Marcus Mosiah Garvey Biography

Paper Type:  Biography
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  891 Words
Date:  2022-12-21


"A race without authority and power is a race without respect."( Mthembu 31). The social activist, Marcus Mosiah Garvey once said these words as proof that he was a man with a great mission. His enthusiasm and dedication became light to blacks people aspiration despite facing great hostility. Garvey's followers regarded him as a prophet became he gave pride and hope to black people who considered themselves inferior to other races. He left a tremendous legacy in the Rastafarianism that helped the Rasta's to fight against their oppressors (Mthembu 31). Although Garvey faced great opposition, he was a leader to the largest black movement and successfully achieved many accomplishments. The purpose of the essay is to analyze the life and impact of Marcus Mosiah Garvey.

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Early Life

Garvey was born at St. Anne's Bay in Jamaica on August 17, 1887. Like in most Jamaican families he was brought up in a household that upheld unity and harmony. He was the last born in a family of eleven children. His parents, Marcus Mosiah Garvey Sr and Sarah Jane Richards were people with high moral values. He also learned a lot from his father who struggled to achieve his goals despite the consequences. For instance, he learned that his skin color should motivate him to work hard towards his goals because it signified national greatness which gave hope to many lives (Cronon 5). His family was poor hence he dropped out of school at the age of fourteen. He secured a job in a printing press in Kingston, Jamaica where he learned journalistic skills and the printing business as well. At the age of twenty, Garvey had gained experience in the printing field and began to organize public meetings to air grievances of his fellow workers. During his childhood, Garvey spent most of his time in St. Anne's Bay where was exposed to gospel music. He used Gospel music to preach his message to black people because he believed that God created human beings equally.

How He Got Into the Business

At the printing press company, Garvey became a qualified orator because he learned the communication skills to change the mind of people who felt there was no place or opportunities for them in society. He was inspired by Dr. Love, an educated Negro who made Garvey realize the need to improve the living conditions of the black people. This could only be achieved by the formation of a program to educate all blacks of their chances in society. To start a large movement, he needed enough funds hence he moved to Costa Rica to make money. He moved from one country to another, for instance, Panama, London, and Limon where he aired the conditions of blacks to different places using newspapers. He returned to Jamaica in 1914 to start a movement that would liberate his race. He wanted to make sure that other races and nations would not treat the black people like dogs, slaves, peons and serfs (Cronon, 16).


The movement which gave them race pride was titled Universal Negro Improvement and Conservation Association and African Communities League. It did not receive support since many did not want to be classified as Negro. He never gave up but moved to the United States to seek supporters. When he arrived in New York, many black people were ready to receive his message as they had faced great racism and slavery. He became a powerful leader and established a newspaper called 'Negro World' that expressed his ideologies and philosophies. In 1917, he formed the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) which was an international movement which registered 2000 followers in twenty-one days (Cronon 43). In 1927 he was deported after the Edgar Hoover charged him with mail fraud. His movement continued in Jamaica as they now appreciated his efforts to unite the black people.


He established Rastafarianism and the Rasta regarded him as their prophet. When he left to the United States, he prophesied that a black king would redeem them. Hallie Selassie was crowned as king in 1930 hence he became the leader as prophesied. Leonard P. Howell was also a follower of Garvey who also pioneered the Rastafarian movement. They share their feelings about poverty, oppression, and discrimination that they face from society.

Another legacy is the inspiration of reggae musicians which spread the message of awareness to all black people. The music expresses the message that blacks should liberate themselves because they are equal to whites. Many reggae musicians such as Burning Spear, Bob Marley, Max Romeo, and Mutabaruka dedicate their songs to Garvey as a prophet who struggled to liberate the blacks.


In conclusion, Garvey was a political leader of black people. He was also a leader of the Universal Negro Improvement Association that aimed at unifying the blacks. He succeeded in liberating the blacks from the whites' oppression and racism. He gave hope to people who felt that they did not belong in this world. Rastafarianism is a religious and social movement that began in Jamaica during the 1030s as a result of a prophetic message by Marcus Garvey. In his preaching, Garvey was telling the people that their Redeemer will come from Africa.

Works Cited

Garvey, Amy Jacques. More philosophy and opinions of Marcus Garvey. Routledge, 2012.Mthembu, Ntokozo Christopher. "Marcus Mosiah Garvey." (2011).1-37

Cronon, Edmund, D., Black Moses., London: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1969 p. 1-60

Cite this page

Marcus Mosiah Garvey Biography. (2022, Dec 21). Retrieved from

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