In honor of Marcus M. Garvey, Kansas City’s Black Hat Society is holding its 24th annual Marcus Garvey Day motorcade and celebration on Sat., Aug. 28.

Garvey was born in Jamaica on Aug. 17, 1887. He was a Black nationalist who founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL), which was dedicated to racial pride, economic self-sufficiency and the formation of an independent Black nation in Africa. Though Garvey had founded the UNIA in Jamaica in 1914, its main influence was felt in Harlem in 1916.

Garvey and the UNIA founded the Black Liberation Flag, consisting of three horizontal bands of red, black and green.

He also inspired Garveyism, a pan-Africanism philosophy, which advocates for unifying those of African descent worldwide. He traveled the country speaking at various events about how African Americans needed to be proud of their race and return to Africa.

Garvey founded the Negro World newspaper, which was published weekly in Harlem, New York and reached a circulation of 200,000. Various writers contributed to the publication, which focused on Black culture, poetry, book reviews and commentary on theater and music.

But Garvey’s projects collapsed after his arrest on charges of mail fraud in 1922. Garvey died in 1940, but cities all over the country continue to honor Garvey’s fight for the unification of African Americans.

Jamaica has an official Marcus Garvey Day that is celebrated with a wreath-laying ceremony, concerts and community activities.

The Black Hat Society Marcus Garvey Day event will start with vehicle decorating at 10 a.m. at 3302 Prospect Ave. Then, the motorcade will start at noon and head to the Leon M. Jordan Park at 31st and Benton Boulevard.

There will be a balloon release and guest speakers including Zaki Baruti of the St. Louis Universal African Peoples Organization and activist Ron McMillan. Founder of the event, GG Owens will also present community awards.

The event will have food, drinks, vendors and is free and open to the public.

Jazzlyn "Jazzie” is the former senior reporter for our team, who joined the company in 2020 in the midst of the pandemic, through the Report for America service program. For the past two years, she covered...

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