The Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) was founded in 1914 by Marcus Garvey. Originally designed as a fraternal and philanthropic organization advocating pan-Africanism, the UNIA developed into a radical political organization that at one time advocated the repatriation of blacks to Africa. By 1925, approximately nine hundred divisions were chartered in the United States and nearly five hundred divisions were chartered worldwide. The major portion of the collection dates between 1940 and 1950 and is arranged into six series.
Series I, Parent Body Records—includes UNIA constitution and by-laws; materials from offices of the President General, the Secretary General, and the Chancellor; monthly reports of local divisions; material from conferences and conventions; ledger books, and membership and dues records.
Series II, The New Negro World magazine—includes ledger books, correspondence regarding publication, and divisional reports and contributions dating 1940–1953.
Series III, The School of African Philosophy—consists of copies of nineteen lessons designed by Marcus Garvey to instill in future UNIA leaders the philosophy of the organization.
Series IV, The Universal African Legions—includes conference proceedings, a ledger book, and miscellany from 1924–1957, pertaining to the military branch of the UNIA.
Series V, Cleveland Division #133—consists of monthly reports, daily report sheets, ledger books, and miscellaneous records covering the years 1919–1972.
Series VI, Printed Materials and Miscellany—contains issues of UNIA publications including the Black Man, the Black Pilot, Garvey’s Voices, and others.