marcus garvey quotes

29 Famous Marcus Garvey Quotes (Confidence, Race, God)

Famous Marcus Garvey quotes: Marcus Garvey Jr. aka Black Moses was one of the most influential leaders of the global Black community. Born the last of 11 children in 1887 in St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica Garvey was self-educated, mostly on his father’s books.

In 1920 Marcus Garvey established the Negro Factories Corporation which included a chain of grocery stores, restaurants, a publishing house, and numerous shops which provided scores of jobs to black Americans.

Garvey would go on to be an orator for the Black Nationalism movement, later inspiring a global movement known as Garveyism. This movement would in turn inspire the Nation of Islam and the Rastafari movement.

Marcus Garvey left us with numerous inspiring quotes on love, intelligence, racism, emancipation, and confidence that are still as powerful and relevant as they were a century ago. Here are our favorite famous Marcus Garvey quotes: (please share!)


1. Famous Marcus Garvey Quotes:

Intelligence rules the world, ignorance carries the burden…


The ends you serve that are selfish will take you no further than yourself but the ends you serve that are for all, in common, will take you into eternity.


It is your mind that rules the body. You cannot go further than that mind to seek truth and to know truth and to react to truth.” – Marcus Garvey

You at this time can only be destroyed by yourselves, from within and not from without. You have reached the point where the victory is to be won from within and can only be lost from within.


marcus garvey quote opportunity

“Take advantage of every opportunity; where there is none, make it for yourself.”


“The pen is mightier than the sword, but the tongue is mightier than them both put together.”


“Liberate the minds of men and ultimately you will liberate the bodies of men.”

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2. Quotes About Confidence

marcus garvey quote confidence

If you haven’t confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life. With confidence, you have won even before you have started.” 


“I trust that you will so live today as to realize that you are masters of your own destiny, masters of your fate; if there is anything you want in this world, it is for you to strike out with confidence and faith in self and reach for it.”


“Let no voice but your own speak to you from the depths. Let no influence but your own raise you in time of peace and time of war. Here all, but attend only that which concerns you.” – Marcus Garvey


“Among some of the organized methods used to control the world is the thing known and called PROPAGANDA. Propaganda has done more to defeat the good intentions of races and nations than even open warfare. Propaganda is a method or medium used by organized peoples to convert others against their will. We of the Negro race are suffering more than any other race in the world from propaganda… propaganda to destroy our hopes, our ambitions and our confidence in self.”


“Go to work! Go to work in the morn of a new creation… until you have reached the height of self-progress, and from that pinnacle bestow upon the world a civilization of your own.”


“Look for me in a whirlwind or a storm.”


marcus garvey quote struggle

“To be once defeated is to find cause for an everlasting struggle to reach the top.” – Marcus Garvey quote


3. Marcus Garvey Quotes on Race & Racism

“We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery, for though others may free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind. Mind is our only ruler; sovereign. The man who is not able to develop and use his mind is bound to be the slave of the other man who uses his mind, because man is related to man under all circumstances for good or ill.””

*Bob Marley fans will recognize part of this famous Marcus Garvey quote from Redemption Song!

Related: Famous John Lewis Quotes


marcus garvey quote race

“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”


“The race needs workers at this time, not plagiarists, sopists and mere imitators; but men and women who are able to create, to originate and improve, and thus make an independent racial contribution to the world and civilization.” – Marcus Garvey


“Having had the wrong education as a start in his racial career, the Negro has become his own greatest enemy. Most of the trouble I have had in advancing the cause of the race has come from Negroes.” – Marcus Garvey

Booker Washington aptly described the race in one of his lectures by stating that we were like crabs in a barrel, that none would allow the other to climb over, but on any such attempt, all would continue to pull back into the barrel the one crab that would make the effort to climb out. Yet, those of us with vision cannot desert the race, leaving it to suffer and die.” – Marcus GarveySelected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey

marcus garvey quote race

“If we as a people realized the greatness from which we came we would be less likely to disrespect ourselves.” – Marcus Garvey


“We are entitled to our own opinions and not obligated to or bound by the opinions of others.”


“Chance has never yet satisfied the hope of a suffering people.” – Marcus Garvey quote


“We believe in the supreme authority of our race in all things racial.”


“Men, there is much to live for, and there is much to die for. The man, the race of nation that is not prepared to risk life itself for the possession of an ideal, shall lose that ideal. If you, I repeat, must be free, you yourselves must strike the blow.” – Marcus GarveySelected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey

Related: Famous Harriet Tubman Quotes


“I have no desire to take all black people back to Africa; there are blacks who are no good here and will likewise be no good there.” – Marcus Garvey

marcus garvey quote nationality

“Great principles, great ideals know no nationality.” – Marcus Garvey


“Being satisfied to drink the dregs from the cup of human progress will not demonstrate our fitness as a people to exist alongside of others, but when of our own initiative we strike out to build industries, governments, and ultimately empires, then and only then will we as a race prove to our creator and to man in general that we are fit to survive and capable of shaping our own destiny.”


“I regard the Klan, the Anglo-Saxon clubs, and White American societies, as far as the Negro is concerned, as better friends of the race than all other groups of hypocritical whites put together.”


4. Marcus Garvey Quotes About God

“Some of us seem to accept the fatalist position, the fatalist attitude, that God accorded to us a certain position and condition, and therefore there is no need trying to be otherwise. The moment you accept such an attitude, the moment you accept such an opinion, the moment you harbor such an idea, you hurl an insult at the great God who created you, because you question Him for His love, you question Him for His mercy.” – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey


God and Nature first made us what we are, and then out of our own created genius we make ourselves what we want to be. Follow always that great law. Let the sky and God be our limit and Eternity our measurement.” – famous Marcus Garvey quotation

“God acts indifferently and his plan and purpose is generally worked out through the agency of human action. In his directed, inspired prophecy, he promised that Ethiopia’s day would come, not by the world-changing towards us, but by our stretching out our hands unto him.”

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