Jamaican Americans (Multicultural America:)
In an oral history interview taken in October of 1938, Wilbert J. Miller, a Jamaican immigrant, talks about Marcus Garvey and a speech he made at Madison Square Garden in 1920 inciting "the 400,000,000 Negroes of the World" to take back Africa for themselves. The informant quotes much of the speech made by Garvey and gives a thorough description of the meeting of delegates for the "Back to Africa Movement." The convention lasted a month and its climax was a parade of 50,000 people through the streets of Harlem. The interview gives an excellent account of Garvey's activism and downfall, and speaks to his importance as a symbol for all African Americans.
Garvey, a Jamaican immigrant himself, was a flamboyant character with strong opinions and the oratory and leadership skills to voice them. Born in St. Ann's Bay, Jamaica in 1887, he founded the Universal Negro Improvement and Conservation Association and African Communities League, also called the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). The organization was originally founded in Jamaica, but did not attract a following there, and so Garvey immigrated to the United States in 1916. Miller's account indicated that the movement was not officially organized in the United States until 1918. The primary goal of UNIA was the formation of an independent black nation in Africa. He brought branches of UNIA to Harlem and other black ghettos in...
(The entire section is 3749 words.)
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