Oxford AASC: Photo Essay

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PHOTO ESSAY

Black Conservatives

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Marcus Garvey

Marcus Garvey. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Marcus Garvey's ideology, most commonly described as separatist, contained elements of modern conservative belief—most significantly a fiercely expressed devotion to self-reliance. He founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in 1914, believing that African Americans could rely only on themselves for economic and social advancement. The organization's most ambitious effort, the Black Star Line Steamship Corporation, was undertaken explicitly to foster economic ties between African Americans, West Indians, and Africans, who working in tandem could "gather [their] share of the wealth there is in the world." Speaking at Carnegie Hall in 1923, Garvey explained as much, stating that "the Universal Negro Improvement Association seeks independence of government, while the other organizations seek to make the Negro a secondary part of existing governments." His zealous dedication to black self-determination made for controversial allies, however, including Ku Klux Klan leader Edward Clarke, whom Garvey infamously met with in 1922 to denounce integration and gain support for African American emigration to Liberia.

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