Today is a very monumental day in Jamaica’s history as we celebrate the 133rd birthday and legacy of the Rt. Excellent Marcus Garvey who was made National hero on the 15th of November 1964.
Marcus Garvey is well known for his contribution to the progress of Black people through his philosophies which formed the basis to the UNIA organization as well as the Black starliner Ship that was designed to transport people of “color” in an age where the industry was dominated by whites.
Marcus Garvey was born in St. Anns Bay to a Father who was a Stonemason and a mother who did domestic work. His education started at 14 years at a church school however was for the most part self-taught about most of the things that he would later on be skilled in such as public speaking and organization.
The Marcus would later become an apprentice for his godfather at a printery where he would be exposed to much more information and more people as the location of the print shop was in Port Maria and there he was exposed to Seamen and the conversations they had.
In 1905 Marcus Garvey moved to Kingston in search of better opportunities which he did get as he started to work at a printery which saw him moving up the employment ranks very quickly. He became the first Black foreman in Jamaica.
Marcus Garvey took his first leadership role officially while being a member of a trade union, eventually leading a strike for better work conditions in the year 1908, just a year after a major earthquake had damaged the entire Kingston City.
He then later went ahead and formed groups that defended the cause of his people in that time however eventually left Kingston due to the hardships that they faced.
Marcus Garvey traveled to Costa Rica In 1910 where he worked with other Caribbean nationals and observed that the conditions they faced were similar to that of Jamaica. From Costa Rica, he traveled back to Jamaica where he established the UNIA between the years 1914-1916.
Since the time he established the Black power organization, Garvey has traveled through most of the states in America as well as to some European countries preaching equal rights and justice for the Black race.
He continued his work which he was certainly put under pressure for however continued until he died in 1940. One very popular book that details the works of the legend is “The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey”.
Marcus Garvey is widely regarded as a prophet by the Rastafarian culture too as it is of their opinion that the national hero foretold the crowning of “Haile Selassie” in 1930 when he said to “look to the east for the coming of a black King”.
Reggae artistes such as Bob Marley, Burning Spear, and many others have also written songs in reverence of the legend.