African Series Jacket Text

Volume VIII: October 1913--June 1921

"Africa for the Africans" was the name by which the extraordinary American-based movement of black self-determination known as the Garvey movement was identified in Africa. Spearheaded by the Jamaican Marcus Mosiah Garvey (1887--1940) and his Universal Negro Improvement Association, the Garvey phenomenon is still the largest organized mass movement in black history.

The first seven volumes of The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers, starting publication in 1983, documented the origins and development of the movement in the United States during World War I and throughout the 1920s as well as the depression years. Now, the long-awaited African volumes of the edition chronicle the spread of the Garvey phenomenon in Africa during the turbulent post-World War I years and up through the Second World War. These volumes represent the most extensive collection of historical documents ever gathered on the pre-independence phase of modern African nationalism.

Volume VIII provides the first authoritative account of how Africans transformed Garveyism from a set of racial precepts and from an external ideological stimulus into an indigenous African political movement. It chronicles the dissemination throughout sub-Saharan Africa of Garvey's "African Redemption" irredentist call and shows the wide range of responses that it elicited from Africans and European colonial officials alike. After tracing the little-known early African attempts at pan-African economic organizing that preceded Garvey, Volume VIII describes how Garvey catapulted to international attention, simultaneously capturing the imagination of Africans and black people worldwide with the promotion of his quixotic Black Star Line Steamship Company. The broad array of pan-African responses to Garvey's promotion of relations between Africa, the Caribbean, and the United States created what was, in effect, a worldwide black international that ran parallel to the Third International.

The immediate appeal of Garveyism took various forms. One form that it assumed was the stimulus that it gave to the phenomenon that a police constable observed in Boksburg, South Africa, and that is documented in the present volume, namely, the widespread belief that sprang up among South Africans that "America has a black fleet and it is coming" to liberate Africa. The implications of Garveyism's political message were also spelled out in the groundswell of support by Africans for the UNIA's Declaration of Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World, enunciated at the UNIA's first historic convention in August 1920.

The present volume and the two that follow represent an important scholarly landmark in the historiography of African nationalism as well as for the study of the historically significant role of the African diaspora in the fight for Africa's emancipation from colonial rule.

Copyright © 1995-2014 The Marcus Garvey and UNIA Papers Project, UCLA