Last Monday Dr. Julius Garvey was a special guest at what was billed as “Black Economic Renaissance, An Evening with Dr. Julius Garvey & Guests.” The event, held at the Jamaica Canadian Association, was hosted by the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Emancipation 400 Jubilee Committee.
Dr. Garvey is the son of Marcus Garvey, the charismatic black leader who organized the first important American black nationalist movement (1919–26), based in New York City’s Harlem. Marcus Garvey was born 1887 in Jamaica and died in 1940 in London, England.
After traveling in Central America and living in London from 1912 to 1914, Garvel returned to Jamaica, where, with a group of friends, he founded (August 1, 1914) the Universal Negro Improvement and Conservation Association and African Communities League, usually called the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), which sought, among other things, to build in Africa a black-governed nation.
A champion of Black pride, independence, Garvey is the symbol of Black independence, a hero and icon in native Jamaica, and influenced a generation of civil rights leaders including Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and, of course, Bob Marley.
Dr. Julius Garvey, a vascular surgeon based in New York, was just 8 years old when his father died and, like his father is a strong advocate for business development, commerce and industry.
Dr. Garvey reminded the audience that this would be his father’s 132nd birthday also the centennial of the of the launching of the of the Black Star Line steamship company, founded by his father to take Africans back to their homelands and to move goods and services between the former slave colonies in the Caribbean, the Americas and Africa. He called it the reverse of triangular slave trade.
This year, he said, commemorates 400 years since the first African was forced into labour as slaves on plantations in the West Indies and the Americas, and it was a good time to come to meet with the diaspora in Canada.
“It is a good time to reflect on the history of our people overtime as we were coming in from outside here we were singing ‘Exodus the movement of the people’, well the people have been on the move for 200,000 years because we were the original people…we populated the universe…we are also the ones who created the first civilization.”
Garvey urged that Africans must liberate their minds from mental slavery, because Africans have been taught the history of somebody else. Now they must teach their own history. He spoke of the last 500 years being a half millennium of oppression and almost genocide. But African resilience has allowed them to survive and strive… “but we are now in the process of thriving” to take our rightful place in the world.
“So we must come together and be together and review and plan for the future; we need to understand our history …we need to also go back in and understand our own humanity and the fact that we are the first people to be conscious of who we were.”
Garvey suggested a holistic approach to liberation and self-actualization because we cannot be separate from a world in which we are an integral part; so the fight against a poisoned environment, global warming are part of the struggle in which we must engage. He spoke of spirituality and the need to be in tune with the universe, and the need to draw on the collective African memory and experience as a way to harness the collective power to form the basis of true liberation and prosperity. Our spirituality and being in tune with the universe is the reason why we have survived in a hostile world.
Locating your consciousness gives you a perspective on the Universe that leads to wisdom, Dr. Garvey asserted, and pooling that wisdom will form the basis of our strength to move confidently into the political and financial system in which Africans can function fully and successfully.