George Wells Parker
His parents were born in Virginia and South Carolina, and his family moved to Omaha when Parker was young. He attended Creighton University and later graduated from Harvard University, one of the first African-Americans to do so. He became an ardent follower of Marcus Garvey, a rising figure on the national scene. Garvey first became known in Jamaica and then came to the US to work on his plans for a pan-African movement.
In 1916 Parker started helping African Americans resettle in Omaha and, by 1917, he helped found the Hamitic League of the World to promote African pride and black economic progress.
He studied history and wrote about African contributions. His lecture on "The African Origin of the Grecian Civilization" was delivered to supporters in Omaha and then published in the Journal of Negro History in 1917. Parker argued that new anthropological research had demonstrated that Mesopotamian and Greek civilization originated in Africa. In 1918 the League published his pamphlet Children of the Sun, which further developed his arguments for the African presence in classical Egyptian, Asian and European civilizations.
Parker became well known for his historic writing. He was commissioned by Cyril Briggs, a Caribbean-born journalist based in New York, to publish some of his work in his journal The Crusader, hoping to win wider circulation in the black community. They disagreed over politics, however, as Briggs was anti-Garvey and Socialist, and became a Communist.
In 1922, Parker moved to Chicago to pursue "Newspaper and magazine work" and died there almost a decade later, leaving a wife, two brothers and two sisters. He is buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Omaha.
- Yaacov Shavit, History in Black: African-Americans in Search of an Ancient Past, Routledge, 2001, p.41
- Nina Mjagki, Organizing Black America: An Encyclopedia of African American Associations, Taylor & Francis, 2001, p. 13, accessed 18 Jul 2008
- "Records of a Day. George Wells Parker. Omaha Evening World Herald, July 31, 1931, p. 18, c. 1.
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