What ‘Back to Africa’ Means

An essay by Marcus Garvey from the January 30, 1926 Negro World Weekly Newspaper.

Having traveled for hundreds of years across the deserts and prairies of human prejudice, we have now arrived at the crossroads of racial destiny. Each and every race today seems to be traveling in its own direction. The great human family has divided itself and each unit feels that there is a peculiar goal to be reached. Hence, we hear the cry of “Japan for the Japanese!” “China for the Chinese!” “India for the Indians!” “Europe for the Europeans!” And now the 400,000,000 Negroes of the world are shouting in tones stentorian “Africa for the Africans!”

Not only has humanity divided, but it has become more suspicious. No one group will believe the professed intentions of the other, in that selfishness of purpose has so surrounded us that it is apparent that truth, love, honesty, charity have taken, their flight to another world. Because of the absence of these virtues man is not disposed to pass his destiny over to his brother, but seeks to find his own. Just at this time, therefore, it becomes opportune for the Negro, amidst all the environments of aggression, and heated preparedness on the part of others, to strike out along his own lines and build for himself an independence, a power through which he can live secure.

It does not mean that all Negroes must leave America and the West Indies and go to Africa to build up a government. It did not take all the white people of Europe to come over to America to lay the foundation of the great republic; therefore, those who write disparagingly of the grand program of Africa for the Africans are, doing so without paying any attention to history.

I desire each and every one to realize that the Universal Negro Improvement Association is not teaching Negroes to discard or to throw away opportunities that may be beneficial to them; to the Contrary, we say to all Negroes in America, the West Indies and elsewhere, seize all opportunities that come to you, but remember our success educationally, industrially and politically is based upon the protection of a nation founded by ourselves. And that nation can be nowhere else but in Africa.

Some people seem to think that the program of the Universal Negro Improvement Association is too big, too elaborate. But what of the program of other races and nations? Are they big, are they elaborate? What about the program of Ireland, what about the program of Egypt, what about the program of India? Are they elaborate? What do they seek? They seek freedom, complete independence for the people who make up these countries, and so we of the Universal Negro Improvement Association seek a program that, will bring about freedom for the, four hundred million Negroes of the world.

For the consummation of this program it is our bounden duty to-work unceasingly night and day with might and main. We must do this, or brand ourselves as pigmies occupying a place that is our due on the fringe of the civilization of others!

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.

1 comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: