The Negros Greatest Enemy

Published: 2021-06-30
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Carnegie Mellon University
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Who is the negros greatest enemy, according to Marcus Garvey? Explain the circumstances that Garvey argues have allowed this to be the case, using at least 3 of his writings/speeches as support.

The Negros Greatest Enemy is arguably Marcus Garveys most detailed autobiography, published in September 1923. Marcus Garvey wrote this story centered on his life while awaiting his plea of appeal at the New York Tombs Prison. The main content and enlightenment shed by this reveal was the Negro his greatest enemy "Having had the wrong education at the start of his racial career, the negro is his greatest enemy (Garvey 39). Garvey argues out that in the black mans struggle against discrimination based on skin color, and in the pursuit of the best interests of the black community the interests of the individual black man sadly came before the general benefit of the whole community.

In the Negros Greatest Enemy, Marcus Garvey mentioned The Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) the organization he founded to "champion the interests of the black community." Marcus Garvey founded the UNIA on July 20, 1914, in Jamaica. Almost two full years would pass before the UNIA movement took root among the black community. When Marcus Garvey visited Harlem, New York City in 1916 and his ideas and fight for the blacks was liked and adopted by the large urban black community of the Northern states of the United States starting from urban neighborhoods in New York (Ashcroft 47).

The UNIA was a Pan-African society but more than that it had unique and very specific objectives. The UNIA interests in seeking the recognition of the blacks to be treated equally as the whites and establishment of self-sustainability and economic empowerment among the black folk were something that almost all the other groups and organizations dedicated to black interests and racial equality were seeking. However, Marcus Garvey and the UNIA wanted "a separation of the races"- specifically the establishment of a black state in Africa We believe that the black people should have a country of their own where they should be given the fullest opportunity to develop politically, socially and industrially (Garvey 39). In 1920, 25,000 Negroes from all over the world elected Marcus Garvey as their provisional president of the "Empire of Africa." Upon this happening, the attention of other black movement associations was peaked The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Marcus Garvey was one very different individual. He wanted blacks to be treated equally as whites by society yet he supported the idea of the Klu Klux Klan the North American white supremacy sect. He also wanted separation of the races; he viewed the notion of blacks and whites living harmoniously as the black man supplicating the white man- in essence, a show that the black man was the white man. Such beliefs put him at odds with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and a personal war with one other Pan African one W.E.B. Du Bois.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was founded in 1909, five years before Marcus Garveys UNIA and of the sixty founding members only seven were Negroes. Marcus Garvey never believed that the NAACP was truly after black interests. In fact, concerning his four-year prison spell Marcus Garvey blamed the NAACP and Du Bois for having orchestrated the whole mail fraud fiasco (Shepard 63). The NAACP wanted the blacks and the whites and other races to live harmoniously in the United States of America. Garvey was against this mixing of the races- miscegenation. He even met with the Ku Klux Klan to plan on creating two countries, a separate White America and an independent black America. His efforts and ambition ultimately led to his deportation from the United States.

In conclusion, Marcus Garvey may have been his worst enemy. Clashing with the NAACP certainly delayed the black cause which would come decades later in the 1960s with Martin LutherKing, Jr. When Garvey was writing "The Negro's Greatest Enemy" he envisaged himself as the hero among his people. To this day people remain divided concerning Marcus Garvey. He did not recognize colored people as true blacks, saying they were subservient to the whites. Was he after personal glorification to be the Black Moses? Martin Luther King Jr. when he visited Marcus Garveys grave in Jamaica in 1965 hailed him as the first black liberator the first man of color to lead and develop a mass movement. He was the first man on a mass scale and level to give millions of Negroes a sense of dignity and destiny. And make the Negro feel he was somebody.

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