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Marcus Garvey's Quotes
After traveling to the several Caribbean and Central American countries, as well as in Europe between 1910 and 1914 where he investigated the condition of Black people firsthand, Marcus Garvey spoke the immortal words that began his monumental movement:

Where is the Black man's government?

Where is his king and his kingdom?

Where is his president, his country, and his ambassador, his army, his navy, his men of big affairs?

I could not find them, and then I declared,
"I will help to make them."
Marcus Garvey



"A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots."


"A race that is solely dependent upon another for its economic existence sooner or later dies."


"A reading man and woman is a ready man and woman, but a writing man and woman is exact."


"Africa for the Africans... at home and abroad!"


"All of us may not live to see the higher accomplishment of an African Empire - so strong and powerful, as to compel the respect of mankind, but we in our life-time can so work and act as to make the dream a possibility within another generation."


"Among some of the organized methods used to control the world is the thing known and called PROPAGANDA. Propaganda has done more to defeat the good intentions of races and nations than even open warfare. Propaganda is a method or medium used by organized peoples to convert others against their will. We of the Negro race are suffering more than any other race in the world from propaganda... propaganda to destroy our hopes, our ambitions and our confidence in self."
Marcus Garvey


"Being satisfied to drink the dregs from the cup of human progress will not demonstrate our fitness as a people to exist alongside of others, but when of our own initiative we strike out to build industries, governments, and ultimately empires, then and only then will we as a race prove to our creator and to man in general that we are fit to survive and capable of shaping our own destiny."


Marcus Garvey
"Billions of dollars have been lost to the Negro race within the last fifty years through disloyalty on the part of successful Negroes, who have preferred to give away their fortunes to members of other races, than to bequeath them to worthy institutions and movements of their own to help their own people."


"Chance has never yet satisfied the hope of a suffering people."


"Go to work! Go to work in the morn of a new creation... until you have... reached the height of self-progress, and from that pinnacle bestow upon the world a civilization of your own."


"God acts indifferently and his plan and purpose is generally worked out through the agency of human action. In his directed, inspired prophecy, he promised that Ethiopia's day would come, not by the world changing towards us, but by our stretching out our hands unto him."


"God and Nature first made us what we are, and then out of our own creative genius we make ourselves what we want to be. Follow always that great law. Let the sky and God be our limit and Eternity our measurement."


"I am a Negro. I make absolutely no apology for being a Negro."


"I have no desire to take all Black people back to Africa; there are Blacks who are no good here and will likewise be no good there."


"I know no national boundary where the Negro is concerned. The whole world is my province until Africa is free."


"I like honesty and fair play."


"I regard the Klan, the Anglo-Saxon clubs and White American societies, as far as the Negro is concerned, as better friends of the race than all other groups of hypocritical whites put together."


"I trust that you will so live today as to realize that you are masters of your own destiny, masters of your fate; if there is anything you want in this world, it is for you to strike out with confidence and faith in self and reach for it."
Marcus Garvey


Marcus Garvey
"If the white man has the idea of a white God, let him worship his God as he desires. If the yellow man's God is of his race let him worship his God as he sees fit. We, as Negroes, have found a new ideal. Whilst our God has no color, yet it is human to see everything through one's own spectacles, and since the white people have seen their God through white spectacles, we only now started out (late though it be) to see our God through our own spectacles. The God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. We Negroes believe in the God of Ethiopia, the everlasting God - God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, the One God of all ages. That is the God in whom we believe, but we shall worship Him through the spectacles of Ethiopia. A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots."


"If we live in our own district, let us rule and govern those districts. If we have a majority in our communities, let us run those communities. We form a majority in Africa and we should naturally govern ourselves there."


"If you haven't confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life. With confidence, you have won even before you have started."


"Intelligence rules the world, ignorance carries the burden..."


"It is your mind that rules the body. You cannot go further than that mind to seek truth and to know truth and to react to truth."


"Let it be your constant method to look into the design of people's actions, and see what they would be at, as often as it is practicable; and to make this custom the more significant, practice it first upon yourself."


"Liberate the minds of men and ultimately you will liberate the bodies of men."


"Life is that existence that is given to man to live for a purpose, to live is own satisfaction and pleasure, providing he forgets not the God who created him and who expects a spiritual obedience and observation of the moral laws that He inspired."


"Look for me in a whirlwind or a storm."


"Look to Africa, for there a king will be crowned."


"Men who are in earnest are not afraid of consequences."


"Our success educationally, industrially and politically is based upon the protection of a nation founded by ourselves. And the nation can be nowhere else but in Africa."


"Present day statesmen are making the biggest blunder of the age if they believe that there can be any peace without equity and justice to all mankind. Any attempt at disarmament when half the world oppresses the other half is but a farce, because the oppressed will make their oppressors get armed sooner or later."
Marcus Garvey


Marcus Garvey
"Progress is the attraction that moves humanity."


"Races and peoples are only safeguarded when they are strong enough to protect themselves."


"So long as Negroes occupy an inferior position among the races and nations of the world, just so long will others be prejudiced against them, because it will be profitable for them to keep up the system of superiority. But when the Negro by his own initiative lifts himself from his low state to the highest human standard he will be in a position to stop begging and praying, and demand a place that no individual, race or nation will be able to deny him."


"The Black skin is not a badge of shame, but rather a glorious symbol of national greatness."


"The ends you serve that are selfish will take you no further than yourself but the ends you serve that are for all, in common, will take you into eternity."


"The Negro needs a nation and a country of his own, where he can best show evidence of his own ability in the art of human progress."


"The Negro peoples of the world should concentrate upon the object of building up for themselves a great nation in Africa... creating for ourselves a political superstate... a government, a nation of our own, strong enough to lend protection to the members of our race scattered all over the world, and to compel the respect of the nations and races of the earth."


"The only protection against INJUSTICE in man is POWER... physical, financial and scientific."


"The pen is mightier than the sword, but the tongue is mightier than them both put together."


"The race can only be saved through a solid industrial foundation."


"The race needs men of vision and ability... men of character and above all men of honesty, and that is so hard to find."
Marcus Garvey


Marcus Garvey
"The UNIA teaches our race self-help and self-reliance... in all those things that contribute to human happiness and well-being."


"The whole world is run on bluff."


"There is no force like success, and that is why the individual makes all effort to surround himself throughout life with the evidence of it; as of the individual, so should it be of the nation."


"There shall be no solution to this race problem until you, yourselves, strike the blow for liberty."


"To see your enemy and know him is a part of the complete education of man."


"Unite all people of African ancestry of the world to one great body to establish a country and absolute government of their own."


"Up, you mighty race, accomplish what you will."


"We are determined to unite the 400,000,000 Negroes of the world for the purpose of building a civilization of their own. And in that effort we desire to bring together the 15,000,000 of the United States, the 180,000,000 in Asia, the West Indies and Central and South America, and the 200,000,000 in Africa. We are looking toward political freedom on the continent of Africa, the land of our fathers."


"We are entitled to our own opinions and not obligated to or bound by the opinions of others."


"We are men; we have souls, we have passions, we have feelings, we have hopes, we have desires, like any other race in the world. The cry is raised all over the world today of Canada for the Canadians, of America for the Americans, of England for the English, of France for the French, of Germany for the Germans - do you think it is unreasonable that we, the Blacks of the world, should raise the cry of Africa for the Africans?"


"We believe in the supreme authority of our race in all things racial."


"We demand complete control of our social institutions without interference by any alien race or races."


"We have a beautiful history, and we will create another in the future, which will astonish the world."
Marcus Garvey


Marcus Garvey
"Whatsoever things common to man, that man has done, man can do."


"When we speak of 400,000,000 Negroes we mean to include several of the millions of India who are direct offsprings of that ancient African stock that once invaded Asia."


"Why should not Africa give to the world its Black Rockefeller, Rothschild and Henry Ford? Now is the opportunity. Now is the chance for every Negro to make every effort toward a commercial, industrial standard that will make us comparable with the successful business men of other races."


"With confidence, you have won before you have started."


"You may call me a Klansman if you will, but, potentially, every white man is a Klansman, as far as the Negro in competition with whites socially, economically and politically is concerned. And there is no use lying."


In 1938, Marcus Garvey visited Nova Scotia, Canada for the first time and delivered a powerful speech where he said the immortal words that were later used by Reggae singer Bob Marley in his popular, landmark song, "Redemption Song":

"We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind.

Mind is your only ruler, sovereign. The man who is not able to develop and use his mind is bound to be the slave of the other man who uses his mind, because man is related to man under all circumstances for good or ill."
Marcus Garvey


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