Rupert Lewis was a Jamaican citizen who was born on February 24, 1947. He is a well-known author and Professor Emeritus of Politics at the University of the West Indies Mona Campus in Jamaica. He is proud to be a public educator about the Garvey movement and Marcus Garvey’s work. Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jr. was also born in Jamaica on 17 August 1887. He was the son of Sarah Jane Richards and Marcus Garvey Senior. Marcus Garvey was more like his father, and had to carry a lot more responsibility after his mother’s death in 1908. He was married twice: to Amy Ashwood, and to Amy Jacques Garvey. They had two sons. He was a journalist, nationalist and journalist. He believed in self-determination, self-reliance and Africa’s independent development. In 1914, he established the Universal Negro Improvement Association as well as the African Communities League. This organization played a major role in the establishment of Garveyism. Garvey died in London, 10 June 1940. In 1969, he was named a national heroes. This report will discuss issues such as racism, political oppression and identity.

Garvey was a key figure in the discussion of racism. Garvey played with a little black girl who was his playmate. But, Garvey’s parents informed her that Garvey was a “nigger”. Garvey learned the first time about differences between races and humanity on page 14. Each race has its own distinct social life. On page 36, it was clearly shown that slavery created political cultures of racial isolation with deep-rooted views regarding black inferiority amongst whites. This allowed for arbitrary lynchings as well as other abuses. Incorporating slavery by the whites made blacks an inferior and unaccepted race. Some still hold this mentality that the whites held back then. Martin Morua Delgado was the one who introduced the Morua legislation, which prohibits parties that are based on their race. This law was used to brutally suppress and kill three thousand AfroCuban peasant rebels. This law only targeted black people and showed the extent of racism that was prevalent at the time. Black newspaper groups such as Negro World or Blackman were created as a means of publishing black information. Yet, page 65 shows that police harassed postal workers and vendors to delay immediate delivery. This clearly showed the oppression of black people in their attempts to communicate freely. Peasants were also exploited by large landowners via hawkers’ licences, market fees, and water rates. Inequitable parochial income taxes were also required of rural people. These taxes never provided any benefits. This can be seen on page 68. This revealed that even though the rural class was suffering financially, they still had their share of the wealth to go to the big owners. The higher classes had control over the economy and used it to oppress the rural population. This led to significant social stratification and is still being observed today. It was stated on page 69 that Garvey needed to fight for fairness in judicial proceedings and court stenographers. It is clear that Garvey was forced to campaign to ensure judicial equality. On page 77 of the 1928 League of Nations petition, the protest states that “We feel that Haiti and Liberia… dealing avec white nations.” This statement reflects the fact that black republics were treated differently to white nations. It was clear that black republics were less likely to develop and therefore were less respected and valued. It was clear that socially, black Republics were less accepted than white ones. Garvey advocated for Caribbean unity and race equality. The Declaration of Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World (UNIA-ACL) was created in August 1920 to attempt racial equalization. The declaration, which is described on page 22, was created to highlight the inhumane treatment of black people worldwide. It noted that blacks are subject to secret discrimination and are denied full rights to government, which are available to white citizens.

This showed that blacks were considered inferior to whites in the pursuit of higher office. Professor Rose-Marie Belle Antoine wrote in Trinidad and Tobago Guardian that “Financial Power is still largely affluently in the hands of white minority in the region” and that a study in Barbados showed that Afro-descendants suffered from racial discrimination in Barbados. This was due to their dark skin, poverty and lack of control over economic resources. This is a clear indication that little has changed since the 1900’s. Although racism isn’t as pervasive today as it was in the past, it is still a problem.

Garvey was confronted with many obstacles in his early 20th-century career. One was systemic discrimination, which kept blacks subordinated and perpetuated the American legacy of white supremacy and political oppression. These white elitist ideals became institutionalized in American law, especially in the late 1800’s. The “Jim Crow Laws” were passed by state legislators. They segregated African Americans. Any African American who challenged this status-quo would be arrested or subject to violent reprisal. This status conferred second-class citizenship to blacks, which was intended to limit their democratic rights and keep them under political oppression. During Great Migration (1910-1920), the discrimination against blacks in employment, school segregation and voting was still a problem. Lewis outlined the consequences of these limited rights and emphasized that internal migration was rampant after many blacks fled the brutal conditions of the American South. The first step to achieving an independent political reality was the founding of UNIA in 1914. Lewis says Garvey sought support from powerful figures like the governor, colonial secretary, and a wealthy landowner. The book’s page 11 highlights the fact that the UNIA was established in order to protect all negroes in all countries. This was in contrast to the white supremacist political framework that was prevalent in early 20th century America. This organization was crucial because the United States was still without a black leader after Booker T. Washington’s passing.

Garvey’s emphasis on identity and black pride was a key component of his calls for social and political reform. In both Garvey’s speeches and in his literary works, “The Negro World,” black pride was a prominent theme. The United States and Caribbean were historically a total institution that controlled all aspects of African labourers lives and stripped them from their culture. Noting that the United States was dominated by a racist ideology, which portrayed Africans as barbaric and pagan, is important. This ideology eventually led to institutionalized slavery. Marcus Garvey on page 9 highlighted the negative views held by blacks about the world. He stated that West Indians had often denigrated or denied their culture to escape Africa’s “lackof civilization” and “savagery”. Marcus Garvey eventually sought to discredit those world views to free them of European subordination and foster pride among Africans. Rupert Lewis recounts this on page 74. In his book, he explains how Garvey began writing plays in 1930 that covered black history and culture. Garvey was also the founder of Edelweiss Amusement Company. This company ran cultural as well as sports programs. Rupert added that Marcus Garvey believed in black pride, but also advocated Caribbean integration. This would allow for the unification of Caribbean peoples and encourage a sense to political homogeneity. He made a significant impact as a Pan-Caribbeanist and a Jamaican politician during the 1930’s. Lewis noted that Marcus Garvey’s teachings had a strong resonance with Rastafari. Some historians even attribute Garvey to laying down the foundation of this movement.

Religion was also part of the identity theme.

Identity and religion are linked, I believe. Garvey’s faith was a part of his identity. Lewis, page 3, indicated that Garvey was baptized as a Wesleyan Methodist Church member in 1890 at the age of three. This means that Garvey was raised Methodist. Lewis says that Garvey believed strongly and was prominently featured in his sermons, meditations and hymns. However, he converted to Catholicism later. According to Lewis, Garvey founded the Edelweiss Amusement Company. There he gave sermons and sang in the choir. Garvey’s vibrant faith showed that he wanted to spread equality of race and the word God. While he was active in religion, he didn’t believe or approve of the leaders of religious-based social groups. Garvey’s recognition of how Christianity was used in Europe to enslave Africans gave him insight into the fact that the bible is not a panacea for all human problems. This also revealed to Garvey that the bible had historically been more powerful in influencing man. However, now society and man are so different, the bible cannot be used alone to change them. Garvey believed, page 82 that he must re-orient the religious beliefs of the people to save them. The African Orthodox Church was his attempt to achieve this. To increase the religious fervor of his supporters and to inspire them to be proud of their race, he proclamated that God would be a black person. The 1900’s saw the creation of an identity for blacks. During this period and before, they were not allowed to hold on to their beliefs. If they weren’t of the same religion, it also divided them from other Africans.

Rupert Lewis, the author, also discussed social integration. I believe that miscegenation is a major factor in the integration of a society. This is page 31. Interracial couples were mostly white males and black females. They had mixed-race children. These children were seen as the solution to the oppression faced by black people. They would be accepted more into society because they would be less segmented or marginalized. This integration is still evident today. Garvey, however, was against mixing the races as he believed in racial purity. Garvey was proud to be a pure black man of African descent and he expected others to do the same. In second place, page 86 shows miscegenation. This is where many African and Caribbean sailors married Englishwomen who had been involved in UNIA. Social integration was an integral part of the UNIA’s function. It was meant to ensure equality between black and white races, and that all blacks were equal in society.

Rupert Lewis employed both internal and external criticism in this biography about Marcus Garvey Jr. He was able authenticate all documents by validating them and assuring the validity of every source. After that, he tried unsuccessfully to interpret the sources. He gave us, the readers, a good understanding of what had happened during that period of history.

Rupert Lewis’ report on “Marcus Garvey,” a book about racism, oppression and religion, concluded. All of these issues were addressed in the book. It provided insight into Marcus Garvey’s life and his contributions to the black community. External and internal criticism were used to make sure that the reader understood this period of history. I was able to find out more about the biography from various sources. This biography provided a lot of information about Marcus Garvey’s life and was written well.


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    Benjamin Chambers is an educator and blogger who focuses on using technology in the classroom. He has written for sites like The Huffington Post and The EdTech Digest, and has been featured in outlets like Forbes and The New York Times. Chambers' work has helped him to develop a following of educators and students who appreciate his down-to-earth approach to learning technology.