The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers

Editorial in the Gold Coast Leader

Racial Unity

Never before were the signs of the times clearer than the present as to the coming together of Africans throughout the world. Instinctively it is being felt that in race solidarity is the coming strength of a people who have once again in the cycle of the ages to contribute substantially to the new civilisation that is about dawning. When you speak of unity men prick their ears as if a dangerous dogma were being preached. And yet this idea must surely be born of ignorance. It seems to be forgotten that the whole universe makes for unity, and that the forces which attempt to oppose it must themselves end in disaster. In current history many an illustration may be found. Be that as it may, to-day all peoples of one ethnic origin are feeling their way toward one another, and it is satisfactory that the African is doing the same.
Now we are a scattered race even as are the Jews. In some respects we have been the burden bearers as they are. But those very facts make it necessary that our race consciousness should be as pronounced as theirs. It is but asserting the commonplace when we say that the expatriation of some of our people to America and to the West Indies in times past was, in the order of Providence, to hasten a national consciousness; and to-day our brethren there are turning with longing eyes to the fatherland. Moreover, he is but a poor observer who does not realise that it is but a matter of time when Africa North, West, South and East will come together. It is bound to come for the Eternal Forces are distinctly drawing that way. At the appointed time leaders will be found capable of furnishing the driving power to that great consummation.
Again, when you talk of unity a materialistic age can think of nothing else but force as understood and applied in modern times. It is forgotten that true power, in the last analysis, is not force at all, but rather consists in that calm moral law in the consciences of men, which in the end rules the universe. Of course, if men must remain brutes, then there is nothing for it but to apply brute force. But, then, it is possible that after Armageddon men will at least learn to think differently. African racial unity, therefore, does not necessarily predicate force. Those of our race, whether in America or elsewhere, who talk of force are wild dreamers; and it is as well to let them realise that responsible leaders in Africa are [word illegible] differently minded. They hope to be able, under God, to build upon a firmer foundation than the only weapon of a materialistic age.
Strange to say Africa can cure materialistic Europe of the war craze, that is, Africa [in]tell[igen]tly combined and co-operative. The last war has revealed the fact that in the main the spirit of hate broke loose upon the African spoils. The Nations involved tacitly and by implication took it that Africa would always be willing to be bled for the benefit of Europe. It never occurred to the schemers that the African might some day cry halt, and desire actively to have a hand in the game. But, really, that is what it is coming to. Dame Africa may yet be able presently to say to materialistic Europe: If you want any of the good things of my storehouse, you must really learn to behave yourselves and not go on like a set of bandits! If that happy hour should strike in world affairs, mankind will perforce adopt a new moral perspective. Nor is all this a mere fanciful theory. Now and again we have touched upon the fringe of this subject. Economically Africa can starve Europe in no time. And starving men cannot afford the argument of the Maxim and the Tank. Obviously, if that argument were expedient, by the time you were half way through with it the position would be much more aggravated than before; and if repeated too often there would, of course, be no audience at all to persuade. The common-sense of the matter, therefore, is that as far as Africa is concerned, there is no need for bloodshed at all. God knows enough of our people's blood has been shed, and the sacrifice is complete. Henceforth the slayer and the disturber of the world's peace must perforce keep on his best behaviour.
It is open to us, therefore, as promoters of racial unity, to address ourselves to leaders of thought among the race upon the grand conception set before us. Let there be sane thinking, sane organisation, sane methods, and the future is with us to command. Let us boldly set our faces against any spirit of aggression either in speech or in action, remembering always that he that taketh the sword must perish by the sword. It is true peoples have in the past carved their way to power and domination by wading through men's blood; but it is equally true that such domination has been transient. We desire now to found for ourselves a place in the history of mankind more abiding than any that has gone before. Let us see to it that we work with such materials as are of an abiding nature.
And it is also easy to see that by promoting the unity of the Ethiopian race we shall be indirectly promoting the unity of the entire human race. He that is not against us is for us, said the Master. And since the universe makes for unity, any contributing agency toward it must facilitate and solidify the main upward struggle[.] It is in this sense and in this spirit we make our appeal to the great leaders of the race wherever their habitat in the sure trust that the flowing tide is with us, if we but know the day of our opportunity.
Printed in the Gold Coast Leader (Cape Coast), 24–31 July 1920.