They Banned His Newspaper, But Millions Had Already Joined The Movement

marcus garvey sitting down
Briona Lamback
January 14, 2022

In the early 1900s, Marcus Garvey arrived in Puerto Limón, Costa Rica, ready to spread his Black liberationist ideas and unite his people throughout Central America. Many were threatened by his presence, including the white-owned United Fruit Company that controlled the area – and tried to ban his newspaper. Would their attempts to bring him down work?

Nope! Garvey’s ideology of Black self-determination had already spread to millions by 1919, and those in power were scrambling to stop him! 

When the ban on the Negro World paper came to the region, it was too late – the people were already down for the movement. So how did they keep spreading these messages?

They smuggled the newspapers! Garveyites, followers of Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association, snuck in copies from Mexico and Guatemala to countries where officials had banned the paper.

The spread of Garvey’s newspaper helped spark a wave of uprisings and labor disturbances across the region, from Trinidad to the Panama Canal Zone. For Garveyites, it was indeed liberation by any means necessary – and we should follow in their footsteps!

Like Garveyites, we must be willing to do whatever is necessary to spread liberationist ideas and share resources across our communities, despite how white supremacy tries to stop us.

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