It was Carlos Cooks who designated August 17th — the birthday of Marcus Garvey — as the first Black holiday, official or unofficial , The Marcus Garvey Memorial Building -at approximately 5:30 P.M., Friday, August 17, 1962, Carlos Cooks officiated at the ground breaking ceremony of the Marcus Garvey Memorial Building on a site located on the south-side of 14lst Street, approximately 100· east of Eighth Avenue, Harlem, New York. Carlos Cooks outlined two main purposes for the erection of the Marcus Garvey Memorial Building. (1) It will be a stone monument that will spiritually testify to the admiration and respect that the Black people of Harlem and throughout the world have for the life, efforts, deeds, doctrine and memory of this great man; and (2) to serve as the permanent headquarters of the African Nationalist Pioneer Movement. Carlos Cooks postponed launching the programs of the A.N.P.M. until the completion of the Marcus Garvey Memorial Building. He stated liThe A.N.P.M. is pending its hopes on the construction of the Marcus Garvey Memorial Building.” Carlos Cooks died on May 5, 1966 with the Marcus Garvey Memorial Building two-thirds complete. It was never completed and was finally demolished by the City of New York in the 1970’s. Consequently, the programs of the A.N.P.M. were never launched and remain unfinished business for the African Nationalists.
The Marcus Garvey Day Celebration – an annual affair commemorating Marcus Garvey as the Father of African Nationalism on his birthday August 17, with a parade, eulogistic mass meeting, a beauty contest (Miss Natural Standard of Beauty), a grand raffle, show and dance. Carlos Cooks stated that “The culture of a people is best manifested by the homage they pay to those who led with dedication and devotion to freedom and cause.” Marcus Garvey stands out like a giant over midgets to all who have led with dedication and devotion to our freedom and cause. Marcus Garvey gives the universal Black people a common hero and natural symbol for a common cultural union simply by the universal Black people paying homage to Marcus Garvey every August 17, a universal African holiday African Freedom Day!