Marcus Garvey

Marcus GarveyMarcus Garvey
Civil Rights Activist (1887–1940)

“Hungry men have no respect for law, authority or human life.”
—Marcus Garvey

Born in Jamaica, Marcus Garvey was an orator for the Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism movements, to which end he founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League. Garvey advanced a Pan-African philosophy which inspired a global mass movement, known as Garveyism. Garveyism would eventually inspire others, from the Nation of Islam to the Rastafari movement.

Early Life

Social activist Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr. was born on August 17, 1887, in St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica. Self-educated, Garvey founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association, dedicated to promoting African-Americans and resettlement in Africa. In the United States he launched several businesses to promote a separate black nation. Continue reading

Bristol Slavery Profits

Blaise Castle HouseProfits

The profits that traders and plantation owners made from the slave trade and African labour could be large. Such profits were not necessarily put back into the business. Instead, many chose to spend their money on home comforts and invested in property. By the mid 1700s, many people who lived in Bristol who were involved in the African slave trade or who owned (but did not live on) Caribbean plantations moved out of the central area of Bristol. They moved to areas such as Clifton that were considered then to be ‘leafy suburbs’.

Some traders and plantation owners moved further out of the city to live in the surrounding countryside, adopting the style of the country landowner. Henry Hobhouse for example, from a slave trading family, acquired land at Castle Cary, in nearby Somerset. The Harfords, whose brass factories provided trade goods to the slave traders, bought property in Cardiganshire, in south west Wales. Caleb Dickinson (who owned a Jamaican plantation and traded in sugar in Bristol), purchased King Weston house in Somerton, Somerset. The Helyar family, who also owned Jamaican sugar plantations, owned Coker Court in East Coker near Yeovil, Somerset. Continue reading

UK Plantation Economy

Advertisement, an estate for sale on NevisThe plantation economy

Land in the Caribbean islands was cheap, but the costs of setting up a sugar plantation were high. Sir Dalby Thomas in 1690 estimated that a 100 acre plantation on the island of Barbados, with 50 enslaved Africans, seven white indentured servants, sugar mill, boiling works, equipment and livestock would cost £5,625 (over £250,000 at today’s values). To recover these costs, the plantations had to produce enough good quality sugar to pay off debts and mortgages and cover the running costs each year. The owners also wanted a profit. Some families, such as the Pinneys of Nevis in the Caribbean and Bristol, were able to build up a fortune based on land, sugar producing and trading.

Enslaved people from Africa were the basis of these sugar fortunes. John Pinney, a plantation owner on the island of Nevis, wrote in the 1760s to his managers “a word respecting the care of my slaves and stock [animals] – your own good sense must tell you they are the sinews of a Plantation and must claim your particular care and attention”. He also wrote that “it is impossible for a Man to make sugar without the assistance of Negroes as to make bricks without straw”. Continue reading

Haiti Showing the Sickness of US

Haiti QuakeThe US and Haiti
by Mitchel Cohen, 1994

Hardly a day goes by at the US Navy base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, without some kind of demonstration by the 14,000 Haitian refugees interned behind barbed wire fences and armed guards. Whether singing for the return of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide (who was overthrown by a US-funded military coup in 1991 eight months after winning election with 67 percent of the popular vote), chanting against the inhumane and crowded conditions, wearing white to symbolize their demand for political asylum, or escaping from the camps en masse and trying to swim away from the brutalities of the US military into Cuba proper, the refugees are now in a constant state of rebellion. Continue reading