Marcus Garvey’s 130th birthday commemorates ‘One Aim One Destiny…’ philosophy

In this Aug. 1922 file photo, Marcus Garvey is shown in a military uniform as the “Provisional President of Africa” during a parade on the opening day of the annual Convention of the Negro Peoples of the World at Lenox Avenue in Harlem, New York City.
Associated Press / File

Organizers of the West Indian American Day Carnival Association announced that on Aug. 17 they plan to launch the 50th anniversary of Caribbean Carnival Week by making three big announcements.

The date coincides with the 130th anniversary of the birth of Marcus Mosiah Garvey — Jamaica’s first national hero — who proposed a mantra of three-fold oneness when he decided his motto to be — “One God, One Aim, One Destiny.”

Slated for Brooklyn Children’s Museum, the event will promote seven days of celebration from Aug. 31 to Sept. 4 when a grand culmination annually rallies colorful display and assembly along Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway for a Labor Day Parade.

At press time the details of the triple treat were still a mystery however, a source hinted that the announcement would be significant and emphasized “it will be big.”

Two days later on Aug. 19 the nationalist also known as the Black Moses will be regaled by the Jamaica Progressive League in the Bronx from 11 am during a free, fun-filled celebration.

According to a release from the JPP, Garvey’s life-long contribution to his people will be amplified and celebrated by the theme and reminder he uttered more than a century ago when he said “Look for me in the whirlwind.”

“In death I shall be a terror to the foes of Negro liberty. Look for me in the whirlwind or the song of the storm; look for me all around you,” Marcus M. Garvey said.

The nostalgic reference will mark the presence of the prophetic Pan-African advocate at Marcus Garvey Square (Williams Bridge) White Plains Road between East 212 St. & Magenta St. For more information, call 718-994-5496.

Marcus Mosiah Garvey was born Aug. 17, 1887 in Jamaica.

He was a publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, crusader for Black nationalism and founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association.

According to, Garvey is best remembered as a champion of the “Back-To-Africa” movement, which was interpreted as encouraging people of African ancestry to return to their ancestral homeland.

It is that movement that is also credited with mobilizing a segment of the Jamaican population to unite as Rastafarians.

Garvey said he wanted those of African ancestry to “redeem” Africa and for the European colonial powers to leave it.

Although Garvey was raised Methodist, he converted to worship as a Roman Catholic.

For him, Africa was the ancestral home and spiritual base for all people of African descent.

His political goal was to reclaim Africa back from European domination and build a free and United Black Africa.

In addition to advocating for a Back-to-Africa Movement he organized a shipping company called the Black Star Line which was part of his program to conduct international trade between Africans and the rest of the world in order to “uplift the race” and eventually return to Africa.

In nine years Garvey built the largest mass movement of people of African descent in this country’s history.

Reportedly Garvey’s UNIA attracted standing room crowds to his convention which was held at Madison Square Garden on Aug. 1, 1921.

Allegedly four million dues-paying members supported the initiative.

With delegates from all over the world attending, 25,000 people filled the space to hear Garvey speak. The appeal of the slogan “One God, One Aim, One Destiny,” to black veterans of World War I, Black nurses and immigrants found the confab an alluring gathering.

The national level of support in Jamaica helped Garvey to become one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century.

However, the organization “began to fail after he was convicted of mail fraud and was deported from the U.S.

Despite his physical presence “the U.N.I.A. still survives today and Garvey is revered for bequeathing a legacy of racial pride and identification with a glorious African heritage for African-Americans.”

Garvey died at age 52 in London, England.

Recently, the Universal Hip-hop Parade and Social Justice Conference commemorated the milestone anniversary of his birth.

The significant event at Bethany Baptist Church in Harlem hailed the leader whose mantra of unity… “One God, One Aim, One Destiny” appealed to millions of Africans in Cuba, Brazil, the Caribbean and throughout North America.

The annual, all-day honor featured topical, panel discussions addressing issues such as — Building Black Business; Confronting Criminal Injustice, Black economics in a Gentrified Community, Identifying and Supporting Wrongfully Convicted People, Challenges and Experiences of Local Entrepreneurs, Holding Police and Prosecutors Accountable to the Community, The Role of Government or City in Supporting Business Growth, Fair Conditions of Incarcerations, Probation and Parole.

Step Afrika! bills a lively, percussive dance tribute in Harlem at Marcus Garvey Park slated for Aug. 17. Featuring the ‘world’s first professional dance company dedicated to high energy percussive stepping” the celebration invites all ages at all levels to participate in a dance workshop at 7 pm one hour prior to the actual family showcase and performance to honor the revolutionary hero.

As many Jamaicans continue to celebrate Emancipendence which began Aug. 1 — Emancipation Day through to independence on Aug. 6 – Garvey’s legacy of advocating oneness is being recalled with amplification by the lyrics of Bob Marley’s most known anthem resounding to honor him with “One Love, One Heart…let’s get together and feel alright.”

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