99 Years and Counting

The obvious problem of our Race is disunity. A simple coming together of the best of us,  would create a sustainable future for our people. When Isaac B. Allen, Irena Moorman-Blackston, Walter J. Conway, Carrie B. Mero, R. Harriet Rogers and Marcus Garvey organized to create the largest Race First movement in modern history, they led by example; creating a government for our people, Black people from every belief system, every level of social status and every continent. Whether you accept the highest or lowest estimates of membership, there was no comparison.

First, we must understand that all legal action taken against the UNIA-ACL was fraudulent and in fact, illegal. With that as the foundation of this discussion, we begin to see immediately that all subsequent acts against the Garveyites were either misguided or purposeful attempts to sabotage our Race.

Religiously speaking, the majority of our people at that time were Christian. Garvey himself grew up Catholic. Yet among the ranks of the UNIA were Black Muslims like Duse Ali Muhammad, Vodunists like Legba Elizer Cadet, even the original Rastafari Leonard P. Howell. Belief systems did not keep us apart.

Medically, it seems that most of the early Divisions had Doctors as founding members. This was important because it was the impetus for our own hospitals and training facilities. Black Doctors were trained but not allowed to practice. While entry into the Red Cross was denied to Black nurses, The Black Cross, along with Garveyite Doctors founded training facilities and eventually clinics to treat our people.

Economically, the UNIA raised millions of dollars for the benefit of our Race. Businesses were set up worldwide. Negro Factories League, Liberty Farm, Black Star Line and yes, the Black Eagles Aeronautical unit were all developing for a strong future for our Race. Credit Unions and small internal banks developed and the UNIA was able to give loans to Divisions.

We know the powers that be hate to see our progress as a whole. We know that many Black folk are easily convinced to work for the oppressor. We know that fear of losing a job, therefore not being able to provide for your family is a real fear. It has been shown that when we come together we alleviate if not eliminate these issues. It has worked in the past. So now, we must ask ourselves, “If it worked, why are we not getting back to that?”

Through the years, true nation builders upheld our Government structure. Struggling to uphold the founding members wishes of creating a confraternity (an organization of organizations). Through a democratic voting process, elections, conventions and High Executive Council meetings have gone on uninterrupted. While we know that many of the true Garveyites names were written out of history on purpose, we also know that many would have declined recognition for their service to their people. These are the best of us.

Moving forward to 100 years, we look back 99. Looking at the different administrations and their structure, here in Buffalo  we have had at least 6 UNIA administrations and over 1,000 members since 1920  (6 Presidents, at least 3 Lady Presidents, 65 Black Cross Nurses, 100 UAL etc.). Administrations are voted on yearly and by the UNIA-ACL Constitution. A few Local Government positions are: Lady President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer. Appointed positions are usually auxiliary heads.

Although “the Struggle continues” to educate citizens of our Nation, we hope you all make it easier on us. Next year is 100 years of our Nation! We should be celebrating, not struggling!