Race First: The Ideological and Organizational Struggles of Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association


A classic study of the Garvey movement, this is the most thoroughly researched book on Garvey's ideas by a historian of Black nationalism.

This book is based on the simple premise that no one could have organized and built up the largest black mass movement in Afro-American history, in the face of continuous onslaughts from communists on the left, black reactionaries on all sides, and the most powerful governments in the world, and yet be a buffoon or a clown, or even an overwhelmingly impractical visionary. 

Distortions are not new to Afro-American history, but one would be hard to find a major black figure who has suffered more at the hands of historians and commentators. This study attempts to treat Marcus Garvey and the Universal Improvement Association with the seriousness and respect which they deserve.

After a brief biographical introduction, the study examines the major features of Garvey's ideological outlook, as they manifested themselves both in theory and practice.

"This book has the important element that is missing in most of the books and articles on Garvey - a political analysis of what the Garvey Movement was about." (John Henrik Clarke, The Black Scholar


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Tony Martin
Black Classic Press
Publication Date:
April 07, 2020