Negro with a Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey

Negro with a Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey

Negro with a Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey

Negro with a Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey

Synopsis

New in paperback, this groundbreaking biography captures the full sweep and epic dimensions of Marcus Garvey's life, the dazzling triumphs and the dreary exile. As Grant shows, Garvey was a man of contradictions: a self-educated, poetry-writing aesthete and unabashed propagandist, an admirer of Lenin, and a dandy given to elaborate public displays. Above all, he was a shrewd promoter whose use of pageantry evoked a lost African civilization and fired the imagination of his followers. Negro With a Hat restores Garvey to his place as one of the founders of black nationalism and a key figure of the 20th century.

Excerpt

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 Garvey, Atlanta Penitentiary, 1925

AT the end of May 1940, Marcus Garvey sat cold and forgotten in a tall draughty rented house at 53 Talgarth Road in West Kensington, London. Recovering from a stroke which had left him partially paralysed, he was sorting through the newspapers that his secretary, Daisy Whyte, had placed beside his bed when he came across a headline which he knew could not be true: ‘Marcus Garvey Dies in London.’ He scanned the other papers, some of which also carried notices of his death. They were not kind obituaries. It took almost a week for many of the papers to issue corrections. By then, wakes and memorials had been held for Marcus Garvey in the Caribbean and the United States. Garvey found himself eulogised by a number of people whom he’d considered enemies and vilified by others who had not forgiven him for his alleged exploitation of black people. Miss Whyte tried to shield her boss from some of the more uncharitable news stories but he insisted on seeing them all. Garvey was still weak from the stroke, but more than the distress and embarrassment of his disability, he was deeply upset by his public and private impotence, by his inability to arrest the decline of his mass movement, and by his estrangement from his family: two years previously, his wife had left him and returned to Jamaica with their children; he hadn’t seen them since. Even if he’d been physically able to travel, there were few transatlantic passenger . . .

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