On September 17, 1787 the final draft of the United States Constitution was signed during the Constitutional Convention held in Philadelphia. I thought it appropriate on this 226th Constitution Day to share an excerpt from a speech Marcus Garvey gave on November 25, 1922 in New York City famously known as The Principles of The Universal Negro Improvement Association.
"What do I mean by constitutional rights in America? If the black man is to reach the height of his ambition in this country if the black man is to get all of his constitutional rights in America then the black man should have the same chance in the nation as any other man to become president of the nation, or a street cleaner in New York. If black man in the British Empire is to have all his constitutional rights it means that the Negro in the British Empire should have at least the same right to become premier of Great Britain as he has to become street cleaner in the city of London. Are they prepared to give us such political equality? You and I can live in the United States of America for 100 more years, and our generations may live for 200 years or for 5000 more years, and so long as there is a black and white population, when the majority is on the side of white race, you and I will never get political justice or get political equality in this country. Then why should a black man with rising ambition, after preparing himself in every possible way to give expression to that highest ambition, allow himself to be kept down by racial prejudice within a country? If I am as educated as the next man, if I am as prepared as the next man, if I have passed through the best schools and colleges and universities as the other fellow, why should I not have a fair chance to compete with the other fellow for the biggest position in the nation? I have feelings, I have blood, I have senses like the other fellow; I have ambition, I have hope. Why should he, because of some racial prejudice, keep me down and why should I concede to him the right to rise above me and to establish himself as my permanent master?
Happy Constitution Day….