Listen to a Speech By Honorable Marcus Garvey On His Return To The United States

Only two recordings exist of the voice of Marcus Garvey. They were both part of a 78 RPM record made in 1921 entitled “Look up mighty race.” Here we present the first track and its transcript below.

Colorized image of Marcus Garvey by Luiz Henrique Evaristo
Speech by Honorable Marcus Garvey on His REturn to the United States

Fellow members of the Negro Race.

I have to thank you for the cordial welcome you have given me on this my return to the United States of America. I have been absent from this country for five months. I have been away to the West Indies and Central America traveling on the business of the movement I represent as its President-General. During my absence from America I had occasion to observe with a great degree of disgust how narrow minded the so-called leaders of the Negro race are, in that, immediately after I took my departure from the country, the men who are supposed to represent and lead Negro thought in America endeavored to misrepresent me to the government of these United States by charging me with anarchy and with an attempt to destroy the loyalty of Negroes to the government of this great country. These representations were made to the State and other departments, which occasioned me great embarrassment in returning to these shores.

Logo of the UNIA-ACL with its motto “One God, One Aim One Destiny”

As by such information to the Department of State, such instructions were given therefrom to the various consular officers outside of the country representing the government, not to visa my passport for return to this country. I had ultimately to appeal to the good services of the Honorable Charles Evans Hughes, Secretary of State, whom I believe represents truly and thoroughly the spirit of the American constitution. I explained to him the situation and he immediately gave instructions that my passport be visaed for a return to the United States of America.

This action of his defeated the misrepresentations made by the enemies of my organization and by the enemies of the negro race to prevent my return to my sphere of labor. With all the embarrassment, I am once more in the United States of America and it is for me to avow, not only my loyalty to the constitution, laws, and government of the United States, but also avow that loyalty that is characteristic of the members of the Universal Negro Improvement Association to government.

We love humanity; we desire peace, and anything the Universal Negro Improvement Association and I can do for the advancement of the cause of humanity and for the permanent establishment of peace, we shall be glad to do. — Marcus Garvey

The Universal Negro Improvement Association teaches its members everywhere to be loyal to government, but at the same time to be loyal to the great race of which we are members. As an organization, we desire our educational, industrial, social, and political advancement. Because of this desire, we are loyal to ourselves and to our constitution. But in being thus loyal, does not mean that we are disloyal to any government, or that we have no sympathy with other races. We love humanity; we desire peace, and anything the Universal Negro Improvement Association and I can do for the advancement of the cause of humanity and for the permanent establishment of peace, we shall be glad to do.

I am now convinced more than ever that the Negro lacks proper leadership. The men who have led in the past are incapable. I therefore appeal to the new manhood of this race of ours to give us leadership leadership that is unselfish, leadership that knows no price. We can do no better than copy the leadership of the great Anglo-Saxon race that leadership that gave to the world William Pitt, William Ewart Gladstone, a Disraeli and a Chamberlain, and last but not least among them all, a David Lloyd George.


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