Racial Reforms and Reformers

Marcus Garvey

1923

Who thinks of the poor but the poor? The rich and self-satisfied are too busily engaged in the enjoyment of their own pleasures, and the patron—age of their own class, to halt to any great extent to give the underdogs of human society a thought that would help them rise above their condition.

The missionary work that is being done to lift the unfortunate to the height of a new social order is surrounded with hypocrisy and professionalism; hence, its usefulness is not seen or felt among those to be served.

As in the struggle to lift the unfortunate poor we have no real, honest effort; so, in the struggle of race to find a place in the affairs of the world, we get very little, if any, sympathy and encouragement from the progressive and successful.

There is a vast difference between the white and black races. The two are at extremes. One is dazzlingly prosperous and progressive; the other is abjectly poor and backward.

The fight is to lift the backward and non—progressive to the common standard of progress and civilization; but, apparently, no appreciable number of the prosperous and progressive desire this change. The selfishness of class and monopoly of standing seem to dictate a prejudice of race that creates a barrier to the accepted Christian belief that all men are brothers, and a God is our common Father.

In this conflict of life each human being finds a calling. Some of us are called to be preachers, ministers of the Gospel, politicians, statesmen, industrialists, teachers, philosophers, laborers and reformers. To the re—former, above all, falls the duty or obligation of improving human society, not to the good of the selfish few, but to the benefit of the greatest number. . .

And it is here that we must call the attention of the white race to the wrong and injury that they are inflicting upon the rest of the world. It is all well for those who revel in their immediate power to turn a deaf ear to the cries of the suffering races, to oppress, exploit, and even murder them, but what of the consequence? . . .

If the great statesmen and religious leaders of the world would only
forget the selfishness of their own races, and call their conferences and give out their edicts not from the Anglo—Saxon, Teutonic, Celtic or Anglo—American point of view, but from the view of all humanity considered, then we would indeed come face to face with a new world evolving a new civilization.

Friends, white cannot prosper to the disadvantage of black. Yellow can-not prosper to the disadvantage of brown, for in so doing we but pile up confusion and remorse for our children. This is history; it tells the tales of the past, it will of the future. Then why not make the future right? .. .

There is a fraternity of humanitarians, unknown though it be, that is working for a true solution of our human problems. Wilberforce, Clarks—ton, Buxton, Lovejoy, John Brown, white though they were, had the vision of the future of men. They worked for the freedom of black humanity, therefore, in the midst of our sorrow and in the racial thought of revenge come up the spirits of such great humanitarians that silence the tongue of evil; as in the white race, so among the blacks, our beautiful spirits stand out, for wasn’t there a Douglass, a Washington and even the typical Uncle Tom?

We hope that the humanitarians of today of all races will continue to work in furtherance of that ideal–justice, liberty, freedom and true human independence, knowing thereby no color or no race.

The Negro of the world, and America in particular, needs a national homeland with opportunities and privileges like all other peoples. If we work and fight for this why should others jeer and laugh at us? Why should they say that we are “ignorant” and “benighted”? Was it ignorance to free Britain from the grasp of the invader? Was it ignorance to free America from the heel of the oppressor? Was it ignorance to liberate France from the yoke of the tyrant? Surely not. Then why is it ignorant for Negroes to work for the restoration of their country, Africa?

Broad and liberal-minded white men, although surrounded by the selfishness of a material environment, will not condemn and persecute the work of even black reform, but for justice’s sake give unto each and every—one his due.

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