The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers

Article in the Emancipator[1]

Africans Repudiate "Madman"

There is considerable economic depression all along the coast due to the f[ai]lure to secure adequate ships in export produce. Native merchants feel this especially as the ships that do come give preference to white merchants. The common people are the victims of poverty and are praying for some kind of relief. At first they laid great hopes upon a certain Negro with headquarters in New York, but they are becoming disillusioned daily, although many of them have str[a]ined their slender finances to be of help. Added to this the publicity organ of the movement has been mysteriously suppressed or intercepted for some time and the people are feeling nervous. Rumors coming from either Lagos or Accra tell of a mass meeting attended by over 500 representative Africans at which a resolution was passed condemning the activities of a certain "madman" in New York who would essay to redeem Africa.[2]
The cost of living in "civilized" Sierra Leone where one must wear clothes in order to be respectable compares unfavorably with the absence of a cost of living among the tribes of the hinterland that adhere to the ways of their fathers.
Of course the rich leaders—barristers, doctors, lawyers and ministers—do not feel it half as much as carpenters, laborers and common mortals.
Printed in the Emancipator (New York), 20 March 1920.
[1] The Emancipator was a short-lived black socialist weekly published from 13 March to 24 April 1920 by the New Negro Publishing Co., of which W. A. Domingo was treasurer and Frank R. Crosswaith, secretary. Domingo was editor in chief and Chandler Owen, A. Philip Randolph, Cyril V. Briggs, Richard B. Moore, and Anselmo Jackson were contributing editors. British Military Intelligence took note of this in its report of 27 September 1919, which stated: "The Negro Socialists of New York are waging a campaign for funds with which to publish a Negro Socialist weekly. A company has been formed and Thomas A. E. Potter, an active Socialist party member for the past 17 years, has been elected president. . . . The Negroes have sent out an appeal to all members of the Socialist Party for funds, which are to be sent to Thomas A. E. Potter, 2411 Seventh Ave" (DNA, RG 165, file 10218–364/7).
[2] This rumored meeting was not reported in the Sierra Leone Weekly News or the Colonial and Provincial Reporter, Freetown's other leading newspapers of the period; the rumor may have been a garbled reference to the NCBWA inaugural gathering at Accra.