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 dealt with 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”. Anyone who really believes and understands 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 that says “Marcus Mosiah Garvey Was Here And His Legacy Lives On!” We are not Negroes. We know we are Africans. We know we are Africans because we have been improved upon. We have been improved upon 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. But 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. 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 as when they were first articulated. The name now serves as an indicator to the literate that there are those among us who are still working to realize the aims and objects of the UNIA-ACL at this very moment.
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
then 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 that this is the exact same organization that had 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 from this country as a first step to go back to Africa. Some may not know that it is the organization that saw to it that 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 organized 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? It is high time we show all Africans, people of goodwill and the evil-doers of the world that the UNIA-ACL was not deported with Marcus Garvey. It did not die with Marcus Garvey on June 14, 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 new millenium. All persons of African Ancestry who know that they are an African and have pride and respect for their people 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 trumped up 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 enlightened 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 Consciousness will realize that 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, and realized that it is not so important what the UNIA-ACL is named. You responded to and identified with its aims and objectives so enthusiastically that 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.