Pan African author, Ed Brown, addresses 100th Anniversary Celebration of UNIA-ACL at Schomburg in Harlem

Pan African Author Mwalimu Ed Brown’s Speaks at the opening ceremony of the UNIA-ACL Centennial Celebration at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem. Calls for the creation of thousands of UAB2020 Clubs throughout the Global African Community to ignite a dynamic and transformative global Pan African Youth Movement (PAYM) that will be a catalyst for making the United Pan African Nation (UPAN) a political reality in the year 2020.

Place: Schomburg Center for Study of Black Culture, in Harlem
Date: Thursday, August 14, 2014

One God…One Aim…One Destiny
One God…One Aim…One Destiny
One God…One Aim…One Destiny

To President-General Senghor Baye and the officers and members of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL), on this auspicious occasion of the 100th Anniversary of its birth; my fellow Africans, my fellow Harlemites, Brothers and Sisters, Ladies and Gentlemen…..and I would be amiss if I did not recognize my intellectual ally, partner, and the love of my life, my darling wife Wilhelmina, who is accompanied with our brilliant and beautiful niece, Edwina, who is “the captain of her ship and the master of her fate”. I would also like to recognize my brother, Gary, and my best friend from childhood Ronald, who have come afar to honor me with their presence and support.

It’s great to be back home in Harlem. This was my old stomping ground back in the day. I was born in Harlem grew up in Lincoln Project right down the street a few blocks (between 5th and Park Avenues). And if I had a nickel for every time I descended and ascended from the 135th Street subway station I’d be a very rich man today. I attended elementary and JHS (Douglas) right here in Harlem. After I graduated from Syracuse University (1969/71) I came back to the Harlem community and lived right across the street in Lenox Terrace for 12 years as a young Pan Africanist. Across the street, on the construction site, was Pan Pans where I’d would often run into Dr. John Henrik Clarke and Dr. Ben having breakfast. It used to be Cushman’s Bakery when I was a kid.

We are standing on scared ground. Not just here inside the Schomburg Center, where I spent many hours in years past, but right outside of this great African scholastic edifice on 135th Street and Lenox Avenue is scared ground. For it was here, on 135th Street and Lenox, on one profoundly historic day in the Spring of 1916, that a 24 year old young man named A Phillip Randolph (destined to become the architect of the March of Washington Movements of 1941 and 1963) introduced, and lent his soapbox to, a 26 year old new comer in town, going by name of Marcus Garvey. You see back in the teens of the last century 135th Street and Lenox Avenue was Harlem square and it was from here the all of progressive Black speeches and pan African advocacy was done. So where we are now, 135th Street and Lenox Avenue (now Malcom X Blvd), is indeed sacred ground.

UNIA President General Senghor Baye pours libations to our African ancestors in front of Schomburg Center on 135th Street and Lenox Avenue as Ed Brown and niece Edwina look on.

During my teenage years in Harlem, in the 1960s, it was 125th Street and 7th Avenue where you could hear all of the dynamic street corner speakers, i.e., Malcolm X, Carlos Cooks, Pork Chop Davis, Adam Powell, Jesse Gray and even Garvey’s most consequential adherent in the 2nd half of the 20th century, Ghana’s 1st president, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. But in Garvey’s time (1914-1926) 135th Street was the political epicenter of Harlem.

As a young Garvey-centered Pan Africanist in the 1970s, I remember talking with some of the elder members of the New York Vanguard Local 301 Division of the UNIA and attending meetings at their headquarters here in Harlem at 2395, Eighth Avenue across the street from St. Nicholas Projects. I also remembering meeting with members of Brooklyn Unit of the UNIA and their President Mr. Crawford and his wife in their home and at the Brooklyn UNIA headquarters on 10 Clover Place. Many of these esteemed African elders had actually seen Garvey and worked with him back in the day. I was always taken aback to see and hear these older Garveyites, even in one-on-one conversations, light up and stand to attention and become energized with enthusiam wherever the subject turned to Marcus Garvey. One man told me that he remembers Garvey’s speaking voice to be so loud and eloquent that when he spoke from 135th you could hear him clearly from 10 blocks away on 125th. Garvey launched the first ship of the Black Star Line (rechristened the Frederick Douglas) from 135th street pier in Harlem in November 1919.

I also remember meeting with former UNIA President –General Thomas Harvey in at the National Headquarters of the UNIA-ACL on 1611 Columbia Avenue in North Philadelphia in the 1970s. Later I learned, from reading and study, that Thomas Harvey he was one of Garvey’s top protégés in his School of African Philosophy the he developed for UNIA leadership in the late 1930s. Harvey left me with “The land belongs to the man who is strong enough to keep it. It belongs to the next man who is strong enough to take it away”.

Mwalimu Ed Brown speaking at the opening of the UNIA-ACL Centennial Celebration at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

In the last quarter of the 20th century, I remember many blessed occasions on which I met, dialoged with and/or shared the stage with some of the great Garvey scholars of the day, e.g., Professors Tony Martin and Robert Hill as well as the Rt. Excellent Marcus Garvey’s two sons, Marcus Jr. and Julius, who remain faithful to their father’s commitment and high quest for the uplift, unification and empowerment of the global Black/African community.

Mwalimu Ed Brown with the 7th President-General of the UNIA-ACL, Marcus Garvey Jr., at a Pan African Conference at the University at Albany on April 7, 2000. 

ONE HUNDRED (100) YEARS AGO, on July 20, 1914, as the world was racing toward World War I, exactly 55 years to the day before the America landed on the moon, Marcus Garvey and his first wife, Amy Ashwood, launched the Universal Negro (African) Improvement Association–African Communities League (UNIA-ACL) in the Caribbean. Three years later, Garvey started the New York Division of the UNIA, in 1917, with 13 members. Within three months the dues paying membership had reached 3,500. By 1920, the UNIA-ACL had become a mass global organization with an estimated membership of 11 million, in 1,300 divisions, in 40 countries. For the entire month of August in 1920 (that’s 31 days my friends), the UNIA-ACL hosted the 1st International Convention of African Peoples of the World. Twenty-five thousand (25,000) Black delegates from Africa, the Caribbean and America gathered at Madison Square Garden in New York City where they debated the conditions of black people nationally and globally and passed resolutions establishing the rights of Black people freedom, justice and self-determination wherever they live regardless of their nationality.

On August 13, 1920, a resolution was adopted by the Convention that established Red, Black and Green as the colors for the Universal Pan African flag. On August 20, 1920, the 25,000 Convention delegates voted in a democratic contest between Marcus Garvey and Dr. Lewis from Nigeria to elect the 1st provisional president of Africa. Garvey prevailed and the organization went on to petition the League of Nations for the African colonies that Germany had lost in the war and to signed a treaty with the government of Liberia to lease one-million acres of land to the UNIA-ACL for the limited settlement of its pioneers in Liberia starting in Harper in the county of Cape Palmas.

None of this would have happened if Marcus and Amy Ashwood Garvey had not founded the UNIA-ACL 100 years ago in 1914. We are gathered here today, at Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, in Harlem, to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of this epic event

Last week, fifty (50) Governors-in-waiting, from as many States in Africa, were in Washington DC for the US/African Summit. Hopefully, and I expect, some good will come from the deals that these Governors-in-waiting, struck up for their individual countries in Africa, with the government and business community of the United States. Indeed, seven of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world today are in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) and 34 of the 40 countries with the highest population growth rates in the world are located in SSA.

President Obama meets with African Leaders at the US/African Summit- August 11-14, 2014

But anything accomplished at the last week’s US/African Summit will be dwarfed by the real geometric and transformative progress that will come when the Continental/Global government of the United Pan African Nation (UPAN) comes into being and its first permanent President has been democratically elected by the 1 billion+ people in Africa (80% in SSA). So the heads of African states that met with President Obama are in fact Governors-in-waiting for a permanent President of Africa who will replace the provisional one that was elected at the UNIA Convention in 1920 as a place holder.

A politically united Africa will bring Black people back onto the stage of world history as a free, self-determined and powerful African people and a positive force for the good of all mankind. At that time Martin Delaney, Marcus Garvey, Kwame Nkrumah, Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and all of our illustrious pan African ancestors, will joyfully turn over in their graves and smile down upon us from heaven. But as long as Africa is politically divided, each of its individual states will be working from a position of relative weakness in any dealings they have in the global political economy. The sectional nationalisms, balkanization and European linguistic differentials of the 54 states of Africa must give way and surrender their mini-state sovereignties to a greater government of the United Pan African Nation (UPAN) that will protect and promote the interests of all African people on the African continent and throughout the world. As the 75 year old elder African Statesman Mwalimu Julius Nyerere warned, shortly before his passing in 1999, “Without unity there is no future for Africa”.

So today, at this great Centennial Celebration, we must use this historic event to speed up and redoubled our efforts to bring the UPAN into being by August 2020. Garvey did his part from 1914 to 1920. Let us honor him today, and all of our pan African ancestors, by doing our part in making comparable strides from 2014 to 2020. There are currently 54 political entities in Africa, 18 of which celebrated their 50th Anniversaries in 2010 alone, and another 16 that will be doing the same before this decade is finished (2011-2019) The aforementioned eighteen countries will be celebrating 60th Anniversaries in 2020, eight of them in the month of August 2020. The 27 year old Marcus Garvey rose up from nothing in 1914, to an organization of ten million+ members, in 40 countries, and being elected the 1st provisional president of Africa in August 1920. This global generation of Africans can do no less. Garvey himself said it: “What other men have done, we can do”. In this spirit, let us rise up from the significant something we now have in 2014, to the United Pan African Nation (UPAN) in August 2020.

In this regard, today I am proposing the creation of thousands of UAB2020 Clubs throughout the Global African Community on both sides of the Atlantic (UAB2020= United Africa By 2020). The goal of these UAB 2020 clubs will be to bring into being a dynamic global Pan African Youth Movement (PAYM) that will be a catalyst for making the United Pan African Nation (UPAN) a viable political entity by the year 2020. The Pan African Forum, on my website, can be the medium by which members of these clubs communicate with me and with each other, person to person and club to club. Furthermore I propose that these clubs be formed, by young Africans (40 and under) on both sides of the Atlantic. This can be done within existing Pan African organizations, such as the UNIA-ACL, or as free standing entities on college campuses and in Black Communities throughout the African world. The primary mission will be to bring the UPAN into political existence reality by 2020.

Accordingly, discussions on the Pan African Forum should be focused on real, concrete and specific ideas for:

(1) Leadership Development and African Continental Management;

(2) Developing a constitution for the United Pan African Nation (UPAN) that factors in all African people “those at home (on the African continent), and those abroad (us here in America and throughout the African diaspora);

(3) Building an integrated infrastructure on the African continent that connects African people, goods and services to each other on the Continent and in the Global African Community (connecting Africans to Africans) and not just to the metropolitan centers of Europe of China;

(4) Eradication of all national currencies in Africa and the establishment of a continental monetary system with a universal African currency that can be used anywhere in Africa and throughout the world;

(5) Universal African citizenship which is inclusive of all Africans on the Continent, African Americans and the rest of the African Diaspora;

(6) Universal African passport for all African people on the African Continent and in the African Diaspora;

(7) Toward a Untied African Foreign Policy and the Restructuring of the United Nations (U.N.)

I make reference to these ideas and others to ignite the Pan African Youth Movement (PAYM) and UAB2020 Clubs, on pages 62 and 63 of my book “The New Pan Africanism 2020”. In addition to publishing a Pan African squeal to my book, I intend to be working with other interested parties in putting together a series of goal-oriented international UPAN Conferences that focus specifically on each of the seven points of discussion referenced above. All of this can and MUST BE DONE…“For our ancestors and our progeny.” And when the United/Universal Pan African Nation (UPAN) finally comes into being, in the near term, it will signal the re-emergence of Africa as a world power.

And so I leave you for a while, but I look forward to seeing you again in Africa, at high noon, on Thursday, August 20, 2020 (6260 AFE) as we witness the first woman, or man, raising their right hand to take the oath of office as the first constitutionally elected permanent (not provisional as it was 100 years ago) President of the United Pan African Nation.


“Africa for the Africans, those at Home, and those Abroad”
-Marcus Garvey

“Africa Must Unite”
-Garvey’s most consequential adherent, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah

Let’s do this!

Asante Sana (Thank you very much)

Your Faithful Pan African Servant,
Mwalimu Edward H. Brown, Jr. (MK-QA)
Author” The New Pan Africanism 2020”
October 23, 2014

UNIA-ACL Publicity Flyer listing Ed Brown as a speaker at the UNIA-ACL Centennial Celebration at the Schomburg.