A statue of the late Indian independence leader, Mahatma Gandhi was removed from the campus of University of Ghana, earlier last week after a backlash from student activists.
To many people, this may sound a little confusing to hear that student activists would demand that a statue of one of the world’s most famous peaceful protestors and activists be removed from campus grounds.
But to the people who knew of Gandhi’s racist history in apartheid South Africa, including the students who petitioned to have his statue removed, there was no doubt that they had to get the statue of the man who referred to Black Africans as “Savages” and “Kaffir” ( a South African version of the n-word) removed from school grounds.
According to the Washington Post:
Gandhi’s Indian empowerment argument, critics said in a petition to remove the statue, appeared to be that the British colonial government treated Indians a “little better, if at all, than the savages or the Natives of Africa.” He spoke of the “half-heathen Native” and said that treating Indians like Africans would “degrade us.” The sole occupation of “raw” natives is hunting, he said and their “sole ambition is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife with and, then, pass his life in indolence and nakedness.”
The Ghana University petition cited other protests against — and removal of — tributes to historical but controversial figures at universities around the globe, including the former slave-owning Royall family at Harvard University and apartheid founder Cecil Rhodes at the University of Cape Town.
Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jr., was born on August 17, 1887, in St.Ann’s Bay , Jamaica , to Sarah Jane Richards and Marcus Mosiah Garvey Sr., he was the youngest of eleven children, but only Marcus and his sister Indiana would survive to adulthood.
Garvey’s father owned a massive personal library, it was from this library where a young Garvey would first be educated. The young Garvey would continue his early education at some of St.Ann’s Bay elementary schools, it would be at those schools, Garvey would experience racism for the first time in his life.
In 1907, while working in the printing industry, Garvey would get his first taste of political activism, when he took part in a printer’s strike, the strike was not a success , but it sparked his interest in politics and activism.
In 1910, Garvey would leave Jamaica and travel throughout central America, first working as a timekeeper on a banana plantation in Costa Rica, Garvey would move on to work as an editor for a newspaper called La Nacionale and then later that year in 1911, Garvey would move to Panama, where he edited a biweekly Newspaper.
Garvey would return to Jamaica in 1912.
From 1912 to 1914, Garvey would live in London, England , where he would attend Birkbeck College and take classes philosophy and law classes. Garvey would also work for the African Times and Orient Review, published by Duse Mohamed Ali. Garvey would also be influenced by many civil rights activists of his time and was a huge admirer of Booker T. Washington.
When Garvey returned to Jamaica in 1914, he would form the United Negro Improvement Association (U.N.I.A), a Pan-Africanist organization.
On March 23,1916, Garvey would arrive in the United States, his goal was to raise money doing lectures to help build a school in Jamaica, modeled after Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee Institute. When Garvey first arrived in New York, he found a job as a printer. On May 9, 1916, Garvey would perform his first of many public lectures, eventually Garvey would go on a 38 state speaking tour.
In May 1917, Garvey and his 13 associates would form the United States’s branch of the U.N.I.A, and soon began to preach economic and social freedom for people of African descent, both living inside and outside of Africa.
In 1918 Garvey began to publish the Negro World Newspaper, the paper had a dual objective, to educate black people on News and events, in their community and and to help spread the message of the U.N.I.A and grow its membership.
By June 1919, the U.N.I.A’s membership had grown to a massive two million members. That same year the U.N.I.A’s incorporated the Black Star Line of Delaware and bought their first ship.
That same year, a assistant district attorney in New York, named Edwin P. Kilroe began investigating Garvey and the U.N.I.A, but no illegal acts could could be uncovered, so no charges were filed. But that would only be the beginning of a bitter relationship between Garvey and Kilroe. On October 14, 1919, a man named George Tyler, attempted to Assassinate Garvey, he shot at Garvey four times and wounded him in his right leg and the upper part of his head. George Tyler claimed A.D.A Edwin P. Kilroe sent him, but before his arraignment, George Tyler allegedly jumped from the third floor of a Harlem jail and committed suicide.
Later Garvey would create the Negro Factories Corporations, he developed the business with the intentions to manufacture everyday commodities, Garvey planned to have NFC branches in the United States, Central America, West Indies and Africa.
In 1919 J. Edgar Hoover, then a special Assistant to the Attorney General and the head of the General Investigative Division of the Bureau of Investigation, later to be renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), would open an investigation into the activities of Garvey and the U.N.I.A organization. The bureau hired its first five black agents to infiltrate Garvey’s movement. The aim was to find a reason to deport Garvey and to sabotage his U.N.I.A movement. Eventually they would charge Garvey on mail fraud in connections with stock of the Black Star Line, the accusations were that even though Garvey was in the process of buying the steamship on the BSL brochure, he did not own it at the time he placed it on the brochure, therefore it was in the court’s eyes it was fraud and he was convicted and sentenced to five years on June 23, 1923.
After prison, Garvey would continue his work for the black race, while based outside of the United States, in 1928 Garvey traveled to Geneva to present the “Petition of the Negro Race”, to the League of Nations (the precursor of the United Nations ), in that petition he outlined the abuse of people of African descent by western nations.
In September of 1929, Garvey would found Jamaica’s first modern political party, the People’s Political Party (PPP), its objective were to improve education, help end poverty and improve workers’ rights for black people living in Jamaica.
In 1935 Garvey left the Island of Jamaica for London, England, he would live there until his death on June 10, 1940, Garvey died at the age of 52, after suffering two strokes.
Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jr. would influence future civil rights leaders like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. , and the first President of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah.
The Rastafari consider Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jr. to be a religious prophet.
Medgar Evers was born in Decatur, Mississippi, on july 2, 1925, to mother Jesse and father James Evers.
After graduating from a segregated high school, in the Jim Crow south, he joined the United States army during World War 2, from 1943 to 1945. After his service to the country, he would be honorably discharged as a sergeant.
In 1948 Evers began studying at the historically black college, Alcorn College ( now Alcorn State University ).
While still in college he would marry his college sweetheart Myrlie Beasley, they would eventually have three children together. In 1952 he graduated college with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree.
In 1952 Evers started to get involved in activism, Medgar and his brother Charles began to go to RCNL (Regional council of Negro Leadership ) conferences and even helped in boycotts against gas stations that refused to allow black customers to use public restrooms.
In 1954 Evers applied to the racially segregated University of Mississippi law school, but was denied because he was black. He submitted the application in concert with the NAACP, as a test case. Later that year the United States Supreme Court ruled that segregation in all public schools, which included State Universities was unconstitutional.
Late in 1954 Evers was named NAACP’s first field secretary for Mississippi, as field secretary helped organize boycotts and setup local NAACP chapters.
In Evers role as a civil rights leader, he also began to investigate racist crimes against black people, which also included investigating the lynching of teenager Emmit Till. These investigation made Evers a target of white supremacist domestic terrorists.
On may 28, 1963,a molotov cocktail was thrown into his home and on june 7, 1963, Evers was nearly ran over as he left the NAACP office in Jackson, Mississippi.
Only 5 days later, on june 12, 1963 after returning from a meeting with NAACP lawyers, Evers was shot in his back by an Enfield Rifle, he would die at a local hospital.
Evers was buried on June 19, 1963 at Arlington National Cemetery, where he received full military honors as army veteran.
Byron De La Beckwith was arrested by was not convicted of Evers assassination until 1994.
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In 1999 a Memphis, Tennessee court, the family of the late great civil rights leader, Martin Luther king Jr. Won a civil suit against the government of the United States of America. Proving they were responsible in his assassination.