KINGSTON, Jamaica – Even as National Caribbean American Heritage Month comes to a close, the Caribbean diaspora is still celebrating one of its most influential leaders, Marcus Garvey and one of his most valuable contributions to the African diaspora.
The 100th anniversary of the incorporation of Marcus Garvey’s Black Star Line (BSL), a shipping company that promoted trade between the Americas, the Caribbean, Canada, and Africa, will be commemorated with two days of activities in Kingston from June 28 to 29.
The celebration, which is open to the public, is being organised by the Marcus Garvey Fair Steering Committee in partnership with the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and the Social Development Commission (SDC) with support from Hamilton Knight Associates Limited.
Activities will begin on June 28 with a commemorative lecture and cultural concert at the Institute of Jamaica (IOJ), beginning at 11:00 a.m. It will engage members of the Jamaican Diaspora, the public and private sectors, and primary and secondary schools.
On June 29, the annual Marcus Garvey Fair will be merged with the Black Star Line celebrations, with the staging of the Marcus Garvey Black Star Line Centennial Fair on the Kingston waterfront.
Lady President of the UNIA, Valerie Dixon, that the proceeds from the annual events have been used to assist the indigent, facilitate training courses for UNIA members, establish a post office in the community, and upgrade sanitary facilities at the Liberty Hall Basic School.
She noted that this year’s staging in Kingston will facilitate even more local and international attendees.
The Black Star Line was created to promote trade goods and eventually to transport African Americans throughout the African global economy. BSL and its successor, the Black Cross Navigation and Trading Company, operated between 1919 and 1922, and is today seen as one of the most important contributions made by Garvey to the Back-to-Africa movement.