The Conflict Between the Ancestors and its Lingering Problems

Why Truth and Reconciliation between DuBois and Garvey is so Important?

On one hand, Marcus Garvey was an activist who acted on behalf of the African people by establishing the United Negro Improvement Association in 1914, with a belief enshrined in "The Declaration of Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World," advocating empowerment and encouraging self-reliance and nationhood. His agenda was echoed by the designated red, green and black flag and the song "Ethiopia, Thou Land of Our Fathers" as the official anthem of "Africa and the Africans, at home and Abroad." By 1920 the association had over 1,900 divisions in more than 40 countries. Most of the divisions were located in the United States, which had become the UNIA's base of operations. There were, however, offices in several Caribbean countries, with Cuba having the most. Divisions also existed in such diverse countries as Republic of Panama, Republic of Costa Rica, Republic of Nicaragua, Republic of Ecuador, Republic of Venezuela, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, British India, Commonwealth of Australia, Colonial Nigeria, Namibia, and Union of South Africa.

On the other hand, William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was a sociologist and the first American scholar with African ancestry to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard University. He also studied in Germany with prominent social scientists of that time such as Gustav von Schmoller, Adolph Wagner, and Heinrich von Treitschke. DuBois was an advocate who authored many important books including one of the first scientific treatises in the field of American sociology, and he published three autobiographies, each of which contains insightful essays on sociology, politics and history. DuBois’ advocacy was centered on the premise that African Americans should embrace their African heritage while contributing to American society. Therefore, he believed that racism is a hindrance to achieving that goal and he strongly protested lynching, Jim Crow laws, and discrimination in education and employment. His cause included people of color everywhere, particularly Africans and Asians in colonies. His polemics on racism and advocacy for racial integration and democratic equality in America led him to help establish the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909, an establishment that still exists today and serves as one of the most important American institutions.

DuBois rejected Frederick Douglass's plea for black Americans to integrate into white society and opposed the Atlanta compromise, an agreement crafted by Booker T. Washington, which provided that Southern blacks would work and submit to white political rule, while Southern whites guaranteed that blacks would receive basic educational and economic opportunities. Instead, Du Bois insisted on full civil rights and increased political representation, which he believed would be brought about by the African-American intellectual elite. Though both Dubois and Garvey disagreed with the ideas of Booker T. Washington, it was their own discords that took global precedence. DuBois and Garvey’s difference is based on their personal approaches to understanding of those moral principles, ideologies, and methodologies in matters related to the sustainable empowerment, advancement, competing for resources (Land in Liberia) as well as the system of governance over Africans in the Diaspora and of Africans at home. Many scholars have faulted the conflict between W.E.B DuBois and Marcus M. Garvey as the profound culprit for the instability of African foundations and the dissipation of African values and strengths around the world. These different views on DuBois and Garvey give a good idea of what they fought for, which is the same vision of well-developed, self-determining and sustainable African society. Today, people everywhere are still struggling through life with damaged emotions. In most cases, especially with people of African descent both in the Diaspora living in the shadows of slavery, and those at home living in the shadows of colonialism. These pains won’t go away by ignoring them, even after many generations have come and gone. By ignoring these problems, or by failing to broker or mediate peace when the opportunity knocks, we pass the buck to the next generations to deal with.

Truth and Reconciliation Efforts

President Nelson Mandela commissioned the truth and reconciliation committee in 1996, South Africa, naming Archbishop Desmond Tutu - Nobel laureate and anti-apartheid icon - as its chairperson. The Spirit of Peace initiative is predicated on such symbolic and substantive initiatives, such as the creation of Truth and Reconciliation Committee, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the United Nations Declaration on the Decade of People of African Descent.

Truth and Reconciliation

Spirit of Peace provides an opportunity to remember that the remnants of conflict existing between groups must be resolved and differences reconciled in order for the groups to be absolved from their historical challenges and consolidate their strengths to meet immediate and future challenges ahead. Thus, for the first time in history, during the 2016 Conference of Indigenous People at the United Nations, two indigenous nations had a special peacemaking ceremony between them. The Mohawk and the Mattakeeset Chiefs decided to make a peace agreement on behalf of their ancestors and tribes. Wampatuck (died 1669), known to the Settlers as Josiah Sagamore, was the leader of the Mattakeeset tribe of the Indigenous Massachusetts people. He was the son of the Massachusetts Sachem Chicatawbut. His name meant “Snow Goose” in the Massachusetts language. He was slain in 1669 during a horse raid in the Mohawk’s territory. This animosity was resolved between the tribal chiefs who carried the message back to their folks, which marks the fulfilment of the Spirit of Peace and Cultural Harmony for 2016. This event was featured on page 10 of the paper: Forgiveness Ceremony Unites All Americans at Standing Rock (

Why are Truth and Reconciliation Important?

“Ordinary South Africans (People) are determined that the past be known. That it is better to ensure that it is not repeated. They seek this not out of vengeance but so that we can move in the future together. The choice of our nation is that that the past should be revealed, but that it comes to known in a way which promotes reconciliation and peace”. Nelson Mandela

“This generation of little children is the 7th Generation. Not just Indian children but white, black, yellow and red. Our grandfathers said the 7th generation would provide new spiritual leaders, medicine people, doctors, teachers and our great chiefs. There is a spiritual rebirth going on.” - Clyde Bellecourt

The Spirit of Peace captures the vision of president Nelson Mandela and encourages solidarity with the cause of humanity and fosters good human relations.