Negro With A Hat

Negro With A Hat

The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey

Book - 2008
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Baker & Taylor
Examines the life of the black leader who started the Back-to-Africa movement in the United States, believing blacks would never receive justice in countries with a white majority.

Oxford University Press
New in paperback, this groundbreaking biography captures the full sweep and epic dimensions of Marcus Garvey's life, the dazzling triumphs and the dreary exile. As Grant shows, Garvey was a man of contradictions: a self-educated, poetry-writing aesthete and unabashed propagandist, an admirer of Lenin, and a dandy given to elaborate public displays. Above all, he was a shrewd promoter whose use of pageantry evoked a lost African civilization and fired the imagination of his followers. Negro With a Hat restores Garvey to his place as one of the founders of black nationalism and a key figure of the 20th century.

"A searching, vivid, and (as the title suggests) complex account of Garvey's short but consequential life."
--Steve Hahn, The New Republic

"The story of Marcus Garvey, the charismatic and tireless black leader who had a meteoric rise and fall in the late 1910s and early '20s, makes for enthralling reading, and Garvey has found an engaging and objective biographer in Colin Grant.... Grant's book is not all politics, ideology, money and lawsuits. It is also an engrossing social history.... Negro With a Hat is an achievement on a scale Garvey might have appreciated."
--New York Times Book Review

"Dazzling, definitive biography of the controversial activist who led the 1920s 'Back to Africa' movement.... Grant's learned passion for his subject shimmers on every page. A riveting and well-wrought volume that places Garvey solidly in the pantheon of important 20th-century black leaders."
--Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

"This splendid book is certain to become the definitive biography. Garvey was a dreamer and a doer; Grant captures the fascination of both."
--Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

"Grant's strength lies in his ability to re-create political moods and offer compelling sketches of colorful individuals and their organizations.... An engaging and readable introduction to a complicated and contentious historical actor who, in his time, possessed a unique capacity to inspire devotion and hatred, adulation and fear."
--Chicago Tribune

"A monumental, nuanced and broadly sympathetic portrait."
--Financial Times

Publisher: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2008
ISBN: 9780195367942
Characteristics: 530 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 25 cm


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Jul 04, 2011

Marcus Garvey was a dynamic and charismatic individual who initiated and led a “Back to Africa� movement among black people from the early 1900s until the day he died in 1940.
He correctly diagnosed the racism and discrimination that kept black people down in America, the Caribbean and colonial Africa. He was able to tap into the anger and frustration of the people who lived under such deplorable circumstances. And, through the power of his rhetoric and the passion of his commitment, he was able to make what was basically a cynical movement (life in America is hopeless) into a positive, energizing phenomenon. Paraphrasing, his stance was: Yes, the current situation is bad and irretrievable but we can do something about it. We can go to Africa where we will feel at home and begin our own lives free of the white racists that plague our existence.
Garvey was a man of contradictions. Even while he believed in leaving America to the white people (who already had all the power and most of the money) and having all black people in the diaspora resettle in Africa, he made strange alliances and unexpected enemies. Because he felt white people were responsible for the poor conditions of black people, he disapproved of the NAACP which allowed white members. W.E.B. DuBois became a fierce enemy. But on the other hand, he confounded allies and enemies alike - and veered from his black only position- when he reached out to another organization that believed in sending black people to Africa, the KKK.
Although some people thought it was all a hustle, most black people (and readers of this book) believe Garvey was utterly sincere in his desire to help black people around the world even though he was, at times, dictatorial, petty, and vindictive. He dedicated his life to the cause but his methods were sometimes ineffective and unethical. He was even accused of instigating violence against his opponents within the movement.
The book is a fascinating study of a complicated important political figure in American history.


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