Marcus Garvey 
first visit to Belize 1921

Marcus Garvey arrived in Belize on July 1st, 1921, and on the following day Garvey lectured at St Mary's Hall on the aims and objects of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League.

The Belize City branch of the United Negro Improvement Association had been opened in 1920 in the wake of the riot of 1919 which had protested the treatment of the British Honduras servicemen during the First World War.   Garvey addressed several meetings in Belize City, complaining that 'Loyal blacks who fought to protect the Empire had received in return only "a kick and a smile", but taking care to stress the loyalty of the Association by ensuring that 'God Save the King' was sung frequently by the assembled crowd. 

Garvey was particularly diplomatic in this respect for his newspaper, the Negro World, as regarded by the colonial authorities as seditious and on 5th July he disarmed the Governor at a meeting at Government House, stating that the U.N.I.A. stood for the uplift of Negro people 'morally, socially, educationally and industrially' and that  'In certain parts (the U.N.I.A.) stands for the liberty of the people, but where they are already free, such as in this Colony, we are doing our best to strengthen the moral life of the people.
Marcus Mosiah Garvey
1887 - 1940  

Born on the  17th of August, 1887 from humble parentage in the Parish of St. Ann.  He received his first education at an Infant school then at St. Ann's Bay Methodist.  At the tender age of 14 years, he became an apprentice to his godfather in the printing industry, moving on to Portmaria in search of a better life and finally ended up in Kingston at the age of 21, where he worked for the Government printers.

It was while in Kingston that Garvey became imbued with a revolutionary spirit.  He organized the first political club called National Club, in Jamaica engaging in political activities with others on Victory Pier.  All this time he was appalled by the deprivation, starvation and massive exploitation of black people.  He wanted to help.   In 1910 Garvey made his first journey abroad to Costa Rica

On August 1st, 1913  Garvey returned to Jamaica and persisted to form the Universal Negro Improvement Association (U.N.I.A.) then he left for England.  It was while there that his eyes became  open to the political realities of the time.  He left for the United States in 1916

Although Garvey reached racial pride, and although Garvey demanded equality for blacks, not all black people supported Garvey.   Garvey left Jamaica in 1935 a badly disillusioned man.  Garvey's philosophy still has its relevance today in the world where the black man still continues to be exploited at the hands of Imperialism.
Marcus Garvey
second visit to Belize 1929

Garvey was heartily cheered at his public meetings in the City but his recruitment of the Belize branch's most capable member, Samuel Haynes, to the U.N.I.A., organization in the U.S.A. damage the Association in the City.

Garvey's reception on his second visit in 1929 was half-hearted, and not improved by its coincidence with the aviator Charles Lindbergh's visit to the Colony.   The U.N.I.A., however, did succeed in co-ordinating the sentiments of the City's populace, helping to generate an awareness which was to be highly influential in subsequent years.
Black Cross Nurse

The Black Cross Nurse Association was founded in Belize, in 1920, largely through the impetus of Nurse Seay and Cleopatra White, when Cleopatra was 21 years old.  It was a direct outgrowth of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, founded in 1914 by Jamaican Marcus Garvey who himself visited Belize, and whose philosophy of united blacks universally was promoted in Belize largely through the newspaper "Belize Independent", and its column "The Garvey Eye" by L.D. Kemp, the work of Belizean patriot and benefactor "Coconut King" Isaiah Morter and the establishment of Liberty Hall. 

Two specific objectives of the U.N.I.A. (today alive in Belize in the form of an association called Isaiah Morter Harambee) have been the promoting of black consciousness and administering to the needy, particularly through health worker, in Belize 1921

Marcus Garvey
Belizean Soldiers
at Battlefield Park,
downtown Belize, getting ready to leavedt with the British for
"1st World War"
Belizean Soldiers, getting ready for " World War One"