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1 THE EFFICIENT WOMANHOO D OF THE UNIVERSAL NEGRO IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION: 1919-1930 By NATANYA DUNCAN A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2009
2 2009 Natanya Duncan
3 To Ms. Alexandrina Anderson And in Honor of the life work of Dr. Whittington B. Johnson & Dr. Rosalyn Terborg-Penn
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would lik e to acknowledge Brian Ward for all his diligence and care in getting me through this process. With funding from the Florida Education Fund and the support of my committee, this has been a rewarding endeavor.
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ............................................................................................................... 4ABSTRACT ...................................................................................................................... ...............7 CHAP TER 1 INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................................. ..8Black Nationalism in the 1920s .............................................................................................. 11A Brief Assessment of Scholarship on African-American Female Activism ........................ 17The Historiography of the UNIA & Marcus Garvey ..............................................................22Women in the Historiography of the UNIA ........................................................................... 26Outline of the Dissertation ................................................................................................... ...372 MRS. AND MRS. GARVEY: THE TW O AMY GARVEYS ............................................... 40The Roles of Amy Garvey ......................................................................................................40Author of a Legacy: Amy Jacques Garvey ............................................................................. 703 Henrietta Vinton Davis: A Lady for all occasions .................................................................. 77The Making of a Race Lady ................................................................................................... 79Protector and Defender of the UNIA .................................................................................... 1004 MARCHING FORWARD: THE UNIVERS AL AFRICAN BLACK CROSS NURSES ... 125Ready for Service .................................................................................................................125Black Women & the History of Nursing in Brief .................................................................129Credit for What We Do: The Black Cross Nurses ................................................................ 1355 FOR IT WAS NOT DONE IN THE COR NER: PRINCESS LAURA ADORKOR KOFEY ......................................................................................................................... ........161Laura Adorkor Kofey: Preparations for Repatriation ...........................................................161The Mysterious Warrior Mother of Africa ...........................................................................164Laura Kofeys Vision of Africa ............................................................................................ 172Laura Kofey Persona Non Grata ...........................................................................................183Laura Kofeys Life and Lessons ...........................................................................................1906 CONCLUSION .................................................................................................................... .194APPENDIX A HE SLEEPS IN FRANCES BOSOM .................................................................................201
6 B RULES AND REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE UNIVERSAL AFRICA BLACK CROSS NURSES .................................................................................................................203C DEMANDS OF THE U.N.I.A AN D A.C.L. WOMEN AT T HE AUGUST, 1922 CONVENTI ON .................................................................................................................... 208D NAMES BLACK CROSS NURSES .................................................................................... 209E THE BLACK WOMAN ....................................................................................................... 213LIST OF REFERENCES .............................................................................................................215Primary Sources ............................................................................................................... .....215Archives .........................................................................................................................215Manuscript and Microfilm Collections ......................................................................... 217Published Primary Sources ............................................................................................ 218Newspapers .................................................................................................................... 220Phonograph Records ......................................................................................................221Oral Histories .................................................................................................................221Secondary Sources ................................................................................................................221Books ......................................................................................................................... ....221Essays ........................................................................................................................ ....224Electronic Resources ..................................................................................................... 226Dissertations ................................................................................................................. .226BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .......................................................................................................228
7 Abstract of Dissertation Pres ented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy THE EFFICIENT WOMANHOO D OF THE UNIVERSAL NEGRO IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION: 1919-1930 By Natanya Duncan May 2009 Co-Chair: David Colburn Co-Chair: Brian Ward Major: 20th Century American History UNIA women defied prescribed notions of do mestic duty; blurred the lines drawn for true women in the early 20th Century; derived their respect ability through a practice of nationalist politics in public places resulting in an efficient womanhood that set the stage for what are now known as womanist consciousness and black feminist politic s. While UNIA women helped set the stage for the development of the latter ideals and in varying ways demonstrated the virtues of the Cult of True Womanhood and t he politics of respecta bility, their activism reached further than expressions of Victorian Motherhood and their endea vor to lift as they climbed meant leaving no person of African descent behind. At times their tactics seem to contradict their aims and the results of their effo rts were not always immediately evident. Still, their all encompassing visionary approach to race progress reveals anothe r root of the nascent Civil Rights Movement tree that is in need of both study and nurture.
8 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Efficient Wo manhood examines the role of women in the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) from 1919 to 1930. It focuses on the concerns and contributions of the female lay membership as exemplified by Amy Ashwood Garvey, Amy Jacques Garvey, Henrietta Vinton Davis, the Black Cross Nu rses and Laura Adorkor Kofey. While Amy Ashwood and Amy Jacques Garvey have received a modicum of attention in recent years, there has been little consideration of other key women in the organization, especi ally the rank and file members. Efficient Womanhood is a prosopography that examines the lives of these women to discuss their stories as female members of an organization whose outward appearance and whose hierarchy appeared to be male dominated. The dilemmas that faced the lay membership included how best to pursue the nationalist aims of the UNIA and increase awareness and me mbership while surviving the vulgarities of discrimination and Imperialism. This dissertatio n centers on the interpre tation of nationalist and gender concerns expressed by the female cadre of the UNIA as they stretched the definitions of respectable politics, the Cult of True Womanhood, and extended definitions of early modern Black Nationalism.1 While this project maintains that th e politics of respectability played a role in the choice of strategi es among UNIA women, it also sugge sts that where circumstances warranted, UNIA women re defined what was respectable and political in their campaign for racial progress. This disserta tion also posits that Black Nationa lism, viewed through the eyes of UNIA members, correlated with Wilson Jeremiah Moses definition of th e term as being the 1 Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, Righteous Discontent: The Womens Movem ent in the Black Baptist Church, 18801920 ( Cambridge Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1993), p. 187. Brooks Higginbotham uses the phrase politics of respectability to define the notions of African-American church women on how behavior and appearance could best serve racial uplift aims; For more on the Cult of True Womanhood, please see Barbara Welter, The Cult of True Womanhood: 1820-1860 in American Quarterly vol. 18, No. 2, Part 1 (Summer, 1966), p. 152.
9 special status by any person who is recogn izabl[y] identified as having ancestral origins among the black peoples of sub-Saha ran Africa or any pers on possessing a set of physical traits that would seem to identif y him or her with black African ancestry bound together by ties of kinship history and heritage and who believe themselves to be distinct and separate from other groups by virtue of co mmon beliefs and ways of thinking2 [.] The credibility of the UNIAs expansive outreach efforts for reclamation of self and land becomes more evident when this definition is used to frame their actions. Within this context, UNIA women negotiated the blending of race concer ns and gender concerns. In their rhetoric and action they merged race and gender in ways not previously seen before. Because UNIA women lived in a time when white feminists did not readily receive African-American women into the fold, and Af rican-American clubwomen employed strategies of uplift that sometimes amounted to assimilation and reinforced class prejudices in the AfricanAmerican community, I argue that their brand of activism was separate and distinct from that of other groups.3 Although other self-help organizations of the period employed similar strategies to those of the UNIA, and at times the UNIA appear ed to merely blend strategies already in place in various African-American communities, the autonomy enjoyed by these women within the organizations hierarchical structure sets the UNI A apart from similar orga nizations of the interwar period. While class distinct ions did enter into the disc ourse of some UNIA women, the research presented in this di ssertation demonstrates that th e UNIA was a grassroots driven organization, where the concerns of the lay me mbership dominated and directed its course.4 2 Wilson Jeremiah Moses, Classic Black Nationalism: from the Am erican Revolution to Marcus Garvey (New York: New York University Press, 1996), pp. 3-4. 3 Glenda Gilmore, Gender and Jim Crow: women and the politics of white supremacy in North Carolina, 1896-1920 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996); Elizabeth Lindsay Davis, Lifting as They Climb (New York : G.K. Hall : London : Prentice Hall In ternational, 1996); Nancy F. Cott, Groundings of Modern Feminism (New Haven : Yale University Press, 1987). 4 Increasingly, considerations of the UNIA center on it as grassroots movement with the participation of persons of varying socio-economic status. Historian Claudrena Harold noted that this approach provides the historian with an opportunity to explore such important issues as the complex nature or diasporic encounters between AfricanAmericans and West Indians, Garveyite s relationship with white separatists and eh tension between the Parent
10 This dissertation offers a new perspective on UNIA women both in their leadership roles and in the membership body. To best illustrate their ac tivism, the term efficient womanhood will be used throughout the discussion. This term was first used by William Edward Burghardt DuBois in his essay entitled The Damnation of Womanhood to illustra te the ways in which both the historical depiction and treatment of African-American wo men resulted in a history of insult and degrad ation [that] has been both fearful and glorious. It has birthed the haunting prostitute, the braw ler, and the beast of burden; but it has also given the world an efficient wo manhood, whose strength lies in its freedom and whose chastity was won in the teet h of temptation and not in prison and swaddling clothes.5 The history which DuBois highli ghted in this essay included considerations of indigenous African women who were held in so small esteem and served as all powerful helpers to the male leaders. DuBois depicted their servic e as welcomed and reflective of a collective collaborative respect because their interests [bei ng] identical with [male leaderships] in every particular,6 The uniformity of interests within the UNIA created a space for women to present publicly both nationalist and gender conc erns to an internati onal audience. They Body in New York and local bran ches. Claudrena N. Harold, The Rise and Fall of th e Garvey Movement in the Urban South, 1918-1942 (New York: Routledge, 2007), pp. 6-7. This differs from seminal works done by Edmund David Cronon, Black Moses: The Story of Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Im provement Association (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1969) and Judith Stein, The World of Marcus Garvey: Race and Class in Modern Society (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 198 6). In part these considerations are a reflection of the assertions made by Tony Martin in Race First: The Ideological and Organizational Struggles of Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association (Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 1976). Among most recent works that argu e this point are Claudrena N. Harold The Rise and Fall of the Ga rvey Movement in the Urban South, 1918-1942 (New York: Routledge, 2007); Mary G. Rolinson, Grassroots Garveyism: The Universal Negro Improvement Association in the Rural South, 1920-1927 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007); Jahi Issa, The Universal Negro Improvement Associa tion in Louisiana: Creating a provisional government in exile (Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, Washington, DC :Howard University, 2005); Robert Trent Vinson, In the time of the Americans: Garveyism in segregationist South Africa, 19201940 Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, Washington, DC: Howard University, 2001); Rupert Lewis and Maureen Warner Lewis, Garvey: Africa, Europe, the Americas (Trenton, N.J.: Africa World Press, 1994); Peter Ashdown, Garveyism in Belize (Benque Viejo del Carmen, Belize: Cubola Productions, 1990); E. S. P. McPherson, The Most Honourable-"'Marcus' Upon South Africa"/Azania (Clarendon, Jamaica: Black International Iyahbinghi Press, 1984); Randall K. Burkett, Garveyism As a Religious Movement: The Institutiona lization of a Black Civil Religion (Metuchen, N.J.: Scar ecrow Press, 1978). 5 W.E.B. Du Bois The Damnation of Womanhood in Darkwater: W.E.B. DuBois, with an introduction by Joe R. Feagin (Amherst, N.Y.: Humanity Books, 2003), p. 116. 6 Damnation, pp. 112-113.
11 accomplished this through a variety of stratagems. Their efforts reflected an efficient womanhood that sought the progress of the entire race of Africans and their descendants. They are not to be confused with feminists or clubw omen, who, while expressing similar aims, did not have similar motives.7 As this dissertation demonstrat es, UNIA women sought to have men stand in the forefront of the quest for self-empowerment, and believed in the value of the contributions of all people of color regardless of socio-economic status and engaged in a public battle to accomplish their aims. Black Nationalism in the 1920s Although historians have yet to definitively date or periodize Black Nationalism, it is generally agreed that varying types of Black Nationalism converged or diverged in degrees throughout the African-American free dom struggle. Political scient ists have even entered into this fray by positing their own means of cate gorizing Black Nationalism. The lack of periodization, a fixed definition and an inconsistency in prac tice among African-Americans has created some difficulty for the researcher. Still, contributions to this effort made by historians Alphonso Pickney, Rodney Carlisle, Edwin S. Redkey, John R. Bracey and Wilson Jeremiah Moses defined and discussed motives for the pr actice and belief in Black Nationalism, while signaling that the ideology evolved over time. Their considerations are useful in understanding 7 For an in-depth look at discussion of early feminist s and club women please see, Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore, Defying Dixie: The Radical Roots of Civil Rights, 1919-1950 (New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 2008); Alice KesslerHarris, Gendering Labor History. The working class in American history (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2007); Charles M. Payne and Adam Green, Time Longer Than Rope: A Century of African-American Activism, 1850-1950 (New York: New York University Press, 2003); Deborah G. White, Too Heavy a Load: Black Women in Defense of Themselves, 1894-1994 (New York: W.W. Norton, 1999); Darlene Clark Hine and Kathleen Thompson., A Shining Thread of Hope: The History of Black Women in America (New York: Broadway Books, 1998); Darlene Clark Hine, Wilma King, and Linda Reed, "We Specialize in the W holly Impossible": A Reader in Black Women's History (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Carlson Pub, 1995); Alice Kessler-Harris, A Woman's Wage: Historical Meanings and Social Consequences (Lexington, Ky: University Press of Kentucky, 1990); Nancy F. Cott, Groundings (New Haven : Yale University Press, 1987).
12 the Black Nationalism of the 1920s. Their assertions are also supported by the work of political scientists Robert A. Brown, T odd C. Shaw and Michael Dawson. As previously noted, Wilson Jeremiah Mose s definition of Black Nationalism linked all persons with a black ancestry as having a commo n history and heritage. His definition helps explain what the words black and nationalism meant within the organization. Alphonso Pickney provided a definition of Black Na tionalism that can also be used to further an understanding of UNIA ideology. According to Pickne y, Black Nationalism is best de scribed as a th ree-tier belief system that included the notion of unity or so lidarity among African peopl es, pride in cultural heritage, a commitment to black consciousness, and a belief that Afri can-American liberation from all forms of oppression was essential.8 The UNIAs focus on promoting self-awareness, developing economic self-sufficiency programs, and attempting both a literal and a figurative repatriation to Africa also correlate d with Pickneys assertions. The activities of the UNIA, including its gr and parades, the formation of a male and female military corps, and the desi gnation of titles of nobility based on service to the race, also fit well into Rodney Carl isies view of Black Nationalism as operating under the presumption that a black nation existed alongside the American nation. 9 Edwin Redkey found that there were specific political, social, and cultural goals which resulted fr om their political and physical withdrawal into their own society.10 Here too the UNIA fits the description as much of the organizations rhetoric centered on Africas history as the cradle of civilization and parent to all modern societies. In 1925, for example, in a speech entitled African Fundamentalism Garvey explained to listeners that 8 Alphonso Pinkney, Red, black, and green: Black nationalism in the United States (Cambridge [Eng.] New York : Cambridge University Press, 1976), p. 7. 9 Rodney Carlisle, The roots of Black nationalism (Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat Press, 1975), p. 3. 10 Edwin S. Redkey, Black Exodus; Black Nationalist and Back-to-Africa Mo vements 1890-1910 (New Haven, Yale University Press, 1969), p. 14.
13 when we were embracing the arts and sciences on the banks of the Nile their ancestors were still drin king human blood and eating out of skulls of their conquered dead; when our civilization had reached the noonday of progress they were still running naked and sleeping in holes and caves with rats, bats and other insects and animals. After we had alrea dy fathomed the mystery of the stars and reduced the heavenly constellations to mi nute and regular calculus they were still backwoodsmen, living in ignorance and blatant darkness. 11 Within the historiography of the UNIA, stri ct adherence to a single consistent set of Black Nationalist ideals, which John Bracey, August Meyer and Elliott Rudwick described as an ideology whose core tenets are black pol itical, economic, and cultural autonomy either within or from white America, was not always apparent. Aside from Garveys meeting with members of the Ku Klux Klans hierarchy, Amy Jacques Garvey struck deals with various Anglo-Saxon clubs throughout Virg inia to help establish th e UNIAs Liberty University.12 The UNIA often entered into relationships of coopera tion with white nationalists and segregationist groups in hopes of furthering its own nationalist goals and serving the more immediate aims of self preservation. Some UNIA divisions had to negotiate with local white law enforcement agencies and white nationalist groups in order to exist. Thes e negotiations did not always allow the division to strictly adhere to the philosophies of the orga nization. Regional differences and distance from the New York headquarters result ed varying interpretations of UNIA ideology and practice at the local level. As the UNIA expanded, some of its objectives were masked to support the practices it sought to end. This was due in part to the flex ibility of the UNIA, as its constitution did not call for the approval of the New York headqua rters before implementing a program under the organizations name. Once a division had a charter, they were free to address the concerns of the 11 Marcus Garvey, African Fundamentalism: A R acial Hierarchy and Empire for Negroes in Marcus Garvey and the Vision of Africa ed. John Henrik Clarke (New York: Vintage Books, 1974), p. 157. 12 Barbara Bair, Renegotiating Liberty: Garveyism, women, and grassroots organizing in Virginia in Women of the American South : A Multicultural Reader ed. Christie Anne Farnham (New York : New York University Press, 1997), pp. 222, 226-227.
14 community using strategies they deemed most a ppropriate. In both the North and the South, the formation of a UNIA group was often met with mixed emotions and at times strained relationships in communities. However, in th e United States, with few exceptions, the members of the UNIA were able to adhere to the idea ls of the organizations program undisturbed by oppositional forces. The singularity of the UNIA was further enhanced by its ability to in corporate local needs and objectives under the auspices of an international organization. Examples include the Black Cross Nurses, a womens auxiliar y that functioned differently in Belize, Louisiana, and Los Angeles. While it yet carried the same name, and allegedly sought to accomplish similar goals, it functioned in Belize as a colonial agent, in Lo uisiana as the only medical alternative for some parishes, and in Los Angeles as both a so cial status symbol and training program.13 Unlike other organizations of the day, UNIA branches were founded with an elastic clause. This provision was as much strength as it was a weakness. While adherents in the U.S. closely followe d the UNIA program, some of their Diasporic counterparts were not quite as successful. At times the tolerance of government-based groups served to ne utralize some of the organizations aims. This became the case with the Belizean Divisions Black Cross Nurses. Historian Anne Macpherson found that in Belize rather than operating as symbols of purity and nobility that combated white racist ster eotypes of African-American women as morally 13 Anne Macpherson, Colonial Matriarchs: Garveyism, Maternalism, and Belizes Black Cross Nurses, 19201952, Gender & History Vol. 15 No. 3 November, 2003: pp.507-527 ; Leah Seabrook Service in Green and white: The Activity and Symbolism of the Universal African Black Cross Nurses (MA Thesis, University of California, Irvine, 2006); Jahi U. Issa The Universal Negro Improvement Association in Louisiana: Creating a Provisional Government in Exile (PhD Dissertation, Ho ward University, 2005); Clauderna Harold, The rise and fall of the Garvey movement in the urban South 1918 to 1942 (PhD Dissertation, University of Notre Dame, 2004); Mary Gambrell Rolinson, The Garvey Movement in the Rural South, 1920-1927, (PhD Dissertation, Georgia State Univ ersity, 2002).
15 wanton the Black Cross Nurses worked to maintain stereotypes and furthered economic disparities on the island. 14 Macpherson noted that the Be lizean Division, comprised of middleclass elites, served as coloni al agents who compounded class segregation on the island while using the UNIA name.15 The use of Black Nationalism by gr oups within the African-American community and the UNIA to reinforce de facto and de jure segregation and imperialism reflected what political scientists Robe rt Brown and Todd Shaw refer to as community nationalism. Brown and Shaw described two types of nationalists, the first being community nationalist and the second be ing separatist nationalist.16 While their study was conducted using present-day respondents, it indicates how and why the Back to Africa portion of the UNIA program, in particular, was viewed literally by some of the membership and figuratively by others. The political scientists argued that among more affluent blacks, as was the case in Belize where the educated middle-class attempte d to control and limit the agency of the poor working class, there was an exercise in a comm unity nationalism [that] advance[d] strong black community control and autonomy.17 This practice revealed what Brown and Shaw call a separatist nationalism which touts national sove reignty and an actual or symbolic secession from white control.18 No matter how various scholars choose to define Black Nationalism, they would probably all agree with Brown and Shaws assertion that this id eology is multidimensional and thus [had] the potential to mobilize very different black constituencies at varying times during 14 Bair, Renegotiating, p. 226. 15 Anne Macpherson, Colonial Matriarchs: Garveyism, Ma ternalism, and Belize's Black Cross Nurses, 192052 in Gender and History Vol. 15 No. 3 (2003): p. 508. 16 Robert A. Brown and Todd C. Shaw, Separate Nations : Two Attitudinal Dimensions of Black Nationalism in The Journal of Politics, Vol. 64, No. 1 (Feb., 2002): p. 22. 17 Brown and Todd, p. 23. 18 Ibid.
16 the long march for civil rights and social justice.19 While the UNIA readily fits all of the definitions mentioned, it adds another layer when the lives and activities of its female members are considered. Although not plainly stated by academics, Black Na tionalism is often depicted as the sole domain of black men.20 Historian Carole Boyce Davies found that Black Nationalism and the global extension of its ideals, Pan Af ricanism, are often presented as totalizing discourses which can tolera te no different articulation and operate from a singularly monolithic constructi on of an African theoretical homeland which asks for the submergence or silencing of gender, sexuality or any other ideological stance of identity position which is not subsumed under Black/African nationalism.21 Efficient Womanhood posits that, within the rhetoric of UNIA gendered concerns often merged with nationalist concerns. In this way Black Nationalism was fashioned by these women to address their concerns. UNIA women came to view the progress of the race as based in part on the progress of their gender and openly argued that the progress of the race would be measured through the progress of its women.22 UNIA women asked African-Americans to better themselves, not simply to improve their individual economic or social stat us, but for the betterment of the race as a whole. This vision was pursued neither stric tly in search of equal rights for women in the public sphere nor through their dominance in the private sphere. It did not require women to acquiesce to their husbands and male leadership, nor did it call for direct public challenges. Their activism was guided both by an awareness of their gender and their race. Influences on 19 Ibid. 20 Aimee M. Glock, Two steps forward and one and a half steps back : Maria Stewart and Mary Ann Shadd Cary's fight for inclusion into early Black nationalism, 1803-1893 (Unpublished MA Thesis, Un iversity of California Los Angeles, 2001), p. 6. 21Carole Boyce Davies, Black women, writing, and identity migrations of the subject (London ; New York : Routledge, 2003), pp. 49-50. 22 Negro World, June 24, 1919.
17 these women included the realities of Jim Crow and the establishing of self-help organizations which included the National Association for th e Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the African Blood Brotherhood (ABB) and fraternal orders. In their attempts to alleviate the challenges of the era, UNIA women established a standard that was driven by econom ic, political, and social goals fo r all people of the Diaspora. While on the surface these women appear to be re -fashioning white middle-class social mores, the standard they strove for aske d that ones status be measured in relations to ones service to the race. Although Victorian imag es of respectability did appear to influence some of the women in the organization, particularly thos e living in the South, this dissertation will demonstrate that this was not the dominant sentiment among UNIA wome n. Through the Ladies Division, the Black Cross Nurses units, and participation in othe r less formal UNIA sponsored auxiliaries, UNIA women attempte d to change the consciousne ss of individuals so that a social transformation of political and economic institutions would be possible.23 This dissertation will evaluate them on their own te rms and demonstrate how nationalist rhetoric became the vehicle through which these women expressed both gender and race concerns. A Brief Assessment of Scholarship on African-American Female Activism Over the past twenty years a marked increase in historical works centering on the role of African-American women activists in struggle for racial and social jus tice has brought women to the center of considerations of the long fr eedom struggle. Specific works on late 19th and early 20th Century women reformers by Paula Giddings, Dorothy Salem, Darlene Clark Hine, and Deborah Grey White have demonstrated the complexities African-American women faced in 23 Patricia Hill Collins, Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge Cons ciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment (Boston: Unwin Hyman, 1990), p. 221.
18 combating prejudice.24 Their work also speaks of the creation of an idealized sense of an autonomous community many women activists of th e period strove for. Although some of these works included minimal considerations of Amy Jacques Garvey, women of the UNIA were absented from these narratives. Still, this scho larship presented historians with new questions and answers for a group of histor ical actors who were previously silenced by the absence of a written record of their existence. The new questions and answers also presented a framework that resulted in the inclusion of UNIA women in the discourse. Although there are many recent publications on African-Americans and specifically African-American women who actively combated th e evils of segregation, many focus primarily on educated middle-class elites. Depictions of these women can be found in Paula Giddings When and Where I Enter which focused on the maneuvering of middle-class African-American women to become a part of mainstream through polit ics, social mores, and education. Her work featured the lives of Mary Church Terrell and Mary McLeod Bethune.25 Both of these women were key figures in the Nationa l Association of Colored Women (NACW), worked as educators, were regularly featured in ma instream and African-American ne wspapers, engaged in broadly cooperative if often tenuous alli ance with white women reformer s, and left a collection of personal papers that highlight their background and contributions to reform. While their activities impacted African-American women of every background, historical treatments of their lives give little attention to the variety of responses they received from the women they attempted to serve. 24 Paula Giddings, When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America (New York: Morrow, 1984); Dorothy C. Salem To Better Our World: Black Women in Organized Reform, 1890-1920 v. 4. (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Carlson Pub, 1990); Darlene Clark Hine and Kathleen Thompson. A Shining Thread of Hope: The History of Black Women in America (New York: Broadway Books, 1998); White Too Heavy a Load : Black Women in Defense of Themselves (New York: W.W. Norton, 1999). 25Paula Giddings, When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black women on Race and Sex in America (New York: Morrow, 1984).
19 Some indications of the complexities of the leadership of Terrell and Bethune are apparent when considered alongside the lives of Nannie Burroughs and Ida B. Wells. Both Burroughs and Wells worked as activists and were in close contact with Terrell and Bethune at varying points. However, histor ians have found that their relati onships were often strained. Historian Sharon Harley found that one of the reas ons for the strain in relations with Burroughs was that she came from a backgr ound, lifestyle, religion, and ideol ogy [that] situated her more firmly among the masses of everyday people.26 Nannie Burroughss ability to speak for those who shared her background, while also acknowledgi ng the contributions of the more elitist club movement, provided early indications of a cadre of women who sought th e progress of many as opposed to maintaining the privileges of a few. Burroughs stated, The Negro must unload the leeches and parasitic leaders who are absolutely eating the life out of the struggling, desiring mass of people.27 She advised that the day of such types was long gone by 1934. She took specific aim at those who were in the church as preachers, in the schools as teachers, in the ward as politicians as they had become luxurious, expensive, unworthy28 These sentiments were first expressed by Burroughs in 1903 when she took a very daring aim at clubwomen, accusing them of being secular clubs existing under the good name of charity [which were] only agencies to bring together certain classes at the exclusion of the poor.29 Although many clubwomen fit Burroughs descrip tion, there are some indications that within the group an awareness of a self-designated and self-defined sense of importance existed. Fannie Barrier Williams who wrote in 1900, for example, that The club movement is well purposedborn out of the stress and pain of a hated past, but was also only gradually 26 Sharon Harley, The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America (New York: Morrow, 1984)., Nannie Burroughs: The Black Goddess of Liberty, The Journal of Negro History 81 (Winter-Autumn, 1996): 63. 27The Afro-American April 7, 1934 in Nannie Burroughs Collection, Box 331, Library of Congress. 28 The Louisiana Weekly, December 23, 1934. 29 Washington Bee December 12, 1903.
20 becoming conscious of the fact th at progress includes a great deal more than what is generally meant by the terms, culture, education and contact.30 The gradual awareness of the clubwomen was not swift enough fo r Ida B. Wells-Barnett, whos e tumultuous involvement with the NACW is often cited as one example of how the clubwomen often disa greed over strategies and objectives. Wells-Barnetts placement on the sidelines by Margaret Murray Washington and others in the organizations hierarchy also reflected the groups unwillingness to publicly engage in battles that undermined both white and male authority figures. Wells-Barnetts brashness and steadfast international campaign against lynchin g, while bringing much attention to one of the most horrid injustices of Jim Crow, resulted in her being branded a trouble maker by the clubwomen. Her sense of urgency for her cause, combined with her pub lic challenges to male and female leaders and her repeated defiance of Jim Crow laws and mores led conservative club women to berate her actions. Although she worked arduously to help establish the organization, she never served as an executive officer.31 In her diary and in the analysis of her biographers, Wells-Barnetts willingness to speak for the race as a bi-gendered, heterogeneous collective, to speak up for men who were silenced by segregationist mores, and to speak to men, encouraging them to take what she deemed was necessary action, indicated the shif t from the practice of respectable politics to a more nuanc ed and aggressive activism. 30 Fannie Barrier Williams, The New Black Woman in Black Women in White America: A Documentary History ed. Gerda Lerner (New York: Vintage Books, 1973), pp. 575 576. 31 Wells-Barnett noted that NACW women shunned boisterou s denials of accusations, cont roversy, or notoriety. Quoted in Patricia Schleicher, Ida B Wells and American Reform p. 242. For more on Ida B. Wells please see Paula Giddings, Ida : a sword among lions : Ida B. Wells and the Campaign Against Lynching (New York, N.Y. : Amistad, 2008); James West Davidson, They say: Ida B Wells and the Reconstruction of Race (New York : Oxford University Press, 2007); Patricia Ann Schleicher, Ida B Wells Barnett and American Reform (Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, 2001); Linda McMurry Edwards, To keep the waters troubled: the life of Ida B. Wells (New York : Oxford University Press, 1998); Ida B Wells Barnett, The Memphis diary of Ida B Wells with Miariam DeCosta-Willis (Boston : Beacon Press, 1995); Dorothy Sterling, Black foremothers : three lives (New York: Feminist Press, 1979).
21 Wells-Barnetts defiance of Victorian mores a nd desire to speak freely was evidenced as she became famous for angrily walking away from those who disagreed with her, wishing them good riddance.32 In fact, her quest for an arena that best suited her style of activism and leadership was in part what brought her to the UNIA in 1920.33 Wells-Barnett encountered both a receptive and tolerant audience in the UNI A. Despite her apprehensions about Garveys purchase of ships for the Black St ar Line, she remained an ardent supporter and member of the organization throughout its heyda y. As with women in the organizations hierarchy and lay membership, Wells-Barnetts allegiance to the UNIAs program appears to have taken precedence over sentiments of loyalty to or agre ement with Garvey himself. That the UNIA transcended Garvey was also evidenced, as this res earch shall discuss, in the shift in leadership activity by women in the organization duri ng his incarceration fo r mail fraud in 1925. Yet, seminal works on African-American wo men do not paint this complex picture. The works of Darlene Clark Hine and Deborah Grey White, for example, expand Giddings focus on middle-class African-American womens activism. In A Shining Thread of Hope Hine attempted to chronicle the activism and lives of middle-class African-American women from the colonial era through the late 1970s. Her work er rs on the side of celebration as the narrative centers on how these women overcame injustices and prejudice in America while neglecting to examine the complexities of that success. Within the narratives of both texts, there is little or no discussion of working-class or women on the lo wer end of the socio-economic scale, although such evidence exists in a variety of organizatio ns in which women participated. One of the organizations missing from this cons ideration is, curiously, the UNIA. 32 Linda O. McMurray, To Keep the Waters Troubled: The Life of Ida B. Wells (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), pp. 247-249, 253, 257. 33 Her daughter noted that Wells-Barnett felt Garvey had hit upon a scheme that for the first time served to unite our people. Quoted in Cheryl Gilkes, Interview Alfreda Duster in ed. Ruth Edmonds Black Women Oral History Project (Westport, CT: Meckler, 1991), p. 7.
22 This approach is further repli cated in Hines edited volume, We Specialize in the Wholly Impossible. While the essays by various scholars sp an across time periods continents, class lines and socio-economic boundaries it continued the trend, with only one notable exception, of centering womens activism among educated middl e-class leaders. Among the informative essays on womens reform efforts during the 20th century is Sharon Harleys essay When Your Work Is Not Who You Are: The Development of a Working Class Consciousness among AfroAmerican Women.34 This essay presented, the highly di fferentiated ways in which AfricanAmerican women viewed themselves in the quest for racial progress.35 Deborah Grey Whites Too Heavy A Load : Black Women in Defense of Themselves (1884-1994) provided another perspectiv e in her examination of the NACW and the National Council of Negro Women (NACW). In her fo cus on middle-class women, class conflicts between middle-class and working-class wome n are made evident. How various groups attempted to address changes in the economic, political and soci al landscape for the one hundred year period is also documented. Efficient Womanhood is an attempt to contribute to this discussion by demonstrating how UNIA women, wh ile neither fully accepting nor rejecting the politics of respectability and class dichotomies, forged a response to the constraints of race and gender prejudice. The Historiography of the UNIA & Marcus Garvey Scholarly considerations of the UNIA and Garvey first appeared shortly after his 1927 deportation. Two studies focused on Garveys dynamism and his ab ility to move people during a troubling period in American history. C.H Reid s 1928 masters thesis provided a descriptive 34 Sharon Harley, When Your Work Is Not Who You Are: The development of a Working Class Consciousness among Afro-American Women, in We Specialize in the Wholly Impossible: A Reader in Black Womens History eds. Darlene Clark Hine, Wilma King and Linda Reeds, (New York: Carlton Publishing, 1995), pp. 25-37. 35 James E. Teele, E. Franklin Frazier and Black Bourgeoisie (Missouri: University of Missouri Press, 2002), p. 77.
23 account of Garveys relationship to the African-Americans in the North and South.36 His thesis was followed by Harold Eugene Zichfooses in 1931 that argued for a general unrest prevalent among the Negro people as a key factor in Marcus Garveys rise to prominence and determined that ideals the organization foster ed would have a lasting impact.37 Recognition of this influence did not enter in to scholarly circles again until 1955 with the publication of Edmond Cronons Black Moses: the story of Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association in 1955. Cronons work served fo r many years as the definitive historical, albeit inaccurate, acc ount of Garvey and the UNIA in the United States. In Cronons analysis, the UNIA was a reactionary, escapist move ment that failed to change the conditions of African-Americans in any measurable way.38 Within one year of Cronons publication, Shirley Wilson Strickland posited in her dissertation that the demise of the UNIA rested with the alleged limitless power of Marcus Garvey and the dependency of his followers on his charismatic leadership.39 Her account, however, did not examine the impact of government forces and the challenges posed to Garvey by rivals. In 1968 Amy Jacques Garvey presented Garvey & Garveyism in an attempt to correct the inaccuracies she found in Edmond Cronons work. The narrative account of Garveys life and work centered on his vision of an independent Africa and the freedom of all peoples of the African Diaspora. She followed this book with a pamphlet that argued Marcus Garvey was the forerunner of the liberation struggles then prevalent in the America. The pamphlet was entitled Black Power in America: Marcus Garveys Im pact on Jamaica and America. Following Amy 36 C.H. Reid, Marcus Garvey: A Social Phenomenon (Unpublished MA thesis, Northwestern University, 1928) p.9. 37 Harold Eugene Zickfoose, The Garvey Movement: A Study Collective Behavior (Unpublished MA Thesis Iowa: State University of Iowa, 1931), pp. i., 74. 38 Edmond Cronon, Black Moses: the story of Marcus Garvey an d the Universal Negro Improvement Association (New Jersey: Pren tice-Hall, 1955). 39 Shirley Wilson Strickland, A Functional Analysis of the Garvey Movement (Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation North Carolina: University of North Carolina, 1956), pp. 173-198.
24 Jacques essay, historia n Theodore Vincent found that the UNI A, in the hands of historians, suffered from exclusions and distortions.40 Vincent asserted that the UNIA was a multidimensional organization with a broad focus that included economic, nati onal and spiritual aims. While Vincent noted that religion had an impor tant role in the UNIAs overall organizational structure, he underestimated the presence of prominent Negro ministers in the organization.41 In 1978 Randall Burkett offered two corre ctives to Vincents assertions. Redemption: Churchmen Speak for the Garvey Movement and Garveyism as a Religious Movement which documented over 250 ministers as well as lay pr eachers and missionaries that were active supporters of the UNIA.42 These persons, including both women and men, were advocates of a transcendent goal: the uplift of the Negro race and the re demption of Africa.43 He also argued that pastoral involvement with the UNIA wa s due in part to the long tradition of black Christian religious reflection and experience in America.44 Burketts focus on AfricanAmerican preachers suggested the magnitude of the UNIAs impact on the United States. This impact also served as the theme of John Henrik Clarkes edited volume, Marcus Garvey and the Vision of Africa .45 The collection of essays, authored by Clarke, Amy Jacques Garvey, Marcus Garvey Jr, Garvey documentarian Robert Hill, and others presented analysis of various periods in Garveys life along with his complete speeches from 1914 through his death in 1940. Because of the volumes select focus, it st ill left the membership body silent as it featured the words of Garvey and specific considerations of him. 40 Theodore Vincent, Black Power and the Garvey Movement (Rampart Press: San Francisco, 1971), pp. 13-30. 41 Vincent, Black Power, p. 18. 42 Randall Burkett, Black Redemption: Churchmen Speak for the Garvey Movement (Philadelphia: Temple University, 1978); Garveyism as a Religious Movement (Metuchen, NJ: Scar ecrow Press, 1978). 43 Randall Burkett, Black Redemption: Churchmen Speak for the Garvey Movement (Philadelphia: Temple University, 1978), p. 13. 44 Ibid. 45 Marcus Garvey and the Vision of Africa ed. John H. Clarke (N ew York: Vint age, 1974).
25 A chronicle of the activities of the member ship and Marcus Garvey followed Clarkes edited volume in 1976. Tony Martins Race First: The Ideologica l and Organizational Struggles of Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association attempted to dispel accusations that Garvey was guilty of buffoonery and Charlatanism.46 Martins work benefited greatly from the discovery of UNIA Central records by Harlem residents in the late 1960s. With these records he pieced together episodes previously omitted by other scholars, resulting in a clearer depiction of the UNIAs global impact. Martins work was the first to list the names and membership numbers of each UNIA branch on all seven continents. The documents he used along with correspondences, excerpts from the Negro World newspaper, rare documents, and government records have been used to create a ten-part volume series, The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers, by historian Robert Hill. The first volumes appeared in 1983 and the next volume is due in late 2009. The first six volumes are arranged in chronol ogical order and the last four are arranged geographically and thematically.47 With the wide availability and accessibility of the UNIA Papers the possibility of furthering considerations of the UNIA and Garvey s impact increased. Most recent works on the UNIA have been case studies that present how according historian Mary Gambrel Rolinson, political, social and economic inequalities c ontributed to the development of the UNIA in both rural and urban Southern States.48 She found that large number s of African-American rural workers joined the UNIA to protest racial injus tices they endured from hostile whites in their 46 Tony Martin, Race First p. ix. 47 Robert Hill, The Marcus Garvey and Un iversal Negro Improvement Association Papers vols. 1-7 & 9-10. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983-2008). 48 Mary G. Rolinson, The Universal Negro Improvement Association in Georgia: Southern Strongholds of Garveyism in ed. John C. Inscoe, Georgia in Black and White: Explorations in the Race relations of a Southern State (Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 1994), pp. 202-221; The Garvey Movement in the Rural South, 1920-1927, (PhD Dissertation, Georgia State University, 2002).
26 communities, specifically in Georgia, Arkansas and Mississippi.49 Her focus on the rural South provided a framework for observations of the UNIA in Southern urban areas. Her study was followed by Claudrena Harolds class analysis of the UNIA in New Orleans, LA, Miami, FL and Hampton Roads, VA which revisited contentions made by Judith Stein in The World of Marcus Garvey. Both Harold and Stein argued that the organization failed to transform existing power relationships for workingclass African-Americans.50 However, Harold still maintained that the UNIA strengthened ordinary folk s confidence in their ability to effectuate social change.51 Those ordinary folks consisted of both women and men. This dissertation is an effort to highlight the contributions of women served to assist their communities in times of need.52 Women in the Historiography of the UNIA In 1922, on the last day of the UNIAs A ugust Convention, the women of the UNIA took the floor to ask the general body to amend the UN IA constitution. They noted that while the organization provided opportunities for equal participation of the sexes, at times, women did not have an equal voice.53 In the ensuing discussion, wome n from various parts of the country expressed concerns about how their efforts were perceived both inside and outside of the organization. Among those concerns, for example, was the ability of wo men who were active in recruiting members to be designa ted as official officers within the organization. Women who travelled as unaccompanied organize rs and field workers were not included in the selection process for formal offices within the organizatio ns hierarchy. While th e end results of this attempted coup remains open for debate among historians of the UNIA and of Garvey, the 49 Mary G. Rolinson, The Garvey Movement in the Rural South, 1920-1927, (PhD Dissertation, Georgia State University, 2002). 50 Claudrena Harold, The Rise and Fall of the Garvey Movement in the Urban South (New York: Routledge, 2007); Judith Stein, The World of Marcus Garvey: Race and Class in Modern Society (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1986). 51 Harold, p. 27. 52 Ibid. 53 Negro World, September 2, 1922.
27 rhetoric used by these women was most reveal ing. What became immediately apparent, for example, was that the women placed a marked va lue on their work within the organization and were determined that it receive equal recogniti on. These concerns, in part, were fueled by regional locations. Women from the South expressed concern over working to solicit membership without the company of a male. Women in the No rth, on the other hand, did not find it necessary to be accompanied by anyone. Th e existence of varying degrees of real or perceived racial injustices also affected the wi llingness of UNIA women to engage in the politics of respectability. Also worth notin g, is that this eleventh hour debate occurred while Garvey was not on the convention floor. This event was one of the first signs that the UNIA and its women members had begun to see the organization and its programs as separate from Marcus Garvey the man. In 1924, on the last day of the August Convention, The Daughters of Ethiopia (DOE) petitioned the general membership to become a fo rmal auxiliary of the UNIA. Unlike the Ladies Division, there was no constitutional provision for Th e Daughters of Ethiopia. They were not an official part of the UNIA tree, yet member ship was bestowed on those who displayed exemplary service to th e race through their par ticipation in the UNIA.54 To establish themselves as such, Maymie De Mena and others asked the membership for an official designation as an auxiliary so that they might better serve the race.55 Garvey had instituted the practice of rewarding persons for their promotion of the organizations goals and race progress by granting titles in a fictive African Royal Court of the Nile. The DOE was established in part to that end. That the women couched their request as a means of extending recognition for work they were already engaged in made this event notew orthy. However, what is also notable is that 54Negro World, September 16, 1924. 55 Ibid.
28 in so doing, the women found another avenue to extend and expand their opportunities for leadership and voice within the organization. UNIA women demonstrated that they were self-defined, self-reliant individuals who confronted race, gender, and class oppression as a means of bettering themselves and the race.56 This was true for women in Garveys inner circle and women in the lay membership. To illuminate how UNIA women selectively engaged the politics of respectability while combining gender and race concerns I have examined the lives of Amy Ashwood, Garveys first wife and the first Secretary General of the UNIA; Amy J acques Garvey, Garveys second wife who held no official office, but acted as a leader while Garvey was in prison; He nrietta Vinton Davis who served in three official offices and remained loyal to the UNIA until her death; and Laura Adorkor Koffey who, like Amy Jacques Garv ey, held no official UNIA office but who demonstrated a style of leadership and loyalty to the aims of the UNIA which endured long after her assassination. The lay membersh ip also carved leadership stat us for themselves through their participation in the Black Cross Nurses (BCN), an auxiliary that helped formalize community self-help health and medical practices. When ta ken together, the lives of these women, and their activism before, during, and after their affiliati on with the UNIA demonstrated a widespread approach to racial progress, much like wh at DuBois termed an efficient womanhood. According to historian Barbara Bair, th e UNIA developed a very strong womens auxiliary, in which women form ed their own leadership and carried on their own functions.57 These women have been missing from the pages of 20th Century American history in part because of thematic-driven considerations of Garvey. Narratives that either deal exclusively 56 Patricia Hill Collins, Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge Cons ciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment (Boston: Unwin Hyman, 1990), p. 221. 57Barbara Bair, Ethiopia Shall Stretch Forth Her hands unto God: Laura Kofey and the Gendered Vision of African redemption in the Garvey Movement. A Mighty Baptism: Race, Gender and the Creation of American Protestantism. eds. Susan Jester and Lisa McFarlane (Ith aca: Cornell University press, 1996), p. 39.
29 with Garvey the man or present the UNIA as a mere extension of Garveys own racial pride have served to silence the women of the organization.58 This has resulted in the overshadowing of other major events and persons within the orga nization. One such example of this rests in considerations of Am y Ashwood Garvey. Until most recently there was no independent co nsideration of her lifes work, and most works on the UNIA and Garvey merely referred to her as his first wife, a drunk, and a woman of questionable morals. Histor ian Tony Martins biography, Amy Ashwood Garvey: Pan Africanist, Feminist and Mrs Garvey No. 1 Or, A Tale of Two Amies attempted not to cause any more inconvenience to her memory than has been nece ssary to tell her story, while demonstrating Ashwoods significance to the story of the UNIA, Diasporic movements and womens activism.59 Her neglect by other historians of the UNIA resulted from the focus on the Negro World as the primary source of archival information on the organizations and its officers. After her divorce from Garvey in 1921, Ashwood simply ceased to appear on its pages. She reappeared in the Negro World in 1924 as testimony given in Garvey s trial pointed to her as the source of pilfering in the organization. Men in the hierarchy in fact, attempted to make Ashwood a scapegoat. Amy Jacques married Garvey in 1922, after Garvey left Ashwood. Jacques would edit and author two seminal books that included his sp eeches, philosophies and excerpts in service to 58 At times the central focus of histor ians on Garvey as a charismatic and dynamic figure serves to silence the contributions of others to the organizations or opposing view points. Examples of this include Judith Stein, The World of Marcus Garvey: Race and Class in Modern Society (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1986); Tony Martin, Race First: The Id eological and Organi zational Struggles of Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association (Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 1976); Edmund David Cronon, Black Moses: The Story of Marcus Garvey and the Un iversal Negro Improvement Association (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1969). Randall Burkett, Garveyism As a Religious Movement: Th e Institutionalization of a Black Civil Religion (Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1978); Examples of thematic considerations of Garvey philosophies include Randall Burkett, Black Redemption: Churchmen Speak for the Garvey Movement (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1978). 59 Tony Martin, Amy Ashwood Garvey: Pan Africani st, Feminist and Mrs Garvey No. 1 Or, A Tale of Two Amies (Dover, MA: The Majority Press, 2007), p. xi.
30 Garvey and the organization. She also bore him two sons. Through Garveys trial and subsequent incarceration and even tual deportation, Jacques, with the help of Henrietta Vinton Davis of Baltimore, Maryland and Maimed De Mena of Nicaragua, Central America, strove to defend Garvey, and also to keep the program s of the UNIA running. These programs included the founding of Liberty University in 1926 a nd the reformation of the fledgling shipping enterprises. Amy Jacques faced challenges fr om the men in the UNIAs hierarchy not only because she held no official office, but also because she was a woman, and because she seldom waited for their consensus or c onsent before acting. Historian Ulla Taylor labeled Jacques efforts to mobilize women in the UNIA as a c ommunity feminism that resembled a tug-ofwar between feminist and nati onalist paradigms, but it also provided a means of critiquing chauvinistic ideas of women as intellectually inferior.60 Neither of the Mrs. Garveys, who both lived into the 1960s, (Ashwood passed on May 11, 1969 and Jacques passed on July 25, 1973), appeared to consider themselves feminists nor did either align themselves with groups using th e moniker. Still both women can be seen as a part of what Patricia Hill Collins define d as a Black Feminism. Both women laid a vital analytical foundation fo r a distinctive st andpoint on self, community, and society and, in doing so, created a multifaceted, AfricanAmerican womens intellectual tradition. While clear discontinuities in this tradition exist---times when Black women s voices were strong, and others when assuming a more muted tone was essentia l---one striking dime nsion of [their] ideasis the theoretic consistency of their work..61 One of the theoretical consistencies in th e work of both women was their quest to promote the self-help and economic self-sufficien cy goals of the UNIA while also promoting and 60 Ula Taylor, The Veiled Garvey: The Life and Times of Amy Jacques Garvey (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2002), p. 2. 61 Patricia Hill Collins, Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness and the Politics of Empowerment Second Edition (New York and London: Routledge, 2000), pp.2-3.
31 maintaining Marcus Garveys legacy of race pride and self determination. That both women resembled what twentieth century and twenty-first century scholar s defined as feminist implies the significance of their contributions in shaping African-America n womens activism. However, use of the term to characterize their work only serves to limit the realities of their lives and the times in which they lived. Both Amy Jacques and Amy Ashwood also included in their life work the progress of the Diasporic masses al ong with the specific promotion of men at the head of that effort in partnership with wo men. The use of the word feminism seems misappropriated when referring to th em or their UNIA peers. The se verity of segregation and its distinct lines of power during th e early twentieth century also become muted by the use of the term. Efficient Womanhood is a term offered in recogniti on of that marked difference. Consistency was also a defining characteristic in the life of Henr ietta Vinton Davis who came to the UNIA in late 1918 at age 49 from the Shakespearean stage and remained a member in its various incarnations until her death in 1941. She too sought the promotion of race progress and went to great lengths, as this research will show, to bridge gaps within the African-American community based on color and class prejudices. While Davis is featured heavily in narratives that focus on the UNIA and Garvey which have been mainly informed by the Bureau of Investigations detailing of the UNIA, there has yet to be a comprehensive treatment of her life. Considerations of Davis, within the scholarship on Marcus Garvey and the UNIA, centers on her friendship with him and both his wives as well as her role in rallying membership for the organization. Scholarship on her impact and significance are brief. Historian Judith Stein, for example, questioned Davis role as Black Cr oss Nurse Organizer, noting that as she had no formal training as a nurse. She did however, have professional training as a teacher.62 As this 62 William Seraille, Henrietta Vinton Davis and The Garvey Movement in A fro-Americans in New York Life and History (Afro-American Historical Association of the Niagara Frontier, July 1982), p. 13.
32 dissertation will prove through the use of Davis own words, although she had a middleclass background, she used her roles as a teacher and actress to bridge the gap between the classes and the varying hues of African-American s. Still, on the surface Da vis appeared to fit the middleclass mold Stein somewhat erroneously argued dominated the UNIA. These included ambitious artisans, small businessmen, and uprooted workers. Its methods and visions were simultaneously shaped by fa talism of the powerless, the utopias of hustlers and charlatans, the promise of mass movements and the ideologies generated by the new social transformation of World War I and the 1920s. 63 That the members of the UNIA were ambitious is a fact. The middle-class assertions of the UNIA, however, were based on the desire to obtain economic self-sufficiency and independence. Middle-class pretentions that were believed to provide access to white society were not the main motivations of the quest for middle-class status among UNIA membership. As this dissertation will show, members of the UNIA were encouraged to engage in educational and entrepreneurial endeavors to be tter themselves, and to improve the overall status of the race. Through an examination of UNIA women, specifi cally those in the Black Cross Nurses auxiliaries, Judith Steins assertion regard ing the motives of the membership becomes questionable. Middle-class African-American women, as was the case for Henrietta Vinton Davis, joined the UNIA in part because they viewed its programs as a means of bridging economic gaps in their communities. Steins other assertions, that they were driven by a fatalis m and misled by hustler and charlatans, have also been revisited. Narratives of both rural and urban UNIA Divisions featured in the works of Jahi Issa, which focuse d on the Louisiana Division and its belief that the 63 Judith Stein, The World of Marcus Garvey: Ra ce and Class in Modern Society (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1986), p. 6.
33 UNIA and Garvey symbolized a government in exile as well as Claudrena Harold and Mary Rolinson whose case studies on the UNIA demons trated the obvious popular appeal of Garveys calls for race pride, racial separati sm and Negro nationalism along the South Eastern Seaboard of the Mason Dixon Line. 64 These historians demonstrated not only w hy people were attracted to the UNIA in the South, but that they brought with them ideas, att itudes, and strategies that membership in the organization helped to give voice and credentials to.65 Although these case studies serve to highlight the motives, actions, and activities of the lay membersh ip, all three fail to give any lengthy consideration to the roles women played in their respective divisions. Throughout his narrative, Issa pays special a ttention to the spouses of UNIA men. While providing some detail on the BCN in Louisiana (Harold and Rolinson also refer to UNIA women in the same vein), he failed to highlight and/or anal yze the role of women within the division. In Emory Tolberts seminal work, The UNIA and Black Los Angeles: ideo logy and community in the American Garvey Movement, he focused on key women organizers in detail. The womens perceptions of the UNIA and/or Garvey become linked with th eir participation in th e organization. This resulted in a distinct and nuanced account of the Los Angeles Division. Emory Tolberts focus on journalist Charlotta Bass role in forming the Pacific Coast Negro Improvement Association (PCNIA), a UNIA rival faction, after a fa lling out with the New York Headquarters over the use of funds, rema ins the first historical depiction of the 64Rolinson, Grassroots Garveyism : the Universal Negro Improv ement Association in the rural South,, 1920-1927 (Chapel Hill : University of North Caro lina Press, 2007), p.13; Simialr ideas are expressed by Jai Issa in The Universal Negro Improvement Association in Louisiana: Creating a Provisional Government in Exile (Ph.D. Dissertation, Howard University, May 2003). 65 Claudrena N. Harold, The Rise and fall of the Garvey Movem ent in the Urban South, 1918-1942 (New York: Routledge, 2007); Mary G. Rolinson, Grassroots Garveyism : the Universal Ne gro Improvement Association in the rural South,, 1920-1927 (Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, 2007).
34 complexities of membership in the organization. 66 It also served to demonstrate that the appeal of the UNIA program was so strong and distinct that rather than abandon it altogether, individuals at odds with Garvey simply am ended the name and continued to follow the philosophies and tenets of the program. One of the tenets, which appeared to resonate with all of the membership regardless of their geographic loca tions, was self-sufficiency. To achieve this goal, the PCNIA also formed its own BCN and continued to extend healthcare education and create employment opportunities in the field of healthcare for its members. Although the Black Cross Nurses and Henrietta Vinton Davis appear as frequently in the historiography of the UNIA, they are given spar se consideration. Their mention is confined mostly to their appearance in UNI A parades. In the late 1990s historians began to move beyond Theodore Vincents assertion that the BCN compri sed [f]ew [women who] were trained nurses, but many were doing the work of nurses at a servants wages.67 Recent work by historian Winston James points to the need for a full consideration of these women and the reality of their work as formal and informal nurses.68 Historian Barbara Bair also notes that the work of the BCN [i]n bolstering black health and helpi ng black families to better thrivedirectly countermanded what UNIA members saw as a white supremacist plan of genocide directed against African-Americans.69 66 For further insights on the life and work of Charlotta Ba ss both inside and outside of the UNIA please see Ann D Gordon, Bettye Collier-Thomas, et al., African-American Women and the Vote, 1837-1965 (Amherst : University of Massachusetts Press, 1997); Anne Barbara Rapp, A Marg inalized voice for racial justice: Charlotta Bass and oppositional politics, 1914-1960 (Ph. D. Dissertation Un iversity of California, Sa nta Barbara, 2005); Marti Elizabeth Tippens, Talking Back: how publisher and activist Charlotta Bass challenged inequity through the California Eagle (MA Thesis, California State University, Northridge, 2001). 67 Theodore G. Vincent, Black Power and the Garvey Movement (California: Ramparts Press, 1976), p.102. 68 Winston James, Holding Aloft the Banner of Ethiopia: Caribbean Radicalism in Early Twentieth-century America (London; New York: Verso, 1999). 69 Barbara Bair, Renegotiating Liberty: Garveyism, women and Grassroots Orga nizing in Virginia in Women of the American South: A Multicultural Reader ed. Christie Anne Farnham (New York: New York University Press, 1996), pp. 226-227.
35 None of the recent case studies argued as di d Martin Summers in his comparative study of the UNIA and Black Masonry that the Black Cross Nurses represented a tradition of black womens community work and provided Garveyit e women the space in which to assert their capacity as co-equals in community and national development.70 The assertion of co-equal status resulted from the opport unities the UNIA presented, the lead ership models of Garveys wives and Henrietta Vinton Davis, and their ow n significance to the UNIAs program. However, not all women were able to assert their value w ithin the organization peacefully especially when they expressed uneasiness with the hierarchy of the UNIA. While there are many disturbing episodes throughout the UNIAs nascent period, none is more disturbing or under documented in the hi storiography of the organization than the assassination of African Prince ss Laura Adorkor Kofey on March 8, 1928 in Miami, Florida. In works centered on Garvey, she is presented as a nemesis who allegedly defrauded the organization and was banished from the pages of the Negro World. The only full consideration of her life, albeit based on limited sources, focu sed on her as a religious charismatic figure who became involved in the UNIA thr ough revivalstyle meetings.71 Within the limited treatments of Kofey, a portrait of a woman whose significance transcends the organization and served to bridge all points of the Diaspora becomes evident. Laura Kofey was one of the few native Africans to become involved with the organizations lay membership. Her migration to the U.S. was by choice. She joined the UNIA with the specific intention of assisting in repatriation efforts and establishing a trade agreement between the organization and her community in West Africa. This dissertation argues that 70 Martin Summers, Manliness & Its Discontents: The Black Middle-class & The Transformation of Masculinity, 1900-1930 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004), p. 138. 71 Richard Newman, Warrior Mother of Africas Warriors of the Most High God: Laura Adorkor Kofey and the African Universal Church in Black Power and Black Religion: Essays and Reviews ed. Richard Newman (Connecticut: locust Hill Press, 1987), pp. 131-145.
36 Kofeys brief interaction with th e UNIA, her physical and spiritual connections to Africa, and the legacy she inspired qualifies Kofey as a signif icant historical figure. Although the early Black Atlantic period commentarial ends in the 19th century, Kofeys traversing of continents and her prominence among persons of the Diaspora placed her within this framework. Kofey, like Ashwood, was banned from mention in the Negro World and thus was silenced in historical works that focused on the Negro World. Despite this absence, she was the most successful organizer of new UNIA divi sions in Alabama and Florida and warrants consideration in discus sions of the organization and its female cadre.72 Kofeys willingness to continue to galvanize members for th e UNIA, even after being declared persona non grata by Garvey, further illustrated the wi llingness of persons drawn to th e organization to adhere to the program in spite of disagreements with th e organizations hierarchy. Here again the complexities faced by women in the organization as they strove to be seen and heard were repeatedly demonstrated. Despite the obstacles, women in the organi zation continued to publicly and privately influence, shape, and re-define the UNIA brand of Black Nationalism. Their efforts did not go unnoticed by observers both inside and outside of the organization. According to labor activist Sylvia Woods, he r father, a roofer, joined the organization when she was just ten years old in 1919. He wo uld take her to weekly UNIA meetings in New Orleans and encouraged her to listen to the speaker, a woman, who opened the meeting every week. Mr. Woods wanted Sylvia to hear every word said so that she would be able to speak like that woman. He believed that [w] e have to have speakers in order to get free.73 Sylvias recollection and her subsequent lifes work of grassroots activism presents several 72 Barbara Bair, Renegotiating Liberty, p. 224. 73 Sylvia Woods, You Have to Fight for Freedom in Voices of a people's history of the United States ed. Howard Zinn & Anthony Arnove (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2004), p. 114.
37 questions about the role of women in the UNIA and Black Na tionalism more broadly. In relaying this episode from her childhood Sylvia Woods presents the researcher with two key questions. First who was the speaker? And second, what was so compelling in her speeches that prompted Mr. Wood to have Sylvia recite her sp eeches verbatim each week with [the womans] same voice, all of her movements and everything?74 As Sylvia Woods grew up to become an act ivist and speaker in her own right, a third question surfaces based on her recollection: how did the women of the organization as role models on a local level present the membership with a formula for national and international activism? Lastly, as this scenario played out in many UNIA Divisions throughout the Diaspora, the chiding of many fathers to th eir daughters may have also taken place. As the UNIA has been historically viewed as a male dominated organization, Mr. Woods desire to have his daughter become a speaker in order to get free contradicts th at assertion and presents a final question, how did the UNIA create a public space for African American women to engage in and promote black liberation? Efficient Womanhood is an attempt to answer these questions. Outline of the Dissertation Chapter one provides a brief description of the activism of Amy Ashwood and Amy Jacques. Their work during their tenure in the organization and their lives immediately prior to and after the UNIAs hey-day are also discu ssed. The lives and ch allenges faced by these women will be used to delineate the dilemmas and triumphs of the UNIAs efficient women. Their rhetoric and daily actions, as witnessed by the lay membership, are also examined as a way of measuring their influence and their ability to mirror and address th e needs of the female members. 74 Ibid.
38 The second chapter centers on Henrietta Vinton Davis, who was the confidant of Ashwood, Jacques and Garvey. Her life prior to th e UNIA is discussed brie fly to illustrate the actions of women attracted to the organization. Her efforts to solicit funds for the Black Star Line (BSL) and establish a relations hip with Liberia on behalf of th e UNIA is also highlighted to demonstrate how efficient women stretched th e boundaries of respectable behavior, while piloting themselves into roles heretofore do minated by men. Davis disenchantment with Garvey after twelve years with th e organization is also examined to illustrate the complexities of personal relations in the UNIA. As with all the women featured in this dissertation, their loyalty to the UNIA program consistently trumped loyalty to Garvey. While soliciting monies for the BSL, Davis also worked arduously to have women join the Black Cross Nurses auxiliary of the UNIA. Chap ter three focuses on the fruits of this effort. The ways in which the BCN auxiliaries served their respective communities is highlighted to show how the use of efficient womanhood increased educational opportunities for women and served to decrease healthcare disparities in communities throughout the Diaspora. The expansiveness of the UNIAs program is further illustrated by the BCN of Belize, which revealed how a decentralized program was manipulated to serve conflicting purposes. Chapter four of E fficient Womanhood centers on a woman wh o presented no real challenge to the UNIAs programs but who objected to some of its money-raising schemes and through her charisma was seen as a threat to Marcus Garveys power. Laura Adorkor Kofeys influence on both women and men of the UNIA, as a native African, revealed the expansiveness of the UNIAs program. The discussion of her short two-year affiliation with the organization leading up to her murder, purportedly by members of the UNIA, lays bare the difficulty women faced within the organization.
39 Chapter five revisits the points made in the previous chapters. It focuses on how the women of the UNIA recognized that they were the burden bearer s of their race and suffered from a lack of appreciation for their efforts.75 This chapter discusses the ways in which UNIA women participated in shaping its goals, r ecruiting its membership, working to ensure its economic solvency, and finding ways to promote the legacy of its program and founder. Their participation and activism, while guided by bot h the UNIA program and Marcus Garvey, was adjusted at times to achieve what these women saw as the ultimate good--the progress of the race. Paradoxically, their belief in the UNIA program and respect for Garveys core ideals about economic uplift and psychological and cultural em powerment sometimes caused them to act in what appeared to be direct c onflict with Garvey personally. Ho wever, as far as research has demonstrated, these women never wavered in their commitment to the goals of the UNIA program---which they had, in fact, done much to articulate. 75 Negro World, January n.d., 1927.
40 CHAPTER 2 MRS. AND MRS. GARVEY : THE T WO AMY GARVEYS The Roles of Amy Garvey The contributions of Amy Ashwood Garvey an d Am y Jacques Garvey to the furtherance of the UNIAs goals throughout the Diaspora have recently taken center stage in biographies on their lives. Tony Martins Amy Ashwood Garvey: Pan-Africanist, Feminist, and Mrs. Marcus Garvey Wife No. 1, or, A Tale of Two Amies on Ashwood in (2007) and Ula Taylors The Veiled Garvey: The Life & Times of Amy Jacques Garvey (2003) portray not only the difficulties of being married to a man whose first commitment was to an organization, but also the ways in which each woman contributed to the formation of the ideals and philosophies that organization espoused. Martins considerati on of Amy Ashwood Garvey served to extend the work of Lionel Yard, who published a biography on Ashwood in 1980.1 Both Martins and Yards work depict a complex woman whose efforts to establish the Universal Negro Improvement Association and Commercial League in 1914, had previously received minimal attention. Ula Taylors biography of Amy Jacques also highlights Ashwoods c ontributions to the organization and her quest to be recognized as the real Mrs. Ga rvey. Biographers of both Amy Ashwood and Amy Garvey discussed their tenuous relationship after Ashwoods divorce from Marcus Garvey in 1920. Nevertheless, the lives of these women continued to intersect until the times of their deaths. While the two Amys ne ver stood in the same room after Ashwood moved to London in 1924, their life stories indicate sh ared ideals, philosophies, and ultimately disillusionment with Garvey as a man and a leader, if not with the core ideals of the UNIA.2 1 Tony Martin, Amy Ashwood Garvey: Pan-Africanist, Feminist, and Mrs. Marcus Garvey Wife No. 1, or, A Tale of Two Amies (Dover, MA: Majority Pre ss, 2007); Ula Y. Taylor, The Veiled Garvey: The Life & Times of Amy Jacques Garvey (Chapel Hill: University of North Ca rolina Press, 2002); Lionel M. Yard, Biography of Amy Ashwood Garvey, 1897-1969: Co-Founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association ([S.l.]: Associated Publishers, 1980). 2 Tony Martin, Amy Ashwood Garvey: Wife No. 1 Jamaica Journal 20:3 (1987): p. 33.
41 Contemplations of Amy Ashwoods life also re vealed her expansive efforts, while living in England, to assist African students in obtaining a Western education and her contribution to labor and nationalist organizing e fforts throughout the Diaspora. At the same time, they stressed how she expounded the ideals she had helped Garv ey formulate and how she came to challenge or modify those ideals. All three life chr oniclers present evidence of Ashwood as a Black Nationalist and Pan Africanist.3 Similar evidence and arguments were deployed by historian Ula Taylor in her work on Amy Jacques Garvey. Through a close examination of Jacques life s work during the nascent UNIA period in the mid-teens and the post-G arvey era, Taylor found evidence by 1929, of a community feminism where gender concerns were expre ssed in connection to race progress throughout Jacques public career. Taylor argued that Amy Jacques used her gender after Garveys death to enter into discussion of Diaspor a concerns with the man whom Marcus Garvey engaged in a bitter war of words with up until his death, William E.B. DuBois.4 Editorials and essays authored by Jacques during Garveys trial, in carceration and subsequent deportation, between 1924 and 1927, not only indicated a tr ansition of power within the organization, from male to female hands, but also demonstrated her staunch advocacy of UNIA programs.5 In so doing she asserted the value of female participation in the organizations hierarchy and established more defined roles for women to ensure the organization achieved its aims. 3 Most specifically it is interesting to note that Ashwood attended every Pan Africanist conference between 1921 and 1945. She shared a podium with the likes of W.E.B. Du Bo is, a foe of Garveys presence in the United States during the UNIAs active period, George Padmor e, C.L.R.James and Jomo Kenyatta. For additional insights please see Martin, Amy Ashwood Garvey: PanAfricanist, pp. 84-85, 89, 123 &134-136. 4 Ashwood also entered into a close relationship with DuBo is as both participated in the Pan African Congresses held in Manchester England throughout the 1930s and 1940s. 5 Amy Jacques edited a column entitled Our Women and What They Think as well as the Womens Page of the Negro World In that capacity she not only offered advice to women their role in the home as mothers and wives, but also on how those duties carried over to their public interactions. Our Women and What They Think ran for three years. The Womens Page started by Jacques in 1922 was a regular feature until the paper folded in 1934.
42 Amy Jacques contributions to the UNIA, her lif es work after its highly active period in the 1920s and 1930s, included establishing Marcus Garveys written legacy by editing and publishing some of his key writings and speeches and resulted in some prominence in UNIA historiography.6 By contrast, Amy Ashwoods various co ntributions to the UNIA have not been explicitly recognized even in wo rks that do examine key female figures within the organization. Indeed, Amy Ashwoods obscurity has resulted in the false impression that neither of Garveys wives ever held formal positions of power with in the organizations hierarchy although, Ashwood was listed as Secretary General during the 1919 Madison Square Garden Convention in New York City.7 This chapter reexamines the impact of both Mrs. Garveys, and in particular, discusses how Amy Ashwood, together with Garvey himself, he lped to create the un usual space for female social, economic, and political activism within th e UNIA. This chapter also seeks to illustrate how Jacques, along with the lay membership, stre tched the limits of that space to create a gendered lay hierarchy. In so doi ng, women in the organization developed leadership skills that assisted them in influencing the Di aspora world at large. While the Negro World is the main primary source for restoring the history of th e UNIAs lay membership, it is not a sufficient source for following the personal and public lives of either of Garveys wives. To fill this gap, the papers of these women, their biographies and self-authored works will be used, along with newspaper interviews each gave in the latter part of their lives. It is in the humble beginning of 6 Amy Jacques Garvey published the two volumes of Marcus Garveys speeches entitled Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey, or, Africa for the Africans (New York City: Universal Publishing House, 1925) and Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey, or Africa for the Africans vol 2. (New York: Universal Pub. House, 1926) during his stay in the New York Tombs Prison in 1925 and while he served his sentence in the Atlanta Penitentiary in 1926. In later years she authored Garvey and Garveyism (New York: Collier Books, 1970) and co-edited with John Henrik Clarke, Marcus Garvey and the Vision of Africa (New York: Random House, 1974) More Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey ( London: Cass, 1977) with Essien Udosen Essien-Udom. The first volume of Garveys was translated into French by Adolph Edwards, Marcus Garvey, un homme et sa pense (Paris: Editions Caribennes, 1983). 7 This historic meeting was chaired by then In ternational Organizer, Henrietta Vinton Davis.
43 the organization, in the parlor of Amy Ashwoods parents, that the beginnings of the UNIAs efficient womanhood can be found. The Imprint of Amy Ashwood Garvey Only two people were present at the concep tion of the UNIA in Jamaica in 1914, Marcus Garvey and his then friend and future wife Am y Ashwood. The organization, originally called the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities Imperial League, was established when Garvey named Ashwood s ecretary and she appointed him president.8 Although her biographer, Lionel Yard, described Ashwood as a founding member of the UNIA, based on testimony from Ashwood and others in the orga nizations hierarchy, this contention was later disputed.9 In the last twenty years accounts of the founding of the UNIA have come to acknowledge that Ashwood was co -founder of the organization.10 On July 8, 1915 the Jamaica Times carried an announcement fo r a meeting of the UNIA which was to be held at the home of Ashwoods parents.11 The use of the Ashwood home for the UNIAs earliest meetings attests to the level of involvement of not only Amy Ashwood, but to some extent her family. Ashwoods activism app ears to have been encouraged by her parents who, by their willingness to facil itate the group, also appeared to agree with the principles for which the organization stood. This announcemen t, along with the papers of Amy Ashwood Garvey and her unpublished manuscr ipt Marcus Garvey Prophet of Black Nationalism, led historians to argue for Ashwoods significan ce at the very beginning of the UNIA. 8Yard, Biography of Amy Ashwood p. 17. 9Tony Martin, Race First p. 6. 9 Tony Martin, Race First p. 6. 10 Barbara Bair Ethiopia Shall Stretch Forth Her Hand s Unto God: Laura Kofey and the Gendered Vision of Redemption in the Garvey Movement in A Mighty Baptism: Race, Gender, and the Creation of American Protestantism eds. Susan Jester and Lisa MacFarlane. (New Yo rk: Cornell University Press, 1996), p. 39; Ula Taylor, The Veiled Garvey (North Carolina: UNC Press, 2002), p. 23. 11 Jamaica Times, July 8, 1915.
44 Despite such evidence, Garvey biographer T ony Martin long remained skeptical about the nature and extent of Ashwoods influence in establishing th e organization. However, his 2007 biography of Amy Ashwood presented a sligh tly different take on the matter. Although Martin still maintains that As hwood at age 17 could not have c ontributed much to the founding of the Universal Negro Improvement and Cons ervation Association and African Communities League (UNI&CA&ACL), he does concede that he r involvement helped Garvey gain access to some of Jamaicas social and powerful elites who helped fund UNIA-sponsored programs.12 On the surface, throughout 1914 and 1915, prior to Garveys trip to America, the organization performed functions similar to many of the social or fraternal organizations on the island. In the early years, it s ponsored several community based endeavors to assist poorer Jamaicans. These programs included providing dinne rs for the poor through th e sale of flowers and bouquets to the members, friends and well-wishers of the association while fundraising for a Tuskegee-like industrial school and establis hing an industrial farm to help feed the poor.13 The organization also served as an employment agency for pers ons seeking work both on and off the island of Jamaica and hosted debates on social issues.14 As these were the main activities of the organization and Garvey was still in what historian Rupert Lewis called his Booker T. Washington phase, the involvement of Amy Ashwoods family is, according to Martin, credible. For him, her influence and input e nded once Garvey went to America in 1916 and became more radicalized in his approach.15 However, a close examination of both the pol itical and cultural atmosphere in Jamaica during the period presents a more nuanced understanding of Ashwoods involvement. 12 Martin, Race First p. 33; Tony Martin, Amy Ashwood Garvey: Pan Africanist pp. 22-27. 13 Jamaica Times, November 15, 1915; Daily Chronicle, December 4, 1914; Daily Chronicle November 5, 1914, November 14, 1914, November 19, 1914 & November 28, 1914. 14 Ibid; Jamaica Gleaner January 15, 1915 & January 19, 1915; Jamaica Gleaner January 25, 1915. 15Rupert Lewis, Marcus Garvey: Anti-colonial Champion (New Jersey: Africa World Press, 1987), p. 42.
45 Ashwoods participation in public speaking co ntests that centered on the very ideals subsequently written into the UNIA program indi cates that she could have easily brought her own ideals to the early stages of the organizatio ns program. Furthermore, as Ashwood had just returned to Jamaica from the Panama Canal Z one in 1914, where she was exposed to the harsh and sometimes immoral realities of limited wa ge work opportunities for women, the degree of her influence was larger th an Tony Martin alleges. The Ashwood family was a part of the infl ux of West Indians who participated in the Panama Canal construction in the mid-1900s. Women worked just as hard as men although earning lower wages for their work. While the work force was male dominated, women carved out niches for themselves as cooks, laundresse s and lay nurses while caring for make shift homes. Some women actually worked as a part of the construction teams on the canal. Records indicate that officially over 31,000 men and wo men from neighboring Caribbean islands were brought to the Canal Zone and another 150,000 to 200,000 migrated on their own during the second phase of construction between 1904 and 1914. Of that number only 20,000 were said to be actually on the canal payroll at any given time. 16 At the start of the second phase of construction, in 1905, managers of the canal project attempted to specifically solicit women workers to come into the zone. They believed there was as much need for women in the work force th roughout the area as there was for women as companions to the male workers. However, this soon led to allegations of a government sanctioned prostitution ring, a nd the efforts were dropped. Th e women continued to come on their own, often paying their own way to ta ke jobs and were doing auxiliary work.17 Seeking 16 Michael L. Connif, Black Labor On White Canal: Panama 1904-1981 (Pennsylvania: University of Pittsburgh press, 1985), p. 29. 17 Ibid, p. 36; Trev or W. Purcell, Banana Fallout: Class, Color and Culture Among West Indians in Costa Rica (Los Angeles: Center for Afro-American Studies Publishers, 1989), pp. 32-33.
46 the economic opportunities the canal presented, As hwoods father moved the family temporarily to the Canal Zone where he established a bakery.18 The family returned to Jamaica in 1914, and Amy Ashwood made her pubic speak ing debut at the East Queen Street Baptist Church in Kingston. Ashwood presented an essay entitled Morality Does Not Increase with the March of Civilization and impressed Marcus Garvey who was in the audience.19 Ashwoods topic implies that she, at the ag e of 17, had developed an awareness of the world through her Panama experience. The limited employment possibilities for women at the expense of their morals and integrity were foremost in her thoughts. During the early 1900s Nationalist organizations, notab ly the Peoples Convention of 1900, were pervasive in Jamaica and undoubtedly influenced Ashwood. In this organization women openly debated the role of women in Jamaican society and the need to encourage race consciousness among black Jamaicans. Historian Honor Ford-Smith links the Conve ntion, founded by Bahamian Dr. J. Robert Love an ordained Protestant Episcopal Church minister, to a climate of feminist activism on the island at the start of the 19th Century. Dr. Love had worked in Haiti for ten years and became the first African American man to be ordained by the Florida Diocese after spending a short period of time in Jacksonville, FL. Before his death in 1914 (the year Ashwood returned to Jamaica from Panama) Loves organization provid ed a platform for early Caribbean nationalist and Pan-African activists Catherine McKenzie of Jamaica and Henry Sylvester Williams.20 McKenzie was married to a United Fruit Compa ny worker named James Alexander. The United Fruit Company would, in later years, serve as the launching pad for Garveys career as a labor 18 Tony Martin, Amy Ashwood Garvey: Pan-Africanist, p. 35. 19 Martin, Race First p. 27; Martin, Amy Ashwood p. 42; Yard, p.7. 20 Honor Ford-Smith, Women and the Garvey Movement, in Marcus Garvey His Work and Impact eds. Rupert Lewis and Patrick Bryan (New Jersey: African World Press, 1994), p. 72.
47 organizer in the Canal Zone. McKenzie was an ardent advocate of womens rights in the Caribbean. In her 1902 speech, Womens Concerns and Organizational Activities she stated before a mixed crowd The rights accorded to women have left mu ch to be desired. Just why woman has [been] denied all the rights accorded to ma n is one of the unexplained relations of life, except it be that it is man alone who has made the laws denying her such rights; for on examination, it can be easily proved that her claim to the possession and the enjoyment of equal rights under all circumstances are as clearly made out as that of man.21 Love, along with Henry Sylvester Will iams, founder of the Pan African Association in 1901 is credited with continuing to emphasize the importance of enfranchising women and the need for furthering edu cational opportunities afforded them.22 Loves adherence to the ideals of McKenzie is particularly sign ificant as Amy Ashwood read one of her poems at his funeral.23 That Ashwood was aware of the rhetor ic of Love and others who blended nationalist and anti-imperialist concerns is eviden t. Robert Love appeared to echo sentiments expressed by Edward Blyden, Bishop Henry McNeal Turner and others when he wrote in the Jamaica Advocate [t]he destiny of the Negro Race depends upon the elevation of the women of the race. The conditions in which the Black people of the British West Indies are found today is due in fact that no effort has been made to life Black women up and put her on the plane that woman ought to occupy in society.24 Ashwood returned to Jamaica from the Canal Zone with her att itudes reshaped by a political and cultural environment that encouraged women to become active in the nationalist organizations as a means of promoting race progress. In Jamaica, Ashwood borrowed money from her mothers purse to print pamphlets a bout Garvey entitled A Talk with Afro-West 21 Linette Vassell, Voices of Women in Jamaica: 1898-1939 (Kingston, Jamaica: Department of History, University of West Indies, 1993), p. 35. 22 Honor Ford-Smith, p. 72. 23 Daily Chronicle December 4, 1914. 24 Quoted in Rupert Lewis, Marcus Garvey: Anti-Colonial Champion (New Jersey: Africa World Press, 1988), p.28.
48 Indians: The Negro Race and Its Problems by Marcus Garvey, Jnr. that listed the objectives of the organization: To Establish a Universal Confraternity among the Races, To Promote the Spirit of race Pride and Love To Reclaim th[e ] Fallen of the Race. To Administer to, and help the Needy. To Assist in Civilizing the Backward tribes of Africa To strengthen the Imperialism of Bas[u]toland, Liberia, etc. To Establish [C]ommissionari es in the Principal Countries of the World, for the Protection of All Negroes, Irrespective of Nationality. To Promote a Conscientious Christian Wo rship among the Native Tribes of Africa. To Establish Universities, Colleges and Secondary Schools for the Further Education and Culture of our Boys and Girls. 25 Donations in support of the proposed school an d other benevolent pr ograms were to be sent to 121, Orange Street and 34, Charles Street Kingston, Jamaica, W.I.. This was the address of Amy Ashwoods parents. Throug h the use of her parents funds and her civic connections, the pamphlets were printed and distributed to both Jamaicas elites and manual labor workers. The debate over Ashwoods contribution to the UNIA at its inception is, in some ways, a minor issue. Recognizing her influence on the te nets and structure of the fledgling organization, however, is a much more serious matter. The di stracting debate over her founder status has nevertheless contributed to a lack of historical consideration of her activism as a UNIA advocate both during her personal relationship with Ga rvey and afterwards. By fixating on this 25 The exact date of the publication of the pamphlet is no t known. The pamphlet itself is simply dated July-August 1914. A series of pamphlets authored by Garvey in 1914 carry the same date. Robert Hill, Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers vol. 1 (Berkley: university of California Press, 1983), pp. 55-70.
49 foundational moment or on her marriage to Garv ey, historians neglec ted Ashwoods broader contribution to the organizations efforts of racial progress, econo mic independence, and educational advancement. Ironically, for all his unwillingness to accept Ashwoods significance to the founding of the UNIA, Tony Mart in has been part of this reaw akening of interest in her as he does at least attempt to illumi nate Ashwoods continuing work as a Black Nationalist after her divorce and disappearance from the pages of the Negro World after 1923. Ironically, while Ashwood was not featured heavily in the pages of the Negro World even when married to Garvey, without her the or ganization, and its newspaper may never have reached the international statur e that it enjoyed. Ashwoods participation in the UNIA and her activism as a nationalist began in small but sign ificant ways. As previously mentioned, her parents home served as a major site for th e UNIAs planning and f und raising for the UNIA while it was still based in Jamaica.26 Flyers and newspaper announcements listed her parents Jamaica address as the site for corresponden ce to be mailed to on behalf of the UNIA. Despite her troubles with Garvey and the scorn she endured from members of the UNIA after Garvey alleged that she had an affair, Ashwood continued her quest for both personal and communal empowerment.27 Her mission became to work in a more intimate fashion in order to help Afro-American women to find themselves and rise in life.28 Her activities after leaving the UNIA validate her commitment to a black female activism that was dedicated to equal rights and opportunities. By 1926 she had co-written and produced two successful plays that toured the United States and Europe. She used the funds from the shows along with proceeds from her two night clubs to assist Nigerian students in their educational pursuits. One of Ashwoods 26 Yard, Biography of Amy Ashwood pp. 16-20. 27 Negro World, January 2, 1921. 28 Amy Ashwood Garvey, Marcus Garvey: Prophet of Black Nationalism. Unpublished Manuscript in Amy Ashwood Garvey Papers, National Library of Jamaica.
50 intentions was to see both women and men go beyond prescribed gender roles. To further that aim, she often masked her quest for equality in terms of a quest for grater education opportunities and was thus able to speak publicly on the need fo r improved conditions for people of the Diaspora and the continen t of Africa while solic iting funds from mixed audiences. Ashwood continued to be very public in her nationalist endeavors upon leaving the UNIA. As apart of her commitment to its ideals and to Black Nationalism, she participated in the Pan African Congress Conferences from 1921-1945. By 1945 she was presiding over the meetings that ranged in focus from concerns about the plight of all people of color to the urgency of the Italio-Ethiopian War.29 Amy Ashwood became an international citizen of the Diasporic world. She joined others of the period who found new perspectives on race and gender in Europe and sought to have those ideals cross th e Atlantic. The call to arms for people of the Diaspora evidenced by W.E.B.Dubois demand for an international organization that worked to beat back the organization of lies which meets the coloured man wherever and whenever he attempts to better his condition.30 Ashwoods presence as chair of the meeting implies that she too desired to contribute to such an organizati on. As the organization so ught to speak to the concerns of all coloured people further i ndicates the vastness of Ashwoods activism. Other considerations of Amy Ashwoods life, while recognizing her as Garveys first wife and her contributions to the UNIA, place emphasis on her Pan Africanist involvement with Africans and West Indians throughout the Diaspora.31 Hakim Adi and Fitzroy Baptiste in their recent works on Pan Africanism have documented Ashwoods work as both as a Pan Africanist 29 Guardian October 25, 1985 p. 15. http://archive.guardian.co.uk/Repository/ml.asp? Ref=R1VBLzE5ODUvMTAvMj UjQXIwMTUwMQ==&Mode=Gi f&Locale=english-skin-custom 30 Quoted in the Guardian, October, 16, 1945 p. 6. http://archive.guardian.co.uk/Repository/ml.asp? Ref=R1VBLzE5NDUvMTAvMT YjQXIwMDYw Nw==&Mode=G if&Locale=english-skin-custom 31Hakim Adi, Pan-African history: political figures from Africa and the Diaspora since 1787 (New York: Routledge, 2003), pp. 87-120.
51 and a labor organizer during World War II.32 Hakim Adi located Ashwood in England in 1924 working with Nigerian students to form the Nigerian Process Union. Through her association with the organization, she came to see flaws in Ga rveys ideology. This was the beginning of an ideological departure from her previous consid erations of Africa. Ashwood reasoned that, Mr. Garveys idea of an African Kingdo m was a geographic blunder. There are too many tribes, each differing from the other in custom [so] that it is quite impossible to form them into a single people. What is more they want no AfroAmericans or West Indians as rulers over them. They want no kings or dukes or earls created over he re sent there.. I would like to be quite fair to Mr. Garvey, though, he has done one thing. He has awakened the race consciousness of the ne groand created the desire in him to raise his status.33 Consistent with her commitment to equal particip ation of the sexes, Ashwood went on to declare Which is where I come inI am going to do the pioneer work and when I have done that I am appealing to the sportsmanship of the Englishman to give a fair chance to the natives of [these] territories.34 In her view the natives included both men and women of the Diaspora. Ashwood believed that her travels throughout the Caribbean, Europe, Africa and the Americas, would serve as an example of the potential of the r ace to Imperial governments and colonized people. She gave lectures until the end of her lif e on the need for unity among the descendants of African slaves and the necessity of independence for African nations. Further evidence of her resolve ca me between 1943 and 1945, when Ashwood vehemently opposed the male gender-biased recruitm ent of seasonal labor in to the United States. She took exception to the specific exclusion of Jamaican women and West Indian women. To 32 Ibid, pp. 117-120; Fitzroy Andre Baptiste, Amy Ashwood Garvey and Afro-West Indian Labor in the United States Emergency Farm and War Industries Programs of World War II, 1943-1945 http://www.africamigration.com/ archive_02/f_baptiste.htm 33 Jamaica Gleaner September 25, 1924. 34 Ibid.
52 address the concern, Ashwood launche d a two-part scheme to draw international at tention to the issue. First in 1944, she formed a poli tical party in Jamaica that was supported in large part by women. Ashwood became "President of the Jag-Sm ith Party and ran as its candidate for the Jamaican House of Representatives.35 Also in the spring of 1944, Ashwood made her way to the United States on a non-immigrant medical visa claiming that she needed follow up care for surgery she had to remove an abdominal tumor.36 She never met with medical professionals on that trip and had an entirely different purpose for coming to the United States. According to historian Fitzroy Andre Baptiste Ashwood arrived in the U.S. to make a public statement that Jamaican and West Indian wome n must have equal considerati on with their men in American and British schemes for work in the United States.37 That she was a candidate for political office in Jamaica also helped her obtain the vi sa as by all indications she would return to participate in the election. She convinced consulate officials of her sole interest in Jamaican local politics and asserted her lack of interest in internati onal political concerns by being on the ballot.38 Her arrival in the U.S. made public the real intentions of her tri p. Prior to leaving Jamaica, she and other members of her political party implied that her trip sought to get Jamaican womengoing to the United States as domestic servants.39 Although this assertion was launched in part via rumor and innuendo, Ashwoods letter to the U.S. Vice Consul in 35 The Jag-Smith Party' was the Jamaica Democratic Party led by J.A.G. Smith, a veteran politician. 36 RG 59: 811.504BWI/63, dispatch # 602, April 27, 1944 from the US Consulate, Kingston to State Department. 37 Baptiste, p. 17. 38 RG 59: 811.504BWI/63, dispatch # 602, April 27, 1944 from the US Consulate, Kingston to State Department. 39 Jamaica Gleaner April 4, 1944.
53 Kingston on March 30, 1944, asking for ten wome n to join her, underscores her aims. Ashwood wrote: There are about ten women over there, for wh om I have work here. Please tell me what I should do. I understand that if their prospective employer will offer a years agreement, together with Bankers referen ce, stating the salary, and also income tax returns, they can leave. Their tickets would also be sent to them. Please be good enough to reply to me at your earliest date. I have been given wide publicity here in my efforts to help the women of my Country, and large numbers of white ladies have phoned me, and ar e calling on me at my Hotel to help them. I am an outdoor patient, and my doctors say I mu st loose fifty more pounds before I can stand an operation, so I will be getting an extension. I would like to help all I can before I take my operation, it ma y be my last act of Service.40 Amy Ashwoods assertion to o fficials that the trip was for medical purposes was a ruse. In fact, up until her death in 1969 she received me dical treatment outside of Jamaica only once. She was seen by Canadian doctors for severe abdominal pain in 1920.41 The historical record clearly indicates that Ashwoods goal was in the interests of obtaining jobs for 50,000 Jamaican women workers as domestics in the United States... according to Federal Bureau of Investigations chief J. Edgar Hoover.42 Hoover went on to warn the State Department that Ashwood had to be stopped as any success she may have in causing the importation of these Jamaican workers may be used to advantage by the U[niversal] Negro Improvement Association as a device to augment thei r membership and increase its influence upon the members.43 Although Marcus Garvey died in 1940, and th e organization had become dormant by 1944, Amy Ashwoods presence continued to alarm in intelligence circles. While the Negro World editors and others in the UNIA had ignor ed Ashwood, she was still consider ed a person of interest and influence among governmental officials who sought to quell the UNIA. 40 RG 59:811.504BWI/63, dispatch # 602, April 27, 1944 from the US Consul, Kingston to the State Department. 41 Martin, Amy Ashwood Garvey: Pan Africanist p. 153. 42 RG 59: 811.504BWI/61: J. Edgar Hoover to Adolf Berle Jr., Assistant Secretary of State, State Department. April 17, 1944. 43 Ibid.
54 The plight of Jamaican women was only one of Ashwoods concerns. She toured the West Indies speaking to groups, including former members of the UNIA, on topics that included the role of women in developing their island na tions and the roles of fathers in the home.44 Inspired in part by the role women played in building Liberia, in the mid1950s, she attempted to complete work on a three-part historical narrative of that state.45 She entitled her work, the Mother Africa Series. The first projected volume was titled Liberia, Land of Promise: A Factual Survey of the African Republic; the second cen tered on the encounter of Africans and whites on the continent and was titled Africa Spea ks; the third professe d to be an intimate biography of Marcus Garvey in which Garvey looms as the protagonist. Ashwood intended this volume to be called Black Man of Density. The three volume series was never published. However, a pamphlet with the introduction and a preview of the first volume was published in 1953.46 Amy Ashwood intended to pub lish the series with private backers unde r the name of the Universal Publishing Company.47 This series on Africa was not Ashwoods fi rst attempt at compili ng a history of the continent. She lived in West Africa for three years from 1946 to 1949 and helped to establish fifteen womens organizations throughout Ghana and the Iv ory Coast during that period.48 While there, she familiarized herself with women of various tribes and documented their 44 New Daily Chronicle July 24, 1929 p. 5 & August 5, 1929 pp. 5-6; Barbados Advocate March 21, 1953; Barbados Recorder, March 16, 1953; Port of Spain Gazette May 28, 1953; Aruba Mid-Weekly April 22, 1953. 45 E. Sylvia Pankhurst, Liberia: Land of Promise, By Amy A. Garvey. Preview by Sylvia Pankhurst (Port of Spain: Port of Spain Gazette, [ca. 1953] p. 8. 46 E. Sylvia Pankhurst, Liberia: Land of Promise, By Amy A. Garvey. Preview by Sylvia Pankhurst (Port of Spain: Port of Spain Gazette, [ca. 1953] p. 8. 47 Amy Jacques Garvey first published Philosophies and Opinions of Marcus Garvey using the name Universal Publishing House. The company was listed as one of the s ubsidiaries of the UNIA. Ashwoods selection of a name that resembles that of the UNIA pub lishing company reflected her continued affinity for and claims to a place in UNIA history. Black Man of Destiny was also th e title of an unpublished biography Ashwood wrote about Garvey in the late 1920s. 48 Hillal H.J. Nadji, Garvey Comes Home to Africa Chicago Defender Magazine, August 6, 1949 p.19; Jamaica Gleaner, May 6, 1948.
55 customs.49 Ashwood intended to publish an honest colle ction of essays that gave to the world the true background of not only th e African but the African woma n of whom the Western world [knew] little.50 Her travels in Africa detailed in her unpublished manuscript The Black Woman presented what Ashwood viewed as the n eeds of African women. She found that their present needs included: 1. [a] leader to relieve them from the prevailing male domination 2. a new concept of herself as a human being equal to man 3. a right to make a free choice of mate 4. [the] right to be the only wife of one husband 5. [the] right to live in a unit family without dictation from elders 6. political rights equal to those of men.51 Ashwood also gained new insight s into the needs of African Americans on her visit. She found that Africa offer[d] a wonderful challenge to the Western World and encouraged that the challenge be accepted as [i]ts one which we must answer if we are to re tain our self-respect. Africa is sweeping like a cyclone; no one can sta nd in the way of the in evitable destiny of the African people but the Africans themselves. 52 This trip also resulted in another proposed manuscript, Mother Africa that would establis h a national background for the Negroes of the New World, a birthright they lo st when they were forcibly abducted from their native lands.53 Her sentiments came on the heels of de-coloniz ation movements throughout the continent and further expressed a sense of African nationalism. While it was nearly forty years since the 49 Ashwood spent time with various groups in and around West Africa but spent a large amount of the time in the Gold Coast and Nigeria. In her travels she interacted w ith indigenous peoples from the region including the Ibo, Tchad, and Bundi. 50 Nadji, Garvey Comes Home to Africa Chicago Defender Magazine August 6, 1949, p.18. 51 Quoted in Martin, Amy Ashwood Garvey: Pan-Africanist p. 228. 52 Nadji, Garvey Comes Home to Africa Chicago Defender Magazine August 6, 1949 p.19. 53 Jamaica Gleaner December 19, 1949 [NP]; Cavalcade Magazine November 19, 1949[NP].
56 founding of the UNIA, the ideals of Marcus Garv ey and the program he initiated had begun to bear the fruit of an independent Africa and a unified Diaspora. Ashwoods words also marked the longevity of the UNIAs efficient womanhood as with the changing tide she found yet another avenue to pursue the goal of race prid e and self sufficiency for all Africans. Aside from her direct involvement with the continent, Ashwood also worked to better the lives of Africans living in the West. While living in England from the 1930s through the mid1940s, she opened a restaurant called the Florence Mills. The restaurant became known as a place where race intellectuals from all parts of the worl d [were] wont to gather.54 These intellectuals included Pan Africanists George Padm ore, C.L. R. James, and Eric Williams. She was heralded in the Gold Coast as a mother of African and West Indian students who opened a restaurant and club for them to have as a place of refuge.55 It was also at her restaurant that C.L.R. James organized the International Friends of Abyssinia (IAFA) and held its meetings. The group was formed in response to Italia n aggressions in Ethiopia from 1935 though 1936. Ashwood was one of the first members of the group and was on hand to greet Emperor Haile Selassie when he arrived as a refugee in England in 1936. 56 As a member of IAFA, Ashwood spoke at a ra lly in Londons Trafalgar Square in 1935. Before a large crowd of native Africans and Af rican decedents, Ashwood declared that No race has been so noble in forgiving, but now the hour has struck for our complete emancipation.57 She admonished imperial powers for claiming th at Africans were brought from homelands to Christianize [them],but the on ly Christianity you gave us wa s three hundred and more years 54 Chicago Defender October 5, 1935, p. 24. 55 Ashanti Pioneer February 15, 1947. 56S.K.B Asante, Pan African Protest: West Africa and the Italo-Ethiopian Crisis (London: Longman, 1977) p. 45. 57 Jamaica Gleaner September 11, 1935. [NP]
57 of enslavement.58 Ashwood publicly challenged the British government for which C.L.R. James lauded her as a militant anti-imperialist,[a] wo man of tremendous force of personality who played a prominent part in the IAFA.59 Ashwoods speaking tour in the Caribbean, he r time in England and her travels on the African continent served to illustrate her comm itment to the goals of the UNIA. Her deliberate movement throughout the Diaspora earned her a receptive transnational audience as she continued to promote Black Nationa list ideals. That the doctrine she penned in 1914 dominated her lifes work until the time of her death also served to furthe r qualify her significance to the organizations beginnings. Her failure to publis h works that documented the span of her involvement accounted for her absence from consid erations of the organization. The result is a truncated depiction of Ashwood restricted mostly to her time spent as Garveys lover and wife. Despite the limited consideration she has been given her impact was enormous. When the organization moved to New York, Ashwoods ability to barter with printers and paper suppliers secured the printing of the UNIA newspaper The Negro World To ensure the papers success, she hand delivered free copies of the paper door to door between Brooklyn and Manhattan during the early morning hours, until it became se lf sustaining and reached a circulation of 100,000.60 The Negro World was used to enlighten members on topics ranging from world politics to home life. It was also used by Garvey to vent his frustration with other black leaders of the day and anyone he saw as a threat to him. Ir onically, in 1920 Amy Ashwood, who had done so much 58 Ibid. 59 C.L.R James, Beyond A Boundary (London: Hutchinson, 1963), pp. 249-250. 60 Yard, Biography of Amy Ashwood pp. 44-45; Martin, Race First, p. 10.
58 for the UNIA and the launching of the Negro World, became a threat. She too found her name among those on Garveys despised list during and after the dissolution of their marriage.61 Ashwood served as secretary of the Ladies Division of the UNIA, which she had established as a separate entity in the organizations constitution. The Ladies Division was not an auxiliary (meaning a secondary or supporting body) of the UNIA, but a hierarchical unit that each branch was required by the constitution to establ ish in order to receive its charter. Along with her service as secretary, she also was re sponsible for the organi zations bookkeeping. Given Ashwoods involvement in the very early days of the UNIA, she contributed to both the strengths and weaknesses of the organization. One of her most obvious successes was the UNIAs inclusion of women in its decision-making processes. While Ashwoods contributions ensured a space for women, she failed to adequately detail th e characteristics of that space. Through her actions it appeared that she ofte n blurred the lines of prescribed gender behavior. Yet, on the surface the UNIA appeared in practice, according to historian Michele Mitchell, to impose stern regulation of womens bodies and social behaviors through written policies. There were no similar written policies regulat ing the behavior of UNIA men.62 The conspicuous presence of a powerful female lay membership in the UNIA, led by the likes of Amy Ashwood, challenges the assertion of Mitchell and other historians who maintain that the male-based hierarchy of the UNIA c onstricted and limited oppor tunities for women. During the 1922 Convention, for example, a de legate from New Orleans, Mrs. Robinson, expressed concerns over women serving as field organizers if they wanted to hold the proper respect of men and lamented the ability of less than strong women working in the field, 61 Yard, Biography of Amy Ashwood pp.67; Martin, Race First pp. 180-191; Negro World, March 6, 1920. 62 Michele Mitchell, Righteous Propagation: African Americans and the Politics of Racial Destiny after Reconstruction (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2004), p. 225.
59 lowering the morale of the organization.63 Mrs. Willis, of New York and also one of the lead organizers of the Black Cross Nu rses, objected to Mrs. Robinsons assertions, noting that she had travelled the country with Marcus Garvey on spea king tours. She believed that the women were as competent as the men to be field representatives and they could conduct themselves in their travels to command the respect of the men. 64 Delegates from Chicago and Detroit explaine d that the women were not willing to sit silently by and let the men take all the glory wh ile they gave the advice; nor was it permissible for women to stand behind the men pushing th em along. While asking for access to executive offices already established in the hierarchy, they also wanted some wome n put in the field as commissioners to organize women and put them to work.65 While the language seems abrasive at times, the women maintained that it was not the intention of the wome n to get in the way of the men or to take the mens places, but they wanted to be at their side.66 UNIA women desired to share a space and place with men. The UNIAs constitution, according to Mitchell, established gender-specific activity for young people that carried over into their adult membership and which mirrored places in the home.67 She notes, as does Theodore Vincent in Black Power and Garvey Movement, that at the 1922 UNIA Convention women delega tes expressed their desire to work with the men but announced that they were unwilling to follo w any longer the double standards they felt inherent in the or ganizations policies.68 Missing from Mitchells c onsideration of gender roles in the UNIA is any mention of Ashwood. Although Vincent gave some attention to Ashwood he 63 Negro World, September 9, 1922. 64 Ibid. 65 Ibid. 66 Ibid. 67 Mitchell, Righteous Propagation, p.225. 68 Theodore Vincent, Black Power and the Garvey Movement (California: Ramparts Press, 1976), 124-125. Mitchell, Righteous Propagation, p.228.
60 limited his analysis to her comments on Garv ey and misjudged Ashwood s criticism of the UNIAs supposed failure to establish schools as evidence of a more fundamental opposition to its programs. Had he taken the time to grapple with her lifes work or even interview her as he conducted his research, he may have co me to a very different conclusion.69 Later research done by Barbara Bair points out that the UNIA not only established a school but that it was mostly attended by teenage girls.70 Perhaps even more crucially absent from both Mitchells and Vincents treatme nt of the UNIA or Ashwood was a sustained examination of the cultural mores of the founders of the organizat ion that might have explained their emphasis on domestic science an empha sis which Mitchell alleged resulted in an institutionalization and reinf orcement of gendered roles.71 In other words, it is arguable that UNIA women actually contributed to the codification of the ve ry ideals to which Mitchell believes they took exception and by which she clai med they were constrained. Moreover, they found these ideals and practices progressive, even liberating, because of the opportunities they presented for the race and to some extent, their sex. For example, according to Ashwoods biogr apher, Lionel Yard, and Ula Taylors biography of Amy Jacques Garvey the educat ional training these wo men received in the Caribbean included skills labeled domestic science. Such skills were not only to assist in good home-making, but were also deemed vital for pers onal, family, and community survival. Being a seamstress, for example, was not looked down upon in West Indian culture. This type of employment allowed for entrepreneurship, one of the tenets of the UNIA program. Traditional 69 Vincent, Black Power, pp. 131-132. 70 Barbara Bair, Renegotiating Liberty: Garveyism Wo men, and Grassroots Organizing in Virginia in Women of the American South: A Multicultural Reader ed. Christie Anne Farnham (New York: New York University Press,1997), pp. 230-235. 71 Mitchell, Righteous Propagation p.225.
61 gender roles, in other words, could be used in non-traditional ways as vehicles for achieving various progressive racial and gender goals. Ashwoods absence from Mitchells work is also surprising since she was referred to during Garveys mail fraud trial by Llyod Wern er as (T)he power behind the throne.72 According to Werners testimony, Garvey was supposed to control the accounting for monies solicited to pay for shares in the Black Star Line, but Miss Ashwood was dominant and wouldnt let anybody look in her books.73 The Black Star Line was established by the UNIA to facilitate trade between Africa a nd the Americas. Garvey was brought to trial for mail fraud in 1923 when it was discovered that shares sold in the company to African Americans exceeded the number of shares issued. In fact, Barbara Bair found that the stock sales were used as payments for ships which had yet to be purchased at the time of the stock offering. Garvey and the UNIA circulated several advertisements which included pictures of ships pr ior to completing their purchase and subsequent leg al transfer of ownership.74 Ashwood was not the only woman with access to Black Star Line monies or records. Henrietta Vinton Davis was the shipping comp anys most active stock solicitor and was recognized in the Negro World and in Bureau of Investigation records for collecting large sums of money in connection with the sale of stocks from as far away as Montreal, Canada and the Caribbean. Yet, Davis was not na med as a conspirator in the mail fraud trial, nor were there any implications of wrongdoing associated with her in the trial transcript. Instead, Amy Ashwood, the women who had created the space for Davis to have access to the UNIAs records and its funds became a scapegoat, although she had never sold any Star Line stock. 72Elton C. Fax, Garvey: T he Story of a Pioneer Black Nationalist (New York: Dodd & Mead Co., 1972), p. 181. 73 Fax, Garvey, p.181. 74 Barbara Bair Did Garvey commit mail fraud? American Experience: Marcus Garvey Online Forum. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/garv ey/sfeature/sf_forum_12.html
62 While Werners motivation at the trial was to try to protect Garvey and himself by laying blame for missing funds on Ashwood, he con ceded that Ashwood had a higher degree of independence in the organization than any man at the time. Although it has gone unanalyzed by historians of the UNIA and Garvey, the statemen t makes clear that Ashwood did not limit herself to the domestic sphere: she played a major role in the financial affairs of her husband and the UNIA, and her involvement was accepted, if not always unreservedly so, by men in the hierarchy. Her willingness to cr oss boundaries according to Ula Ta ylor was also evident in her endeavors outside the organization, where Ashwood theorized about reconnecting black diasporians to their African past not so much to take refuge within an African geni us narrative (of which Gilroy and others are rightly critical), but as a building block toward what she believed all black diasporians were entitled to: an African national citizenship and the right to self determination.75 According to Lionel Yard, She was not a subs ervient disciple owing blind allegiance to a set of inflexible dogmas; on the contrary, she modified the impractical and refined the pseudoideal so that her advice to her brothers and sisters may be justly regarded as Garveyism streamlined.76 Other women in the organization, most notably Henrietta Vinton Davis and Laura Adorkor Kofey, embraced her example. Ashwood publicly objected to the use of funds for parades and banquets that could be used toward establishing schools, scholarships and educational programs. Despite her criticism and he r bitter divorce, Amy Ashwood c ontinued to use Garveys name to gain access to audiences in support of her nationalist work. She also maintained the name, it appears, as a symbol of her allegiance to the original goals and philosophy of UNIA. 75 Ula Taylor Intellectual Pan African Feminist s: Amy Ashwood-Garvey and Amy Jacques Garvey, Time Longer Than Rope: A Century of Activism, 1850 1950 ed. Charles M. Payne and Adam Green (New York: New York University Press, 2003), p.180. Taylor engages the work of Paul Gilroy from The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double-Consciousness (Massachusetts.: Harvard University Press, 1993). 76 Yard, Biography of Amy Ashwood, p.98.
63 Still, the usefulness of Garvey the man or of his penchant for ceremony in her life ended there. Their marriage difficulties arose over Ashwood s penchant for drinking, smoking and keeping company with other men while Garvey was not at home.77 It has also been alleged that the divorce was the result of her preg nancy by another man prior to her marriage to Garvey. While Garvey accused her of fraud in their divorce pa pers, journalist Colin Grant and Tony Martin posit that Garvey was well aware of the pregnancy, knew who the father was, but chose to marry Ashwood anyway.78 There are no records indicating that Amy Ashwood gave birth at any point prior to, during or immediately af ter her marriage to Marcus Garvey. Nor is there any indication that she had any children of he r own, although Garvey alleged that she had several pregnancies before they were married and a mis carriage in 1920 prior to their divorce.79 According to Tony Martins research and interviews with her clos e associates, her miscarriages were due to her being afflicted with endometriosis.80 Ashwoods drinking, in part, may have been from selfmedication for the incurable and painful disease that can lead to infertility.81 In her personal papers she left no indication, howev er, of how she dealt with the pa in prior to her hospitalization in 1920. Garvey and Amy Jacques continued to defame Ashwood until their deaths. New York State Court records indicate th at Garvey and Ashwood were divorced in September 1920, with Garvey agreeing to pay all court costs and abide by any alimony ruling. According to FBI records, the di vorce resulted in nega tive publicity th at Garvey hoped to avoid. At the time UNIA was attempting to sell shares in the Black Star Line, and Garvey and his 77 Colin Grant, Negro With a Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey (Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2008), p. 238. 78 Grant, p. 239; Martin, Amy Ashwood, pp. 46-56. 79 To Whom It May Concern, September 1, 1920, Amy Garvey v. Marcus Garvey, Action for Separation, June 4, 1921 Exhibit A, Attilio Robertiello, MD 318 W. 15th Street, New York. 80 Martin, Amy Ashwood Garvey: Pan-Africanist p. xii. 81 For more on endometriosis and the history of care for women with the disease please see http://www.4women.gov/faq/ endometriosis.cfm#a.
64 advisors feared a divorce and alimony war would discourage potential share holders.82 According to a confidante, George Weston, the couples troubles also stemmed from physiological factors that prohibited the c onsummation of the marriage. Garveys initial petition for divorce on August 11, 1920 stated th at Ashwood through "fraud, concealment, and misrepresentations" had caused him to marry her.83 Garveys contention was supported by rese arch done by Robert Hill and Tony Martin who recounted that Ashwood was indeed hospi talized during the marriage for gynecological problems. In fact, she signed herself out of New Yorks Lincoln Hospital and traveled to Montral, Canada where she appeared to have had a medical procedure done that permanently remedied her endometriosis and retroversion of the uterus conditions.84 Ashwood was barren, despite her admitted wish to have children a nd her willingness to do whatever the doctors suggested to make me get pregnant.85 At the time of her init ial hospital stay, the divorce proceedings were already afoot and the proced ure she sought required her husbands signature. However, Garvey refused to sign until Ashwood agr eed to be responsible for the hospital bill. After their divorce there is no r ecord of Ashwood attempting to have children nor did she remarry. Whether this first visit to the hospital wa s a last ditch effort to save a marriage Garvey claimed he entered into under false circum stances remains unclear and may never be determined.86 However, records and the accounts of in formants indicate that as the marriage unraveled, Ashwood chose to remedy her painful medical condition in lieu of attempting to bare children. After the divorce was final, Ashwood contested it and accused Garvey of having had 82 DNA, RG 65, file OG 329359. TD. Stamped Endorsements. Hill, Marcus Garvey and The UNIA Papers Project (California: UCLA Press, 1983) vol. 3, p. 138. 83 Hill, ibid. 84 Exhibit A, Attilio Robertiello, MD 318 W. 15th Street, New York, To Whom It May concern, September 1, 1920, Amy Garvey v. Marcus Garvey, action for separation, June 4, 1921. 85 Yard, Biography of Amy Ashwood p. 100. 86DNA, RG 65, file OG 329359. TD. Stamped Endorsements. in Marcus Garvey and The UNIA Papers vol. 3, p. 138; Martin, pp.11-12.
65 several affairs. According to her historians sh e felt that the financial settlement offered was insufficient.87 Ashwoods inside knowledge of UNIA accounts and Garveys personal finances may have motivated this claim. Despite their personal difficulties, her loyalty to the ideals of the UNIA and Garvey himself never waned until her death on May 11, 1969. From the early stages of their marriage, when she was wounded by a would-be Garvey assa ssin, to defending him against accusations of mismanagement during his 1923 trial on mail fraud charges, Ashwood stood by Garvey. She had reason and opportunity not to do so as their divorce was final at the time of his trial and he had publicly slandered her in the Negro World.88 Ashwood continued promoting his program in England, France and Africa from the 1930s until the mid-1960s, when ill-health limited her ability to travel; Ashwood remained Mrs. Garv ey in name despite the presence of Amy Jacques Garvey who wished she would disappear. 89 Notwithstanding her contributions to the UNIA and black womens activism, Ashwood never challenged the idea of domesticity in her speeches or writing. Her life's work indicates that she saw herself as equal to men in the orga nization and just as equipped to make critical decisions. Ashwood reflected the complexity of wo men in the UNIA and indicates that they can not easily be categorized as early feminists. For example, Ashwood encouraged women to use their influence over the home to "i nspire our men to better things" as she had inspired Garvey as his companion and partner. 90 Her encouragement to other women reflect ed the culture of true womanhood that dominated the late nineteenth and early twentieth century and paralleled the efforts of suffragists, 87 Vincent, Black Powe p. 85.; Taylor, Veiled Garvey pp. 34. 78 & 171; Martin, Race First pp. 10-12; Hill, Marcus Garvey and the UNIA Papers vol. 3, p. 138. 88 Negro World, March 28, 1920; August 15, 1920; January 2, 1921; January 4, 1921. 89 Yard, Biography of Amy Ashwood pp. 50-52; Martin, Race First pp.11, 189. 90 Taylor, Intellectual PanAfrican Feminists, p. 183.
66 social feminists, and radical feminists. The cult of true womanhood stated that women were to be pious, submissive, and good domestics. Ashwood a nd other Garveyite wome n discussed later in this paper appeared to agree that these attributes were worth having.91 However, they also insisted that women strive for social, economic, political and raci al justice. These women were perpetually navigating between the pull of trad itional gender roles and bourgeois aspirations which had genuine appeal within the black co mmunity and more nationalistic impulses that urged African-American women to pursue both female and male empowerment. From its inception, the UNIA practiced one member, one vote at the branch level elections, and women could be elected to serve as delegates at its a nnual convention, where they had equal status with their male counterparts including equal voting rights.92 In 1922, the UNIA carefully included the word woman in its constitution. Once the U.S. Constitution explicitly acknowledged the voting rights of women, the UNIA's had to do so as well. Like social feminists of the day, the UNIA women had an agenda that went beyond the quest for the vote. Because they lived in a segregated so ciety, having the right to vote was not enough. Education, financial stability, j ob opportunities, the cr eation of a female private space, the preservation of family and the protection of reproductive rights were essential in their definition of racial uplift. Unlike social femini sts of the period, however, the majority of UNIA women were not part of the cadre of educated elites seeking to assist the poorer masses. They saw themselves as aligned with the poorer masses themselves attempting to access opportunities and employ stratagems that woul d benefit them and future generations.93 91 Welter, Barbara. The Cult of True Womanhood: 1820-1860 American Quarterly XVIII (1966), pp. 151-152. 92 Vincent, Black Power, p. 110. 93 An understanding of Social Feminism, Radical Feminism and the Suffrage Movement are discussed in Patricia Hill Collins, Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment Second Edition (New York: Rutledge, 2000); Nancy Cott, The Bonds of Womanhood: "Woman's Sphere" in New England, 17801835 (Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1977); Nancy Cott, The Grounding of Modern Feminism (Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1987); Sara. Evans, Born for Liberty: A history of Women In America (New York: The Free
67 Their quest for access and opportunity sometimes mirrored those of radical feminists. As illustrated by Ashwoods determination in finding ways and means to promote education and self-sufficiency and through th e letters of women to the Negro World's Women's Page UNIA women shared in the idea that sexual difference was less im portant than common humanity."94 While they reflected some of the ideals of social and radical feminists, UNIA women did not go so far as to call for women to be released from the home in order "to make a broad human contribution rather than a na rrow feminine contribution to society." The UNIA women were largely poor working class women and they did not have the luxur y of being "trapped" in their homes serving their husbands.95 UNIA women were, in fact, trapped in the homes of other women and sought to free themselves. Their strategies for achieving their goals included encouraging their husbands to gain better em ployment, entrepreneurship, working for established UNIA companies, working as private care givers, and/or working from their homes as seamstresses and laundresses for example. The esteem ascribed to UNIA women stemmed in part from Garveys own view of them as mothers of the race. Because of their st anding, they derived responsibility for not only overseeing their individual homes, but the homes of black people throughout the Diaspora. The weight of their responsibility was expressed by Garvey in his poetry. On February 28, 1927 Garvey expressed his reverence for women in a poem entitled The Black Woman, when he wrote Because of disunion you; /b ecame mother of the world; Giving tinge of robust; /color to Press, 1989), pp. 93174; Anne Firor Scott and Andrew MacKay Scott One Half the People: The Fight for Woman Suffrage (Urbana: University of Chicago Press, 1982); Rosalyn Terborg-Penn, African American Women in the Struggle for the Vote, 1850-1920 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998). 94 This idea is first expressed by Charlotte Perkins Gillman in her 1898 work The Economic Factor between Men and Women as a Factor in Social Evolution It is a concept that inspired the above mentioned works. http://us.history.wisc.edu/hist102/lectures/lecture14.html 95 Collins, Black Feminist pp. 85-121.
68 five continents.96 At the time this poem and others were written by Garvey between 1914 and 1927, the majority of African American women we re disenfranchised. They had limited or no access to educational and employment opportunities outside of the service arena and were only occasionally invited to participate in other m ovements of the time. Th e UNIAs creation of a female paramilitary group, the African Motor Corps and the Black Cross Nurses, provided opportunities, educational advancement, and the potential for professionalization among African-American women workers. The women idealized by Garvey in his poems were far removed from a world where they sought equal voting rights or equal pay or maternity leave for women, but he portrayed them as objects of grandeur to be adored and re spected. Partly because of this reverence UNIA women were able to engage in an open public discourse on their roles in social, political and economic developments. While accurate data of all the branches is unavailable, recent case studies done on the UNIA divisions in the Sout h indicate that the women outnumbered the men in the lay membership. Their numbers alone suggest the deference paid to them by men.97 By exercising their voice and ideas, UNIA women became involved in the formation of Black Nationalist ideology that has routinely been depicted as a male ideology. While it is generally agreed that Black Nati onalism had at its core the pursuit of uplift and self-determination, historians have presented it as exclusiv ely male in authorship and function. This begs the question of whether or not women saw them selves as a part of the quest for self-determination and whether or not they were able to participate in this quest. The UNIA definition of self-determination included not only the establishment of a homeland for blacks throughout the Diaspora, but also civil rights for Africans where ev er they lived. These rights 96 Marcus Garvey The Black Woman in Martin, Tony The Poetical Works of Marcus Garvey (Massachusetts: The Majority Press, 1983), pp. 44-45. 97 See Rolinson, Grassroots Garveyism pp. 204-213.
69 included the pursuit of economic independence a nd stability. Women of the UNIA were very definite in their quest for economic self-suffici ency and thus enhance our understanding of what Black Nationalism and what it meant to everyday people. Despite their personal difficulties, her loyalty to the ideals of the UNIA and Garvey himself never waned until her death on May 11, 1969. From the early stages of their marriage, when she was wounded by a would-be Garvey assa ssin, to defending him against accusations of mismanagement during his 1923 trial on mail fraud charges, Ashwood stood by Garvey. She had reason and opportunity not to do so as their divorce was final at the time of his trial and he had publicly slandered her in the Negro World.98 Ashwood continued promoting his program in England, France and Africa from the 1930s until the mid-1960s, when ill-health limited her ability to travel, Ashwood remained Mrs. Garv ey in name despite the presence of Amy Jacques Garvey who wished she would disappear. 99 After Ashwoods divorce from Garvey, the women of the UNIA were not without a steadfast advocate for equality with access to Garveys ear. The second Mrs. Garvey, Amy Jacques, who had been a bridesmaid at Amy Ashwoods wedding, left Jamaica for New York in 1919. Curiously, Jacques alleged that she had no knowledge of Garvey or Ashwood in Jamaica and, according to her biographers she claimed she met Garvey for the first time in New York.100 She went to hear him speak at Liberty Hall and took him to task for weaknesses she found in the structure of the organization. Jacques stressed th e need for better handling of monies that came into the office through the United States Postal Service. Garvey was impressed with her observations and requested her book keeping services. Her evenings became devoted to that end 98 Negro World, March 28, 1920; August 15, 1920; January 2, 1921; January 4, 1921. 99 Yard, Biography of Amy Ashwood pp. 50-52; Martin, Race First pp.11, 189. 100 Ashwood stated that she and Jacques went to school together and that when Jacques emigrated she resided with Ashwood at her family apartment. Yard, Biography of Amy Ashwood, pp. 37, 42, 60.
70 while her days were spent working for her father. Amy Jacques designed an intricate system of checks and balances that was supposed to keep a more accurate account of all monies coming in and out of the organization. Here again, a woma n was given charge of finances, a fact unanalyzed, although documented, by Garveys biogr aphers. Jacques, as did Henrietta Vinton Davis, obviously benefited from Ashwoods prev ious work managing the organizations funds and overseeing its records. Even though she eas ily stepped into the role of lead organizer during Garveys imprisonment, she too met resist ance from the male cadre. Nevertheless, Amy Jacques Garvey was less than innocent and certainly not helpless.101 Author of a Legacy: Amy Jacques Garvey In the early 1980s m any Garvey scholars, including Tony Martin and Judith Stein, merely mentioned Amy Jacques as the companion/ wife/secretary/mother of his children. While their scholarship reduced her to a mere domestic appendage ot her scholars found Mrs. Garvey became second only to Marcus in the UNIA.102 In fact, to her credit, Jacques role as complier of Garveys speeches, letters and writings has served as a primary source on Marcus Garvey. In this way, Amy Jacques Garveys work merits consideration beyond her label as the organizations premier propagandist as historians Barbara Bair and Ula Taylor have delegated her. Amy Ashwoods crafting of a Ladys Divisi on into the UNIA constitution created an avenue for Amy Jacques to encourage other women to stand in where needed. In 1925 she asked the women of the UNIA to Be not discouraged Black women of the world[;] put push forward, regardless of the lack of appreciation shown you. A r ace must be saved, a country must be redeemed, and unless you strengthen the le adership of vacillating Negro men we 101 Negro World, July 23, 1921. 102 Mark D. Mathews, `Our Women and What they Th ink Amy Jacques Garvey and the Negro World,. Black Scholar 10, 8/9 (1979), p 4.
71 will remain marking time and (we [will] be) forced [in]to subservience or extermination.103 This call to UNIA women also came with the e xpectation that women would prepare themselves by pursuing educational, vocational and professi onal advancement opportunities offered by the UNIA. She sought to inform and engage wo men in the pursuit of race progress. Historian Winston James has pointed out that there were varying degrees of literacy among the membership.104 Although Jacques Womens Page was to serve as a designated space in the Negro World for women to express their concer ns and pose questions to her and other women in the lay hierarchy, there were few responses to her invitations. In part this was due to the timing of the call in 1924 which occurred at the height of the fraud allegations against Garvey and the UNIA. Another reason for the scant response may have been her unwillingness to take the time to edit letter s she received that were not of sufficient literary merit to warrant their publication.105 While stating that [u]sually a Womans Page in any journal is devot ed solely to dress, home hints and love topics, (but) our page is unique, in that it seeks to give out the thoughts of our women on the subjects affecting them in particular106 Her interest in such responses was limited. Jacques asserted that we are sure that it will be taken in good pa rt if we suggest that persons who have not a common school education and who have not studied the rules of composition of prose or verse should not send contributions in prose or verse.107 Although some women did write into the Womans Page of the Negro World, not all female members had occasion to do so and thus their views are missed by historians who focus 103 Negro World, October 24, 1925. 104 Winston James, Holding Aloft The Banner of Ethiopia: Caribbean Radicalism in Early Twentieth-Century America (London; New York: Verso, 1998), pp. 143-155. 105 Negro World, September, 13, 1924. 106 Negro World, April 11, 1925. 107 Negro World, June 7, 1924.
72 on the Negro World as a main source of information on th e UNIA. The stories of the two Amys should only be treated as a starting point and not used as a centering point for an understanding female interactions with Garvey and the UNIA. The first Amy only had limited contact with the organization, but, she left an imprint that was e ssential to the lay members and paved the way for Jacques and others to further refine the organizations course. The second Amy, through the doors Ashwood opened, worked to reconcile the demands of respectabl e politics with the aims of efficient womanhood. Even as have historians cel ebrated Jacques as the propa gandist and Garveys great defender they also admitted that her life was w ith riddled with contradictions. While working eighteen hour days to run the Negro World, rushing to publish Garveys Philosophies and Opinions and taking care of her children, she lived on the perpetual brink of nervous breakdown. She lamented Garveys scant acknowledgment of he r constant love, asking, What did he ever give in return? The value of a wife to him wa s like a gold coin---expenda ble, to get what he wanted, and hard enough to withst and rough usage in the process.108 Jacques lament reflects the concerns expressed at the 1922 Convention, as the women expressed frustration at being underappreciated and undervalued. The tireless selfless dedication Jacques exhib ited early in her marriage to Garvey was severely tested, when after returning to Jamaica to join her husband in 1928 Jacques refused to move to England with him. Jacques decisi on indicated that she, like Ashwood, had come to view Garveys goal of repatriation and a united Af rica as less than practical. Garvey made the decision to move without consultin g Jacques. With two children and no stable income, Jacques became her own leader and remained in Jamaica. Just as the 1922 Convention women had declared their right to be count ed in the formal decision making process, Jacques indicated her 108 Amy Jacques Garvey, Garvey and Garveyism (Kingston: A. Jacques Garvey, 1963), p. 169.
73 dismay at not being consulted about th e familys move and remained behind.109 The separation was enduring. She even refused to rejoin him af ter he became deathly ill in 1939 while living in England and was not present when he passed away in 1940.110 Until recently the recognition of womens contributions to the UNIA was hampered by the tendency to treat the UNIA and Garvey as one and the same. The consequence was that writers thought that knowing the philosophies of Marcus Garvey equaled knowing what the UNIA did. Tangled in misunders tanding, studying the UNIAs lay membership was even more problematic, as historian Theodore Vincent not ed, because the UNIA shared in the neglect accorded many organizations restricted to black members, and as an organization of workingclass people acting outside tr aditional black bourgeois spheres the UNIA did not enjoy the intellectual respectability of the National Asso ciation for the Advancement of Colored People and the Urban League.111 Consequently, while the UNIA was on record as condemning the limitations placed on African Americans by segregation, and the Negro World carried articles condemning segregation, the grass roots civil rights ac tivities of the UNIA we re largely ignored by historians. Garveys focus on building a bl ack nation within American society strongly contrasted with integrationist programs pursued by mo st of his contemporaries, including Cyril Briggs African Blood Brotherhood and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.112 In the last decade as a result of case st udies of branches in Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Virginia, Florida and Calif ornia coupled with the biographies of the two wives, greater understanding has emerged. The re sult has been the re-con ceptualization of the 109 Taylor, The Veiled Garvey, pp. 134-142. 110 Despite pleas from his care giver, Da isy Whyte, Jacques refused to leave Ja maica to visit Garvey. She was living with relatives and destitute. Garveys sons wrote to him on January 11, 1939 asking him to send money for food and school and movies as they needed lots of things. Hill, Marcus Garvey & the UNIA Papers vol. 7 pp. 928, 905 & 902. 111 Vincent, Black Power p. 15. 112 Vincent, Black Power p. 17.
74 UNIA as one focus of study with the life and times of Marcus Garvey as a nother, related, but not synonymous field of inquiry. With new emphasis on these local efforts of the UNIA has come a much greater knowledge of the organizations gra ss roots work. Moreover, slowly but surely, these local studies have also helped to restore women to the historical record. This represents a departure from the semina l work of Tony Martin who blended the two streams of organizational and biog raphical study and titled his work Race First: The Ideological Strugglers of Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association An example of this recent shift is found in the work of Ula Taylor entitled The Veiled Garvey. Taylor encouraged historians to re-examine Amy Jac ques as a key figures of the organization and a community feminist.113 This viewpoint was first expre ssed by Karen Adler who called Amy Jacques, a Feminist Black Nationalist, and th e most important (if not one of the most influential) women in the Garvey movement.114 Both Taylor and Adler noted that while her home life was in financial and emotional shambl es, Amy Jacques continued to call on women to explore Pan-Africanist and ideals to stretc h the limits of gend er-based roles. Just as Ashwood defended the core ideals of Garvey, while reinterpreting them, Jacques, who worked to free Garvey from prison and main tain the organization, came to embrace Garvey and his philosophies in similar ways. During Garveys 1923 trial, Amy Jacques was the first witness to be called by Garvey in his de fense in which he represented himself.115 After his conviction and imprisonment in the Atlanta pe nitentiary, Amy Jacques campaigned for his freedom and established a defense fund on his behalf.116 113 Ula Taylor, The Veiled Garvey (North Carolina: UNC Press, 2002), p. 64. 114 Karen Adler, Always Leading Our Men in Service and Sacrifice: Amy Jacques Garvey, Feminist Black Nationalist. Gender & Society 6 (September 1992), p. 346. 115 Mrs. A Garvey A.D. Pettiford & Others Testify. New York Times (June 7, 1923), p. 12(3). 116Mrs. Garvey Addresses Followers & Obtains Subscriptions To Finance Appeal. New York Times (June 22, 1923), p. 15(5).
75 According to Barbara Bair, this guidance cam e in many forms, some less subtle than others. Jacques challenged the UNIA to allow women equal opportunity to fill any position in the Universal Negro Improvement Association or anywhere else without discrimination because of sex.117 This sentiment was shared by women throughout the 1920s and was most ardently expressed by the UNIA lay membership during the 1922 Convention. These sentiments were pervasive during the period, but there are but fe w records of everyday African American women engaging in or interpreting these ideals for themselves.118 While UNIA women believed that better days we re coming for the race as a whole, they refused to sit and wait on UNIA men who, accord ing to Amy Jacques were doing nothing to usher in the day.119 The women threatened direct action a nd made demands for equality that let the UNIA men know that what they would not or could not do, the women would. This was a chiding of sorts rather than a confrontation. Th e women were not asking for equal rights in order to be independent of men, but to assist them in the work of the UNIA and it racial uplift program. They did not seek an equal voice to sp eak for themselves, they sought it to speak when they felt their husbands and sons were not sp eaking loudly enough or were rendered voiceless by the Jim Crow society in which they lived. In this way they differed from many early feminists.120 The UNIA women wanted their husbands to be at the forefront and were willing to push them there if they had to. The men were not always willing to be pushed and this contributed to the discord that escal ated during Garveys imprisonment. Amy Ashwood began with Marcus Garvey on the path that would lead to his influence on the Diasporic World. Her separation from him si gnaled just that, a separation from him, but not 117 Negro World, October 17, 1925. 118 Cott, The Groundings, pp. 152-155. 119 Negro World, January 9, 1926. 120 Cott, The Groundings, pp. 26-29; Collins, Black Feminist Thought, pp. 35, 149-172; Robyn Muncy, Creating a Female Dominion in American Reform 1890-1935 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), pp. 47, 81, 117, 153.
76 from continuing to influence the organization or from continuing to promote the ideals of the UNIA. After Garveys death in 1940, Jacques s lifes work became main taining the legacy of Garveyism through correspondences with scholars and st udents alike. In this way she promoted both the ideals of the UNIA and contributions of Marcus Garvey. Her biases toward Garvey, and distaste toward some women in the hierarchy, such as Ashwood and Davis who had defected by 1932, contribute to the gaps in hi storical treatment of the orga nization. While the absence of these key figures and the selectiv e neglect of some of the lay membership reflected Jacques flaws as a person, it did not take away from th e magnitude of her work. She wrote and published Garveys Philosophy and Opinions while he was in jail and engaged with the likes of W.E.B. Dubois and other Pan Africanist until the time of her death on the pli ght of Africans around the world. Both Amy Ashwood Garvey and Amy Jacques Garvey had a political and social consciousness that went beyond locale and skin color and that extended itself to gender. The African-American woman played an important part in the uplift of the race through her influence over the household as well as over the men. In this way, women of the UNIA used their power and position in the domestic sphere to influen ce what went on in the public sphere of black activism.
77 CHAPTER 3 HENRIETTA VINTON DAVIS: A LADY FOR ALL OCCASIONS In spite of recent historic al studies of Amy Ashwood Ga rvey and Amy Jacques Garvey, which demonstrate a growing appreciation of womens contributions to the UNIA and Black Nationalism, the significance of Lady Henrietta Vinton Davis, the first female president of the UNIA, remains overlooked.1 And yet, while neither of Garveys wives ever held an official position in the UNIA once it was bro ught to the United States, Henr ietta Vinton Davis served in the UNIA hierarchy from 1919 to 1927 when Garvey was deported.2 Within the discourse on Garveys wives, Da vis appears as a yet curiously a-political figure as she was Garveys confidant during both his marriages and befriended both spouses. In fact, she was the first to know of his plans to divorce Ashwood. Davis became the roommate of Garvey and Jacques prior to th eir marriage and worked to help Jacques hold the organization together during Garveys tria l, incarceration and deportation.3 She traveled to Jamaica ahead of Garvey in 1927 to help prepare the Kingston Di vision for his arrival an d was instrumental in arranging a heros welcome for him there.4 Davis was integral in helping Garvey re-organize the UNIA in 1927 with Jamaica as headquarters, and sh e used her name to help him obtain a printing press for the Black Man Magazine he attempted to publish as the periodical of the new UNIA.5 Lady Davis official involvement with th e UNIA lasted twelve years and encompassed numerous leadership positions. Her commitment to the pursuit of racial uplift and the betterment of all throughout the Diaspora lasted a lifetime. While sh e held many positions in the organization, her responsibilities almost always overlapped. Davis entry into the organization as 1 Martin, Amy Ashwood (2007); Taylor, Amy Jacques Garvey (2002). 2 AFRC, AP; prison visits or records, AFRC, AP January 16, 1926; J8, 515 (D.) D.: I.: O: 22/28. TLS, recipients copy. 3 Daily Gleaner November 1, 1927 November 3, 1927, November 4, 1927, November 14, 1927. 4 Daily Gleaner December 8, 1927 & December 10, 1927; New York Times December 27, 1927; Detective Inspector's office, Kingston, Jamaica, JA, 515 [V.]/D.: I.: O.: 36/27. 5 Daily Gleaner January 8, 1933.
78 national head of the Ladys Division in 1919 followed by her dual roles as International Organizer from 1919 to 1920 and Fourth Presiden t-General from 1920 to 1929 led to her ascent to the office of Second Director of the Black Star Line in 1919 to 1924. She maintained this title in its successor organization, the Black Cross Navigation and Trading Company from 1924 to 1929. Lady Davis never let her job description limit her ability to serve the interests of the UNIA. In her roles as a UNIA officer, Davis traveled throughout the United Sates, the Panama Canal Zone, Central America and Africa. She help ed to establish Black Cross Nurse auxiliaries wherever she went and even signed applicati ons for charters to establish UNIA divisions throughout the Caribbean. Lady Davis became a model by which other UNIA women judged themselves and served as a model of the ideal UNIA woman for much of the male membership.6 During her time as a UNIA officer, she was the only one of the original thirteen signers (besides Garvey himself) of the UNIA Inc. to remain l oyal to the UNIA programs as established in 1919. As a role model and leader, Davis expresse d an unwavering loyalty to the uplift of the race and a commitment to advancing the role of women in the pursuit of racial progress. In pursuit of these goals she displa yed a never ending admiration of Garvey and men like him and demonstrated a commitment to future generation s and a willingness to publicly take on obstacles that threatened the progress of the UNIA. To date, no full historical treatment of Daviss life exists, nor is there much comprehensive treatment of her individual c ontributions to the UNIA. This chapter will discuss Henrietta Vinton Davis leadership in the UNIA by examining speeches as recorded in The Negro World the UNIA Convention Bulletins, he r personal letters, and the Bureau of Investigations observations of her. This chapter will also eval uate the ways in which her life prior to the UNIA shaped her style of leadership. 6 Negro World, August 20, 1921; Negro Joan of Arc
79 The Making of a Race Lady Lady Davis was a key figure in the progress of the UNIA from its second beginning in New York to her self-imposed departure in 1934. She was instrum ental in galvanizing the lay membership in support of the Black Star Line, orchestrating talks between the UNIA and foreign governments, and mentoring the potential next cad re of UNIA officers. Davis absence from comprehensive historical treatments stems in part from the focus of historians on Marcus Garvey and his wives as individuals as was previously men tioned. Aside from this, Davis inability to fit readily into one of the dominant historical archetypes of the pe riod which include proto-feminist, club woman or DuBois reconfigured Mammy im age, noted in his Damnation essay, served to push her further into the historical shadows of the organization itself and its leader. Further compounding the difficulties in rescuing Lady Davis from the fringes of history are misconceptions about her prominence both prior to and during her time as a UNIA official and about the motives of a woman over fifty who join ed a group initially dominated by people aged forty and under. Her story is further complicated by a lack of archival records and sources on her life. Davis entrance onto the theatrical stage in 1883 was the start of a career dominated by a spirit of perseverance which garn ered her mixed reviews at times but which also caused her to be known as the lady who put her whole soul into words.7 What is known is that after previously working as a school teacher in her native Maryland and in Louisiana and resigning her pos ition as Recorder of Deeds in 1884, she started her own theater production company in 1893 in Chicago to produce plays with nationalist 7 The Washington Bee April 28, 1883, 3; May 5, 1883, 3. The Peoples Advocate (Washington), April 28, 1883, 3; John E. Bruce Papers Schomburg Collection, New York Public Library, Group D, BMS 11-21.
80 themes.8 During this time, in 1898, she co-authored the play Our Old Kentucky Home with John Edward Bruce who also became a member of the UNIA.9 Historian Judith Stein argues that Davis attraction to the UNIA was typical of the cultural wing of the petite bourgeoisies and th at while Davis had a pl ace in popular culture during the period as an actress, she lacked secure employment.10 There are other more convincing explanations for Ms. Davis attraction to the UNIA and ultimately for Garveys alliance with her. Her identification with Garvey resulted in significant part from the influence of her stepfather, George A. Hackett, an advo cate for the rights of blacks during the antebellum period.11 In 1859 he worked to defeat the Jacobs Bill which intended to enslave the children of free Africans and deport their parents from the state of Maryland.12 Hackett, a member of the Bethel African Methodist Ep iscopal Church in Ma ryland, succeeded radical activist William Watkins, who argued for the education of African-A mericans and opposed African colonization schemes. Hi storian Leroy Graham depicts Ge orge Alexander Hackett as an energetic lay minister in the 1840s who used his gift of orati on for twenty years to address such concerns in the community as education, health care, emancipati on, poor relief and the formation of benevolent societies.13 Through his community work, he regularly entertained the likes of Douglass, Henry H. Garnet, Peter H. Clark, and the noted philanthropist, Stephen 8John E. Bruce Papers Schomburg Collection, New York Public Library, Group D, BMS 11-21.; For more Davis early life please see Seraille, pp. 13-15. 9 John E. Bruce Papers Our old Kentucky home (1898) Sc Micro R-905 Reel #3, Schomburg Collection, New York Public Library. 10 Stein, The World of Marcus Garvey p. 76. 11 LaVerne Grant, Amy Jacques Garvey and Henrietta Davis in ed. J. L. Conyers Black American Intellectualism and Culture: A Social Study of African-American Social and Political Thought Cotemporary Studies in Sociology (Stamford, Conn.: JAI Press, 1999), p. 29. 12 Graham, Baltimore: The Nineteenth Century Black Capital (Washington: University Pr ess of America, 1982), pp. 154-155. 13 For greater detail on George Alexander Hackett see Leroy Graham Baltimore: The Nineteenth Century Black Capital (Washington: University Press of America, 1982), pp. 147-198.
81 Smith at his home.14 It is certainly possi ble that Davis developed her interest in the UNIA based on her experiences in these circles. In the 1890s and throughout the first half of the 20th Century, opportunities for AfricanAmericans in the legitimate theater were limited due in part to their inability to secure financing. One of the major tenets of the UNIA, financial empowerment, which could lead to the owning of theaters and production companies as evidenced by their ow nership of a record label, presented Davis and others with the hope of practicing their craft and avoiding race based type casting. Davis inability to secure a backer, according to New York Age editor T. Thomas Fortune, hindered her success on the stage. He argued that Davis lack of widespread success was due in part to her lack of a mana ger with plenty of money behind him which he believed would be the surest way for Davis to achieve fame and fortune on the regular stage,15 The UNIA provided a form of steady empl oyment albeit with limited pecuniary benefits and a modicum of fame. However, her time in the organization was not a role in a play or a means for gaining personal popularity. Lady Da vis record of service indicates that she was devoted to the causes of the UNIA, a homela nd for African-Americans, economic independence and stability for African-Americans, and in the fi rst instance at least to Marcus Garvey. For these reasons she used her talents, time and connections to promote the UNIA. Lady Davis engaged in the pletho ra of strategies to alleviate the horrors of segregation. For her, one of by-products of Jim Crows horrors was the existence of cl assism in the AfricanAmerican community which she abhorred. He r participation in the UNIAs grassroots organization was shunned by many of her middle class peers in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). She often linked her difficulti es in establishing a 14 Laverne Gyant Amy Jacques Garvey and Henrietta Davi s p. 32; William Seraille, Henrietta Vinton Davis and The Garvey Movement in fro-Americans in New York Life and History (July, 1982), p. 9. 15 New York Age September 19, 1891.
82 consistent African-American following to he r failure to uphold what she perceived as assimilationist views regarding skin gradat ions in the African-American community.16 Her affiliation with the organization from 1916 until her de ath served to ostraci ze her from the petite bourgeoisie as many rebuffed Garvey as a charlatan.17 Garveys quarrels with members of the middle class elite, like William Edward Burghardt DuBois, also served to further alienate her from some of her former friends and patrons.18 Being ostracized by middle-class African-Ameri cans and white elite patrons of the arts could be overwhelming. The dilemma Davis face d as a performer who placed race unity and collective economic self-sufficiency ahead of her career is best illustrated by comparing her to other artists of the era connected to the UNIA work of other artists such as Ethel Trew Dunlap, Zora Neale Hurston and Augusta Savage. Dunl ap and Hurston contributed poems to the Negro World throughout the 1920s, which gained them an audience beyond the papers pages. Savage sculpted bronze busts of Garvey that opened doors for the display of her other works. While all these women viewed race progress as their ultimat e goal, each expressed their efforts differently. These women, like many of the period, used their arti stry as a vehicle to express their sentiments on both race and gender oppression. Their work spoke to and for a specific audience and while on the surface it sometimes appeared to be ar t for art sake, it carri ed deliberate ambiguous meanings for the communities they sought to repres ent. This use of double meanings in cultural expressions has been noted by historians Robin D.G. Kelly, Sterling Stuckey and Carey D. Wintz.19 According to Kelly, everyday acts and cu ltural expression through clothes, music, 16 John Edward Bruce Papers Group A, MMS 155, Bruce Papers. 17 Judith Stiens term. Used throughout her monograph to describe the group of middle class elites she argued dominated the UNIAs membership. 18 Garvey and Dubois engaged in an open battle via the Crisis and the Negro World ; Gynat, pp. 32-33. 19 Robin D. G. Kelley We Are Not What We Seem": Rethinking Black Working-Class Opposition in the Jim Crow South. The Journal of American History Vol. 80, No. 1 (Jun., 1993), pp. 75-112; Sterling Stuckey The Ideological Origins of Black Nationalis m (Boston: Beacon Press, 1972); Sterling Stuckey Slave Culture: Nationalist Theory and
83 plays, poetry and art work contributed to an infrapolitics that cente red not only on how people participate in politics but why.20 Just as many of these cultural expressions were exercised in retaliation to Jim Crow, in the case of some UNIA women, these expressions also reflected the fragile relationship between the UNI A and some of its supporters. For Ethel Trew Dunlap, a mulatto like Davis, the need for race unity as expressed by the UNIA was both a personal pursuit and a public ba ttle to be won. Dunlap wrestled with the reality of her mixed heritage in front of the UNIA membershi p, lamenting in If I Should Die Tonight If I should die tonight, perchance Someone who is born fair Might gaze into my face and see The line of sorrow there, And whisper: She was freedoms child; She loved the outcast slave. And those who chided me in life Might have pity by my grave21 Although she admitted to struggling with her identity in the African-American community and in mainstream society due to her light skin tone s, this struggle did not dampen her racial commitment or her prowess as a poet. Her determin ation to be seen as a member of the race and contribute to the aims of the UNIA was illustrated in her response to a fellow poet through the Negro World, when she declared that I am not black as Kedars tents and yet; There is a tie that binds to Afric son; And daughter that enthra lls me and enchants-So count me thou as Ethiopian.22 In fact, her literary efforts became enhanced by her commitment to the UNIAs cause and her loyalty to Garvey. While D unlaps work was primarily published by the Negro the Foundations of Black America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987); Cary D. Wintz Black Culture and the Harlem Renaissance (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1996). 20 Robin D. G. Kelley We Are Not What We Seem": Rethinking Black Working-Class Opposition in the Jim Crow South. The Journal of American History vol. 80 no. 1 (Jun., 1993), p. 78. 21 Negro World, September 23, 1922. 22 Negro World, August 5, 1922.
84 World, she engaged in an open exchange with the literati as well as everyday women and men who read the paper. In 1921, as the UNIA was gaining ground in the American South, Dunlap encouraged readers to join in Garveys repatriation and recl amation efforts in On, On To Abyssinia stating that We should not tarry here, ; Where we are tossed about like chaff; And chased like deer? Her words appear to echo the sentim ents of Lady Davis who in 1919 admonished a Pittsburgh audience that the time had come for every Negro to link himself and herself up with the greatest of all movements, for united we can break the barriers that have been placed in our wayand carve our way to a brighter destiny.23 Davis also iterated in Chicago, where Dunlap had first become a member. As she told her audience, the time is ripe, the hour is struck when the Negro should arise in his might, standing up in the full manhood of his strength24 Davis also urged women to be ready to take the place of men, if the men moved too slowly. In this way she also demonstrated the urgency of the UNIAs efficient women. Although the Negro World was read carefully by Garvey detractors, Dunlap appeared to have written with only the UNIA members in mind. This may have served to limit her career and also rendered her absent from the Harlem Renaissance and African-American poets. Within the UNIA, her poetic peers warned her that her critical success would be limited as she failed at demonstrating her ability to construct in tricately arranged rhyme without apparent difficulty,25 However, the simplicity of her poetr y would seem deliberate not only as she directs her poems to the lay membership of the UNIA, but also as histor ian Tony Martin argues, 23 Negro World, October 11, 1919. 24 Negro World, October 3, 1919. 25Negro World, July 7, 1923.
85 she found that there were enduring qualities to Black English.26 In her poem entitled Onlys (sometimes pronounced in colloquial la nguage as Onliest), she comments on the sound of the word only when spoken by African-A mericans and finds that the enunciation is .peculiarly sweetAnd so I think, Ill let it go.27 This celebration and promotion of the UNIA, its goals and membership, were not always readily undertaken by those who sought exposure through its pages. While Zora Neale Hurston is most noted as an author of several books, founder of the short-lived literary magazine Fire with Langston Hughes, and as an anthropologist, she produced during the Harlem Renaissance a series of poems that appeared in the Negro World.28 Her prose lacked the direct attack on Jim Crow and call to arms of Dunlap. However, like Dunlap she appreciated the dialect of AfricanAmericans and chose that voice for her work. Hurst on was not as criticized for the use of dialect in her work. On the surface, this played into so me of the stereotypes about African-Americans of the day, which the UNIA sought to undo. Whites, however, found it entertaining and endearing. Her use of dialect may be one reason for her white patrons consideri ng her voice avant guard, while believing that their appreciation of the dial ect was in keeping with the Bohemian spirit of the period. While many of her biographers pay special attention to the plays, books and research work she completed after leaving Barnard, few have given full atten tion to the poetry of her early career. The Negro World served as a training ground for Hu rston as it provided an important 26 Tony Martin Literary Garveyism: Garvey, Black Arts and the Harlem Renaissance (Massachusetts: The Majority Press, 1983), p. 55. 27 Negro World, December 9, 1922. 28 For more on Zora Neale Hurstons life and work please see Tiffany Ruby Patterson Zora Neale Hurston and a history of southern life (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2005); Valerie Boyd Wrapped In Rainbows (New York : Scribner, 2003); Diana Miles Women, violence & testimony in the works of Zora Neale Hurston (New York : P. Lang, 2003); Deborah G. Plant Every Tub Must Sit On Its Own Bottom( Urbana : University of Illinois Press, 1995); Zora! : Zora Neale Hurston, a woman and her community ed. N.Y. Nathiri (Orlan do, [Fla.] : Sentinel Communications Co., 1991).
86 outlet for (her) apprentice writing from which sh e moved on to the bright lights of the Harlem Renaissance.29 Both Dunlap and Hurston resemble the partnership model demonstrated by Davis as each found not only a vehicle for her tale nt in the UNIA, but one that went specifically to racial uplift and empowerment. While both of these women had lofty aims in mind, the road of advancement was paved with challenges surrounding their own personal survival and advancement. Dunlap found satisfaction in printing her work for the everyday African-Americans. Hurston appears to have sought a larger stage and had loftier goals in mind. She presented a series of poems that avoided questions of raci al oppression and instead mused about the end of life and love. As Hurston was only 31 years of age, her choice of death as a topic may seem a bit ghoulish. Yet, as evidenced by the letters written to her and answered in the Negro World, she had a receptive, captivated and multigenerational audience.30 Her exchange with readers revealed that the UNIA audience had more than Back To Africa on its mind. In one selection, Passion, she pines When I look back On days already lived I am content. For I have laughed With the dew of morn, The calm of the night; With the dawn of youth And Springs bright days And I have loved With quivering arms that Clung, and throbbing breast29Tony Martin, African fundamentalism : a literary and cultural anthology of Garvey's Harlem Renaissance (Dover, Mass. : Majority Press, 1991), p. 27. 30 For more on letters written to Hurston by the lay membership please see Tony Martin, Literary Garveyism ( Dover, Mass.: Majority Press, 1983), pp. 20-33.
87 With all the white-hot blood Of matings flaming rage.31 That the UNIA lay membership comprised pe ople of all ages becomes apparent as the poem speaks not only of young love, but of the satisfaction of having lived a life of experiences. Still, even after her series of poetic public ations in the Negro World, drew some acclaim, Hurston ridiculed Garvey in a 1924 article submitted to the New York Age entitled The Emperor Effaces Himself.32 The satirical treatment included the charge that Garvey viewed himself as a Napoleon and that he was a fraud. Hurstons affront came on the heels of Garveys trial and sentencing to five years in prison for mail fraud. Her ridicule of Garvey came as the trial of William Shakespeare and Fred Dryer began for the murder of UNIA organizer James Eason.33 Hurstons piece, submitted to the controversial white author of Nigger Heaven, Carl Van Vechten, seemed to echo the sentiments of W. E. B. Dubois, w ho called Garvey a lunatic or traitor in the Crisis throughout the 1920s.34 While Hurstons commitment to documenting and presenting the lives and struggles of African-American people is well noted, she sought the approval and monetary support of a larger audience duri ng the period. Hurston, like Dunlap and Davis, separated herself from her UNIA audience, ending a budding partnership. Still, not all women seeking a larger audience felt forced to choose one audience over the other. Such was the case for sculptor and poe t Augusta Savage. The Jacksonville, Floridanative grew up making figures from clay for which her father avidly punis hed her. He viewed 31 Negro World, April 15, 1922. 32 James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection, Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscr ipt Library, Yale University, Box 1, Folder 16. 33 Both men were sentenced to 18 to 20 years in pr ison two months before Garvey received his sentence. 34 For more on Carl Van Vechtens role in the Harlem Renaissance and support of Hurston, Langston Hughes, Richard Wright and others see Remember me to Harlem : the letters of Langston Hughes and Carl Van Vechten ed. Emily Bernard (New York : Knopf, 2001); Leon Coleman Carl Van Vechten and the Harlem Renaissance : a critical assessment (New York : Garland, 1998).
88 her artistic expressions as a violation of biblical teachings warning against graven images. As she approached her early teens, Augustas clay sculpture of the Virgin Mary changed her fathers mind and helped launch her career. While atte nding high school in West Palm Beach Florida, her principle paid her one dollar a day to teach sculpting during her senior year.35 Savage gained fame in UNIA circles for her bust of Garvey and later for her bust of W.E.B. DuBois. She, like Davis, was often de nied access to mainstream audiences. In 1923 Savage was denied a study trip to Fontainebleau, a prestigious art studio ju st outside Paris, France, because the review comm ittee did not think she would best represent the United States abroad. Savage did not let the slight go unnoticed and voiced her de spair in a letter printed in the New York World where she demanded to know How am I to compete with other American artists if I am not given th e same opportunity? (as others)36 She was viewed as a trouble maker as a result, and white patrons of the ar ts simply wished her away. Savage remained undaunted and in 1927 came under the tutelage of renowned Italian American sculptor Onorio Ruotolo, who was once Dean of the Leonardo da Vinci Art School in New York.37 Her ability and distinction as a sculptor were never questioned by her critics. In fact, the Negro World cited racism, not her lack of ability as the cause of her rejection by the Fontainebleau. The article admonished the committee of American artists who thought her dusky hue might raise the race question.38 Although she had been denied acceptance at Fontainebleau, Savage still had an audien ce within the UNIA and the African-American community at large. Her UNIA affiliations led her to work with Zora Neale Hurston and 35 Romare Bearden and, Harry Henderson A History of African-American Artists From 1792 to the Present ( New York : Pantheon Books (Random House), 1993), pp. 168-170. 36 New York World May 20, 1923. 37 Theresa Leininger-Miller New Negro artists in Paris: African-American painters and sculptors in the city of light, 1922-1934 (New Brunswick, NJ : Rutgers University Press, 2001), p. 174. 38 Negro World, May 5, 1923.
89 Langston Hughes in producing pieces for the magazine Fire!!39 Her time in the UNIA also brought Savage to a life partnership in 1923 with Robert Lincoln Poston, UNIA Assistant Secretary and Liberian delegate. Poston sail ed with Milton Van Lowe and Henrietta Vinton Davis to Liberia but did not survive the re turn voyage and died near France in 1924.40 Savage, like Davis as shall be discussed later in this chapter, had selected a life partner who was already engaged in the task of racial uplift. Poston was a Walden and Howard University educated journalist who believed fe rvently in the cause of African redemption. During an informal meeting with Liberian Pr esident King, he declared the UNIA colonization plan a success in a cable wire to Garvey. Ironically, he never lived to learn that the Liberians had backed out of a UNIA colonization plan in favor of a land contract with the Firestone Rubber Company.41 Savage remained loyal to the UNIA and its aims but waned in her support of Garvey during his 1924 trial and subsequent incarceration.42 Savages lukewarm loyalty to Garvey represents one of the many dilemmas women and some men in the UNIA faced. Even though there was a relati onship of mutual benefit betw een Savage, Garvey and the UNIA, and despite her marriage to the UNIAs leading Liberian dipl omat, Savage did not advocate the physical repatriation to Africa.43 She did, however, believe in and worked toward increasing racial pride, ec onomic opportunity, and self-relia nce in the African-American community. In 1931 the Savage School of Arts a nd Crafts was opened in Harlem--the first of 39 Fire!! Was published in 1926 by Langston Hughes, Wallace Thurman, Zora Neale Hurston, Aaron Douglas and Richard Bruce Nugent. The magazines were sold for one dollar a piece and never generated enough monies to cover the cost of printing. It was illustrated by Aaron Douglas and Richard Bruce Nugent. 40 Robert L. Poston was a Tennessee journalist and Howard University graduate. He became a newspaper publisher and editor while in Detroit Michigan. He moved to NY in 1921 and was elected assist ant Secretary-General of the UNIA, and then was promoted to Secretary-General in 1922. He and his brother Ulysses served as associate editors of the Negro World, The brothers co-directed the UNIAs dramatic club in the play Tallaboo. Through his death UNIA members believe that the biblical prophecy. "Princes shall come out of Egypt, Ethiopia shall soon stretch forth her hands unto God" was believed to then be fulfilled. 41 Precious Duncan Papers UNIA 1924 Convention Bulletin Gainesville, FL. 42 Theresa Leininger-Miller New Negro artists in Paris: African-American painters and sculptors in the city of light, 1922-1934 (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2001), p.172. 43 Ibid., p. 172.
90 several of her Harlem-based arts schools.44 While she was not in agreement with Garveys repatriation plans, Savage, as an efficient woman, believed in the aims and programs of the UNIA took precedence, and she worked to further them in her own life. Prior to joining the UNIA, Savage worked as a live-in domestic to fi nance her training as a sculptor. After the death of he r husband and their child at only ten days old, Savage took a job as a laundress and began to save again toward funding her artistic endeavors. She never remarried. Savage became a UNI A sympathizer rather than an active member. Her acceptance of some but not all of the UNIAs beliefs re flects a common occurren ce throughout the AfricanAmerican community. The varying degrees of affiliation with the organization, which boasted that it included all persons of the Diaspora as members, was illustrated by the presence of organizers and leaders from other prominent and supposedly competing organizations as speakers at UNIA meetings. These persons incl uded activist Mary Church Terrell. At a 1917 Harlem UNIA meeting at the Casino Palace, Terre ll, one of the original founding members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAAC P) and first president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored Women (NACW) was a featured speaker. At the request of Irena Moorman Blackston, one of the UNIAs early supporters and the New York Divisions Lady President, Terrell was invited to speak on the role of women in the quest for racial progress. Terrell later served as a delegate to the International Womens Conference held in Paris, France in 1919 and saw herself as a citizen of the world. She determined to represent women of non-Wester n countries when she spoke on behalf of the American delegation in German.45 Although few UNIA women bel onged to NACW, as efficient 44 Ibid., p. 180. 45 Rosalyn Terborg-Penn ,DISCONTENTED BLACK FEMINIST S: Prelude and Postscript to the Passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in edts. Jacq ueline Bobo, Cynthia Hudley et. al., The Black Studies Reader (New York: Routledge, 2004), p. 72.
91 women they engaged with other organizations that shared their desire for the progress of the race, albeit through differing strategies. Despite the distaste DuBois and other middle-class African-Americans may have felt for Garvey an d the UNIA, Terrell seized an opportunity to speak to the need for unity in the fight agains t humiliations of various kinds on account of race, color or creed.46 Terrell was accustomed and willing to pay the price for her activism as she often disagreed with her sometime colleagues. In fact, she offered to resign from her position with the bi-racial organization, the Womens Internat ional League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), when asked to sign a petition demanding the removal of African-American troops from the German battlefield for allegedly harassing German women.47 For Terrell, like Davis, Savage, the two Mrs. Amy Garveys and many other UNIA women, the concerns of the race came before considerations of gender. Still, there was a price to be paid for this and, while Terrell was able to weather the sneers of those who shunned her more radical assertions, not all women had the same fortune. Often the price of full active membership in the UNIA could not outweigh the fulfillment of life dreams and pe rsonal tragedies. For Augusta Savage becoming a sculptor meant more than the lofty aim of returning to an Africa the Florida native had never seen.48 Still, as it was her husbands desire to establish a colony in Africa, she encouraged his pursuits of the UNIAs colonization goals, while maintaining her own opinions on the matter and developing her own talents. 46 Ibid, p. 72. 47 Ibid, p. 73; Terborg-Penn noted that Church Terrell wrote to Jane Adams and alleged that racism was behind the accusations made and offers to resign her position as a form al investigation rendered no evidence of guilt on the part of the troops. Terrell tells Adams, The troops, from French colonies in Africa, were victims, Terrell contended, of American propaganda against Black people. p. 73 48 Savage is unable to save the money to make the trip to France as her brother, a World War I veteran dies while trying to assist during the Florida Hurricane of 1927. Her family moves from Florida to live with her in a small Harlem apartment. The followi ng year her father passes. She ends up using the monies she saved to bury him. It was not until 1929 that she is awarded monies by Julius Rosenwald of the Sears and Roebuck Company that enable her to make the trip to Europe.
92 Davis, like Dunlap, Hurston and Savage came to the UNIA with creative artistic talents and a commitment to racial uplift. While thes e women became symbols in the organization and were sometimes used as a part of a well orches trated publicity machine, they did not allow the UNIA to take advantage of their presence. In fact, these women and others like them, including Ida B. Wells, actually used the UNIA as a platform to help assist and promote their very specific agendas. There is a level of sincerity and comm itment in these women that drew them to the UNIA and allowed them to see its usefulness in la rger contexts. By participating in collective and independent partnerships the efficient womanhood of the UNIA female membership is further established. The practi ce of collectively aligning with like-minded persons moving in similar directions was one Henrie tta Vinton Davis cultivated early in her life and caused her to develop a select gr oup of friends. Throughout her life, those she endowed with th e term friend included Bishop Henry M. Turner, Frederick Douglass, George Myers and John Edward Bruce. All seem to have one thing in common: the progress and promotion of Afri can-Americans. This trait guided all her interpersonal relationships with men, including her spousal c hoice. In early 1885, she married Thomas T. Symmons, one of the original me mbers of the 1887 Afro American League.49 He worked as a concert baritone and arranged a testimonial for Davis in 1884, which the New York Globe described as one of the grandest receptions ever given to a colored lady in Philadelphia.50 Their partnership was short lived, howev er. This may account for why research 49 Penn, I. Garland, and Frederick Douglass. The Afro-American Press and Its Editors (Springfield, Mass: Willey & Co. 1891), p. 565.;Thomas T. Symmons managed the Bohemia Dramatic Club and arranged for Davis to appear at the Whitney Opera House in Detroit in April of 1894. Symmons was engaged to Davis in early 1894. ( New York Globe March 29, 1894) He planned to take his dramatic company on tour with Davis as leading lady. However, present research indicates that the tour never came to fruition. 50 New York Globe April 26, 1884.
93 yields no evidence of Davis ever using his name. While records are scarce, it appears that the two separated after a quarrel in whic h Symmons physically abused her.51 The willingness to represent the race at its best was a trait Davis also sought in her professional acting acquaintances. She toured wi th Alice M. Franklin and Noni Bailey Hardy; performed Shakespeare with Powhattan Beaty, a nd was lauded for her performances as Lady Macbeth and Rosalind.52 She received positive reviews for her performances as a serious actress, but her comedic talents were c onsidered mediocre at best.53 While her alliances in the theater proved to be somewhat fruitful, her career on the stage, as noted, was one that encompasses all of the promise and frustration experien ced by black actors of (that) generation.54 She partnered with contralto singer Nonie Hardy in 1912 and to ured Jamaica. While there, she managed Kingstons Covent Garden Theat er and before her departure in 1913, established the Jamaica branch of the American-based benevolent or ganization, the Loyal Knights and Ladies of Malachite which launched fundraisers to he lp school aged girls get an education.55 Davis faced many frustrations on the stage. She lamented the limited and inconsistent patronage of African-Americans, while attempting to create avenues that circumvented the limits she and other actors faced due to segregation mores in the American theater. In 1916 she expressed her dismay in a letter to John Edwa rd Bruce, when a scheduled engagement in Yonkers, New York failed to materialize. Da vis, writing from Bermuda, informed Bruce That is alright about the recital in Y onkers. I know you did your best, but I am well acquainted with my peopl e. I know their lack of cohesiveness---and it is that very lack that the whiteman takes advantage of. He knows the weakness of the Negro better than the Negro knows himself.56 51 Interview with Davis biographer and family friend Nnamdi Azikiwe, August 13, 2008. 52Daily Gleaner, May 2, 1912. 53 New York Globe May 3, 1884 Our Dramatic Artists. 54 Erroll Hill, Henrietta Vinton Da vis: Shakespearean Actress in Women in American Theater eds. Helen Chinoy and Linda Walsh (New York: Crown Publishers, 1981), p. 92. 55 Seraille, p.14; John Edward Bruce Papers Group A, MMS 155, Bruce Papers. 56 Davis to Bruce, April 30, 1916, Group A, MMS 155, Bruce Papers.
94 Her travels and performances outside of the United States was as an attempt to secure a receptive audience and the financial backing she needed to perform her craft. In this way, Henrietta Vinton Davis life mirrored that of Club Woman educator Dr. Anna Julia Cooper. Cooper was fired from her job as principal of an all-African-American Washington D.C. school in 1906 for supporting an acad emic-based curriculum. She was rejected by several graduate schools in the United States but went on to complete her Ph.D. at the Sorbonne in Paris in 1925 and returned to Am erica and reclaimed her former administrative position.57 While Davis and Cooper sought alternatives to the limita tions of their professional development away from American soil, fellow UNIA member and Clubwoman, journalist Ida B. Wells-Barnett traversed the self-help organizatio ns of the period using both mainstream and African-American presses to simultaneously furthe r her career and her crusade which took her to the shores of England to pl ead the cause of Anti-Lynching.58 Davis, like Cooper and Wells-Bar nett, believed that African-Ame ricans had a role to play in development of society at large. As C ooper channeled her activis m through the pursuit of classical education and Wells-B arnett through the dismantling of lynching, Davis attempted to find her niche through the presidential campaign of Populist Pa rty candidate Ignatius Donnelly in 1892. In availing herself to Donnelly, she wrot e twice volunteering he r services to help galvanize her brethrenin any pa rt of the country as she had a desire and eagerness to serve my race and humanity 59 She was so enamored with Donnelly that she unsuccessfully 57 For more on Dr. Cooper please see Anna Julia Cooper A Voice from the South (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988). 58 For more on Ida B. Wells involvement with African-A merican self-help organizations please see James West Davidson They Say: Ida B Wells and the Reconstruction of Race (New York : Oxford Un iversity Press, 2007). 59 Davis to Donnelly, July, 12, 1892, Ignatius Donnelly Papers Archive and Manuscript Division of the Minnesota Historical Society ro ll 104, frame 74-75.
95 attempted to dramatize his novel 1891 novel, Doctor Huguet which was the story of an evil white physician who took over the body of an unsuspecting black man.60 While she is most noted for her work as a Sh akespearean actress, and arguably one of the first African-Americans recognized as suc h, Davis body of work included plays and monologues that spoke directly or indirectly about the pli ght of Africans throughout the Diaspora.61 Foreshadowing her involv ement with the UNIA, she produced, co-wrote and/or starred in, theatrical works that reflected the possibilities of self-government, financial independence, and unity among displaced Africans of all ilks. Her selection of works for the stage revealed her concern for the plight of Africans throughout th e Diaspora, her acute awareness of conflicts within the Diaspora comm unities regarding color pigmentation and class, and points to how prescribed gender roles factored into the application of her nationalist ideals during the period. Davis further exemplified th e efficient womanhood of the UNIA as her career demonstrated the extent to which race work was life work for women of the organization. During the 1893 Chicago Worlds Fair Davis theater company produced Dessalines at the Freibergs Opera House in Chicago.62 Dessalines is a four-act play that depicts the Haitian Revolution as not only a war between the isla nd nation and France, but as a war between mulattoes and darker skinned Haitians.63 The heroine of the play is a mulatto woman named Clarisse who is the sister of the mulatto leader of the French Army. Clarisse falls in love with her brothers arch enemy, rebel leader Jean-Jacque s Dessalines, who was depicted historically as as violent and blood thirsty but becomes a gen tleman as he claims the title Monsieur, which 60 Donnelly Papers ibid; Donnelly, Ignatius as Edmund Boisgilbert. Doctor Huguet (Chicago: F.J. Schutle 1891). 61 Cleveland Gazette April 24, 1886 Miss Henrietta Vinton Davis, TRAGEDINE, p.1 62 Errol Hill, A History of the American Theater p. 138. 63 William Edgar Easton, Dessalines, a dramatic tale : a single chapter from Haiti's history (JW Burson Company Publishers 1893). The play was performed at the Haitian Pavilion of the Chicago Worlds Fair.
96 was a distinction normally reserved fo r white men and men of mixed heritage.64 Dessalines is transformed by his quest to obtain his freedom by his own hand. He states, .had the grim spectre tied me to the trammels of eternal darkness-------thy cause; the cause of liberty would have found another champion! Liberty! Eternal inspiration of heroic deeds! A principle nature implants in all her creatures! Liberty, the birthright of all mankind. For a time man may suppress thee, but thou art of eternal youth, eternal being; and when once aroused from thy dreamy slumbers, oppression meets his sterne st foe! Thy armor is more strong; thy assault is greater than prejudice a nd racial hatred enthroned in all their power!65 His transformation is furthered by Clarisses love and her Christian faith. As the plays ends, the rebels celebrate their victory by declini ng to raid a church that housed a considerable amount of French gold, while Clarisse and Dessalines pledge their l ove to one another. Clarisse observes the change in Dessalines and notes Thou has seen his valor, and I I have seen that; neath his visage, dark as night neath the rough blunt exterior of a soldierdwells a mind ripe for seeds of Christian good!66 Dessaliness transformation become s complete as the play closes with his final remarks Tis well then, that the religion which fo stered in the slave love of liberty and gave him the courage to contest the pow er of mightwith th e weapons of right, shall be hereafterthe proud heritage of every Haitien!67 Davis followed this production with Our Old Kentucky Home, a play she co-wrote with John Edward Bruce in 1898. Davis directed the st aging and starred in the play as the heroine Clothilde, a mulatto woman who out-smarts th e Confederate Army to save her masters illegitimate son and future husband Basil Knott.68 Clothhilde and Basil become separated during the Civil War and reunite in 1865 in Washington, DC. The language of the two lovers is far 64Marie-Agns Sourieau et Kathleen M. Balutansky, crire en pays assig = Writing under siege: Hati (Amsterdam; New York, N.Y.: Rodopi, c2004), p. 138. 65 Dessalines pp. 90-91. 66 Dessalines p. 102. 67 Dessalines p. 117. 68 John Edward Bruce, Our Old Kentucky Home in the John Edward Bruce Papers Reel 3 (Schomburg Library, NY, NY).
97 removed from that of the two slaves who met on the Knott Plantation after Basils father brought Clothhilde home from New Orleans. In their first meeting, Basil wonders aloud I wonder what nigger wuz made for anyhow? To which Clothhilde replies Dat ces a vere hard question, masieur. I do not despair for de future, me, I tink dat de Negres will yet become a great race, aldo dere is now so much against it. Le bon Dieu permit some tings to be for his pupose.69 When the pair reunites in 1865, thei r exchange is written as follows: Basil. Come to my arms Clothhilde (embraces her) You are as true as steel; thrice have you shown your devotion to my interests, and this your precious life to save mine; and now in this place, I pledge my life and my sacred honor never to forget you or to forsake you. Clothhilde, you must be my wi fe. I love you with my heart and soul and can only be happy with you. Promise me! Clothhilde. Basil, when I first met years ago in Kent ucky, the stamp and feel of our unspoken loves was fixed upon our hearts and registered in our memory. In the eyes of heaven our souls were then united as closely as they ever can be; it needs now only the sanction of the law to bind them together indissolubly, and I am r eady, dear Basil, to consecrate and dedicate my life to make your remaining years the happiest you ha ve ever enjoyed.70 In Dessalines and Our Old Kentucky Home freedom is won through an individuals effort as a part of a collective. Not only is ones situation in life tr ansformed, but it became easier to express the desires of ones heart as freedom also creates a new language. The tongue becomes loosed as the bonds of slavery and oppression are broken. For De ssalines, the experience is reminiscent of that of Phyllis Wheatley, who wrote Their color is a diabolic dye. Remember Christians; Negroes, black as Cain, May be refin'd, and join th' angelic train.71 His refinement, like the refinement of Basil Knott, comes as bot h men engage in the pu rsuit of freedom from racial oppression, with a woman who ha s captured their heart. In part it is the love of the woman and the desire to be worthy of her love that pushes these men toward their transformation. 69 Bruce and Davis, Our Old Kentucky Home, p. 13. 70 Bruce and Davis, Our Old Kentucky Home p. 40. 71 Phyllis Wheatley On Being Brought from Africa 1778.
98 In both plays the heroes make a point of protecting the chastity of the heroine.72 The heroines become the guides for the heroes and bri ng out the better sides of their nature. Clarisse encourages Dessalines to have mercy on the me n who ransomed her in his name by explaining that just as Man searches his cold judicial mind for reasons; woman is guided by the promptings of her heart. Being guided by her heart, Clot hhilde risks her own life by crossing enemy lines three times to save her beloved Basil by s hooting down rebel snipers who were after him.73 In both plays Miss Davis played th e mulatto heroine who saw beyond color gradients and sought in the words of Clothilde to unite Africans of all il ks because We po slavs, of whatever color or condition, must all suffer alike.74 This suffering was very real for Davis, whose ancestry was viewed as blight on her career. Errol Hill obser ved that Miss Davis light complexion made her not noticeably different from dozens of othe r actresses on the stage with similar ability.75 Her features would have allowed her to pa ss for white as noted by one critic Ms. Davis is a singularly beautiful woman, you know more than a brunette, certainly no talk of Venice Spanish or It alian lady in hue, with a less justly expressive eyes and a mouth molded upon Adelaide Nielsen's God....76 Although her features placed her in the company of high society, she rejected any assertion of color gradation as cause for sepa ration within the race. For her, any separation within the race would undermine the potential for progress. Davi s recognized, as did Rigaud and Lefebre in Dessalines, LeBebre But what can we hope to gain by affiliati on with the blacks? We have nothing in common. They are envious of usliterall y hate us; while we we despise them. Rigaud 72 Dessalines pp. 65-68; Our Old Kentucky Home pp. 16-18, 46-47. 73 Dessalines p. 68; Our Old Kentucky Home p. 39. 74 Our Old Kentucky Home p. 15. 75 Errol Hill, Henrietta Vinton Davis, p. 96. 76 Buffalo Sunday Truth n. d 1894.
99 Their hatred is our own making. Rigaud Thy prejudices enlarge upon thy fears. A common cause would make us friends indeed!77 Although hindered by de jure racism and de facto prejudice, Henr ietta Vinton Davis career in the theater reflected a conscious choice to present work that elevat ed not only her status as an actress but the mindset of her audiences.78 That she was all too aware of who would see her work is evidenced in the few biographical sket ches of her life. Her chroniclers all note that among her greatest accomplishments was the avoidan ce of The Coon circuit. While there is some indication that she may have participated briefly in one of the c oon plays of the period, there is no other evidence to support this fact.79 Prior to her affiliation with the UNIA, she stro ve to be a serious actress, selected roles that were previously regarded as the exclusive domain of white actors, and promoted plays that depicted an independent, moral and self sufficien t people of the African Di aspora. Her selection of colleagues just as her selec tion of stage work was guided by a desire to elevate the race and counter negative stereotypes. In 1902 the Colored American noted that Miss Davis versatility could have led to her becoming the natural head of a formidable stock company had not the prejudice of the day limited her opportunity.80 Although the paper had a theater company in mind, Davis would go on to become both the figurative and literal head of another kind of stock company: the Black Star Line and the Black Cross Navigation a nd Shipping Company, both UNIA entrepreneurial shipping entities. 77 Dessalines pp. 21-22. 78 Errol Hill, Henrietta Vinton Davis, p. 96; See Da vis comments to Bruce mentioned earlier in text. 79 Ibid, p. 97. 80 Colored American February 22, 1902.
100 In 1916 Miss Davis was 56 years old, and wh ile some would expect her to be winding down, much like Anna Julia Cooper who comp leted her Ph.D. at age 60, Miss Davis was preparing for the largest stage any woman had pe rformed on. She would take the world stage as the UNIAs diplomat in 1916. She was invited by Ga rvey to give a speech on race progress at the Casino Ballroom (later known as Liberty Hall) and by evenings end became the UNIAs most celebrated member. Along with thirteen others Davis was one of the original signers of the Universal Negro Improvement Association at its New York incorporation. When she signed her name, she declared her unwavering loyalty to the aims the UNIA. Protector and Defender of the UNIA On August 25, 1919 the Universal Negro Impr ovement Association held its annual convention meeting at New Yorks Carnegie Hall. Henrietta Vinton Davis served as Chair of the meeting. While her main responsibility that evening was to introduce the speakers and keep the program flowing, Davis took time to implore non-me mbers in her audience to join the UNIA and stressed the importance of buying stock in its new venture, the Black Star Line (BSL). Davis viewed investing in the compa ny as one of the many ways the UNIA encouraged people of the African Diaspora to invest in themse lves and secure their future. As one of the founding members of the UNIAs American incorporation, Henrietta Vinton Davis was elected to, appoint ed or drafted to serve on near ly every formal and informal program of the organization. As a result, many of the great successes of the organization as well as some of its many failures rested in her hands Her status was evident in 1929 when Marcus Garvey, at his Jamaica heros welcome celebration orchestrated largely by Davis, blamed her for the organizations disarray. Garv ey revealed his dismay at findi ng that while Davis served as
101 the Fourth President General she had done nothing to give new life to the organization,81 Although this criticism may have stemmed from Garveys frustration with his status as a convicted criminal deportee, who returned to hi s native country with lit tle to no money in his pocket, it also implies the depths of Davis resp onsibilities within the or ganization. His disgrace was only heightened by his percepti on of the stagnation of the orga nization that he intended to give (his) life to. His assert ions revealed the magnitude of power and authority Lady Davis possessed in his eyes and his crit icism indicated that he felt sh e had not done enough with that power. Henrietta Vinton Daviss duties included enlarg ing membership rolls, selling stocks for the Black Star Line Shipping Company and serv ing as president. She viewed herself as something of a diplomat and in that capacity served to protect and further the UNIAs program throughout the Diaspora.82 Her devotion to the UNIA was limitless and even transcended her loyalty to Garvey. By 1931 she joined a rival UNIA faction, known as the UNIA Incorporated, headed by Dr. Lionel A Francis of th e often troubled Ph iladelphia branch.83 In 1934 she became president of the rival faction and maintained that the organization would c ontinue to pursue the programs established under Garveys leadership as he had presented great contribution to Negro progress ... despite his mistakes and shortcomings.84 As her duties seemed to overlap at varying times, Davis was constantly on the move. This brought her under the watchful eye of bot h the United Sates and British Intelligence 81 Negro World, August 24, 1929. 82 Negro World, September 6, 1924. 83 Davis leaves the UNIA after an August 15, 1931 editorial by Negro World, editor H.G. Mudgal complained that the American leadership of the now UNIA & ACL August 1929 of the World, was not being managed well by "feminine hands" and in need of a stro nger leadership. The leadership at the time included Davis protg Maymie De Mena and Davis herself. Garvey made no public comment on Davis departure and there are no archival records of her making any statements on the matter either. 84 New York Age August 13, 1932, 1; August 20, 1932, 1; August 27, 1932, 1; May 5, 1934, 1; August 18, 1934, 9; October 13, 1934, 3. Norfolk Journal & Guide September 1, 1934, 5.
102 Agencies. Her exposure to audiences in the Ca ribbean from her touring days in 1911 and 1912 served to draw crowds. However, according to Bureau of Investigations (BI) Agent W.L. Buchanan, it was her ability as an eloquent spea ker and educated and able speaker that had personality and a forceful way of expressing he r views which endeared her to listeners and earned her the designation of a negro agitator. Davis managed to earn this distinction as she became known in intelligence circ les for telling her listeners th at the Negro should no longer bow down in suppression and segrega tion but exert th eir superiority.85 Not only did the Bureau of Investigations (B I) and other secret service agencies note what Davis said to the public, they were also attentive to her private conversations as well. According to reports, it was alle ged that Davis plotted with othe r UNIA officials to take over the organization from Garvey during late 1922 and early 1923. The BI also alleged that Davis and others in the Garveys inner circle were willing to testify on behalf of the U.S. government at his mail fraud trial.86 These assertions were contradicted by Davis show of unwavering loyalty to Garvey and the UNIA when she testifie d for his defense. According to Negro World records and historians of Garvey and the UNIA, at no time during before or immediately after the trial did Davis publicly or privately engage in any plot to take contro l of the organization. Time and again, historians note that Davis remained resolu te in her allegiance to the UNIA while others walked away or sued the organization. In her capacity of BSL second vice-preside nt and UNIA International Organizer, Davis often travelled for the purpose of selling stock in the company and establishing branches of the UNIA throughout the Panama Canal Zone. On these trips her promotion of the UNIAs program, her loyalty to Garvey and her penchant for racial progress was clearly illustrated. 85 DJ-FBI, file 61. TD; DNA, RG 59, File 000-612, TD.; DJFBI, file 61 746, TD. 86 DJFBI, 561, TD; DJ_FBI, file 61395. TD; DJfile 61. TD.
103 Allegations of mismanagement of funds were ma de by the Santiago Branch of the Panamanian Division causing Lady Davis to cable Marcus Garvey. She urged him to come to Santiago, warning that there was a danger of somebody (being) lynched. 87 Intervening on behalf of the organization in times of crisis to quell dissent became standard operating procedure for Lady Davis. Her intention to ensure the honesty of others and keep the organization afloat was demonstrated in the re-organiz ation of the Kingston Branch of the UNIA in 1919. Between 1919 and 1920 Davis re-organized the Kingston Branch after confiscating the accounting books from the private offices of th e pilfering branch president.88 The International Organizer also demonstrated a capacity for detecting areas of concern and protecting the UNIA. Whenever it became apparent that a particular Division was about to break away, Garvey sent Lady Davis to help bring the members back into the fold. Sh e was not always successful, nor was her presence always well received. The UNIA suffered from internal dissent fr om its 1919 incorporation until its dormant period in the late 1930s. In some cases, w ithin weeks of a branch and division becoming chartered, movements for secession were afoot. In 1920, Garvey faced challenges from both the Philadelphia and Los Angeles Branches. At the time, Philadelphia boasted a large membership while the Los Angeles Division was just getting st arted. The controversies in Philadelphia were numerous, but the most significant point of contention surrounded th e use and accounting of funds. In Los Angeles, less than a year after Davis had gone there to establish the branch and set up a unit of the Black Cross Nurse Auxiliary, newspaper woman and NA ACP member Charlotta Bass, Lady President of the branch, officially formed the Pacific Coast Negro Improvement 87 Negro World, July 30, 1921. 88 JA file 12185 April 24, 1920; The Jamaica Gleaner February 10, 1920, April 21, 1920, April 23, 1920; Jamaica Times, July 24, 1920.
104 Association and broke all ties with the UNIA.89 Davis made concessions on behalf of the UNIA in both situations, and was successful in keep ing Philadelphia in the ranks, despite some criticism of and dissatisfacti on among the membership who after over two weeks of her supervision began to grow weary but decided to have her remain until their reorganization process was completed.90 The UNIA branch in Philadelphia fe lt Lady Davis presence, albeit at the behest of Garvey himself, was tolerable. Davis demonstrated her ability as a clever educated woman of more than average ability and in 1932 Phila delphia welcomed her as one who worked on the behalf of the membership and not just as Garv eys representative.91 She was not as successful in Los Angeles, where as pr eviously noted, the division there formed its own version of the UNIA separate fr om the parent organization. Lady Davis was signatory of many Division ch arters throughout the UNIA world, and her stamp of approval was sought by women and men of the organization at every opportunity. The women of the organization often deferred to her counsel and used her name and presence as a means of sanctioning their own agendas. Her invol vement often led to the creation of spaces for women members to freely pursue the aims of the organization. These spaces often went undetected by Garvey or the ma le hierarchy and allowed women to interpret, extend and recreate UNIA aims in ways that best suited their lo cal needs. An early example of this occurred with her involvement in establishing the Black Cr oss Nurse (BCN) Auxiliary as a part of every UNIA division. As International Organizer, she s ought ways to gain support for the organization and found that encouraging women who worked as health care workers to join the auxiliary not 89 Emory Tolbert, The UNIA and Black Los Angeles: ideology an d community in the American Garvey movement (Los Angeles: Center for Afro-American Studies, University of California, 1980), pp. 63-69 & 76-79. 90 DNA RG 65, file OG 329359. TD, Stamped Endorsements. 91 DNA, RG 65, file OG 267600. TD.
105 only increased the membership numbers, but al so served to help women formalize their professional and community service work. Her efforts were extended with her participation in the development of the UNIA Ladies Day Exhibition in 1922. At the August 1922 Conven tion, the UNIA establishe d its first Ladies Day Exhibition in part at the behest of Lady Davis and others. The exhibition was designed to celebrate the artistry and home made crafts of the female membership. Aside from showcasing the talents of members, the exhibition also serv ed as a means for encouraging entrepreneurship and cooperatives among members. The respect of both the male and female membership and the esteem of the organizations officials for Davis contribu tions were further evidenced in the amending of the UNIA constitution in 1922 and the establis hing of the Daughters of Ethiopia as a formal auxiliary of the UNIA in 1924. In each instance, Lady Davis was desi gnated as the designated official to oversee and guide activities of the wo men of the organization. Similar to the 1922 coup, women delegates from Montral Canada, Chicago, IL, Monograph, VA, petitioned in 1924 to have the Daughters of Ethiopia (DOE) adopted in the Constitutional By-Laws of the UNIA with Lady Davis as chairman. The auxiliary was comprise d of women who were recently bestowed titles by Garvey for their service to the organization. The DOE now gave them a formal auxiliary to further their burning desire to work for the good of the UNIA and ACL. These activities gave testament to her status as a pillar in the or ganization and also points out the need for her inclusion in the historiography of the long freedom struggle, Afri can-American womens activism and Black Nationalism.92 Her interest in the heath a nd well being of African-Ameri cans was also revealed in authoring a treatment entitled The Social Policy of the Negro. At the August 1922 92 Negro World, September 6, 1924.
106 Convention, Garvey asked Davis to open up a di scussion geared toward defining a new social policy for African-Americans. Davis began by st ating that the matter (is) one of vital importance as African-Americans as a people (have) neglected the social side of life in many ways and paid very little attention to it.93 Caught in the routine of daily life, (t)he Negro was characteristically social, but, heretofore, there have been no policy as to his sociability.94 Davis along with John Edward Bruce, Dr. Leroy Bundy, Robert L. Poston and Anna Nicholas of the New York Divi sion were appointed as the Comm ittee on Social Concerns. The Garvey appointed committee comprised a lady from the general membership and the only woman in the UNIA hierarchy along with three men. Their findings were printed in the Negro World on September 9, 1922 and stressed that The question is largely one of geography, i.e ., no fixed rules can be established to guide the people of all sections. There are forms of courtesy among all people, and they are expressed in different ways, though they mean the same thing in the last analysis. We Negro[s] should establish our own social forms and strive to impress our young people with the idea that courtesy, clean speech, [sic] good character are all the hallmarks of true la dies and gentlemen. We still believe these are matters which can be safely left in the Christian homes of our race for final solution.95 While the document was presented as being au thored by the collective, Davis was the second signer after Bruce. Based on the content of their previous literary collabo rations, which centered on themes of redemption and transformation the se ntiments expressed can be attributed to the thinking and feelings of Davis. Her express concern was the modeling of proper mores for the upcoming generation. Although she ha d no biological children of her own, Davis, as an efficient woman, used her talents to address what she regarded as the needs of others. 93 Negro World, September 2, 1922. 94 Ibid. 95 Negro World, September 9, 1922.
107 Although she had given up the stage, Davis f ound room in the UNIA for her training as a Shakespearean actor. She endeared herself to ch ildren and parents alike with her rendition of Paul Laurence Dunbars Little Brown Baby and her use of African-American playing dolls as props which were produced by and in conjuncti on with the UNIA based Negro Factories Corporation.96 Davis praised the doll manufacturer, Berry and Ross for doing so much to inculcate the spirit of race pride in the Negro race through the pr oduction of these dolls.97 The promotion of AfricanAmer ican dolls, historian Michele Mitchell argues, was an integral part of the ways the UNIA sought to ensure that young black girls woul d grow into women who (neither) shunned nor opted out of motherhood.98 The dolls served to signal the importance of women as nurturers and spoke directly to th e UNIAs promotion of racial purity and an acceptance of African roots as elem ents of childrens race pride.99 Davis poetic recitation choice of Little Br own Baby reveals yet another strain of UNIA efficient womanhood in that the poem itself cel ebrates the role of fa thers in the home and in their lives of their children. Nearly all of her undertakings as a UNIA official called for a network of both men and women. The committee on Social Concerns was not Davis first endeavor as a UNIA official in cooperation with men, nor was it her last. Her role as BSL second vi ce president and board membership in the UNIA Black Cross Navigation and Trading Compa ny (BCNTC) involved her in partnerships with men both inside and outside of the UNIA world. Under the watchful gaze of 96 Negro World, June 21, 1919; Little Brown Baby in edt, Joanne M. Braxton T he Collected Poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar (Alexandria: The University Press of Virginia, 1993), p. 134.; Michele Mitchell, Righteous Propagation: African-Americans and the politic s of racial destiny after Reconstruction (Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, 2004), pp. 187-196; An in-depth discussion on the history of African-American based dolls is done by Anthropologist Sabrina Lynette Thomas in Sara Lee: The Rise and Fall of the Ultimate Negro Doll Transforming Anthropology Apr. 2007, Vol. 15, No. 1: pp. 38-49. 97 Negro World, June 28, 1919. 98 Mitchell, p. 194. 99 Sabrina Lynette Thomas Black Dolls as Racial Uplift: A Preliminary Report Transforming Anthropology. Apr 2005, Vol. 13, No. 1: p. 56.
108 the Bureau of Investigations, she travelled wi th Cyril Henry in 1920 to sell and issue stock certificates for the BSL.100 After the BSL was dissolved and reconstituted in 1924, she was paired with Robert L. Poston and Attorney Mi lton Van Lowe to form the UNIA Delegation to Liberia. In her account of the trip, she alleged that Presiden t King promised her not only the land the trio was sent to negotiate for, bu t additional lands in Cape Mount, Liberia.101 The reception Lady Davis received throughout her travels was recounted by Amy Boaster of the Guatemala Puerto Banns Division, who wrote to the Negro World ensuring support from the region as hundreds of Vinton Davises (were) ready to go out into the world.102 These sentiments were seconded by another UNIA memb er who wrote after Davis visited Fort Wayne, Indiana that even the very st ones would rise to pledge ther e must be a redeemed Africa. 103 She appeared to have no less of an effect on Pr esident King of Liberia a nd the other dignitaries she met with in the country. In fact, when Da vis travelled to Liberia and Panama, she was afforded the courtesies reserved for foreign diplomats, with official guides and transportation.104 Davis faced a backlash, however, as a result of her success in raising funds for the BSL and her participation in the BCNTC. In her role as central fund raiser for the BSL, Davis faced the obvious humiliation when the BSL folded in 1922, and Garvey faced trial for fraud associated with the over selling of stocks. She also faced public hazing from the crew and operators of the ships, as the fa ilure of the Black Star Line was linked in part to her not knowing 100 DJ-FBI, 561 157. TDS, Recipients copy; 101 Negro World, September 6, 1924. Sundiata, p.33; Seraille, p. 15. 102 Letter to the Editor, n.d. from women of Guatemala, Puerto Banns Division No. 34, Los Amates Division No. 212 signed by Amy Boaster, Emily Chandler and Caroline Grey Negro World, February 18, 1922. 103 Negro World, July 22, 1922, 5. These sentimen ts are also expressed in the Negro World, on April 22, 1922, 8; May 6, 1922, 22; May 20, 1922, 3; For further discussion of the UNIA in the Panama Canal Zone please see Carla Burnett "Are we slaves or free men? ": Labor, race, Garveyism, and the 1920 Panama Canal Strike Unpublished Dissertation (Illinois: University of Illinois at Chicago, 2004). 104 Negro World, July 15, 1922, 12; Hill, vol. 4 p. xii.
109 the first thing about a ship or the management of shipping business.105 In a series of articles that ran in the communist Daily Worker newspaper during the latt er half of 1930, Davis was criticized for her alleged misuse of BSL funds. Crew members of the BSL detailed accounts of Davis of living high and buying up all the silk in Colon while the crew went without food and pay and UNIA members had to beg for monies to help the ship return to the United States .106 Such stories were contradicted by depictions of her as sympathetic to the crew to the point of being dangerous to Garvey. In one account it wa s alleged that she took sick while on the ship as a result of deliberate food poisoning. The attemp t on her life was claimed to have taken place, because Ms. Davis was the only official, who displayed any sympathy towards the crew, and she took six suddenly, the doctors claimed sh e was poisoned. It was whispered among the crew that Ms. Davis had been poisoned for fear that her sympathy for the crew would induce her to tell the truth of the sabota ge and extravagance of the high officer[']s.107 There is no evidence to substantiate clai ms regarding the attempted poisoning. The conflicting depictions of Lady Davis by the crew are further complicated by claims that monies were collected at each port of call, and yet th e BSL was never a solvent enterprise. While this financial situation became obvious by 1922, many stil l bought stock in the company. It appears that participation in the shipping company stock sales presented se veral avenues for resistance to Jim Crow and the limitations of prejudice. Th ese sentiments outweighed any concerns about the BSLs solvency. For many, the potential of ow ning stock in a shippi ng company that would remedy the poor segregates travelling accommoda tions, while enabling trade throughout the Diaspora and providing a means of ensuring wealth for future generations appeared to transcend 105 Account of Black Star Line by Cpt. Hugh Mulzac Cleveland Gazette October 6-27, 1924. 106 Daily Worker November, 1, 1930 & August 4, 1930. 107 Daily Worker November 4, 1930.
110 the reality of stalled ships in New Yorks harbor. Davis continued to support the purchasing of vessels and the sale of stock even as the ships were literally a nd figuratively sinking. 108 Although Garvey publicly deferred to her on ma tters pertaining to both the BSL and the BCNTC, it is surprising that rese archers of the BSL have overlooke d her role in the enterprise.109 Because Davis played an integral part in the coll ection of money and signed stock sale slips, she must carry some of the responsibility for the fa ilure of the BSL. While Garvey was brought up on charges of overselling stock and using the U. S. Postal Service to solicit funds under false pretense, Davis was never indicted or officially question by the Bureau of Investigations for her part in the matter. UNIA members also appeared indifferent to her role as official records were silent on their feelings regarding her involveme nt. The demise of the BSL did not stop Garvey from attempting another shipping venture. Davis was also undeterred as she became one of the directors of the revamped enterprise. Although he r persistence speaks of the depths of Davis commitment to repatriation and open trade with the African continent, the absence of selfcritique or the critique of others on her cu lpability in these endeavors merits further investigation. When it became apparent that the UNIA Libe rian Delegation was not as successful as Robert Poston was led to believe, Garvey again de ferred to Davis to render an accounting of the trip during the August 1924 convention. Davis, however, had not yet returned from a trip to British Honduras. Although Milton Van Lowe had gi ven a report to the officials of the parent 108 Seraille, p. 19 ; Yekutiel Gershoni Common goals, different ways: The UNIA and the NCBWA in West Africa 1920-1930 Journal of Third World Studies Fall 2001. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3821/is_200110/ai_n8959678; 109 For further insights on the BSL please see Ramla Marie Bandele Diaspora movements in the international political economy: African-Americans and th e Black Star Line. (Unpublished Dissertation Illinois: Northwestern University, 2002).
111 body earlier in the day, Garvey decided that he must appeal to the patient convention until Lady Davis comes here, so that she and Mr. Van Lowe can render their report. Garveys willingness to wait for Daviss return reflected his trust and respect for her. Her consistent public defense of Garvey and the organization, even after her departure from the original UNIA, in speeches, newspapers and ac tions, combined with her insistence that all descendents of the transatlantic slave trade should work for the betterment of Africa and all its people earned her not only the respect of UNI A members and non-members alike, but also won her many comparisons to warriors and great spokesma n. Of these, the most illustrative was her being dubbed the Negro Joan of Arc first in Latin America and th en later by Garvey.110 By 1921 Henrietta Vinton Davis was affec tionately referred to as Joan of Arc in Cuba, Panama and Harlem.111 For her untiring devotion to the UNIA a nd her resolute commitment to the programs Garvey pursued. The President-General first co mpared Davis to Joan of Arc while introducing her at the August 1920 Convention.112 Davis highlighted the urgency for African-American based business ownership to her audiences at ev ery opportunity. Much like Joan of Arc, she combined her faith (in this case a belief that despite opposition, poor and/or limited funding and even broad based business acumen) with a m ilitancy that electrified listeners. In many of her speeches duri ng the inter-war period, she re minded her audience of the valor of soldiers throughout the Diaspora and especially the brave black boys who fought for America and with their blood watered the tree of freedom in the vine-clad valleys and the snow110 Joan of Arc was a French woman who claimed she was guided by visions of God that motivated her in battle against the English during the Hundred Years War. She ignored the apprehensions of French commanders and led a siege that ultimately resulted in the crowing of Charles V II. On May 16, 1920 Joan of Arc was canonized by the Catholic Church for her work. 111 Negro World, February 12, 1921, May 7, 1921; June 4, 1921; July 2, 1921. 112 For more details on the life of Jo an of Arc please see Mary Gordon Joan of Arc (New York: Viking, 2000); Joan of Arc was canonized in 1920 and her story was widely publicized in Newspapers of the period.
112 caped mountains of France.113 She reminded the UNIA and non members in her audiences that [T]he Negro has fought every battle but his own and admonished them that the time has come, the time is at hand, the hour is near and the Negro must fight for the Negro.114 Reflecting the sentiments of the New Negro mo vement of the period, Da vis called all of the people of the Diaspora to the cau se of African redemption. Henrietta Vinton Davis displayed a special se nsitivity to African-A merican troops. She often reflected, as did many of her contemporaries, on how the descendents of African slaves were engaged to fight for imperial powers in World War I that sought to maintain control over African lands. Men who served on the battle fiel ds of France, in particular, were held in high esteem in 1919. These soldiers became immortali zed in the poetry of Ethel Trew Dunlap when she penned He Sleeps in Frances Bosom.115 Lady Davis capitalized on these feelings while serving as UNIA Convention Chair. In 1919 she included in her opening address: the Negro has come into the ideal of his own solidity, the ideal of his own unity, no matter what country he may have been born in, no matter what flag may have floated over him, the Negro, although patrio tic and loyal and faithful to all flags under which he has served, yet he feels the time has come when he must stand forth and ask, in fact he must demand his rights in this reconstructive period.116 For Davis, the Black Star Line, the Negro Factories Corpor ation and other UNIA programs were swords to be used in the battle against segregation to demonstrate the organized 113 Negro World, June 28, 1919 She also co mments in the same speech on the Jamaican Negro Troops who volunteered for the war, and who (with) their charges over the hot Palestinian desserts and up the Mesopotamian Mountains made it possible for the Jewish dream of a restored Jerusalem to become a reality.; Universal Negro Improvement Association Convention August 25, 1919 reprinted in the Negro World 114 Negro World, June 14, 1919, June 28, 1919, October 3, 1919 October 11, 1919, July 4, January 23, 1922, February 4, 1922, September 9, 1922, September 6, 1924 ; Universal Negro Improvement Association Convention August 25, 1919; Favorite Magazine July 4, 1920; Chattanooga News, August 6, 1927; Chattanooga Times August 6-8, 1927; DNA, RG 65, file BS 198940. TD. Copies sent to Washington, DC, Chicago and New York; DJFBI, File 61 TD.; DNA, RG, file OG 374877. 115 See Appendix A. 116 Ibid.
113 determination for the general advancement of each and every one within the race.117 In Davis words each and everyone meant both women and men. She complimented African-American women during the Washington D.C. race riots for their fearlessne ss in the face of brutal and unprovoked attacks.118 She was also mindful when rela ying the founding story of the UNIA in New York to stress that it was a few Negro men and women who started the organization. She observed that after only two months in New York State the organization had ,500 members [with] branches in 25 states every Central American and West Indian country and on the great continent of Africa.119 Just like Joan of Arcs valiant defense of Charles VII, Lady Davis staunchly defended Marcus Garvey and the UNIA. Although her offici al titles changed thro ughout her tenure in the UNIA, her role as UNIA protector/defender and Marcus Garvey advocate remained constant. The Bureau of Investigations labeled her an agitator for her suppor t of Garvey. Her almost blind allegiance to Garvey, evidenced when she led efforts to quell disse nsion and confronted Garveys rivals in Chicago, Los Angeles, Philad elphia, Cuba, was consider ed her one great flaw by her friends and critics alike.120 For her unquestioned loyalty and service, Garvey bestowed the title Lady Commander of the Sublime Order of the Nile in 1921. Davis as well as other UNIA officials had titles bestowed upon them argues historian Edmund Cronon, as a reward for past service to the race that came with added responsibility121 While Cronon is not specific on what the added respons ibilities may have included for Lady Davis, she continued to press forward in expanding the goals and aims of the UNIA. 117 Negro World, October 11, 1919. 118 Negro World, July 27, 1919. 119 Negro World, October 11, 1919. 120 Letter from Davis to George Myers January 26, 1899 in the George Meyer Papers (Columbus: Ohio Historical Center Archives Library). 121 Edmund Cronon, Black Moses: the Story of Marcus and the Universal Negro Improvement Association (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1969), p. 69.
114 Her ability to extend the aims of the orga nization to help meet the needs of the membership was not only found in her work as BCN organizer, but also in her accessibility to the membership. At the 1922 Convention, the women of the organization took the floor on a late August afternoon near the end of the session to request changes in the constitution. Victoria Turner, a delegate from St. Louis began: We, the women of the UNIA and African Commercial League (ACL) know that no race can rise higher than its women. We need women in the important places of the organization to help refine a nd most public sentiment, realiz ing the colossal program of this great organization, and as we are determ ined to reclaim a homeland, Africa, we have resolved to submit the following recommendations: 1. That a woman be the head of the Black Cross Nurses and Motor Corps and have absolute control over those women that they shall not conflic t with the (African) Legions. 2. That a woman be given more recogniti on by being placed on every committee, so that she may learn more of the salient workings of the various committees. 3. That more women be placed in the im portant offices and fieldwork of the Association. 4. That women be given initiativ e positions, so that they may formulate constructive plans to elevate our women. 5. That Lady Henrietta Vinton Davis be em powered to formulate plans with the sanction of the president ge neral so that the Negro women, all over the world can function without restriction from the men. The wording of the petition called attention to the realization that women were not often selected for positions of authority within the formal hierarchy. Lady Davis appeared to agree with the women and reinforced their declaration by reminding readers of the Negro World in 1925 that,
115 If our men hesitate then the women of the race must come forward, they must join the great army of Amazons and follow a Joan of Arc who is willing to be burned at the stake to save her c ountry. Africa must be saved!122 The results of the petition have been debated by hi storians as Garveys presence at the end of a nearly four and a half hour debate appeared to taint the original petition. When the amendments were out to a vote a watered down version of the petition was ratified. However, the discussion that ensued further revealed the intricacies of the lay memb ership and Lady Davis role. Some of the women delegates found the idea of females on the frontlines as organizers and recruiters troublesome. Infl uenced by the images and rhetoric of respectability and Victorian Motherhood espoused by club women of the era, not all of the delegates were in favor of women traveling, particularly those livi ng in the South, if they wanted to maintain the respect of the men.123 Still others from the Midwest and the North felt that women were as competent as men to be field representatives and were not in favor of women standing behind and pushing the men. They demanded that women be placed in some executive positions that would allow them to operate as field commissioners organizi ng women so that they could put them to work.124 The differences in opinion seemed to stem from the realities of life in the various regions of the Negro world. Garvey maintained that the UNIA was the only orga nization with a woman on its executive council and that if there was any difference made in the local divisions it was the fault of individuals and not the express intent of the UNIA.125 By the end of the debate the resolution was amended so that women would be encouraged to formulate plans and that wom en while functioning with out restriction would 122 Negro World, October 17, 1925. 123 Mrs. Robinson of New Orleans Afternoon Session The Unity of Our Women Negro World, August 30, 1922. 124Mrs. Willis of New York Negro World, August 30, 1922; Mrs. Morgan of Chicago, Negro World, August 30, 1922. 125 Ibid.
116 not be used to mean a severance of the men from the women in the work of the organization.126 The woman truly desired to be at (the) side of men worki ng for the liberation of the race and in 1924 found yet another way to ensure that they had a space to do so.127 Three days before the close of the August 1924 UNIA Convention, Maymie DeMena, Davis protg, begged the ear of the Convention on behalf of the women who possess moral integrity, ability and a burning desire to work for the good of the UNIA and ACL. She asked for the following Be it resolved that: (a) The ladies of the royal court of Ethi opia becoming international auxiliary of the UNIA can be (encroached) as such in its constitution. (b) Branches of the ladies of the royal co urt of Ethiopia, to be known as the daughters of Ethiopia, be established in each division. (c) That the president general and high executive Council recommended a continuous expansion of the work heretofore done by the ladies of the royal court of Ethiopia. Along the lines formally pursue and along such lines as they making useful to the body at large.128 After some discussion the motion was seconded, and it was decided that Lady Davis would serve as chairman of a gender inclus ive committee to draft the rules and regulations to govern the newly encumbered auxiliary.129 In both 1922 and 1924 the women waited until the near close of the convention to present their grievances and stratagems for resolving them. The timing of their action was a tactical measure and reveals the savvy of the lay membersh ip. In the first instance Garvey was not on the Convention floor at the start of the Mrs. Turners pronouncemen t, and in the second instance Garveys trials dominated the convention and enabled the women to assert themselves without 126 Ibid. 127 Mrs Hall of Chicago, Negro World, September 6, 1924. 128 Negro World, September 6, 1924. 129 Ibid.
117 much opposition. Garvey was very aware of th e memberships displeasure with him and attempted to assuage their concerns. More sign ificantly and heretofore never discussed, these exchanges speak of the need for sanctioning of the women by Lady Davis. In both coups, the women were sure to include her at the helm in their assertions for written defined power within the organization. Her work and the work of ot hers, already exemplified their power base as efficient women. Still the women sought explicit recognition of their many contributions to the organization. The examination of Lady Davis life only begins to unravel the intricacies of that work. The convention delegates also used Davis to assuage Marcus Garvey. While the President General fell out of favor with various cadres of the membership at different points during Davis twelve-year tenure, their affinity for her, while not always constant, remained in tact. Lady Davis was just as much Garveys emissa ry to the masses as she was theirs to him. At times, she became conflicted in her dual role as he r efforts on behalf of the membership at times threatened to encroach upon her loyalty to Garv ey. Although Garveys race pride and persistence had endeared him to Davis, her ultimate allegiance was to the UNIA and its programs, and this would lead to her departure from Garveys inner circle by 1931. In 1923 Henrietta Vinton Davis served as witn ess for the defense in the trial of Marcus Garvey, Ely Garcia, George Tobias and Orlando M. Thompson for mail fraud.130 She also presented herself as an expert witness before th e court in Belize in the estate case of Isaiah Mortar. Her defense of the UNIA led to her be ing named in a law suit filed by former UNIA Potentate George O. Marke against the associations land holdings in Kingston, Jamaica to 130 Marcus Garvey _v._ United States, no. 8317, Court of Appeals, 2d Circuit, 2 February 1925.
118 recover unpaid salaries.131 In each legal proceeding, Lady Davis faced the challenge of serving the organization first or defending Ga rvey. Her decision was telling. During Garveys trial, Lady Davis, presented a less than favorable picture of the man she compared to Fredrick Douglas and Chief Ju stice Dawson of the Li berian Supreme Court.132 Lady Davis curt responses that amount to a series of I dont know and I can not recall resulted in her becoming a far better witness for the prosecution than for the defense.133 While Garvey argued that the faul ts Davis revealed about him, proved that (he) did not fix up any testimony and that Davis merely told what she knew.134 Nevertheless, her testimony lacked the fire and enthusiasm which she exuded before audiences at UNIA meetings and rallies, where she encouraged patrons to Stand by the UNIA! Stand by Marcus Garvey! and warning nay-sayers to Beware ye stumbling bl ocks, for Marcus Garvey is coming!135 By the time of her testimony in June 1923, Davi s had already become aware of her salary suspension by Garvey.136 As the organization struggled to stay solvent, Garvey attempted to assuage criticisms from the lay membership by susp ending the salaries of all officers. This was a tactic he had also employed at the August 1922 Convention when he tendered his resignation, and Lady Davis and others followed suit. Lady Da vis was subsequently re -elected to office (as was Garvey) after a landslide victory over Bu ffalo, New York BCN organizer Lillian Wells.137 It appears that Lady Davis was not fazed by the 1 922 ordeal as she continued to work feverishly for the UNIA and continued to encourage African-Americans to seize upon the this opportunity of showing to the worl d our ability as (i)t will ne ver come back to us again. 131 Marke, GO vs. UNIA, Inc. Kingston, Jamaica August 13, 1929. 132 Negro World, April 21, 1928; Negro World, September 6, 1924 133 Kansas City Call June 22, 1923. 134 Closing Address to the Jury by Marcus Garvey Negro World, June 23, 1923; Reprinted in Philosophy and Opinions edt. Amy Jacques Garvey vol. 2: 182-216. 135 Negro World, February 4, 1922; DJ-FBI, file 61 ---746. TD. 136 Negro World, August 26, 1922. 137 Negro World, September 2, 1922.
119 She implored the throngs gath ered in Brooklyn, New York, St. Louis Missouri and Chattanooga Tennessee to resolve to fight and die for the great principles of the UNIA.138 She herself did no less. The loss of salary in 1923 may have aff ected her testimony as monies she received over time from the UNIA add up to a paltry sum. In 1922 the salary for the Fourth Assistant President General was set at $2,000, which, according to historian and Garvey chronicler Robert Hill, the membership believed to be insufficient. Records indicate that in the course of twelve years Davis received far less sa lary than the calculated $16,000 to which she was entitled to.139 In fact, Lady Davis received only $275 in sala ry for 19 weeks of work as of March 29, 1926, another $230 while sailing on the maiden voyage of the SS Goethals and yet another paid $20 while on another organizing trip to British Honduras.140 How Lady Davis managed her daily expenses is unclear. That she was of a middleclass background implies that she may have had access to family monies to live off. On one of the poorly financed trips to the Caribbean, Lady Davis met Isaiah Mortar of Belize and signed th e charter establishing the UNIA Branch in then British Honduras. Her involvement in this matte r led to her testimony during his estate hearing and in part also led to her severing ties with Garvey. Isaiah Mortar was described by Garvey as a cool, calculating type, a man unmoved by passing sentiment or wild emotion that bequeathe d the bulk of his es tate to the Universal Negro Improvement Association.141 The British government disagreed with this characterization, and the colonial island government contested the provisions of Mr. Mortars 138 Negro World, January 24, 1922; Chattanooga Times August 8, 1927 139 In her testimony at the Mortar trial Davis states that the convention voted her a salary of $6,000.00. This amount was considerably higher than the salaries voted for men in th e hierarchy, including Garvey. It was decided that there would be a salary scale increase for all officials and if Davis were granted the pay proposed by the lay membership the scale would become disproportionately skewed. 140 Negro World, March 29, 1926; Negro World, April 10, 1924; Mortar Case Exhibit D. 141 Negro World, August 9, 1924.
120 will because Garvey and the UNIA were considered disruptive elements on the island. For her part, Daviss testimony, much like her testimony at Garveys trial, served to protect the UNIA, spared her any personal lia bility, and further revealed the natu re of her relationship with Garvey. Under cross examination, Lady Davis declared I do not subscribe to all the opinions of Marcus Garvey and that his opinions did not re flect the opinions of members of the UNIA as published.142 Davis may have been attempting to rescue the UNIA from the scandals that plagued the organization after Ga rveys trial and she may have been attempting to remove the Negro Agitator from the minds of the court o fficials who would decide whether or not a half million dollar plot of land would be given over to the UNIA. Whatever her motives, there is no written record of any backlash from Garvey or his inner circle for her statements. That the bequest would have remedied many of the orga nizations financial problems and provided the means to accomplishing many of the aims of th e UNIA appears to have weighed heavily on Davis. By 1926 the UNIA had already begun to transcend Garvey, the man and the myth, and Davis comments merely voiced that shift. In both trials Lady Davis gave testimony on the mission of the UNIA, her relationship with Marcus Garvey, and monies spent and collected. Davis presented a most specific description of her inte ractions with the UNIA and Marcus Garvey as separate and distinct relationships. In the case of George O. Marke vs. The Universal Negro Improvement Association she did not have the same opportunities. In Markes suit for back pay, Davis was never called as a witness. By the time the dust cleared, only Garvey and Davis remained to reimburse the people and to carry on the work of the organization143 142 Negro World, April 10, 1926. 143 Negro World, August 23, 1924.
121 To ensure that the work continued, Lady Davis invested time in the ta lents of others. To that end, she became mentor to Maymie Leona Turpeau De Mena of Nicaragua, who would serve as Assistant Internati onal Organizer of the UNIA in 1926, Fourth Assist ant President General in 1927, and Officer in Charge of the American Field in 1930. Throughout her time with the organization, which lasted until her deat h in 1953, De Mena served as a translator on tours of the Spanish speaking Caribbean, mainta ined a close correspondence with Garvey while he was in prison writing to him from places as far apart as Cincinna ti, Ohio and Mobile, Alabama.144 De Mena visited Garvey while he was imprisoned at the Atlanta Penitentiary and was credited with recruiting members as well as invigorating the lay member ship with a cadre of new and younger persons. Her travels, just like those of Davis, came under close scrutiny by the United States and British Colonial governments. While Davis, according to British Military Reports boasted that she had some very infl uential friends in Washington who aided her in obtaining a passport when the U.S. government ha d declined to give her one, De Mena had to be a little more clever.145 Historian Robert Hill documented the travel s of Maymie De Mena in and out of the United States and noticed that on her passports, her nationality cha nged over time. At times she presented herself as white of Spanish descent, at others as simply a West Indian on her British passport.146 This was done for political expediency and not because Madame De Mena, as she became known for her distinguished, selfless commitment to the UNIA, had any misgivings about her identity or alliances.147 In fact, her commitment to the organization can be measured along the same lines as that of Davis, as both women selected husbands who they believed 144 Hill, Marcus Garvey and the UNIA Paper s, v. 6. p. 116. 145 DNA, RG 165, file 10218-362-16. TD, Recipients Copy. 146 Hill, v. 6, pp. 117-118. 147 Winston James Holding Aloft The Banner of Ethiopia (London; New York: Verso, 1999), p. 196.
122 shared their love of race progre ss and were willing to work for it, both women separated from their husbands when the conditions of the rela tionship would no longer support their work, and both women invoked a militant persona in the promotion of the UNIA program and Garvey. As Davis got older she developed health con cerns that sometimes limited her ability to travel as she once did. In keeping with her comm itment to fostering the progress of the race, she had begun to groom Maymie De Mena to assist when she was not physically able. Madame De Menas place next to The Negro Joan of Arc, was made apparent for all to see during the 1929 UNIA of the World Inc, August Convention. Ma dame De Mena led the parade on a white charger with drawn sword, th rough Edelweiss Park in Kingst on, Jamaica before a crowd of spectators said to only rival the exhibition mark ing the celebration of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897.148 A new Queen of sorts was crowned that day, as the display solidified De Menas place in the UNIA. Davis and De Mena differed in that De Mena was the mother of one daughter.149 She managed to travel the world on behalf of the UNIA with a teenager in tow. In fact her daughter Bertina, was one of the first graduates of the UNIAs Liberty University (an school for students of all ages) in Virginia.150 Here the UNIA efficient womanhood truly comes full circle as Bertina extended the activist work of her mother and the UNIA women throughout her life. When Henrietta Vinton Davis a nd the other original UNIA officials took their oath of office in 1919 they solemnly swore, in pledge before Almighty God and this convention here assembled that our will, to the best of my ability and was true devoti on, served the UNIA and the Negro peoples of the world. The interest of this association sh all in all my public duties come first to me, and, should I fail his course, may the almighty ar chitect fail me in the course of life being 148 Hill, v. 7, p. 23. 149 Hill, v. 6, p. 118. 150 Barbara Bair Renegotiating Liberty, p. 222.
123 in full possession of my senses and knowing fu ll well the penalty of treachery, disloyalty and deceit,151 She took these words literally and adhered to them strictly. As Fourth president General she filled the role of UNIA defender, protector a nd Marcus Garvey advocate. Her endeavors, although not always appreciated as previously no ted, garnered her much respect and adulation from the UNIA hierarchy, Garveys wives, th e lay membership and for the most part, from Garvey himself. This adulation, however, was not sufficient to keep her loyal to the reconstituted UNIA Garvey established in 1929. In 1930 Davis made one last attempt to re-u nite the membership of the UNIA, when she met with William Ware, President of the Cincinna ti Division and Garveys legal nemesis at that time. The organization remained embroiled in legal proceedings with the Belizean courts over the estate of Isaiah Mortar th at would not be favorably resolved until 1939, when the Americanbased UNIA was given the rights to the land by the British Supreme Court.152 At the time, the UNIA, headquartered in New York, was the recogni zed defendant in the case against the colonial government which attempted to block their acqui sition of the land. When Garvey maintained that the headquarters of the organization was wh erever he resided, Davis had some choices to make. As late as November 1930, she was listed as Secretary General under Ga rvey in a letter to His Imperial Majesty Haille Selassie. She also us ed her name to assist Garvey in purchasing a printing press in Jamaica to start the short lived Black Man Magazine Lady Davis ended her friendship and affiliation with Marcus Garvey in August 1931 over his disloyalty to her. Davis departure was met with silence by Garvey. The editor of the Negro World (published by a faction sti ll loyal to Garvey) ran an editorial on August 15, 1931 and September, 19, 1931 aski ng Garvey to select new leadership as 151 Negro World, September 9, 1922. 152 Hill, Life and Lessons p. 384.
124 the feminine hands at the helm were a bit too de licate to tussle with the various attacks from within and without. Maymie De Mena, Garveys Officer in Charge of the American Field, became enraged by this. She was disappointed with Davis for visiting with William Ware as she found it gave an appearance of disloyalty to Garvey. Davis silence in response to the Negro World article only strained things fu rther between the two. As she had proven in the past, Davis was ultimately most loyal to the UNIA itself. On December 21, 1931 William Ware wrote to the U.S. government stating that La dy Henrietta Vinton Davis is one of two national officers of the American Corporation who can verify our statements153 She remained loyal to the UNIA until her death on November 23, 1941. Lady Davis outlived Marcus Garvey by eighteen months. Unfortunately, while her UNIA peers had declared that when the history of this giant movement is written, her name would be emblazoned in letters of gold as the lady, the stateswoman and the diplomat the bullion has yet to be melted.154 153 DNA, RG 59, File 811.108G191/61. 154 Negro World, August 20, 1921.
125 CHAPTER 4 MARCHING FORWARD: THE UNIVERSA L AFRICAN BLACK CROSS NURSES Ready for Service The Black Cross Nurses of the Universal Ne gro Improvem ent Association was formally charted in 1921 as a collective of auxiliaries for the purposes of providing education, medical aid and community service. No gender requirements were stated for membership or participation. According to historian Rosalyn Terborg-Penn organizations like the Black Cross Nurses (BCN) auxiliary of the Universal Negro Improvement Association served to extend the ongoing development of a variety of survival strategies that encouraged self-help through both fictive kin and creative networks among Africa n-American women in their con tinuous struggle for equality and social justice.1 Through participation in the BCN a uxiliaries, historian Barbara Bair found that UNIA women instituted necessary publ ic health services where few existed.2 In so doing they served as both literal and symbolic combat ants against the malevolence of de jure and de facto racism. They provided serv ices that aided in decreasing infant mortality, promoted proper sanitation, and increased both formal and in formal educational opportunities for AfricanAmerican women. As figurative combatants they stood ready to bring succor to male soldiers on the future battlefields in Africa, in the struggle to free Af rica from colonial rule.3 While on the surface this would appear to be am ong the list of thankless jobs African-American women were already involved in, this kind of service was more than its own reward in the UNIA. 1 Rosalyn Terborg-Penn, African Feminism: A Theoretical Approach to the History of Women in the African Diaspora in Women in Africa and the African Diaspora: A Reader Second Edition eds. Rosalyn Terborg-Penn and Andrea Benton Rushing (Washington D.C.: Howard University Press, 1996), p. 25. 2 Barbara Bair, Renegotiating Liberty: Garveyism Wo men, and Grassroots Organizing in Virginia in Women of the American South: A Multicultural Reader ed. Christie Anne Farnham (New York: New York University Press, 1997), p. 226. 3 Ibid., p. 227.
126 As a result of their participation and co mmitment to the BCN, African-American women who stood to gain a place in the Ladies of the Royal Court of Ethiopia, as happened to one of the leading BCN organizers, Isabella Lawren ce, was awarded the title of Lady of the Distinguished Service Order of Ethiopia for he r Faithful and Distingu ished Service to the Negro Race.4 Service in the BCN, therefore, increased opportunities to serve the race, publicly signaled a commitment to the UNIA program, and i ndicated a deliberate affront to social mores that belittled the work of African-American women. This chapter examines how both the formally and informally trained nurses of the Black Cross Nurses auxiliaries, enhanced the status and value of the work of Diaspora women. Early analysis of the BCN depicted the auxiliary as homogenous and its presence as a symbolic reflection of a much-needed uplif t in status and pay for all e ngaged in housework and nursing as (f)ew were trained nurses.5 The auxiliary was formed in part due to the limited access of African-American women to the few nursing schools available in the United States. The chapter will also discuss the rather reductive, homoge nizing treatment of the BCN throughout the United States and the English-speaking Caribbean as formally and informally trained nurses and activists mobilized for the betterment of the human condition. Too often, the BCN of New York City is mistakenly taken as the only BCN a uxiliary, when in actuality each UNIA Division had a BCN of its own. A vast majority of the women w ho participated in the au xiliary invisible have gone unnoticed as a result. Although the BCN appears throughout the hist oriography on Garvey and the UNIA, been mention is largely limited to accounts of the a uxiliarys participation in parades and social gatherings. A call for a study of the BCN was first explicitly made by historian Winston James 4 Negro World, August 30, 1924; Winston James, Holding Aloft the Banner of Ethiopia: Caribbean Radicalism in Early Twentieth Century America (London and New York: Verso, 1998), p. 98. 5 Theodore Vincent, Black Power and the Garvey Movement (California: Ramparts Press, 1976), p. 102.
127 in Holding Aloft the Banner of Ethiopia: Cari bbean Radicalism in Early Twentieth Century America. In stressing the importance of women to the success and extension of the UNIA, he noted We still have much to learn about the ope ration of all-female auxiliaries like the Black Cross Nurses and the Universal Motor Corps, which had memberships that must have run into tens of thousands in the United States alone. 6 With the exception of Leah Michelle Seabrooks unpublished Masters thesis Service in Green and White: The Activity and Symbolism of the Universal African Black Cross Nurses and Anne Macphersons article, Colonial Matriarchs: Garveyism, Maternalism, and Belizes Black Cross Nurses, 1920-1952, little has been written about the BCN within the broader context of African-American womens activism or within the history of nursing and nurse education in the United States or the Caribbean. 7 Through careful examination of the Negro World, Seabrook wrote more important than their function as healthcare providers, the Black Cross Nurses occupied a certain space that ignites not only the ever changing memory of the Garvey Movement, but, in their time served to evoke a tailored reaction to their honor, professionalism, and commitment to duty.8 Seabrooks assertion that the BCN influen ce extended beyond their function as healthcare providers in the United States underscores the arguments of Mary Gambrell Rolinson in The Universal Negro Improvement Association In the Rural South 1920-1927 and Jahi Issas unpublished dissertation The Universal Negro Improvement Association in Louisiana: Creating a provisional government in exile. Both historians depict the BCN as physical and spiritual 6 Winston James, Holding Aloft the Banner of Ethiopia: (London and New York: Verso, 1998), p. 137. 7 Leah Michelle Seabrook, Service in Green and White: The Activity and Symbolism of the Universal African Black Cross Nurses, (Unpublished MA Thesis, University of California Irvine, 2006); Macpherson, Anne. Colonial Matriarchs: Garveyism, Maternalism and Belizes Black Cross Nurses, 1920-1952 Gender and History 15:3 Nov. 2003, pp. 507-527. 8 Seabrook, Service in Gr een and White, p. 2.
128 caregivers in rural and urban communities alike.9 It is precisely to fulfill the role of caregiver, according to the BCN charter, that the auxiliary was established. However, as with many of the UNIA programs and edicts, there was always room for local improvisations to meet immediate needs. While this flexibility was one of the strengths of the organization, it also left the UNIA open to dissent and confusion over speci fic goals and appropr iate activities. In her focus on the BCN of Belize, Anne Macpherson found that the commitment to duty of the BCN in colonial Belize, included acting as ag ents of the British Empire.10 The membership in Belize consisted of middle-cl ass Creoles who opposed autonomous working class mobilization for labor rights, univ ersal suffrage and national independence11 This contrasts sharply with the independence exemplified by the New Orleans BCN, for example, which established a nurse training program, a ho me for the aged and an adult night school.12 These depictions also move far beyond early asse rtions that the BCN wa s merely a vehicle for Garveys race pride pageantry, comprising of women who were simply continuous parade marchers dressed to impress for the purpose of r ecruiting others and rais ing monies for various UNIA causes.13 By examining the Division News sections, th e names of women in the auxiliaries, their rank, and positions become clear. This information does not appear in the chronicle of the UNIA, The Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers or in any of the works on Garvey or the UNIA. While Mary Rolinsons Grassroots Garveyism does provide the names of female 9 Mary Gambrell Rolinson The Garvey Movement in th e Rural South, 1920-1927 (North Carolina: UNC Press, 2007), pp. 122, 183; Jahi U. Issa The Universal Negro Improvement Association in Louisiana: Creating a Provisional Government in Exile (Unpublished PhD Dissertation, Howard University, 2005), pp. 177-181. 10 Anne Macpherson,. Colonial Matriarchs: Garveyis m, Maternalism and Belizes Black Cross Nurses, 19201952 Gender and History 15:3 Nov. 2003, p.507-508. 11 Macpherson, Colonial Matriarchs, p. 508. 12 Issa, pp.178-180. 13 The BCN are given their first historical consideration by Theodore Vincent in Black Power and the Garvey Movement (California: Ramparts Press, 1976).
129 members, she limits her consideration to lady pres idents and secretaries in the rural South and does not examine the Black Cross Nurses as a part of her study.14 Included in the Division News are narratives of the BCN corps that have gone unrecognized by historians and biographers of the movement. The Division News reveals not only the serv ice activities of the BCN, but also its fund raising activities and use of plays to promote health and nationalist educat ion. Although historian Tony Martin notes that the BCN put on plays, there has been very little discussion of the content or purposes of their performances.15 Performance for the BCN was not limited to the stage as the Division News section reveals.16 Black Women & the History of Nursing in Brief Although African-American women had been engaged in caring for the sick, infirm, newly born and nearly dead sinc e their arrival in the New Wo rld in 1619, no formal training school for nurses of any creed or color was estab lished in the United States until after the Civil War. The American Medical Association (AMA) determined in 1869 that a nurse should be a woman who possessed so many positive traits that she was virtually perfect. Her perfection was to be evidenced by her ability to endure sleep less nights, to exercise Biblical patience, to practice humility at every turn, to be self sacrif icing, and to demonstrate that she was literate. Women between the ages of 22 and 35 were deemed best suited to fit this mold. Additionally, once trained, nurses were required to detect th e nature of an illness based on the patients physical demeanor and to be astute in the appl ication of leeches, blis ters, bandages and other 14 Appendix D Named Black Cross Nurses. 15 Martin, pp. 25 & 43. 16 For the purposes of this discussion, all un its within a state will be discussed together.
130 dressings. Last but not least, the committee requ ired that all nurses be proficient in making up beds, changing sheets, and handling patie nts exhausted by disease and injury.17 The AMA made its recommendations as a result of the deplorable c onditions soldiers and volunteer nurses of the Civil War faced due to a lack of trained nurses, scarcity of medical supplies, and the absence of proper hospitals for their care. This call for the formalization of the nursing profession was mirrored in Great Br itain when the Crimean War found Florence Nightingale and thirty-eight wo men volunteers tending to thousands of soldiers on foreign soil.18 In both cases African-American and white women volunt arily went to the battlefields to assist. The fissure between the two groups of women began as treatment facilities, like regiments, were segregated and, as was exampled by the experi ence of Mary Grant Seacole, assistance from African-American women as nurse s was not always welcomed. Mrs. Seacole was known in her native Jamai ca as the Doctress for her benevolent care of the sick through the use of homeopathic reme dies at her rooming house in Kingston as early as the 1830s. With no formal training, as none exis ted at the time, she also served in Panama and Cuba during the cholera and yellow fever epid emics and contracted yellow fever herself.19 Her care to her patients was well noted by the soldiers and officers of the crown as diligent and astute. In 1854, when Mrs. Seacole learned that regiments she was acquainted with in Jamaica had been sent to the Crimea, she wrote to th e British government requesting permission to join Florence Nightingale there. It was reported that yellow fever clai med more lives than bullets at the start of the war, and Mrs. Seacole felt she was well equipped to assist based on her 17 Report of the Committee for the Training of Nurses, Transactions of the American Medical Association 20 (1869), pp. 161-173. 18 Mary Elizabeth Carnegie, The Path We Tread: Blacks in Nursing 1854-1984 (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Co., 1986), p. 2; Stephanie Shaw, What A Woman Ought To Be and Do: Bla ck Women Workers During the Jim Crow Era (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), pp. 145-148. 19 Mary Seacole, Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands (London: J. Blackwood, 1857), pp. 59-90.
131 experience. Her request was deni ed, but Mrs. Seacole travelled to the battlefield at her own expense.20 Although The Lady with the Lamp, Floren ce Nightingale, held out no light for her and, according to Mrs. Seacole was less than hospita ble, after attending to men at the camps in the day, Mrs. Seacole found herself working si de by side with Miss Nightingale at formal British hospitals.21 Mrs. Seacoles was given a medal by the British government for her service. Mrs. Seacoles voluntary service as a nurse on the battlefield was paralleled by the work of Sojourner Truth, Harriett Tubman and Susie Ki ng Taylor during the Civil War. All three of these women received accolades for their work during the war, and Mrs. Tubman was awarded a life pension of $20 a month, $8 more than that of white nurses, for her service.22 In fact, 181 African-American women and men served as vol unteer nurses during the Civil War at hospitals throughout both the North and the South.23 This commitment was repeated during the Spanish American War of 1898 where another informally trained nurse served to open the door for African-American women in their profession.24 On July 13, 1889, Namahyoke Sockum Curtis, wife of Dr. Austin M. Curtis, surgeon-inchief at Freedmans Hospital in Washington D. C., was called upon by the War Department to recruit African-Americans to work as nurses.25 Mrs. Curtis, who was immune to yellow fever, was called into service by the Surgeon Genera l of the Army to New Orleans, Alabama and Florida. She registered 32 imm une African-Americans to work as nurses and by the wars end a 20 Seacole, pp. 124-134. 21 Carnegie, p. 4. 22 Carnegie, p. 9. 23 Colored Nurses-Contract Nurses, 1863-1864 National Archives, Record Group 94, Entry 51. 24 Linda C Andrist, Patrice K Nicholas & Karen Wolf, A History of Nursing Ideas (Sudbury, Mass.: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2006), p. 58. 25 Carnegie, pp. 1213; Linda C Andrist, Patrice K Nicholas & Karen Wolf, A History of Nursing Ideas (Sudbury, Mass. : Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2006), p. 58.
132 total of 80 women African-American wo men had served in that capacity.26 She volunteered her services in 1900 and worked with Clara Barton, h ead of the American Red Cross, during a major flood of Galveston, Texas and was commissioned by Secretary of War William Taft during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.27 Mrs. Namahyoke Sockum Curtis remains were laid to rest in the Arlington National Cemetery on November 25, 1935 in recognition of her service as a nurse. Neither Mrs. Seacole nor Mrs. Curtis was formally trained as nurses; yet their service as such merited distinctions of honor from the men th ey assisted and the governments they served.28 Like Mrs. Seacole and Mrs. Curtis, many w ho served as nurses during times of war brought with them an understanding of the medicinal uses of various flora and fauna, life experience, and great care and skill in the care of soldiers an d other wounded victims. Mrs. Seacole claimed that these skills were mainly passed down from family members and practiced from memory.29 Many of the practices she linked to her African ancestry. Her work as a health care provider was in the tradition of Diasporic slave women who traditionally provided primary health care services in their communities in the form of number of home remedies for survival.30 These practices were passed on through word of mouth and served as the foundation for many of Mrs. Seacoles remedies. Similar traditions, as demonstrated in the Works Progress Administration Papers of the 1930s, existed in the United States. 31 26 J Stimson et al, History and Manual of the Army Nurse Corps (Pennsylvania: Carlisle Baracks Medical Field Service School) 1937. 27 Carnegie, p. 13. 28 Carnegie, p. 12; Darlene Clark Hine, Black Women in White: Racial Conflict and Cooperation in the Nursing Profession 1890-1950 (Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1989), p. 28. While refers to Curtis as a nurse, there is no known documenta tion that supports the belief she had any formal training. It is more likely that as wife and helpmate to her husband she gained me dical knowledge that qualifie d her to act in the capacity without having a diploma. 29 Seacole, pp. 5-9. 30 Rosalyn Terborg-Penn, African Feminism Women in Africa and the Diaspora: A Reader ed. Roslayn-TerborgPenn and Andrea Benton Rushing (Washington, D.C.: Howard University Press, 1996), pp.15-16. 31 The practice of folk healing was prevalent throughout the Caribbean and North America amongst former slaves and their descendents. Evidence of this tradition can be found in the Works Project Administration Slave Narratives Project, Georgia Narratives, Library of Congress, Manuscript Division,
133 Following the AMAs decree the first nursi ng schools in America appeared in 1873 in Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut. By 1923, there were over 1,700 such schools in America which had graduated 17,000 nurses by 1925. Of the 17,000 very few were AfricanAmerican as Northern nursing schools imposed a quota system that permitted only one AfricanAmerican women and one Jew to be admitted per year. 32 In the South, the Supreme Courts 1896 decision Plessey v. Ferguson legitimated the de facto practice of segregated public facilities for African Americans and whites. Despite lim ited access, Mary Eliza Mahoney graduated from the New England Hospital for Women and Children in Boston in 1879 with a diploma, although by 1899 only five other African-American women had been able to join her.33 This figure represents meager progress. However it also i ndicates the degrees of resistance to AfricanAmericans in professional roles and dramatical ly underscores how under-served the four million African-Americans living in the United States at the time.34 Concerns over hygiene and sanitation plagued the Afri can-American community as evidenced by high infant mortality and morbidity rates. An early re sponse to the healthcare needs of African-Americans occurred when in the Freedmens Bureau attempted between 1866 and 1890 to establish 50 makeshift hospitals. By 1900 only one of these institutions remained in http://memory.loc.gov/mss/mesn/044/266262.gif.; Louise Oliphant, Work, Play, Food, clothing, Marriage etc., Compilation Richmond County Ex-Slave Interviews, Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Augusta, Georgia Works Project Administration Slave Na rratives Project, Georgia Narratives, Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, http://memory.loc.gov/mss/mesn/044/359355.gif.; Mistreatment of Slaves, Library of Congress, Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, http://memory.loc.gov/mss/mesn/044/295291.gif.; Folk Remedies and Superstitions, Compilation Folklore Interviews Richm ond County, Georgia, Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, http://memory.loc.gov/m ss/mesn/044/286282.gif; http://memory.loc.gov/m ss/mesn/044/295284.gif; http://memory.loc.gov/mss/ mesn/044/295285.gif ; http://memory.loc.gov/mss/ mesn/044/295286.gif; M.B. Stonestreet, interview with Adeline Willis, vol. 4, part 4, WPA Slave Narrative Project, WPA Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, http://memory.loc.gov/mss/mesn/044/286282.gif.; Amanda McDaniel, interviewed by Edwin Driskell, WPA Slave Narrative Project, Georgia Narratives, http://memory.loc.gov/mss/mesn/043/074071.tif. 32 Darlene Clark Hine, Black Women in White: Racial Conflict and Cooperation in the Nursing Profession 18901950 (Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1989), p. 6. 33 Hine, p. 6. 34 The 1890s Census was destroyed in a fire in the early 1920s. Accurate nurse to patient ratios are thus unavailable.
134 the nations capital.35 To fill the gap, the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary (later Spelman College) with the assistance of John D. Rockefelle r, established a department of nursing in 1886. The program devoted only one year of a student s four-year academic study to the field of nursing. Due to financial concerns the program was closed on December 15, 1927. Other nursing programs for African-American s were instituted in Chicago, Hampton, VA Tuskegee, Alabama, Washington, D.C., Raleigh N.C., New Orleans, Louisiana, Nashville, Tennessee, Durham, North Carolina and Philadelphi a, Pennsylvania. Of these programs, five were affiliated with schools and the remai nder with hospitals. The number of schools and hospitals designated for African-Americans increased exponentially by the mid-1920s, and 1928 the number of African-American women with a nursing diploma rose to 2,238.36 There was a desperate need for African-American nurses throughout the United Sates. In the South, where Jim Crow ensured limited access to education and healthcare, segregated and unequal facilities and care were norms. The n eed for nurses in the community was compounded by the scarcity of financial resources to build me dical facilities and the distance rural residents had to travel to get to existing institutions. One of the ways African-Americans addressed the problem was through the continued practice of ho meopathy and lay healing. As the possibility of becoming a formally educated practitioner presented itself through training schools like The Dixie Hospital Training School in Hampton, VA or the Tuskegee Institute nurse training course, the desire to belong to the cadre of formally trained women in white grew exponentially. The potential for formal training while presenting prospects for the creation of healthcare facilities also served to encourage the extension of co mmunity-based lay practices in anticipation of gaining formalized training. As a result, African-Americans refined and perpetuated the 35Hine, Black Women In White pp.8-13. 36Hine, p. 9.
135 homeopathic tradition, creating a di stinctive system of lay healthca re as they continued to seek access to modern systems. Participation in the Universal African Black Cross Nurses satisfied that need in part and provided recognition for the work many of these wo men were already engaged in despite a lack of formal training. According to Martin Summers, the auxiliary represent ed a tradition of black womens community work [while providing UNIA] women the space in which to assert their capacity as co-equals in community and nationalist development.37 As a result, many UNIA women were afforded new opportunities. Amy J acques found the BCN to be just one of the ways UNIA women could partici pate effectively in guiding th e destiny of the nation and race.38 Credit for What We Do: The Black Cross Nurses Although the BCN existed in many UNIA Divisions prior to its fo rmal chartering in 1921, they operated as a service co rps in times of need. With its 1921 formal incorporation the auxiliaries began to define efforts more clearly and specify requirements for membership. These efforts, when taken together, exhibited one form of participation in the efficient womanhood of the UNIA and reflected the combined efforts of African-American doc tors, nurses, and lay practitioners to assist in pr oviding quality healthcare and hea lthcare education. Within the auxiliary, careful instruction was provided to each member, in most cases by either a trained nurse or doctor. At the end of courses that lasted from six months to a year, a graduation ceremony was held and diploma issued prior to th e donning of either the al l-white uniform worn in public events or the green and white uniform worn while at work, which each member had to purchase personally. This practice was similar to requirements of other nursing programs that 37 Summers, p.138. 38 Amy Jacques Garvey, Women as Leaders, Nationally and R acially, transcript, 24 October 1925, Box 5, Fol. 9, MGMC.
136 asked students for a deposit at the start of the co urse. This was done as a means of ensuring the students commitment and to assist in offsetting the costs of thos e who would be sent home prior to completion.39 When the BCN from both northern and southern states met at the 1921 UNIA convention, they had one definitive purpose. They sought to bring uniformity to the organization. Prior to 1921, the donning of sp ecific dress was not prevalent nor was there unilateral dissemination of hea lthcare information. While so me UNIA Divisions stressed the importance of proper pre-natal and early childhood car e, they often neglected to stress care of the womens body after birth or the necessity of male participation in the care of both the women and the child. After 1921, all BCN auxiliaries were equipped by Mrs. Isabella Lawrence with written pamphlets that addressed these matters and a wide range of healthcare topics including birth control, malnutritio n in teens and adults to name a fe w. This formalized professional information resulted in stricter regulation and created a sense of sisterhood and solidarity among the BCN. This consistency and strict discipline are reminiscent of the stratagems espoused by Florence Nightingale, the AMA and the American Red Cross. In this way, with some exceptions, this international organization of black nurses was very much in line with the prescriptive design for nurses of their day. Not only did they follow many of the same regulations, they also wore, for public demonstrations similar white uniforms. The 1921 meeting of BCN nurses produced The Universal African Black Cross Nurses Rules and Regulations.40 This document stipulated requirements for membership, administrative duties at the local and central level, the collecti on and use of revenues, uniforms and the wearing of emblems. This document al so revealed a cadre of women who contrasted 39 Hine, Black Women in White pp. 49-62. 40 See Appendix B.
137 sharply with the image put forth by Bureau of Investigations agent Frank C. Higgins: a squad of opulent Black Cross Nurses, most of whom looked as if they had just stepped out of the familiar Aunt Jemima Pancake poster.41 This uniformity of dress in the BCN auxiliaries was the cause, to a large degree, of their individual anonymity in the historiography of the UNIA. For example, many newspaper references to the auxiliary fail to refer to the BCN as individual units that belong to respective divisions. Each UNIA division was called upon to have its own Bl ack Cross Nurses auxiliary. To ensure that each division understood the importa nce and necessity of the auxiliary, Henrietta Vinton Davis, early in her association with the UN IA, was assigned the task of visiting branches within various state divisions to help establish their BCN units. As organizer and champion of the BCN, she cam paigned to increase the numbers of BCN units throughout the world. Armed with pamphl ets and instructions from the international president of the BCN Belizean Registered Nurse Isabella Lawrence, Mrs. Davis, provided instruction on how the tasks and purposes of the BCN auxiliary were to be achieved. When Ms. Davis reached many of the UNIA branches on her organizing tours in 1920 and 1921, women already engaged in the work of nursing both formally and informally constituted her core audience. While Ms. Davis herself was not a nurse Garvey apparently banked on her stature as an activist and actress to draw an audience. Her efforts, many Garvey historians argue, helped swell the ranks from Nova Scotia to California between 1920 and 1923.42 Due in part to the success of Ms. Davis campaigning, Black Cross Nurse auxiliaries were not only established but units from Louisi ana, California, Chicago, Alabama, Virginia, New Jersey, Panama, Georgia, and New York were represente d at the 1921 UNIA Convention. 41 Hill, vol. 5, p. 569. 42 William Seraille, Henrietta Vinton Davis and the Garvey Movement in Afro-Americans in New York Life and History July, 1982 p. 9; Hill, Marcus Garvey & UNIA Papers vol. 4, p. xii.
138 Representatives from the afore mentioned locali ties created a constitution for the auxiliary and established their organization as a separate and distinct auxiliary within the UNIA. The majority of known photographs of BCN de picted the nurses either marching or in militaristic stance regaled in their white uniforms. The images implied that they were ready to serve in battle against oppression as nurturers of the spirit and caretakers of the body. Based on these photos, many historians have portrayed th e BCN as a collective, which remained nameless and faceless, although they were said to have more symbolic significance. The BCN stood as a symbol of UNIA womanhood ready to serve on the fictive battlefield to reclaim Africa.43 These interpretations undervalued the full significance of individual BCN units and the BCN as a whole. The serious nature of the BCN is apparent in the statement of object ives that established the auxiliary which included to carry on a system of relief and to apply the same in mitigating the suffering caused by pestilence, famine, fire, floods and other great calamities, and to devise and carry on measures for preventing same to be prepared and ready to be dispatched [by Garvey as President-General] wherever needed and to promote the general public well being through the use of pamphlets which will tend to educate the public to the use of safety devises and prevention of accident; to instruct in sanitation for prevention of epidemics; and to instruct in First Aid.44 Some historians, including Robert Hill and Theodore Vincent, argued that these objectives were similar to those of the Red Cross. In their view, this diminished their significance as they appeared to mimic an alrea dy existing organization. Ho wever, as previously noted, formal nursing programs and organizations did not readily inv ite or allow African43 See Appendix B; Vincent, pp. 102-103, 113-114; Martin, pp. 25, 34, Stein, pp. 180, 224, 242, 258; Rolinson, p. 58. 44 See Appendix B; Hill, vol. 3, p.766.
139 American women to participate. Thus many were forced to create a space of their own.45 In so doing they signaled their determination to be rec ognized as nurses and, in turn established the importance of their work by volunteering to heighten their visibility. That these women were volunteers further ali gned them with the development of formal nursing programs. In fact many of the program s for African-American women and white women during this period sent their st udents out on private duty to offs et the costs of maintaining training facilities and to provide them much needed training in combating various diseases and providing patient care. The bulk of the monies generated from private duty service seldom reached the individual who perf ormed the service. This practice was employed by programs affiliated with hospitals and schools alike. In this way the schools and hospitals were able to continue to provide care and training even for those who were unable to pay for services. Nursing students were expected to tend to their cases away from the school and also maintain their end of communal housekeeping duties in the program. As a part of their training, nurses were required to become adept in food preparation and sanitation. Students traded one week rounds preparing meals, tending to laundry and cleaning the facilities. This allowed the programs to save on their already me ager budgets as students doubled as service and maintenance staff. Their private duty cases also se rved to encourage trust of hospitals as patients saw them as a part of their own communities. At the turn of the 20th century, hospitals were mainly frequented by the poor, and service conditions reflected the limited abilities of their 45 As previously noted by the mid 1920s there were fo rmal training programs for African-American nurses throughout the co untry. However, access to these programs was also limited as age discrimination and literacy requirements precluded many lay practitioners from applying. For additional discussion on this occurrence see, Stephanie J. Shaw, What a Woman Ought to Be and to Do: Black Professional Women Workers During the Jim Crow Era (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996); Darlene Clark Hine, Black Women in White: Racial Conflict and Cooperation in the Nursing Profession, 1890-1950 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989); Mary Elizabeth Carnegie, The Path we Tread: Blacks in Nursing 1854-1984 (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Co., 1986.)
140 patients to pay. Through outreach the nursing stude nts came to symbolize change and progress, with nurses serving as ambassadors for thei r programs and the profession itself. Other similarities among the BCN and ot her nursing organizations, like the AMA, included the specification of literacy for members.46 While on the surface this requirement may seem exclusionary, the aim of the UNIA was that of uplift and in keeping with that, literacy was stressed through all possible channe ls. Nurses were required to know how to read and write in order to best assist in patient care. The BCNs Rules and Regulations also stipulated an age requirement, with an age range from sixteen to forty-five.47 The age criteria in African-American and white nursing programs was based on the belief that younger women were easier to teach and more flexible in their habits.48 In the BCN, the participation of younger women was encouraged as it ensured the continued growth of the organization. Many of the women who joined in the later 1920s came from the BCNs juvenile auxiliary. As opposed to the age 35 cut-off for other nursing programs, the BCN accepted women up to age 45 in the belief that those be tween 35 and 45 had great experience and should not be denied their nursing privileges. In this way, they provided an avenue for these women to become formally trained nurses, promote the continuation of homeopat hy, while ensuring that lay practices would be employed in conjunction with modern medi cines. In this way they bridged generational and educational gaps with in various African-American communities. Another similarity between BCNs and other programs was the practice of segregation. Only UNIA women of African heritage could join the BCN, although a UNIA man could become an honorary member upon payment of one dollar or more annually.49 African46 Hill, vol. 3, p. 768. 47 Appendix B, Article III, Section 1. 48 Carnegie, p. 13; Hine, p. 54 49 Appendix B, Article III, Sections 1& 4.
141 American women who wished to participate with the BCN, but who were unable to join the organization due to personal time constraints or an inability to consistently attend regular training sessions, could also become honorary me mbers, but were not permitted to don the full regalia of the BCN. Some Divisions pooled resources to obtain the uniforms fo r individual members. Many other nurses, though in menial jobs, took pride in purchasing their own uniforms, a decision which signaled their own prof essionalization. In 1921 the uni forms were designed based on strict details issued by the Ce ntral UNIA office in New York. By 1922 uniformity of dress was further established as the BCN required all members to purchase uniforms from the UNIA Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) in New York.50 Uniformity of dress for all UNIA auxiliaries was emphasized as it served to promote the ideal of black nationhood and professionalism of the all female nurses.51 Similar to nursing programs that required a deposit from students upon entry, the BCN and the DLI required that a deposit be paid when making an order and that the balance be paid upon completion of the order which was estimated to be fifteen days from the date of receipt.52 The sheer numbers of women in white, estim ated at nearly 20,000 throughout the world, indicated that the wearing of the uniforms as an expression of membership in the auxiliary and the UNIA was extremely important to auxiliary participants.53 For them, argues Michelle 50 Negro World, March 11, 1922; March 18, 1922. 51 It is often noted that Garvey patterned the UNIA afte r the Irish Republic which was given government in exile status. This concept is most recently explored further by Jahi Issas unpublished dissertation The Universal Negro Improvement Association in Louisiana: Creating a Provisional Government in Exile (PhD Dissertation, Howard University, 2005). 52 Negro World, March 18, 1922. 53 While accurate figures are not availabl e as all the branch reco rds for each UNIA division on the globe are not easily accessible, this figure has been compiled based on available documentation of uni forms sold, the membership rolls that included listings of the BCN, oral history accounts and documented BCN participation in parades in their respective Divisions. Of those accounts in both mainstream newspapers and the Negro World, the smallest number of BCN in public demonstrations was 200 and the largest number was 325 at individual events excluding the
142 Seabrook, it was almost as if the arrival of the shipment stamped Garveys approval on the Division, and on the nurses themselves.54 The purchase of uniforms, sewn at the UNIAs Negro Factory Corporation in New York, also served to further the orga nizations economic selfsufficiency goals. Although Garveys leadership and goals figur ed largely in the minds of BCNs, the organization had its own hierarchy that placed women at the head of the international and local levels of the UNIA. Article IV Section 1 of the Rules and Regulations established a Central Committee that consisted of the President-Gene ral, a Universal Directress, who shall be a graduate Nurse of at least three years experi ence, a Surgeon-General of the UNIA, and the Presidents of the local Divisions.55 On the local level it specified that each unit should have a Matron, who shall be Lady President of the Division and Superintendent of the Auxiliary, a Head Nurse, who shall be President of the unit; a secretary and treasurer.56 The authority women had over the BCN and its programs contrasted st rongly with other nursi ng programs for AfricanAmerican women where women admi nistrators had limited autonomy.57 The Rules and Regulations not only detailed the functions of the BCN but also illustrated how Black Nationalism was practiced by the UNIA women through the BCN. Another revealing source of the groups brand of nati onalism can be found in the irregular contributions of two of the BCN Central Presidents in the Negro World. Although present research has yielded li ttle about the lives of Miss Isabella Lawrence and Mrs. Clara Morgan, their tenures as central heads of the BCN produced some of the only surviving Convention Parades; Historian Winston James estimates the nu mbers to be considerable larger, although he provides no statistical data to support his assertion. James, Holding Aloft The Banner of Ethiopia p. 137. 54 Seabrook, p. 23. 55 Appendix B, Article IV Section I. 56 Appendix B, Article IV Section V. 57 Women administrators had little power or say in the nursing programs in their charge. This did not change until the 1950s. See. Hine and Carnegie.
143 documents associated with and produced by indivi duals of the auxiliary. Further information about the auxiliarys pr actice of Black Nationalism can also be obtained through the Division News section of the Negro World and excerpts from plays the BCN units performed and promoted in connection with their objective to educate. Isabella Lawrence was the first central head of the BCN and was instrumental in establishing the 1921 Rules and Regulations. In 1924 she was given the title Lady of Distinguished Service Order of Ethiopia in honor of her faithful and distinguished service to the Negro race.58 She was single apparently, an unusual status for a female head in the UNIA as mostly married women were largely elected to s eats of leadership. It is unclear how she rose to this position within the UNIA, however. She first appeared in print in the Negro World of January 7, 1922 with a byline under an article entitled New Year[ ]s Message to the Universal African Black Cross Nurses and garnered speci al mention at the UNIA Convention of 1922 for her presentation entitled Health in the Home.59 Clara Morgan asserted the nationalist aims of the BCNs when she wrote that their commitment to their duty would yield a commun ity not so gullible, that white physicians and other professionals will find it no longer a good investment to advertise in our weeklies.60 Ms. Morgans comments were in response to advertisements for liquid remedies for everyday ailments that consisted mainly of alcohol and had very little medicinal pr operties. Other articles dealing with ethics in the pract ice of medicine were penned by Ms. Lawrence. These included The Ethics of Nursing in which she stipulated that 58 Martin Anthony Summers, Manliness and Its Discontents The Black Middle Class and the Transformation of Masculinity, 1900-1930 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004), p. 98. 59 Negro World, January 7, 1922; Hill, vol. 4, p. 942. 60 A transcript of her 1922 convention talk is not available, but the title provides obvious clues about the content; What Is Good For the Body Must First Be good for the Mind Negro World, January 7, 1922.
144 BCN ethics may be divided thusly, 1.The nurses duty toward her patient. 2. Her duty toward the attending physician. 3. He r duty to her patients friends or household wherein she serves. 4. Her duty toward her fellow-nurse. 5.Her duty to herself. 61 Ms. Lawrence encouraged BCN units to put themselves last while on duty. This selflessness was similar to that encouraged by the Red Cross and congruent with the image of female respectability dominant during the perio d. Whether or not Ms. Lawrences edicts were strictly adhered to, the delineation of a BCN ethic set a sober tone for the auxiliary. Aside from making clear her duty, Ms. Lawrence st rove to ensure there was clarity on the issue of BCN uniforms and education. In N otice To All Divisions and Members of the Universal African Black Cross Nurses, she empha sized that All Black Cross Nurse units must secure competent instructors to teach in first aid, community health work and home hygiene and care of the sick.62 Once she established the priority of all BCNs to pass first aid requirements and literacy tests and to become fully registered nurses, Ms. Lawr ence turned her attention to the BCN uniform. The structure of the article implied that educa tion, specifically nurse education, was paramount and should be sought prior to obtaining a BCN uniform. There were obvious qualifications that Ms. Lawrence felt a Black Cr oss Nurse should meet before she would merit being dressed in either of the uniforms designated for members. The BCN auxiliarys stress on nursing educat ion, reinforced middle-class mores and reflected ideals expressed in th e politics of respectability. Howe ver, it is important to recognize that the UNIA was working toward building a nati on, both literally and figuratively. Service to the race came to mean not only being the best at what one did, but being able to improve ones self in order to increase the ra nge of services performed. Amy Jacques Garvey stressed this 61 Negro World, June 10, 1922. 62 Negro World, April 29, 1922 D ecember 30, 1922.
145 point to women of the organization in general as she counseled that it was disastrous for UNIA women to marry into the white race w ho she found to be in moral decay.63 Lawrences emphasis on the need for women to educate themselves further informs historians of another kind of coping mechan ism women engaged in dur ing Jim Crow. While married women preferred to have their husbands wo rking near the home, j obs available to them did not always make it possible. Also the wages those jobs paid often did not adequately support their families. By becoming trained diploma nurses, UNIA women could not only be prepared to serve the African nation and their communities, but they could also better serve themselves and their families by commanding better empl oyment opportunities and higher wages.64 Their education also had another purpos e. UNIA women were encouraged to use their education to [h]elp their less informed sisters. The BCNs were also expected to impart what they learned to cure the disease of illiteracy in their communities. This added to the symbolic importance of their uniforms. The designation of uniforms for public and priv ate spaces also made Lawrences article on BCN ethics significant and, with the excepti on of Leah Michelle Seabrooks unpublished Masters thesis, no mention of this distincti on in BCN dress has been made by historians.65 This may be due, in part, to there being no know n photographs of BCNs in the white uniform. However, the designation of one uniform is worth analysis. The all-white uniform worn during official meetings, ceremonies and parades consisted of white dress, white cap, white shoes, and white stockings. The official emblem of the 63 Negro World, October 24, 1925; April 9, 1927. 64 Many African-American men were empl oyed as Railroad Porters, for example, or in low paying factory jobs. Often they were unable to lobby for higher wages and benefits as it would cost them those jobs. For more on the relationship between working African-American men an d women and their concerns please see Melinda Chateauvert, Marching Together: Women of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1998). 65 Seabrook, p. 38.
146 auxiliary, a Black Latin Cross encircled by a Re d background with a green-field center, was worn with a button that carried a Black Latin Cross on a red background enclosed by a Green Circle around the border. All members were required to wear these emblems.66 Juanita Warfield Proctor, daughter of a Seattle Black Cross Nurse and member of the UNIA Juvenile auxiliary detailed in a later chap ter, recalled that the black cross was worn on the forehead, and on the arm a red, black and green sash .67 According to Mrs. Warfield Proctor, there were approximately 50 to 100 women in her mothers BCN unit.68 The duty uniform consisted of a green dress with an ivory apron, black shoes and stockings.69 This color difference not only set the nurses apart within UNIA circles, but they al so stood out in the public sphere as most nurses wore white to work. Present research has not yielded any photographs of BCNs in their work uniform. That the auxiliary chose to designate a sepa rate uniform for public and private use is significant as it speaks to the symbolic and lite ral functions of the BCNs. The pristine white uniforms worn in public i nvoked a strong sense of esprit de corps among its members, while aiding in serving to wed the Negro peopl e into a racially conscious, united group for effective mass action.70 The private duty uniforms, with green smocks, took on a very different meaning. The color green is associated with growth, renewal, health, and environment and is said to denote balance, harmony, and stabi lity. The use of this color in the private duty uniforms of the BCNs signified their eagerness to s timulate healing, renewal, and growth in their 66 Appendix B, Article VIII 67 Juanita Warfield Proctor Interview, September 22, 1975. Transcript at the Manuscripts and Archives Division, University of Washington Li brary, Seattle, Washington. 68 Juanita Warfield Proctor Interview, September 22, 1975. Transcript at the Manuscripts and Archives Division, University of Washington Li brary, Seattle, Washington. 69 Negro World, April, 29, 1922-D ecember 30, 1922. 70 Winston James, Holding Aloft p. 140; E. David Cronon, Black Moses: The Story of Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association (Madison, Wisconsin: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1955, 1969), p. 174.
147 communities. For them, this was a private matter as it was the collective work of the race not to be intruded on by outsiders or de fined by anyone other than themselves. That the smock was worn over a white base also signif ied their desire to separate the public starched image from the genteel caring one they invoked while performing their duties. While present research has failed to yield pho tos of Black Cross Nurses on duty, they were clearly engaged in patient care. The New Orleans Divisi on 149 took the BCN ethic to its heights by endeavoring to establish a first class medical clinic to be run by the BCN in conjunction with a self-supporting charity to care for the elderly and infirm.71 In this effort women in the UNIA employed practi cal applications of Black Na tionalist self-help aims to enable destitute members to find aid within the organiza tion when necessary.72 Their efforts resulted in the opening of The Free Community Medical Clinic on September 16, 1928.73 The clinic was headed by Dr. Logan W. Horton and Dr. J.J. Peters. Both Horton and Peters worked in the New Orleans co mmunity with little monetary compensation and had established themselves as UNIA loyalists by providing weekly lect ures on healthcare to members and UNIA affiliates alike.74 The hospital took on special significance as it created a space that designated care for, by, and to African-Americans.75 Aside from providing short and long term care, the hospital also served as a training school for Black Cross Nurses and was open to members from any division to attend. The doctors who worked at the Clinic came ma inly from nearby Flint-Goodridge Hospital.76 While the credentials of Horton and Peters and thei r staff have never come under review, again the 71 Negro World, January 21, 1928. 72 Negro World, January 21, 1928. 73 Negro World, September 29, 1928. 74 Negro World, September 29, 1928. 75 Shaw, pp. 146-147. 76 Thomas J. Ward Jr., Black Physicians in the Jim Crow South (Fayetteville: Un iversity of Arkansas Press, 2003), pp. 10-12.
148 capabilities of the nurses they he lped to train have been challe nged by such scholars as Theodore Vincent and Judith Stein. Lawrences return installments in 1924, encour aged Black Cross Nurses to work toward a sound health program, specifically child he alth program, is becoming more insistent in various parts of the world, and it is time for our nurses to wake up to this fact. There is real constructive work waiting, yes, begging to be done.77 Her words directed women to look beyond the UNIA as the training they received with the BCN create d greater employment opportunities. After 1924, Lawrences contri butions sporadically appeared in the New World until the formal demise of the UNIA in 1931. While the sentiments expressed by Lawrence reflected concerns espoused by many women activists of the era, both white and black, her words also indicated a sense of permanence.78 Although UNIA women did not consider themselves feminists Ula Taylor asserts that the effects of the rhetoric and by us e of similar stratagems UNIA women participated in what she dubs community feminism. Despite assertions by other scholars like Barbara Bair and Honor Ford-Smith that UNIA women belong to the first wave feminist cadre, Taylors assertion best reflects a race and community fi rst ideal placing themselves last much like the BCN ethic expressed by Is abella Lawrence in 1922. By pointing to new avenues for service and patient care, Ms. Lawrence also suggested that nursing was a career, a profession, which held no geographical boundaries. Their potential as 77 Negro World, August 2, 1924. 78 For elaboration on First Wave feminism see Nancy Cott, The Groundings of Modern Feminism (New Haven and London : Yale University Press, 1987); Alice Kessler-Harris, A Womans Wage: Historical Meanings & Social Consequences (Lexington: The University Press of Lexington, 1990); Gwendolyn Mink, The Wages of Motherhood: Inequality in the Welfare State, 1917-1942 (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1995); Francesca Morgan, Women and Patriotism in Jim Crow America (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2005).
149 nurses also offered African-Ameri can women some possibilities to represent the organization and, more specifically, demonstrated the capabil ities of women of the race. Demonstrating the BCNs commitment to children, Ms. Lawrences successor, Clara Morgan, penned an occasional Negro World column where Questions of general interest will be answered in this column on the care and feeding of infants and children.79 The column first appeared on February 4, 1922. Readers were encour aged to submit questions for answer by Mrs. Morgan. In the first nine months, she received few queries as only two columns were filed with questions from the membership. In the interim, Morgan wrote on the care of expectant and new mothers and post and prenatal care. Her instructi on also included advice to fathers in which she stated that The expectant father must bear in mind that his duty is not only to pay the doctors bill, but that he must not allow his wife to do too heavy work. He must also bear in mind that her nervous syst em is now highly strung and should never argue with her during this stage.80 Through this admonition to fathers, the Black Cross Nurses apparently viewed their role as more far reaching than the accepted domestic sphere.81 Mrs. Morgans comments appear to break with social norms of the period by addressing men directl y. Her willingness to do so in print suggested that the idea of a dominant male figure-head in the UNIA home was a less than accurate depiction of UNIA reality. This becomes more apparent when examining the relationship between Garvey and Amy Jacques and other women within his circle.82 Recent 79 Negro World, February 4, 1922. 80 Negro World, September 9, 1922. 81 Linda K. Kerber, Separate Spheres, Female Worlds, Woman's Place: The Rhetoric of Women's History, in The Journal of American History Vol. 75, No. 1 (Jun., 1988), pp. 9-39. 82 Historians Barbara Bair and Honor Ford-Smith note that UNIA women tended to move beyond Garveys ideal of womanhood. Barbara Bair, True Women, Real Men: Gender, Ideology, and Social Roles in the Garvey Movement, in Gendered Domains: Rethinking Public and Private in Womens History ed. Susan Reverby and Dorothy Helly (Ithaca: Cornell University Pre ss, 1992), pp. 154-166 .; Honor Ford-Smith Women in the Garvey Movement in Jamaica. Garvey: His Work and Impact ed. Rupert Lewis and Patrick Bryan. (New Jersey: Free
150 scholarship in gender studies argues that ther e was often a blurring of spheres. Historian Rosalyn Terborg-Penn observed that women of the Diaspora by virt ue of their participation in the global process of capital accumulation th at devalues their body and their labor find that they must operate in both the public and private domains.83 The practicality of the lives of BCN women becomes more apparent as historians weigh Margaret Fullers notion that [T]here is no wholly masculine man, no purely feminine woman.84 Recent scholarship by historian Nikki Brown also supports this idea as she concluded that during and immediately after World War I, African-American women became increasingly involved in male normative institutions much like the UNIA.85 Mrs. Morgans column continued its focu s on the care of children and published warnings on the use of rubber diapers, whic h resulted in the canceling of the New York Divisions Best Dressed Baby competition. Becau se the babies were wearing rubber diapers which caused diaper rash, constric tion of circulation, and presented the potential for bacteria, all contestants were disqualified from the competition and the prize withheld indefinitely.86 The health of the babies came before anything else in Mrs. Morgans view. Motherhood was a sacred duty, argued Mrs. Morgan, and women needed to r ealize that the future greatness of the great African empire rested with individua l good health that started at infancy.87 Africa World Press 1991), p.76.; Deborah Grey White argues that while women in the club movement, for example, believed their greatest influence came as wife mother and teacher, this did not imply notions of inferiority to man and that many felt woman is mans equal intellectually. Deborah Grey White, Too Heavy A Load Black Women in Defense of Themselves (New York: Norton 1999), p. 44; This premise is also the basis for Paula Giddings Where and When I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America (New York: Morrow) 1984. 83 Terborg-Penn, p. 16. 84 Monika M. Elbert, Separate Spheres No More: Gender Convergence in American Literature, 1830-1930 (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press 2000), p. 116. 85 Nikki Brown, Private Politics and Public Voices: Black Women's Activism from World War I to the New Deal (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2007), p. 117. 86 Negro World, December 2, 1922. 87 Negro World, October 7, 1922.
151 Anne Macpherson noted that the Belize Black Cross Nurses also held a beautiful baby contest. She argued that the c ontest was simply a means of re inforcing middle class mores and Caribbean color stratifications. The browner the baby, the curlier the hair, the more healthy the baby was assumed to be. Participants were al so encouraged to follow dictums on health and home care that shunned traditional customs in favor of alleged more advanced modes, usually more Western in origin. Other BCN articles a ppeared throughout the Negro World. However, the by-lines did not specifically name the authors. Clara Morgan app eared to be the most frequently featured BCN authoress. Other nur ses appear in the Negro World as their activities are reported in the Division News section. Of the Divisions featur ed in the section, the New York City Branch of the New York Division appeared most frequen tly. The NY City Black Cross Nurses were closest in proximity to the UNIA headquarters a nd were the first individual auxiliary to be mentioned in the Negro World. On December 22, 1922 in an article entitled Black Cross Nurses Present Xmas Purse to Hon. Marcus Garvey was a featured story in the Negro World.88 While the article contained little information about the BCN specifically, with the exception of men tioning the gift of a silver tea set to Ms. Lawrence, it did present some clues on the multi-faceted role of the auxiliary. That the BCN of NY in 1922 could afford to present Garvey a purse (the amount of which was not specified) and give Ms. Lawrence a silver tea set indicated that they were able to raise considerable funds, or collectively had reserv es enough to afford to make a sacrifice. The article also implied that being a BCN was an entre to the UNI A hierarchy, something to which many of the lay membership aspired. Lastly, th e article established the BCN of New York as women of status. The gift they chose for the Directress was a silver tea set. Readers were left 88 Negro World, December 30, 1922.
152 with the implication that to be a nurse was to be a woman of great influence and stature in the community. This notion, when combined with the BCNs emphasis on childcare and proper healthcare, further indicated the particular ways in which the BCN demonstrated the importance of the womens role in the home and emphasize the importance of the work women did as coequals both inside and outside of the home. In this way BCN served to illustrate that efficient womanhood went beyond the domestic sphere and entered into the domain of wage work. By1925 many of the articles tended to reinfo rce Clara Morgans encouragements to mothers to make use of medical stations in th eir communities and have their children see doctors regularly.89 In June, for example, the NY BCN invited new and expectant mothers to follow up our weekly heath rules and if you want more detailed information you may see us at Liberty Hall every Sunday night.90 The significance placed on health care education demonstrated that the BCN wanted to make good healthcare accessi ble to everyone, and also reveals their willingness to have others join the organization. In this way their brand of nationalism, while appearing elitist, actually sought r progress of the race as a whole and not just for a select few. The use of a variety of strategies to educate a nd inform demonstrated a willingness to avail both members and non-members of the UNIA to their services and fulfill the poten tial of all AfricanAmericans. Other articles published in 1925 include H eart Disease, Special Hygiene, and Measles as a part of the Our Women and What They Think Page.91 Each article carried definitions of the condition, symptoms, and methods of treatment. This format fit the definition of the capabilities of a Nurse set by the AMA. The articles served as a means not only to inform the public, but also to remind all BCN auxiliaries of the standards they were to achieve. 89 Negro World, April 15, 1922, July 15, 1922. 90 Negro World, June 6, 1925. 91 Negro World, July, 4, 1925, August 15, 1925, September 19, 1925.
153 In 1926 an essay entitled Beauty Culture and sought to encourage proper hygiene by mixing an appeal to the readers vanity with na tionalistic concerns. Readers were encouraged to practice good grooming as this increased their chances of good health and assisted in the building of the Black nation.92 In July of 1926, an article authored by the NY BCN, How to be a Good Husband, urged men to respect their wives and ch ildren and operate with love in mind.93 The column appeared next to an advertisement for a ma il-order bride company, re flecting the commercial realities of printing a Black newspaper during the period. The following week an article titled How to Be a Good Wife, was printed in the co lumn with the by-line, The Red Cross Nurses of New York.94 That the BCN units sought to addre ss the deportment of husbands and wives was of importance as it reflected their in terest in strong African-American families. The advice given to wives included reminding women that [love] is your best weapon[.] [Y]ou conquered him with that in the firs t place, you can re(-)conquer him by the same means.95 The image of the woman who was ab le to redeem the man through love was reflective of the image of Africa as a mother. The nationalist philosophy of the UNIA viewed all Africans throughout the Diaspora as lost children, and Africa as a mother calling them home both figuratively and literally. To make their M other proud, these lost children, were to make the most of themselves in the respective professi ons. In so doing, their talents would avail them to be of good use to her physically (through the potential use of the manual labor in the continent) and spiritually (through their accomplishments outside of the continent). Whether 92 Negro World, January 9, 1926. 93 Negro World, July 17, 1926. 94 Negro World, July 24, 1926. 95 Negro World, July 24, 1926.
154 individuals actually se t foot on the continent did not matter. By virtue of his/her skin color they were Africas representative.96 The NY Division appeared in the Negro World ten years later when it was noted that they were seated on the rostrum alongside officers of the club.97 While the reference was short, it revealed that the BCN of NY remained strong in number. The BCN leadership sat on the rostrum beside officers of the meeting. While the size of the meeting room is not known, that the NY BCN sat in a place of prominence served to further signify the importance to the organization. At this meeting Lillian Capers, the Lady President of the NY Garvey Club, argued for funds to carry on the wo rk of the association.98 This statement highlighted the participatory nature of UNIA women in formulating a nd promoting the UNIAs program and Black Nationalism. Her talk differed from those quot ed in earlier articles by Lawrence and Morgan, where the care and well being of members took precedence. As the organization began to see dark days, it appeared that the women of the UNIA, including those in the BCN, became more vocal in an attempt to save it. Another insight into the nature of the BCN auxiliaries allegiance to the UNIA was sometimes apparent from its internal competition. In 1921, the Perth Amboy New Jersey Division was celebrating its firs t anniversary and the Newark Bl ack Cross Nurses were given special mention because The Black Cross Nurses from Newark made a good appearance A few remarks of encouragement were given by the lady pr esident of the Newark division. We 96 This sentiment was consistent throughout the nascent peri od of the UNIA. In 1928 Princess Laura Kofey in one of her last speeches told her listens that African needed them to be good carpenters and masons just as much as they needed teachers and preachers. She also made it clear that returning to Africa was a choice which was also consistent with the aims of the UNIA, to better the live of Africans throughout eh Dias pora. Princess Kofey will de discussed at length in a later chapter. 97 Negro World, July 2, 1932. 98 Ibid.
155 are sure the ladies of Perth Amboy were jealous of the Newark Black Cross Nurses and hope they will join and help form a Black Cross section.99 For a UNIA division to have a BCN auxiliary was a matter of pride and even used as proof of the Divisions commitment. This desi re continued even after Garveys deportation troubles loomed. As late as 1932, the Tulsa Oklahoma Division appeal ed to central headquarters for permission to establish a BCN, a Juvenile Department, a Un iversal African Motor Corps (an all female paramilitary auxiliary) and a Universal African Legion in an attempt To Make [the] Tulsa, OK. Div. Greater.100 The willingness of UNIA members to press forward even after Garvey was deported illuminated their commitment to th e UNIA program and the outlet it provided to address their nationalist concerns. Even outside of the Negro World the BCN received attention. The Philadelphia Divisions participation in an Indepe ndence Day parade was described by The Philadelphia Record to be [n]oteable as All along the line applause gree ted the Black Cross Society, an organization of nurses.101 The BCNs were referred to here as an organization of nurses which suggests that in Philadelphia the members of th e BCN were considered actual nurses. Aside from this assertion, reports in 1931, from the Miss D. C. Jones stated that The Black Cross Nurses are doing fine work. The class is growin g rapidly and the students are busy preparing for their first examination under Dr. W illiam E. Whyte of Mercy Hospital.102 Similar to the New Orleans Division, Philadelphia was fortunate eno ugh to have a licensed me dical doctor to help train Black Cross Nurses. That he was affiliate d with a state funded hos pital also presented potential employment opportunities for the BCN. The Philadelphia and Louisiana Divisions success at training and graduating nurses served as another example of how UNIA women came 99 Negro World, August, 27, 1921. 100 Negro World, June 18, 1932. 101 The Philadelphia Record July 6, 1921; Negro World, July 16, 1921. 102 Negro World, December 5, 1931.
156 to define their brand of Black Nationalism. This example provided an even greater clue to their impact on the community than previously believed. While historian Judith Stein noted that [t]he only clue that the [BCNs] was more than another social circle was its ceremonial African Legion for men and its Black Cross auxi liary for women. Both linked its members symbolically to the more advanced political culture of Garveyism present resear ch indicates just as Robin Kelley pointed out in respect to working class black ac tivism more generally, the BCN were much more than they seemed.103 In other Divisions the traini ng of nurses rested with gra duated nurses. In Seattle, Washington, Hattie Gillmore, head of the BCN a uxiliary, held a training class every Wednesday and the Cleveland, Ohio Division began awarding diplomas to BCN in 1921 with Mrs. Wise as teacher, at Division-wide meetings.104 The graduation usually was conducted as a part of a larger meeting, and diplomas were given out just before the featured speaker was to give an address. In this way the BCN became symbolic of progress despite the oppression of Jim Crow. The public performance of the Black Cross Nurses went beyond their much publicized participation in marches. The BCN earned great respect for their work bot h inside and outside of the UNIA. Indicative of the UNIA womans brand of Black Nationalism, Mr s. Edna Carter of the Parnassus Division challenged the readiness of black citizens in a talk she titled Our Slowness Must Be Eliminated If We Are To Ta ke Our Rightful Place Among the Other Races of the World. Her speech argued that both gende rs must cooperate with each other. The BCN auxiliaries were very public in their assertion that proper healthcare and education were essential through their performance in plays, parades, funerals. Plays performed 103 Stein, The World of Marcus Garvey pp. 180 & 224; Robin D. G. Kelley We Are Not What We Seem": Rethinking Black Working-Class Opposition in the Jim Crow South. The Journal of American History Vol. 80, No. 1 (Jun., 1993), pp. 75-112. 104 Negro World, August 27, 1921; Negro World, January 21, 1922.
157 included the North Folk, Virginia Black Cross Nurses, An African Convention the Philadelphia Division performed The New Negro, and the NY Division performed Tallaboo, all with themes that celebrated the grandeur of the UNIA and the emergence of African-Americans into global politics and the dismissing of (t)he old Uncle Tom type. 105 In 1921 the New Haven BCNs put on a pageant entitled Three Hundred Years on American Soil and Fifty years of Freedom. The production was described as follows: In a large room on the right hand side st age there was an operating table on which lay a small girl as the patient, two docto rs, and four Black Cross nurses dressed in uniform, and with their mouths muffled, stood over the little patient; on the left hand side of the room a little boy had his arm bandaged by a nurse, dressed in a Black Cross uniform. The audience greeted the participants of this scene with tumultuous applause. The last scene showed the queen of Af rica on a throne, and her subjects beside her.106 The plays purpose was manifold and served as a cultural expressi on of very distinct nationalist aims. The BCN plays served similar f unctions as the previous ly discussed works of Hurston, Dunlap and Savage. While depicting th e nurses in the line of duty, the pageant also centered on young children as patients. This was done in part to reaffirm the UNIA belief that one of the greatest roles for a wo man was that of caregiver to future generations. The boy had injured his arm, but the little girl has injured he r body and was in need of serious assistance as indicated by the wearing of surg ical masks. The value of a woman as mother of the race was invoked here, and the need for her protection was also signaled by the fina l scene as the African queen is surrounded by the BCN. The same sentim ent is evident in Garveys 1927 poem The Black Woman which opened with Black queen of beauty, thou hast given color to the world! Among other women thou art royal and the fairest! Like the brightest of jewels in the regal 105 Negro World, May 13, 1922; January 28, 1922, December 18, 1921. 106 Negro World, July 16, 1921.
158 diadem; Shinst thou, Goddess of A frica, Natures purest emblem!107 The importance of this theme for the BCN and the female members for the UNIA was also demonstrated in 1929 at a court reception where a statue of the Black Queen holding aloft the torch of truth was prominently displayed.108 Self-respect as well as the respect of men appeared to have been of equal value to women in the organization. The BCNs commitment to the proper care of its members also lent itself to ensuring that appropriate burial arrangements were made. Fo r the funeral of Mrs. Esthrema Lynch, Mrs. Jackson Willis, who moved from Richmond, Virginia to tour the United States with Marcus Garvey and preceded Ms. Lawrence as head of th e BCN Central Offices, facilitated a procession through Harlem to St. Mrs. Willis Marys Church.109 The timed military style march of the procession drew the customary attention gathering audiences reserved for ma le dignitaries in the African-American community, but it also served another purpose. Here the BCN gave Mrs. Lynch a funeral befitting a fallen soldier. The p ublic display demonstrated that her death had as much meaning as she had in life. Another functi on of this service was to show that there were people to mourn Mrs. Lynchs death. In keepin g with their commitment to mind, body and spirit and that women were as competent as men to be field representatives for the UNIA, her funeral provided one last opport unity to stress the equal levels of commitment shared by men and women in the organization as deserving of equal respect.110 The commitment of the BCN to a Black Nationalism that placed women side-by-side with men was practiced from the cradle to the grave. 107 See Appendix E. 108 Martin, p. 43. 109 Barbra Bair, Renegotiating Liberty: Garveyism, Women and Grassroots Orga nizing in Virginia in Women of the American South: A Multicultural Reader ed. Christie Anne Farnham (New York: NYU Press 1997), p. 224.; Negro World April 9, 1921.; Hill, The UNIA Papers vol. 1 p., 73; James, Holding Aloft the Banner of Ethiopia p. 139.; Negro World April 9, 1921. 110 James, Holding Aloft the Banner of Ethiopia p. 139.
159 The level of commitment was outlined between 1925 and 1927 when a plethora of articles authored by the BCN collectively appeared in the Negro World. The only specific BCN unit referenced in the by-line was the NY Division and none of its members are named. Whether or not this was also a part of the BCNs way of defining its form of Black Nationalism, is also unclear. Still, the articles described the activit ies of respective units; a nd thus they served as another investment in the duties and works of the BCN. By 1927 membership in the UNIA had declined considerably, and an appeal was made to all Lady Presidents to establish Black Cr oss Nurse auxiliaries within their respective jurisdictions. The call was issued by the Secr etary-General of the UNIA, W.A. Wallace who stated, We are urging upon you to immediately call all the women of your division together to organize your nurse department. Those that are organized should make a great effort to increase their member ship. This is one of the most useful auxiliaries in our organization and an avenue through which much good can be doneIt is our earnest desire that these departments be immediately put in action everywhere, and it the special duty of th e Lady President, who is matron of the nurses, to do this.111 The presence of a BCN unit was a taken as a sign of stability for a division and also a source of great pride. There is no recorded eviden ce of dissension among the BCNs. There was also no evidence of any public displays of conduct unbecoming a nurse or expressions of disloyalty to and/or misreprese ntation of the UNIA program among the Black Cross Nurses. The organization continued to facilita te the education of women aspiri ng to be nurses and to increase healthcare access for African -Americans into the 1960s. The Black Cross Nurses assertion of author ity in the field of healthcare was readily accepted by women and men alike. Their efforts were seen as a part of the reclamation of the race in both a literal and figurativ e sense. The BCN units could speak openly of the needs for 111 The Negro World, January 15, 1927.
160 both women and men to take better care of themselv es and their children in an effort to better the race. In so doing they elevated the status of healthcare workers in the African American community. They also helped broaden the conve rsation on self-reclamation and the reclamation of Africa. The BCN, under the auspices of their profession, c ould challenge notions of male dominance in the home and in the quest for race progress. Not all women in the UNIA enjoyed the same privileges. A similar message from a native African princess, also concerned with the state of the spirit and the bodies of African-Americans, wa s not as well received.
161 CHAPTER 5 FOR IT WAS NOT DONE IN THE CORNER : PRINCES S LAURA ADORKOR KOFEY Laura Adorkor Kofey: Preparations for Repatriation On March 8, 1928 Princess Laura Adorkor Kofey was assassinated while speaking at a UNIA m eeting in Miami. She rece ived acclaim within the organiza tion for her ability to revive struggling UNIA Divisions in the Southeast a nd attract new membership. Between 1926 and 1928, she held camp-style mass meeting at baseba ll fields, public parks, church sanctuaries, and Masonic Lodge Halls such that the overflow forced many listeners to stand outside the edifices and line adjacent streets. Her messa ge was imbued with the rhetoric of Black Nationalism of the 1920s, the tenets of the UNI A program and her experiences as an African Prophetess. What she called for was simple: Af rican-American s needed to make credible preparations to return to the interior of Africa. Unlike Marcus Garvey, Kofey did not advocate repatriation to Liberia, but encouraged emigration to less developed areas of the continent. The Ghanaian Princess Kofey brought to the UNIA an African female perspective on repatria tion. She presented a native womans voice in response to the UNIAs missionary schemes outlined in the objectives co-authored by Amy Ashwood. As a campaigner for the UNIAs programs, she also echoed the concerns of other UNIA women for the return to stricter moral code s of conduct within the organization. She also led extended discussions on the need for African -American men to work in cooperation with women to steer the course for racial progress. This chapter focuses on Kofeys two-year tenure in the UNIA. Her role in rebuilding the organization, while challenging Garvey and hi s advisors over misappropriated funds, further illustrates the dilemmas faced by women in the lay membership. Laura Kofey maintained an undaunted allegiance to the UNIAs core program even after she was declared persona non-
162 grata in late 1927. Certainly, her church, the African Universal Church and Commercial League (AUC), was largely based on UNIA doctrine. The church, still active today, illustrated how Kofey transcended the UNIA and Garvey to become a Diasporic figure. The adherence of her members to the UNIAs program and their creatio n of a direct link and exchange with the continent of Africa are just two examples of he r impact on both the organization and the Atlantic community. Her influence had as tangible and pr actical effect on Africa and its descendents as that of Marcus Mosiah Garvey himself. Evidence compiled from Princess Kofeys limited appearances in the Negro World, her sermons, her testimony at her arraignments in Tampa and Jacksonville, FL, along with her religious talks and the testimony of eye witnesses at the trial of her alleged assassins reveals the nature of her influence in Alabama, Louisiana and Florida, specifically, and on the UNIA more broadly. Laura Kofeys public battle with men in Garveys inner circle, and the violent solution that resulted speaks to the desperate struggle for power within the UNIA by 1928. Although, as previously demonstrated, women in the organizat ion often only assumed overt leadership roles when they found UNIA men wavering in their pursuit of racial progress, Kofeys rise to fame within the organization was consider ed a direct threat to authority. Kofey, like Ashwood, Jacques, Davis and DeMena, never publicly challenged any man in the organization and only warned Garvey ab out the company he kept. While her intentions may have been altruistic, her ability to draw a following threatened bot h the authority of the ministerial alliances that suppor ted the UNIA, the tenuous relationships with the UNIA formed with white authorities, and the power of UNIA male leaders, notably in Florida. This chapter highlights another way in whic h women loyal to the UNIA program, but at odds with Garvey himself, operated. While offici al recognition of her membership ceased in
163 1927, she remains significant to the UNIAs grand narrative. Her place in the organizations historiography despite her brief time as a memb er is further cemented by the organizations claims that all peoples of the Diaspora, whet her dues paying members or not, belonged to the UNIA. Color and bloodlines made you a member of the organization, paying dues merely got you on the organization rolls. Diasporic membership is often based on a culture consciousness that sets up polar opposites of a here and a there. The there being invoked as a rhetoric of self affirmation and reclamation of a place alleged to be stolen or hidden from the rightful owners.1 Bridging the gap between here and there, Laura Kofey resembled Atlantic Creoles in that she spoke a pidgin English and attempted to engage in co mmercial business ties between the continent and the West.2 Her presence in the UNIA contributed to the diasporic identity and its social, cultural and political manifestations while en couraging a re-thinking of the West. She promoted the continual reinvention of Af rica and the Diaspora through cultural work, migrations, transformations in communications, as well as the globalization of capital within the 1 Paul Tiyambe Zeleza, Re-Writing the African Diaspora: Beyond the Black Atlantic in African Affairs v. 104 no. 414, p. 41.; Zeleza goes on to define Diaspora as The emotional and ex periential investment in here and there and the points in between obviously changes in response to the shifting material, mental, and moral orders of social existence. Diaspora is simultaneously a state of being and a process of becoming, a kind of voyage that encompasses the possibility of never arriving or returning, a navigation of multiple belongings. It is a mode of naming, remembering, living and feeling group identity molded out of experiences, positionings, struggles and imaginings of the past and the present, and at times the unpredictable future which are shared across the boundaries of time and space that frame indigenous identities in the contested and constructed loca tions of there and here and the passages and points in between. 2 Ira Berlin uses the term in reference to West African s living in Africa who were active in the slave trade and connected by long-standing business and personal ties to other slave traders in African and England. Ira Berlin, From Creole to African: Atlantic Creoles and the Or igin of African-American So ciety in Mainland North America, William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Ser., 53 (1996), pp..251-288.; For greater detail on the significance of the Atlantic community in linking African-Americans an d Africans please see Robin La w and Paul E. Lovejoy, The changing Dimensions of African History: Reappropriating the Diaspora, in eds. Simon A. McGrath and Christopher Fyfe, Rethinking African History (Edinburgh: Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh, 1997).
164 organization and the Diapsora at large.3 The Mysterious Warrior Mother of Africa Laura Kofeys m igration to the United States from Accra, Ghana West Africa is shrouded in mystery. Her early life recounts the difficulti es women of African de cent often encountered when attempting to enter the United States.4 Kofeys trek to the Unite d States occurred in phases and introduced her to audiences throughout the Diaspora from her native Africa to Canada.5 Along the way, she went to the Panama Canal Zone in 1925 as the featured guest speaker at a UNIA meeting in Colon, Panama. Her experience in Colon brought her notoriety that followed her to Detroit UNIA circles in 1926.6 Between 1926 and August 1927, when she visited Marcus Garvey in the Atlanta Penitentiary, Princess Kofey established branches of the Universal African Orthodox Church in New Orleans, Alabama, and Florida, while soliciting member s for the UNIA and helping to revitalize fledgli ng branches and divisions. In this way, her work in the UNIA was similar to that of Jacques Garvey, Davis and De Mena. Kofey was heralded as a prophet of Garveyism while the Miami Division 286 view ed her as the female John the Baptist.7 Historiographical consider ations of Kofey by historian Barbara Bair and biographical sketches of her work in the Black Church by historian Richard Newman focus primarily on her 3 Tiffany Ruby Patterson and Robin D. G. Kelley, Unfinished Migrations: Reflections on the African Diaspora and the Making of the Modern World African Studies Review Vol. 43, No. 1, Special Is sue on the Diaspora (Apr., 2000), p. 13. 4For more details on governmental policy and its effects on immigrations patters and quotas among women of the Diaspora please see Nancy Foner, Islands in the City: West Indian Migration to New York City (Berkeley : University of California Press, 2001); Irma Watkins Owens, Blood Relations: Caribbean Immigrants and the Harlem Community, 1900-1930 (Bloomington : Indiana University Press, 1996). 5 Aimee M. Glocke Two steps forward and one and a half steps back: Maria Stewart and Mary Ann Shadd Cary's fight for inclusion into early Black Nationalism, 1803-1893 (MA Thesis University of California, Los Angeles, 2001). 6 Negro World, August 1926 Convention Division Reports reprinted in the Negro World 7Negro World, June 11, 1927, July 23, 1927; Richard Newman, Warrior Mother of Africas Warriors of the Most High God: Laura Adorkor Kofey and the African Universal Church. In Black Power and Black Religion: Essays and Reviews (Cornwall: Locust Hill Press, 1987), p. 131; Barb ara Bair, Ethiopia Shall Stretch Forth Her Hands Unto God: Laura Kofey and eh Gendered Vision of Redemption in the Garvey Movement in A Mighty Baptism: Race, Gender, and the Creation of American Protestantism eds. Susan Juster and Lisa MacFarlane (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1996), p. 56.
165 as a religious charismatic speaker.8 In these accounts Laura Ko feys contributions to Black Nationalist ideals and her role as a prominent fi gure in the Black Atlantic are highlighted. Her contributions to the UNIA, however, take on a new significance when the content of her speeches, the responses of the lay membership, UNIA officials and observers are combined with her legacy, her role in America, the Caribbean and Africa. That le gacy is based in large part on her church and its ability to reinterpret the UNIA s objectives. It is al so based on its success, albeit limited, in actualizing a repatriation scheme. According to UNIA objectives the organization sought, To Assist in Civilizing the Backward tribes of Africa, to strengthen the Imperialism of Bas[u]toland, Liberia, etc., a nd To Promote a Conscientious Christian Worship among the Native Tribes of Africa.9 Kofey proposed that the organization re-evaluate the necessity of sending preachers and missionaries to Africa and asserted that Africa was not backward in its religious or governmental belief s. She argued that Africa was a continent with an elaborate and sophisticated a rray of spiritual beliefs and pract ices, Christian and otherwise. Evidence of a Christianized Africa was first signaled by Henrietta Peters at a New York UNIA meeting in 1919. Mrs. Peters and her husba nd were missionaries of the African Methodist Episcopalian Zion church to the Gold Coast of Africa from 1915 to 1925.10 In her view, the people of the interior of Africa were governed under the most refi ned judicial system of law, order and authority, and contrasted sharply with the time-honored tradition in America that the 8Barbara Bair, Ethiopia Shall Stretch Forth Her Hands Unto God: Laura Kofey and the Gendered Vision of Redemption in the Garvey Movement in A Mighty Baptism: Race, Gender, and the Creation of American Protestantism eds. Susan Juster and Lisa MacFarlane (Ithaca an d London: Cornell University Press, 1996), pp. 3861; Barbara Bair, Renegotiating Liberty Garveyism, Women, and Grassroots organizing in Virginia in Women of the American South ed. Christine Anne Farham (New York and Lo ndon: New York University Press, 1996), pp. 221-240. Richard Newman, Warrior Mother of Africas Warriors of the Most High God: Laura Adorkor Kofey and the African Universal Church in Black Power and Black Relig ion: Essays and Reviews (Cornwall: Locust Hill Press, 1987), pp. 131-143. 9 Robert Hill, Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers vol. 1 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983), p. 67. 10 David H. Bradley, A History of the A.M.E. Zion Church 1796-1968. Part I, 1796-1872 (Nashville, 1956); Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church Records, 1884-1949 (Charleston, South Carolina: Mt. Zion AME Church).
166 Negro was a natural and rapid rapine11 Mrs. Peters report was followed by that of another AME missionary, Emily Christmas Kinch. She advised in 1920 that Africa was never in a more receptive mood for the UNIA than today and that the time was ripe for going back to Africa and possessing the land.12 She invoked the here and the re polar opposites as she told listeners that You think it is a wonderful thing to be in Harlem, but you have never enjoyed you[r ] manhood until you have walked in Li beria and have come in contact with the black President of that country and rece ived invitations to come to the banquet that is prepared in the State House. You surely cannot go to Washington to one. And so, after all, I would rather be in Liberia to-night, all things being equal, without her trolley cars, without her subways, without he r elevated system, and to feel and know that I am a woman for all of that. Black skins or short hair, money or no money, you are a man and have the opportunity of being the greatest person in that republic; for the only requiremen t of Liberia is th at you re black..13 Kinch inextricably linked the re clamation of black manhood with setting foot on African soil. Travel to Africa presented the potential for a tr ansformation of not only st atus but also of the mind. In keeping with the effici ent woman tradition of the UNIA, which encouraged men to take their rightful place in th e pursuit of race progress, her words we re geared toward men. Still, as she closed she noted that the only requirement in Liberia is that you are black indicating that women and children were also presented with new possibilities. Just as Mrs. Peters and Ms. Kinch claimed their work was derived from a mandate from God, Laura Kofey also claimed to be doing His wo rk. Princess Kofey presented herself to UNIA crowds as doing the work of her Ol Man God and her father, King Keni spi and elders of her African community who decided to endorse a mission to America and supply her with 11 Negro World, June 14, 1919. 12 Emily Christmas Kinch travelled in West Africa from 1908 to 1910. She al so worked as a missionary in Sierra Leone and Liberia where she established the Eliza Turner Primary School. She also authored a pamphlet based on her time in Africa entitled West Africa: An Open Door For more on Emily Kinch please see Randall Burkett, Black Redemption: Churchmen Speak for the Garvey Movement (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1978), pp. 43-46; Robert Hill, Marcus Garvey and the UNIA Papers vol. 2 p. 3; Negro World, June 26, 1920. 13Ibid.
167 documents, credentials, and power of attorney to represent them along with samples of their products and raw materials and above all she wa s given a MESSAGE by them to their people in America.14 Members of her family, who were held political office until the mid-1980s, continued to defend the legitimacy of her im mediate ancestry. They also sanctioned the authority given to her by her countrymen to sp eak on their behalf in the United States. The message the people of Accra sent with Laura Ko fey was to simply ask when and if AfricanAmericans intended to return to their homeland.15 She encouraged them to come home to build and proposed to start and import/export busine ss with Accra to get them started. In this way, Kofey becomes a pioneering entrepreneur and a unique advocate of African-American womens political, social, and economic activism. Although the UNIA claimed it was in colonization negotiations with President C.D.B. King of Liberia and sent three delegations over a six-year period in hopes of achieving a written colonization agreement, King and others in Liberi as government claimed that this was not true. During the time in which a credible agreement was supposedly reached, Liberia entered into a land contract with the Firestone Rubber Co mpany and publicly denounced the UNIA. Aside from publicly disassociating itself for the UNIA, the Liberian government instituted measures that banned UNIA members from setting foot in the country by refusing them Visas and revoking privileges previously extended to anyone associated with the organization.16 Laura Kofey presented a very different strategy for repatriation. Her plans included avoiding any reliance on already established African countries and presented greater 14 Precious Duncan Papers Private Collection Laura Kofey, Mothers Sacred Teachings p. 8. Laura Kofeys Speeches and excerpts from conversations with her congregants were reprinted by The African Universal Church in Jacksonville, FL. The date of original publication is unknown. 15 Ibid. 16 New York World June 29, 1924; Martin Summers, Manliness pp. 81-83, Ibarhim Sundiata, Brothers and Strangers: Black Zion, Black Slavery, 1914-1940 ( Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2003), pp. 30-41
168 opportunities for individual as well as collect ive wealth. Mother Kofey, as she became known, advised that those of you who go to Africa don't go in th e towns that already built up. Go in the interior and build your own towns child ren. Prepare to build up the old waste places. Children go way out among your pe ople and put up your own stores, because the other fellow is going to have and isn't going to give it away to you.17 Her strategy for repatriation was reminiscent of the American pioneer experience, where families moved to the West in search of la nd ownership and business opportunities. Many African-American s during the antebellum period al so looked to the West where Slavery and Jim Crow had been unsuccessful. By establishing towns like Athens, Ohio, for example, they provided themselves and their progeny a base fo r the creation of new communities, businesses, churches and schools. They also created a space for rule by the sons and daughters of exslaves.18 In these territories they shared space w ith Native Americans and whites who shared similar desires. Although Liberia, just like the American We st, presented new possibilities for former slaves and their children, it was not the only repatriation alterna tive. Kofeys warnings about seeking ones own ground may have result ed from the example set by the founding of Maryland State in Africa by the Maryland State Colonization Society in 1854. 19 Maryland State was located along the coast between the Gran d Cess and San Pedro Rivers which provided 17 Kofey, Mothers Sacred Teachings p. 52; For a concise review of the contents of official correspondences between Liberia, the US government, and the UNIA please see Robert Hill, Marcus Garvey & The UNIA Papers vol. 10, pp. 200-250. 18 An example of this is Liberias fifth president. Edward Jenkins Roye was born in Newark, Ohio the son of Kentucky Slaves who ran away to Ohio and educated at Ob erlin College. He served as President of Liberia for one year and was forced out of office over a scandal involving a high interest loan from the British government to facilitate building and road improvements. Roye is discusse d in great details as well as other African-American men who served as Liberian Pr esidents in David Smith, The African-American Presiden ts: The Founding Fathers of Liberia, 1848-1904 (Atlanta: New African-Ameri can History Press, 2004); Slaves No More: Letters from Liberia, 1833-1869 ed. Bell I. Wiley (Lexington: Univ ersity Press of Kentucky, c1980). 19 James Hall, An address to the free people of color of the state of Maryland in From Slavery to Freedom: The African-American Pamphlet Collection, 1824-1909 Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress Case H no. 122.
169 access to trade routes with Africas interior and the Atlantic world.20 In an effort to control the ports and maintain the control over the monies generated by t hose ports, Maryland repatriates declined to join with Liberia. Instead they opted for their own independent nation-state. Kofeys awareness of the Maryland example may have come through one of the churches she worked with in Kumasi, Ghana.21 Kumasi is the cultural center a nd capital city of the Ashanti region and served as a cross \roads for the region. Unfortunately, Maryland was unable to mainta in complete sovereignty. Due to military encroachments by neighboring peoples, Maryland became a county of Liberia in 1857 after Liberia assisted the nation-state in rebuffing its enemies.22 County status allowed Maryland to maintain its internal autonomy while giving it acc ess to the military prowess of Liberia. Had not the Kru and Grebo peoples forced the need fo r an increased organized army on Maryland, one can infer that they would have maintained th eir separate nationhood status. Their limited success serves as an example of the kind of re patriation scheme Kofey advocated which differed from the one Garvey had in place when she first entered UNIA circles. Both approaches built on a longstanding effort by African-Americans to esta blish a home in Africa as early as the 1780s with the presence of Paul Cuffee in Sierra Leone.23 The views the UNIA reflected those expresse d by Martin Delaney, Alexander Crummell, Henry McNeal Turner and Edward Wilmot Blyd en who approached Africa with Europeans as 20 Ibid.; Smith, The history of Mason and Dixon's Line: contained in an address delivered by John H.B. Latrobe of Maryland, before the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, November 8, 1854. in From Slavery to Freedom: The African-American Pamphlet Collection, 1824-1909 Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress Case H no. 122; Maryland in Liberia / drawn under the superintendence of Com. Lynch, U.S.N., at Wm. Sides Office, Balt. In Library of Congress Map Collections Washington, D.C.: U.S. Senate, 1853. 21Richard Newman, Laura Adorkor Kofey Research Collection, 1926-1981 Box 1, Folder 8 at Schomburg Research Library Letters from the Ghana Fina nce Minister 1974 (New York: New York). 22 The history of Mason and Dixon's Line : contained in an address delivered by John H.B. Latrobe of Maryland, before the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, November 8, 1854. in From Slavery to Freedom: The AfricanAmerican Pamphlet Collection, 1824-1909 Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress Case H no. 122. 23 For more of Cuffees efforts please see Sheldon H. Harris, Paul Cuffee: Black America and the African Return (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1972).
170 the bearers of civilization of universal and normative values that Africans should emulate.24 In so doing these men came to [view] Africa with cultural arrogance and a sense of superiority, just like the Europeans, and they objectified Af ricans as primitives who lacked the capacity for self-enhancement.25 Kofey took issue with this viewpoint arguing that Africans not only had their own culture, forms of government and standards, but that these institu tions were not in need of repair. Her account supported the recollections of Henrietta Peters and Emily Kinch. The interpretations of Africa and Afri can repatriation from the viewpoi nts of these women appear to have a different slant than the me n credited with championing the idea. Not only was Laura Kofey reformulating Africa n colonization efforts, but she was one of the few recorded African women inviting African-Americans to retu rn to their homeland. While African-American s and various co lonization societies in America and England raised funds and devised plans for the return of slaves and their descendents to Africa, there were few recorded formal invitations to former slav es and free people of color to re turn to Africa. Laura Kofeys assertion that she was sent from Africa to ask African-American s if they wanted to come home to let us know: and if you dont want to come, let us know served as a formal invitation by a native born African to their geographically distant relations.26 In this capacity she served as Accras diplomat. Kofeys self-professed role as a diplomat was similar to that of Lady Davis. While Marcus Garvey noted that it would be entirely improper to send a lady delegate to the U.N. as ladies were never chosen as members of dipl omatic missions, from the start of her tenure with the organization, Davis was received in international circles as the delegate of the UNIA.27 24 Tunde Adekele, p.25. 25 Ibid. 26 Kofey, Mothers Sacred Teachings, p. 17. 27 Negro World, August 12, 1922.
171 Whether Laura Kofey was aware of this is not clear. In some ways, Kofeys assumption of a liaison status between Africa and the UNIA at a tim e when other formal channels had failed may have brought her under scrutiny. What is clear is that she presented her me ssage and invitation in terms readily understood by people of the Diaspora. In part, it is her pr esentation and central focus on the redemption of Africa as a means for the Diaspora to reclaim its elf that struck a chord with UNIA members and non-members alike. The efficient womanhood of the UNIA was further highlighted by Kofeys ability to create both fictive and literal links with Africa and Diaspor ic Africans despite her disagreements with UNIA officials. Her message resonated with the membership to such a degree that she was perceived as a threat and at tempts were made to discredit her in both the Negro World and mainstream press. Despite the Negro Worlds declaration that she was a fake, her message drew massive crowds. She continued to receive speaking enga gements, contributions to her church flowed uninterrupted and people throughout the Florida and Alabama allegedly demonstrated their support by buying passage on ships she attempted to purchase from the Japanese for a voyage to the Gold Coast.28 While Garvey and other UNIA offici als, particularly UNIA lawyer and Garvey confidant J.A.Craigen, sent directives to branches throughout the state banning Kofey from meetings and expelled her supporters, people continued to gravitate toward her. Garveys response to Kofey was guided in part by a visi t from Miami Division President Claude Green to the Atlanta Penitentiary in September 1927.29 Along with ministers in UNIA, Green disagreed with the lay memberships assessm ent of Kofey as marvelous and as responsible for the fact that Garveyism (was) spreading like wild fire as she had done untold good and [was] 28 Negro World, October 22, 1927; Kofey, Mothers Sacred Teachings p. 41. 29 Negro World, September 17, 1927; October 22, 1927.
172 still doing it.30 The lay memberships adulation for Kofey appeared on the pages of the Negro World and circulated throughout UNIA circles for several months. However, the sentiment of good feeling was to be short lived. Laura Kofeys Vision of Africa Kofeys popularity presented several problem s for the UNIA and AfricanAm erican ministers alike. While she aggressively sign ed up members for the UNIA, her campaign upset the delicate balance between local preacher s and UNIA officials as her Sunday afternoon meetings and all-week rallies left church empty and collection plates empty. Her popularity had burgeoned as she held meetings in baseball fi elds and without the be nefit of public notices, people (would) line[d] the streets long before opening hour to hear her. Many of her speaking engagements became standing room only events.31 Moreover some of her speech themes directly criticized both local ministers and UNIA offici als caused a great stir. Her admonitions against do nothing preachers and men who used the UNIA for their own personal selfinterest did not go unnoticed.32 Miami Division President Claude Green made an appearance before Garvey one month later to answer Kofeys charges and discredit her claims. As Garvey sat in prison, the idea that someone outside the inner sanctum was drawing crow ds that rivaled in number the participants in UNIA parades and convention meeting events posed as a threat to his leadership. During her camp style meetings, Kofey enc ouraged the audience to Enroll your names with your Mother, children. If you dont have but one drop of black blood in you, and know you 30 Negro World, June 11, 1927; July 23, 1927. 31 Kofey, Mothers Sacred Teachings p. 23; Barbara Bair, Ethiopia, p. 55; Negro World, May 7, 1927, May 14, 1927; Mobile Register August 18, 1926. 32 Kofey, Mothers Sacred Teachings p. 9
173 cannot pass for white, enroll your name with Mother.33 The immediate response to her call indicated the extent of her popularity. In the month of April 1927, Kofey single-handedly registered 1,000 new members for the UNIA. As her popularity rose, rather than earning accolades she earned new enemies.34 Although the UNIA praised Laura Kofey for her efforts, it shunned her for them. Still, Kofey, like Ashw ood and Davis, continued to maintain an unwavering allegiance to the orga nizations ideals and sought ways to have those programs ideals become a reality. Laura Kofey is another example of the unique ness of UNIA women and their approach to racial uplift. Her life illustrated the ideologies an d practice of racial uplif t that blended nationalist trends of the 1920s and the ideals expressed in the womens movement of the same period. Black Nationalism during this period has been defined as a belief that black powerlessness could be overcome by setting up mechan isms of self-determination.35 It has also been defined by Wilson Jeremiah Moses as more than a mere a dissatisfaction with conditions in the United States.36 The dissatisfaction felt by many African-A mericans during the 1920s translated into an impulse toward self determination among Africans transplanted to the New World by the slave trade.37 Their goals were defined as racial goals, as race wa s central to the environment in which they lived. 38 These goals were well packaged by th e UNIA. It was also internalized and reinterpreted by UNIA women. As noted throughout this dissertation, women in the organization were anxious to see the UNIAs programs actualized. One such program as expressed in the UNIA objective To 33 Miami Herald March 12, 1928; Kofey, Mothers Sacred Teachings p. 44; The Church: Why Mother Established the Church and What It Stands For (N.p.: Jacksonville, FL, N.d.). 34 Negro World, May 14, 1927. 35 Rodney P Carlisle, The Roots of Black Nationalism (New York: Kennikat Press Corp., 1975), p. 6. 36 Wilson J. Moses, Classical Black Nationalis m: From American Revolution to Marcus Garvey (New York: NYU Press, 1996), p. 2. 37 Wilson, Classical Black Nationalism, p. 3. 38 Ibid, p. 6.
174 Establish Universities, Colleges and Secondary Schools for the Further Education and Culture of our Boys and Girls led to in th e formation of Liberty University.39 The pursuit of education as a form of liberation, much like repatriation proj ects, was long held thr oughout the Diaspora as a means to overcoming imperialism and racism. Ju st as Kofey advocated a literal approach to repatriation that included building new towns in Africa and establishing trade with existing native-run entities, she was also a staunch supporter of an et hnic-based education that would enlighten her listeners to the realities of an Africa well managed by native people.40 She encouraged all peoples of the Diaspora to equip themselves to help build stronger nations in Africa in cooperation with their native brothers and sisters. Th is differed slightly from the UNIAs approach to education which sought to train boys and girls for service on the continent of Africa. The UNIAs popularity in Virginia was due in large part to pre-existing programs that attempted to remedy the evils of Jim Crow to varying degrees.41 The founding of Liberty University, really the purchasi ng of Smallwood-Corey school, was heralded as one of Garveys early achievements in establishing a formal trai ning school. Garveys original intention was a Tuskegee-like institu tion in Jamaica that would ... in time furnish competent men and women as technical missionaries to be sent to the mother country ---Africa."42 It was also used to promote a figurative and literal link with Africa, as the schools site was alleged to be the spot where Negro slaves landed in 1622 and near the dise mbarking point of the first cargo of (American) 39 The exact date of the publication of the pamphlet is no t known. The pamphlet itself is simply dated July-August 1914. A series of pamphlets authored by Garvey in 1914 carry the same date. Robert Hill, Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers vol. 1 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983), pp. 5570. 40 Kofey, Mothers Sacred Teachings p. 18. 41 Claudrena Harold, The Rise and Fall, p. 91; Bair, Renegotiating Liberty, p. 223. 42 Amy Jacques Garvey, Garvey and Garveyism (1963; reprint, New York: Octagon books, 1978), pp. 13, 173; Marcus Garvey and the Universal Ne gro Improvement Association Papers vol. 6, pp. 338 39; According to historian Barbara Bair, the Tuskegee conn ection was also a link with Virginia because of Booker T. Washington's training and Hampton Institute.
175 slaves in 1619.43 By buying this land, the UNIA attemp ted to reconnect themselves with the past and the history lost duri ng the Middle Passage. The presid ent and vice-president of the Smallwood-Corey School and members of the UNIA, Caleb Robinson and Dr. St. Clair Drake contended: because of the history of the place an d its sacredness to (our) group we are deciding to make it the Southern Headqua rters of the Garvey Back to Africa movement, and have there a great school to teach and train boys and girls, men and women of African descent 44 The training offered was to enable students to live in Africa and be an asset and not a liability.45 To highlight the importance of their asset status the Negro World described the school to readers as the development of a distinct school for Negro people, in which they may learn something about themselves and their race, and about Afri ca, their Motherland, which they could not learn in other race schools, nor in the white schools open to them... To be taught that the Negro has as many ri ghts as any other ra cial group and that he needs a country and a flag of his own in order to make effective his rights, is something new in Negro education.46 While UNIA officials stressed the importance of fostering a generati on ready to serve and work in Africa, the Africa Kofey portrayed was not in need of missionaries, nor did it suffer from a lack of educated and able people. Kofey depicted Africa as a cont inent of landed peoples with an infrastructure that was ready and w illing to receive those willing to come. She proclaimed that it is the natives, who, in many countr ies of Africa, own and control their homelands. And since they owned and c ontrolled their homelands it is in the Africans themselves who carried on i ndustries and commerce of their own 43 Caleb Robinson to John Powell, March 26, 1926, John Powell Collection, Special Collections, Alderman Library, University of Virginia, Charlottesville. 44 Caleb Robinson to John Powell, March 26, 1926, John Powell Collection, Special Collections, Alderman Library, University of Virginia, Charlottesville. 45 Caleb Robinson to John Powell, March 26, 1926, John Powell Collection, Special Collections, Alderman Library, University of Virginia, Charlottesville. 46 Negro World, January 8, 1927.
176 countries, selling their raw ma terials to the markets of the world and in turn buying all kinds of ma nufactured goods. 47 Kofeys depiction of Africa spoke of citi es operated and managed by African people.48 Many of these cities had every modern convenien ce---of black mayors, city authorities, houses of legislature of Natural Rulers, kings and leaders.49 Instead of sending missionaries to Africa or preachers, Laura Kofey as ked her listeners to work with natives. She asserted a need for skilled laborers and encouraged the honing of skills to help Africa develop further. According to Kofey, what it took to make lif e livable in the Americas was no different than what it would take to deve lop Africas interior. The skill sets honed as sharecroppers, day laborers, factory workers, educator s, journalists, and entrepreneur s were all deemed essential in Kofeys repatriation schemes. The membership accepted her words as a direct message from Africa. According to Mrs Adel Jennings of Jacksonville, FL, listeners were taken with her plain folk approach and heard in her words their potential to play an active role in African redemption.50 Through her, they could do more than simply buy stock in fledgling enterprises or stage figurative battles of reclamation thr ough parades and land purch ases. She depicted an Africa that was very real, reachabl e, and desirous of their return. As Garvey and the UNIA staged parades thr ough the streets of Harlem, boldly claiming those streets as (African-American) political terr itory, Laura Kofey encouraged her listeners to take a trip to Africa and estab lished themselves there. After doing so, she claimed they should make the trip back over here. You will say me smell something stink.51 The stench in the air 47 Kofey, Mothers Sacred Teachings p. 18. 48Ibid, p. 27. 49 Ibid, p. 18. 50 Ibid, pp. 62-64. 51 Ibid, p. 67.
177 of the Americas for Kofey was the rot of racism low self concept, gender bias, and ignorance that kept people of the Diaspora disconnect ed from the continent and their potential. While Laura Kofey established churches in th e United States, she only did so in the hopes that those churches would serve as links to West Africa. In looki ng at her travels in each city where she established a church, there was a connection to major ports or other modes of transportation. This was not an accident. In ke eping with the goals of her diplomatic mission, Kofey appeared to seek ports of call where trade and transport of goods could occur. Her Florida converts claimed that the choice of Jacksonville as her home in America was due in large part to the citys relative proximity to Africa.52 Kofeys intention was to ship and receive goods between the two continents, thus creating a 20th Century triangle of trad e run for and by Africans and their Diasporic cousins. Kofeys desire to establish a trade business brought he r to the ports of Jacksonville. She was also guided, as mentioned earlier, by her belief that Jacksonville was the closest place literally and figuratively to Africa.53 At the time of her notoriet y, Jacksonville, FL was plagued by lynching and acts of terror whic h led her to suggest that Negroes, learn to help yourselves, create your own jobs, build your own enterprises. Clean up your lives--love one another, patronize one another. If you dont learn to help yourselves and bu ild industries and commerce with your Motherland Africa you are doomed and done for. 54 Keeping Africa at the forefront of the minds of followers was essential to the UNIA program. The greatness of Africa was often spoken of and many UNIA officials, including Provisional President Genera l Marcus Garvey, held fictive leader ship positions that linked to the 52 Kofey, Mothers Sacred Teachings p. 69. 53 Ibid, p. 35. 54 Ibid, p. 60.
178 continent.55 Africa was not presented to the UNIA lay membership as a series of independent countries, but instead as one large occupied state. Kofeys assert ion of mayors, legislatures, and councils in Africa served to pr esent a more nuanced and credib le view, albeit exaggerated at points. Her credibility in making these claims of a civilized Africa, was bolstered by her appearance. Unlike Garvey, Kofey never craf ted a vision of a regaled Africa dressed, paradoxically in European-style uniforms and pl umbed hats. Instead, she was described by her followers as a beautiful brown-skinned woman of medium height in her early 30s with a head full of lovely hair, but not straightened, who wo re at all times only plain Western-style dresses and except for harboring an African-made gold broach, there was no jewelry seen on her.56 Her choice of dress also served to endear her to listeners. She looked like them. The efficient womanhood of the UNIA became more detailed through Kofeys style of dress and her mannerisms, which included a light quick step and a presence that seemed to command respect and intense admiration.57 Efficient women like Kofey were approachable, celebrated people for who they were, and saw a place in the fight fo r racial progress for everyone regardless of educational background or economic status. Eyewitness accounts of her rallie s described her message as being one of good news and glad tidings from Africa. In these speeches she reiterated three key points. She began by offering greetings and reminding the audience that they had been away from home a long time. Secondly she asked "why have you not made preparations to come home?; and her last point 55 Within the UNIA hierarchy, Garvey bestowed titles that reflected the government in exile status the UNIA claimed. He was Provisional President, and had appo inted a Leader of the Negro people in America and a Leader of the People of the People of the West Indies as well as a host of other fictive officers in anticipation of a winning a battle for control of the continent. For greater detail on the UNIAs government in exile please see Jahi Issa, The Universal Negro Improvement Association in Louisiana: Creating a Provisional Government in Exile (Ph.D. Dissertation: Howard University, 2005). 56 Kofey, Mothers Sacred Teachings pp. 15-16. 57 Ibid, p. 16.
179 was to assure listeners that in the Gold Coast (n ow Ghana) there is a doo r open (to all Africa) to you and a hearty welcome waiting you there."58 She asked that they begin to purchase machinery and tools to send to Africa instead of sponsoring trips for preachers who know nothing else to do but preach.59 The jobs women and men already performed in UNIA-based projects, such as the Negro Factories Corporation and Mill inery, the community-based vege table gardens sponsored by the Black Cross Nurses, and the UNIA run restaurants made them assets to Africa. The free labor women gave to the organization, as secretaries, lay organizers, cooks, nurse s, elocutionists, and businesswomen provided skills and ab ilities that would carry them fa r in helping to build Africa. The efficient womanhood of the UNIA became just that, a means of always finding new avenues of doing to help advance the race. Through the blending of strategies and expansion and re-fashioning of ideals prevalent in the period, Kofey and other UNIA women lived a distinct form of activism. As a result, a record of what can be described as more than femi nist, more than black radi cal, less than elitist, and equal to the contributions of the male contemporaries remain s. The uniqueness of Kofey in particular and of the lay membership in general remains to be included in discourses centered on the intersections of race, gender and class. Hist orians of club women often argue that the women kept themselves both emotionally and of ten physically distant form the masses.60 They find them to be less in touch with the masses of persons they sought to assist and more in tune with a personal quest to prove themselves to society at large. Within this group, however, there were 58 Ibid, p. 17. 59 Ibid, p. 49. 60 Shirley J. Carlson, Black Ideals of Womanhood in the Late Victorian Era The Journal of Negro History vol. 77, No. 2. (Spring, 1992), pp. 61-73.; Dorothy Schneider, American women in the Progressive Era, 1900-1920 (New York : Facts on File, 1993); Dorothy Sterling, We are your sisters : black women in the nineteenth century (New York : W.W. Norton, 1997); Dorothy Sterling, Black ForeMothers : three lives. (New York: Feminist Press, 1979.)
180 women and men who spoke very sp ecifically of the type of up lift they sought for their race regardless of social status or economic back ground. Such persons existed in the UNIA and Laura Kofey was one of them. As a native of Africa, Kofey believed that Diaspora blacks needed to know more about their heritage and the lives of persons living in Africa.61 She proposed to initiate an import/export relationship between the UNIA and her fathers kingdom in Accra. At the time of her death, it was believed that Ki ng Kinespi of Accra would come to the United States to have her murder investigated. Th is never occurred, however.62 Her connection with Accra and King Kinespi has generated some debate both during he r lifetime and among historians since. While the UNIA began the rumor of her forged ancestry to discredit her, it also urged government officials to deport her in December of 1927.63 In recent years the contention over her authenticity as an African appears to have been settled by Richard Newman, where correspondence with her family and church follo wers has substantiated the legitimacy of her claims.64 Relatives of Kofey were s till in governmental positions as late as 1973 and provided letters from Kofeys church where she served as a medium (the equivalent to a prophetess in this country) and from the government registry attes ting to the birth and lineage of Laura Adorkor Kofey of Accra, Ghana, West Africa.65 The rift between Kofey and the UNIA and th e ministerial alliance occurred for several reasons. First, she presented herself as a lay pr eacher directed by God at a time when women in 61 Richard Newman,Laura Adorkor Kofey Research Collection, 1926-1981 Box 1, Folder 8 at Schomburg Research Library Letters from the Ghana Finance Minister 1974 (New York: New York). 62 Negro King Coming on Murder Inquiry. New York Times (March 21, 1928), 13(2). 63 Negro World, December 27, 1927. 64 Richard Newman, Laura Adorkor Kofey Research Collection, 1926-1981 Box 1, Folder 8 at Schomburg Research Library Letters from the Ghana Fina nce Minister 1974 (New York: New York). 65 Richard Newman, Laura Adorkor Kofey Research Collection, 1926-1981 Box 1, Folder 8 at Schomburg Research Library Letters from the Ghana Fina nce Minister 1974 (New York: New York)..
181 the pulpit were not readily accepted. Although th e UNIA had canonized the Virgin Mary and depicted her as the ideal black woman at the behest of female delegates Hannah Nichols and Carrie Minus at the 1924 UNIA Co nvention, the organization appear ed unprepared for a woman who openly defied organization conventions. Ko fey spoke out against fundraising events that included dancing and liquor. She also objected to the African Legion and the African Motor Corps running drills on Sundays. Many UNIA branch es met in churches and held meetings and drill practice after chur ch. For Princess Kofey, however, this wa s sacrilege as it constituted work on the Lords Day. Kofeys exception to these practices was not unique and reflected not only the sentiments of women in the organization, but was also a theme of many AfricanAmerican women and men preachers alike throughout the late 19th Century and early 20th Century.66 The involvement of some 250 preachers and missionaries, men and women, in the UNIA has been documented by Randall Burkett in Garveyism as a Religious Movement and Black Redemption: Churchmen Speak for the Garvey Movement. There is no documented evidence of any of the preachers taking similar stands on th e presence of dancing and alcohol at UNIA fundraisers. Some of the female missionaries, in cluding Emily Kinch, expressed a disdain for the atmosphere at some of the UNIA fundraisers.67 However, many male preachers did take exception to Kofeys ability to sway members and became alarmed at her rapid rise to prominence. As the people moved, so did their tithes and offerings. While the UNIA posed a financial threat, ministers aligned themselves with the organization in part to bridge the gap in their collection plates. To offset losses, many assesse d rental fees for the use of the church halls. 66 For more on African-American women and the blending of the prophetic tradition and nationalism please see Kathy L. Glass, Courting Communities: Black Female Nationalism and Syncre-Nationalism in the Nineteenth Century North ( New York: Routledge, 2006); Gayle T. Tate, Unknown Tongues: Black Womens Political Activism in the Ante Bellum Era, 1830-1860 (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2003); Shirley Wilson Logan, We Are Coming The Persuasive Discours e of Nineteenth-Century Black Women (Carbondale & Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1999). 67 Negro World, August Convention 1925 reprinted in the Negro World
182 Laura Kofeys rise to prominence, while sole ly based on her work as a UNIA organizer, presented no possibilities for gain ing additional revenues for local mi nisters. That people would follow her, whether she was in the organization or not, implied that she could take monies away from the UNIA pot. By 1926, as Garvey faced deportation, Amy J acques Garvey along with Henrietta Vinton Davis became the de facto head of the UNIA. Their leadership was heavily contested. Laura Kofey took center stage during this period of turmoil in the orga nization. The timing of Kofeys ascent provided the context for the fierce opposition she encountered. Garv eys trial identified many inadequacies of male officials, most of w hom resigned from office at the start of the BSL crisis. Concurrent with Garveys imprisonment wa s a heated discussion in the African-American community and society at large ove r the appropriateness of women preaching from the pulpit. In 1924 the Episcopal Church voted down by 191 to 49 a resolution that called for the womanhood of the church to be represented in the church councils equally with the manhood of the church68 The phrasing of the resolution mimicked what UNIA women asked for and received at the 1922 Convention. UNIA women, already sensitized to discussions of women s place, began to assert themselves again in 1924, as they watched women in the U.S. and Great Britain seek leadership in churches. They noticed that men had begun to let the copyright on Ch ristianity run out and sought to re-establish its rele vance in their communities.69 African-Americans of the period came under internal and external criticism for fa lling prey to the many vices of the 1920s. UNIA women found that many preachers were not doin g enough to protect their families from evils, like alcohol, gambling and fornication and sought wa ys to have them become more vocal. This 68 Negro World, November 1, 1924. 69 Negro World, November 20, 1926.
183 atmosphere, when coupled with columns in the Negro World entitled The Exigencies of Leadership authored by Lady Davis, noted that women were ready and prepared to act if their men continued to procrastinate. In response to rumblings among some of the male hierarchy regarding the sentiments Davis expressed, Amy J acques Garvey issued an apology of sorts. Jacques apologized for wanting equal opportunity to fulfill any position in the organization and was regretted that this offended any old fashioned-tyrannical feelings of those who continuously spoke of a better day coming while they did nothing to usher in that day.70 Not only did Kofey speak of a brighter day, she intima ted that the day had da wned as Africa awaited the return of her children. Laura Kofey Persona Non Grata Aside from their discontent with the limitati ons they faced within the organization and those the church placed on them, Kofey and othe r women also expressed dissatisfaction with the role of Christian nations in the abuses of Third World countries and the fa ilure of the church to engage in a program of progress.71 They referenced the monies that flowed into churches on Sunday, while the jobless and penniless saw little or none of it. The church needed to do more, and the UNIA presented itself as a means of doing so. 72 Laura Kofey also agreed that more needed to be done, but did not live long enough to realize her ambitions. The challenge, however, was taken up by her followers who not only formally incorporated her church, but established a Swahili dictionary to teach the language to members and sent four missions to Africa to set up schools and esta blish ties with the government in hopes of carrying out her 70 Negro World, October 17, 1925; January 9, 1926; October 24, 1925. 71 For more on African-American women and their disc ontent with the church please see Evenly Brooks Higginbotham, Righteous Discontent: The Women's Movement in the Black Baptist Church, 1880-1920 (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1993), pp. 122, 146-147, 185-229. 72 Negro World, September 5, 1925; October 10, 1925; October 31, 1925; June 12, 1926.
184 import/export endeavors.73 Unlike the UNIA, Kofeys African Universal Church implemented practical stratagems, albeit with limite d success, to redeem the Diaspora. The second reason for Princess Kofeys pers ona non grata status in the UNIA was that her popularity threatened to dilute the hero worship that sustained Garveys power74 Followers of Kofey were not hers alone, but me mbers of the UNIA. Her first and foremost call to listeners was to turn to Af rica to redeem themselves and th eir Motherland. The redemption of Africa was not solely grounded in what the Diaspora could literally do for the continent, but in what the people of the Diaspora could do for th emselves. She claimed my God, call me out of Africa to come over here and tell you what He would have you to do, and although she claimed to be reluctant to answer the call because she was a woman, she we nt on to explain that God only intended to use me until He find a man.75 Not only did her statements imply her divine connection, but also suggested that no man alive at the time was capable of the task. This was most damaging as Garvey had very few male allie s left in the United States and infighting among Division leaders and the headquarter s played out publicly in the African-American press. Still, Kofey never publicly denounced Garvey nor sp ecifically named any of the UNIA men or ministers who attempted to defame her. Like Ashwood, Jacques and Davis, Kofey enj oyed a degree of not oriety throughout the UNIA world. However, the most favorable response s to her presence came from the Southeast. 73 Newman, p. 140; Richard Newman, The Origins of the African Orthodox Church Introductory essay in The Negro Churchman: The Official Organ of the African Orthodox Church (Millwood: Kraus reprint Co., 1977), pp. Iii-xxii; --African Orthodox Church. The Negro Churchman Millwood, N.Y.: Kraus Reprint Co, 1923. For more on the success and failures of some of Kofe ys followers please see Peter F. Anson, Bishops at Large (London: Faber and Faber, 1964); Newman interv iew with Reverend John Dean, Dania Fl orida, July 28, 1973, Interview with the Most Reverend Carey Harold Jones, Accra Ghana, July 1, 1971 & Interview with Robert E. Keyes, Jacksonville, FL, July 25, 1973 in Richard Newman. Laura Adorkor Kofey Research Collection, 1926-1981 The New York Public Library Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture b. 1 f. 8 Correspondence, 1972-81. 74 Bair, Ethiopia p. 56. 75Kofey, Mothers Sacred Teachings p. 41.
185 The limitations in exposure Kofey faced, in part, may rest with her inability to establish a direct connection to Garvey himself. Laura Kofey wa s an outsider. Although she was honored with a banquet for her efforts to capture the hearts of the people, for the expansion of UNIA ranks in Florida and Alabama, and the re-b irth of branches in New Orl eans and Georgia, she was never part of Garveys inner circle as were Davis and Garveys wives.76 Still, her willingness to follow the UNIAs program spoke to her willingness to overlook Garveys flaws in deference to the goals he established. Her alle giance to Garvey was further demonstrated when she gathered 1500 signatures and sent them on behalf of the J acksonville Branch with a letter to President Calvin Coolidge petitioning for Garveys release.77 Kofey is said to have collected the signatures easily. Not only were people gatheri ng to hear her, they were doing as she asked. Despite her disagreement with some UNIA polic ies, like its fundraising techniques, Kofeys participation in UNIA efficient womanhood led he r to champion Garveys freedom just the same.78 The third reason for Kofey being ostracized st emmed from her relationship with whites in law enforcement. Laura Kofey was arrested twice in the state of Florid a after prompting from ministers and UNIA officials in each community. Her first arrest was in St. Petersburg and her second was in Jacksonville. In both instances she was bailed out of jail by her followers in a matter of hours.79 In each instance she was charged with disturbing the peace. J.A. Craigen, Marcus Garveys attorney, was in Jacksonville at the time of Kofeys September 22, 1927 arrest. From eyewitness accounts and articles published in the Negro World, Craigens main goal was to discredit Laura Kofey. In a telegram sent to Craigen at the Richmond Hotel in Jacksonville on 76 Negro World, May 7, 1927, May 14, 1927, June 11, 1927, July 23, 1927, September 17, 1927, October 22, 1927 & November 22, 1927 77 Negro World, June 4, 1927. 78 Negro World, August 2, 1927; Mothers Sacred Teachings p. 19. 79 Negro World, October, 1, 1927; Kofey, Mothers Sacred Teachings pp. 25 & 30.
186 October 10, 1927 Marcus Garvey, then incarcerat ed in the Atlanta Pe nitentiary, Garvey instructed Carigen to: Insert notice in local white daily that Laur a Kofey has no connection with the Universal Negro Improvement Association and Association shall not hold yourse lf responsible for any sums of money she may collect from th e public or membership of organization for any scheme in Africa. Charter of the divisi on that is entertaining her is revoked. Notify them of the same.80 Garveys request was preceded by a telegram on September 20, 1927, just two days before Kofey was arrested in the late hours of the night while sleeping, which read I have given Mrs. Kofey no authority to collect funds for members for any kind of African Exodus. I know nothing of her propos ition for sawmills and ships. I shall not be held responsible for activities in that damage. If the people have been defrauded, they have legal recourse. I author ize no one to give authority to collect funds for such a purpose. If the people are so dense as not to be able to protect themselves I can do no more. I know nothing of the affair.81 When taken in connection with Garveys telegrams, the presence of Craigen in Jacksonville, and the results of her trial, Ko feys arrest suggested there was some white cooperation with the UNIA. Although complete cour t records are not available, excerpts from the trial indicated that while in police custody the Princess was stripped naked and searched to determine if she had any roots on her body or a ny markings that would indicate she practiced black magic.82 According to reports, no evidence of her being anything than a human woman was found.83 Judge Madison addressed Ms. Kofey as the African woman causing all the trouble in Jacksonville, but he dismissed her case and left her free to carry on her program.84 Judge Madisons description of Kofey as the Afri can woman indicated that he viewed her as a part of a separate cadre from other blacks in Jacksonville. His dismissal of the case, which 80 Marcus Garvey to J.A. Craigen, October 10, 1927 AFRC, AP.ATG, on Western Union postal Message blank, straight telegram. 81 Marcus Garvey to J.A. Craigen, September 20, 1927 AFRC, AP.ATG, on Western Union postal Message blank, day letter. 82 Kofey, Mothers Sacred Teachings p. 31; Hill The UNIA Papers v. 6, pp. 594-594. 83 Newman, pp. 134-135. 84 Kofey, Mothers Sacred Teachings p. 34.
187 included allegations of fraud and misappropriation of funds, lends some degr ee of credibility to Kofeys efforts on behalf of African-American s in Florida and the UNIA at large. During Kofeys trial, J.A. Craigen appeared in court everyday with an unidentified white man. Present research has not yielded any official records that identify w ho he was. Eyewitness accounts state that Craigen was accompanied to court by an unidentified white man, a body guard and a female secretary.85 While researchers agree that Craigen was in Jacksonville to investigate Kofey, no offici al UNIA records or the Negro World specify who was in his entourage or why he would need one. Initially, it appeared that the white community supported the UNIAs desire to get Kofey quiet. However, the support was temporary as the case against her was dismissed and she was free to continue preaching throughout Florida. She was unable to enjoy this freedom for long. On March 8, 1928, the UNIA African Legion of the Miami Branch visited Laura Kofey as she spoke at the Liberty Hall located at NW 15th Street in Coconut Grove, Miami. It was a part of their routine to heckle Princess Kofey at her public appear ances. The night before, Kofey supporters and the UNIAs African Legion got into a tussle. In respons e the police padlocked the Coconut Grove Liberty Hall and prohibited its use by either group.86 Rather than cancel the meeting, Kofeys followers decided to move to another location, Fox Thompsons Hall. As they were not in an official UNIA building, Kofey and her audience felt the African Legion would leave them alone. What neither she nor anyone el se expected, however, was that a single shot would ring out, piercing her in th e head and silencing her instantl y. Allegedly the shot was fired from the back of the Fox Thompsons Hall, a dist ance of fifty feet, indicating that a person of some skill would have been the executioner. 85 Ibid, p. 31 & 33. 86 Miami Daily News March 9, 1928; Miami Herald March 12, 1928; Daily Gleaner April 3, 1928;
188 Many of the men in the African Legion possessed the military training necessary to fire a gun. Historian Barbra Bair notes that many of the members of the African Legion were World War I veterans.87 The men alleged to have killed Ko fey were Maxwell Cook, a Jamaican who served as captain of the Miam i Divisions Legion, James Nimmo, a Bahamian and Colonel of the Legion, and Claude Green, presid ent of the Miami UNIA branch.88 Present research indicates that none of these men have military records. Whether they were the actual murderers remains in dispute. Maxwell Cook was beaten to death by Kofeys followers shortly after the Princess fell dead. Nimmo escaped a similar fate as he recal led being handcuffed to the steering wheel of a police car. Neither he, nor any other eyewitness account s indicated how he managed to get to the police car or why he was handcuffed.89 Along with Nimmo, thirteen others, all men, were arrested by the Miami Dade Police with twelve being released. Only Green was held in connection with the murder. On June 28, 1928, he was indicted on the charge of first degree murder, and James Nimmo was indicted for being an accessory before the fact for aiding and abetting Green.90 Eyewitness accounts claimed that Nimmo recei ved a signal from Maxwell Cook to take the shot. Disputing these accounts, Claude Gr een provided documentation that he was under medical care for his diabetes and was actually home that evening as per his doctors recommendation. Nimmo presented witnesses that testified to his being at the meeting, but was actually on his way out when the shot was fired, leaving with seventy other men on the Legion 87 Bair, True Women, Real Men p. 158. 88 Files no. 14 and 19, Criminal Court Records, Dade County Courthouse, Miami, Florida. 89 Ibid. 90 Ibid.
189 roll. 91 The jury returned a not guilty verdict for both defendants on July 10, 1928. Judge John D. Johnson ordered both men to remain in th e custody of Robert Stokes, a UNIA member on good terms with the white community.92 No subsequent investigation into the death of Maxwell Cook or any follow up investigation into the death of Laura Kofey has ever been conducted. To date, both deaths remain unsolved. After a cooling off period, James Green emigrated to Canada and James Nimmo returned to his native Bahamas. The vol untary departure of both men from Florida, and subsequently the United States, creates room fo r further discussion on w ho assassinated Laura Kofey and why. Monies for the defense of the alleged assailants were raised through donations from the UNIA membership. This was not the fi rst time funds were solicited for the defense of accused murders within the organization. Similar strategies were employed for the defense of James Easons killers after his fall from grace in the UNIA. Although his killers were found guilty, their sentences were drastically re duced and both assailants freed from jail.93 While Laura Kofey presented a challenge to Ma rcus Garveys leadership, she did not do so to the UNIAs program. In fact, she based much of her churchs philosophy and practices on the UNIA program and even used, One God. On e Aim. One Destiny, the UNIA motto as the churchs motto. Her attempts to warn Garvey of the less than honest men in his circle during her penitentiary visit were not well received. Instead she was viewed as a threat. Her popularity, ability to mobilize her audiences among the grassroots, her direct link to Africa beyond Liberia, and her unwillingness to compromise her convictions despite pressures from the UNIA and the ministerial alliances made he r a perceived threat. 91 Newman, p. 144 n. 12. 92 Ibid.; Newman, p. 133. 93 Issa, pp. 124-141.; James Eason was accused by members of the Louisiana Division of misappropriation of funds and sexual misconduct.
190 Like Davis, Kofey severed her relationshi p with Garvey but not the UNIA. She continued to promote its goals. In fact, on th e night of her murder she was speaking not on behalf of the church she was attempting to esta blish, but on behalf of the UNIA. Her tenure in the UNIA gained her much fanfare at the time of her death; however, it was only recently that her grave marker was discovered, as it was left unattended. Not only had she been neglected by the history books, but she was ignored by the community she helped to establish. Kofey represents the perfect example of the challe nges many UNIA women faced while attempting to remain members of the organization. Contemplating her life is but one answer to the appeal by Jacques biographer Ula Taylor to have historians present cons iderations of the organization which challenge our understa nding of Marcus Garvey and Garveyism and unveil the complicated reality of a black radical.94 Laura Kofeys Life and Lessons According to Barbara B air, the violent martyrdom of Laura Kofey can serve as a metaphor in examining gender politics and ideas of power and authority that imbued the Garvey movement.95 Laura Adorkor Kofeys life, her mysterious entry onto the UNIA stage and her violent death presents many challenges for histor ians of race, gender, the long freedom struggle and the Atlantic world. Kofey established he r authority whenever sh e spoke publicly. She would begin by introducing herself a nd stating that I am a representative of the Gold Coast of West Africa seeking the welfare of African peoples everywhere.96 She set out to see Africa redeemed and my children in Africa.97 Part of that redemption called for African Americans to s tick together and pool their money toward 94 Taylor, Veiled Garvey p. 1. 95 Bair, Ethiopia, p. 38. 96 Kofey, Mothers Sacred Teachings p. 44. 97 Ibid,p. 46.
191 collective events as occurred when monies raised from her viewing were used to build a church and establish homes for members. Two years later the training school she originally established in her front parlor was relocated to a building of its own. It wa s bought in part with investment returns from the funeral proceeds an d monies donated by church members.98 Kofey admonished her audiences not to believe false repo rts that Africans were b ackward or that blacks lacked the capability to establis h and govern their own countries. While encouraging listeners to serve G od, love your Motherland Africa, she also encouraged them to aspire to become dedicat ed men and women who ar e skilled workers such as engineers, carpenters, bricklayers, mech anics, ice men, and men and women trained and qualified in the professions to help those al ready working in those capacities to build the Motherland. 99 Here Kofey did something interesting. She named the blue collar professions and as a result gave them status by noting they had counterparts in Africa. She recognized skilled trades as important and those in them but by listing these everyday jobs she signified their importance in the building of Africa and ultimately the black nation. As demonstrated throughout this work, the UNIAs brand of empowerment was not to be the exclusive right of educated elites or be pa id for at the expense of the common black man. Kofeys life is just one illustration that the type of empowerment the UNIA sought would not come at the expense of one economic group over another. The nation Kofey spoke of needed every profession, therefore giving every person, male, female, and lawyer and brick layer significance. Kofey grounded her authority in her belief that she was divinely chosen not only because of her royal African blood, but also as she professed to be led by God. Although she was 98 Jacksonville Times Union April 12, 1930. 99 Kofey, Mothers Sacred Teachings p. 49.
192 received temporarily into Garveys inner circle, she never received any of the royal titles he gave to members of the UNIA hierarchy. It is arguable that she did not need one as her direct lineage provided her one. Kofeys idea of Back to Africa was both lite ral and figurative. She dreamed of a connection between Africa and her li steners. In her view, the st rides that African-American s made toward their own economic self-sufficiency were inextricably linked to the solvency of their African brothers and sist ers. Kofey not onl y sought to build an Africa for African Americans, but also to establish a base where Af ricans could come to America. Her work as a UNIA loyalist, a prophetess, an entrepreneur, a te acher, and an activist in the American South, suggests her centrality as a Diasporic figure. Kofeys life challenged historical interpretati ons of the Atlantic World. The Atlantic World framework heretofore has been largely limited to the 17th and early19th Centuries. Kofey came from Accra to the United States via Engla nd much like travelers of the Atlantic Slave trade. She apparently even travelled back to Africa from the United States in early 1926.100 She spoke of symmetry between the people she met in Florida and those she le ft behind in Accra. After her death, adherents of her beliefs and as pirations continued her work. In 1944 an AUC sponsored community was established in Jacksonvill e, FL. Its aims were to create (1) A law abiding Christian community, (2) A memorial to Laura Kofey, (3) An opportunity to educate the groups children, (4) A means for cooperation with the political st ate, and (5) A way to live an African-American existence.101 The community known as Adorkorville, establ ished a school that ta ught African history, languages, geography and culture. The congregati on and other adherents were encouraged to 100 Bair, Ethiopia, p. 48; Newman, p. 141. 101 Kofey, Mothers Sacred Teachings pp. Ii-iii.
193 speak Xhosa-Zulu, and a book with basic sentence s and translated Bible passages was freely distributed.102 In Alabama, church members learned to pray in Banta a nd were taught Xhosa group songs.103 While promoting preparation for repatriation in the African-American community, the church also sought to solidify connections with Africa. In 1931, the AUC sent six men to Africa in hopes of starting schools and negotiating trade agreements. This effort was short lived as the churchs finan ces could not maintain the efforts.104 The establishment of the church and its attempts at foster ing credible attempts at fulfilli ng UNIA goals serves as just one other measure of Kofeys impact. Laura Kofeys life and legacy extended fa r beyond the UNIA. Her presence adds to Floridas Atlantic World connections and also serves as evidence of the far reaching expanses of the UNIA. Her work also speaks to the staunc h adherence of many UNIA women to the melding of both gender and nationalist goals albeit at a price no other woman in the UNIA was asked to pay. 102 Newman interview with Robert E. Keyes, Jacksonville, FL, December 2, 1975 in Richard Newman. Laura Adorkor Kofey Research Collection, 1926-1981 The New Yo rk Public Library Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture b. 1 f. 8 Correspondence, 1972-81 103 African Universal Hymnal (Jacksonville, 1961), p. 6. 104 Peter F. Anson, Bishops At Large (London: Faber and Faber, 1964), pp. 278-279.
194 CHAPTER 6 CONCLUSION Garveyite wom en embraced a form of Black Nationalism that was influenced simultaneously by their UNIA involvement and by their gender concerns. For them, the aspirations of both the UNIAs brand of Black Nationalism and the womens movement were not mutually exclusive. This perception helped UNIA women blend the ideals of both movements to create and define their own space. The path wa s not easily paved and, as this dissertation has demonstrated, was blocked by obstacles eman ating from both inside and outside the organization. In the face of such challenges, however, women of the organization developed a rhetoric and a myriad of rela ted practical strategies an efficient womanhood which enabled them to influence, direct, and shape the organization in significant ways. According to Lionel Yard, [T] he cyclic rise of Garvey to fame (and ultimately the UNIA) began when he and Amy (Ashwood) organized the UNIA in 1914.1 The organizations influence peaked in the United States in 1920, in part, due to Ashwoods diligence in ensuring that the organizations newspaper, the Negro World, reached doorsteps throughout Harlem free of charge. The paper was not only historically invaluable in promoting Garveyism, but it also remains historiographically vita l for those who would try to r ecover the names and assess the contributions of women in the UNIA, like t hose who joined the Black Cross Nurses, for example. Although it has its limitations as a source, the Negro World is the starting point for any effort to detail the activities of women in Garv eys inner circle and those who remained on the outskirts. While Ashwoods tenure with the orga nization was brief, this singular contribution, establishing the ci rculation of the Negro World, helped to secure the success of the UNIA and create the major historical source for its study. 1 Yard, Biography of Amy Ashwood p. 75.
195 The organization began to gradually decline in 1926. During its brie f six-year period of ascendency however, many African American wo men found voice and status within its ranks, and cultivated a brand of activism that lasted well beyond the organizations hey-day. Yet their achievements and their activism remain largely unknown to scholars and students of history. The unearthing of the names of these women and the discovery of the expansive healthcare and social networks they instituted to cure spiritual and physical ills represents a first step in reassessing the roles of everyday women in th e UNIA, in the history of the long African American freedom struggle, and in the annals of Black Nationalism. While this dissertation makes no claims to be a comprehensive history of all the women within the Garveyite universe, by using local and national sources, it follows the careers of many female adherents who occupied quite different positions within th e UNIA hierarchy and who worked in various communities around the United States and sometim es beyond. By exploring the lives of these women, the dissertation not only restor es at least some of them to th e historical record, but it also helps to raise questions for further study and o ffer possibilities for new research into the motivations and activities of Garveyite women. Fo r example, there is still much to be done to uncover their work as members and their lives befo re and after membership in the organization. This dissertations examination of Am y Ashwood Garvey, Amy Jacques Garvey, Henrietta Vinton Davis, the Black Cross Nurses and Princess Laura Adorkor Kofey attempts to flesh out the multiple and divers e roles of women in the organization. It also depicts the many conflicts that these women faced within the UNIA and with themselves as they sought to improve conditions for black men and all women. Despite many obstacles and open disagreements with the male leadership and among themselves, they generally remained faithful to Garvey and the UNIA program even in the face of Garveys shortcomings as a political leader
196 and as a man. Their efforts were all driven by their desire to help Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association succee d. In their minds, the organizations success was inextricably linked to the progress of the en tire race. Moreover, th eir conception of race went well beyond the plight of African Americ ans in North America, extending to AfricanAmerican people on all seven continents. The travels and trials of Lady Henrietta Vinton Davis throughout the Caribbean and Africa were but one example of the desire of UNIA women to encourag e the progress of the entire race. Her efforts were complemented by the Black Cross Nurses and Princess Laura Adorkor Kofeys efforts to heal the spiritua l, psychological and physic al scars of oppression throughout the Diaspora. The BCN, through its dedication to providing uniform healthcare policies and practices, attempted to elevate the status of informa lly trained healthcare workers so as to professionalize and modernize black nursi ng, but also worked to codify the use of homeopathic remedies. These home made cures were often herbal remedies passed down from generation to generation and were alleged to have African origins. The ecl ectic, pragmatic mix of ancient and modern, of Af rican and African American, approach es to nursing, was typical of the ways in which notions of efficient womanhood wo rked among women in the Garveyite universe. This was a fluid female domain; a brand of Bl ack Nationalism where practical needs usually outweighed doctrinal absolutism. The BCN, through its plays, also sought to extend the UNIAs affinity for Africa. In so doing they he lped further the UNIAs nationalist aims. The transnational and economic aims of the organization were given concrete direction when Laura Kofey, a native of Ghana, set out to establish an import/expor t business between the UNIA and her countrymen. Kofey furthered the BCNs knowledge of Africa as well as the understanding of others. She brought first-hand knowledge of the people of the continent and
197 their desires to UNIA audiences. Her depiction of the continent differed from what the lay membership had come to believe and presented Africa as a place of po ssibility and potential beyond being simply the site of missiona ry work and colonization schemes. Kofeys detailing of Africa and its needs were discovered to be accurate, albeit long after her death, by none other than Amy Ashwood. Th roughout her travels in Europe, the Americas, the Caribbean and Africa, Ashwood came to see both the significance of Marcus Garvey, but also the limitations of his ideals. She too not ed the need for an open exchange between the continent and the descende nts of slavery, but argued that it sh ould not come at the expense of the sole independence of African nations. She came to conclude that there could never be a united Africa with one government as Garvey envisioned. Still, his vision remains significant. Many African nations, including modern day Ghana, ironically the birth place of Laura Ko fey, drew on the UNIA model when establishing their nations.2 Even more significant are the ideals e xpressed by Garvey as they were practiced by the UNIA membership at large. In chronicli ng her late husbands speeches, letters and even his battles with other leaders of the period and with the U.S. government, Amy Jacques provided a window into the world of not only Garvey, but more importantly, the intricacies of the UNIA itself. In so doing, Garvey, the man and the myth, was revealed. The struggles the lay membership, particularly women me mbers, also came to the fore. UNIA women tried hard not to sacrifice the advancement of their ge nder at the expense of their racial concerns, nor to promote their ra ce at the expense of their gender concerns. The two were inextricably linked in their minds. For many female members, their activism began prior to their participation in th e UNIA. The organization helped them to hone skills that they 2 An example of this can be found in the flag and name of the naval fleet of Ghana. Ghanas Black Star Line, established in 1965 flies a red,green and gold flag with a bl ack star in the center. It operates in operates in Accra, the capital of Ghana, the birthpl ace of Laura Adorkor Kofey.
198 had already developed and provided them with an audience and credentials as organizers. The UNIA was one of only a few organizations during this period that a llowed women and men a similar degree of autonomy. To date, only Garveys wives have received consideration in historiography of the UNIA and womens activism, and even then largely th rough their connection to Garvey,. The lives of women like Henrietta Vinton Davi s, Laura Kofey and Maymie De Mena receive only passing reference in the historiography of the peri od. The names of rank a nd file UNIA women are evident only in the footnotes of recent scholarship and they remain largely absent from the story of the UNIA. The aspirations of women in the movement become apparent by examining the lives of women who assumed leadership roles in the organization. In addition to their allegiance to the UNIA program, the women of the lay membership supported and deferred to Amy Jacques and Henrietta Vinton Davis as de-facto leaders of th e organization during Garveys absences. While men in the organization often challenged Jacques as she was neither an elected nor appointed official, Davis enjoyed the respect of most me n throughout her tenure. That the male cadre would accept leaders like Davis while they mainta ined tight control of the organization gives some indication of the power and infl uence of the female membership. As this dissertation shows, Ashwood, Jacques, Davis and Kofey often expressed their views as a collective voice that spoke for the women of the organi zation. In this way the women of the UNIA distinguished themselves in their effo rts to elevate the social and economic status of all persons of the Diaspora. They used their work s and talents to build a self-sufficient extended community of African decedents.
199 Finding the voices of the UNIA lay female membership is often difficult. They have been overshadowed by a historiography that focu ses on Garvey, his wives and his confidants, and on aspects of the organization that center on region or class. The women of the organization, while prevalent in the UNIAs newspaper, Garv eys trial records, and in the Bureau of Investigation files, often appear to be mere f ootnotes to the real stor y of the organization, or backdrops to the central drama of Garveyism in the interwar years. Th is dissertation suggests that by putting the lives of UNIA women center st age, the history of the UNIA becomes at once more complex and also more significant. Certai nly, there is ample evidence of the historical influence of the female cadre in its influence on subsequent generations. The lives of women who joined the organization after Garvey repatr iated to Jamaica, like Pan Africanist Adelaide Casely Hayford, or Trinidadian/British journalis t Claudia Jones, or those who grew up in the organization like Sylvia Woods of New Orleans and Seattle Washi ngton activist Juanita Warfield Porter, or Queen Mother Audley More, highlight s the continuing influence of Davis, Kofey and Jacques.3 The practice of an efficient womanhood continue s to resonate even today. Sister Samad of Kingston Jamaica, daughter of New York Garveyites who followed Garvey to the island, maintained in 1999 that Without us, we, the women, there would be none of this Marcus 3 For more on Adelaide Casely Hayf ord please see Barbara Bair, Pan Afri canism in Process: Adelaide Casely Hayford, Garveyism and the Cultural Roots of Nationalsim in Sidney J. Lemelle and Robin D. G. Kelley. Imagining Home: Class, Culture, and Nationalism in the African Diaspora (London: Verso, 1994), pp. 122-145; Jaunita Proctor participated in a collection of oral histor y interviews the transcript of which can be found at the Manuscripts and Archives Division, University of Washington Library, Seattle Washington; the most recent biography of Claudia Jones highlights her mentee relationship with Amy Ashwood while the two lived in England. For more please see Carole Boyce Davies, Left of Karl Marx: The Political Life of Black Communist Claudia Jones (Durham: Duke University Press, 2007); While there are no published comprehensive works on Queen Mother Moore, for more on her speeches and activism please see Kia Issas unpublished dissertation Her own book: Autobiographical practice in the oral narratives of Queen Mother Audley Moore Ph.D. Dissertation, Emory University 1999.
200 Garvey business you see today. It was us who kept it alive. We stayed on the men, we taught our children and now daughter we no w pass this to you. Take it and run.4 Many UNIA women went on to join other orga nizations and brought with them the skills, determination, and unwavering commitment they honed in the UNIA. Their inclusion in the historiography of AfricanAmerican womens activism, their pa rticipation in struggles that led up to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, and their contribu tions to the largest mass movement in history highlight s their contributions as well as those of Marcus Garvey and the UNIA to the American and African-American experience. 4 Interview with Sister Samad Orange Grove, St. Andrew, Kingston Jamaica August 1999.
201 APPENDIX A HE SLEEPS IN FRANCES BOSOM Ethel Trew Dunlap (1921) He sleeps in Frances bosom! The faithful, loyal slave; He tilled the soil and then he gave His life across the wave, He sleeps in Frances bosom! He never saw the sky Of Africa; for he was brought To toil and then to die. He sleeps in Frances bosom! Midway his humble grave, Between the land where dwelt his sires And where he was a slave. He sleeps in Frances bosom! Perchance he has a dream Of sires who writhed beneath the lash Or peons stifled scream. He sleeps in Frances bosom! O wish him not awake, While innocence is martyr To mob law and the stake. He sleeps in Frances bosom! The colors oer him fly; They were his prison stripes and then They sent him off to die. He sleeps in Frances bosom! His life was term of toil, By chance escaped his captor To dies on foreign soil. He sleeps in Frances bosom! Thank God he had one life; For if he had a million They would have crazed strife. He sleeps in Frances bosom! Peace made his bosom swell; It was his Afric heritage, But for the mad he fell. He sleeps in Frances bosom! His primal land not far, By Gihons classic river, Where Eden loaned her star. He sleeps in Frances bosom! Columbia claimed his brawn;
202 France stole his ashes, but his soul Goes sweeping grandly on. He sleeps in Frances bosom! The Afric breeze comes far To sigh above the captives grave Beneath a foreign star. He sleeps in Frances bosom! By yonder lonely wave, Where tragedy and God vowed To vindicate the slave!
203 APPENDIX B RULES AND REGULATIONS GOVERNING TH E UNIVERSAL AFRICA BLACK CROSS N URSES The following is a copy of the Rules and Re gulations Governing th e Universal Africa Black Cross Nurses taken from Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers vol. 3 Rules and Regulations Governing the Universal African Black Cross Nurses ARTICLE I Name This Auxiliary of the Universal Negro Improvement Association shall be named The Universal African Black Cross Nurses. ARTICLE II Object Section I. The objects of this Auxiliary shall be to carry on a system of relief and to apply the same in mitigating the suffering caused by pestilence, famine, fire, floods, and other great calamities and to devise and carry on measures for preventing the same. Sec. 2. To attend to the sick of the Division to which the public Auxiliary is attached and be ready for service at any tim e when called upon by His Highness the Potentate. Sec. 3. To issue pamphlets which will tend to educate the public to the use of safety devices and prevention of accident; to inst ruct in sanitation for prevention of epidemics; and to instruct in First Aid.
204 ARTICLE III Membership Section I. All women of Negro Blood a nd African Descent between the ages of sixteen and forty-five may become members of this Auxiliary. Sec. 2. Only active members of the Universal Negro Improvement Association shall be admitted to membership of this Auxiliary. Sec. 3. All women of the Race not desiring active membership may become honorary members upon payment of One Dollar or more Annually. Sec. 4. All men of the Race shall be permitted to become Honorary members of this Auxiliary upon payment of One Dollar or more Annually. Sec. 5. All Honorary members shall be known as Annual or Sustaining members. ARTICLE IV ManagementCentral and Local Section I. The management and direction of this Auxiliary shall be entrusted to a Central Committee which shall consist of the PresidentGeneral of the U.N.I.A; a Universal Directress, who shall be a gradua te Nurse of at least three year s experience; a Surgeon-General of the U.N.I.A [;] and the Presidents of local Divisions. Sec. 2. The Presidents of local Divisions shall exercise over their Unites the same power of control as the Central Committee exercises over the whole Auxiliary. Sec. 3. All members of the High Execu tive Council shall be ex-officio members of the Central Committee. Sec. 4. The Surgeon-General shall be the Medical Director of this Auxiliary.
205 Sec. 5. Each Unit of this Auxiliary shall have the following Officers: A Matron, who shall be the Lady President of the Division and the Superintende nt of the Auxiliary; a Head Nurse, who shall be President of the Unit, a Secretary[;] and a Treasurer. ARTICLE V Revenues and Incomes Section I. The funds for the maintenan ce of this Auxiliary shall be known as General and Special. Sec. 2. The General Fund shall be derived from such sources as Annual membership dues and Sustaining membership dues The entire amount of dues of members at large shall be forwarded to Headquarters. Besi des the membership dues, it shall be further derived from the interest of bank balances of th e various units, the generous annual contributions given for several purposes from members or other individuals and the profits of sales of supplies and materials of all kinds. Sec. 3. The General Fund shall be used for the Administration expenses at the Office of Headquarters, Maintenance of First Ai d Instructions; Supplied for the Nursing Service and Womens Classes, in home care of the sick [;]and for all expenses in connection with the pamphlets or magazines issues by this Auxilia ry and which every member shall receive. Sec. 4. The Special Fund shall be de rived from special appeals made by or through the Central Committee. Sec. 5. Each local Unit shall be pr ivileged to raise funds among its own Community for local purposes and the appeal for such funds shall only be made in the name if the local Unit. These funds may be derived fr om lectures, entertainm ents and other social
206 functions of an innocent nature. The raising of such funds by a lo cal Unit shall only be with the permission of the Presiden t of the local Division. Sec. 6. All monies raises by a local Unit shall pass thr ough the hand of the Secretary of the Unit to the Treasur er of the Unit. The Treasurer of the Unit shall then turn over such monies to the Treasures of the Division th rough the General Secretar y of said Division, to be lodged to the credit of the Unit in the na me of the Division at the Bank designated. Sec. 7. All monies by this Auxiliary shall remain in the hands of its Treasurer for a period not exceeding twenty-fours hours. ARTICLE VI Soliciting and Collecting No person or persons shall solicit or collect funds or materi als in the name of Universal African Black Cross Nurses unless authorized to do so and bear credentials properly signed by the President of the local Division; the Matron of the Unit, or the signatures of the Officers of the Central Body. All such credentials must bear the Seal of Division from which the appeal is issued or the Seal of the Parent Body of the Universal Negro Improvement Association. ARTICLE VII Uniform Each active member of this Auxiliary shall supply herself with her own uniform. ARTICLE VIII Emblems Section I. Each member of this Auxiliary shall wear its emblems on a button as an indication of membership.
207 Sec. 2. The official button of this Auxiliary shall be a Black Latin Cross on a Red background enclosed by Green Circle around the border. Sec. 3. The official emblem of this Auxiliary shall be a Black Latin Cross encircled by a Red background in this center of a Green field.
208 APPENDIX C DEMANDS OF THE U.N.I.A AND A. C.L. WOMEN AT THE AUGUST, 1922 CONVENTI ON From Marcus Garvey and the UNIA Papers vol. 4. The Unity of Our Women We, the women of the U.N.I.A and A.C.L. know that no race can rise higher than its women. We need women in the important places of the organization to help refine and mold public sentiment, realizing the colossal program of this great organizati on, and as we are determined to reclaim our own land, Africa, we have resolv ed to submit the following recommendations: 1. That a woman be the head of the Black Cross Nurses and Motor Corps and have absolute control over those women, and this shall not conflict with the Legions. 2. That women be given more recognition by being placed on every committee, so that she may learn more if the salient workings of the various committees. 3. That more women be placed in the im portant offices and field work of the association. 4. That women be given initiativ e positions, so that they may formulate constructive plans to elevate our women. 5. That lady Henrietta Vinton Da vis be empowered to formul ate plans with the sanction of the President-General so that the Ne gro women all over the world can function without restriction from the men.
209 APPENDIX D NAMES BLACK CROSS NURSES Com plied from the UNIA Papers, The Negro World and oral histories. So many years of silence have made studying the Black Cross Nurses difficult, and more research, possibly on a more local level, needs to be done. I have compiled a list of all of the names of individual nurses that I could find, an d have listed them, a nd their Division (when available) here. Albrier, Frances, Berkeley, California. Allison, Mavis, Guaro, Cuba. Armstrong (Mrs.), Struthers. Babbs, Agnes (Mrs.), New York, New York. Bartlett, Sam (Mrs.), Newport News, Virginia. Bennett, E., San Juan, Honduras Berry, Mrs., Springfield, Illinois. Bowers, Bessie (Mrs.), Sydney, Australia. Bradley, Miss., Springfield, Illinois. Branch, L. (Mrs.), New Aberdeen, Cape Breton. Branch, Sarah (Mrs.), New York, New York. Burrowes, C.E., Moron Division, Carnaguey, Cuba. Burton, (Mrs.), New Haven, Connecticut. Carter, Edna (Mrs.), Parnassus, Pennsylvania. Cazanova, A., La Ceiba, Cuba.
210 Clarke, Alice May, Glace Bay, N.S. Collins, Eva, Camden, New Jersey. Collins, (Mrs.), Barnes, Cuba. Crosdale, C. (Mrs.), Guaro, Cuba. Dorsey, Cary, Camden, New Jersey. Engleton, (Mrs.), San Juan, Honduras. Estwick, H., New Aberdeen, Cape Breton. Flowers, A. (Mrs.), La Ceiba, Cuba. Gentry, Willa (Mrs.), West Chicago, Illinois. Gilbert, A. (Mrs.), Guaro, Cuba. Gillmore, Hattia, Seattle, Washington. Gittens, (Mrs.), New York, New York. Grant, Ethel (Mrs.), Belvidere. Green, Marie, (Mrs.), Belvidere. Griffiths, San Juan, Honduras. Hayes, Rosie (Mrs.), Belvidere. Holness, B. (Mrs.), Guaro, Cuba. Johnson, B. (Mrs.), San Diego, California. Lawrence, Isabella, New York, New York. Lynch, Estheana, (Mrs.), New York, New York. Macrackran, I., La Ceiba, Cuba. Marshall, Stella (Mrs.) New York, New York. Matthews, Alice (Mrs.), Belvidere.
211 McClean, D.M., San Juan Honduras. McNeil, Gertrude (Mrs.), Belvidere. Morgan, Clara, Chicago, Illinois. Newburn, Harriet (Mrs.), West Chicago, Illinois. Nickerson (Mrs.), West Chicago, Illinois. Nisbeth, San Juan, Honduras. Parris, James (Mrs.), New Glasgow, Scotland. Parris, S., New Aberdeen, Cape Breton. Pinto, Hattie, (Mrs.), New Haven, Connecticut. Pixley, Mrs., La Ceiba, Cuba. Radway, F., La Ceiba, Cuba. Roberts, Bella (Mrs.), New Haven Connecticut. Robinson, B., Moron Division, Camaguey, Cuba. Rose, Anneto, Jubabo, Orient, Cuba. Russel, M., La Ceiba, Cuba. Sargeant, I., (Mrs.), New Aberdeen, Cape Breton. Sayers, Amelia, New York, New York. Simpson, Edna, Guaro, Cuba. Simpson, S. (Mrs.), Guaro, Cuba. Shepherd, Emily (Mrs.), San Diego, California. Sloan, Cary, Camden, New Jersey. Sorelle, Ruby, San Diego, California. Wallace, Griffith (Mrs.), Ne w Aberdeen, Cape Breton.
212 Washington, Irno, (Mrs.), Marati, Cuba. Whalen, B., New Aberdeen Cape Breton. Whalen, E. L., New Ab erdeen, Cape Breton. White, Elizabeth (Mrs.), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Williams, F.C., Moron Division, Camaguey, Cuba. Williams, J. (Mrs.), New York, New York. Williams, L. (Mrs.), La Ceiba, Cuba. Willis, Lillian J. (Mrs.), New York, New York. Wise, Julia (Mrs.), Cleveland, Ohio
213 APPENDIX E THE BLACK WOMAN Marcus Garvey 1928 Black queen of beauty, thou hast given color to the world! Among other women thou art royal and the fairest! Like the brightest of jewe ls in the regal diadem, Shin'st thou, Goddess of Africa, Nature's purest emblem! Black men worship at thy virgin al shrine of truest love, Because in thine eyes are virtue's steady and holy mark, As we see in no other, clothed in silk or fine linen, From ancient Venus, the Godde ss, to mythical Helen. When Africa stood at the head of the elder nations, The Gods used to travel from foreign lands to look at thee: On couch of costly Eastern materials, all perfumed, Reclined thee, as in thy path flow'rs were strewnsweetest that bloomed. Thy transcendent marvelous beau ty made the whole world mad, Bringing Solomon to tears as he viewed thy comeliness; Anthony and the elder Ceasars wept at thy royal feet, Preferring death than to leave t hy presence, their foes to meet. You, in all ages, have attracted the adoring world, And caused many a bloody banner to be unfurled: You have sat upon exalted and lofty eminence, To see a world fight in your ancient African defense. Today you have been dethroned, through the weakness of your men, While, in frenzy, those who of yore craved your smiles and your handThose who were all monsters and c ould not with love approach youHave insulted your pride and now attack your good virtue. Because of disunion you became mother of the world, Giving tinge of robust colo r to five continents, Making a greater world of millions of colored races, Whose claim to beauty is re flected through our black faces. From the handsome Indian to European brunette, There is a claim for that cr edit of their sunny beauty That no one can e'er to take from thee, 0 Queen of all women Who have borne trials and troubles and racial burden. Once more we shall, in Africa, fight and conquer for you,
214 Restoring the pearly crown that proud Queen Sheba did wear: Yea, it may mean blood, it may mean death; but still we shall fight, Bearing our banners to Vict'ry, men of Afric's might. Superior Angels look like you in Heaven above, For thou art fairest, queen of the seasons, queen of our love: No condition shall make us ever in life desert thee, Sweet Goddess of the ever green land and placid blue sea.
215 LIST OF REFERENCES Primary Sources Archives Accra, Ghana Ghana Balme Library Koefy Family Records Chapel Hill, North Carolina Wilson Library Southern Historical Collection Cleveland, Ohio Western Reserve Historical Society Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers 1921-1986 Kingston, Jamaica National Library of Jamaica Amy Ashwood Garvey Collection MS 1977B Miami, Florida Miami Dade County Black Archives History and Research Center Historic Coconut Grove Collection Miami, Florida Miami Metropolitan Archive Mona, Jamaica University of West Indies Special Collections Unit Montgomery, Alabama Alabama Department of Archives and History African Universal Church Records Nashville, Tennessee Fisk University Special Collections Amy Jacques Garvey Papers Marcus Garvey Memorial Collection New Haven, Connecticut Sterling Library, Yale University Microfilm Collections, Manuscripts and Archives W.E.B. Du Bois Papers
216 New Orleans, Louisiana New Orleans Notorial Archives African Universal Church Records New York, New York Schomburg Center Special Collection, Voi ces from the Renaissance Transcripts. Manuscript Normal, Alabama Alabama A&M University State Black Ar chives Research Center and Museum African Universal Church Records Sacramento, California Archives of the California Museum Earl Warren Papers 1927-1933 N.p. File Collection Spanish Town, Jamaica Spanish Town Archives Garvey Family Papers St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago University of the West Indies West Indian and Special Collections Amy Ashwood Garvey Memorabilia Suitland, Maryland National Archives Marcus Garvey Decimal File 800.4016/19 Tampa, Florida Special Collections University of South Florida Library City Records Tallahassee, Florida State Library and Archives of Florida Florida Folk Life Collection State Records Center Washington, D.C. Federal Bureau of Investigation Reading Room Marcus Garvey Collection, 6 books National Archives Northeast region Index of Passenger Manifests Naturalization Petitions
217 Manuscript and Microfilm Collections Am erican Colonization Society Records. Manuscript Division, Li brary of Congress. Theodore Bilbo Papers. University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg. John E. Bruce Papers. Schomburg center for Afro-A merican Culture, New York Public Library. Harlem, N.Y. Court Records. Federal Building, New York, New York. Federal Writers Project. New York, New York. Amy Ashwood Garvey Memorabilia. West Indian and Special Collections. University of the West Indies. St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago. Amy Ashwood Garvey Collection. National Li brary of Jamaica, Kingston, Jamaica. Amy Jacques Garvey Papers. Fisk University Library Special Coll ections, Nashville. Tennessee. Amy Ashwood Garvey Papers. London, England. -----. Marcus GarveyProphet of Black Nationalism. Unpublished manuscript. N.p., n.d. Amy Jacques Garvey Papers. Kingston, Jamaica. Kelly Miller Papers. Moorland-Springarn Resear ch Center, Howard University. Washington, D.C. NAACP Administrative Files. Ma nuscript Division, Li brary of Congress. Washington, D.C. Nannie Helen Burroughs Papers. Manuscript Divi sion, Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. National Archives of the United States, Washington, D.C. and Suitland, Maryland. National Civic Federation Papers. New Yo rk Public Library. New York, N.Y. National Urban League, Southern Regional Offi ce Records. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. Richard Newman Laura Adokor Kofey Resear ch Collection, 1926-1981. Manuscripts, Archives & Rare Books Division, Schombur g Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library. Harlem, New York. William Pickens Papers. Schomburg Collection. New York Public Library. Harlem, N.Y.
218 Public Records Office, Colonial Office a nd Foreign Office Records. London, England. Arthur F. Raper Papers. Southe rn Historical Collection. Wils on Library. Chapel Hill, N.C. Records of the National Associ ation of Colored Womens Cl ubs, 1895-1992 (microfilm), ed. Lillian Serece Williams. Bethesda, Md.: Un iversity Publications of America, 1993. Arthur Schomburg Papers. Schomburg Collect ion, New York Public Library. Harlem, New York. Tampa League of Womens Clubs Papers. Special Collections. Universi ty of South Florida Library. Tampa, FL. Mary Church Terrell Papers. Moorland-Spinga rn Research Center, Howard University. Washington, D.C. Universal Negro Improvement Association. Ce ntral Division, New York. Records, 1918-1959. Manuscripts, Archives & Rare Books Division, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library. Harlem, New York. Universal Negro Improvement Association/Garvey, Marcus. Freedom of Information Act Collection. Manuscripts, Archives & Rare Books Division, Schomburg Cent er for Research in Black Culture, The New York Pub lic Library. Harlem, New York. Booker T. Washington Papers. Manuscript Divi sion, Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. Carter G. Woodson Papers. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. Published Primary Sources Ada ms, Revels Alcorn. The Negro Girl. Kansas City, Kansas: Independent Press, 1914. Afro-American League. Official Compilation of Proceedings of the Afro-American League Convention held at Chicago. Chicago :J.C. Battles & R.B. Cabbell, 1890. Anderson, Arthur A. Prophetic Liberator of the Coloured Ra ce of the United States of America: Command to His People. New York: New York Age Print, 1913. Atlanta University. Social and Physical Condition of Negroes in Cities. Report on an Investigation Under the direction of Atlanta University: And Proceedings of the second Conference for the Study of Problems concerning Negro Life, Held at Atlanta University, May 25-26, 1987. Atlanta: Atlanta University Press, 1897. Bass, Charlotta. Forty Years: Memoris from the Pages of a News-paper. Los Angeles: C.A. Bass, 1960.
219 ----This is Our Message To You Los Angeles? : s.n., 1943. Blackwell, Anne E. Walker. The Responsibility and Opportunity of the Twentieth Century Woman. N.p., ca. 1910. Brazelton, James Henry Augustus. Self-Determination: The Salvation of the Race. Oklahoma City: Educator, 1918. Bruce, John E. The Making of a Race. New York: s.n., 1922. Davis, Benjamin J and Charlotta A Bass. What Do They Really Think About Us. Los Angeles: Eagle Cooperative Press, 1960. Garvey, Amy Jacques. Black Power in America. Kingston, Jamaica: Amy Jacques Garvey, 1968. -----. Memorandum Correlative of Africa, th e West Indies, and the Americas. Kingston, Jamaica, May 1944. ------. Why Mrs. Garvey Refused the $6,800 Pension. Mona, Jamaica: Student Union, UWI, 1973. Green, Rev. Zebedee. Why I Am Dissatisfied Pittsburg: Quick Printing Co., 1922. -----. Why I Am DissatisfiedPart Two. Pittsburg, 1924. Griggs, Sutton E. Guide to Racial Greatness; or The science of collective Efficiency. Memphis: National Public Welfare League, ca. 1921. Hill, Robert. Marcus Garvey: Life And Lessons. California: UCLA Press 1987. Marcus Garvey: The UNIA Papers Volume 3. California: UCLA Press 1984. Marcus Garvey: The UNIA Papers Volume 4. California: UCLA Press 1984. Marcus Garvey: The UNIA Papers Volume 6. California: UCLA Press 1984. Marcus Garvey: The UNIA Papers Volume 7. California: UCLA Press 1985. Parris, Oswald Z. The Nationalism of the New Negro. Newport News, Va.: O.Z. Parris, 1920.
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222 Pub Co Inc., 1967. Cronon, David E. The Story of Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1969. Cruse, Harold. The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual: A Hist orical Analysis of the FailUI of Black Leadership. New York: Quill 1964. Davis, Elizabeth Lindsay. Lifting As They Climb. New York: G.K. Hall: London : Prentice Hall International, c 1996. Delany, Martin Robison. Martin R. Delany: A Documentary Reader. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003. Essien-Udom, Essien Udoseo. Black Nationalism: A Search for Identity in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962. Foley, Barbara. Specters of 1919: Class and Nation in the Making of the New Negro. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2003. Gaines, Kevin. Uplifting the Race: Black Leadership. Politics and Culture in the Twentieth Century. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1996. Garvey, Amy Jacques. Garvey and Garveyism. New York: Octagon Books, 1986. The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey Or Africa for the Africans. Dover: The Majority Press, 1986. Gebrekidan, Fikru Negash. Bond Without Blood: A histor y of Ethiopian and New World Black Relations. 1896-1991. New Jersey: Africa World Press, c2005. Giddings, Paula. Where and When I Enter. New York: Bantam Books 1984. Gordon, Dexter B. Black Identity: Rhetoric. Ideol ogy. and Nineteenth-Century Black Nationalism. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, c2003. Higginbotham, Evelyn Brooks. Righteous discontent: The womens movement in the Black Baptist Church, 1880-1920 Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993. Home, Gerald. Race Woman" The Lives of Shirley Graham Du Bois". New York: NYU Press, 2000. Jenkins, Maude. The History of the Black Woman's Club Movement in America. Michigan: UMI 1984. Neverdon-Morton, Cynthia. Afro-American Women of the South and the Advancement of the Race, 1895-1925. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1989.
223 Martin, Tony. Race First: The ideological and Organizational Struggles of Marcus Garvey and The Universal Negro Improvement Association. Dover: The Majority Press, 1976. Mitchell, Michele. Righteous Propagation: African Americans and the Politics of Racial Destiny After Reconstruction. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2004. Moses, Wilson Jeremiah. The Golden Age of Black Nationalism, 1890-1925. New York: Oxford University Press, 1978. Morton, Patricia. Disfigured Images: The Historical Assault of Afro-American Women. New York: Greenwood Press 1991. Newman, Richard. Black Power and Black Religion: Essays and Reviews. Connecticut: Locust Hill Press, 1987. Ogbar, Jeffrey Ogbonna Green. Black Power: Radical Polit ics and African American Identity. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004. Painter, Nell Standing at Armageddon: Th e United States 1877-1919. Canada: Penguin, 1987. Seraile, William. Bruce Grit: The Black Nationalist Writings of John Edward Bruce. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, c2003. Taylor, Ula The Veiled Garvey: The Life and Times of Amy Jacques Garvey. Chapel Hill: UNC .Press, 2000. Terborg-Penn, Rosalyn. African American Women in the Struggle for the Vote, 18501920. Bloomington: Indiana University Press 1998. Van Der Burgh, William. Modem Black Nationalism: From Marcus Garvey to Louis Farrakhan. New York: New York University Press, 1997. Vincent, Theodore. Black Power and the Garvey Movement. San Francisco: Ramparts Press, 1976. White, Deborah. Too Heavy A Load: Black Women In Defense of Themselves. New York: W.W. Norton, 1999. Yard, Lionel. Biography of Amy Ashwood Garvey, 1897-1969:Co-founder of the United Negro Improvement Association. New York: Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History, 1989. The Poetical Works of Marcus Garvey ed. Tony Martin. Dover: The Majority Press, 1983
224 Essays Adler, Karen S. "Always Leading Our Men in Serv ice and Sacrifice": Am y Jacques Garvey, Feminist Black Nationalist. Gender and Society 6:3, Sep., 1992: 346-375 Chalk, Frank "Du Bois and Garvey Confront Liberia: Two Incidents of the Coolidge Years." Canadian Journal of African Studies 1:2 Nov., 1967: 135-142. Clarke, John Henrik "Marcus Garvey: The Harlem Years. Transition 46 1974: 1415,1719. Cooper Carolyn "Unorthodox Prose: The Poetical Works of Marcus Garvey. The Black Scholar 19 January-February 1988: 29-30. Eisenberg, Bernard "Kelly Miller: The Negro Leader as a Marginal Man ." Journal of Negro History 45:3 Jul., 1960: 182-197. Fitzgerald, Michael W. "" We Have Found a Moses": Theodore Bilbo, Black Nationalism, and the Greater Libe ria Bill of 1939." The Journal of Southern History 63:2 May, 1997: 293-320. Graves, John L. "The Social Ideas of Marcus Garvey. Journal of Negro Education 31:1 Winter, 1962: 65-74. Harrison, Paul Carter "The Black Star Line: The De-Mystification of Marcus Garvey. African American Review 31:4 Winter, 1997: 713-716. Igere, Martin O. "WEB DuBois and Marcus Garvey as Pan-Africanist: A Study in Contrast." Presence Africane 89 1974: 188-206. Mathews, Mark D.. "' Our Women and What They Think': Amy Jacques Garvey and the Negro World." Black Scholar 10 1979: 2-18. Mboukou, Alexandre "The Pan African Movement, 1900-1945: A Study in Leadership Conflicts Among the Disciples of Pan Africanism. Journal of Black Studies 13:3 Mar., 1983: 275-288. Miller, Kelly. "After Marcus Garvey --What of the Negro? Contemporary Review 131 April, 1927: 492-500. Barbara Bair ""Ethiopia shall stretch forth her ha nds unto God": Laura Kofey and The Gendered Vision of Redemption in the Garvey Movement. A Mightv Baptism: Race. Gender. and the Creation of American Protestantism. ed. Susan Juster and Lisa MacFarlane. Ithaca: Cornell University press, 1996.
225 Barbara Bair "Pan-Africanism as Process: Adelaide Casely Hayford, Garveyism, and the Cultural Roots of Nationalism. Imagining Home: Class, Culture, and Nationalism in the African Diaspora ed. Sidney J. Lemelle and Robin D.G. Kelley. London ; New York : Verso, 1994. Barbara Bair "True Women, Real Men: Gender, Ideol ogy and Social Roles in the Garvey Movement" Gendered Domains: Rethinking Public snd Private in Women's History. ed. Dorothy O. Helly and Susan M. Reverby. Ithaca:Cornell University Press, 1992. Honor Ford-Smith Women in the Garvey Movement in Jamaica. Garvey: His Work and Impact ed. Rupert Lewis and Patrick Bryan. Ne w Jersey: Free Africa World Press, 1991. Maryse Conde "Pan-Africanism, Feminism and Culture." Imagining Home: Class. Culture. and Nationalism in the African Diaspora ed. Sidney J. Lemelle and Robin D.G. Kelley. Tony Martin Women in the Garvey Movement. Garvey: His Work and Impact ed. Rupert Lewis and Patrick Bryan. New Jersey: Free Africa World Press, 1991. Ula Taylor Intellectual Pan-African Feminists: Amy Ashwood Garvey and Amy Jacques Garvey. Time Longer Than Rope: A Century of African Americ an Activism. 1850-1950 ed. Charles M. Payne and Adam Green. New York: NYU Press, 2003. Moses, Wilson J. "The Lost World of the Negro, 1895-1919: Black Literary and Intellectual Life before the "Renaissance." Black American Literature Forum 21: 1/2 Spring Summer, 1987: 61-84. Patterson, Tiffany Ruby; Kelley, Robin D. G. "Unfinished Migrations: Reflections on African Diaspora and the Making of the Modern World ." African Studies Review 43:: Apr., 2000: 11-45. Record, Wilson "Sociological Theory, Intra-Racial Color Differentiation and the Gar Movement. Journal of Negro Education 25:4 Autumn, 1956: 392-401. Record, Wilson "The Negro Intellectual and Negro Nationalism." Social Forces 33:1 Oct., 1954: 10-18 Rogers, Ben F. William E. B. DuBois, Marcus Garvey, and Pan-Africa. Journal of Negro History 40:2 Apr., 1955: 154-165. Rushing, Byron "A Note on the Origin of the African Orthodox Church. Journal of Negro History 57:1 Jan., 1972: 37-39. Satter, Beryl "Marcus Garvey, Father Divine and the Gender Politics of Race Difference and Race Neutrality ." American Quarterly 48:1 Mar., 1996: 43-76. Streator, George. "Three Men: Napier, Morton, Garvey. Ne gro Leaders Who Typifi(; An Era for Their People. Commonweal 32 August 9, 1940: 323-326.
226 Tasini, Jonathan. "J. Edgar Hoover's Dress Rehearsal. The Progressive 48 June 1984: 14-15. Tolbert, Emory "Outpost Garveyism and the UNIA Rank and File." Journal of Black Studies Mar., 1975: 233-253. Electronic Resources Baptiste, Fitzroy Andre. "Am y Ashwood Garvey a nd Afro-West Indian Labor in 1 United States Emergency Farm and War Industr ies' Programs of World War II, 19. 1945." http://www.africamigration.com/archive_02/Cbaptiste.htm Dissertations Avery, Sheldon. Up from Washington: William Pi ckens and the Negro struggle for equality, 1900-1954. PhD. Dissertation, University of Oregon, 1970. Bandele, Ramla Marie. Diaspora movements in the international political economy: AfricanAmericans and the Black Star Line. Ph.D Dissertation, Northwestern University, 2002. Bertley, Leo W.. The Universal Negro Impr ovement Association Of Montreal, 1917. Ph. D. Dissertation, Concordia University (Canada), 1980. Bond, Max J. The Negro In Los Angeles. Ph.D. Dissertation, Univ ersity of Southern California, 1934. James, C. Boyd. Primitives On The Move: So me Historical Articulations Of Garvey And Garveyism, 1887. Ph.D. Dissertation, Univ ersity Of California, Los Angles, 1982. Burnett, Carla. "Are we slaves or free men? ": Labor, race, Garveyism, and the 1920 Panama Canal Strike. Ph.D. Dissertation, Univ ersity of Illinois at Chicago, 2004. Colin, Scipio Africanus Jordan, III. Voice s from beyond the veil: Marcus Garvey, the Universal Negro Improvement Association, and the education of African-Ameripean adults. Ed.D. Dissertation, Northern Illinois University, 1989. Dalrymple, Daniel A.. In the shadow of Garvey: Garveyites in New York City and the British Caribbean 1925. Ph.D. Dissertati on, Michigan State University, 2008. DeGraaf, Lawrence. Negro Migration to Los Angeles 1920-1950. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, 1962. Harold, Claudrena N.. The rise and fall of the Garvey movement in the urban South, 1918-1942. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Notre Dame, 2004. Hicks, Dixie Crawford. Marcus Garvey and Pan-Africanism.. Ph.D. Dissertation, Memphis State University, 1992.
227 Issa, Jahi U.. The Universal Negro Improvement Association in Louisiana: Creating a provisional government in exile. Ph.D Dissertation, Howard University, 2005. Jackson-Issa, Kai. Her own book: Autobiographical practice in the oral narratives of Queen Mother Audley Moore. Ph.D. Di ssertation, Emory University, 1999. Nutter, Jeanne Dolores. Coverage of Marc us Garvey by the New York "Age" and the New York "Times": A comparative historical analys is. Ph.D. Dissertation, Howard University, 1991. Perry, Jeffrey Babcock. Hubert Henry Harris on, "The Father Of Harlem Radicalism". The Early Years: 1883 Through The Founding Of The Li berty League And "The Voice" In 1917 (Marcus Garvey, United States Virgin Islands, New York City). Ph.D. Dissertation, Columbia University, 1986. Rollinson, Mary Gambrell. The Garvey Movement in the Rural South, 1920-1927, PhD Dissertation, Georgia State University, 2002. Schluter, Nancy Hurd. Marcus Garvey as theol ogian. D.Litt. Dissertation, Drew University, 2001. Strickland, Shirley Willson. A Functional Analysis Of The Garvey Movement. Ph.D. Dissertation, The University Of No rth Carolina At Chapel Hill, 1956. Taylor, Brennen. Unia And Am erican Communism In Conflic t 1917-1928: An Historical Analysis In Negro Social Welfare. Ph.D Dissertation, University Of Pittsburgh, 1984. Vinson, Robert Trent. In the time of the Americans: Garveyism in segregationist South Africa, 1920. Ph.D. Dissertation, Howard University, 2001.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Natanya Duncan is the m iddle child of Dr Nathan George Duncan and Sybil Joyce Duncan who migrated to the United States from Jamaica, West Indies. She was raised in Brooklyn, New York and completed her undergraduate work at Clark Atlanta University in 1996.