The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers


Resolution of UNIA Peace Aims

Be It Resolved, That we, the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League of the World, representing the interests of the New Spirited Negroes of America, Africa and the West Indies, assembled in Universal Mass Convention in the Palace Casino, New York, on Sunday November 10, 1918, hereby beg to submit the following peace aims to the Allied Democracies of Europe and America, and to the people of democratic tendencies of the world.
And Be It Further Resolved, That we believe that it will only be through a proper recognition of the Negro's rights and the rights of all weaker peoples at the Peace Conference that future wars will be obviated.
And We Further Pray, That the Peace Conference to assemble will take cognizance of these our aims.
(1)That the principle of self-determination be applied to Africa and all European controlled colonies in which people of African descent predominate.
(2)That all economic barriers that hamper the industrial development of Africa be removed.
(3)That Negroes enjoy the right to travel and reside in any part of the world even as Europeans now enjoy these rights.
(4)That Negroes be permitted the same educational facilities now given to Europeans.
(5)That Europeans who interfere with, or violate African tribal customs be deported and denied re-entry to the continent.
(6)That the segregatory and proscriptive ordinances against negroes in any part of the world be repealed and that they (Negroes) be given complete political, industrial and social equality in countries where Negroes and people of any other race live side by side.
(7)That the reservation land acts aimed against the natives of South Africa be revoked and the land restored to its prescriptive owners.[1]
(8)That Negroes be given proportional representation in any scheme of world government.
(9)That the captured German colonies in Africa[2] be turned over to the natives with educated Western and Eastern Negroes as their leaders.
DNA, RG 65, OG 329359. TD. Copy of report furnished to Special Agent Raymond Finch of the U.S. Bureau of Investigation.[3]Reprinted in NW, 1 March 1919, and in abridged form in TN (Lagos), 6 October 1919.
    
[1] A reference to the South African Native Land Act, passed in 1913 ostensibly to deal with the problems of farm labor shortage and the granting of lands won in the South African War to black South Africans. The act, however, actually restricted the purchase or use of land by Africans except in the Cape area; it also diminished squatter rights and abolished the tenancy system of farming, under which blacks farmed white-owned land in return for half of the crops. The immediate effect of the act was the uprooting of thousands of black South Africans, with four million blacks being allowed to own 8 percent of the land, while one and a quarter million whites took control of 92 percent.
The act provided the basis for much of the subsequent legislation restricting African rights in the Union of South Africa. At the center of the restrictive legislation was the "principle of territorial separation under which Africans and whites were to occupy and acquire land in separate, designated areas" (FPC 1:63). It aimed to transform black tenant farmers into landless laborers who, lacking other means of subsistence, would be obliged to accept work on white-owned farms and mines. Africans organized public opposition to the act, including petition drives by the South African Native National Congress (SANNC) and some Natal chiefs. Funds were also raised to send a delegation to London to appeal to the British government. SANNC leader Sol T. Plaatje denounced the legislation, describing its intent as the creation of a permanent class of destitute African laborers (Sol Plaatje, Native Life in South Africa [London: P. S. King and Son, 1916], pp. 21–28; C. M. Tatz, Shadow and Substance in South Africa: A Study in Land and Franchise Policies Affecting Africans, 1910 – 1960 [Pietermaritzburg: University of Natal Press, 1962], pp. 17–22; H. J. Simons and R. E. Simons, Class and Colour in South Africa, 1850 – 1950 [Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Books, 1969], pp. 130–137).
Members of the 1914 South African deputation, Left to Right: Rev. W. B. Rubusana, Ph.D., T. M. Mapileka, Rev. John L. Dube, Sol Plaatje, and Saul Msane
    
[2] A reference to the ex-German colonies of Togoland, Cameroon, German East Africa, and South West Africa.
    
[3] The Bureau of Investigation was organized in 1908 as an agency of the Department of Justice. Its original function was to investigate a wide range of criminal acts, particularly land fraud and violations of antitrust laws. During its first few years, the bureau mainly employed Treasury Department agents who had also worked for the Department of Justice. Although the 1910 White Slave Traffic Act (also known as the Mann Act) led to an increase in size, the bureau had only 141 employees as of 1914. World War I radically changed the bureau's nature and its size. In July 1916 an explosion on Black Tom Island in New York Harbor accelerated the bureau's growing tendency to investigate immigrants with ethnic ties to Germany and its allies. Following the U.S. entry into the war in April 1917, the bureau began a massive investigation of so-called aliens, radicals, and subversives, strictly enforcing the provisions of the broadly expanded Espionage Act. Under Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, the bureau also became involved in strikebreaking and other antilabor activities. The bureau's name was formally changed to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1935 (David Williams, "The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Its Critics, 1919–1921: The Origins of Federal Surveillance," Journal of American History 68 [December 1981]: 560–579; Max Lowenthal, The Federal Bureau of Investigation [New York: William Sloane Assoc., 1950]).