Contributions Of Marcus Garvey And Malcolm X History Essay

It has been widely acclaimed that bondage has been one of the cruellest patterns in American history and when it was abolished and inkinesss had been emancipated, they had expected to hold the same aspirations of fellow Whites of “ life, autonomy and the chase of felicity ” . However, segregation and particularly the Jim Crow Torahs that followed countered their outlooks. As decennaries passed by, many inkinesss organised themselves into groups to derive themselves their freedom that was promised to them by President Lincoln. There were two chief strands that black groups went: the integrationist motion which followed peaceable methods and protests under the leading of persons such as Brooker T. Washington and Martin Luther King but besides the separationist motion which condoned force in reaction to white force and was led by persons such as Marcus Garvey and Malcolm X. The latter besides favoured Black Nationalism as they wanted a separate state either within the USA or in Africa. This essay will look at the separationist point of view and measure the significance of two chief leaders Marcus Garvey and Malcolm X.

In many ways the separationist motion started to derive impulse with the reaching of Marcus Garvey. Garvey who was born in Jamaica in 1887, founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association in 1914 and immigrated to America in 1916. Garvey believed that Africa was the religious place of all inkinesss and promoted a Pan-African doctrine. He argued for inkinesss to return to their “ homeland ” Africa and this was at the Centre of the UNIA ‘s entreaty but one can oppugn whether the UNIA saw this as a realistic solution. However, he repeatedly stated the demand in unifying all inkinesss into “ one expansive racial hierarchy ” and sought economic, societal and political freedom for inkinesss by constructing a community entirely for them. He saw the demand for closer ties with an independent Africa as he believed that this would ensue in African-Americans holding the same international protection and regard as other immigrants such as Italians.

While Garvey clearly failed in unifying all inkinesss let entirely in America, Professor C. Eric Lincoln credits Garvey ‘s success in Harlem by saying that he was the lone black who “ has successfully mobilised the multitudes of America ‘s most thickly settled… .black ghetto ” .[ 1 ]While clearly recommending black segregation, Garvey retained credibleness by saying the demand for Black equality and non high quality and besides saying that he held no bitterness towards whites. There is an statement that UNIA members were more flexible than the bulk of the white community who favoured some signifier of white high quality. Racial equality has remained cardinal to the civil rights cause and was even espoused by Malcolm X peculiarly during the latter old ages of his life. Garvey carried out his doctrine through publication. He set up the Negro World Publications in 1918 which rapidly gained a circulation in surplus of 200,000 readers.[ 2 ]This was the extremum of Garvey ‘s influence.

Today Garvey is strongly associated with Black Nationalism. Although Garvey did non invent Black Nationalism within America, he was the first African American to make a mass motion. There is argument about how many members was portion of the UNIA runing from 80,000 to Garvey ‘s fantasy claim of 8 million members[ 3 ]. However, there is small uncertainty that Garvey influenced 1000000s of Blacks. Garvey gave Black Americans individuality and besides hope by claiming that they had proud yesteryear and will hold a strong hereafter.

One of the strengths of the UNIA was that it was mostly run by working category members. However, the UNIA was more believable and respectable than other urban black groups as they besides attracted a figure of successful professionals such as man of affairs, attorneies, politicians and curates. A figure of adult females besides had high profile functions such as Garvey ‘s first married woman Amy Ashwood who helped establish the UNIA and Charlotta Bass who headed the UNIA in California. These strengths of the UNIA contrasted to a great extent with the NAACP which was largely run by center to upper category mixed or black intellectuals. The inclusionary signifier of the UNIA made it one of the few Black groups endeavoring for equality that was made up of working category every bit good as female members. Therefore, the UNIA gave a big figure of inkinesss an chance to take part in the battle for equality. Furthermore unlike the NAACP who gained big financess from white emancipationists, and was wholly financed by black people. These characteristics enabled the UNIA to be far more successful than the NAACP in earning racial pride. Garvey was besides critical of other black leaders such as Booker T Washington who he accused of back uping Whites. These characteristics all contributed to the UNIA being the most powerful black rights group.

Garvey ‘s ambitious programs for racial equality finally failed and the significance of Garvey dramatically decreased by 1922. The Black Star Line was belly-up and the prostration of Garvey ‘s flagship programme damaged his position and credibleness ; the motion of inkinesss “ back place ” to Liberia had clearly failed and Garvey had been charged for fraud. Garvey ‘s tone became more extremist and controversial as he fought exile. He wanted complete segregation of races. One can oppugn whether Garvey changed his stance to go more accommodative to racist Whites and therefore better his opportunities to stay in America. Garvey ‘s call for complete segregation fitted in with the stance of white supremacist groups such as the White American Society and the Anglo-Saxon Club. Whatever his grounds for this move, his stance was mostly opposed by inkinesss. There was widespread understanding that Garvey ‘s plan of segregation undermined attempts for black equality. It was during this clip that Garvey bizarrely held negotiations with main Klansman Edward Clarke.


However, Garvey had a figure of critics during his life-time with the most outstanding being the NAACP laminitis W.E.B. Du Bois who labelled Garvey as “ the most unsafe ” enemy towards inkinesss. Garvey was frequently mocked for his narcissistic nature. Garvey portrayed himself as the Provisional President of Africa1. Du Bois was critical of Garvey ‘s extremist ideas and argued that they would make a white recoil and therefore sabotage their overall end of equality. Garvey has besides been criticised for making divisions and ill will between African-Americans. Many critics argue that Garvey was basically a racialist. Garvey termed the phrase that was most deeply used decennaries subsequently by Malcolm X, “ White Devils ” . However, Garveyites would rebut this statement by reasoning that he largely stuck to chauvinistic and non racist tones. During the waning period of his popularity, Garvey instead bizarrely had close dealingss with members of the white supremacist group, the Ku Klux Klan. This caused farther bitterness and the NAACP argued that Garvey was a treasonist to his race. Like many other black leaders of his clip, there has been a intuition of his political orientation. He has besides been accused of being a con creative person and stealing big amount of money from hapless working category inkinesss through his concerns such as the Black Star Line.

He has been to a great extent criticised for hapless organizational and leading accomplishments. Garvey was frequently tricked into paying every bit much as… times as much for ships for the Black Star line.


Therefore, Garvey is clearly a extremist and extremely controversial figure but few can deny his influence. He has been credited with supplying way to working category urban inkinesss. His importance was clear in the 1910s and 1920s and this could be seen with the diminution and atomization of the UNIA after his exile. This resulted in Black Nationalism discontinuing to be a mass motion by the thirtiess. Following Garvey, there was a deficiency of effectual representation for urban inkinesss until the outgrowth of Malcolm X in the fiftiess. Martin Luther King who reasonably much ran counter to Garvey ‘s belief said that Garvey “ was the first adult male on a mass graduated table and degree to give 1000000s of Negroes a sense of self-respect and fate. And do the Negroes experience he was person ” .

One individual Garvey had a great influence on was Malcolm Little who subsequently changed his slave family name to Malcolm X. In many ways, Garvey ‘s bequest today was puting the seeds for the breakaway motion to quickly turn in the 1950s and 1960s with the State of Islam but particularly Malcolm X. Malcolm Little who was born in 1925 was indoctrinated with Garveyism from a immature age as his parents Earl and Louis Little often attended Garvey mass meetings. However, Little was a junior-grade stealer until he reformed his ways in prison and joined the State of Islam in 1952 and rapidly rose to go one of its chief leaders. Apart from its spiritual intensions, the doctrine of the Nation of Islam was similar to that of the UNIA as the Nation believed in segregation from Whites and argued that Africa was their fatherland and finally inkinesss should return to Africa. Therefore he followed Pan-Africanism They besides stressed the demand for black self-defence and ego -reliance. Malcolm X rejected the integrationists ‘ tactics of non-violence and insisted that inkinesss could and should utilize force to protect themselves.

During his twelve old ages in the State of Islam, Malcolm X ‘s public beliefs were in line with the State of Islam and its august leader Elijah Muhammad. However, it is deserving observing that Malcolm X talking on behalf of the Nation of Islam was much more provocative and racialist than the UNIA and Garvey. The racial positions of the Nation of Islam shocked many Whites every bit good as black Americans. Malcolm X invariably argued that inkinesss were superior to white and until 1964, followed the State of Islam ‘s instruction that Whites were the creative activity of an evil scientist. However, his message was popular for many immature urban inkinesss and he has been credited with the rapid growing of the Nation of Islam from 500 in 1952 to 52,000 in 1963. The rise of the Nation of Islam and Malcolm X gave inkinesss a sense of pride and individuality which had been absent since the exile of Marcus Garvey and the death of the UNIA.

Malcolm ‘s statements changed from being a courier to Elijah Muhammad to being more focused on the Civil Rights battle. Malcolm ‘s sadness with the inaction of the Nation of Islam during the Birmingham protest is one such illustration. He had clearly changed from spiritual to chauvinistic talk. This along with Elijah ‘s Muhammad ‘s unfaithfulness and Malcolm being frozen out after his disapprobation of Kennedy following his blackwash led to Malcolm go forthing the State of Islam in 1964. There is a blunt alteration of Malcolm X ‘s doctrine after his split from the State of Islam He visited Africa in 1964 and his meetings with white Muslims dramatically changed his point of view. He announced sorrow for his negative position of all Whites. He set up a Black Nationalist organisation and said that he was now willing to work with other civil rights leaders. Furthermore, Malcolm was willing to work with white Americans who promoted the cause for racial equality and he wanted his group, the Organisation of Afro-American to travel worldwide so he could globalize the battle for all African people. However, C. Eric Lincoln remains doubting of Malcolm X ‘s programs and argues that “ Those who saw in the returned pilgrim to Mecca a “ new ” Malcolm X were at best likely premature in their opinions. ”

While King ‘s audience frequently focused on the in-between category inkinesss every bit good as sympathetic Whites, Malcolm X ‘s audience frequently focused on hapless working category urban inkinesss who were frequently immature and felt disillusioned with society and in peculiar the gait of reforms during the Civil Rights period. In many ways, Malcolm ‘s followings were posterities of Garvey ‘s motions in metropoliss such as Harlem. Like Garvey, Malcolm had the character but besides the personal appeal to lure these African americans into the State of Islam. This can be best seen in Harlem where although Elijah Muhammad was the leader of the Nation of Islam, his courier Malcolm X was efficaciously the leader for the urban inkinesss at that place. In metropoliss like Harlem where many Blacks rejected Martin Luther King ‘s doctrine of non-violence, Malcolm X was seen as a liberator and Garvey ‘s replacement. Like Garvey, Malcolm set up a black newspaper called Muhammad Speaks which carried Elijah Muhammad ‘s message.

However, similar to Garvey, Malcolm X was a extremely controversial figure who had a figure of critics that accused him and the State of Islam of being segregators, hatred traders, seeking and speech production of force and impeding the success of the Civil Rights motion. The so Supreme Court justness and first Afro-american on the bench Thurgood Marshall stated that the Nation of Islam were “ run by a clump of criminals ” and discredit Malcolm X ‘s accomplishment. Some who criticised Malcolm frequently focused to a great extent on his yesteryear of drug pickings and larceny and argued that he made no positive part to society. He has been accused of seting his ain personal safety in front of the racial battle. While King played a cardinal function in the Birmingham protest of 1963, Malcolm resided in the safer country of Harlem. Few would impeach Malcolm of this in the last twelvemonth of his life. He continued his mass meetings despite changeless decease menaces from the State of Islam both to himself and to his immature household and like Martin Luther King ; Malcolm finally lost his life for his cause. However, although many inkinesss particularly from the middle-class were to a great extent critical of his methods, they credited him with reforming his ain ways. Therefore, Malcolm ‘s doctrine during his clip with the State of Islam which although did n’t straight promote force but alternatively espoused force was accepted by inkinesss in ghettoes who have n’t received the benefits of the civil rights reform but his message was mostly rejected by in-between category inkinesss.

It is difficult to judge Malcolm X to the full as he was assassinated really shortly after abjuring his racialist positions. However, there has been a great trade of analysis. His protagonists argue that Malcolm ne’er promoted force even during his clip with the State of Islam. They argue that he was frequently associated with Black force that he rejected and his positive influence could be seen by those meeting him. The outstanding Black American politician Jesse Jackson references that “ As I reflect on the life of Malcolm X 40 old ages after his blackwash, I do so with a acute apprehension of the political, societal and economic conditions in America. ” This is clearly a valid point as non taking his statements into historical context, Malcolm appears a racialist force searcher but many urban inkinesss who were populating in bedraggled ghettoes in the 1950s and 1960s clearly did n’t see him this manner.

However, one must oppugn how successful Malcolm X was as he spent the bulk of his working life adopting a violent, racialist policy that he himself subsequently regretted. However, possibly his greatest part can be similar to that of Marcus Garvey of giving hope and individuality to 100s of African-Americans. Ironically, others argue that his greatest accomplishment may hold been to supply a counter-weight to Martin Luther King. After his interruption from the State of Islam, Malcolm claimed that he put his extremist place and violent doctrine in order to do King ‘s extremist ideas and demand for racial equality more acceptable to white Americans. Although Malcolm ‘s claim sounds at best doubtful, many would reason that the Nation of Islam and its most outstanding member Malcolm X ‘s counter-weight unwittingly aided the Civil Rights motion.