Words by Jesse Serwer—
Big tings a gwaan in the movement to recognize the accomplishments and life of Marcus Garvey. Jamaica will honor the father of the pan-Africanism movement, founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and inspiration for the Rastafari movement by posthumously awarding him the keys to the city of Kingston, in a ceremony marking his 125th birthday today. Dr. Julius Garvey, Garvey’s son, is currently in Jamaica on a four-day tour that will also see the launch of a Marcus Mosiah Garvey mobile museum, and will accept the ceremonial token on his father’s behalf.
A resolution has been passed that August 17 be observed annually in Kingston and the parish of St. Andrew as Marcus Garvey Day. A concert will be held at the Eastern Peace Centre, on Windward Road, with performances by Sizzla and Capleton, among others. Kingston Councillor Ian Telfer called the honor a way to “pay homage to recognize the works of Marcus Garvey and not fall prey to what we’ve seen in the past where others, from other countries, other movements recognize our people prior to us making note ourselves.”
Meanwhile, the movement to get Garvey exonerated by the US, where he moved in 1914 and was imprisoned for mail fraud in 1923, continues afoot.
A year ago, we celebrated Garvey’s life and birthday by tapping Fred Locks for a rundown of the best of the great many reggae and dancehall songs recorded to convey the message of Garvey. Watch the LargeUp TV episode with Fred, filmed on the shores of Port Royal, below.