In this Book

Grassroots Garveyism
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The black separatist movement led by Marcus Garvey has long been viewed as a phenomenon of African American organization in the urban North. But as Mary Rolinson demonstrates, the largest number of Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) divisions and Garvey’s most devoted and loyal followers were found in the southern Black Belt. Tracing the path of organizers from northern cities to Virginia, and then from the Upper to the Deep South, Rolinson remaps the movement to include this vital but overlooked region. Rolinson shows how Garvey’s southern constituency sprang from cities, countryside churches, and sharecropper cabins. Southern Garveyites adopted pertinent elements of the movement's ideology and developed strategies for community self-defense and self-determination. These southern African Americans maintained a spiritual attachment to their African identities and developed a fiercely racial nationalism, building on the rhetoric and experiences of black organizers from the nineteenth-century South. Garveyism provided a common bond during the upheaval of the Great Migration, Rolinson contends, and even after the UNIA had all but disappeared in the South in the 1930s, the movement's tenets of race organization, unity, and pride continued to flourish in other forms of black protest for generations. Although Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) is largely associated with urban, working-class blacks in the North, some of the group's largest chapters and most devoted followers were in the rural South. The southerners (mostly landless farmers) adopted the most pertinent elements of the movement and developed strategies for avoiding the need to submit to white supremacy. Rolinson demonstrates that Garvey's southern followers maintained a spiritual attachment to their African identities as well as practical yet radical approaches to self defense and self determination. She also suggests that Garveyite values were sustained for generations in the south, and also became part of urban ideology through the Great Migration. The black separatist movement led by Marcus Garvey has long been viewed as a phenomenon of African American organization in the urban North. But as Mary Rolinson demonstrates, the largest number of Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) divisions and Garvey’s most devoted and loyal followers were found in the southern Black Belt. Rolinson remaps the movement to include this vital but overlooked region, and offers a view of what southern Garveyites were like. Even after the UNIA had all but disappeared in the South in the 1930s, she says, the movement's tenets of race organization, unity, and pride continued to flourish in other forms of black protest for generations. The black separatist movement led by Marcus Garvey has long been viewed as a phenomenon of African American organization in the urban North. But as Mary Rolinson demonstrates, the largest number of Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) divisions and Garvey’s most devoted and loyal followers were found in the southern Black Belt. Tracing the path of organizers from northern cities to Virginia, and then from the Upper to the Deep South, Rolinson remaps the movement to include this vital but overlooked region. Rolinson shows how Garvey’s southern constituency sprang from cities, countryside churches, and sharecropper cabins. Southern Garveyites adopted pertinent elements of the movement's ideology and developed strategies for community self-defense and self-determination. These southern African Americans maintained a spiritual attachment to their African identities and developed a fiercely racial nationalism, building on the rhetoric and experiences of black organizers from the nineteenth-century South. Garveyism provided a common bond during the upheaval of the Great Migration, Rolinson contends, and even after the UNIA had all but disappeared in the South in the 1930s, the movement's tenets of race organization, unity, and pride continued to flourish in other forms of black protest for generations.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. pp. 1-1
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  1. Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
  2. pp. 2-8
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-9
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  1. Illustrations and Maps
  2. pp. viii-10
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-xii
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  1. Introduction: Rediscovering Southern Garveyism
  2. pp. 1-23
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  1. 1. Antecedents
  2. pp. 24-47
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  1. 2. Lessons
  2. pp. 48-71
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  1. 3. Growth
  2. pp. 72-102
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  1. 4. Members
  2. pp. 103-130
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  1. 5. Appeal
  2. pp. 131-160
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  1. 6. Transition
  2. pp. 161-191
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  1. Epilogue: Legacy
  2. pp. 192-196
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  1. Appendix A. UNIA Divisions in the Eleven States of the Former Confederacy
  2. pp. 197-199
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  1. Appendix B. Numbers of Southern Members of UNIA Divisions by State
  2. pp. 200-216
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  1. Appendix C. Numbers of Sympathizers Involved in Mass Meetings and Petitions for Garvey’s Release from Jail and Prison, 1923–1927
  2. pp. 201-217
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  1. Appendix D. Phases of Organization of UNIA Divisions in the South by State
  2. pp. 202-218
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  1. Appendix E. Ministers as Southern UNIA Officers, 1926–1928
  2. pp. 203-219
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  1. Appendix F. Profiles of UNIA Members in Georgia, Arkansas, and Mississippi, 1922–1928, and NAACP Branch Leaders in Georgia, 1917–1920
  2. pp. 204-213
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  1. Appendix G. Women Organizers in the UNIA in the South, 1922–1928
  2. pp. 214-216
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 217-250
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 251-268
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 269-286
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