This is a comprehensive documentary telling the life story of the controversial leader, Marcus Mosiah Garvey.
The documentary uses a wealth of material from the Garvey movement-written documents, film and photographs-to reveal what motivated a poor Jamaican to set up an international organization for the African diaspora, what led to his early successes, and why he died lonely and forgotten.
Among the most powerful sequences in the film are articulate, fiery interviews with the men and women whose parents joined the Garvey movement more than 80 years ago. Together they reveal how revolutionary Garvey’s ideas were to a new generation of African Americans, West Indians and Africans and how he invested hundreds of thousands of black men and women with a new-found sense of racial pride.
The film begins in 1887 in St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica, where Garvey was born. It covers his discovery of racism as a schoolboy and his travels through Central and South America in his 20s.
Garvey’s success in mobilizing blacks earned him the suspicion of the U.S. government. His brand of nationalism also led to bitter feuds with other black leaders, including African Americans and West Indians. The most notable of Garvey’s rivals, W.E.B. Du Bois described him as “dictatorial, domineering, inordinately vain and very suspicious.”
The film highlights J Edgar Hoover’s part in the downfall of Garvey as well as other black leaders.