Marcus Garvey is the foremost black conscious political figure from the 19th century onwards.
Even though he was pretentious, grandiose, maybe even delusional in what he thought he could achieve, it is he who is constantly highlighted as starting a chain reaction of black consciousness from his time until now. It’s like there’s 6 degrees of separation between him and nearly every political personality or movement of the African Diaspora since the early 1900’s.
Booker T Washington? His book Up from Slavery inspired young Garvey in Black Nationalism and lit a fire within him that he had to keep burning.
One of Garvey’s counterparts in black redemption in the U.S at the time, his nemesis they rarely agreed.
Malcolm X? There is no story of Malcolm Little becoming Malcolm X without Garvey. His father and mother were avid and very active Garveyites, they both worked at UNIA posts and even migrated from Montreal to the American South to set up UNIA office. For Mr and Mrs Little’s love of self, the KKK firebombed their house, the heart-wrenching opening scene of the Malcolm X movie.
The Black Panthers? Chanting “Black is Beautiful” is Daddy Marcus– STRAIGHT. He said “take the kinks out of your mind and not your hair!”, he was against black people straightening their hair and refused to accept these ads for print in his newspaper The Negro World even though he parlayed and took sponsorship from Madame C.J Walker, the first Black Woman to become a Millionaire in the USA…. from a product that straightened black people’s hair.
Bob Marley? Rastafari as a movement and popular knowledge of HIM Haile Selassie Iamong Black people of the West exists because of Garvey. Garvey is seen as the ‘John the Baptist heralding the coming of the King. The famous opening lyrics of Redemption Song “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds!”, are words lifted right from Garvey’s tongue.
The Links are all there. He is extraordinary in how many people he has inspired.