It’s that time of year again when many people trumpet noise about February being ‘Black History Month’ and in so doing they simply warm over and feed us on the achievements of the same people year after year.
Yet, they fail to give accolades and credibility to our many notable Jamaicans, especially our first national hero, Rt. Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey, who achieved international acclaim, but if truth be told, is only warmly received by the powers-that-be in the land of his birth — Jamaica.
In his booklet Great Jamaicans Book II – Scientists, Ambassador Anthony Johnson highlights seven Jamaican scientists that many of our teachers have never heard about, which may infer that information in this booklet is not within reach of most of our youth. In his acknowledgement, Ambassador Johnson said that the criteria for the selection of these scientists were based on their (1) Jamaican birth, (2) significant contribution to science and (3) capacity to be role models for Jamaican youth.
It would appear that a lot of negative things have happened to Black people and the Black race since the time of Marcus Garvey and since the writing of this booklet on great Jamaican scientists. Based on the popular culture, the role models that our mainly Black youth aspire to copy and emulate are prisoners who wear their pants on their hips and expose their underwear and also aspire to belong to a race that has a serious identity crisis. Most of these mainly black youth — both males and females — desire to be pink or orange in complexion, as they hate their black complexion and so the powerful stuff called ‘melanin’ is bleached and removed from under their skins with vengeance.
So it seems that prisoners and bleached-out entertainers are the new role models for many, who are, for the most part, misguided, mis-educated and undereducated Black youth and adults.
Irony of all ironies has occurred here, because these are the very categories of Black people, including Black Jamaicans that Garvey tried his best to uplift and lead out of the quagmire of ignorance, poverty and from a life of crime and violence, as they lashed out at a political system that sought to disenfranchise them from voting for him and to keep them shackled as economic slaves to the then white colonial economic system.
It’s been almost 100 years since Garvey tried to teach his Self Help and Self Reliance programmes through his ‘Black print’ and philosophy and opinions, but the white and brown ruling class, along with the Black people whom he styled as the ‘Black-whites’ because many did not accept the fact that they were Black, would have nothing to do with him and his teachings, as it meant, for those who wanted it, improvement in Black people’s standard of living and their upliftment morally and spiritually.
Let’s see where Jamaica, the rest of the African Diaspora and Africa are 100 years after jealous white people and bad-minded brown and Black people destroyed Marcus Garvey. It would appear that the entire Black race is now almost entirely invisible, as Black leaders are not counted among those world leaders who go to economic summits held in Davos, Switzerland, just for starters.
It would seem that Black leaders have been totally eradicated from world politics, as there seems to be a new economic world order controlled by white supremacists, racists, haters and bigots (read white world leaders, with few, if any, exceptions.)
I now use writer’s licence and say that Black History Month would mean more to Black people in Jamaica today if Garvey had been allowed to carry out his political manifesto as set out by his People’s Political Party. However, he could not have become Premier or Chief Minister because at the height of his political power in Jamaica, the majority of Black people had no vote.
It would seem that one of Garvey’s arch enemies and rival confiscated his documents, including his manifesto, and later presented himself to the newly enfranchised electorate.
So what was Garvey trying to achieve? According to a Jamaican who goes by the name of Mandingo, Garvey’s first son, Marcus Garvey Jr., encapsulated the work of his father and taught them to him at Kingston College. So in a nutshell this is Marcus Garvey 101: Black people would not suffer from an identity crisis, because we would have knowledge that we are Africans, irrespective of our place of birth.
Black people would take pride in the achievements of our ancestors and their civilizations, where they were scientists, doctors, lawyers etc. and we would know that Alexander the Great sent Black books on science, medicine, philosophy etc. back to his Greek friend and mentor, Aristotle, and gave claim that original Black knowledge is Greek knowledge.
Garvey stressed self reliance and independence in every aspect of our lives. He believed that Black people must unite at home and abroad in order to achieve protection from discrimination and have economic power. This was the main driving force behind the formation of his Black Star Line Shipping Enterprise, so that we could trade amongst ourselves and keep in touch with each other.
He highlighted the point that the Creator must be in the image of our Black selves, just as how all other races have a Creator in their own image. He questioned why the Black race should be different in this regard.
He went to America to meet with Booker T Washington because he wanted to replicate the Polytechnic Institute that Washington had founded called the Tuskeegee Institute in Jamaica. Unfortunately, Washington died before they could meet. Garvey stressed the importance of Black people mastering science and mathematics and wanted Black countries to depend on clean energy from water, wind and the sun. He wanted Black people to manufacture their own vehicles, radios, medical equipment, computers etc. from Africa’s own natural resources. Those are the natural resources that the white Europeans and Chinese are now fighting for, killing, enslaving Black Africans, and are appearing to commit genocide, with the seeming help and collusion from the Black leaders so that these foreigners can acquire Africa’s raw material to make their European and Chinese industrialized products.
According to an article written by Min. P.D. Menelik Harris, Chair of the Ubuntu (United) States of Africa Council, the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is preparing the way for the Trump/Monroe Trouncing of the Caribbean and Latin American nations. They have been busy dividing Caricom, using Tillerson’s Guyana oil as a key weapon.
They are busy greasing the slope, so that Caricom will slip and slide into chaos. The destruction of Venezuela is also another weapon being used to take down Cuba and Jamaica in one major ‘big-stick’ beat down. Whether this is true or not, it seems fair to say that the slide into chaos and confusion, crime and violence has already begun and most of our Black leaders have strayed, are now fully grounded in materialism and have never showed any loyalty to the countries they are supposed to lead.
Min. Menelik Harris says many of our Black leaders are “clearly a highly treacherously trained re-colonized Black elite that has very little, to no commitment to Africans (read Black people), but are Trojans for their foreign masters.” Maybe their mind-set would have been different if they were grounded in even Marcus Garvey 101.
He closes by saying that Africans at home and abroad must unite and work for the Garvey-Nkrumah All African Union Government.
“Africa for the Africans — those at home and those abroad.” — Marcus Garvey.
So who are the Jamaican scientists Ambassador Johnson had hoped that our Black youth would have emulated and used as role models? They are: Richard Hill, Jamaica’s Great Naturalist; Cicely Williams, the Children’s Doctor and Saviour; Louis Grant, the Master of Disease; T. P. Lecky, the Great Cattle Breeder; A. J. Thomas, the Lover of Fish; Prof. Gerald Lalor, scientist who worked as Jamaica’s first nuclear scientist; and Paula Tennant, who hybridised the High Tech Solo Papaya (Paw-Paw) .
I close with the words of Sir Howard Cooke, former Governor General, who in his message said “I pray that the stories of these men and women will challenge Jamaicans, both young and old, to be patriotic in their endeavours and to give of themselves for the good of others, as these scientists have done.”
— Valerie Dixon is Lady President of the Universal Negro Improvement Association-African Communities League Kingston Division 454. Educator and Community Developer.