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The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers, Vol. I: 1826-August 1919

The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers, Vol. I: 1826-August 1919

by Marcus Garvey

Marcus Mosiah Garvey (1887- 1940) led an extraordinary mass movement of black social protest. His Universal Negro Improvement Association and his "back to African" program of racial nationalism introduced many ideas that emerged again during the Black Power years of the 1960s: pride in black roots, pride in black physical features and African culture


Marcus Mosiah Garvey (1887- 1940) led an extraordinary mass movement of black social protest. His Universal Negro Improvement Association and his "back to African" program of racial nationalism introduced many ideas that emerged again during the Black Power years of the 1960s: pride in black roots, pride in black physical features and African culture, and rejection of assimilation into white America. Yet the charismatic black Jamaican who roared his credo before huge audiences on the st reet corners of Harlem remains an enigma. His image as an honest idealist urging blacks to build their own nation has been clouded by accusations that he was a con man who, in the name of black pride, perpetrated one of history's greatest swindles.
The Marcus Garvey And Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers clarifies the Garvey phenomenon. This is the first volume in a monumental ten-volume survey of thirty thousand archival documents and original manuscripts from widely separated sources, brought together by editor Robert A. Hill to provide a compelling picture of the evolution, spread, and influence of the UNIA. Letters, pamphlets, vital records, intelligence reports, newspaper articles, speeches, legal records, and diplomatic dispatches are enhanced by Hill's descriptive source notes, explanatory footnotes, and comprehensive introduction. Of the over three hundred items included in Volume I, only very few have ever been published or reprinted before.
Volume I begins with the earliest mentions in 1826 of the Garvey family in Jamaica's slave records, and closes with Garvey's triumphant address at Carnegie Hall on August 25, 1919. The information is fascinating and often startling, tracing Garvey's early career in Jamaica, Central America, Europe, and the United States, and detailing the first stirrings of what was to become an international mass movement. Hill presents complete documentation of the first official surveillance of the UNIA, which prepared the way for the beginning of the criminal and civil litigation that engulfed Garvey and his movement, as American and European governments reacted to the perceived threat with repressive policies. The documents also record the internal structure and political splits during the early years of the UNIA, and provide the financial history of Garvey's controversial Black Star Line steamship venture, one of the schemes that ultimately led to the financial collapse of his movement.
The first volume and the following five focus on America, the seventh and eighth on Mrica, and the last two on the Caribbean. The information Hill has compiled goes far beyond preoccupation with a single intriguing historical figure to document the growth and demise of a mass social phenomenon, an Mro-American protest movement with strong links to African and Caribbean nationalism in the first decades of the twentieth century.

Product Details

University of California Press
Publication date:
Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Product dimensions:
6.88(w) x 10.00(h) x 2.25(d)

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The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers, Vol. I

By Marcus M. Garvey

University of California Press

Copyright © 1983 Marcus M. Garvey
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780520044562

W. E. B. Du Bois to Charles Evans Hughes,[en1] U.S. Secretary of StateW. E. B. Du Bois to Charles Evans Hughes,1 U.S. Secretary of State

NEW YORK , June 23, 1921


In 1919 there was held in Paris the first Pan-African Congress. I am enclosing the resolutions which were passed by that Congress. These resolutions were brought to the attention of Colonel House of the American Peace Commission and received his general approval.

A second Pan-African Congress will be held in August and September at the time and place indicated by the bulletins enclosed.2 I am writing to appr[i]se you of these facts because of some public misapprehension of our aims and purposes. The Pan-African Congress is for conference, acquaintanceship and general organization. It has nothing to do with the so called Garvey movement and contemplates neither force nor revolution in its program. We have had the cordial cooperation of the French, Belgi[an] and Portuguese governments and we hope to get the attention and sympathy of all colonial powers.

If there is any further information as to our objects and plans which you would wish to have I will be very glad to write further or to come to Washington andconfer with any official whom you might designate. I am, sir, with great respect Very sincerely yours,


DNA, RG 59, 540C2/original. TLS, recipient's copy. On Crisis stationery.

Enclosure :
Resolutions Passed at the 1919 Pan-African Congress

Paris, 19–21 February 1919

The Negroes of the world in Pan-African Congress assembled at Paris February 19, 20, 21, 1919, demand, in the interest of justice and humanity and for strenghtening the forces of civilisation, that immediate steps be taken to develop the 200[,]000[,]000 of Negroes and Negroids; to this end, they propose:

A.—That the allied and associated Powers establish a code of laws "for the international protection of the natives of Africa," similar to the proposed international code for Labor.

B.—That the League of Nations establish a permanent Bureau charged with the special duty of "overseeing the application of these laws to the political, social and economic welfare of the natives."

The Negroes of the world demand that hereafter the natives of Africa and the Peoples of African descent be "governed according to the following principles."

1.—The Land : The land and its natural resources shall be held in trust for the natives and at all times they shall have effective ownership of as much land as they can profitably develop.

2.—Capital : The investment of capital and granting of concessions shall be so regulated as to prevent the exploitation of the natives and the exhaustion of the natural wealth of the country. Concessions shall always be limited in time and subject to State control. The growing social needs of the natives must be regarded and the profits taxes for the social and material benefit of the natives.

3.—Labor : Slavery and corporal punishment shall be abolished and forced labor except in punishment for crime; and the general conditions of labor shall be prescribed and regulated by the State.

4.—Education : It shall be the right of every native child to learn to read and write his own language, and the language of the trustee nation, at public expense, and to be given technical instruction in some branch of industry. The State shall also educate as large a number of natives as possible in higher technical and cultural training and maintain a corps of native teachers.

5.—Med[i]cine and Hygiene : It shall be recognized that human existence in the tropics calls for special safeguards and a scientific system of public hygiene. The State shall be responsible for medical care and sanitary conditions without discouraging collective and individual initiative. A service created by the State shall provide physicians and hospitals, and shall spread the rules of hygiene by written and spoken word. As fast as possible the State will establish a native medical staff.

6.—The State : The natives of Africa must have the right to participate in the government as fast as their development permits in conformity with the principle

that the government exists for the natives, and not the natives for the government. They shall at once be allowed to participate in local and tribal government according to ancient usage, and this participation shall gradually extend, as education and experience proceeds, to the higher offices of State, to the end that, in time, Africa be ruled by consent of the Africans.

7.—Culture and Religion : No particular religion shall be imposed and no particular form of human culture. There shall be liberty of conscience. The uplift of the natives shall take into consideration their present condition and shall allow the utmost scope to racial genius, social inheritance and individual bent so long as these are not contrary to the best established principles of civilisation.

8.—Civilized Negroes : Wherever persons of African descent are civilized and able to meet the tests of surrounding culture, they shall be accorded the same rights as their fellow citizens; they shall not be denied on account of race or color a voice in their own government, justice before the courts and economic and social equality according to ability and desert.

9.—The League of Nations : Greater security of life and property shall be guaranteed the natives; international labor legislation shall cover the native workers as well as whites; they shall have equitable representation in all the international institutions of the League of Nations, and the participation of the blacks themselves in every domain of indeavour shall be encouraged in accordance with the declared object of article 19 of the League of Nations, to wit: "The well being and the development of these people constitute a sacred mission of civilisation and it is proper in establishing the League of Nations to incorporate therein pledges for the accomplishment of this mission."

Whenever it is proven that African natives are not receiving just treatment at the hands of any State or that any State deliberately excludes its civilized citizens or subjects of Negro descent from its body politic and cultural, it shall be the duty of the League of Nations to bring the matter to the attention of the civilized World.

For the Pan-African Congress, composed of 57 members from 15 countries, inhabited by 85 [,]000 [,]000 Negroes and persons of African descent—to wit :


United States


French West Indies and French Guiana










Spanish Colonies


Portuguese Colonies











English Africa


French Africa






Belgian Congo






Director[,] National Association for the Advancement of Colored People,
U.S.A., Secretary [of the Congress].

Deputy from Senegal, Commissioner
General charged with oversight of French colonial interests, President of the Congress.

DNA, RG 59, 540C2/original. PD. Portions translated from French.

Bulletins announcing the Second Pan-African Congress, March 1921
(Source : DNA, RG 59, Decimal file 540C2/original).


Excerpted from The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers, Vol. I by Marcus M. Garvey Copyright © 1983 by Marcus M. Garvey. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Robert A. Hill is director of the Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers Project in the African Studies Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he is also Associate Professor of History.

Barbara Bair is associate editor of the American series of the Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers Project and associate editor, with Robert Hill, of Marcus Garvey: Life and Lessons, a centennial companion volume to The Marcus Garvey and UNIA Papers.

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