The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers

W. E. C.[1] to Robert R. Moton,[2]Principal, Tuskegee Institute

Prof Robert R Moten:

My Dear Sir: Please permitt me to sugest a few ideas to you of which perhaps you have give no peticulary thought. As one of the leaders of this great Race of ours. I think it would be /the/ proper one to make this sugestion.
(1) I wish to call your attention to the fact that we are a people in this country representing in round nos say 12,000,000 and a capital of say about from 5–6 Billions of dollars. There is not as I know of a single S.S. Co. Is it not possioble that we can not have such. May I ring that the wealthy men of our Race coporate and start a trading, & comercial Co. May I sugest as a start that all the men in each State worth from $1,000 up to $1,000 00000 meat. each State by a special comittee have find out about such persons then when the Nat Business Men meat in August[3] the men of all the State that are wealthy meat at place apointed & thus form this great Co. They can do it because they as we rather the negrals of this country with this amas of wealth. certainly can if proper Steps are taken. Build about 6 wooden S.S. Send /their/ agents to Africa, Haiti & West Indeas & there coporate with the wealthy men of said countrys & therefore trade in the Rich products. Dye woods, cabinet wood, coco & ect. Shurly this is the time for the Negro to coporate not only the America negro but to coporate with the negroes of africa Haiti and trade with them.
(2) I wish to sugest that the American Negro, Haiti, Basutos of Basutoland Yorbas, Uganda Liberia, Zulu-land and Barbados all the dependance & free negro countries of the world meat and have a grand union. Let men from the comercial Political, agricultral and Business world of all these countries be sent to america in agust to promote this great moovement. Now sir I hope that if this matter I have sugested is a good one may you as one of the leaders of this great Race of ours push it forward with all of the energy at your comand.
(3) Haiti: As you know is a negro Republic and as an article in one of the leading Magizines says that in a few yrs Haiti will become the Richest and the most powerfull small countries in the world. Let us coporate (the Negro) I mean so thoughly with them that they cannot help but becoming a great nation. Would we not feel proud to see Haitian Ships, coming on a [bush?] trade with the great nations; knowing that they are a Black people? I should think that we would encorage our people to travel visit Haiti and [hire?] people in large no to be sent to Tuskegy & Hampton[4] to study. As the only country entily ruled by the Black Man so to speak we should be proud
(4) Coporation between the Africans & American Negro! There should be the most clost comunication & understanding between the two. Out of the 150,000,000 negros in the world we must remember that we have in America (U.S.) just a hand full so to speak & shurley [130?] or 40 million people of our own Race is worth while of our consideration. Because in Africa whether we are willing to admitt to it or not therein lays the destony of a great negro or Black man world and civilization; which will in the future play no small part in the destony of the world. Then may I urg that we offer to the Africa in our schools special consession. Let us coporate with them & promate a moovement now offoot which is known as the missionary Educational movement. What a magnificent experiment or rather call it a reality. There could be set aside a fund of $150,000 or $200,000 for this movement by Soliciting, Speaking ect to educate say 5000 Africans from Basutoland So and No Nigeria where there is already a Black civilization, Uganda Zulu-land. Kameron. Togoland. Nupe-land Gold Coast ect. May I sugest that a comittee be formed for said work at once and write to Sir Apollo Kagwa [Apolo Kagwa][5]Native prime of uganda who was Knighted by the Eng Govt; and who is a man of great learning and wealth & also a great promoter of Education in Mego the Native Capitol. of uganda E-Africa and the Hon. A. Edun[6] who is Sec of the King of yorba land whos capitol is at Abeokuta Nigeria also the leading men of Basuto-land. So Africa ect. Conclusion: I seem perhaps that I am taking to much liberty by but there is no Nat Council to introuce a bill no high athorities to apeal to but our leaders: therefore Sir pleas bare with me in my intrusive letter. As I am not a write you will find many mistake ect but please forget mistakes & look at the real meaning of my letter and, if these Sugestions are good and if they are worth while may you push this matter through even to every detail after you have carefully red & considered them. I remain yours Truly. A Member of the Race
W. E. C.
ATT. ALI, recipient's copy.
[1] This individual has not been further identified.
[2] Robert Russa Moton (1867–1940) was commandant of the Hampton Institute from 1890 to 1915, when he was selected to succeed Booker T. Washington as principal of Tuskegee Institute. He was awarded the NAACP's Spingarn Medal in 1932 and held the position of principal at Tuskegee until his death in 1940 (Herbert Aptheker, ed., A Documentary History of the Negro People in the United States, 1910 – 1932 [Secaucus, N.J.: Citadel Press, 1973], p. 123).
[3] A reference to the National Negro Business League (NNBL), which was founded in 1900. The high point of the league's annual session in August 1918 was a plan submitted by Moton, who was its president, addressing how the NNBL could create and develop commercial opportunities among African Americans, thereby taking advantage of what were seen as favorable economic conditions created by the war (NYB, 1918–1919, p. 4).
[4] A number of African students attended Tuskegee and Hampton Institutes during the early part of the twentieth century. The first East African to study at Tuskegee, Mohammed Jama, arrived in Alabama on 24 October 1915. As early as 1908, Olivia E. P. Stokes established a scholarship for Americo-Liberians and the sons of Liberian tribal chiefs to study at Tuskegee. The Phelps-Stokes Fund was founded in 1911, with one of its chief objectives being "the education of negroes, both in Africa and the United States" (quoted in Kenneth James King, Pan-Africanism and Education [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971], p. 3) (Louis R. Harlan, Booker T. Washington: The Wizard of Tuskegee, 1901 – 1915 [New York: Oxford University Press, 1983], p. 272).
[5] Apolo Kagwa (ca. 1869–1927) was prime minister of the Ganda kingdom of Buganda from 1889 to 1926; he is considered to be one of the first modern African historians. In 1888, during a general civil war, Kagwa fled Buganda with other Christian refugees. A year later he reentered at the head of the Christian faction and, as part of a Christian-Muslim alliance, helped depose the ruler, Mwanga. When the Muslims staged a coup and installed their own king, Kagwa helped Mwanga regain power. For this Kagwa was rewarded with the office of Katikiro, or prime minister. In the following years, Kagwa's faction became increasingly allied with the British. When Frederick Lugard, commanding a British "peacekeeping" force, offered a treaty in 1890, Kagwa signed for the Protestants, then joined forces with Lugard to defeat the other faction and impose a "pax Britannica" on the region. Three years after the British protectorate of Uganda was declared in 1894, Mwanga revolted against the British treaty. Once again, Kagwa allied himself with the British. As a result, he added to his offices the position of senior regent over Mwanga's heir and eventually became the supreme Ganda chief. A 1900 agreement, which spelled out the rights of the Ganda chiefs under the British protectorate, allotted Kagwa an immense tract of land and brought him to the height of his power. He continued to add to his landholdings and was an enthusiastic advocate of modernization. His prestige among the British was unrivaled; after a visit to London in 1902, he was knighted.
At the turn of the century Kagwa began to write books in the Ganda language on the history and customs of the Ganda and their neighbors. These books are considered the first modern histories written by an East African. Kagwa's regency came to an end with the ascent to the throne of Daudi Chwa II in 1914. In 1926 he was forced to resign as prime minister after a minor dispute with the king. He set off for England to argue his case but died while passing through Kenya (DAHB).
Apolo Kagwa
[6] The Honorable Adegboyega Edun (ca. 1861–1930) was secretary of the Egba United Government (EUG) under the king, Alake Gbadebo, from 1902 to 1918. Born Jacob Henryson Samuel, his father a Saro repatriate from Sierra Leone, he lived his early adult life as a prominent member of the anglicized Lagos elite. In 1902 he was appointed government secretary in Abeokuta and began his long career working for the EUG; two years later he took the Egba name Adegboyega Edun. Involved in such public works projects as the construction of roads and the introduction of both electric light and a water-supplying scheme, he was discredited for his perceived role as a collaborator in the loss of Egba independence to the British following the 1918 uprising known as the Adubi War and resigned under pressure (Agneta Pallinder, "Adegboyega Edun: Black Englishman and Yoruba Cultural Patriot," in Self-Assertion and Brokerage: Early Cultural Nationalism in West Africa, ed. P. F. de Moraes Farias and Karin Barber [Birmingham, England: Centre of West African Studies, 1990], pp. 11–34; Ajayi Kolawole Ajisafe, History of Abeokuta [Lagos: Kash and Klare Bookshop, 1948], pp. 116–123).
Adegboyega Edun