One of the great achievements of Marcus Garvey was the thoroughness of his vision, which as as Mwariama Kamau has stated, "through reasoned arguments and a methodical examination of our condition, offers an inspiring worldview and compelling prescription for empowerment." Marcus Garvey's writings advance a sense of identity, self-reliance, unity/nationhood, entrepreneurship, education in the physical and psychological sciences, and spirituality based on the Father/Motherhood of God and the brother/sisterhood of woman/man. The body of principles that Garvey outlined was a coherent philosophy, theology, psychology and social action plan that could be applied by all people in any location.
In this excerpt from "African Fundamentalism," Marcus Garvey establishes the philosophical foundations of his work which is rooted in the dignity of Africans and New World Africans. The basis of his belief is rooted in his belief in God, and that people of African descent as expressions of the divine could "out of our own creative genius we make ourselves what we want to be." His challenge to us remains:
"The time has come for the African to forget and cast behind him his hero worship and adoration of other races, and to start out immediately, to create and emulate heroes of his own. We must canonize our own saints, create our own martyrs, and elevate to positions of fame and honor black women and men who have made their distinct contributions to our history."
A Racial Hierarchy and Empire for Africans
African's Faith Must Be Confidence in Self
His Creed: One God, One Aim, One Destiny
The time has come for the African to forget and cast behind him his hero worship and adoration of other races, and to start out immediately, to create and emulate heroes of his own. We must canonize our own saints, create our own martyrs, and elevate to positions of fame and honor black women and men who have made their distinct contributions to our history. Sojourner Truth is worthy of the place of sainthood alongside of Joan of Arc; Crispus Attucks and George William Gordon are entitled to the halo of martyrdom with no less glory than that of the martyrs of any other race. Toussaint L'Ouverture's brilliancy as a soldier and statesman outshone that of a Cromwell, Napoleon and Washington; hence, he is entitled to the highest place as a hero among men. Africa has produced countless numbers of men and women, in war and in peace, whose lustre and bravery outshine that of any other people. Then why not see good and perfection in ourselves? We must inspire a literature and promulgate a doctrine of our own without any apologies to the powers that be. The right is ours and God's. Let contrary sentiment and cross opinions go to the winds. Opposition to race independence is the weapon of the enemy to defeat the hopes of an unfortunate people. We are entitled to our own opinions and not obligated to or bound by the opinions of others.
Let no voice but your own speak to you from the depths. Let no influence but your own raise you in time of peace and time of war. Hear all, but attend only that which concerns you.
God and Nature first made us what we are, and then out of our own creative genius we make ourselves what we want to be. Follow always that great law.
Let the sky and God be our limit, and Eternity our measurement. There is no height to which we cannot climb by using the active intelligence of our own minds. Mind creates, and as much as we desire in Nature we can have through the creation of our own minds.
The task of "canonizing" our heroes continues, and one of the ways to honor Marcus Garvey is to expunge his criminal record, which was created in order to stop Marcus Garvey's work of "mental emancipation" of Africans and New World Africans. Indeed, the words made famous by Bob Marley in "Redemption Song," were first uttered by Marcus Garvey in Nova Scotia in his Black Man magazine:
We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind. Mind is your only ruler, sovereign. The man who is not able to develop and use his mind is bound to be the slave of the other man who uses his mind ...
Please join us in our petition to President Barack Obama to exonerate the Right Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey.
From: Marcus Garvey Life and Lessons.eds. Hill, Robert, and Bair, Barbara. Berkley: U California P, 1987.