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RBG100th Pan African Conference: Celebrating Marcus Garvey’s Legacy
August 17, 2020 @ 1:00 pm - 8:30 pm UTC+0
Global Pan Africanism Network and United States of Africa hosted a virtual Pan African Conference to celebrate 100 years of Red Black and Green flag which was born out of racial prejudice song ”Every Race has a flag but the coon”
History of the Pan African Flag:
This Flag of Mine: Towards 100 years of Red, Black and Green short documentary outlines the history of the Red Black and Green flag. After identifying the flag’s origins in response to the song “Every Race Has A Flag But The Coon,” it traces the story to Marcus Garvey. As President General of the UNIA Garvey led the introduction of the Declaration of Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World on August 13, 1920 in Madison Square Garden. From there the symbolism of the colors Red, Black and Green are examined. The final section shows the expansion of the flag from the UNIA to being its influence in the colors of independent nations of Africa.
The United States of Africa adopted RBG Flag as the official flag for the African nation in honour of Marcus Garvey’s legacy.
August, 13 2020 will be the 100th anniversary of an historical event which continues to reverberate among the human race today. The Red, Black and Green flag was presented to the world as the flag of all African people on August 13, 1920. It was resolved to be the symbol of African nationhood and the entire African race in declaration 39 of the 1920 Declaration of Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World. It had been 20 years since Will A. Heelan and J. Fred Helf put pen to paper and wrote the song “Every Race Has a Flag But the Coon.” Before then, people of African ancestry saw no use for a flag other than of the country where they lived. The power of a symbol for people of African ancestry has been recognized ever since. More than 90 years ago over 20,000 members of the Universal Negro Improvement Association gathered at Madison Square Garden. They were attending the first month long International Convention of the Universal Negro improvement Association, chaired by Marcus Mosiah Garvey.
Marcus Garvey prophet, legend and first National hero of Jamaica founded the UNIA in 1914. His work with the UNIA influenced people like Kwame Nkrumah, Jomo Kenyatta, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Bob Marley, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King,Jr., and W.E.B. Dubois with his concept of African Redemption. Marcus Garvey was a builder of institutions. He along with the members of the UNIA started the Black Star Line Shipping Company. Garvey also was publisher and editor of the widely distributed Negro World weekly newspaper. He is known for saying: “Show me the race or nation without a flag and I will show you a race of people without any pride.” Why is the red, black and green our flag? First, flags are cloth designs communicating or signifying identity. Additionally, flags are for a nation, to publicly display patriotism or unity. The colors Red, Black and Green resonate with black people everywhere. The colors Red, Black and Green resonate with black people everywhere. The colors are said to have originated the flag of the Zanj or Zinj empire of Iraq. Red has powerful symbolic meaning. The color Red is for the color of blood shed in the cause of Black Liberation down through the centuries. In nature red is a color of warning. Red also indicates fruit is ripe for eating. It gets the viewers attention, carries a strong reaction and informs us what we see is important. Black points to the color of our noble people. The color represents Africans at home and abroad. The original name for Ancient Egypt, which everyone knows is in Africa, was Kemet. KMT in the original Kemetic language means the “Black Land” or “Land of the Blacks.” Black does not emit or reflect light; it absorbs all frequencies of the visible electromagnetic spectrum. Light interacts with atoms and molecules to convert to other forms of energy. As black absorbs light, it absorbs energy making black a thermal energy collector. Black is a color of authority and power. Judges and lawyers wear black robes. Priests, rabbis, and ministers wear black as well. Black is worn on important occasions. Black limousines are usually in abundance at such events. Sports teams have modified their uniforms so they have black in their away colors as it is perceived to impart a psychological advantage to the wearer. In accounting being “in the black” means all one’s debts have been paid and a profit is being generated. Black is also the color of the universe as is easily seen by looking at the night sky. Scientists have determined the universe consists primarily of Dark Matter. This matter accounts for the gravitational pull in effect throughout the universe. MELANIN!!! What makes black people black? MELANIN!!! Melanin is the aromatic chemical which makes black people black. It comes in several colors including red, yellow, brown and black. That’s why black people come in all colors. Green symbolizes the enormous, abundant, natural wealth of our Motherland Africa. In every natural sense Africa is the most blessed. Africa is a continent where land, people, mineral and plant resources have always been in abundance. During the African Independence explosion and civil rights movement of the 1960s the RBG saw a resurgence of popularity. In addition to the RBG being used as a model for flags in countries gaining independence such as Kenya, Zambia, Sudan, Libya, Ghana and others it was used as a symbol for unity in the United States of America. Along with independence came the need to express a national identity. One expression of national identity occurred in Jamaica. This was accomplished through the naming of “National Heroes” the first of which was Marcus Garvey. Garvey’s enshrinement in Kingston’s National Heroes Park on November 15, 1964 drew worldwide attention to his widow, Amy Jacques Garvey. During the sixties she authored two books “Garvey and Garveyism” and “Black Power in America: The Power of the Human Spirit.” Garvey and Garveyism was originally published in 1963, going through at least four printings by 1978. In it she laid out what Marcus Garvey did for Jamaicans in particular and Africans the world over in general. In Black Power in America: The Power of the Human Spirit, she explored the idea of Black Power and its origins with the words, works and deeds of Marcus Garvey. Amy Jacques Garvey also wrote a pledge to the flag entitled “THIS FLAG OF MINE” “THIS FLAG OF MINE” by Amy Jacques Garvey Regardless of what is told of it, Here’s to this flag of mine The Red, Black and Green Hopes in its future bright Africa has seen. Here’s to the Red of it, Great nations shall know of it In time to come. Red blood shall flow of it, Historians shall write of it, Great flag of mine. Here’s to the Black of it Four hundred millions back of it, Whose destiny depends on it The RED, BLACK and GREEN of it, Oh, Flag of Mine. Here’s to the Green of it Young men shall dream of it, Face shot and shells of it Waving so high. Here’s to the whole of it Colors bright and pole of it Pleased is my soul with it Regardless of what is told of it, Thank God for giving it Great Flag of Mine. Jesse Jackson symbolically opened the Black Expo by tying a red, black and green ribbon to “tie ourselves closer together.” Jackson also referred to it as a “love knot.” 12,000 people attended the first African Liberation day all displaying the red, black and green. During the Jena 6 protests RBG flags were in abundance. George Augustus Stallings broke from the Catholic Church and started the Imani Temple African-American Catholic Congregation. It’s altar is covered in RBG cloth. Of course the Red, black and green made itself known during the development of Kwanzaa. The million man march was another event where the RBG was invoked as a symbol of unity. An experimental “black survival curriculum” for the development of African Americans in Newark, NJ had as one of it’s mainstays the displaying of the RBG in classrooms. Each day started with a salute to the flag. Dick Gregory ran in the 1973 Boston Marathon wearing a red, black and green tracksuit, the colors of Chicago’s Malcolm X University, which he represented. Lawrence In 1971 Lawrence Hamm, although only 17 years old, pushed through a resolution by the Newark School board requiring all schools where the student body was greater than 50 percent African American to display the RBG in its classrooms. Now you know the true history of the flag of all people of African ancestry. Rally round the Red, Black and green flag by displaying it in your home, school, office and car. Celebrate the Red, black and Green flag. Wear Red, black and Green, gather publicly worldwide and pledge allegiance to our flag, especially on August 13th of every year. Tell everyone the true history of OUR FLAG…the Red, Black and Green Displaying the Red, Black and Green celebrates the Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey, the Aims and Objectives of the UNIA, Africa’s coming redemption and a renewed African identity. Pride in our people and knowledge of our true history will grow…a history directly connected to the origin of the entire human race. The red, black and green flag conjures up images of Egypt better known as Kemet, Ethiopia and Timbuktu. Visions of the Ghana, Mali and Songhay empires spring to mind as well. Kerma, Napata and Meroe of the Nile valley in addition to The Great Zimbabwe include just a few of the great civilizations which the red, black and green flag inspires us to contemplate. We can rightfully boast to the whole world…all history, all culture, all thought originated in Africa and emanated outward. Awareness of Africa and our true destiny as African people will expand. We will deliberately and intentionally enter our rightful place in history, for as Dr. John Henrik Clarke still tells us “all history is a current event.”