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Five Gifts Marcus Mosiah Garvey Gave the African World – A Birthday Tribute

August 17, 2016 at 05:00 pm | History

Deidre Gantt

Deidre Gantt | Contributor

August 17, 2016 at 05:00 pm | History

An artist's rendering of Ghana's first president, Kwame Nkrumah, with the Garvey-inspired flag. Office Holidays

An artist’s rendering of Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah, with the Garvey-inspired flag. Office Holidays

The Black Star at the heart of Ghana’s flag
While Kwame Nkrumah was studying at historically black Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, he became aware of Garvey’s movement and writings. “Long before many of us were conscious of our own degradation, Marcus Garvey fought for African national and rational equality,” Nkrumah stated. In the more well-known conclusion of this statement, Nkrumah admitted, “Of all literature I studied, the book that did more than any other to fire my enthusiasm was Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey.”

So deeply was Garvey’s influence that many years later, when Nkrumah became President of the newly independent Ghana, he wove Garvey’s Black Star symbolism into the nation’s identity. A black “lode star” sits in the middle of Ghana’s flag, and the name Black Star has been used as a nickname for the national football team as well as the shipping line that Nkrumah created soon after his election to the presidency. “You laughed at Garvey,” Nkrumah warned naysayers, “but you will never laugh at us.”

Nkrumah employed Garvey’s ideas in his leadership of Africa’s first independent nation, industrializing Ghana’s economy at a dizzying speed in order to build the nation’s economic base. He also used Ghana’s position to support liberation movements in the rest of colonial Africa, declaring that “our independence is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of Africa.”

Nkrumah went on to proclaim that “all people of African descent, whether they live in North or South America, the Caribbean, or in any part of the world are Africans and belong to the African nation.”

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