“The dream is never too much to bear”

by Nicholas Laughlin on August 17, 2010

Marcus Garvey

Marcus Garvey. Photograph courtesy Oxford University Press

As I mentioned in the previous post, today is V.S. Naipaul’s birthday — which he shares, by [insert preferred adjective] coincidence, with Marcus Garvey.

Geoffrey Philp is celebrating the latter over at his blog, with a poem (“Marcus, the dream is never too much to bear”) and a guest post by Colin Grant, author of the recent biography Negro with a Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey. Philp asked Grant: if Garvey were alive today, would he be blogging? (He also posed the question to his readers, via an online poll; eighty-three per cent have answered in the affirmative.)

Grant writes:

Marcus Garvey had shown a love of words and learning from a young age. Famously, he walked around the quiet coastal town of St Ann’s Bay in Jamaica with a dictionary in his pocket. He’d learn half a dozen new words in the morning and try them out in conversation with his friends and startled adults in the evening . . .

Garvey, with the username “Black Star Rising”, would not confine himself to a blog; he would be an engaging and energetic user of Twitter, with lots of “followers,” and would have an active and influential Facebook page, with lots of “friends.”

One excellent online Garvey resource is the website of the UCLA African Studies Centre’s Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers Project, which is engaged in publishing a definitive edition of the massive archive of documents covering Garvey’s career. The website includes a good introductory biography, excerpts from the published volumes, and downloadable files of the only known audio recordings of Garvey.

(Jeremy Taylor reviewed Grant’s Negro with a Hat in the August 2008 CRB.)

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: