Marcus Garvey on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM)



The principal aim of Marcus Garvey's foundation, The Universal Negro Improvement Association, was Black upliftment through education. In his travels through North, Central, and South America, Garvey witnessed the effects on his people, who had accepted the racist meme that Black people were "lazy, ignorant, and shiftless." In his lectures, he had to remind his audiences about the great civilizations of Africa that had excelled in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM).

Seventy-three years after Garvey's death, the effects of those crippling, racist ideas have not been eradicated. Many of our young people still believe that they are genetically incapable of excelling in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM).

But Garvey knew better. Here are a few selected quotes from his writings:

"Africa was peopled with a race of cultured black men, who were masters in art, science and literature; men who were cultured and refined; men who, it was said, were like the gods. Even the great poets of old sang in beautiful sonnets of the delight it afforded the gods to be in companionship with the Ethiopians."

"This race of ours gave civilization, gave art, gave science; gave literature to the world. But it has been the way with races and nations. The one race stands out prominently in the one century or in the one age; and in another century or age it passes off the stage of action, and another race takes its place. The Negro once occupied a high position in the world, scientifically, artistically and commercially, but in the balancing of the great scale of evolution, we lost our place and someone, other than ourselves occupies the stand we once held."

"The power and sway we once held passed away, but now in the twentieth century we are about to see a return of it in the rebuilding of Africa; yes, a new civilization, a new culture, shall spring up from among our people, and the Nile shall once more flow through the land of science, of art, and of literature, wherein will live black men of the highest learning and the highest accomplishments."

"3,000 years ago black men excelled in government and were the founders and teachers of art, science and literature. The power and sway we once held passed away, but now in the twentieth century we are about to see a return of it in the rebuilding of Africa; yes, a new civilization, a new culture, shall spring up from among our people, and the Nile shall once more flow through the land of science, of art, and of literature, wherein will live black men of the highest learning and the highest accomplishments."

"No Negro, let him be American, European, West Indian or African, shall be truly respected until the race as a whole has emancipated itself, through self-achievement and progress, from universal prejudice. The Negro will have to build his own government, industry, art, science, literature and culture, before the world will stop to consider him. Until then, we are but wards of a superior race and civilization, and the outcasts of a standard social system."

The race needs workers at this time, not plagiarists, copyists and mere imitators; but men and women who are able to create, to originate and improve, and thus make an independent racial contribution to the world and civilization."

"During the last century, a mighty revolution of mind has been made in the civilized world. Its effects are gradually disclosing themselves, and gradually improving the condition of the human race. The eyes of all nations are turned on these United States, for here that great movement was commenced. Africa, like a bereaved mother, holds out her hands to America, and implores you to send back her exiled children. Does not Africa merit much at the hands of other nations? Almost 4,000 years ago, she, from the then rich store house of her genius and labor, sent out to them science, and arts and letters, laws and civilization."

"The hope of the Black race lies in our new blood -- the New Negro -- who is already rising to the heights of nationhood. He is the man of the future. By science, art, history, politics, industry and religion, he will rise above his environments and in another hundred years shall have laid the pillars of the greatest civilization the world ever saw."

"Every student of Political Science, every student of Economics knows, that the race can only be saved through a solid industrial foundation. That the race can only be saved through political independence. Take away industry from a race; take away political freedom from a race, and you have a group of slaves."

"It is the commercial and financial power of the United States of America that makes her the greatest banker in the world. Hence it is advisable for the Negro to get power of every kind. POWER in education, science, industry, politics and higher government."


Garvey, Amy J., ed. The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey. Dover: The Majority Press, 1986. Print.


"When I undertook the responsibility of projecting big commercial corporations the same Negroes used the force of government to smash me. They could not understand that the future, which is part of today, calls for the preparation of the race to meet scientific competition whether on the battlefield, in the laboratory or other walks of life"

Clarke, John H., ed. Marcus Garvey and the Vision of Africa. Baltimore: Black Classic Press, 1974. Print.


Let's remind our children each day about the work of Marcus Garvey, a visionary leader and educator, who appreciated the value of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) and urged his people to excel in these disciplines.


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The Coalition for the Exoneration of Marcus Garvey is petitioning Frederica Wilson, Congressional Representative and the Congress of the United States of America for the exoneration of  Marcus Garvey:


We are also petitioning President Barack Obama to exonerate Marcus Garvey:


Thank you for your support.



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