Harlem fetes Garvey’s 135th with Black Star Line film premiere & proclamation

Jamaica's first National Hero, Marcus Garvey.
Jamaica’s first National Hero, Marcus Garvey.
Associated Press / Susan Walsh/File

Marcus Mosiah Garvey might have smiled from ear to ear had he lived to witness plans for his 135th birthday anniversary in Harlem on Aug. 17.

For starters, Jamaica’s first national hero will have his day.

According to a press release New York State Senator Cordell Cleare has committed to issuing a proclamation declaring the anniversary “Marcus Garvey Day.”

The Harlem politician plans to take some time away from Albany that day and with like-minded collaborators desirous of a tribute befitting the icon will meet at the Richard Rodgers Amphitheater inside Marcus Garvey Park to watch the premiere of “African Redemption: The Life and Legacy of Marcus Garvey.”

Billed a docudrama chronicling Garvey’s journey from lowly immigrant to global personality, public enemy number one, deportee and petitioner for a presidential pardon the multifaceted trailblazer’s life-span is detailed.

Endorsements from the 20th Annual Imagenation Outdoors, Jazz Mobile/Summerfest, Harlem Week and Black Star Line Films already add to signators pleading forgiveness of fraud and alleged tax evasion his name is associated.

Garvey’s arrest and stint in prison is well documented however, segments depicting his life in London, England might prove an easy decision to right the wrongs a nation yearns for adjustment in history books.

At sunset a cultural presentation features drumming and a plethora of Pan-African tributes to the martyr.

Musician Tchaka Tonge whose father describes himself as a ‘loyal Garveyite’ has been rehearsing a heritage treat he hopes will pay tribute to the immigrant who emerged a global Pan-African advocate.

Following the preview, the enlightening biography will trace a path from Jamaica to Harlem showing how that journey elevated the personality who became larger than life – the father of the Black power movement, keynote speaker at Madison Square Garden and the architect to designed a black, red and green for a symbol of Black solidarity.

Garvey’s rise to notoriety peaked when he emerged a respected voice of Harlem, newspaper publisher, author, champion of Civil Rights and leader of a world movement that extended beyond the borders of the Village to yield converts in the Caribbean, Europe and Africa.

He named the organization Universal Negro Improvement Association.

Thousands signed on to his promise of liberation. They invested in his unifying vision of “One Aim One Destiny,” and were willing to sail to Africa aboard his Black Star Line vessel.

Filmmaker Roy T. Anderson neatly pieces together each period of his life with never-before seen visuals, re-enactments, interviews and testimonials from relatable individuals – all of whom contend Garvey’s philosophy influenced their life’s choices.

Luminaries from academia, sports, film, television, and the music industry offer perspectives on the iconic yet controversial leader who landed “squarely in the crosshairs of the FBI and other government agencies around the world.”

His youngest son, Dr. Julius Garvey opines proudly about the legacy he inherited. Academy award winner Louis Gossett, Jr. lavishes the virtues of Black nationalism, Ilyasah Shabazz, the third daughter of Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz speaks truth to knowledge in expressing her affinity for the leader and former U. S. Congressman Charles Rangel exalts being a benefactor in the political arena while film director Sam Pollard introduces audiences to the ground-breaking production Anderson traverses to document the ambitions of an activist, visionary and trailblazer.

Even eight-time Olympic winner Usain Bolt is able to amplify testimonials from Rastafarians, politicians and others who credit Jamaica’s first national hero as an inspiration to their success. While Grammy winning dancehall recorder Sean Paul only makes a cameo appearance, a long list of intellectuals recalled the lifelong contributions of the iconic immigrant who changed the trajectory of Black history in America.

Filmed in Jamaica, Ghana, Canada, United States, United Kingdom, and Central America, the documentary “blends live-action sequences and stunning still photographs, with no-holds-barred interviews and conversations that shed a new light on Marcus Garvey’s significance.”

Narrated by actor Keith David, the 85-minute feature-length documentary-film recently won the Best Documentary Prize at the Zanzibar International Film Festival. It also claimed honors in California at the 2021 Los Angeles Documentary Film Festival.

Catch You On The Inside!

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