With Africa Union(AU) Day having been commemorated last month on May 25th, Day being commemorated last three weeks ago and with the very current issue of #BlackLivesMatter protests happening globally in response to the systemic racism Black people in the USA and beyond, I have decided to begin a series titled ‘African Heroes Month’ to highlight some of Africa’s greatest leaders so that we can all know about them and their legacies.
As a Pan-Africanist myself, I believe strongly that all black people anywhere they are located in the world are Africans and part of the African nation.
For the world to be a better place for all Africans both in Africa and the diaspora, it is important that we know our history because as the great Marcus Garvey said, “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”
I hope that we are going to have a great experience together and educate ourselves through interactions and knowledge-sharing.
The first great African leader I will talk about to begin the #AfricanHeroesMonth series is Marcus Mosiah Garvey.
Born in Jamaica on August 17 1887, Marcus Garvey was a Black Nationalist and Pan-Africanist who sought to unify and connect people of African descent worldwide.
Considered by many as the Father of Pan-Africanism, Garvey founded The Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League(UNIA-ACL) which was an organization whose main aim was to work for the advancement of people of African ancestry around the world. Its motto was “One God! One Aim! One Destiny!” and its slogan was “Africa for the Africans, at home and abroad!”
Throughout most of his adult life, Marcus Garvey emphasized unity between Africans and the African diaspora, he campaigned for an end to European colonial rule across Africa and the political unification of the continent. The main goal for him was a unified Africa for Africans.
Marcus Garvey hammered home the idea of racial pride by celebrating the African past and encouraging African Americans to be proud of their heritage and proud of the way they looked. Garvey proclaimed “black is beautiful” long before it became popular in the 1960s. He wanted Africans to see themselves as members of a mighty race.
For many Africans both in Africa and the diaspora, Marcus Garvey is seen as a hero for encouraging a sense of pride and self-worth among black people.
Marcus Garvey is also regarded as a national hero in Jamaica and his ideas exerted a considerable influence on such movements as Rastafari, the Nation of Islam, and the Black Power Movement. Also, many of Africa’s independence leaders were inspired by Marcus Garvey with Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah being a notable mention.
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