“In the Whirlwind and the Storm”: Marcus Garvey and the Performance of Black Nationalism

  • David Krasner


Marcus Garvey (1887–1940) and his Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) surfaced as a major demonstration of Black Nationalism. By 1920, Garvey’s large organization — according to reports by the organization, he had four to six million followers — sought a pan-Afro/Caribbeanism that was based on the triangular trade routes of Africa, the Caribbean, and the United States.3 Garvey’s movement was the first mass political movement of African Americans and played a significant role in the development of the Harlem Renaissance in general, and the emergence of Black Nationalism in particular. As a demonstration of the organization’s success, Garvey staged a parade on the first of August 1920, beginning at UNIA headquarters in Harlem, marching down Fifth Avenue, and concluding in a mass demonstration at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The meeting at the Garden, which ran through the entire month of August, illuminated the strength and influence of Garvey and his group.


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© David Krasner 2002

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  • David Krasner

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