Universal Negro Improvement Association: A Case Study

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The Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) was a fraternal African nationalist organization founded in July of 1914 by Marcus Mosiah Garvey, with the intent to galvanize the cooperation of African Americans within the United States and around the world. The prerogative of the UNIA was to promote racial pride, unity, and independence among those in the African Diaspora, even going so far as to push for a “Back to Africa” movement. This paper will analyze the role of UNIA in shaping the future of those of African descent around the world, with respect to promoting the push towards social, economic, and legislative equality of Africans around the world through social involvement and financing business prospects. The UNIA first began…show more content…
One such undertaking was the funding of the Negro Factories Corporation, a project whose aim was to “build and operate factories in the big industrial centers of the United States, Central America, the West Indies and Africa to manufacture every marketable commodity. " Moreover, the corporation also funded a series of grocery stores, restaurants, a tailor and dress making shop, and many other such small businesses. Then, on June 23rd, 1919, the Black Star line was incorporated in Delaware, which was named after the successful White Star line shipping company, and whose purpose was to facilitate the transportation of goods, and eventually African Americans for Garvey’s “Back to Africa” Movement, throughout the African global economy. While many of these business endeavors would not come to fruition, they represented the desire of many African Americans, and those in other Diaspora communities, for economic independence and solvency. Garvey’s UNIA managed to unite millions of African Americans in the pursuit of a life where they were treated equally and not bound by the chains of racial segregation and institutional racism. Through this combined unity, the ideas of Marcus Garvey would add fuel to the growing fire that represented African Americans’ desire for civil, social, and economic equality in the decades to…show more content…
It is for this reason that I chose to analyze the impact of UNIA on Africa, the African Diaspora, and the world. Marcus Garvey was able to rally the disenfranchised by pointing out the injustices they faced and actively work towards unifying his people, so as to fight these injustices. While his goals were considered lofty, Marcus Garvey managed to unite millions of Africans of the Diaspora together towards the common goal of gaining equality, economically and socially, and also creating a solvent and powerful African nation. While his enterprise failed, Marcus Garvey and his work are a symbol of pride and strength in the face of a system set against them, and is remarkable when analyzing the roots of universal African movements against existing racial hierarchies around the world. Thus, I believe that this organization is critical to the field of Africana Studies, as it represents one of the largest unified African movements against social, economic, and legislative injustices faced by Africans in both the US and in the Diaspora, as well as a movement that emphasized racial pride and liberation from the psychological bondage of racial

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