Domingo, W. A.

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Domingo, W. A.

February 14, 1968

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, editor and activist Wilfred Adolphus Domingo was the youngest son of a Jamaican mother and a Spanish father. He was orphaned soon after birth, and he and his siblings were raised by their maternal uncle. Domingo attended Kingston Board School, then took a job as a tailor in Kingston. He wrote newspaper articles and joined the National Club in lobbying for home rule for Jamaica, becoming the club's second assistant secretary. There Domingo met and became close with the first assistant secretary, Marcus Garvey. In 1912 Domingo came to the United States, settling in Boston, where he intended to enroll in medical school. In 1913 he left Boston and moved to New York, where he began working for Jamaican freedom. In 1917 he formed the British Jamaican Benevolent Association, and he became associated with the Socialist Party shortly thereafter.

In 1918 Garvey asked Domingo, who had been peripherally involved in the activities of Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), to find him a publisher for a UNIA newspaper. Domingo obliged and wrote two lead editorials for the first issue of the new Negro World. Soon after, Garvey hired him as editor of the journal. Domingo was not passionate about Garvey's back-to-Africa ideology, although he later claimed to have invented the newspaper's tag line, "Africa's Redemption." Instead, he turned the paper into a forum for a discussion of socialist ideas. Domingo warned white labor leaders to unite with black workers or become a tool of strikebreaking capitalists. In the summer of 1919 Garvey, displeased, charged Domingo before the UNIA Executive Committee with writing editorials that diverged from the group's program. Domingo resigned and soon became a bitter critic of Garvey. He began a short-lived socialist paper, the Emancipator. After it failed he began working for A. Philip Randolph's black socialist newspaper, the Messenger. In 1923 Domingo broke with Randolph, whom he accused of antiWest Indian prejudice. He joined Cyril Briggs's newspaper, the Crusader, and became active in the African Blood Brotherhood.

After 1923 Domingo returned to Jamaica, where he spent several years working as a food importer. In later years he became active in the Jamaican independence movement, helping to found the Jamaica Progressive League in 1936 and later joining the People's National Party (PNP). He spent the early 1940s in Jamaica, then returned to New York, where he became an enemy of the PNP. Domingo suffered a paralyzing stroke in 1964 and died four years later.

See also Garvey, Marcus; Messenger, The ; Negro World , People's National Party; Political Ideologies; Universal Negro Improvement Association


Hill, Robert A., ed. The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers, vol. 1, appendix I. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983.

greg robinson (1996)