Accounting For Women’s Leadership in Past Movements (Garvey Movement) 9/17/19 #3
Many of the readings for this week talked about the women behind the Jamaican political activist Marcus Garvey. Two women, both named Amy and were the wives of Marcus, both played instrumental roles in the Pan Africanism movements. What I’ve gathered from the readings, is that both women’s hard work were overlooked, but were commonly in the spotlight for not so positive situations. I’ve learned that the media is a very biased outlet.
I had never heard much about the wives of Marcus Garvey until this week. When it comes to major movements like the Black Panther, Civil Rights, and Pan Africanism Movement, we have mainly seen men at the face of them. If there are women a part of the movements, their identities are often attached to a man. For instance, along with her involvement in the Garvey movement, Amy Jacques Garvey also advocated for black women’s rights in Jamaica. Both movements included fighting for the progression of Africans, yet the one with women at the forefront received less attention.
Even after long time has passed, it is frustrating to see many of women’s efforts for the betterment of their community be done in vain. Instead, people choose to focus on the less important details. After the death of Marcus Garvey, the two wives had issues over deciding where the body goes (Martin 202-203). Followers of Marcus Garvey were upset with Amy Ashwood for not allowing the body to return to Jamaica. She received much backlash and became infamous for this scandal. As if all of her activism for Black Nationalist and Pan-Africanism were erased.
As I reflect on the information I’ve learned from the readings this week, it baffles me how devoted followers are to a leader when it is a man. No matter the pain nor injustice he inflicts will cause a believer’s dedication to falter. We’ve seen it with Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr, and today’s President Trump. Yet, let a woman in political power, follow the same footsteps and she will have hell to pay. The standards of gender are more than double and society is far from minimizing them.
Amy Jacques Garvey, “Women as Leaders Nationally and Racially” in Linnette Vassell, Voices of Women in Jamaica, 1898-1939: 10-12
Martin, Tony. “African Roots.” Amy Ashwood Garvey: Pan-Africanist, Feminist and Mrs Marcus Garvey Number 1, or, A Tale of Two Armies, by Tony Martin, Majority, 2008, pp. 196–235.
Photo of Amy Ashwood Garvey from: https://webuyblack.com/blog/daily-dose-history-amy-ashwood-garvey-activist/
Photo of Amy Jacques Garvey from: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/25221702/amy-euphemia-garvey