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Negro with a Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey 1st Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195393095
ISBN-10: 0195393090
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Editorial Reviews

From The New Yorker

In 1914, on a ship between Jamaica and England, an impoverished twenty-six-year-old named Marcus Garvey had what he later called a vision of "a new world of black men." Six years later, he rode through Harlem in regal robes and a plumed bicorne, and was proclaimed the Provisional President of Africa before a crowd of twenty-five thousand in Madison Square Garden. For a short, spectacular time, before his movement collapsed under the weight of its ambitions and schemes (a mail-fraud conviction resulted in exile in London), Garvey’s call for a transnational union of black people electrified crowds around the world—alarming J. Edgar Hoover and maddening W. E. B. Du Bois, who recoiled at Garvey’s separatism and his theatrics, wondering if he was "a lunatic or a traitor." (Garvey called Du Bois a "lazy dependant mulatto.") Grant’s biography ably captures the Garvey moment, although, perhaps wisely, he leaves the many contradictions in Garvey’s character unresolved.
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Review


"In Negro With a Hat, he has produced a searching, vivid, and (as the title suggests) complex account of Garvey's short but consequential life."--Steve Hahn, The New Republic


"The story of Marcus Garvey, the charismatic and tireless black leader who had a meteoric rise and fall in the late 1910s and early '20s, makes for enthralling reading, and Garvey has found an engaging and objective biographer in Colin Grant.... Grant's book is not all politics, ideology, money and lawsuits. It is also an engrossing social history.... 'Negro With a Hat' is an achievement on a scale Garvey might have appreciated."--New York Times Book Review


"Dazzling, definitive biography of the controversial activist who led the 1920s "Back to Africa" movement.... Grant's learned passion for his subject shimmers on every page A riveting and well-wrought volume that places Garvey solidly in the pantheon of important 20th-century black leaders."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)


"Dense with detail, but consistently readable, this splendid book is certain to become the definitive biography. Garvey was a dreamer and a doer; Grant captures the fascination of both."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)


"Grant's strength lies in his ability to re-create political moods and offer compelling sketches of colorful individuals and their organizations.... Negro With a Hat is an engaging and readable introduction to a complicated and contentious historical actor who, in his time, possessed a unique capacity to inspire devotion and hatred, adulation and fear."--Chicago Tribune


"Grant's biography ably captures the Garvey moment, although, perhaps wisely, he leaves the many contradictions in Garvey's character unresolved."--The New Yorker


"Informative and fascinating, Grant's profile of Garvey is a vital contribution."--Booklist


"Grant...provides a monumental, nuanced and broadly sympathetic portrait.... Grant's book - his first - is a welcome and scholarly corrective."--Financial Times


"If a few blacks congregating on a street corner is still considered a threat to National Security, you can imagine the problems that Marcus Garvey encountered when he organized a whole bunch of them. Hounded by the Federal Government, the right, the left, the usual arm chair intellectuals and academics, Garvey found himself constantly under attack, yet, like the Napoleon, with whom some compared "The Man With A Hat," Garvey survived to fight on. He was also a prophet, predicting the day when KKK thinking would become mainstream. Colin Grant has not only written the best biography of one of the most fascinating persons of the 20th Century, but, for a historical work, an exciting read, part romance, part big screen political thriller."--Ishmael Reed


"...new, well-written biography.... Describing Garvey's rise and fall in great detail, the author writes a compelling narrative and places Garvey clearly within his time and place.... Grant's discussion of Garvey is rich and nuanced."--CHOICE


"Critics on both sides of the Atlantic seem to agree that this passionate and well-balanced work will go a long way to cementing Garvey's place among black historical figures."--Caribbean Beat


"Grant's book is a fine and valuable monument to his memory."--New Statesman


"Masterly ... [an] engrossing social history."--New York Times Book Review


"[A]n artful life story that should appeal to the general reader interested in Garvey and his movement. Grant has a sparkling prose style and an eye for the sorts of anecdotes that provide appropriate depth and context to the subject." -- North Carolina Historical Review


"Synthesizing an incredible amount of scholarship, Grant has produced a portrait of Garvey which is richly detailed on both Garvey himself and his larger milieu...Grant offers a more detailed picture of Garvey's life than almost any previous biography." -- African American Review


"[An] important new work...Grant has mined numerous primary and secondary sources to produce what will likely remain the definitive biography of Garvey for some time to come; scholars of African American history, the United States in the early twentieth century, and the African Diaspora will find this a richly rewarding work." --The Historian


"Contains long and well-crafted, occasionally lyrical, passages on Garvey's contemporaries and on the era as a whole....provides an entertaining introduction to Marcus Garvey's rise, struggles, and fall." -- American Studies Journal


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (March 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195393090
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195393095
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 1.1 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #90,229 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Independent historian and BBC Radio script editor Colin Grant presents Negro with a Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey, an in-depth biography of Marcus Mosiah Garvey (1887-1940), who is perhaps best-known for his "Back to Africa" movement that sought to create an independent homeland through Pan-African emigration. Known as the "Black Moses" to his many admirers, and crowned Jamaica's first national hero after his death, Marcus Garvey also made plenty of enemies - he was deemed a enough of a threat by Winston Churchill and J. Edgar Hoover to warrant surveillance, and was scornfully derided as a "negro with a hat" by W.E.B. Du Bois. His talent for promoting his ideas and resurrecting memory of lost African civilization was unsurpassed, and he earned his place in history as one of the founders of black nationalism and a crucial figure of the twentieth century. Negro with a Hat spares no detail yet remains accessible to readers of all backgrounds, and is highly recommended for its thoughtful and balanced presentation of a thoroughly complex individual's life.
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Lionized by some and pilloried by others within early 20th century black American leadership, Marcus Garvey was NOT ignorable. Between his push for a pan-African movement and a return to Africa by American blacks, on the one hand, and battles with other black leaders like W.E.B. Du Bois on the other -- including tussles over elitism and related events, Garvey brought an outsider's mileau, from Jamaica, to the American black experience and broadened it.

The Black Power movement of the 1960s, the stress on titles and trappings within certain black American subcultures today and more all trace to this "Negro with a hat," as Du Bois called him with some condescension.

Along the way, you'll get a side glance at 1920s Harlem, a battle for where to take black America beyond Booker T. Washington and more.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For those of us who are fans of African-American History, usually there's a point in time when the lightbulb goes off. At a certain, specific time, something is read that gives one an overpowering sense of one's self. This phenomenon is usually tied to the fact that the vast majority of things that we have been taught about Africa are lies, that Africa has a rich History, full of so many accomplishments that it boggles the mind. We realize that the Western canon of History has purposefully misled us to believe that Africa has no cultural past, with no major achievements. It's not until we get a-hold of truth-respecting books like "The Autobiography of Malcolm X," " Black Athena" or "Stolen Legacy," that we truly understand that all of the stereotypes attached to Black people, many of them resulting from an implicit assumption that Africa has no past, are all based upon lies. It's at that moment, the individual becomes possessed with an almost transcendent sense of self-esteem, a feeling of wholeness that one has never known before. It occurs to you that you have been holding back a wave of negative thoughts about you, that you had no part in creating, but that are all based upon lies. No other feeling in the World can top this one. Having $100 million dollars won't do it. Being engaged to the most beautiful woman in the World won't do it. Having your wildest dreams come true won't do it. It's like being struck with a positive lightening bolt of electricity-like self-esteem. This feeling of wholeness, positive, life-affirming God driven self-esteem is the ultimate feeling in life because it returns one to one's God-like state of authenticity.Read more ›
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Wow! What a wonderful read. I learned so much and Mr. Grant made so many pieces of history fall into place for me. Obviously my education regarding African-American History has been incomplete. Growing up in the sixties with "The Black Power Movement," I now understand where it began and Garvey has not received enough credit or press for his "dream." This book has greatly blessed me. Right on Colin Grant! Thank you.
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This book was OK but it clearly could have been shorter. And it could have been a little more rooted in what was going on as a whole specific to the Black experience at the turn of the century and beyond in this country. The writer seemed to be preoccupied with Garvey and his relationship with W.E.B Dubios. I get that he was an important guy during the period but there were undoubtedly others and there were no doubt political issues of that period that were not really examined very thoroughly.

It got bogged down some in the tails of failed attempts to buy boats for the steamship line, poor financial decisions, and travels to Africa, Jamaica, Europe, etc. I got lost at times which was not as much a product of the writing style I think but perhaps because it was just kind of boring at times and overly detailed and it was easy to let my mind wander.

I wouldn't recommend this book to a lay person. It is what I like to describe as a Heavy Lift and really too much information on the man. It could have been half as long and probably better.
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