It is often said that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. In the case of Black people, there are leaders who, during troubled times, provided templates for self-empowerment, models for us to emerge from our oppression and build our own institutions. And it is incumbent upon us to learn the lessons they laid out for us, rather than reinvent the wheel. One of the foremost examples is Marcus Garvey, the father of Black Nationalism and Pan Africanism.
For me and many others, Marcus Garvey qualifies as the greatest Black man of the past hundred years. Of course, there are many, many others. There is Kwame Nkrumah and Haile Selassie I and Patrice Lumumba and Nelson Mandela from Africa. And Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the great hero of the Dalits of India, ranks high as well. But for me, Garvey is tops.