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Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jr. ONH (17 August 1887 – 10 June 1940)[1] was a Jamaican-born political leader, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator.[2] He was first President-General of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL).[2][3] He also was President and one of the directors of the Black Star Line, a shipping and passenger line incorporated in Delaware. The Black Star Line went bankrupt and Garvey was imprisoned after a trial that was "probably politically motivated" for mail fraud in the selling of its stock.[4] Even though Garvey's conviction was upheld on appeal, his sentence was commuted in 1927.[5] Advocates of African Redemption have openly sought to have him exonerated since 1987, continuing to the present day.[6][7]

Marcus Garvey
Marcus Garvey 1924-08-05.jpg
Garvey in 1924
Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jr.

(1887-08-17)17 August 1887
Died10 June 1940(1940-06-10) (aged 52)
West Kensington, London, England, United Kingdom
OccupationPublisher, journalist
Known forActivism, black nationalism, Pan-Africanism
Amy Ashwood
(m. 1919; div. 1922)

Amy Jacques (m. 1922)
Parent(s)Marcus Mosiah Garvey Sr.
Sarah Anne Richards

Prior to the 20th century, leaders such as Prince Hall, Martin Delany, Edward Wilmot Blyden, and Henry Highland Garnet advocated the involvement of the African diaspora in African affairs. Garvey was unique in advancing a philosophy to inspire a global mass movement and economic empowerment focusing on Africa known as Garveyism.[3] Garveyism would eventually inspire others, ranging from the Nation of Islam to the Rastafari movement (which proclaim Garvey as a prophet) and the Black Power Movement of the 1960s.[8] Garveyism intended persons of African ancestry in the diaspora to "redeem" the continent of Africa and put an end to European colonialism. His essential ideas about Africa are stated in an editorial in the Negro World entitled "African Fundamentalism", where he wrote: "Our union must know no clime, boundary, or nationality ... to let us hold together under all climes and in every country ..."[9]


Early yearsEdit

Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jr. was born as the youngest of eleven children in St. Ann's Bay, Jamaica, to Marcus Mosiah Garvey Sr, mason, and Sarah Jane Richards, a domestic worker.[2] Only he, and his sister, Indiana, survived to adulthood.[10][11] His family was financially stable given the circumstances of this time period.[10] Garvey's father had a large library, and it was from his father that Marcus gained his love for reading. He also attended elementary schools in St. Ann's Bay during his youth.[3][12] While attending these schools, Garvey first began to experience racism.[10] At age 14, Marcus became a printer's apprentice.[2] In 1903, he traveled to Kingston, Jamaica, and soon became involved in union activities.[2] In 1907, he took part in an unsuccessful printer's strike and the experience gave him a passion for political activism.[2][13] In 1910 Garvey left Jamaica and began traveling throughout the Central American region.[2] His first stop was Costa Rica, where he had a maternal uncle.[14] He lived in Costa Rica for several months and worked as a time keeper on a banana plantation. He began work as editor for a daily newspaper called La Nacionale in 1911. Later that year, he moved to Colón, Panama, where he edited a biweekly newspaper, before returning to Jamaica in 1912.[2] Over time, Marcus Garvey became influenced by many civil rights activists of his time. He ultimately combined the economic nationalist ideas of Booker T. Washington and Pan-Africanists with the political possibilities and urban style of men and women living outside of plantation and colonial societies.[15]

After years of working in the Caribbean, Garvey left Jamaica to live in London from 1912 to 1914, where he attended Birkbeck College, taking classes in law and philosophy. He also worked for the African Times and Orient Review, published by Dusé Mohamed Ali, an Egyptian nationalist and influential foe of racial prejudice.[16] Garvey sometimes spoke at Hyde Park's Speakers' Corner.[citation needed]

Organization of UNIAEdit

In 1914, Garvey returned to Jamaica, where he organized the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). In an article titled "The Negro's Greatest Enemy", published in Current History (September 1923), Garvey explained the origin of the organization's name:

Where did the name of the organization come from? It was while speaking to a West Indian Negro who was a passenger with me from Southampton, who was returning home to the West Indies from Basutoland with his Basuto wife, I further learned of the horrors of native life in Africa. He related to me in conversation such horrible and pitiable tales that my heart bled within me. Retiring from the conversation to my cabin, all day and the following night I pondered over the subject matter of that conversation, and at midnight, lying flat on my back, the vision and thought came to me that I should name the organization the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities (Imperial) League. Such a name I thought would embrace the purpose of all black humanity. Thus to the world a name was born, a movement created, and a man became known.[17]

After corresponding with Booker T. Washington, head of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama and a national African-American leader in the United States, Garvey traveled by ship to the U.S., arriving on 23 March 1916 aboard the SS Tallac. He intended to make a lecture tour and to raise funds to establish a school in Jamaica modeled after Washington's Institute.[2] Garvey visited Tuskegee, and afterwards, visited with a number of black leaders. Throughout his life, Garvey and the UNIA used the organization's resources to give people of African descent opportunities in academics that he felt they wouldn't be provided otherwise.[18]

After moving to New York, he found work as a printer by day. He was influenced by Hubert Harrison. At night he would speak on street corners, much as he did in London's Hyde Park. Garvey thought there was a leadership vacuum among African Americans. On 9 May 1916, he held his first public lecture in New York City at St Mark's Church in-the-Bowery and undertook a 38-state speaking tour.

The next year in May 1917, Garvey and thirteen others formed the first UNIA division outside Jamaica in Harlem.[2] They began advancing ideas to promote social, political, and economic freedom for black people. On 2 July, the East St. Louis riots broke out. On 8 July, Garvey delivered an address, entitled "The Conspiracy of the East St. Louis Riots", at Lafayette Hall in Harlem. During the speech, he declared the riot was "one of the bloodiest outrages against mankind", condemning America's claims to represent democracy when black people were victimized "for no other reason than they are black people seeking an industrial chance in a country that they have laboured for three hundred years to make great". It is "a time to lift one's voice against the savagery of a people who claim to be the dispensers of democracy".[19] By October, rancor within the UNIA had begun to set in. A split occurred in the Harlem division, with Garvey enlisted to become its leader; although he technically held the same position in Jamaica.[citation needed]

Garvey worked to develop a program to improve the conditions of ethnic Africans "at home and abroad" under UNIA auspices. On 17 August 1918, he began publishing the Negro World newspaper in New York, which was widely distributed.[2] Garvey worked as an editor without pay until November 1920. He used Negro World as a platform for his views to encourage growth of the UNIA.[20] By June 1919, the membership of the organization had grown to over two million, according to its records.

On 27 June 1919, the UNIA set up its first business, incorporating the Black Star Line of Delaware, with Garvey as President. By September, it acquired its first ship. Much fanfare surrounded the inspection of the S.S. Yarmouth and its rechristening as the S.S. Frederick Douglass on 14 September 1919. Such a rapid accomplishment garnered attention from many.[20] The Black Star Line also formed a fine winery, using grapes harvested only in Ethiopia. During the first year, the Black Star Line's stock sales brought in $600,000. They had numerous problems during the next two years: mechanical breakdowns on their ships, what was said to be a result of incompetent workers, and poor record keeping. The officers were eventually accused of mail fraud.[20]

Investigation, arrest, and assassination attemptEdit

Edwin P. Kilroe, Assistant District Attorney in the District Attorney's office of the County of New York, began an investigation into the activities of the UNIA. He never filed charges against Garvey or other officers. After being called to Kilroe's office numerous times for questioning, Garvey wrote an editorial on the assistant DA's activities for the Negro World. Kilroe had Garvey arrested and indicted for criminal libel but dismissed the charges after Garvey published a retraction.[citation needed]

On 14 October 1919, Garvey received a visit in his Harlem office from George Tyler, who claimed Kilroe "had sent him" to get the leader.[21] Tyler pulled a .38-caliber revolver and fired four shots, wounding Garvey in the right leg and scalp. Garvey's secretary Amy quickly arranged to get Garvey taken to the hospital for treatment, and Tyler was arrested. The next day, Tyler committed suicide by leaping from the third tier of the Harlem jail as he was being taken to his arraignment.[22]


By August 1920, the UNIA claimed four million members. The number has been questioned because of the organization's poor record keeping.[20] That month, the International Convention of the UNIA was held. With delegates from all over the world attending, 25,000 people filled Madison Square Garden on 1 August 1920 to hear Garvey speak.[23] Over the next couple of years, Garvey's movement was able to attract an enormous number of followers. Reasons for this included the cultural revolution of the Harlem Renaissance, the large number of West Indians who immigrated to New York, and the appeal of the slogan "One God, One Aim, One Destiny," to black veterans of the first World War.[24]

Garvey paid attention to and was inspired by Ireland, naming a headquarters in Harlem "Liberty Hall" after the building in Ireland, which was the headquarters of the ITGWU and the Irish Citizen Army. Garvey believed "We have a cause similar to the cause of Ireland". He supported the Irish hunger striker Terence MacSwiney and helped organise support for a boycott of British shipping.[25][26] Garvey drew parrelels between the two struggles. When the "President of the Irish Republic", Eamon De Valera came to America in 1919 for a tour of the state Garvey sent a telegram to De Valera saying "Please accept sympathy of the Negroes of the world for your cause. We believe Ireland should be free even as Africa should be free for the Negroes of the world. Keep up the fight for a free Ireland".[27] In July 1919 he stated that "the time has come for the Negro race to offer up its martyrs upon the altar of liberty even as the Irish [had] given a long list from Robert Emmet to Roger Casement.[28] On 11 December 1921 he spoke of the Anglo-Irish Treaty saying "I am glad that Ireland has won some modicum of self-government. I am not thoroughly pleased with the sort of freedom that is given to them, but nevertheless I believe they have received enough upon which they can improve."[29]

Garvey also established a business, the Negro Factories Corporation. He planned to develop the businesses to manufacture every marketable commodity in every big U.S. industrial center, as well as in Central America, the West Indies, and Africa. Related endeavors included a grocery chain, restaurant, publishing house, and other businesses.

Convinced that black people should have a permanent homeland in Africa, Garvey sought to develop Liberia. It had been founded by the American Colonization Society in the 19th century as a colony to free blacks from the United States. Garvey launched the Liberia program in 1920, intended to build colleges, industrial plants, and railroads as part of an industrial base from which to operate. He abandoned the program in the mid-1920s after much opposition from European powers with interests in Liberia. In response to American suggestions that he wanted to take all ethnic Africans of the Diaspora back to Africa, he wrote, "We do not want all the Negroes in Africa. Some are no good here, and naturally will be no good there."[30]

Garvey in Harlem, August 1922

The UNIA held an international convention in 1921 at New York City's Madison Square Garden. Also represented at the convention were organizations such as the Universal Black Cross Nurses, the Black Eagle Flying Corps, and the Universal African Legion. Garvey attracted more than 50,000 people to the event and in his cause. The UNIA had more than one million dues-paying members at its peak.[18] The national level of support in Jamaica helped Garvey to become one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century on the island.[31]

Marriage and familyEdit

In 25 December 1919 at the age of 32, Garvey married his first wife Amy Ashwood. First in a religious ceremony at a catholic church followed by an elaborate wedding with 3,000 guests at the UNIA's Liberty Hall in Harlem.[32] Garvey divorced Ashwood Garvey in Missouri in the summer of 1922.[33] They had met in 1914 and Ashwood Garvey is recognised to be the co-founder of The UNIA-ACL and Negro World, and she was a director of the Black Star Line. Ashwood Garvey was an internationally active Pan-Africanist, social worker and activist for women's rights.[34]

In 1922, he married again, to Jamaican Amy Euphemia Jacques, who was working as his secretary general. They had two sons together, Marcus Mosiah Garvey III, who was born 17 September 1930, and Julius Winston Garvey (born in 1933 on the same date). Amy Jacques Garvey played an important role in his career, and became a leader in Garvey's movement. She was instrumental in teaching people about Marcus Garvey after he died.[35]

Views on communismEdit

Fundamentally what racial difference is there between a white Communist, Republican or Democrat?

—Marcus Garvey[36]

Garvey is known as a leading political figure because of his determination to fight for the unity of African Americans by creating the Universal Negro Improvement Association and rallying to gather supporters to fight. With this group he touched upon many topics such as education, the economy, and independence. An important aspect of his career was his thoughts on communism. Garvey felt that communism would be more beneficial for whites by solving their own political and economic problems, but would further limit the success of blacks rising together. He believed that the Communist Party wanted to use the African-American vote "to smash and overthrow" the capitalistic white majority to "put their majority group or race still in power, not only as communists but as white men" (Jacques-Garvey, 1969). The Communist Party wanted to have as many supporters as possible, even if it meant having blacks, but Garvey discouraged this. Communists were, as he saw it, white men who wanted to manipulate blacks so they could continue to have control over them. Garvey said, "It is a dangerous theory of economic and political reformation because it seeks to put government in the hands of an ignorant white mass who have not been able to destroy their natural prejudices towards Negroes and other non-white people. While it may be a good thing for them, it will be a bad thing for the Negroes who will fall under the government of the most ignorant, prejudiced class of the white race" (Nolan, 1951).[37]

Conflicts with Du Bois and othersEdit

On 4 October 1916, the Daily Gleaner in Kingston published a letter written by Raphael Morgan, a Jamaican-American priest of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, together with over a dozen other like-minded Jamaican Americans, who wrote in to protest against Garvey's lectures.[38] Garvey's views on Jamaica, they felt, were damaging to both the reputation of their homeland and its people, enumerating several objections to Garvey's stated preference for the prejudice of the American whites over that of English whites.[39] Garvey's response was published a month later: he called the letter a conspiratorial fabrication meant to undermine the success and favour he had gained while in Jamaica and in the United States.[40]

While W. E. B. Du Bois felt that the Black Star Line was "original and promising",[41] he added that "Marcus Garvey is, without doubt, the most dangerous enemy of the Negro race in America and in the world. He is either a lunatic or a traitor."[42] Du Bois considered Garvey's program of complete separation a capitulation to white supremacy; a tacit admission that blacks could never be equal to whites. Noting how popular the idea was with racist thinkers and politicians, Du Bois feared that Garvey threatened the gains made by his own movement.[42]

Garvey suspected that Du Bois was prejudiced against him because he was a Caribbean native with darker skin. Du Bois once described Garvey as "a little, fat black man; ugly, but with intelligent eyes and a big head".[43] Garvey called Du Bois "purely and simply a white man's nigger" and "a little Dutch, a little French, a little Negro ... a mulatto ... a monstrosity". This led to an acrimonious relationship between Garvey and the NAACP.[44] In addition, Garvey accused Du Bois of paying conspirators to sabotage the Black Star Line in order to destroy his reputation.[45]

Garvey recognized the influence of the Ku Klux Klan and, after the Black Star Line was closed, sought to engage the South in his activism, since the UNIA now lacked a specific program. In early 1922, he went to Atlanta for a conference with KKK imperial giant Edward Young Clarke, seeking to advance his organization in the South. Garvey made a number of incendiary speeches in the months leading up to that meeting; in some, he thanked the whites for Jim Crow.[46] Garvey once stated:

I regard the Klan, the Anglo-Saxon clubs and White American societies, as far as the Negro is concerned, as better friends of the race than all other groups of hypocritical whites put together. I like honesty and fair play. You may call me a Klansman if you will, but, potentially, every white man is a Klansman as far as the Negro in competition with whites socially, economically and politically is concerned, and there is no use lying.[36]

After Garvey's entente with the Klan, a number of African-American leaders appealed to U.S. Attorney General Harry M. Daugherty to have Garvey incarcerated.[47]

Charge of mail fraudEdit

The Black Star Line brochure for the SS Phyllis Wheatley, central exhibit in the Mail Fraud case of 1921. The SS Phyllis Wheatley, did not exist, this is a doctored photograph of an ex-German ship the SS Orion put up for sale by the United States Shipping Board. The Black Star Line had proposed to buy her but the transaction was never completed.[48]

In a memorandum dated 11 October 1919,[49] J. Edgar Hoover (age 24), special assistant to the Attorney General and head of the General Intelligence Division (or "anti-radical division")[50] of The Bureau of Investigation or BOI (after 1935, the Federal Bureau of Investigation),[51] wrote to Special Agent Ridgely regarding Garvey: "Unfortunately, however, he [Garvey] has not as yet violated any federal law whereby he could be proceeded against on the grounds of being an undesirable alien, from the point of view of deportation."[52][53]

Sometime around November 1919, the BOI began an investigation into the activities of Garvey and the UNIA. Toward this end, the BOI hired James Edward Amos, Arthur Lowell Brent, Thomas Leon Jefferson, James Wormley Jones, and Earl E. Titus as its first five African-American agents. Although initial efforts by the BOI were to find grounds upon which to deport Garvey as "an undesirable alien", a charge of mail fraud was brought against Garvey in connection with stock sales of the Black Star Line after the U.S. Post Office and the Attorney General joined the investigation.[53]

At the National Conference of the Universal Negro Improvement Association in 1921, a Los Angeles delegate named Noah Thompson spoke on the floor complaining about the lack of transparency in the group's financial accounts. When accounts were prepared Thompson highlighted several sections with what he felt were irregularities.[54]

In January 1922, charges of mail fraud were brought against Garvey. In the month following another indictment was made for mail fraud and conspiracy against him and three of his associates. The trial was postponed for another 11 months for a third indictment of an additional mail-fraud charge.[55]

The accusation centered on the fact that the corporation had not yet purchased a ship, which had appeared in a BSL brochure emblazoned with the name "Phyllis Wheatley" (after the African-American poet) on its bow. The prosecution stated that a ship pictured with that name had not actually been purchased by the BSL and still had the name "Orion" at the time; thus the misrepresentation of the ship as a BSL-owned vessel constituted fraud. The brochure had been produced in anticipation of the purchase of the ship, which appeared to be on the verge of completion at the time. However, "registration of the Phyllis Wheatley to the Black Star Line was thrown into abeyance as there were still some clauses in the contract that needed to be agreed."[56] In the end, the ship was never registered to the BSL.[48]

While there were serious accounting irregularities within the Black Star Line and the claims he used to sell Black Star Line stock could be considered misleading, Garvey's supporters contend that the prosecution was a politically motivated miscarriage of justice.[57]

The trial began on 18 May 1923 in front of Julian W. Mack in the U.S District Court in New York.[58] Assistant District Attorney, Leo Healy, who had been, before becoming District Attorney, an attorney with Harris McGill and Co., the sellers of the first ship, the S.S. Yarmouth, to the Black Star Line Inc., was a key witness for the government during the trial. Garvey chose to defend himself, and in the opinion of his biographer Colin Grant, Garvey's "belligerent" manner alienated the jury. "In Garvey's interminable three-hour-long closing address, he portrayed himself as an unfortunate and selfless leader, surrounded by incompetents and thieves. ... Garvey was belligerent where perhaps grace, humility and even humour were called for".[56] The lawyer defending one of the other charged men took a different approach, emphasising that the so-called fraud was nothing more than a naive mistake, and that no criminal conspiracy existed. "The truth is there is no such thing as any conspiracy. [But] if the indictment had been framed against the defendants for discourtesy, mismanagement or display of bad judgement they would have pleaded guilty."[56] Of the four Black Star Line officers charged in connection with the enterprise, only Garvey was found guilty of using the mail service to defraud. His supporters called the trial fraudulent.

When the trial ended on 23 June 1923, Garvey had been sentenced to five years in prison and a $1000 fine and court costs. The sentence to be served in the U.S. penitentiary in Atlanta. The transcript of the trial ran to 2,816 pages.[55] Garvey blamed Jewish jurors and a Jewish federal judge, Julian Mack, for his conviction.[59] He felt that they had been biased because of their political objections to his meeting with the acting imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Klan the year before.[59] In 1928, Garvey told a journalist: "When they wanted to get me they had a Jewish judge try me, and a Jewish prosecutor. I would have been freed but two Jews on the jury held out against me ten hours and succeeded in convicting me, whereupon the Jewish judge gave me the maximum penalty."[59]

He initially spent three months in the Tombs Jail awaiting approval of bail. While on bail, he continued to maintain his innocence, travel, speak and organize the UNIA. After numerous attempts at appeal over 18 months[55] were unsuccessful, he was taken into custody and began serving his sentence at the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary on 8 February 1925.[60] Two days later, he penned his well-known "First Message to the Negroes of the World From Atlanta Prison", wherein he made his famous proclamation: "Look for me in the whirlwind or the storm, look for me all around you, for, with God's grace, I shall come and bring with me countless millions of black slaves who have died in America and the West Indies and the millions in Africa to aid you in the fight for Liberty, Freedom and Life."[61]

Professor Judith Stein has stated, "his politics were on trial."[62] Garvey's sentence was eventually commuted by President Calvin Coolidge. Upon his release in November 1927, Garvey was deported via New Orleans to Jamaica, where a large crowd met him at Orrett's Wharf in Kingston. Though the popularity of the UNIA diminished greatly following Garvey's expulsion, he nevertheless remained committed to his political ideals.[63]

Later yearsEdit

In 1928, Garvey travelled to Geneva to present the Petition of the Negro Race. This petition outlined the worldwide abuse of Africans to the League of Nations. In September 1929, he founded the People's Political Party (PPP), Jamaica's first modern political party, which focused on workers' rights, education, and aid to the poor. Also in 1929, Garvey was elected councilor for the Allman Town Division of the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC). In July 1929, the Jamaican property of the UNIA was seized on the orders of the Chief Justice.[64] Garvey and his solicitor attempted to persuade people not to bid for the confiscated goods, claiming the sale was illegal and Garvey made a political speech in which he referred to corrupt judges.[65] As a result, he was cited for contempt of court and again appeared before the Chief Justice. He received a prison sentence, as a consequence of which he lost his seat. However, in 1930, Garvey was re-elected, unopposed, along with two other PPP candidates.

In April 1931, Garvey launched the Edelweiss Amusement Company. He set the company up to help artists earn their livelihood from their craft. Several Jamaican entertainers—Kidd Harold, Ernest Cupidon, Bim & Bam, and Ranny Williams—went on to become popular after receiving initial exposure that the company gave them. In 1935, Garvey left Jamaica for London. He lived and worked in London until his death in 1940. During these last five years, Garvey remained active and in touch with events in war-torn Ethiopia (then known as Abyssinia) and in the West Indies. In 1937, he wrote the poem Ras Nasibu Of Ogaden[66] in honor of Ethiopian Army Commander (Ras) Nasibu Emmanual. In 1938, he gave evidence before the West India Royal Commission on conditions there. Also in 1938 he set up the School of African Philosophy in Toronto to train UNIA leaders. He continued to work on the magazine The Black Man.

While imprisoned Garvey had corresponded with segregationist Earnest Sevier Cox who was lobbying for legislation to "repatriate" African Americans to Africa. Garvey's philosophy of black racial self-reliance could be combined with Cox's White Nationalism – at least in sharing the common goal of an African Homeland. Cox dedicated his short pamphlet "Let My People Go" to Garvey, and Garvey in return advertised Cox' book "White America" in UNIA publications.[67]

In the summer of 1936, Garvey travelled from London to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, for five days of speeches and appearances. The Universal Negro Improvement Association had purchased a hall on College Street in that city and a convention was held, where Garvey was the principal speaker. His five-day visit was front-page news.[68]

In 1937, a group of Garvey's rivals called the Peace Movement of Ethiopia openly collaborated with the United States Senator from Mississippi, Theodore Bilbo, and Earnest Sevier Cox in the promotion of a repatriation scheme introduced in the US Congress as the Greater Liberia Act. Bilbo, an outspoken supporter of segregation and white supremacy who was attracted by the ideas of black separatists like Garvey, proposed an amendment to the federal work-relief bill on 6 June 1938, proposing to deport 12 million black Americans to Liberia at federal expense to relieve unemployment.[69] He took the time to write a book entitled Take Your Choice, Separation or Mongrelization, advocating the idea. Garvey praised him in return, saying that Bilbo had "done wonderfully well for the Negro".[70] During this period, Evangeline Rondon Paterson, the future grandmother of the 55th Governor of New York State, David Paterson, served as his secretary.

Death and burialEdit

Garvey, having suffered two strokes, died in London on 10 June 1940 at the age of 52 after reading a mistaken, and negative, obituary of himself in the Chicago Defender in January that same year, which stated, in part, that Garvey died "broke, alone and unpopular". Because of travel restrictions during World War II, his body was interred (no burial mentioned but preserved in a lead-lined coffin) within the lower crypt in St Mary's Catholic cemetery beside Kensal Green Cemetery in London.

In 1964, his body was removed from the crypt and taken to Jamaica, where the government proclaimed him Jamaica's first national hero and re-interred his body at a shrine in National Heroes Park, Kingston.[71] Garvey's monument consists of a tomb at the center of a raised platform in the shape of a black star, a symbol often used by Garvey. Behind it, a peaked and angled wall houses a bust of Garvey, which had been added to the park in 1956 and relocated after the construction of the monument. The monument was designed by G. C. Hodges, while the bust was the work of Alvin T. Marriot.[72]


The UNIA flag uses three colors: red, black and green.

Schools, colleges, highways, and buildings in Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, and the United States have been named in his honor. The UNIA red, black, and green flag has been adopted as the Black Liberation Flag. Since 1980, Garvey's bust has been housed in the Organization of American States' Hall of Heroes in Washington, D.C.

Malcolm X's parents, Earl and Louise Little, met at a UNIA convention in Montreal. Earl was the president of the UNIA division in Omaha, Nebraska, and sold the Negro World newspaper, for which Louise covered UNIA activities.[73]

Kwame Nkrumah named the national shipping line of Ghana the Black Star Line in honor of Garvey and the UNIA. Nkrumah also named the national football team the Black Stars as well. The black star at the centre of Ghana's flag is also inspired by the Black Star.[74]

Flag of Ghana

During a trip to Jamaica, Martin Luther King and his wife Coretta Scott King visited Garvey's shrine on 20 June 1965 and laid a wreath.[75] In a speech he told the audience that Garvey "was the first man of color to lead and develop a mass movement. He was the first man on a mass scale and level to give millions of Negroes a sense of dignity and destiny. And make the Negro feel he was somebody."[76]

Vietnamese Communist revolutionary Ho Chi Minh said Garvey and Korean nationalists shaped his political outlook during his stay in America.[77]

King was a posthumous recipient of the first Marcus Garvey Prize for Human Rights on 10 December 1968, issued by the Jamaican Government and presented to King's widow. In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante listed Garvey on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans.[78]

The Obama Administration declined to pardon Garvey in 2011, writing that its policy is not to consider requests for posthumous pardons.[79]

There have been several proposals to make a biopic of Garvey's life. Those mentioned in connection with the role of Garvey have included the Jamaican-born actor Kevin Navayne[80][81] and the British-born actor of Jamaican descent Delroy Lindo.[82][83]

Garvey as religious symbolEdit


Rastafari consider Garvey to be a religious prophet, and sometimes even the reincarnation of Saint John the Baptist. This is partly because of his frequent statements uttered in speeches throughout the 1920s, usually along the lines of "Look to Africa, when a black king shall be crowned, for the day of deliverance is at hand!"[84]

His beliefs deeply influenced the Rastafari, who took his statements as a prophecy of the crowning of Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia. Early Rastas were associated with his Back-to-Africa movement in Jamaica. This early Rastafari movement was also influenced by a separate, proto-Rasta movement known as the Afro-Athlican Church that was outlined in a religious text known as the Holy Piby—where Garvey was proclaimed to be a prophet as well. Garvey himself never identified with the Rastafari movement,[85] and was, in fact, raised as a Methodist who went on to become a Roman Catholic.[86]

Moorish Science Temple of AmericaEdit

Members of the Moorish Science Temple of America honor Marcus Garvey as a "Saint John the Baptist like" forerunner to their organization's Prophet founder, Noble Drew Ali, as evident in Chapter 48:2-3 of their scripture:

"John the Baptist was the forerunner of Jesus in those days, to warn and stir up the nation and prepare them to receive the divine creed which was to be taught by Jesus. In these modern days there came a forerunner, who was divinely prepared by the great God-Allah and his name is Marcus Garvey . ... " [87]


Garvey is remembered through a number of memorials worldwide. Most of them are in Jamaica, England and the United States; others are in Canada and several nations in Africa.

A Jamaican 20-dollar coin shows Garvey on its face.


Garvey was given major prominence as a National Hero of Jamaica during Jamaica's move towards independence. The Monument to the Rt. Excellent Marcus Garvey National Heroes Park was the first major memorial of Garvey in Jamaica. It includes a statue and shrine where his body is interred. Among the honors to him in Jamaica are his name upon the Jamaican Ministry of Foreign Affairs; a major highway bearing his name and the Marcus Garvey Scholarship tenable at the University of the West Indies sponsored by The National Association of Jamaican and Supportive Organizations, Inc (NAJASO) since 1988.

Garvey's birthplace, 32 Market Street, St. Ann's Bay, Jamaica, has a marker signifying it as a site of importance in the nation's history.[88] His likeness was on the 20-dollar coin and 25-cent coin of the Jamaican_dollar.[89]

Marcus Garvey DayEdit

In 2012 the Jamaica government declared August 17 as Marcus Garvey Day. The Governor General's proclamation stated "from here on every year this time, all of us here in Jamaica will be called to mind to remember this outstanding National Hero and what he has done for us as a people, and our children will call this to mind also on this day" and went on to say "to proclaim and make known that the 17th Day of August in each year shall be designated as Marcus Garvey Day and shall so be observed."[90]


Garvey's memory is maintained in several locations in Africa. Nairobi, Kenya and Enugu, Nigeria have streets bearing his name, while the township of Khayelitsha, Cape Town, South Africa, put his name on an entire neighborhood. Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, Nigeria has a library named for him. A bust of Garvey was created and is on display at a park in the central region in Ghana, along with one of Martin Luther King.


Blue plaque at 53 Talgarth Road installed in 2005

Garvey's influence is acknowledged through a number of sites in England, most of which are in London:

GARVEY, Marcus (1887–1940) Pan-Africanist Leader, died here, 53 Talgarth Road, W14. [Hammersmith and Fulham 2005]

  • A blue plaque at 2 Beaumont Crescent, London, which were the offices of the UNIA.
  • The Marcus Garvey Centre in Lenton, Nottingham, England, is named in his honour
  • There is a statue of Garvey in Willesden Green Library, Brent, London.
  • There is a memorial park between North End Road and Hammersmith Road, called Marcus Garvey Park.[91]
  • The West Brompton train station restroom contains a street artist's rendition of a portrait of Garvey.

United StatesEdit

The United States is the country where Garvey not only rose to prominence, but also cultivated many of his ideas.

The Brownsville neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York City, is home to Marcus Garvey Village, whose construction was completed in 1976.[92] This building complex is home to the first energy storage microgrid at an affordable housing property in the country. It will use the energy storage system to cut electricity costs, improve grid reliability, and provide backup power during extended outages.[93]

Harlem, in New York City, was the site of the UNIA Liberty Hall and many events of significance in Garvey's life. There is a park bearing his name and a New York Public Library branch dedicated to him, as well. A major street bears his name in the historically African-American Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford Stuyvesant.

A Marcus Garvey Cultural Center, University of Northern Colorado (Greeley, Colorado). The National Association of Jamaican and Supportive Organizations Inc. (NAJASO) founded on 4 July 1977 in Washington DC), based in the United States, named Annual Scholarship tenable at the University of the West Indies since 1988, the Marcus Garvey Scholarship. Marcus Garvey Festival every year on the third weekend of August at Basu Natural Farms, in Pembroke Township, Illinois. The Universal Hip Hop Parade held annually in Brooklyn on the Saturday before his birthday to carry on his use of popular culture as a tool of empowerment and to encourage the growth of Black institutions. Since 1980, Garvey's bust has been housed in the Organization of American States' Hall of Heroes in Washington, D.C.


In Canada, Marcus Garvey Day is held annually on 17 August in Toronto; there is a Marcus Garvey Centre for Unity in Edmonton, Alberta, and the Marcus Garvey Centre for Leadership and Education is in the Jane-Finch area of Toronto. His 1919 Toronto UNIA Headquarters (home to the School of African Philosophy) located at 355 College St, Toronto, is today a roots reggae nightclub called "Thymeless Bar & Grill". The original UNIA markings are at the foot of the front door.

See alsoEdit


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Further readingEdit

Works by GarveyEdit

  • The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey. Edited by Amy Jacques Garvey. 412 pages. Majority Press; Centennial edition, 1 November 1986. ISBN 0-912469-24-2. Avery edition. ISBN 0-405-01873-8.
  • Message to the People: The Course of African Philosophy by Marcus Garvey. Edited by Tony Martin. Foreword by Hon. Charles L. James, president- general, Universal Negro Improvement Association. 212 pages. Majority Press, 1 March 1986. ISBN 0-912469-19-6.
  • The Poetical Works of Marcus Garvey. Compiled and edited by Tony Martin. 123 pages. Majority Press, 1 June 1983. ISBN 0-912469-02-1.
  • Hill, Robert A., editor. The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers. Vols. I-VII, IX. University of California Press, c. 1983– (ongoing). 1146 pages. University of California Press, 1 May 1991. ISBN 0-520-07208-1.
  • Hill, Robert A., editor. The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers: Africa for the Africans 1921–1922. 740 pages. University of California Press, 1 February 1996. ISBN 0-520-20211-2.


  • Burkett, Randall K. Garveyism as a Religious Movement: The Institutionalization of a Black Civil Religion. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press and American Theological Library Association, 1978.
  • Campbell, Horace. Rasta and Resistance: From Marcus Garvey to Walter Rodney. Trenton, N.J.: Africa World Press, 1987.
  • Clarke, John Henrik, editor. Marcus Garvey and the Vision of Africa. With assistance from Amy Jacques Garvey. New York: Vintage Books, 1974.
  • Cronon, Edmund David. Black Moses: The Story of Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1955, reprinted 1969 and 2007.
  • Dagnini, Jérémie Kroubo, "Marcus Garvey: A Controversial Figure in the History of Pan-Africanism", Journal of Pan African Studies, vol. 2, no. 3, March 2008.
  • Ewing, Adam. The Age of Garvey: How a Jamaican Activist Created a Mass Movement and Changed Global Black Politics (Princeton, 2014) contents
  • Garvey, Amy Jacques, Garvey and Garveyism. London: Collier-MacMillan, 1963, 1968.
  • Grant, Colin. Negro with a Hat, The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey and his Dream of Mother Africa., London: Jonathan Cape, 2008.
  • Hill, Robert A., editor. Marcus Garvey, Life and Lessons: A Centennial Companion to the Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987.
  • Hill, Robert A. The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers. Vols. I–VII, IX. University of California Press, c. 1983– (ongoing).
  • James, Winston. Holding Aloft the Banner of Ethiopia: Caribbean Radicalism in Early Twentieth-Century America. London: Verso, 1998.
  • Kearse, Gregory S. "Prince Hall's Charge of 1792: An Assertion of African Heritage." Heredom, Vol. 20. Washington, D.C. Scottish Rite Research Society, 2012, p. 275.
  • Kornweibel Jr., Theodore. Seeing Red: Federal Campaigns Against Black Militancy 1919–1925. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998.
  • Lemelle, Sidney, and Robin D. G. Kelley. Imagining Home: Class, Culture, and Nationalism in the African Diaspora. London: Verso, 1994.
  • Lewis, Rupert, and Maureen Warner-Lewis. Garvey: Africa, Europe, The Americas. Trenton, N.J.: Africa World Press, 1986, 1994.
  • Manoedi, M. Korete. Garvey and Africa. New York: New York Age Press, 1922.
  • Martin, Tony. Race First: The Ideological and Organizational Struggle of Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1976.
  • Martin, Tony. Literary Garveyism: Garvey, Black Arts, and the Harlem Renaissance. Dover, Mass.: Majority Press, 1983.
  • Martin, Tony. African Fundamentalism: A Literary and Cultural Anthology of Garvey's Harlem Renaissance. Dover, Mass.: Majority Press, 1983, 1991.
  • Martin, Tony. Marcus Garvey: Hero. Dover, Mass.: Majority Press, 1983.
  • Martin, Tony. The Pan-African Connection: From Slavery to Garvey and Beyond. Dover, Mass.: Majority Press, 1983.
  • Martin, Tony. The Poetical Works of Marcus Garvey. Dover, Mass.: Majority Press, 1983.
  • Smith-Irvin, Jeannette. Marcus Garvey's Footsoldiers of the Universal Negro Improvement Association. Trenton, N.J.: Africa World Press, 1989.
  • Solomon, Mark. The Cry Was Unity: Communists and African-Americans, 1917–1936. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 1998.
  • Stein, Judith. The World of Marcus Garvey: Race and Class in Modern Society. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1986.
  • Tolbert, Emory J. The UNIA and Black Los Angeles. Los Angeles: Center of Afro-American Studies, University of California, 1980.
  • Vincent, Theodore. Black Power and the Garvey Movement. Berkeley, Calif.: Ramparts Press, 1971.

External linksEdit