals of such calibre are lazy, dull, uncreative, and are agitators as their so called industrious non-African masters who trained them; therefore, they are not welcomed in Africa.

Reactions By Citizens Regarding Garvey’s Speech

Many reacted by stating that Marcus Garvey had a workable plan for Africans. They believed in his plan of Africa for Africans. Others have stated that whites did not want Africans to leave America for Africa and they were unwilling to help with such an event. As a result, they fought against Marcus Garvey and employed others to fight against him. If Africans were allowed to leave American and return to Africa such an event would have left whites in a very embarrassing position. They would have no one to clean their homes, wash their dishes, take care of their children, and perform other low-level and menial jobs which they themselves were unwilling to perform in the workplace.

Garvey’s philosophy was appalling to non African-Americans. They felt that Africans were happy in America. They were of the philosophy that Africans had nothing to do with Africa since they were not born there and have lived in American for such a long period of time. Some also stated that in an effort to keep African descendants in further psychological bondage after slavery some non-Africans fought against Garvey in a coveted manner.

Finally, others have pointed out that during the malady following his speech, even W.E.B. Du Bois fought against Marcus Garvey and his plans. They also stated that it’s interesting to note that Du Bois himself had to leave America and changed his citizenship to that of an African and resided in Ghana until his death. Additionally, working with Marcus Garvey would have proved to be a worthwhile venture for both of them and the accomplishment of their respective organizational plans.

Some people have asked a series of very interesting questions on this subject which are as follows: 1). Why did W. E. B. Du Bois and Marcus Garvey refused to unite their organizations together, and refused to work in a harmonious manner to achieve an effective plan of coordination in order to obtain their goals and objectives instead of working as individuals in opposition to each other?

2). Why did non African-Americans fought against Marcus Garvey and his plans of returning Africans to Africa by not helping him achieve his goals and objectives?

3). Why was it that some African-Americans were reluctant to accept the plans of Marcus Garvey, and return to Africa, the land from which they were removed by force and dragged into slavery across the Middle Passage to America?

by Joseph Spence, Sr.

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