Caribbean culture and mirth marks Garvey’s 125th

A parade in Harlem, another in Brooklyn, keys to a Caribbean city and a revised educational curriculum marked the 125th anniversary of the Aug. 17 birthday of Jamaica’s National Hero Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jr.

On the actual birthday, members of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, Pan African advocates, Rastafarians, students, and Harlem residents paraded along 125th St. to commemorate the legacy of the Jamaican immigrant whose movement seems to be flowering pride in African heritage and culture.

Individuals along the parade route carried a variety of flags.

Some waved Ethiopia’s red, gold and green to associate Garvey’s prediction to “look to the east for a Black king.” Rastafarians believe that king was Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia.

A few individuals chose Jamaica’s black, green and gold to identify Garvey’s birthplace.

While a majority waved black, red and green to symbolize Garvey’s edict and an international banner to honor the continent of Africa and its heritage.

There were others who proudly displayed Ghana’s red, gold and green flag which honors Garvey with a black star in the middle – a symbol he consistently identified with by naming some of his enterprises and a shipping company Black Star Liner.

His son Dr. Julius Garvey visited Jamaica from Aug. 16 to 19 to accept keys to the city of Kingston presented posthumously by the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation.

With that honor, a resolution unanimously voted acknowledged Aug. 17 an official day to recognize and celebrate the leader.

According to Angela Brown-Burke, mayor of Kingston, the decision to decide a resolution punctuated the influence Garvey has imprinted on the nation.

“Many of us have grown up with a greater sense of self because of the teachings of Marcus Garvey,” she said.

“I affirm that we can all attest to the fact that Blacks have come a far way which is largely attributed to the selfless, pioneering work of this icon. It is against this background I crave your indulgence to share in this wonderful, meaningful and very historic occasion as we continue to celebrate our 50th anniversary — a time of jubilee and national pride,” she told the audience.

While in Jamaica, Dr. Garvey visited Liberty Hall to help launch the Marcus Mosiah Garvey Mobile Museum.

At that capital location, a national monument and home to the only museum in the world is dedicated to the life and work of the Pan-African proponent.

On the landmark anniversary, an added educational course of study within the civics requirement was instituted at his namesake school in the parish he was born.

Beginning next month when the school year begins, Garveyism will be offered at the St. Ann’s Bay Technical High School.

The broader curriculum attempts to provide students with information on citizenship; the structure and function of government, the importance of national symbols and emblems, and other relevant information.

The celebrations in Jamaica included a marching band led by the Island Special Constabulary Force, uniform marching groups and police squads.

In Brooklyn where a small assembly marked the occasion, Panamanian Marching Band paraded from Albany Ave. to Ave. D where entertainment from cultural entertainer Survivalist, Astronaut, a four-time Jamaica festival winner and radio deejay Peter Solomon of WPAT-AM provided continuous entertainment throughout the afternoon.

Recorded speeches by Garvey historian Ron Bobb-Semple also added to the tribute coordinated and organized by Paul “Jah Paul” Haughton.

Garvey was born in 1887 in the parish of St. Ann, Jamaica. He died in England on June 10, 1940 at the age 52. He is Jamaica’s first national hero.

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