Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr.,
June 6, 1925
Fellow Men of the Negro Race, Greeting: The time has come for the Negro 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 men and women who have made their distinct contributions to our racial 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?
Ours the Right to Our Doctrine
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.
A Peep at the Past
If others laugh at you, return the laughter to them; if they mimic you, return the compliment with equal force. They have no more right to dishonor, disrespect and disregard your feeling and manhood than you have in dealing with them. Honor them when they honor you; disrespect and disregard them when they vilely treat you. Their arrogance is but skin deep and an assumption that has no foundation in morals or in law. They have sprung from the same family tree of obscurity as we have; their history is as rude in its primitiveness as ours; their ancestors ran wild and naked, lived in caves and in the branches of trees, like monkeys, as ours; they made human sacrifices, ate the flesh of their own dead and the raw meat of the wild beast for centuries even as they accuse us of doing; their cannibalism was more prolonged than ours; when we were embracing the arts and sciences on the banks of the Nile their ancestors were still drinking human blood and eating out of the skulls of their conquered dead; when our civilization had reached the noonday of progress they were still running naked and sleeping in holes and caves with rats, bats and other insects and animals. After we had already unfathomed the mysteries of the stars and reduced the heavenly constellations to minute and regular calculus they were still backwoodsmen, living in ignorance and blatant darkness.
Why Be Discouraged?
The world today is indebted to us for the benefits of civilization. They stole our arts and sciences from Africa. Then why should we be ashamed of ourselves? Their MODERN IMPROVEMENTS are but DUPLICATES of a grander civilization that we reflected thousands of years ago, without the advantage of what is buried and still hidden, to be resurrected and reintroduced by the intelligence of our generation and our prosperity. Why should we be discouraged because somebody laughs at us today? Who to tell what tomorrow will bring forth? Did they not laugh at Moses, Christ and Mohammed? Was there not a Carthage, Greece and Rome? We see and have changes every day, so pray, work, be steadfast and be not dismayed.
Nothing Must Kill the Empire Urge
As the Jew is held together by his RELIGION, the white races by the assumption and the unwritten law of SUPERIORITY, and the Mongolian by the precious tie of BLOOD, so likewise the Negro must be united in one GRAND RACIAL HIERARCHY. Our UNION MUST KNOW NO CLIME, BOUNDARY, or NATIONALITY. Like the great Church of Rome, Negroes the world over MUST PRACTICE ONE FAITH, that of Confidence in themselves, with One God! One Aim! One Destiny! Let no religious scruples, no political machination divide us, but let us hold together under all climes and in every country, making among ourselves a Racial Empire upon which “the sun shall never set.”
Allegiance to Self First
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.
Your first allegiance shall be to your God, then to your family, race and country. Remember always that the Jew in his political and economic urge is always first a Jew; the white man is first a white man under all circumstances, and you can do no less than being first and always a Negro, and then all else will take care of itself. Let no one inoculate you for their own conveniences. There is no humanity before that which starts with yourself. “Charity begins at home.” First to thyself be true, and “thou canst not then be false to any man.”
We Are Arbiters of Our Own Destiny
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. Being at present the scientifically weaker race, you shall treat others only as they treat you; but in your homes and everywhere possible you must teach the higher development of science to your children; and be sure to develop a race of scientists par excellence, for in science and religion lies our only hope to withstand the evil designs of modern materialism. Never forget your God. Remember, we live, work and pray for the establishing of a great and binding RACIAL HIERARCHY, the rounding of a RACIAL EMPIRE whose only natural, spiritual and political limits shall be God and “Africa, at home and abroad.”
Printed in the Negro World, 6 June 1925, as a front-page editorial; written in Atlanta Federal Penitentiary. Original headlines omitted. Creed reprinted in slightly revised form, under the title “African Fundamentalism,” as a UNIA poster, sold by mail order through the Negro World by Amy Jacques Garvey, 1925.
By Marcus Garvey
Our Modern Systems Of Government Have Partly Failed And Are Wholly Failing.
We have tried various forms, but none has measured up to the Ideal State. Communism was the last attempt, and its most ardent advocates have acknowledged its limitations, shortcomings and impossibility.
The reason for all this failure is not far to seek. The sum total of Governmental collapse is traceable to the growing spirit of selfishness, graft and greed within the individual. Naturally, the state cannot govern itself: it finds expression and executes its edicts through individuals, hence the State is human. Its animation is but the reflex of our human characters. As a Nero, Caesar, Alexander, Alfred, William, Louis, Charles, Cromwell, Napoleon, Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt or Wilson thinks, so expresses the majesty of the State.
If we must correct the maladministration of the State and apply the corporate majesty of the people to their own good, then we must reach the source and there reorganize or reform.
Under the pressure of our civilization, with its manifold demands, the individual is tempted, beyond measure, to do evil or harm to others; and, if responsible, to the entire State and people, and if by thus acting he himself profits and those around him, there arises corruption in Government, as well as in other branches of the secular and civil life.
All other methods of Government having been tried and failed, I suggest a reformation that would place a greater responsibility upon the shoulders of the elect and force them either to be the criminals, that some of us believe they are, or the good and true representatives we desire them to be.
Government should be absolute, and the head should be thoroughly responsible for himself and the acts of his subordinates.
When we elect a President of a nation, he should be endowed with absolute authority to appoint all his lieutenants from cabinet ministers, governors of States and Territories, administrators and judges to minor officers. He should swear his life as a guarantee to the State and people, and he should be made to pay the price of such a life if he deceives, grafts, bows to special privilege or interest, or in any way undermines the sacred honor and trust imposed upon him by acts of favoritism, injustice or friendly or self interests. He should be the soul of honor, and when he is legally or properly found to the contrary, he should be publicly disgraced, and put to death as an outcast and an unworthy representative of the righteous will of the people.
A President should, by proper provisions made by the State, be removed from all pecuniary obligations and desires of a material nature. He should be voted a salary and other accommodations so large and sufficient as to make it reasonably impossible for him, or those dependent upon him, to desire more during his administration. He and his family should be permanently and substantially provided for after the close of his administration, and all this and possibly more should be done for the purpose of removing him from the slightest possible material temptations or want. He, in turn, should devote his entire time to the sovereign needs and desires of the people. He should, for all the period of his administration, remove himself from obligatory, direct and fraternal contact with any and all special friends. His only friends outside of his immediate family should be the State. He should exact by law from all his responsible and administrative appointees a similar obligation, and he should enforce the law by penalty of death.
His administrators and judges should be held to strict accountability, and on the committing of any act of injustice, unfairness, favoritism or malfeasance, should be taken before the public, disgraced and then stoned to death.
This system would tend to attract to the sacred function of Government and judicial administration, only men and women of the highest and best characters, whom the public would learn to honor and respect with such satisfaction as to obliterate and prevent the factional party fights of Socialism, Communism, Anarchism, etc., for the control of Government, because of the belief that Government is controlled in the interest of classes, and not for the good of all the people. It would also discourage the self-seekers, grafters, demagogues and charlatans from seeking public offices, as the penalty of discovery of crime would be public disgrace and death for them and their families.
The State should hold the wife of a President, and the wives of all administrative officials, solely responsible for their domestic households, and they should be required by law to keep a strict and accurate public account of all receipts and disbursements of their husbands during their administrative terms, and if any revenue comes into the household other than provided by law, should be promptly reported to the responsible officer of the State for immediate action, and should the wife conceal or refuse to make such a disclosure, and that it be discovered afterwards, and it was an act of crime against the dignity and high office of the incumbent, she and her husband should be publicly disgraced and put to death, but any child or member of the family who, before discovery, reports the act, should be spared the disgrace and publicly honored by the populace for performing a duty to the State.
The State should require that the husband and his consort under the severest penalty for non-performance, report the full amount of his entire wealth to the State before taking office, and that all incomes and salaries legally authorized be reported promptly to the wife to enable her to keep a proper public account.
Whenever a President or high official during his term has performed solemnly and truly all his duties to the people and State, and he is about to retire, he should be publicly proclaimed and honored by the populace, and all during his life he and his family should occupy a special place of honor and respect among the people. They should be respected by all with whom they come in contact, and at death they should be granted public funerals and their names added to the niche in the Hall of Fame of the Nation. Their names should be placed on the Honor Roll of the Nation, and their deeds of righteousness should be handed down to the succeeding generations of the race, and their memories sung by the poets of the nation.
For those who have abused their trust, images of them should be made and placed in a national hall of criminology and ill fame, and their crimes should be recited and a curse pronounced upon them and their generations.
Government left to the free and wanton will and caprice of the individual in an age so corrupt as this, without any vital reprimand or punishment for malfeasance, other than ordinary imprisonment, will continue to produce dissatisfaction, cause counter agitations of a dangerous nature and upheavals destructive to the good of society and baneful to the-higher hopes and desires of the human race.
This plan I offer to the race as a means to which we may perfect the establishment of a new system of Government, conducive to the best interest of the people and a blessing to our disorganized society of the twentieth century.
Printed in Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey, edited by Amy Jacques Garvey, vol. 2 (December 1925). Written by Marcus Garvey in Atlanta Federal Penitentiary.
Intelligence, Education, Universal Knowledge and How to Get It
You must never stop learning. The world’s greatest men and women were people who educated themselves outside of the university with all the knowledge that the university gives, as [and?] you have the opportunity of doing the same thing the university student does—read and study.
One must never stop reading. Read everything that you can that is of standard knowledge. Don’t waste time reading trashy literature. That is to say, don’t pay any attention to the ten cents novels, wild west stories and cheap sentimental books, but where there is a good plot and a good story in the form of a novel, read it. It is necessary to read it for the purpose of getting information on human nature. The idea is that personal experience is not enough for a human to get all the useful knowledge of life, because the individual life is too short, so we must feed on the experience of others. The literature we read should include the biography and autobiography of men and women who have accomplished greatness in their particular line. Whenever you can buy these books and own them and whilst you are reading them make pencil or pen notes of the striking sentences and paragraphs that you should like to remember, so that when you have to refer to the book for any thought that you would like to refresh your mind on, you will not have to read over the whole book.
You should also read the best poetry for inspiration. The standard poets have always been the most inspirational creators. From a good line of poetry, you may get the inspiration for the career of a life time. Many a great man and woman was first inspired by some attractive line or verse of poetry.
There are good poets and bad poets just like there are good novels and bad novels. Always select the best poets for your inspirational urge.
Read history incessantly until you master it. This means your own national history, the history of the world—social history, industrial history, and the history of the different sciences; but primarily the history of man. If you do not know what went on before you came here and what is happening at the time you live, but away from you, you will not know the world and will be ignorant of the world and mankind.
You can only make the best out of life by knowing and understanding it. To know, you must fall back on the intelligence of others who came before you and have left their records behi[n]d.
To be able to read intelligently, you must first be able to master the language of your country. To do this, you must be well acquainted with its grammar and the science of it. Every six months you should read over again the science of the language that you speak, so as not to forget its rules. People judge you by your writing and your speech. If you write badly and incorrectly they become prejudiced toward your intelligence, and if you speak badly and incorrectly those who hear you become disgusted and will not pay much attention to you but in their hearts laugh after you. A leader who is to teach men and present any fact of truth to man must first be learned in his subject.
Never write or speak on a subject you know nothing about, for there is always somebody who knows that particular subject to laugh at you or to ask you embarras[s]ing questions that may make others laugh at you. You can know about any subject under the sun by reading about it. If you cannot bu[y] the books outright and own them, go to your public libraries and read them there or borrow them, or join some circulating library in your district or town, so as to get the use of these books. You should do that as you may refer to them for information.
You should read at least four hours a day. The best time to read is in the evening after you have retired from your work and after you have rested and before sleeping hours but do so before morning, so that during your sleeping hours what you have read may become subconscious, that is to say, planted in your memory. Never go to bed without doing some reading[.]
Never keep the constant company of anybody who doesn’t know as much as you or [isn’t] as educated as you, and from whom you cannot learn something or reciprocate your learning, especially if that person is illiterate or ignorant because constant association with such a person will unconsciously cause you to drift into the peculiar culture or ignorance of that person. Always try to associate with people from whom you can learn something. Contact with cultured persons and with books is the best companionship you can have and keep.
By reading good books you keep the company of the authors of the book or the subjects of the book when otherwise you could not meet them in the social contact of life. NEVER GO DOWN IN INTELLIGENCE to those who are below you, but if possible help to lift them up to you and always try to ascend to those who are above you and be their equal with the hope of being their master.
Continue always in the application of the thing you desire educationally, culturally, or otherwise, and never give up until you reach the objective—and you can reach the objective if other[s] have done so before you, proving by their doing it that it is possible.
In your desire to accomplish greatness, you must first decide in your own mind in what direction you desire to seek that greatness, and when you have so decided in your own mind[,] work unceas[i]ngly toward it. The particular thing that you may want should be before you all the time, and whatsoever it takes to get it or make it possible should be undertaken. Use your faculties and persuasion to achieve all you set your mind on.
Try never to repeat yourself in any one discourse in saying the same thing over and over except [when] you are making new points, because repetition is tiresome and it annoys those who hear the repetition. Therefore, try to possess as much universal knowledge as possible through reading so as to be able to be free of repetition in trying to drive home a point.
No one is ever too old to learn. Therefore, you should take advantage of every educational facility. If you should hear of a great man or woman who is to lecture or speak in your town on any given subject and the person is an authority on the subject, always make time to go and hear him. This is what is meant by learning from others. You should learn the two sides to every story, so as to be able to properly debate a question and hold your grounds with the side that you support. If you only know one side of a story, you cannot argue intelligently nor effectively. As for instance, to combat communism, you must know about it, otherwise people will take advantage of you and win a victory over your ignorance.
Anything that you are going to challenge, you must first know about it, so as to be able to defeat it. The moment you are ignorant about anything the person who has the intelligence of that thing will defeat you. Therefore, get knowledge, get it quickly, get it studiously, but get it anyway.
Knowledge is power. When you know a thing and can hold your ground on that thing and win over your opponents on that thing, those who hear you learn to have confidence in you and will trust your ability.
Never, therefore, attempt anything without being able to protect yourself on it, for every time you are defeated it takes away from your prestige and you are not as respected as before.
All the knowledge you want is in the world, and all that you have to do is to go seeking it and never stop until you have found it. You can find knowledge or the information about it in the public libraries, if it is not on your own bookshelf. Try to have a book and own it on every bit of knowledge you want. You may generally get these books at second hand book stores for sometimes one-fifth of the original value.
Always have a well equipped shelf of books. Nearly all information about mankind is to be found in the Encyclopedia Britannica. This is an expensive set of books, but try to get them. Buy a complete edition for yourself, and keep it at your home, and whenever you are in doubt about anything, go to it and you will find it there.
The value of knowledge is to use it. It is not humanly possible that a person can retain all knowledge of the world, but if a person knows how to search for all the knowledge of the world, he will find it when he wants it.
A doctor or a lawyer although he passed his examination in college does not know all the laws and does not know all the techniques of medicine but he has the fundamental knowledge. When he wants a particular kind of knowledge, he goes to the medical books or law books and refers to the particular law or how to use the recipe of medicine. You must, therefore, know where to find your facts and use them as you want them. No one will know where you got them, but you will have the facts and by using the facts correctly they will think you a wonderful person, a great gen[iu]s, and a trusted leader.
In reading it is not necessary or compulsory that you agree with everything you read. You must always use or apply your own reasoning to what you have read based upon what you already know as touching the facts on what you have read. Pass judgement on what you read based upon these facts. When I say facts I mean things that cannot be disputed. You may read thoughts that are old, and opinions that are old and have changed since they were written. You must always search to find out the latest facts on that p[a]rticular subject and only when these facts are consistently maintained in what you read should you agree with them, otherwise you are entitled to your own opinion.
Always have up-to-date knowledge. You can gather this from the latest books and the latest periodicals, journals and newspapers. Read your daily newspaper everyday. Read a standard monthly journal every month, a standard weekly magazine every week, a standard quarterly magazine every quarter and by this you will find the new knowledge of the whole year in addition to the books you read, whose facts have not altered in that year. Don’t keep old ideas, bury them as new ones come.
How to Read
Use every spare minute you have in reading. If you are going on a journey that would take you an hour carry something with you to read for that hour until you have reached the place. If you are sitting down waiting for somebody, have something in your pocket to read until the person comes. Don’t waste time. Any time you think you have to waste put it in reading something. Carry with you a small pocket dictionary and study words whilst waiting or travelling, or a small pocket volume on some particular subject. Read through at least one book every week separate and distinct from your newspapers and journals. It will mean that at the end of one year you will have read fifty-two different subjects. After five years you will have read over two hundred and fifty books. You may be considered then a well read man or a well read woman and there will be a great difference between you and the person who has not read one book. You will be considered intelligent and the other person be considered ignorant. You and that person therefore will be living in two different worlds; one the world of ignorance and the other the world of intelligence. Never forget that intelligence rules the world and ignorance carries the burden. Therefore, remove yourself as far as possible from ignorance and seek as far as possible to be intelligent.
Your language being English you should study the English language thoroughly. To know the English language thoroughly you ought to be acquainted with Latin, because most of the English words are of Latin origin. It is also advisable that you know the French language because most of the books that you read in English carry Latin and French phrases and words. There is no use reading a page or paragraph of a book or even a sentence without understanding it.
If it has foreign words in it, before you pass over [them] you should go to the dictionary, if you don’t know the meaning and find out the meanin[g]. Never pass over a word without knowing its meaning. The dictionary and the books on word building which can be secured from book sellers will help you greatly.
I know a boy who was ambitious to learn. He hadn’t the opportunity of an early school education because he had to work ten hours a day, but he determined that he would learn and so he took with him to his work place every day a simplified grammar and he would read and me[m]orize passages and the rules of grammar whilst at work.
After one year he was almost an expert in the grammar of his language. He knew the differen[t] parts of speech, he could paraphrase, analyse and construct sentences. He also took with him a pocket dictionary and he would write out twenty-five new words with their meanings every day and study these words and their mords [forms?] and their meaning. After one year he had a speaking vocabulary of more than three thousand words. He continued this for several years and when he became a man he had a vocabulary at his command of over fifteen thousand words. He became an author because he could write in his language by having command of words. What he wrote was his experiences and he recorded his experiences in the best words of his language. He was not able to write properly at the same age and so he took with him to work what is called in school a copying book and he practised the copying of letters until he was able to write a very good hand. He naturally became acquainted with literature and so he continued reading extensively. When he died he was one of the greatest scholars the world ever knew. Apply the story to yourself.
There is nothing in the world that you want that you cannot have so long as it is possible in nature and men have achieved it before. The greatest men and women in the world burn the midnight lamp. That is to say, when their neighbours and household are gone to bed, they are reading, studying and thinking. When they rise in the morning they are always ahead of their neighbours and their household in the thing that they were studying[,] reading and thinking of. A daily repetition of that will carry them daily ahead and above their neighbours and household. Practise this rule. It is wise to study a couple of subjects at a time. As for instance—a little geography, a little psychology, a little ethics, a little theology, a little philosophy, a little mathematics, a little science on which a sound academic education is built. Doing this week after week, month after month, year after year will make you so learned in the liberal arts as to make you ready and fit for your place in the affairs of the world. If you know what others do not know, they will want to hear you. You will then become invaluable in your community and to your country, because men and women will want to hear you and see you everywhere.
As stated before, books are one’s best companions. Try to get the[m] and keep them. A method of doing so is every time you have ten cents or twenty five cents or a dollar to spend foolishly[,] either on your friends or yourself [,] think how much more useful that ten or twenty five cents or dollar would be invested in a book and so invest it. It may be just the thing you have been looking for to give you a thought by which you may win the heart of the world. The ten cent, twenty five cent or a dollar, therefore, may turn out to be an investment of worth to the extent of a million dollars. Never lend anybody the book that you want. You will never get it back. Never allow anybody to go to your bookshelf in your absence because the very book that you may want most may be taken from the shelf and you may never be able to get one of the kind again.
If you have a library of your own, lock it when you are not at home. Spend most of your spare time in your library. If you have a radio keep it in your own library and use it exhaustively to listen to lectures, recitals, speeches and good music. You can learn a lot from the radio. You can be inspired a lot by good music [lines repeated]. Good music carries the sentiment of harmony and you may think many a good thought out of listening to good music.
Read a chapter from the Bible everyday, Old and New Testaments. The greatest wisdom of the age is to be found in the Scriptures. You can always quote from the Scriptures. It is the quickest way of winning approval.
Tragedy of White Injustice
1. Read and study thoroughly the poe[m] “Tragedy of White Injustice” and apply its sentiment and statements in connection with the historic character and behaviour of the white man. Know it so well as always to be able to be on guard against any professions of the white man in his suggested friendship for the Negro.
The poem exposes the white man’s behaviour in history and is intended to suggest distrust of him in every phase of life. Never allow it to get into the hands of a white man i[f] possible.
2. You can imp[ro]ve your English as you go along by reading critically the books of the language; that is to say, you must pay close attention to the construction of sentences and paragraphs as you see them in the books you read. Imitate the style.
Read with observation. Never read carelessly and recklessly.
3. In reading books written by white authors of whatsoever kind, be aware of the fact that they are [not] written for your particular benefit or for the benefit of your race. They always write from their own point of view and only in the interest of their own race.
Never swallow wholly what the white man writes or says without first critically analyzing it and investigating it. The white man’s trick is to deceive other people for his own benefit and profit.
Always be on your guard against him with whatsoever he does or says. Never take chances with him. His school books in the elementary schools, in the high schools, in the colleges and universities are all fixed up to suit his own purposes, to put him on top and keep him on top of other people. Don’t trust him. Beware! Beware!
You should study carefully the subject of ethnology. It is the subject that causes races to know the difference between one race and another.
Ethnic relationship is important as it reveals the characteristic of one people as different from another. There is no doubt that each race has different habits and manners of behaviour. You must know them so as to be able to deal with them. There are books on this subject in the library. In your reading and searching for truth always try to get that which is particularly helpful to the Negro. Every thought that strikes you, see how it fits in with the Negro, and to what extent you can use it to his benefit or in his behalf. Your entire obsession must be to see things from the Negro’s point of view, remembering always that you are a Negro striving for Negro supremacy in every department of life, so that any truth you see or any facts you gather must be twisted to suit the Negro psychology of things.
The educational system of today hides the truth as far as the Negro is concerned. Therefore, you must searchingly scan everything you read[,] particularly history, to see what you can pick out for the good of the race. As for instance, you will read that the Egyptians were a great people, the Carthagenians, the Libyans, etc., but you will not be told that they were black people or Negroes. You should, therefore, go beyond the mere statement of these events to discover the truth that will be creditable to your race. You would, therefore, in a case like that ask where did the Libyans get their civilization from or the Carthagenians or the Egyptians.
Following that kind of an investigation you will come upon the truth that it was all original[ly] Negro and subsequently bec[a]me Negroid. That is to say, subsequent people were mixed with other people’s blood, who were no doubt conquered by the Negro. As a fact, the original Egyptians were black men and women, and so the Carthagenians and Libyans, but in the later centuries they became mixed in blood, just as how [now?] the blacks are being mixed in America and the West Indies by the infusion of white blood through the domination of the white man.
Never yield to any statement in history or made by any individual[,] caring not how great, that the Negro was nobody in history. Even if you cannot prove it always claim that the Negro was great. Read everything you can get written by Negroes and their ancestry, going back six thousand years. There are statements in the Bible in the Old and New Testaments to show that black was always an important colour among the races of men. Abraham had company with a black woman, even though he had his wife Sarah, by whom he had Ishmael.
All the original Pharaohs were black. Tutankumen, whose bones and body were dug up not very long ago at Luxor in Egypt, was a black Pharaoh. The sphinx, in Egypt which has stood through the millenniums, has black features. It is evident that as art it was portrayed to teach us of the greatness of men. When you are dealing with Jews let them know that they were once your slaves in Egypt if you have to say so. There is good ground to say that civilization started in Africa and passed from and through Northern Africa into Southern Europe, from which the Greeks and Romans and the People of Asia Minor made good copies. The swarthy colour of the Asiatics and the brunette colour of the South Europeans were due to the fact that the cultured and civilized blacks of Africa mixed their blood with them. Search all history and all literature and the Bible and find facts to support this argument but hold to it with a grip that will never loosen. Things that may not be true can be made if you repeat them long and often enough, therefore, always repeat statements that will give your race a status and an advantage. That is how the white man has built up his system of superiority. He is always telling you he is superior and he has written history and literature to prove it. You must do the same. One of the great backgrounds for your argument which cannot be disputed is that you are older than any other man as a race because you are black. Your argument is that in nature everything by way of age darkens. That you are darker than the rest of men, proves logically, that you are older than the rest of men. Another proof of that is that even among white people they grow darker in skin as they grow older in age in a lifetime.
If the one individual were to live for six thousand years he would surely be not white. If he were born white he would be as dark as the darkest man. Therefore, the old argument that the black man is black because as man he is older than the other man is good. Use it everywhere you go to defeat the white man in his belief that you sprung from something else. Use the argument that the white man is white because most of the time when the black man was great in Africa and had succeeded in running him across the Mediterranean into South Europe he had to hide himself in caves where there was very little light and air. He was almost covered up for most of the time in darkness. In natural creation the child in the womb of the mother is almost white even though it be a black child and it is almost born white and doesn’t change colour until it comes in contact with light and air.
Living in caves for so many centuries the white man, therefore, became colourless and the length of time always made it so that he was born naturally white. You must interpret anthropology to suit yourself. The thing for you to do is to refute every pertinent statement of the white man which tends to degrade you and to elevate him. Turn the tables on him and search for all reasons in the world you can find to justify it. That is how new thoughts are given out by creation. Never yield to the statement of your inferiority.
In reading Christian literature and accepting the doctrine of Jesus Christ lay special claim to your association with Jesus and the Son of God. Show that whilst the white and yellow worlds, that is to say—the worlds of Europe and Asia Minor persecuted and crucified Jesus the Son of God, it was the black race through Simon the black C[y]renian who befriended the Son of God and took up the Cross and bore it alongside of Him up to the heights of Calv[a]ry. The Roman Catholics, therefore, have no rightful claim to the Cross nor is any other professing Christian before the Negro. The Cross is the property of the Negro in his religion, because it was he who bore it.
Never admit that Jesus Christ was a white man, otherwise he could not be the Son of God and God to redeem all mankind. Jesus Christ had the blood of all races in his veins, and tracing the Jewish race back to Abraham and to Moses, from which Jesus sprang through the line of Jesse, you will find Negro blood everywhere, so Jesus had much of Negro blood in him.
Read the genealogical tree of Jesus in the Bible and you will learn from where he sprang. It is a fact that the white man has borrowed his civilization from other peoples. The first civilization was the Negro’s—black people. The second civilization was the brown people—Indians, the third civilization was the yellow people, Chinese or Mongols; the last civilization up to today is the white man and all civilization goes back to the black man in the Nile Valley of Africa. In your reading, therefore, search for all these facts. Never stop reading and never stop until you find the proof of them.
You must pay great attention to sociology. Get the best books on the subject that you can and read them thoroughly. Find out the social relationship among other races so [t]hat you may know how to advise your people in their social behaviour. Never admit that the Negro is more immoral than the white man but try to prove to the contrary. Socially the white man has debauched and debased all other races because of his dominant power. He is responsible for more illegitimacy among races than any other race. He has left bastard children everywhere he has been, therefore, he is not competent to say that he is socially and morally purer than any other race.
The mixed population among Neg[roe]s from slavery to the present in certain countries is due to [t]he white man’s immorality. Therefore, if you should hear anyone talking about moral depravity of Negroes and the moral excellence of the whites, draw the above facts to their attention.
When through reading and research you have discovered any new fact helpful to the dignity and prestige, character and accomplishment of the Negro, always make a noise about it. You should keep always with you a note book and fountain pen or indelible pencil and make a note in that book of anything you hear or see that you would like to remember. Keep always at home a larger note book to which you must transfer the thought or experience, so that it will not be lost to your memory. Once at least every three months read over that book and as the book becomes more voluminous with facts, read it over at least once a year.
By the constant reading of these facts they will be planted on your subconscious mind and you will be able to use them without even knowing that you are doing so. By keeping your facts registered and your very important experiences, at the end of a full life you may have a volume of great value such as Elbert Hubbard’s Scrap Book. Get a copy of this Scrap Book. Ask any publisher in your town to get it for you. It contains invaluable inspiration. Always have a thought. Make it always a beautiful thought. The world is attracted by beauty either in art or in expression. Therefore, try to read, think and speak beautiful things.
Out of the night that covers me, Black as the Pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever Gods may be For my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud, Under the bludgeoning of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed. Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the horror of the Shade, And yet the menace of the years Finds, and shall find, me unafraid. It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.
“INVICTUS” BY W. E. HENLEY
Copyright © 1995-2013 The Marcus Garvey and UNIA Papers Project, UCLA