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The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers
Volume XIII The Caribbean Diaspora 1921â"1922
By Robert A. Hill
Duke University PressCopyright © 2016 Duke University Press
All rights reserved.
"100% Negro" to the Negro World
[[Balboas Canal Zone,
Isthmus of Panama,
ca. 6 August 1921]]
Greeting from Panama
My heart being full with overflowing joy, I am compelled to write you this letter at this time. After reading for some weeks my own Bible, which is "The Negro World," it has placed me in such a determined condition of mind that I cannot keep still.
Noble leader; your voice of calling has reached my ears with its full force, and I am now trying to answer in some way or other, though feeble it may be. I desire to report myself to you as a true-hea[rt]ed, full-blooded Negro, one who hails from the island of Jamaica, one who has sacrificed his early years as a soldier for ten years and one who has always felt willing to assist in any cause which would uplift the Negro race.
As a British soldier I was taught the way to obey the bugle calls of England. I was taught the way to march and keep in line. I was taught the way to signalize; and more than all, thank God, I was taught the way to fight and, as the time is fast approaching when our own race will need her soldiers to fight, and her signalers to perform her own duties, I am now offering my services to the U.N.I.A. and A.C.L. and to the Black Star Line Steamship Corporation, in any way whatsoever that said services of mine may be utilized. In other words, I desire by this action, to give the proverbial widow's mite for the good and welfare of our race.
With regard to our Fatherland and Motherland, sweet Africa, which is laden with her bounteous wealth, ready to bestow them on the scattered seed of Ham, I have lived there for three years and have had a taste of the refreshing waters that flow through her wonderful streams. Africa! Oh bleeding Africa, with her children crying out against oppression, must be set free at any cost. As we have read where God once rained down manna from heaven to feed the children of Israel, so may we hold a strong belief that if he is to rain manna again, it will be to feed us children of Africa on our march for deliverance from Caucasian bondage.
Although I am not educated nor trained, I feel confident that the little I can do will assist the cause in some way or other. I am a rive[t]er, a bucker-up, a heater — one who worked from the beginning on the Lock Gates of the Panama Canal to their completion. With regard to wireless telegraphy, I have had no experience with it, but it would take me but a little time to pick it up, as I already have the telegraphic code in my head. I sincerely hope that my offer will be accepted to serve in one way or another.
Before closing I would like to ask you to entreat the Almighty God to grant you that portion of wisdom and understanding that King Solomon had so that you may be able to lead your people with might and right, because when a race is forced through oppression to talk or to fight, they are going to fight with the spirit of the very devil in them, figuratively speaking.
Cheer up, noble leader! cheer up! the sky is signalling; reinforcements are fast appearing, and victory will be ours ere long. Let me remind you once more not to forget my offer as I am very anxious to do something for the benefit of my race. At times when my eyes behold the oppression meted out to our people by the white man, I feel like an angry bull facing a red flag.
And now, courageous leader, may God bless you. Long may you live to triumph and stand up for the people of the Negro race. May you never grow weary in passing the words of command, "Forward, March to Victory, Ye Oppressed People of Ethiopia." And you may rest assured that as long as you will give the word of command, there are millions ready to obey.
Thanking you in advance for your kind attention, and hoping to hear from you in a very short time, I remain, your 100% Negro.
[Addressed to:] Our Most Honorable President and Mr. Marcus Garvey, Savior of Our Race —
Printed in NW, 6 August 1921.
Article in the Negro World
[[St. Lucia, ca. August 6, 1921]]
Saint Lucia U.N.I.A.
The St. Lucia Division is plodding along beset with difficulties. The Norville faction behaves like the proverbial fox and the grapes. Finding they are out of it, they try every means in their power to injure the interests of the U.N.I.A. Our leader, Mr. Tobitt, has come off for a full share of their revilings, and even the Hon. Marcus Garvey, at one time their idol, has come off with a certain measure of contempt. But in spite of it the officers and members of the division are doing their bit. We have started the membership drive and secured 33 members in one week ... We are drawing unto us gradually the intelligent and cultured men of our community. Our funds are not at expenses. The charter frame alone cost over $20, and we have bought an organ to enliven our meetings. We have musical talent among us, and we are never hard up for an organ[ist] (male or female). We have started a company to deal in grocery and dry goods and hope to start operations next week. Death, however, has paid us a visit. Mr. Joseph Lacorbiniere, our chairman of the Trustee Board, died on Sunday the 3rd of this month, after an illness of about five weeks. Mr. Lacorbiniere was one of those members who fought hard to throw off the yoke of Norvilism. He was an energetic officer, and though ill during most of the time attended meetings regularly. The U.N.I.A. extends to his bereaved family their sincere sympathy, and hopes Almighty God will comfort them in their sad bereavement. R. I. P.
Ephram J. Deser
Printed in NW, 6 August 1921.
Henry O. Mattos to the Negro World
[[Havana, Cuba, August 7, 1921]]
A Message from Cuba
Please permit a space in your most valuable paper.
When I observe the more rapid and steady growth of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, I am curious to know what has the Negro to fear, and why should he doubt himself. If we as a race would recall our hard years of toil, if we as a race could but see the vast increase of what such toil has procured to every one else but the Negro, we would decide that the Negro has no reason whatever to be contented. The Negro discontented cries the world over; "Give me liberty or give me death." Liberty to have my full share in the sunlight of Africa, or death, rather than to breach our most determined vow. Let us take Ireland, for instance, that nation, though in her years of struggle for her freedom, we cannot but admit, that they as a white nation have more chances more of a sunlight than the Negro. And if that nation with her better chances, if they with their better recognition can strike the blow for their freedom; I fail to see why the Negro should doubt and cringe.
We have outlived the age of standing still and have entered the moving age, the age of reconstruction, even the reconstruction of an African Empire. Arise and shine ye Sons and Daughters of Ethiopia for thy light has come.
Now that Mr. Marcus Garvey has returned to the United States of America, I am curious to know from the Doctors of Deceit, the meaning of an undesirable alien. The Hon. Marcus Garvey did not only return to the States, but at sea sent messages of his return, which shows his permission to return and that he was on schedule. There is an old saying that a half educated man is much more troublesome to deal with than the uneducated. But where the knockers of Garveyism are concerned, we find the educated the more dangerous.
An educated man plus deceit is the most desperate being on God's earth to get along with; and when highly tensioned with deceit he has a tendency to believe he is walking on the marbles of Heaven. But, as they can't fool the people all the time, their dice are sure to turn against them.
Henry O. Mattos
Printed in NW, 20 August 1921.
Percival C. James, General Secretary, UNIA Céspedes Division, to the Negro World
[[Céspedes, Cuba, August 7, 1921]]
Report of U.N.I.A. Mass Meeting Held at Florida, Cuba
The seventh day of August is set apart as a red letter day in the annals of the Florida Division of the U.N.I.A. and A.C.L. The Cespedes Division of the above mentioned society, seeing the coldness of the friends of Florida, resolved to help them by going to Florida in a campaign; they made good preparations to go, and on Sunday, August 7, the proceedings were as follows:
At 7.30 p.m. the president of the Florida Division, Mr. Alfred Wite, took the chair and called the meeting to order. The chaplain of the Florida Division, in the usual constitutional way, brought the evening's engagements into operation. The president in the chair extended a right hearty welcome to all the officers and members of the Cespedes Division. He said:
"Friends of the Florida Division, to show your gratitude to the friends from Cespedes, give three cheers for the male and lady presidents, three cheers for all the officers present, and three cheers for all the members for their patriotic visit." This was heartily responded to by all the Florida friends, which looked indeed graceful.
The president of Florida made a short speech showing how graceful it looks to see the two divisions united, and he said, "I hope it may so transpire that the Florida Division may be so enthused that soon we may return this visit to Cespedes." With more brief sentiments he closed his opening address: short, but very rich.
The program from Cespedes was now open, and Mr. S. J. Williamson, president of the Cespedes Division, was called to address the meeting. He started by addressing the chair and officers of the Florida Division. Then turning to the audience said: "Ladies and gentlemen of Florida, greeting. It gives me great pleasure to stand in your midst to say a word for the uplift of this our grand racial and universal movement. Looking around on the bright faces it makes me feel as if we were on the way to Liberia, the land of ours by moral and divine rights. (Cheers.) Our visit here tonight is based on patriotism, and I must say to you all as members of our beloved race (whether active or inactive) to fall in and do your best and with the help of our noble leader, the Hon. Marcus Garvey, we are bound to win our cause. Ladies and gentlemen, I cannot say much more, for the time is short, and I have some more big guns to discharge." He brought his speech to a close with good applause.
The next on the program was a song from the choir of the Cespedes Division, "Come, Ye Children, Harken Unto Me," under the leadership of our worthy instructor, Mr. J. W. Bayne[s], first vice-president of the Cespedes Division. Mr. Allan Williamson was next called. He gave a warm address on our great leader, the Hon. Marcus Garvey. This was just warm enough to open the house for warmer enthusiasm and patriotic addresses. Mr. J. W. Baynes, first vice-president of the Cespedes Division, was then called on to address the meeting. He, in his master tone, addressed the chair in a very excellent style and to the audience he said: "Brothers and sisters of this our beloved race, I congratulate you for your presence here tonight. We are gathered here tonight for a patriotic purpose — to strengthen each other in our great racial and universal movement." He pointed their attention on the word "watch," and from each letter of this given word, he made up his speech. Companions and Habits were taken from the two last letters of the given word and from all these he built up a wonderful speech [that] lasted for fully 20 minutes. The reader must be convinced that what is left out of a 20-minute speech is great. He closed with loud cheers at each end of a sentence.
In a very distinguished tone the lady secretary of the Cespedes Division rendered a song, "Come, O Come With Me Where Love Is Beaming." Mrs. Williamson, in her usual harmonious tone, chanted the beautiful song, cheering and satisfying all present.
Mr. J. Miller, an ex-teacher and member of the Cespedes Division, was next called to say something for the uplifting of our race. In a most eloquent style he addressed the chair and audience, and in a short and effective address he made the friends to understand what he knew of Garveyism. He said if we be loyal and true to ourselves and follow our leader, Hon. Marcus Garvey, by next summer we are bound to be in Africa.
The lady secretary of Florida was next called to render a song. She came on the stage and the beautiful song, "Boy of Ethiopia" was harmoniously delivered.
The lady president of the Florida Division was called and she in her usual bold and lively tone, built up a lovely speech showing to her young companions the rights of being a member of the U.N.I.A.
The choir of the Cespedes Division rendered an anthem, "Seeking the Lost." At this point the chairman requested that the house stand and sing "Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus," during which time the collection was taken up.
The organizer and treasurer of Cespedes, Mr. C. S. McKenzie, came on the stage. He addressed the chair and officers most honorably. His speech was very interesting. He told the friends how we are launching into a new sphere of life, viz: a social, political, educational and industrial world, and in order to rank among those that are up in the sphere of modernism we must contribute to the construction loans and the steamship corporation. In closing he said:
Sound the loud timbrels o'er Afric's dark sea,
Jehovah has triumphed, the Negroes are free.
Now came an event that baffled all description. It was little Princess Louise, the child of the lady president of Cespedes Division. This little one gave a recitation in the Spanish language, she being the only one on the program that rendered a piece in Spanish; it was highly appreciated.
The secretary of the Florida Division was next called. He gave a fairly good address and urged the friends to remember the convention fund, as the convention was still on. With much more good sentiment he made a good speech.
Mr. George S. Richards, a member of the Cespedes Division, was next called. He gave a real panegyric address and he told how we should look on this movement as honorable, for its basis is honest, and that other movements, organized and general, prove a failure because their leaders are personal aggrandizers of these different movements. He made a fairly good speech and closed with cheers at the end of each sentence. A duet was sung by Mr. C. C. Nufville and Mrs. Nufville.
The chaplain of Cespedes division, Mr. Charles Harrison, in his usual pastor-like form, delivered a real patriotic address. In part of his speech he said: —
Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me pleasure to stand and say a word for the betterment of our race. I think I hear the clamoring of throngs in convention, planning the prosperity of our future destiny. I think I see the Hon. Marcus Garvey walking in the metropolis of New York, claiming the famous title of the greatest statesman the world has ever seen.
With these and much more noble sentiments he built up a speech which was cheered at the end of each sentence.
Sister Thomas, a member of the Florida division, and one of the leaders of the Salvation Army, was now called. She started brilliantly to outline the facts of Negro ancestors and religiously pointed out according to the fulfillment of the Scriptures that Ethiopia shall stretch forth her hands and the time has come when she must stretch her hands and call the 400,000,000 Negroes of the world. At this point of her speech she was interrupted by the entrance of a policeman, who asked for credentials for permission to keep a public entertainment in the town according to the laws of the Cuban Government. One was given to him and not being satisfied he asked for another which, after a short delay, was handed to him, still unsatisfied, he took the name of the president of the Florida division and charged him with a breach of the Cuban law. This caused a little excitement among the friends, but by the strong courage of the officers of the Cespedes and Florida divisions, all was soon calm. After the policeman had left the house all stood and sang, "O God, Our Help in Ages Past." We stood the persecution very heroically, and we went on with our program.
Excerpted from The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers by Robert A. Hill. Copyright © 2016 Duke University Press. Excerpted by permission of Duke University Press.
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Table of ContentsIllustrations xxix
History of the Edition xlvii
Editorial Principles and Practices li
Textual Devices lvii
Symbols and Abbreviations lix
The Papers 3