Joseph interviews Julius W. Garvey, M.D., the leader of the @Justice4Garvey effort. Dr. Garvey is the youngest son of the Honorable Marcus Garvey. In 1923, Marcus Garvey was falsely convicted of mail fraud, evidence was found that the conviction had no merit, but it is the year 2021 and his name still isn't exonerated. We will learn more about the @Justice4Garvey effort, Marcus Garvey, Dr. Julius Garvey, and much much more. Tune in.
Julius W. Garvey, M.D. is a New York-based retired Board-certified Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeon. He is affiliated with Northwell Health System and is a Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He has been on several educational and medical missions to Ghana, Senegal, Uganda, Mali, Sierra Leone, Jamaica, Haiti, South Sudan, and Ethiopia. Dr. Garvey has been internationally schooled in England, Canada, Jamaica, and the US. He is regularly invited to lecture on the life and legacy of his father, the Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey, and attended the opening ceremony of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture which includes an exhibit on the life and legacy of his father, Marcus Mosiah Garvey. The Justice4Garvey effort is on Twitter @Justice4Garvey asking President Biden to exonerate Marcus Garvey by granting a posthumous Presidential pardon.
On July 12th, 1912, Aoua Keita was born in Bamako, French Sudan, to parents Karamogo Keita and Miriam Coulibaly. Karamogo Keita was a veteran from Guinea who fought for the French in World War I, upon returning to Mali, he contributed to work in a lab to support his family. Miriam Coulibaly was from the Ivory Coast and spoke the Dioula dialect. She was said to be a very traditional woman who believed men were superior to women, women didn’t pursue education, and men made all the important decisions. Aoua’s family was financially stable and her father was able to support a polygamous household. It was widely believed that her paternal family was descendants of the founder of Mali Sundiata Keita, which gave them high social status. Aoua’s father allowed her to attend school and earn an education. She first attended Bamako’s first girls’ school École des filles, before she attended Bamako’s boarding school Foyer des Métisses, where she earned a diploma at the age of sixteen. Later in 1928, she moved to Dakar to study to become a Midwife at the École de Médecine de Dakar; Dakar was the capital city of Mali at the time. Aoua was a young progressive woman who still understood the importance of holding on to some of her cultural practices. She was one of the few women in Sudan who was educated, she came from a high social class, and she was an influential person in the society of Dakar.
Aoua’s next move was to the city of Gao where she worked for an administrative outpost for twelve years. In addition to her work at the outpost, she would use her skills in sewing and her experience as a midwife to help the women of Gao. Aoua learned to speak the dialect of the people of Gao which helped her to build trust with the women so she could serve them to the best of her abilities. There was a high death rate in Gao among the mothers and babies because of birthing traditions that were not considered sterile. Aoua was able to observe several births before she was invited to assist a woman in birthing her child. It didn’t take long before the word spread of how great Aoua was in helping mothers have healthy and safe births. Using her education and the knowledge she had of traditional medical practices, Aoua combined the two practices to create an approach that would allow her to be able to help more of the women of Gao. Initially, the women of Gao didn’t accept Aoua's approach or practices, but over time her reputation grew and trust with the women strengthened, and her home even became a popular meeting place.
In 1935, Aoua married a man named Dr. Daouda Diawara who helped to cultivate her interest and knowledge in the political processes of the country. Aoua and Dr. Diawara believed that all Europeans should be kicked off of the African Continent because of the oppression and terror they brought to African lands and people. The couple then joined the political party the Union Sudanaise du Rassemblement Démocratique Africain or USRDA in 1946. As a member of the USRDA Aoua used her social gatherings and midwifery practice to help spread the word of the social work the USRDA was doing, and to help increase membership. Because of the social and political work of the USRDA, 1946 was also the first year that the women of Sudan were able to vote. The USRDA used the 1946 Sudanese election to make its presence known in the country. The candidates that represented the organization were not elected to any political positions, but the people of the country knew who they were. Aoua’s marriage to Dr. Diawara was coming to an end. Aoua could not bear children and the oppressive customs in Sudan weighed heavily on their relationship because Aoua believed women should not have to follow oppressive customs.
The couple divorced after twelve years of marriage, she would later marry a man named Mahamane Alassane Haidara who was a Sudanese Senator, and Aoua became more of a force within the Sudanese community and political scene. The Union of Salaried Women of Bamako was founded by Aoua and Aissata Sow in 1957. The organization was created to give the women of Sudan a greater political position and voice to gain more rights. She was also instrumental in the founding of the Federation of Black African Workers. She was asked to be a part of the writing of the constitution of the Federation of Mali, as they were gaining their independence in 1958. The political party the Bamako Women’s Bureau was established in 1958 by Aoua and other Sudanese women. The Bureau was created to address the political interest of the women of Sudan. Aoua was elected as the first woman to serve in the National Assembly of the Republic of Mali. The first president of Mali was overthrown within nine years because he was not collaborating with foreign governments that could provide monetary aid.
Following the coup of the President, Aoua resigned from her elected position in the National Assembly. She moved back to her hometown of Bamako where she would spend the rest of her days. While in Bamako, Aoua wrote her autobiography titled African Woman in 1975. Four years later she would die, but not before she gave her country as much as she could in the fight for the equality of the women of Sudan. As a young girl receiving her education, she began to understand that women were just as much human as men and deserved to be treated as a human and not a second-class citizen. To Mrs. Aoua Keita, we proudly stand on your shoulders.
Click here to support the OTSOG book series!!!
In the early 7th century, the Byzantine Empire was losing its control over North Africa and the Mediterranean. Within the Byzantine Empire existed the Jrāwa Zenata tribe of Northwest Africa. The Jrāwa Zenata tribe was a Christian nomadic Berber tribe, one of the larger Berber tribes of North Africa. The Arabs were sweeping through North Africa conquering any people opposing their expansion. The remaining Berber Kingdom was led by a man named Kusayla, who recently defeated Arab forces and claimed the city of Qayrawan. In 688, Kusayla faced an Arab commander named Zuhayr ibn Qays al-Balawi in battle. Kusayla tried to use the mountainous region of Mams to give his army an advantage, but he was eventually defeated and the Arabs claimed more North African territory. Both Berber and Arab armies suffered significant damage and deaths due to several hard-fought battles. The Arabs withdrew from Berber territory to recuperate their forces. The Umayyad Dynasty under the rule of Abd al-Malik took a four-year break from warring with the Berbers to renew his army and naming Hassan ibn al-Numan as the new commander of his army and Governor of the North African territory they recently conquered. Under the command of Hassan, the Arab army took the city of Qayrawan and also conquered the city of Carthage. Many of the defeated Berbers were forced to relocate to other areas of North African or even occupy islands within the Mediterranean.
The Arabs were on a quest to control all of North Africa, all that remained in their way was a Berber resistance led by a woman named Dihya or al-Kahina. We don’t have any information about the birth of al-Kahina, but we do know she was a Berber of the Jrāwa Zenata tribe, and the tribe may have converted to Christianity because of her. The names of al-Kahina’s parents are said to be Matiya and Tatit, but I have not confirmed the names with any sources. After the defeat of Kusayla, al-Kahina became the leader of the Berber army. It is believed that she was able to become the leader of the army because of her mixed heritage which gave her rank over the remaining Berbers. She was known as a prophetess who received divine inspiration from God to fight for her empire. al-Kahina was leading her army to many victories and was controlling the strongest army in North Africa next to the Arab army. Hassan learned of the strong army led by a woman named al-Kahina and wanted to challenge her. He believed his army was the strongest and also looked to dispose of any remaining Berber forces. Similar to the Arab forces, al-Kahina’s territory grew larger as she defeated her opponents. She was now in control of the area of the Aures Mountains but the Arabs were encroaching upon her territory, which led to her first attack on the Arab army. 698, was the year that the “Queen of the Berbers,” al-Kahina led an attack at the Meskiana River in Algeria.
Hassan suffered an embarrassing defeat at the hands of al-Kahina and her Berber army. The Berber attack was so severe that it redirected, then halted Arab battle plans, killed hundreds of soldiers, and captured eighty Arab soldiers as prisoners. al-Kahina was well respected by Hassan after the first defeat. She would face and defeat Hassan in two other battles, further cementing her title as “Queen of the Berbers”, and reinforcing the fierceness of the Berber army. Hassan was defeated three times by al-Kahina’s army, so she returned her army to Ifriqiya. Meanwhile, a defeated Hassan was waiting for a chance to catch the Berbers at a weak moment so he would have a greater chance of victory. Sources say after defeating Hassan, al-Kahina attempted to form a healthy political relationship with the Arabs, but the Arabs rejected her attempt. Due to their rejection, al-Kahina implemented what is called a scorched earth policy, to damage the lands that she believed the Arabs wanted to conquer. Burning the lands created enemies within the Berber army and among the Berber people who depended on the lands for their livelihood. A number of the Berbers left Ifriqiya, some threw themselves upon the mercy of Hassan to save them. Only a small number of Berbers remained loyal to al-Kahina. Her army was fractured and her people were doubting her leadership, even though they were unconquered because of her leadership. Hassan had the advantage he needed. Around 699, Hassan led an army of twenty-four thousand troops into the city of Ifriqiya aided by the Berbers who were unhappy with al-Kahina. Her army was outmatched and eventually defeated by Hassan. To save the lives of her sons, she instructed them to join the Arab army. Because of Arab customs, her sons were welcomed into the army and appointed to serve as officers. Members of al-Kahina’s army were able to join the Arab army after al-Kahina’s defeat. It is said that she died in battle near a well in the city of Tabarka, in the Aures Mountains, fighting for her freedom and the freedom of her people. To The Queen of the Berbers, al-Kahina, we proudly stand on your shoulders.
Click here to support the On the Shoulders of Giants book series!!
Click Here to join our mailing list