John Maynard – The Political Influence of Garveyism on Aboriginal Australia

Event Date: 3 October 2017

Room 532
Birkbeck Main Building
Birkbeck, University of London
Torrington Sq
London WC1E 7HX

The Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities presents:

Professor John Maynard (Chair of Aboriginal History at the University of Newcastle and Director of the Purai Global Indigenous and Diaspora Research Studies Centre) – The Political Influence of Garveyism on Aboriginal Australia

In Australia in 1924 a vibrant pan-Aboriginal political movement intent on demanding Aboriginal rights to land, protecting their children from government removal policy, defending an Indigenous cultural identity, demanding citizenship rights in their own country and that Aboriginal people should be placed in charge of Aboriginal affairs rose from seemingly know where. My discussion today will examine the rise of this early Aboriginal political movement at this critical point of world history including the transoceanic political influence of Garveyism on its political directives. The existence of Aboriginal links and connections with Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) takes the Aboriginal political movement offshore and helps break the confinement of the long entrenched inward, insular and nationalistic Australian history gazing of the past. Two prominent Aboriginal leaders of the time, Fred Maynard and Tom Lacey, became Garveyites and viewed Garveyism as an answer to Aboriginal issues in Australia. I consider why they found Garvey’s message so relevant. I will conclude with an overview of contemporary Aboriginal Australia and renewed discussions of Marcus Garvey and his legacy.

Professor John Maynard is a Worimi Aboriginal man from the Port Stephens region of New South Wales. He is currently Chair of Aboriginal History at the University of Newcastle and Director of the Purai Global Indigenous and Diaspora Research Studies centre. He has held several major positions and served on numerous prominent organizations and committees including, Deputy Chairperson of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), Executive Committee of the Australian Historical Association, New South Wales History Council, Indigenous Higher Education Advisory Council (IHEAC), Australian Research Council College of Experts – Deputy Chair Humanities, National Indigenous Research and Knowledge Network (NIRAKN) and a Fulbright Ambassador. He was the recipient of the Aboriginal History (Australian National University) Stanner Fellowship 1996, the New South Wales Premiers Indigenous History Fellow 2003, Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow 2004, University of Newcastle Researcher of the Year 2008 and 2012 and Australian National University Allan Martin History Lecturer 2010. In 2014 he was elected a member of the prestigious Australian Social Sciences Academy. He gained his PhD in 2003, examining the rise of early Aboriginal political activism. He has worked with and within many Aboriginal communities, urban, rural and remote. Professor Maynard’s publications have concentrated on the intersections of Aboriginal political and social history, and the history of Australian race relations. He is the author of several books, including Aboriginal Stars of the Turf, Fight for Liberty and Freedom, The Aboriginal Soccer Tribe, Aborigines and the Sport of Kings, True Light and Shade: An Aboriginal Perspective of Joseph Lycett’s Art and Living with the Locals – Early Indigenous Experience of Indigenous Life. He has appeared on numerous television and radio programs including documentaries The Track, The Colony, Vote Yes for Aborigines, Captain Cook Obsession and Discovery, Outback United, Lachlan Macquarie – The Father of Australia, The Years That Made Us, Australia – The Story of Us and Fred Maynard Aboriginal Patriot.

Introduction and Chair: Professor Esther Leslie (Birkbeck)


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