When Garveyites challenged injustice in Nash County

“Blacks in the Tar Heel State were at the heart of [Marcus Garvey‘s Universal Negro Improvement Association]. During the 1920 UNIA Convention in New York, a minister from Nash County gave a report about the ‘injustices and other troubles of our people’ and blamed the ‘complete submission and subserviency to the white man and his unjust, cruel and harsh domination over them.’

“Times were changing, though. Three months after the convention, the Negro World reported that UNIA members in Nash County had rallied to the aid of a prosperous black farmer’s son imprisoned on the false charge of injuring a white woman in a car accident. They had made clear their willingness to die in his defense.

“For Garveyites in North Carolina, the right to self-definition was just as inviolable as the right to self-defense. They joined the other ‘Negroes of the World’ at the 1920 convention parade. Under the red, green and black streamers strewn across the streets of Harlem, they carried banners declaring ‘Africa for the Africans,’ ‘Africa Must Be Free’ and ‘Africa a Nation One and Indivisible.’

— From “Tar Heels, Alive” by Brandon R. Byrd  in The Point (Winter 2017) 

 

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