Marcus Garvey’s views on the KKK in his own words

(taken from http://originalpeople.org/marcus-garvey-and-his-views-on-the-ku-klux-klan/)

Something to really think about…

Marcus Garvey’s views on the KKK in his own words:

 

“I interviewed the Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan to find out the Klan’s attitude toward the race. You may believe it or not-I made several statements to him, in which he said this: that the Klan is not organized for the absolute purpose of interfering with Negroes-for the purpose of suppressing Negroes, but the Klan is organized for the purpose of protecting the interests of the white race in America. Now anything that does not spell the interests of the white race in America does not come within the scope of the Ku Klux Klan. I found out, therefore, that the Ku Klux Klan was purely a racial organization standing up in the interests of white folks exclusive of the interests of others. You cannot blame any group of men, whether they are Chinese, Japanese, Anglo-Saxons or Frenchmen, for standing up for their interests or for organizing in their interest. I am not apologizing for the Klan or endeavoring to excuse the existence of the Klan, but I want a proper understanding about the Ku Klux Klan so that there can be no friction between the Negroes in America and the Ku Klux Klan, because it is not going to help.

The Ku Klux Klan is not an ordinary social club organized around the corner. The Ku Klux Klan is the invisible government of the United States of America. The Ku Klux Klan expresses to a great extent the feeling of every real white American. The attitude of the Ku Klux Klan is that America shall be a white man’s country at all hazards, at all costs. The attitude of the Universal Negro Improvement Association is in a way similar to the Ku Klux Klan. Whilst the Ku Klux Klan desires to make America absolutely a white man’s country, the Universal Negro Improvement Association wants to make Africa absolutely a black man’s country. {Great applause. } Whether you wish it or not, that is not the point, because your wish does not amount to anything. The wish of fifteen million Negroes in America does not amount to anything when 95,000,000 other folks wish the thing that you want. That is the disadvantage. We wish liberty; we wish to be good American citizens; we want to be President of the United States; we wish to be Congressmen; we wish to be Senators; we wish to be governors of states; we wish to be mayors of cities; we wish to be police commissioners. It is a wish, all right, but the other fellow wishes the same thing. Now, is he going to allow you to have your wish? That is the attitude. The white people of this country are not going to allow Negroes-ambitious and educated Negroes-to have their wish, and the wish of the educated, ambitious Negro of America is that the Negro has as much right to be President of the United States as President Harding has. The ambition and wish of the Negro in America today is that the Negro has as much right to be a member of the Cabinet as any white man. Now that is your wish. Will the other fellow accede to your wish?

The Ku Klux Klan interprets the spirit of every white man in this country and says, “You shall not pass.” What are you going to do? You have the wish, but the odds are against you. Therefore the best thing you can do is to get down to a sober understanding of the Klan and try to the best of your ability to solve the question that concerns you. And the Universal Negro Improvement Association says the only way the problem can be solved is for the Negro to create a government of his own strong enough on the continent of Africa that can compel the respect of all men in all parts of the world. We are not going to have any fight as an organization with the Ku Klux Klan because it is not going to help.

The Ku Klux Klan, as I said a while ago, is the invisible government of the United States of America. What do I mean by that? The Klan represents the spiritual feeling and even the physical attitude of every white man in this country. There are hundreds of other organizations that feel as the Ku Klux Klan feels. There are millions of individuals in America who feel as the Ku Klux Klan feels, but those individuals, those organizations are not honest enough to make the confession that the Ku Klux Klan makes. I prefer and have a higher regard for the man who intends to take my life who will warn me and say, “Garvey, I am going to take your life,” so as to give me time to prepare my soul for my God, rather than the man who will pretend to be my friend, and as I turn my back he ushers me into eternity without even giving me a chance to say my Lord’s Prayer.”

Marcus Garvey. Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey (Dover Thrift Editions) (Kindle Locations 1513-1518). Kindle Edition.
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One thought on “Marcus Garvey’s views on the KKK in his own words”

  1. Very interesting speech. Thanks for posting this. From my reading, I understand that Garvey was a Black nationalist who at one point advocated for Black Americans to return to Africa to set up their own country. Understand his view that KKK terrorism represented the feelings of all white Americans helps me to understand how he came to this view.

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