[OPINIONS]:::'Make Garveyism part of school curriculum'

No. 130 Friday, August 20, 2010
By Valentine Pearson
As a people, we are calling on the Ministry of Education to introduce immediately the teachings of Marcus Mosiah Garvey in our school curriculum so that especially our children, who will be the future leaders can be motivated and believe in themselves.

   Personally, I find it strange that after 172 years of Emancipation and 48 years of Independence our political leaders are still reluctant and without the political will to engage and educate the mass of people about the philosophy of our first National Hero, the Right Excellent Marcus Garvey. 

   The Black entrepreneur, Marcus Garvey, taught the virtues of capitalism to the people when he argued that a fool would oppose capitalism as it has proven itself to be the most productive socio-economic system in the world. He taught capitalism as the tool that would established the African race worldwide as an independent group. Mr. Garvey believed that if black people were to be successful the quickest and most effective way to independence was to practice capitalism. Therefore, I believe firmly that entrepreneurship should be taught in schools to ensure greater prosperity for this nation. His enterprising spirit for the attainment of economic independence caters to the fact that he owns a chain of restaurants, grocery stores, laundries a hotel and a printing press. Foremost, he established the Negro Factories Corporation and the Black Star Line in 1919 to promote trade among black people in both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. The ‘Black Star Liner’ was to facilitate emigration of black passengers who wished to return to Africa which, to him, was a tangible sign of black success. Anyway, it was through self reliance and the principles self help that Marcus Garvey formed the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in 1914. According to him,” no one should wait in the unemployment line for someone to offer him a ‘good job” when possibilities exist for him to start his own small business enterprise. The purpose of the UNIA was to unite the black race around a common cause, that of a United States of Africa.
   Marcus Garvey and his organization, the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) represent the largest movement in African American history which had over 700 branches in the 38 States in the early 1920s.The UNIA appeals and influence were felt not only in America but in Canada, the Caribbean and throughout Africa. However, the nature of Garveyism in Jamaica was political, ambitious and prudent when you consider that Garvey also formed a political party. Marcus Garvey launched the People’s Political Party (PPP) in Jamaica by 1929.
   It had a clear vision of defending the interests of the people and also carried a broad anti-imperialist program.
   The UNIA by this time demanded social reform in the PPP’s 26-point manifesto wanting concrete and immediate action. For instance, some of the planks of the manifesto were the representation to the Imperialist Parliament for a larger modicum of self government, a minimum wage for the working classes of Jamaica, a law to protect the working and classes of the country by insurance against accidents, sicknesses and occurring caused during employment, the expansion and improvement of the cities, towns and urban areas without the restraints of private proprietorship and a most important plank that of the PPP calling for low income housing for natives among the other planks of the manifesto at the time. The struggle to get this social reform on the 1-PP manifesto accepted had the support of the leftist and the liberals as well as black nationalists. Therefore, many of our brighter minds should venture into today’s political arena. At the same time, racial pride and unity played an important role in Garvey’s Nationalism when you consider that he told the people of his time “Be as proud of your race today as your father’s were in the past, - we have a beautiful history and we shall create another in the future that will astonish the world.” Certainly, during his lifetime (1887- 1964) Marcus Mosiah Garvey was a visionary, a man of great commitment and an excellent leader.
   Therefore, Jamaicans and Garveyites all over the world will agree that Mr. Garvey inspired, motivated and constantly educated the people, so, I am confident that his teachings (Garveyism) are relevant today and should be put high on the agenda of the Ministry of Education.

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