Why The Name Universal Negro Improvement Association?

Logo of the Universal Negro Improvement Association with its motto: One God! One Aim! One Destiny!

Why the name Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League? Since, “All people of African ancestry are regarded as ordinary members” of the UNIA-ACL it is a valid question for our people to ask.  Unfortunately, the active (dues paying) members are the only ones who can actually do something to change the name of The Great Association. As this planet moves rapidly into the 21st century of the Current Era this issue needs to be addressed once and for all.

As far as members of the organization are concerned, all of them with whom I am acquainted define themselves as being Africans. The slogan of the Association is “Africa for the Africans, at home and abroad.” More often than not, when mention is made of the life, works, philosophy and opinions of Marcus Mosiah Garvey, he is characterized as the father of the “Back to Africa Movement.” In reality, it is actually the movement for the redemption of Africa. Anyone who really knows, believes and comprehends the aims and objects, as well as, the history of the Association will see that the name of the UNIA-ACL is not it’s most important aspect, although it is significant. The name currently serves as a historical marker  reading “Marcus Mosiah Garvey Was Here And His Legacy Lives On!”

We are not “Negroes”

We are not Negroes. We know we are Africans. We know we are Africans because of African Fundamentalism. We know we  are Africans because we have begun to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery. Mental emancipation is possible because The Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey gave us the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League. African people were awakened to the idea of a United States of Africa by the organization named the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League. All of that and more means nothing until the aims and objectives of the Great Association have been realized. In some ways they have. Unfortunately, we have only won a few battles, the struggle continues and our victory is not yet complete.

Colorized photo of UNIA founder and first President-General Marcus Mosiah Garvey by Luiz Enrique Evaristo

The organization could change its name to the Universal Black Improvement Association, Universal Nubian Improvement Association, Universal Negritic Improvement Association, Universal Improvement Association (my favorite), or simply The Improvement Association. There are even those who have taken to pronouncing the acronym U.N.I.A. as You-Nia to convey the notion that “You are the Purpose” for which this Great Association was founded and still exists.

The UNIA-ACL’s aims and objectives are just as valid now, as when they were first articulated. The name serves as a beacon to the literate. It indicates people are still working to realize the aims and objects of the UNIA-ACL at this very moment.

UNIA Aims and Objectives

If you are one of the great number of people of African Ancestry who in their individual actions and through group association do such things as:

  • seek to establish a Universal Confraternity among the race;
  • promote the spirit of pride and love;
  • reclaim the fallen;
  • administer to and assist the needy;
  • assist in giving right knowledge to the miseducated;
  • assist in developing Independent African Nations and Communities;
  • promote a conscientious Spiritual worship among African people;
  • establish Universities, Colleges, Academies and Schools for the racial education and culture of the people;
  • conduct a worldwide Commercial and Industrial Intercourse for the good of the people;
  • work for better conditions in all African communities

you are working to realize the aims and objectives of the UNIA-ACL.

Those who are carrying out the aims and objectives and can afford the twenty-nine dollar annual membership but are not active members, are depriving themselves of the honor and privilege embodied in maintaining, strengthening and supporting the organization to which we can all trace our present sense of African identity.

Changing the name does nothing to help us carry out the aims and objectives of  the UNIA-ACL. Changing the name possibly will conceal the fact the UNIA is the exact same organization composed of ELEVEN MILLION MEMBERS worldwide when it was most active.  It could also conceal that it is the only organization of people of African Ancestry to actually buy steamships and independently move people and cargo as a first step towards African Redemption.  Some may not know it is the organization which saw to it African dolls were made so little African girls could practice projecting love towards a doll who looked just like them.  How would people know it is the same organization that incorporated the Black Star Line– the all African shipping company, gave us the Red, Black and Green flag and is still active all these many years later, if we change its name?

The UNIA-ACL is alive

It is high time we show Africans, at home and abroad, as well as, people of goodwill and the evil-doers of the world the UNIA-ACL was not deported with Marcus Garvey. It did not die with Marcus Garvey on June 10, 1940 in London, England. The Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League lives on and its greatest moments are not in the past but are right this very moment and in the future we are yet to make manifest. All persons of African Ancestry who know  they are Africans with pride, dignity, nobility and self-respect are living testimony to how the magnificent greatness of the UNIA-ACL is alive today.

We have the duty and obligation to the memory and works of Marcus Mosiah Garvey, all his footsoldiers, and all our ancestors who survived the Maafa to proclaim Garvey innocent of all the false charges which led to his imprisonment and deportation from the U.S.   There are those of us who believe that the best way to do this would be to send a message to the world and all our people. That message will resound around the planet when we have established a Universal Confraternity among Africans, at home and abroad, when no longer will anyone be foolish enough to attempt to miseducate us about our people and history because we diligently conducted a critical analysis of the facts, and learned to recognize the truth. That message will have been heard by all our people when we have been so divinely revitalized as to our purpose on the planet that we can no longer be led astray, flim-flammed, run amok, bamboozled, took or had. Anyone with the slightest glimmer of God Awareness will realize they are in the presence of God when they are in the presence of African people and it all started because you read this message, realized it is not so important what the UNIA-ACL is named and took action. You responded to and identified with its aims and objectives. The response is so enthusiastic you banded together with seven of your friends and family to become members and apply for a charter to start a Division of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League in your community on this day, if there is not one locally for you to join.

Click here for information on membership in the organization founded by Marcus Garvey, the UNIA.

By Nnamdi Azikiwe

The Mhotep Corporation uses its Keyamsha The Awakening brand to heighten perceptions and expand awareness. By producing content that engages, entertains and educates we create value for value relationships with our audience for mutual benefit. Mhotep is derived from the name of the architect and builder of the first pyramid in Kemet, so-called ancient Egypt. I formed the Mhotep Corporation in 2003 to produce and distribute 3D animation videos based on traditional African stories. Since then it has evolved to being a media production company including books. In a previous life I worked as a systems analyst developing solutions for government and multinational organizations. Born and educated in Washington, D.C. I have traveled to several places including Haiti, the Bahamas, Mexico, Canada, Nigeria (several times), Ethiopia (several times), Benin, Togo, and South Africa. I am married with three children.

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