Monrovia – Sammitta Entsua, the president of the James R. Stewart Division 435, the Liberia Chapter of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA/ACL) has praised President George Weah for opening his arms to their organization, the first Liberian Leader she says to have ever done such.
Entsua made the statement at a program marking the commemoration of the 134 birthday anniversary of Marcus Mosaiah Garvey, the founding father of the UNIA/ACL at the Conscious Corner on Benson Street.
The UNIA is a Black Nationalist fraternal organization. It was founded in 1914 by Garvey, a Jamaican born in 1887.
Garvey spoke out publicly in favor of worldwide black unity and an end to colonialism. The Pan-African organization enjoyed its greatest strength in the 1920s, and was influential in the United States prior to Garvey’s deportation to Jamaica in 1927.
The UNIA set up many small black-owned businesses such as restaurants, groceries, a publishing house, and the Black Star Line steam ship company through his UNIA in 1919. Garvey’s goal was to create a separate economy and society run for and by black.
And in 1920 Garvey taught that Africans should have a home and Liberia at the time was just right at his finger tip.
In 1923, a delegation from Marcus Garvey’s UNIA-ACL paid a visit to Liberia to seek President Charles D.B. King’s approval to allow the purchase of land for settlement and agriculture purposes as well as assess conditions in Liberia for UNIA members interested in living in Africa.
After the negotiation, the team went back to the US with the report and intended to pay for a parcel of land when they returned to Liberia the next time.
Unfortunately, the UNIA was denied from entering Liberia -least to even talk about acquiring land by former President King. Since then, other Black Nationalists have tried to establish the organization in Liberia but to no avail.
It has been almost 100 years and the Weah-led government is doing everything to make the UNIA reach its full potential in Liberia, the president of the James R. Stewart Division 435 of the UNIA Entsua said.
According to her, the land that was to be given to the UNIA by the then President was later given to Harvey Firestone for the period of 99 years for an amount of six cents.
Entsua added: “The UNIA was accepted by this regime. Thanks to President Weah for giving the UNIA the chance to have her first convention, which is the 62 Convention on African soil. That has not happened since the formation of the UNIA. So, through the acceptance of this government we were able to have our first convention on African soil.”
Also speaking, A.B. Shaifa Kromah, commonly called King Buju, the Chief Butler to President Weah and member of the UNIA. He recalls how the UNIA/ACL had been denied from coming to Liberia by previous regimes.
Buju, who has been given the African Redemption Award for his valuable services to the liberation of black people, praised the Liberian Leader for giving the UNIA the green light to operate freely in the country.
“Today, we are happy to discuss Garveyism. The introduction of Garveyism in Liberia was just by the grace and favor of a listening President, of a conscious President, who has read enough episodes about Marcus Garvey, about what his black movement put together and what they want to achieve,” Buju said.
“Based on his reading of those episodes he (President Weah) was encouraged to align with our principal, our doctrine, to an extent that he was present at a UNIA function and not only present but with the first Lady of Liberia and made a statement in support of our initiatives in Liberia.”
“The initiatives that have never been recognized, the initiative that has been characterized as a criminal movement but today, we can gather peacefully without any prosecution, rate of arrest and talk about Marcus Garvey, and about what the black people should achieved under his UNIA that was not given the requisite opportunity to function.
During the early hours of the day, president Entsua led a team from the James R. Stewart Division 435 to identify with the less fortunate at the Vomoma Junction in Sinkor and at the James N. Davies Jr. Memorial Hospital in Paynesville as part of the celebration commemorating their founder’s 134 birth anniversary.
There at the Vomoma junction, after giving some handout, president Entsua told the less fortunate people who had gathered to be self-reliant adding that it was the dream of their founding father Marcus Garvey.
President Entsua added: “The next time we will come here, we are not going to give your rice. We want to support you to start –even it can be your own garden at the back of your house, so that you can be self-reliant because the one, who feels you, controls you.”