Poem: “The Black Woman” by Marcus Garvey

In the Service of our Ancestors and African Love,
Listen Seeker, I come in peace,

“The man who will not fight for the protection of his wife and children is a coward and deserves to be ill treated. The man who takes his life in his hand and stands up for what he knows to be right will always command the respect of his enemy.” — John Edward Bruce

It was February 28, 1927 when Marcus Garvey published the below poem.  If nothing else, it’s a reminder to the Masculine Role as articulated by John Edward Bruce and referenced by myself (see “African Femininity and Masculinity.“)  The African Woman is the Mother of all Women.  The Mother of Beauty, the Mother of Health, the Mother of Wisdom.  All can refer to her as “Mother.”  And she is the African Man’s Wife.

There is Confusion of her Role and his Role, yet as we must “defeat Isfet and defend Maat” Husband and Wife must be Husband and Wife in our African Cultural tradition.  This is easier said than done.  Too often people become married but never become Husband and Wife.  There is much to read on this difference.  Read Marcus Garvey’s poem, the above mentioned post, and later posts.  The Restoration of Africans is at hand as long as we apply African Love to our Lives.


The Black Woman
By Marcus Garvey

Black queen of beauty, thou hast given color to the world!
Among other women thou art royal and the fairest!
Like the brightest of jewels in the regal diadem,
Shin’st thou, Goddess of Africa, Nature’s purest emblem!

Black men worship at thy virginal shrine of truest love,
Because in thine eyes are virtue’s steady and holy mark,
As we see in no other, clothed in silk or fine linen,
From ancient Venus, the Goddess, to mythical Helen.

When Africa stood at the head of the elder nations,
The Gods used to travel from foreign lands to look at thee
On couch of costly Eastern materials, all perfumed,
Reclined thee, as in thy path flow’rs were strewn-sweetest that bloomed.

Thy transcendent marvelous beauty made the whole world mad,
Bringing Solomon to tears as he viewed thy comeliness;
Anthony and the elder Ceasars wept at thy royal feet,
Preferring death than to leave thy presence, their foes to meet.

You, in all ages, have attracted the adoring world,
And caused many a bloody banner to be unfurled
You have sat upon exalted and lofty eminence,
To see a world fight in your ancient African defense.

Today you have been dethroned, through the weakness of your men,
While, in frenzy, those who of yore craved your smiles and your hand-
Those who were all monsters and could not with love approach you-
Have insulted your pride and now attack your good virtue.

Because of disunion you became mother of the world,
Giving tinge of robust color to five continents,
Making a greater world of millions of colored races,
Whose claim to beauty is reflected through our black faces.

From the handsome Indian to European brunette,
There is a claim for that credit of their sunny beauty
That no one can e’er to take from thee, 0 Queen of all women
Who have borne trials and troubles and racial burden.

Once more we shall, in Africa, fight and conquer for you,
Restoring the pearly crown that proud Queen Sheba did wear
Yea, it may mean blood, it may mean death; but still we shall fight,
Bearing our banners to Vict’ry, men of Africa’s might.

Superior Angels look like you in Heaven above,
For thou art fairest, queen of the seasons, queen of our love
No condition shall make us ever in life desert thee,
Sweet Goddess of the ever green land and placid blue sea.

10 thoughts on “Poem: “The Black Woman” by Marcus Garvey

  1. A wonderful poem written by a Black King in honour of Black Queens… and yet, how many black women are aware that it was ever written? I must confess, I was not aware.

    1. Peace Queen-Mother,

      “Each truth you learn will be, for you, as new as if it had never been written.”

      It is very underplayed how Marcus Garvey was a gifted poet. Yet so am I and so are you. So was Du Bois and of course Claude McKay. I’m sure there were many more and are many more. Our Melanin makes us creative. Yet unaware of the function of Melanin we are necessarily unaware of the full genius of ourselves.

      As it were, Marcus Garvey has a published book on poetry. He also wrote an epic poem that he had children recite to teach them the nature of our enemies yet he prohibited membership from openly sharing. He also had a University and taught a then secret curricula on a range of subjects to make African leadership all the more disciplined.

      I’m personally hesitant about sharing the record given his wishes for secrecy; yet the record is public now so I expect time will change my view. Besides, your insight on the matter will be invaluable. :D

  2. Marcus Garvey was a brilliant man with brilliant ideas. May Marcus Garvey rest in peace. The teachings of Marcus Garvey is true to black life. Every time a strong black leader comes along white people try to destroy them. Black people will stand back and let it happen when they should defend their leaders

    1. Peace,

      Within each of us are great ancestral spirits. It’s upon us to provide the environment/institutions for becoming what our ancestors want from us. Yet, we never really rest. We’ve lived from time immemorial and will live on forever. Marcus Garvey is around us. We can call on his spirit at anytime.

      1. Praise God, I never knew this about Mr. Marcus Garvey… The poem is very powerful and I too am a poet… Bless the Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth… I always wanted to live in Africa from a little girl..
        With the help of God according to His will, one day soon I’ll be living in my Mother homeland, Amen…

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