10 Quotes from Marcus Garvey

Marcus Garvey 3Marcus Garvey’s teaching and words inspired many Reggae hits


Chance has never yet satisfied the hope of a suffering people. Action, self-reliance, the vision of self and the future have been the only means by which the oppressed have seen and realized the light of their own freedom (page 1)

Confidence in self

If you have no confidence in self you are twice defeated in the race of life.  With confidence you have won even before you have started. (page 11)

Liberate the mind

Liberate the minds of men and ultimately you will liberate the bodies of men.

bob 5

Redemption Song

We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind. Mind is your only ruler, sovereign. The man who is not able to develop and use his mind is bound to be the slave of the other man who uses his mind. (Speaking in Nova Scotia, October, 1937.)

The greatest weapon against us

The greatest weapon against the Negro is disorganization. (page 11)

Our aim is to uplift our people

Propaganda has been waged here there and everywhere for the purpose of misinterpreting the intentions of this organization (UNIA); some have said that this organization seeks to create discord and discontent among the races; some say we are organized for the purpose of hating other people.  Every sensible, sane and honest-minded person knows that the Universal Negro Improvement Association has no such intention. We are organized for the absolute purpose of bettering our condition, industrially, commercially, socially, religiously and politically. We are organized not to hate men, but to lift ourselves and to demand respect of all humanity. (page 73)

Injustice, War and Peace

peter tosh

Equal rights and justice

There can be no peace among men and nations, so long as the strong continues to oppress the weak, so long as injustice is done to other peoples, just so long we will have cause for war, and make a lasting peace an impossibility. (page 13)

The role of men with vision

The time has come for those of us who have the vision of the future to inspire our people to a closer kinship, to a closer love of self, because it is only through this appreciation of self that we will be able to rise to that higher life that will make us not an extinct race in the future, but a race of men fit to survive. (page 64)

The Role of the Press

The function of the press is public service without prejudice or partiality, to convey the truth as it is seen and understood without favoritism or bias. (page 6)

Hunger and violence

Hungry men have no respect for law, authority or human life

African Unity

bob marley 30

Africa Unite

Fellow citizens of Africa, I greet you in the name of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League of the World. You may ask, “what organization is that?” It is for me to inform you that the Universal Negro Improvement Association is an organization that seeks to unite, into one solid body, the four hundred million Negroes in the world. To link up the fifty million Negroes in the United States of America, with the twenty million Negroes of the West Indies, the forty million Negroes of South and Central America, with the two hundred and eighty million Negroes of Africa, for the purpose of bettering our industrial, commercial, educational, social, and political conditions.

Source: The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey
Related:  Malcolm X on Marcus Garvey

2 thoughts on “10 Quotes from Marcus Garvey

  1. Garvey’s quotations are so beautiful and accurate about our people-Africans. His quotations were true about Africans eight years ago and are perhaps even more accurate about us today.

    Clearly, these rock solid quotations of Garvey are derived from his philosophy of liberation of Africans based on self-reliance, confidence, mental liberation from the slave master’s mindset and to do for ourselves what other peoples have done for themselves.

    Indeed, it was Malcolm X who said that the world will not know of the greatness of our people until, our people actually know themselves. The latter requires that Africans must know our history because with a knowledge of our history, our confidence and belief in ourselves as a people are simply impossible.

    Above all else, for us to honor Marcus Garvey on what would have been his 128th birthday, we must not only internalize his quotations in an intellectualist manner but rather, we must operationalize them and his philosophy of African redemption and liberation that inform them.

    However, to put in practice Garvey’s philosophy of economic self-reliance, confidence in ourselves, it is going to be necessary that in an increasingly more complicated world where black people have attained ostensible progress a la US president, several black multi-millionaires and a few billionaires etc in the US and elsewhere, the existence of various political trends in Pan-Africanism that though not new also represent potential sources of confusion and distraction of African peoples about our political and economic priorities in fighting imperialism which is our common enemy. Thus political and intellectual creativity will be required in terms of how we organize, other whom we organize and build alliances in our respective countries and globally in creating spaces for economic self- reliance and in liberating our minds from imperialist slavery. In this context, I believe that politically and intellectually a balance must be struck tactically and strategically between race and class in our battles around a range if issues including climate change, education, business, health, gay marriage and many more that are important to Africans as they are to the rest of humanity. As such, as the struggle advances, it is likely that sometimes the political manifestations of the battles may be more class oriented to forge unity of various groups of working people in forging alliances though at other times these battles may take on a more explicit racial character. The key is to recognize that race and class are intertwined and so one does not deny the existence of the other in political struggles.

    Finally, the ultimate liberation of Africans cannot shy away from the broader issues of capitalism and socialism. Clearly, whether on the African continent or in the diaspora, there is no doubt that global capitalism has failed to solve the daily problems of the survival of Africans in a civilized manner. As such, the challenge becomes whether socialism has the capacity to solve the major problems confronting “we people who are darker than blue” and how in the class and race struggles will socialism address the critical issues facing Africans including racism.

    To truly honor Marcus Garvey, I believe that the strengths and weaknesses of his philosophy of liberation must be reckoned with in the broader context of the liberation of Africans and all other oppressed peoples with a class and race analysis.

    Peace if you are willing to fight for it!

  2. Pingback: Ecuador’s Correa Slams New, ‘Mental Forms of Colonization’ | JSC: Jamaicans in Solidarity with Cuba

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