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John: Hi, I'm John O. Slim and today I'm here with Marcus Garvey to interview him about his life and his famous Back to Africa Movement. What made you think slavery was so bad, Marcus?
Marcus: Well, you see, in 1910 I started traveling around the world and as I passed through the different countries I saw how cruel slavery was, since slavery was still legal in other countries at that time.
John: Is that what inspired you to do something about slavery?
Marcus: Partially, but what really inspired me was a book I read in London called Up From Slavery. It was written by Booker T. Washington; in fact it was his autobiography about his life as a slave and what he did after he escaped. That book made me want to be a civil rights leader.
John: I heard that after your trip to London you went back to your home country of Jamaica and founded the UNIA. What does that stand for and what does it do?
Marcus: The UNIA stands for the Universal Negro Improvement Association. It helps many black people find jobs and improve their lives.
John: Is there a UNIA in the US?
Marcus: Well, John, there wasn't a UNIA in the US at the time, but a few years later I went to establish one there. I also moved the world headquarters from Jamaica to the US where I worked and lived. I told Blacks about the Back to Africa Movement.
John: I heard you also had your own newspaper. What was it called?
Marcus: It was called the Negro World. It ran for fifteen years and became the UNIA's international voice.
John: What were some of the articles in the Negro World about?
Marcus: One of the big articles that was put in my newspaper was about an idea I called "Back to Africa." I believed that all black people, whether born in Africa or in the western hemisphere, should be able to go "Back to Africa" to reunite with his or her fellow brothers and sisters and get away from discrimination and segregation in other parts of the world.
John: Earlier in the interview you said you were inspired to do something about slavery by a book you read written by Booker T. Washington. Did you ever try to do anything like him?
Marcus: Yes, I did. Like Washington, I worked hard to encourage businesses owned and operated by Blacks.
John: I heard you were put in jail. Is that true?
Marcus: Yes, I was sent there once in 1922. I was arrested for mail fraud and was sentenced to five years in prison. When I was released, President Coolidge sent me back to Jamaica. I then became head of what remained of the UNIA.
John: Wow, your life was exciting! I'll let you go after one more question. Did many African Americans follow your advice and return to Africa?
Marcus: A few did, but most didn't. I guess some Blacks felt like their home was America.
Two year later headlines read:
Marcus Garvey Timeline
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