Subversive Words & Militant Actions by Marva McClean
Look for me in the whirlwind and the storm! These words spoken by Jamaican national hero Marcus Garvey, remind us of our accountability to take action to address the ills in our society. They are strong powerful words, evoking the graphic imagery of natural subversion even as they symbolically convey the writer’s sense of urgency and commitment to fight forcefully for change. The truth is, Marcus Garvey, 1887-1940, was widely known for his subversive words and militant actions. An activist who fought for the rights of Black people through agentive action and publications like The Negro World, his memory and influence remain strong today among those involved in the continuing struggle for social justice and equity in our society. This was the consensus reached by the group of literary friends gathered this past Saturday at the Broward County South Regional Library, Florida to celebrate the word and their heritage in a literary expo hosted by cultural activist Vonnie McGowan. Interestingly, the event fell on Garvey’s birthday and it was fitting then, that Garvey scholar and chair of the committee to exonerate Garvey, Geoffrey Philp shared thoughts on Garvey’s work as a Pan Africanist as well as excerpts from Geoff’s book Marcus and the Amazon, a satire on colonialism and an assertion of the struggle of people of color for empowerment.
I decided to employ poetic license and caption photos of some of the authors who presented at the expo with excerpts of resonant words from the archives of Garvey’s esteemed writings. These are words I believe, that we need to hold close as we continue this journey, this ongoing struggle for social justice and equity in our society, accepting that there is power in the pen, in the word, as it is a potent force in the struggle for human rights and justice and that we must hold ourselves as accountable members of this conversation. For we know at times like these how important it is to step out of the solitary confines of the writing life, connect with others and assert writing as the often complex and highly social act that it is.
Miss Ivy, Author, Lignum Vitae and Leather & Native Dawta
Up, up you mighty race, accomplish what you will.
Dobby Dobson, Malachai Smith & Geoffrey Philp
Chance has never yet satisfied the hope of
Nina Hart, Author, Test Your Jamaica IQ
With confidence, you have won before you started.
David Muir & Son, Author, Pieces of Jamaica
A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin,
and culture is like a tree without roots.
Much thanks to Marcia Ward & Vonnie McGowan, friends, who organized the Expo.