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To Revise A Marcus Garvey Play, Writers Depend On Crowdfunding For Support

“Garvey Lives!” Starts Pre-Launch Campaign on Marcus Garvey’s Birthday, August 17


Novelist Barry Beckham will revise his “Garvey Lives,” ( the first play produced about Marcus Garvey, the legendary black activist of the 1920s. It premiered at Brown University in 1972. He will collaborate with playwright Ron Beverly.

“Our funding goal is in the neighborhood of $25,000,” says Bob Gumbs, the New York City publisher and illustrator who is project director.
Beckham will use the crowdfunding proceeds to allow him and Beverly to spend four weeks revamping the script and surveying the countryside in Jamaica.

Says Gumbs: “The campaign will begin in a few weeks and run for 60 days. We haven’t yet determined all of the perks or rewards for donations.” But they have established a private dinner for three with Marcus Garvey’s son, a frameable replica in parchment of the stock certificate for Garvey’s Black Star Line, and a special T-shirt designed by Gumbs.

“This is a perfect time for recapping Garvey’s vision of a world that needs to recognize the contributions of everybody,” says Beverly, who himself has scripted a drama about civil rights activist Paul Robeson. “We are in an era where the concept of fairness and inclusiveness for all is ignored.”

Donors who want updates before the campaign is launched can sign up at and receive a free eBook on tracing family roots. Garvey always insisted that a people must have knowledge of its ancestry.

According to Bob Gumbs: “Garvey Lives!” is not the only first by writer Beckham. “His ‘Runner Mack’ ( released in 1972, was the first novel published about baseball by an African-American writer,” says Gumbs, adding, “and he edited the  first college guide for black students, ‘The Black Student’s Guide to Colleges,’ in 1984. Some say his novelized biography, ‘Double Dunk,’ about fabled Harlem basketball player Earl Manigault, was the first biography written in the second person point of view—you.” Gumbs mentions that Beckham was also the first black professor to direct the graduate writing program at Brown University.

Says Beckham: “Bob is responsible for conceiving of crowdfunding as a means to revising the play—primarily because he has been an avid enthusiast of Garvey’s vision and influence for decades. I really hadn’t thought of a way to bring the play back until Bob contacted me”



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