Friday, August 31, 2012

Why We Need Government

1. National security, including the military, intelligence agencies, diplomatic efforts and development assistance, homeland defense, federal law enforcement, border control, natural-disaster response, and the area most recently added to the list by the Pentagon and the CIA, combating climate change.
2. Assistance to those otherwise unable to fully support themselves and to provide a decent retirement for seniors, including Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security, aid for the disabled, food stamps, unemployment benefits, nutrition aid for newborns and mothers, and public housing.
3. Equal access to opportunity, including federal aid to education for low-income and disabled students, the HOPE Scholarship tax credits for college tuition costs, the student-loan program, Pell Grants, work-study payments, and job-training assistance.
4. Economic development, including trade agreements; financing for businesses to enter new markets; incentives to create new businesses and jobs in advanced manufacturing, clean energy, energy efficiency, and other high-growth areas; investments in basic research and development and incentives for private research and development to be done in the United States; an adequate minimum wage and support for work and childrearing, including the Family and Medical Leave law and the child tax credit; Small Business Administration guaranteed, microcredit, and community development loans to promising businesses that would otherwise be shut out of credit markets; financing and other support to help companies sell products made in America in other countries; and incentives to invest in areas of high unemployment and low incomes.
5. Oversight of financial markets and institutions to ensure transparency and honest dealing, competition, and consumer choice and to limit leverage to avoid future collapses and bailouts.
6. Protection and advancement of public interests the market can't fix, including clean air, clean water, safe food, safe transportation, safe workplaces, civil rights, access to affordable health care, and preservation of natural resources for the common good, including national parks, national monuments, and national forests.
7. Providing investments, through tax or fee revenue, for projects we all need when the costs are too great or the cost recovery period too long for the private sector to finance, including highways, airports, rails, accelerated broadband connections, a national electric grid, and critical research and development in areas from space to advanced materials to nanotechnology and biotechnology to clean energy.
8. A revenue collection system, to collect taxes and issue credits and deductions deemed by Congress to be in the national interest, including tax deductions for home mortgage payments, charitable giving, health-care payments, children, and many business expenses and deductions.

Back To Work, Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy, by Bill Clinton, Knopf, 2011, p.49.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Linguine with Sausage, Greens and Egg Pan Sauce

Start to Finish: 23 min.

12  oz. fresh or 8 oz. dried linguine pasta
4   uncooked organic sweet or spicy Italian sausage links, skin removed (1 lb.)
1   clove garlic, finely chopped
4   egg yolks
½  cup whole milk, half-and-half, or light cream
½  cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (about 3 oz.)
2   tsp. finely shredded lemon peel (from 1 lemon)
¼  tsp. sea salt
¼  tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2   cups coarsely chopped mustard greens or turnip tops
     Handful fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley leaves
¼  cup shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano

1.  Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Cook linguine according to package directions. Drain, reserving ½ cup cooking liquid. Return to pot; cover to keep warm.

2.  Meanwhile, for pan sauce, cut sausage into little blunt-edged meatballs. In a large skillet cook sausage over medium-high heat until golden brown all over, about 5 minutes, adding garlic for the last minute of cooking. Set aside.

3.  In a medium bowl whisk together the egg yolks, milk, ½ cup grated cheese, the lemon peel, salt, and pepper. Add to the pot with the pasta. Add the hot sausage and chopped greens. Toss it all together, and let the heat from the pot and the linguine cook and thicken the egg to a silky sauce. Add ¼ to ½ cup reserved pasta water to loosen. Toss with the parsley and shaved cheese. Serve immediately in shallow bowls or plates.

Makes 4 servings

EACH SERVING: 828 cal, 51 g fat, 343 mg chol,
1,433 mg sodium, 51 g carb, 3 g fiber, 41 g pro.
September 2012

Caramelized Onion Breakfast Casserole

Slowly cooking onions breaks down their natural sugars, which intensifies and concentrates flavor. Make a big batch of caramelized onions and keep them on hand to add depth and a punch of richness to your favorite dishes, sauces, and dips. They'll keep in the refrigerator up to 4 days or in the freezer up to 3 months.

PREP: 30 min. CHILL: 2 to 24 hrs. BAKE: 40 min.
STAND: 10 min. OVEN: 325F

4   strips bacon
1   sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
2   cups broccoli florets
5   eggs
cups milk
½  tsp. dried basil, crushed
¼  tsp. salt
  tsp. pepper
4   cups crusty sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
4   oz. Muenster or Swiss cheese, cut into ½  -inch cubes

1. In a large skillet cook bacon until crisp; remove bacon, reserving 2 Tbsp. drippings in the skillet. Crumble bacon; set aside. Add onion to skillet. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and cook over medium heat until caramelized, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan cook broccoli for 3 minutes in enough lightly salted water to cover; drain.

2. In a large bowl combine eggs, milk, basil, salt, and pepper. Stir in bread, broccoli, cooked onion, cheese, and bacon. Transfer to a 2-quart square baking dish.
Cover and chill 2 to 24 hours.

3. Preheat oven to 325°F. Bake casserole, covered, for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 20 to 30 minutes more or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

EACH SERVING: 302 cal, 18g fat, 188mg chol,
 542 mg sodium, 19g carb, 1 g fiber, 17g pro
September 2012

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Radish and Cucumber Salad

12      radishes with tops (radishes sliced thinly; tops washed, sliced thinly, and reserved)
1        seedless English cucumber, washed and thinly sliced in rounds
½ tsp  kosher salt
½       cup rice vinegar
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp lime juice

In large bowl toss radish and cucumber slices with salt. Toss with vinegar, oil, and lime juice. Let stand.
Prep: 25 minutes
Stand: 1 hour

Friday, August 24, 2012

Noah Stewart - A Review

          A resounding commercial success in the U.K. when it was released in March 2012, the debut album of Harlem-born tenor Noah Stewart now finds its way to the U.S. in a somewhat altered state. Four tracks ("Campos de Oro," "Nearer My God to Thee," Massenet's "Pourquoi me reveiller" and "StilleNacht") have been dropped, and three new tracks ("I Have a Dream," "This Land Is Mine" and "The Star Spangled Banner") inserted in their place. As the CD runs only forty-two minutes, it is disappointing that the decision was made not to include all of the recorded selections on this issue.
          Released on Universal Music's "Verve" label, Noah is not a true classical album but a crossover release that straddles both popular and classical genres and demonstrates Stewart's ease with a variety of musical styles. He is particularly successful in the light classical-inspired ballads, such as the lilting David Whitfield-Mantovani favorite "Cara Mia," Vincent Youmans's "Without a Song" and Nicholas Brodzsky's ''I'll Walk with God" (originally sung by Mario Lanza on the soundtrack of MGM's The Student Prince). Throughout these selections, Stewart's warm, attractive tone is sensitively employed to croon and caress the lyrical phrases as required, while the high notes are for the most part securely produced. (The high G at the end of "Cara Mia" is an exception.) Even more impressive, however, are stirring renditions of "Deep River" (with choral support from Apollo Voices) and "Shenandoah." These familiar songs find new life in Stewart's heartfelt delivery and the initially restrained orchestral arrangements that swell to more epic, sweeping proportions. "Shenandoah" is particularly breathtaking; in fact, it is one of the finest recorded renditions of this American folk-song staple. A slightly less inspired performance of ''Amazing Grace" is also present, and several popular covers round out the disc - an Italian version of the Moody Blues's "Nights in White Satin" ("Notte di luce"), Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," ABBA's "I Have a Dream" and "This Land Is Mine" (otherwise known as the "Theme from Exodus").
          Stewart is accompanied by three different instrumental ensembles over the course of the program, though the singer's vocal tracks were recorded independently from the orchestral contributions and then combined (sometimes inconsistently) with the accompaniments after the fact. As a result, the final sound mix has a decidedly over-produced "pop" quality to it that is particularly unkind to the two classical selections, Puccini's "Recondita armonia" (from Tosca) and the Bach-Gounod ''Ave Maria." Both works are maligned by the recording orchestra do not remotely inhabit the same acoustic space.  Furthermore, Stewart's voice occasionally takes on a pinched, gritty texture in major climaxes that may be due to technical issues with the recording and mixing though there are times when the singing itself is notably less than optimal. One such moment occurs when the tenor blazes toward the finale of an otherwise strong performance of "The Star Spangled Banner," only to have his interpolated high A tighten unpleasantly.
          But in the end, there is so much "production" happening here that it is difficult to judge Stewart's singing on its own merits. This is a shame, because he clearly possesses a lovely voice and strong musical instincts, in addition to a strikingly handsome face - an all-around "package." As his opera career has begun to take off, one hopes that a future project will afford him the opportunity to document his singing in a more classical-friendly recording environment.

Review by Derek Greten-Harrison
Opera News, September 2012

"NOAH" Philharmonia Orchestra,
Dodd; The Vienna Session Orchestra, Bertl;
The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra,
Hein. No texts or translations.
 Verve 001701202

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Richard Strauss: Die Frau ohne Schatten

           As conductor Christian Thielemann notes in the worthwhile bonus interview that accompanies this release, Die Frau ohne Schatten inspires addicts. Fans collect casts, productions and recordings, and the more Frau lore one knows, the better. Still, this longtime Frau addict finished watching this production unsure of what it meant to say about the Empress's emotional trajectory, which seems to me the point of the piece. Even Thielemann and the director, Christof Loy, say contradictory things about the resonances of their production's final scene.
          Loy's fascinating yet frustrating production may leave first-time viewers of the already abstruse plot very confused. The director and his design team play with images of the work's first studio recording, in 1955, which was made under Karl Bohm, reputedly for no pay and in unheated conditions. The cast included Leonie Rysanek, Christel Goltz, Elisabeth Hangen, Hans Hopf and Paul Schoffler - all inspired. The recording was made in the Musikvereinssaal, not the Sofiensale, as depicted here, but Loy is claiming to be inspired by, not locked into, mere facts.
          A good thing, since the Empress character is meant to be a newcomer from a rich family (Rysanek was neither), the Emperor working in Europe for the first time (assuredly not Hopf). The marriage of the singers portraying Barak and his wife is nearing its breaking point – a conceit that clearly riffs on the doomed marriage of real-life stars Christa Ludwig and Walter Berry, who were paired in a later Viennese production and universally acclaimed in their parts there and elsewhere. (The highly capable Wolfgang Koch sports eyeglasses similar to Berry's and follows Berry's dynamic interpretation rather closely, evoking his predecessor's well-molded top voice more accurately than the sheer tonal mass he generated.) Much is meant to be made of the generational difference between Hongen (who sang the Nurse) and the younger Rysanek - twenty years, but a key twenty years in Viennese and world history.
          Anne Schwanewilms's wary, delicate impersonation of the Empress offers flutelike, instrumental vocalism, mainly beautiful. With her "Berre Davis eyes," soprano Evelyn Herlitzius makes a compelling, vibrant Dyer's Wife; her voice - no more a thing of great beauty than was Goltz's - is pliant, expressive and relatively comfortable at the demanding climaxes. The Blu-ray format is grossly unflattering to both of these (extremely attractive) women. Stephen Gould copes manfully with the Kaiser's grueling tasks, though high notes tend to be "fixed" and vibrato-less and he's no match in tonal
appeal for James King or Hopf. Michaela Schuster, an exuberantly detailed Nurse, enters 200 percent into her character, singing with abandon if occasional raw patches at range extremes.
          Thielemann's work is, simply put, superb. He rules the Vienna Philharmonic - which, as he says, is an optimal ensemble to perform this score. The texture and playing are quite staggering, and the vital solo cello and violin passages prove extraordinary. As in the Met's 2001 production (what a shame it was not documented, with Deborah Voigt in zenith form), Thielemann opens all of the extensive cuts Bohm made in the score, intensifying the demands made on the singers (and, frankly, on their auditors). The supporting cast has no weaknesses; particular honor goes to the Spirit Messenger of Thomas Johannes Mayer and the lovely-sounding Guardian of Christina Landshammer.

Review by David Shengold
Opera News, September 2012

Richard Strauss: Die Frau ohne Schatten
Schwanewilms, Herlitzius, Schuster; S. Gould, W. Koch, Mayer; Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor, Wiener Philharmoniker, Thielemann.
Production: Loy. Opus Arte OA BD 7104 D
(Blu-ray) or OA 1072 D (2 DVDs)
220 mins. (opera), 26 mins. (bonus), subtitled

Porgy and Bess nears the end of its Broadway run

          When you live in New York, there are many easy ways to talk yourself out of going to Broadway shows: you'll see it later in the run; you're tired and would rather order in and watch Revenge; you're going to make a statement by boycotting the show because the ticket prices are unconscionably high. But perhaps the lamest excuse in the book is one we've all heard: "I've heard it isn't that good." It's amazing how much faith we can put in that tired line. What does it mean exactly - "I've heard it isn't that good"? If we consider ourselves serious theatergoers, or concertgoers, or movie fans, maybe the least we can do is haul ourselves off the couch and go out and see for ourselves.
          If I sound angry, it's because I am - angry with myself for nearly having used "I've heard it isn't that good" as an excuse to skip The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess on Broadway. The revival, directed by Diane Paulus, was the subject of much bad advance publicity about cuts and changes and musical reductions made in the show. An article in the January issue of Opera News by music-theater historian Foster Hirsch, who saw the show during its earlier run at Boston's American Repertory Theater, was filled with sharply critical comments. I had decided to give Porgy and Bess a miss, until a friend offered me a ticket in early June, just days before the show earned Tony Awards for Best Revival of a Musical and Best Actress in a Musical (Audra McDonald).  If I had passed it up, I would have lost out on one of the great musical-theater experiences in recent years.
          When the overture began, I got nervous: we live in a time when many musicals are being put through a slimming-down process in order to make it to the stage at all. Here, the reduced orchestra couldn't make the overture swell the way I longed for it to do. This, however, turned out to be all of a piece with Paulus' often harrowingly intimate vision of Porgy and Bess. As the show unfolded, there wasn't a single moment when I missed the grand-opera approach to which we've long grown accustomed. "Bess, You Is My Woman Now" was completely reimagined as an emotionally naked exploration of two people quietly overcome by their feeling for each other - so quietly that at times they can barely get out the words. (I won't soon forget the way Norm Lewis's voice broke on "wintertime.") "I Loves You, Porgy" unfolded in a similar fashion. I've heard people complain that Audra McDonald often illuminates rather than inhabits the songs she sings, but this carnal, all-out performance as Bess surpassed anything I have ever seen her do. Lewis, apart from possessing a magnificent voice, had great charm, sexiness and something you don't often find in a Broadway musical- genuine warmth. Phillip Boykin brought amazing physical dimension to Crown; his rape of Bess was so terrifying in its prelude and aftermath that we didn't need to see anything more. David Alan Grier was an ideal, oily Sportin' life.  Natasha Yvette Williams, as Mariah, gave her lines a thrilling if sometimes anachronistic comic spin, and I have seldom seen from-the-gut acting and singing integrated quite so fully as they were in Bryonha Marie Parham’s interpretation of "My Man's Gone Now." (The performances were all the more impressive because they had Riccardo Hernandez’s sets as a backdrop; ugly and evoking no atmosphere or emotion whatsoever, they were an insult not only to the audience but to the artists.) The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess is scheduled to run until September 30 only; it would be a sad mistake to miss it.

On the Beat by Brian Kellow
OPERA NEWS, September 2012

Friday, August 17, 2012

What was the source of the growth of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and why did Marcus Garvey gain popularity during the period from 1917 to 1921?

Universal Negro Improvement Association (U

Marcus Garvey founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) which to propose ideals and a philosophy for Negro self-reliance and African redemption in 1914.  In 1917 Garvey along with a handful of compatriots organized the Harlem chapter of the UNIA.  This would later become the parent body of the revamped UNIA.  UNIA grew rapidly into a mass movement at the end of World War I and with dozens of chapters worldwide it became the largest and the most influential black organization of its time.  UNIA's “First International Convention of the Negro Peoples of the World” opened in Liberty Hall in New York on August 1, 1920.  Approximately two thousand delegates from twenty-two countries were present, representing approximately three million paid members.  UNIA grew from 100 paid members in 1917 to over three million paid members in 1921 and constituted the largest U.S. membership organization led by and for the benefit of African Americans.  Did Garvey possess unique talents and skills of oration and organization that fueled the extraordinary growth of UNIA?  A number of historians have attempted to identify the reason for such growth.  It has been proposed that it was a phenomena of the times; that it satisfied the need for the community to organize at a macro level in order to address issues facing all African Americans; or was just one man and his vision and leadership, specifically Marcus Garvey, “the right man at the right time in history?

Black veterans who returned from WWI hoped to find an American society ready to accept them as equals.  Instead what they found was a society more violent and intolerant to them than prior to their departure.  In the worst period of anti-Black violence in America, labeled “Red Summer,” riots and lynchings were abundant from April to November 1919 and claimed hundreds of black lives and left thousands of blacks homeless.  “The Jim Crow laws, lynch mobs, and the race riots of the nineteen twenties exacerbated the racial hostility of White Americans towards Black Americans.”[1]  “The great hopes of the war years dissolved into bitter cynicism in the face of the brutal realities of the postwar situation.  It is not surprising that many blacks sought escape in radicalism or looked for a new leader to provide relief from the injustices of American life.”[2]

Historians have acknowledged the postwar period that immediately followed the end of World War I as a period of transformation from an agrarian society to an urban society.  This period coincided with the Progressive Movement, highlighted by the rise of various mass movements, including the Women's Trade Union League, the Women's Christian Temperance Union, the National American Woman Suffrage Association, the National Consumers' League, the second Ku Klux Klan and a vast system of "Americanizing" centers known as settlement houses.  A number of service organizations were also founded during this period to service the needs and aspirations of African-Americans, most notably the NAACP in 1909 and fraternal secret societies on the campuses of historical black colleges between 1906 and 1920.  In this climate of hatred and fear, the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), founded by Marcus Garvey, presented an organization based on fraternal benefit, racial pride, mutual improvement of the black community, and cultural self-awareness as an alternative to political cooperation with the White American establishment.  Garvey was one of many historic actors involved in the story of UNIA which included W.E.B. Du Bois ((founder of the National Association for the Advancement for Colored People (NAACP)), A. Philip Randolph (labor organizer), Hubert Harrison (socialist writer), Calvin Coolidge (Massachusetts governor, later President of the United States), Eugene Debs (labor leader and politician), Emma Goldman (anarchist), J. Edgar Hoover (law enforcement investigator), and A. Mitchell Palmer (attorney general).

            The militant “New Negro Movement” advocated a call for armed self-defense and the desire to have their political voice heard.  Author Hubert Harrison, journalist Cyril Briggs, and NAACP founder W.E.B. Du Bois were members of this movement.  The most militant member of the “New Negro Movement” was Marcus Garvey.  Garvey’s speeches and writings which were published daily in three languages in The Negro World advocated self-improvement and Black liberation.  Contributing to Garvey’s amazing success in the rapid organization of the individuals sympathetic to his message was his establishment in January, 1918, of The Negro World.  “Within a space of a few months The Negro World became one of the leading Negro weeklies, and as such it proved to be a most effective instrument for the promulgation of Garvey’s program.”[3]

“The Jamaica-born Garvey had come to the United States in March 1916 in order to raise funds to set up an industrial school in Jamaica similar to Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee Institute, which he admired.”[4]  After traveling through the United States to raise funds, Garvey inaugurated the New York Division of the UNIA in 1917 with 13 members.  “It took a mere three months for the organization’s dues-paying membership to reach 5,000.”[5]  During 1919 and 1920, UNIA enjoyed a remarkable explosion of growth.  “Garvey traveled extensively throughout the United States and established branches of the association in most urban centers of Negro population.”[6]  In 1919, Garvey was still a fresh voice to most African-Americans.  His ideas thrilled tens of thousands whenever he spoke.  “Under his leadership UNIA expressed an ideology of black pride and of black capacity for organization and socio-economic action which, in the United States, attracted the mass, enthusiastic support of black workers for nearly a decade.”[7] Garvey said:  Now we have started to speak, and I am only the forerunner of an awakened Africa that shall never go back to sleep. [8]  Garvey’s advocacy of racial separatism appealed to many African-Americans, and the UNIA grew rapidly.  “Lynchings and race riots all work to our advantage by teaching the Negro that we must build a civilization of his own [sic] or forever remain the white man’s victim,”[9] Garvey told his supporters.  Garvey’s first speeches were filled with the

flashy rage of his oratory, and fed the malaise of the Negro Twilight (as real as the Celtic) with his prophecies of paradise. If they would forget their racial shame and turn it into pride, he promised a movement on such a scale that the white man would have to bend to its will.  The prize to be wrung, principally from the white Colonial Powers, was the African continent: there his race would be able to lift up its head and create a future to match the splendors of Sheba.[10]


On October 14, 1919 Garvey was the victim of a failed assassination attempt.  A man named George Tyler visited Garvey at his office in Harlem, claiming to have been sent by Manhattan assistant District Attorney, Edwin Kilroe.  Tyler pulled out a gun and shot Garvey in the right leg and the second shot grazed Garvey’s head.  Tyler was arrested but was reported to have committed “suicide” outside his jail cell the day after his arrest.  Despite Garvey’s injuries, he hastily rearranged his speaking schedule and booked three engagements immediately after his hospital discharge.  “It was a hugely transformative moment.  From then on, according to Professor Robert Hill, the curator of Garvey’s papers, the career of the UNIA leader took on quasi-religious proportions.”[11]  Garvey claimed that the assassin’s bullets were divinely intercepted and that his “mission” was now divinely ordained.[12]  Members of the black intellectual circle now wrote Garvey off as a self-promoter and charlatan who believed his own propaganda.  “The most notable of Garvey's rivals, W.E.B. Du Bois, described him as ‘dictatorial, domineering, inordinately vain and very suspicious.’ ”[13]

Beyond the propaganda and rhetoric of its charismatic leader, UNIA did appeal to some fundamental need or psychological need of the urban Black American which would explain its phenomenal growth in membership.  Said Garvey,

The days of slavery are not gone forever. Slavery is threatened for every race and nation that remains weak and refuses to organize its strength for its own protection.[14]


Amy Jacques Garvey, who posthumously published her husband’s Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey in1968, stated that “the UNIA being the first organization to proclaim self-determination for people of African ancestry it was in the best position advocate for the disenfranchised and unrepresented aspirations of Black Americans.”[15]  The motto of the organization ‘One God! One Aim! One Destiny!’ may have been the theme of the first Black Nationalist movement.

            Historian Jeannette Smith-Irvin collected six conversations that offer a unique view of UNIA from the perspective of some members from its founding years.  Collectively, these “griots” have narrated their experiences regarding the greatest mass movement of Blacks in the world in her published work, Footsoldiers of the Universal Negro Improvement Association: Their Own Words (1989).  Examples of the attraction of UNIA can be found in Footsoldiers.  Thomas Harvey, who was interviewed by Smith-Irvin in 1975 and 1975, stated:  “When I work for the UNIA I work for me because the UNIA is about me.”[16]  Harvey stated that it was also the energy, pageantry, and excitement that attracted him to UNIA.

He [Garvey] came to Philadelphia to speak at the old Olympia Theater on Broad Street one Sunday, and I decided to go down and see what Marcus Garvey looked like. The place was packed to the rafters, people all in uniforms, parading up and down liked they were somebody.  After a while, someone got up and shouted, ‘Attention!’ and everybody stood up and this little short man was striding in with all these men following with Garvey was Chief Justice James Dorsey from Liberia and a fellow who was then Commissioner for Pennsylvania. Garvey delivered his message entitled ‘The World Can Not Disarm.’ I was pretty much sold on Garvey and the UNIA after that. Several weeks later Garvey was on the front page of The Negro World for a farewell speech he made before planning to tour the West Indies.[17]


The leaders of UNIA also used the technology of the times to their advantage to spread their message and encourage new members.  Harvey observed:


We had membership drives. Members were recruited thought advertisements and through other members. Members would go out and get someone to come to our meetings or talk them into joining the UNIA. We used to have something like a narrator at the meetings, some person who always dealt with the news media, just like a commentator on the radio. Every Sunday at three o’clock, when the meeting was opened, we had a person give all the news and tell what was happening around the World and how it affected Negroes and other people. And a lot of people used to come just for that.[18] [1920]


The UNIA carried itself for a long time mainly on contributions, fundraising drives, and dues. We established the Black Cross Navigational Trading Company after the Black Star Line was started. Mr. Garvey would send out executive officers to different sections of the country and tell them to raise so much money. When LeVon Sherrill was sent to Detroit, he was told to raise $5,000. When Sherrill left Detroit he had raised $10,000.[19] [1920]


            The interview of John Charles Zampty in 1974 by Smith-Irvin provide insight and offers a different perspective of African Americans who felt that American society would never give its minorities equal treatment or equal standing before the law.  UNIA proclaimed self-improvement and self-reliance rather than accommodation or negotiation with the political establishment.  This attitude far exceeded the position taken by Booker T. Washington or Garvey’s contempories in regards to accomidation and cooperation within the larger American society.  Possibly as a result of the racial violence during the “Red Summer” of 1919, Garvey preached night after night that African Americans would never be treated as equals without controlling their own destiny.  A UNIA member recalls that:

Our ideas and feelings at that time were that the Black man, at some point in his life, had to begin to lay the foundation for economic salvation and that in so doing he would be able to let the world know that he has accepted the idea, knowledge, and wisdom that God helps those who help themselves. The UNIA, at that time, and even now, has been the most profound, most constructive organization on the face of the earth, not only among the Black race of the world, but among other races as well.[20]


There are other political organizations, such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Their program has been in existence since 1909, and I have watched its activities among its officers and members in every area and I do not think they have accomplished what we have accomplished. I am not in sympathy with the program of the NAACP. Their program is advocating integration, and no one – no power on earth or in heaven – can force integration upon a people unless they themselves are willing to open their hearts and their minds to accept others. As a result of that, from 1909 to the present, I do not see any good that the NAACP has done or is doing as far as their program is concerned.[21]


Garvey’s philosophy was and is still attractive to the social movements that espouse an independent, separate and self-reliant objective.  In this sense Garvey was a unique social phenomenon at the turn of the twenty-century.  It was different from other black fraternal, self-improvement societies or religious orders.  Garvey aroused the strong passion in African Americans living in Georgia as much as those of New York or even in Kenya.  This emotion was articulated by a UNIA member who said, “He [Garvey] made the black man an important person in his immediate environment.  Garvey invented honors and social distinctions for the black man.  He might be a porter during the day, taking orders from whites, but at night he was an officer in the Black army when it assembled in Liberty Hall.”[22]

There are however two monumental examples of Garvey’s failure to use his rhetoric to overcome the obstacles of racism and barriers to opportunity for African Americans.  The Negro Factory Corporation (NFC) and the Black Star Line (BSL) were two business activities created by the UNIA.  “The NFC was patterned after Booker T. Washington’s National Business League, prescribed to meet all the social and industrial needs of the black community.”[23]  “In principle, the NFC was designed to assist black cooperatives with technical guidance, organizational skills and initial monetary capital.”[24]  Garvey’s philosophy and opinions quickly demonstrated that when he spoke of capitalism, he never understood what dictated the implementation of capital.  Garvey was ultimately unable to accumulate the necessary capital to invest and reinvest in successful business models.  Garvey’s mistaken position was that race as a whole should dictate all business decisions:

Individualism is largely responsible for our present condition of affairs.  If we buy from our own and support our own, we can build a place that we own.  All we have to do is work together and co-operate.[25]


To UNIA members, the NFC was to ensure that the black community, through cooperative activity, “would act as a repository for black resources, ration profits based on participants’ investments and generate businesses essential to the development of the race.”[26]  The initial success of the four NFC industries[27] was distempered by poor management, theft and lack of acceptable accounting principles and practices.  Within one year after opening all enterprises they were operating at a huge financial loss due to mismanagement, theft, and failure to operate in a competitive nature within the community.  Regardless of the economic failure of these endeavors, Black Harlem was grateful.  “Its inhabitants took time off to praise Garvey’s attempts at self-autonomy and redemption.”[28]

Industrial enterprises like the UNIA’s were advocated by the late Booker T. Washington, but the great captain of industry could never make his enterprises obtain in the North, from which he obtained millions of dollars of support. This failure was due to Washington’s advocacy of the return of the Negro to the Southland and live in subjection to the white man and support him by efficacy in productiveness while the white man lives in idleness.  Marcus Garvey’s program of race patronage and race industries has obtained in the North because the movement as, as its goal, the redemption of Africa and the restoration of the Ethiopian Empire.[29]


The second failure of UNIA and Garvey was the Black Star Line (BSL).  In January 1922 the U.S. government arrested and charged Garvey with using the U.S. Mail to misrepresent and defraud the public.[30]  The BSL was not equipped with sufficient capital, management or technology to run a shipping line.  Garvey did not know anything about ships or maritime commerce; the BSL vice-president, Jeremiah Certain, was a cigar maker; the BSL second vice-president, George Tobias, was an elocutionist and reader; and Green and Johnson, the traffic managers BSL, “were not at all familiar with the business.”[31]  Garvey’s trial ended on June 23, 1923, and Garvey was sentenced to five years in prison.  After exhausting numerous appeals Garvey began serving his sentence at the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary on February 8, 1925.  Garvey’s sentence was eventually commuted by President Calvin Coolidge and upon his release in November 1927, Garvey was deported to Jamaica, B.W.I.  “Though the popularity of the UNIA diminished greatly following Garvey’s expulsion, he nevertheless remained committed to his political ideals.”[32]

Hubert Harrison, a contemporary of Marcus Garvey in the “New Negro Movement,” was highly critical of Garvey’s egocentric politics and practices and this eventually led to a break between the two Black nationalists.  Harrison articulated concern regarding the extravagance of Garvey’s claims of success, Garvey’s ego, and Garvey’s lack of organizational leadership.  Harrison predicted Garvey’s downfall by the conduct of his stock selling and financial schemes.[33]  It seems sad and regrettable that Garvey and Harrison could not repair their relationship as their goals and aspirations for the race were identical.  “While Harrison continued to write columns and book reviews for The Negro World into 1922, their political difference grew, and Harrison eventually worked against and sought to develop political alternatives to Garvey.”[34]

It is clear that Garvey did strike a fundamentally unique cord in the collective consciousness of African-Americans.  In December 1920 a leading New York periodical published the following statement:

The most striking new figure among American Negroes is Marcus Garvey. His significance lies in the fact that he embodies and directs a new spirit among Negroes. Whatever may happen to his grandiose schemes of finance and politics, he is the best point at which to study what is going on inside the heads of ten million colored people in the United States.[35]


“The phenomenal growth of UNIA must be seen against the backdrop of' the urban Negro's disillusionment following World War I, and their groping for a way out.”[36]  It seems apparent that if not Garvey then some other dynamic figure would have caught the attention of the African-American community who wanted a leader to articulate their frustrations and anger toward the lack of legal protection and civil rights.  The instant and phenomenal growth of UNIA was due in part to Garvey’s use of media and advertising to promote his philosophy of self-determination and in part to the desire of the African-American community to believe in a leader who could lead them into the promised land of civil liberties and economic prosperity, hence Garvey’s nickname, “the Black Moses”.  I believe Garvey was “the right man at the right time in history” by his admonition to his followers, “Up, you mighty race. You can accomplish what you will.[37]




Chapman, Thandeka K. 2004. "Foundations of Multicultural Education: Marcus Garvey and the United Negro Improvement Association". Journal of Negro Education. 73, no. 4: 424-434.


Clarke, John Henrik. 1974. "Marcus Garvey: The Harlem Years". Transition. 9, no. 46.


Cronon, Edmund David. Black Moses: The Story of Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1969.


Fitzgerald, John M., and Otey M. Scruggs. 1978. "A Note on Marcus Garvey at Harvard, 1922: A Recollection of John M. Fitzgerald". Journal of Negro History. 63, no. 2: 157-160.


Garvey, Marcus, and Amy Jacques Garvey. Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey. New York: Arno Press, 1968.


Garvey, Marcus, and Robert Blaisdell. Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey. Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications, 2004.


Grant, Colin. Negro with a Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.


Graves, John L. 1962. "The Social Ideas of Marcus Garvey". Journal of Negro Education. 31, no. 1: 65-74.


Hill, Robert A., and Marcus Garvey. The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983. Volume 1 (1826 – August 1919). Volume 2 (August 1919 – August 1920).


James, C. Boyd. Garvey, Garveyism, and the Antinomies in Black Redemption. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2009.


Martin, Tony. Race First: The Ideological and Organizational Struggles of Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 1976.


McWhirter, Cameron. Red Summer: The Summer of 1919 and the Awakening of Black America. New York, N.Y.: Henry Holt & Co, 2011.


Perry, Jeffrey Babcock. Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918. New York: Columbia University Press, 2009.


Pruter, Karl. The Strange Partnership of George Alexander McGuire and Marcus Garvey. San Bernardino, Calif: Borgo Press, 1986.


Rolinson, Mary G. Grassroots Garveyism: The Universal Negro Improvement Association in the Rural South, 1920-1927. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007.


Smith-Irvin, Jeannette. Footsoldiers of the Universal Negro Improvement Association: Their Own Words. Trenton, N.J.: Africa World Press, 1989.



[1] Jeannette Smith-Irvin. Footsoldiers of the Universal Negro Improvement Association: Their Own Words. Trenton: New Jersey, 1989. p.3.

[2] Marcus Garvey and Robert Blaisdell. Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey. Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications, 2004, p.34.

[3] E. David Cronon, Black Moses: The Story of Marcus Garvey. University of Wisconsin Press: Madison, 1968. p.45.

[4] Jeffrey B. Perry, Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism. Columbia University Press: New York, 2009. p.294.

[5] Cronon, p.44.

[6] Ibid., p.44.

[7] Ibid., p.xi.

[8] Garvey, Selected Writings, p.22.

[9] Marcus Garvey, “The Handwriting Is on the Wall” speech 31 August 1921, New York City.  Selected Writings and Speeches, p.49.

[10] Alan Gray, African Affairs, Vol. 54, No. 216 (July 1955), pp. 233-234.

[11] Colin Grant, Negro with a Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008. p. 214.

[12] Ibid., p. 197.

[13] Grant, Negro with a Hat, p.55.

[14] Marcus Garvey, “The World Gone Mad – Force Only Argument to Correct Human Ills” speech 16 May 1923, New York City.  Selected Writings and Speeches, p.123.

[15] Marcus Garvey, Marcus, and Amy Jacques Garvey. Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey. New York: Arno Press, 1968, p. 14.

[16] Smith-Irvin, Footsoldiers. p.23.

[17] Ibid., p.24.

[18] Ibid., p.26.

[19] Ibid., p.28.

[20] Ibid., p.42.

[21] Ibid., p.48.

[22] Ibid., p.76.

[23] Negro World, 4 March 1921.

[24] Ibid., 4 March 1921.

[25] Ibid., 4 March 1921.

[26] Ibid., 21 February 1921.

[27] The Universal Steam Laundry, established in the fall of 1920, located at the corner of 142nd Street and West Avenue; two restaurants: one was located at 120 West 138th Street and served a maximum of 50 people at one sitting, the other, a smaller version, was located at 73 West 135th Street; and the Universal Tailoring and Dressmaking Shop located at 62 West 142nd Street. The Negro World, 22 April and 8 July 1921.

[28] Jones, p.47.

[29] Negro World, 8 July 1921.

[30] The New York Times, 13 January 1922.

[31] Cleveland Gazette, 27 October 1923. See Garvey’s own statement: “I am not a navigator, nor am I a marine engineer. I am not even a good sailor; therefore any individual who would criticize Marcus Garvey for a ship of the Black Star Line not making a success at sea is a fool.”

[32] Sophia Skyers. Marcus Garvey and the Philosophy of Black Pride. Wilfrid Laurier University Review. 1982.

[33] Ibid., p.292.

[34] Ibid., p.12.

[35] Robert Brisbane, Phylon, Vol. 16, No. 2 (2nd Qtr., 1955), pp. 209-210.

[36] Benjamin Quarles, The Journal of Negro Education, Vol. 24, No. 4 (Autumn, 1955), pp. 443-445.

[37] Ibid., p.125.