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Marcus Garvey: Look For Me in the Whirlwind

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Teacher's Guide: Suggestions for Active Learning

Marcus GarveyThe film Marcus Garvey: Look for Me in the Whirlwind and this companion Web site offer insights into topics in American history including African American political movements, black nationalism and anticolonialism, the African diaspora, radicalism, and the government and political activism. You can use part or all of the film, or delve into the rich resources available on this Web site to learn more, either in a classroom or on your own.

The following activities are grouped into 4 categories: geography, civics, history, and economics. You can also read a few helpful hints for completing the activities.

Geography | Civics | History | Economics

1. As Garvey repeatedly pointed out, Africa in the early 1900s was almost entirely controlled by Europeans. Have each student pick a different present-day African country and research its status as of 1920. Was it independent or a European colony? If it was a colony, which European country controlled this area? How and when had this area come under European control? Students should present their findings in oral reports to the class; they should begin their reports by pointing out the location of their country on a wall map and end their reports by stating when the country became independent.

2. Read about the Black Star Line. (a) Draw or photocopy a map and use arrows to show the three parts of the world that Marcus Garvey hoped to link by trade using the Black Star Line. (b) Find out about an earlier form of three-way trade, the transatlantic slave trade that brought millions of Africans to the Americas. What was the "triangular trade?" How had it affected people of color? How was Garvey's vision of the Black Star Line designed to have the opposite effect?

Geography | Civics | History | Economics

1. Read the Declaration of the Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World. (a) From what famous American document is part of Declaration Number 1 drawn? (b) Compare the context in which these two documents were written. Why, do you think, did the authors of the Declaration of the Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World see their position as being similar to that of the authors of the other document?

2. What evidence can you find in the film and the materials on this website to support Garvey's charge that there was a conspiracy to destroy him? (Consult materials such as the essay on the Black Star Line, the "Garvey Must Go" letter, Garvey's autobiographical piece, "The Negro's Greatest Enemy," the FBI memo on Garvey, and materials on the "Garvey Must Go" Campaign , J. Edgar Hoover, and the Universal Negro Improvement Association.) List some specific acts that were conducted against Garvey.

Geography | Civics | History | Economics

1. Marcus Garvey's attempt to build the U.N.I.A. took place at a time of unrest in the United States. The years 1919-1921 were marked by labor strikes, a growing fear among many Americans that communists and other political radicals were gaining influence, and efforts by government officials to stamp out those radicals. Select one of the following persons: Calvin Coolidge (Massachusetts governor, later President of the United States), Eugene Debs (labor leader and politician), Emma Goldman (anarchist), J. Edgar Hoover (law enforcement official), V. I. Lenin (Russian revolutionary), A. Mitchell Palmer (attorney general), and Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti (immigrants convicted of murder). Create a poster of your subject that includes a photo of him or her, a brief explanation of why this person was controversial at that time, and a quote from this person that expresses his or her views on an important issue. Display the class's posters together as a "Cast of Characters" of these years.

2. Select a partner and together write a dialogue between Marcus Garvey and one of his African American critics, such as W.E.B. Du Bois. For background, consult readings such as Garvey's putdown of Du Bois, "A Barefaced Coloured Leader," Garvey's "Look for Me in the Whirlwind" message from the Atlanta Prison, Garvey's Statement of Arrest, the "Garvey Must Go" letter written by black leaders opposed to Garvey, and the essays on A. Philip Randolph, the "Garvey Must Go" Campaign ,and W.E.B. Du Bois. Then read your dialogue to the class.

Geography | Civics | History | Economics

1. Read about the Black Star Line look at the advertisement for it, Support the Black Star Line and Build a Great Merchant Marine. (a) How did Garvey raise money for the Black Star Line? (b) What arguments did he use in his money-raising efforts? (b) Explain why the Black Star Line, despite its poor management, was a powerful symbol for blacks in the United States and elsewhere.

2. Read some of the questions and answers in the Online Forum. Then give your own answer to the question, Should minority groups strive to develop separately, or should they assimilate to achieve success? Explain your answer and give examples of comments in the Forum that support your view. Also explain how the example of Garvey's attempt to promote the separate development of blacks supports your view.

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