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Political Ideas – Marcus Garvey

2. Key Ideas and Political Activism

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In this module, we explore Garvey’s key ideas and political activism, focusing in particular on: (i) the founding of the UNIA-ACL; (ii) the UNIA as an organisation that functioned both on a local and global level; (iii) the scale of the organisation and the effectiveness of this activism; (iv) the Black Star Line and the ‘Back to Africa’ movement; (v) Garvey’s argument that given the scope and power of racist systems, reforming such systems is impossible; (vi) why this message resonated in the period; (vii) the importance of the Garveys’ globally-circulating newspaper ‘The Negro World’; (viii) the recognition of the UNIA at the 1921 League of Nations; (ix) the derailing of the movement towards the latter 1920s due to Garvey’s imprisonment.


In this course, Professor Kehinde Andrews (Birmingham City University) explores the ideas and politics of Marcus Garvey and the movement of Garveyism. In the first module, we explore Garveyism, Britain, and the concept of the nation-state, focusing in particular on how Garveyism challenges the concept of the nation and the nation-state. In the second module we explore Garvey’s key ideas and political activism, including his ‘Back to Africa’ movement. In the third module, we explore the concept of nationalism in Garvey’s thought, focusing in particular on the idea of the global Black nation, as well as how this idea challenges the Western concept of the nation-state as established in Treaty of Westphalia (1648). In the fourth module we turn to criticisms of Garveyism, including Garvey’s controversial and strategic involvement with the Ku Klux Klan. Then, in the fifth and final module, we outline the fundamental differences between Garveyism and Pan-Africanism.


Kehinde Andrews is Professor of Black Studies at Birmingham City University. Professor Andrews is an academic, activist and author whose books include 'Back to Black: Retelling Black Radicalism for the 21st Century' (2018) and 'Resisting Racism: Race, Inequality and the Black Supplementary School Movement' (2013). He is currently engaged in a project examining the role of Black radicalism in contemporary organising against racial oppression.

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APA style

Andrews, K. (2022, June 14). Political Ideas – Marcus Garvey - Key Ideas and Political Activism [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Andrews, K. "Political Ideas – Marcus Garvey – Key Ideas and Political Activism." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 14 Jun 2022,

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