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The Age of GarveyHow a Jamaican Activist Created a Mass Movement and Changed Global Black Politics$
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Adam Ewing

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691157795

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691157795.001.0001

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The Center Cannot Hold

The Center Cannot Hold

Chapter:
(p.45) Chapter Two The Center Cannot Hold
Source:
The Age of Garvey
Author(s):

Adam Ewing

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691157795.003.0003

This chapter explores racial politics during the First World War, which acted as a catalyst in which old and richly drawn contests of authority and power were shifted on their axis, disrupted, and transformed. From the ascendant black capital of Harlem, a militant “New Negro” movement had emerged, its proponents hoping to more dramatically leverage the “new theater” created by the war to reshape global relations of race and class inequality, to celebrate militant and respectable black masculinity, and to replace an old cadre of elitist and ineffectual black leadership with a new brand of uncompromising mass politics. Joining the stream of West Indians heading for New York, Marcus Garvey was a fortunate witness to the birth of the New Negro movement. By the end of the war, thoughts of returning to Jamaica forgotten, he had begun to pull the movement's center of gravity toward himself and his organization.

Keywords:   World War I, New Negro movement, racial inequality, class inequality, black masculinity, mass politics, racial politics, black militancy

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