Marcus Garvey: Look for Me in the Whirlwind


Middle 40-60% of all time (see others with this rank)

Festival Year

2001 (click here to see all competition films from this year)


Documentary Competition

Non-Cast Credits

Stanley Nelson, Gwendolyn Dixon, Marcia Smith, Robert Shepard, Arthur Jafa Fielder, Lewis Erskine, Carl Lumbly


Some call him a hero, an inspiration, and a visionary leader. Others call him a lunatic, a crook, and a traitor to the race. What can�t be denied is that he single-handedly launched the largest African American mass movement in the twentieth century. Director Stanley Nelson (winner of the 1999 Sundance Film Festival Documentary Directing Award for Black Press: Soldiers without Swords) returns with a landmark effort: the first major documentary on the life and times of Marcus Garvey.

At the turn of the century, instead of responding to lynchings of African Americans with peaceful protests, Marcus Garvey was determined to aggressively unify black people around the world and build an independent black nation. Despite accusations of fiscal mismanagement, Garvey established the Universal Negro Improvement Association and traveled the nation attracting thousands of members to the military-decorated ranks of its African Legion. Accusing black leaders such as W.E.B. DuBois and A. Philip Randolph of being weak and self-serving, Garvey aggressively focused on empowering the masses as he transformed cooks, maids, and janitors with the pride that comes with a title and a uniform. Garvey instituted a new nationalism, urging black folk to claim Africa�s glorious past and to see, for the first time, the beauty they possessed.

Through a wealth of archival footage, dramatic readings, interviews with Garvey�s own sons, and remarkable eyewitness accounts of former UNIA members, Marcus Garvey: Look for Me in the Whirlwind is a rich emotional portrait of the man and his followers and an invaluable historical contribution.


Shari Frilot (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

Film Takes Pace.