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What Is The Overall Significance And Legacy Of Garveyism?

1309 words - 6 pages

What is the overall significance and legacy of Garveyism?
There are several aspects of Garveyism and its legacy that make it significant to black history over the previous two centuries. Its significance can be questioned by the ideas of earlier leaders; elements of Pan-Africanism can be seen as far back as the 18th century. The legacy of Garveyism is envisaged in the economic and cultural ideas of today and it has influenced many important black leaders and movements to the present day.
First we must consider that Pan-Africanism was around for a long time before Garvey and that his ideas were not completely original but were developed through other ideas. The intellectual genealogy of ...view middle of the document...

Garvey was definitely critical of Negros who were not of pure blood, as is seen in his criticisms of Du Bois. It is also known that his ideas stemmed from the question on the colour line in Jamaica, more a British Negro problem than American. Proposing that Garveyism is as much a creation as it is an imitation. It should also be said that Garvey originally came to the United States to speak to Booker T. Washington and that he did consider the UNIA as the continuation on a higher level, of some positive aspects of Washington’s Programme which again questions the originality of his ideas. On the other hand, although Garvey respected Washington, their ideas clashed. Garvey denounced him for working with whites and believed without political power; economic gains could not be made. Although Garveyism is similar to early ideas of Black Nationalism, it is the modernisation of these ideas which sets them apart and managed to gain support, which it did not receive earlier.
There is no doubt that Garveyism left a mark on American black history, yet it is difficult to distinguish the legacy that remains. Theodore G. Vincent claims that this “soul” of Garveyism is recaptured today every time one black greets another with the fraternal handslap, every time a group studies black history, eats at a soul food restaurant, listens to black music, dances to it, sings with it. Garveyism did incorporate ideas of a black community and pride, furthermore, it has been suggested that he is today considered by many people of African origin as the father of Black pride. However, it can be argued that these ideas aren’t likely to have come from Marcus Garvey and weren’t a significant part of Garveyism. Garvey revealed his contempt for African-American cultural forms when he remarked: “Spiritual and Jazz Music are better credited to the Negro… simply because we did not know better music”. This contradicts Vincent suggesting Garveyism was not based on music or culture. Although, the idea may not have been evident in Garveyism during its heyday, it’s most certainly evident in the groups it inspired such as the Black Power movement. Therefore it can be argued that Black pride is as much the legacy of Garveyism as the economic or political ideas.
Garveyism was and is a significant moment of Black history, due to its size and influence up to the present date. Garveyism won massive support in the 1920s, and its intellectual and political legacies have been profound and were an influence (often the dominant influence) on every form of popular Black Nationalism in the United States from the Nation of Islam to the Black Panthers. Elijah Muhammad came into early contact with Garveyites, and Malcolm X grew up in a household of them. The Nation of Islam did recruit many members who had been drawn to Garveyism, including the likes of Elijah Mohammed, who was associated with the UNIA in Chicago. The Black Panthers call for the United Nations plebiscite is reminiscent of Garvey and...

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