Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jr. ONH (17 August 1887 – 10 June 1940) was a Jamaican-born political activist, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator. He was the founder and first President-General of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL). Ideologically a black nationalist and Pan-Africanist, his ideas came to be known as Garveyism.
Garvey in 1924
Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jr.
17 August 1887
|Died||10 June 1940 (aged 52)|
|Known for||Activism, black nationalism, Pan-Africanism|
(m. 1919; div. 1922)
Amy Jacques (m. 1922)
|Parent(s)||Marcus Mosiah Garvey Sr.|
Sarah Anne Richards
Garvey was born to a moderately prosperous Afro-Jamaican family in Saint Ann's Bay, Colony of Jamaica and apprenticed into the print trade as a teenager. Working in Kingston, he became involved in trade unionism before working briefly in Costa Rica, Panama, and England. Returning to Jamaica, he founded UNIA in 1914. In 1916, he moved to the United States and established a UNIA branch in Harlem. Emphasising unity between Africans and the African diaspora, he campaigned for an end to European colonial rule across the continent, urging the creation of an independent, politically unified Africa. He envisioned this as a one-party state that would enact laws to ensure black racial purity. Although he never visited Africa himself, he was committed to the Back-to-Africa movement, arguing that many African-Americans should migrate there. UNIA grew in membership and Garveyist ideas became increasingly popular. However, his black separatist views—and his collaboration with white racist groups like the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) to advance their shared interest in racial separatism—divided Garvey from other prominent African-American civil rights activists like W. E. B. Du Bois.
Committed to the belief that African-Americans needed to secure financial independence from white-dominant society, Garvey launched various businesses in the U.S., including the Negro Factories Corporation. In 1919, he became President of the Black Star Line shipping and passenger company, designed to forge a link between North America and Africa. After it went bankrupt, in 1923 Garvey was convicted of mail fraud for selling its stock and imprisoned. Many commentators have argued that the trial was politically motivated; Garvey blamed Jewish people, claiming that they were prejudiced against him because of his links to the KKK. Deported to Jamaica in 1927, Garvey continued his activism and established the People's Political Party in 1929. As well as establishing the Edelweiss Amusement Company, he continued to travel internationally to promote UNIA, presenting his Petition of the Negro Race to the League of Nations in Geneva. In 1935 he relocated to London, where his anti-socialist stance distanced him from many of the city's black activists. He died there in 1940, although in 1964 his body was returned to Jamaica for reburial in Kingston's National Heroes Park.
Garvey was a controversial figure. Many in the African diasporic community regarded him as a pretentious character and were highly critical of his collaboration with white supremacists and his prejudice towards mixed-race people. He nevertheless received praise for encouraging a sense of pride and self-worth among Africans and the African diaspora amid widespread poverty, discrimination, and colonialism. He is seen as a national hero in Jamaica, and his ideas exerted a considerable influence on movements like Rastafari, the Nation of Islam, and the Black Power Movement.
Marcus Mosiah Garvey was born on 17 August 1887 in Saint Ann's Bay, a town in the Colony of Jamaica. In the context of colonial Jamaican society, which had a colourist social hierarchy, Garvey was considered at the lowest end, being a black child who believed he was of full African ancestry; later genetic research nevertheless revealed that he had some Iberian ancestors. His father, Malchus Garvey, was a stonemason; his mother, Sarah Richards, was a domestic servant and the daughter of peasant farmers. Malchus had had two previous partners before Sarah, siring six children between them. Sarah bore him four additional children, of whom Marcus was the youngest, although two died in infancy.
Because of his profession, Malchus' family were wealthier than many of their peasant neighbours; they were petty bourgeoise. Malchus was however reckless with his money and over the course of his life lost most of the land he owned to meet payments. Malchus had a book collection and was self-educated; he also served as an occasional layman at a local Wesleyan church. Malchus was an intolerant and punitive father and husband; he never had a close relationship with his son.
Up to the age of 14, Garvey attended a local church school; further education was unaffordable for the family. When not in school, Garvey worked on his maternal uncle's tenant farm. He had friends, with whom he once broke the windows of a church, resulting in his arrest. Some of his friends were white, although he found that as they grew older they distanced themselves from him; he later recalled that a close childhood friend was a white girl: "We were two innocent fools who never dreamed of a race feeling and problem." In 1901, Marcus was apprenticed to his godfather, a local printer. In 1904, the printer opened another branch at Port Maria, where Garvey began to work, traveling from Saint Ann's Bay each morning.
Early career in Kingston: 1905–1909Edit
In 1905 he moved to Kingston, where he boarded in Smith Village, a working class neighbourhood. In the city, he secured work with the printing division of the P.A. Benjamin Manufacturing Company. He rose quickly through the company ranks, becoming their first Afro-Jamaican foreman. His sister and mother, by this point estranged from his father, moved to join him in the city. In January 1907, Kingston was hit by an earthquake that reduced much of the city to rubble. He, his mother, and his sister were left to sleep in the open for several months. In March 1908, his mother died. While in Kingston, Garvey converted to Roman Catholicism.
Garvey became a trade unionist and took a leading role in the November 1908 print workers' strike. The strike was broken several weeks later and Garvey was sacked. Henceforth branded a troublemaker, Garvey was unable to find work in the private sector. He then found temporary employment with a government printer. As a result of these experiences, Garvey became increasingly angry at the inequalities present in Jamaican society.
Garvey involved himself with the National Club, Jamaica's first nationalist organisation, becoming its first assistant secretary in April 1910. The group campaigned to remove the British Governor of Jamaica, Sydney Olivier, from office, and to end the migration of Indian "coolies", or indentured workers, to Jamaica, as they were seen as a source of economic competition by the established population. With fellow Club member Wilfred Domingo he published a pamphlet expressing the group's ideas, The Struggling Mass. In early 1910, Garvey began publishing a magazine, Garvey's Watchman—its name a reference to George William Gordon's The Watchman—although it only lasted three issues. He claimed it had a circulation of 3000, although this was likely an exaggeration. Garvey also enrolled in elocution lessons with the radical journalist Robert J. Love, whom Garvey came to regard as a mentor. With his enhanced skill at speaking in a Standard English manner, he entered several public speaking competitions.
Travels abroad: 1910–1914Edit
Economic hardship in Jamaica led to growing emigration from the island. In mid-1910, Grant travelled to Costa Rica, where an uncle had secured him employment as a timekeeper on a large banana plantation in the Limón Province owned by the United Fruit Company (UFC). Shortly after his arrival, the area experienced strikes and unrest in opposition to the UFC's attempts to cut its workers' wages. Although as a timekeeper he was responsible for overseeing the manual workers, he became increasingly angered at how they were treated. In the spring of 1911 be launched a bilingual newspaper, Nation/La Nación, which criticised the actions of the UFC and upset many of the dominant strata of Costa Rican society in Limón. His coverage of a local fire, in which he questioned the motives of the fire brigade, resulted in him being brought in for police questioning. After his printing press broke, he was unable to replace the faulty part and terminated the newspaper.
Garvey then travelled through Central America, undertaking casual work as he made his way through Honduras, Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela. While in the port of Colón in Panama, he set up a new newspaper, La Prensa ("The Press"). In 1911, he became seriously ill with a bacterial infection and decided to return to Kingston. He then decided to travel to London, the administrative centre of the British Empire, in the hope of advancing his informal education. In the spring of 1912 he sailed to England. Renting a room along Borough High Street in South London, he visited the House of Commons, where he was impressed by the politician David Lloyd George. He also visited Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park and began speaking there. There were only a few thousand black people in London at the time, and they were often viewed as exotic; most worked as labourers. Garvey initially gained piecemeal work labouring in the city's dockyards. In August 1912, his sister Indiana joined him in London, where she worked as a domestic servant.
In early 1913 he was employed as a messenger and handyman for the African Times and Orient Review, a magazine based in Fleet Street that was edited by Dusé Mohamed Ali. The magazine advocated Ethiopianism and home rule for British-occupied Egypt. In 1914, Mohamed Ali began employing Garvey's services as a writer for the magazine. He also took several evening classes in law at Birkbeck College in Bloomsbury. Garvey planned a tour of Europe, spending time in Glasgow, Paris, Monte Carlo, Boulogne, and Madrid. During the trip, he was briefly engaged to a Spanish-Irish heiress. Back in London, he wrote an article on Jamaica for the Tourist magazine, and spent time reading in the library of the British Museum. There he discovered Up from Slavery, a book by the African-American entrepreneur and activist Booker T. Washington. Washington's book heavily influenced him. Now almost financially destitute and deciding to return to Jamaica, he unsuccessfully asked both the Colonial Office and the Anti-Slavery and Aborigines' Protection Society to pay for his journey. After managing to save the funds for a fare, he boarded the SS Trent in June 1914 for a three-week journey across the Atlantic. En route home, Garvey talked with an Afro-Caribbean missionary who had spent time in Basutoland and taken a Basuto wife. Discovering more about colonial Africa from this man, Garvey began to envision a movement that would politically unify black people of African descent across the world.
Organization of UNIAEdit
Forming UNIA: 1914–1916Edit
— Garvey, from a 1915 Collegiate Hall speech published in the Daily Chronicle
Garvey arrived back in Jamaica in July 1914. There, he saw his article for Tourist republished in The Gleaner. He began earning money selling greeting and condolence cards which he had imported from Britain, before later switching to selling tombstones.
Also in July 1914, Garvey launched the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League, commonly abbreviated as UNIA. Adopting the motto of "One Aim. One God. One Destiny", it declared its commitment to "establish a brotherhood among the black race, to promote a spirit of race pride, to reclaim the fallen and to assist in civilising the backward tribes of Africa." Initially, it had only few members. Many Jamaicans were critical of the group's prominent use of the term "Negro", a term which was often employed as an insult: Garvey, however, embraced the term in reference to black people of African descent.
Garvey became UNIA's president and travelling commissioner; it was initially based out of his hotel room in Orange Street, Kingston. It portrayed itself not as a political organisation but as a charitable club, focused on work to help the poor and to ultimately establish a vocational training college modelled on Washington's Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Garvey wrote to Washington and received a brief, if encouraging reply; Washington died shortly after. UNIA officially expressed its loyalty to the British Empire, King George V, and the British effort in the ongoing First World War. In April 1915 Brigadier General L. S. Blackden lectured to the group on the war effort; Garvey endorsed Blackden's calls for more Jamaicans to sign up to fight for the Empire on the Western Front. The group also sponsored musical and literary evenings as well as a February 1915 elocution contest, at which Garvey took first prize.
In August 1914, Garvey attended a meeting of the Queen Street Baptist Literary and Debating Society, where he met Amy Ashwood, recently graduated from the Westwood Training College for Women. She joined UNIA and rented a better premises for them to use as their headquarters, secured using her father's credit. She and Garvey embarked on a relationship, which was opposed by her parents. In 1915 they secretly became engaged. When she suspended the engagement, he threatened to commit suicide, at which she resumed it.
— Garvey, on how he was received in Jamaica
Garvey attracted financial contributions from many prominent patrons, including the Mayor of Kingston and the Governor of Jamaica, William Manning. By appealing directly to Jamaica's white elite, Garvey had skipped the brown middle-classes, comprising those who were classified as mulattos, quadroons, and octoroons. They were generally hostile to Garvey, regarding him as a pretentious social climber and being annoyed at his claim to be part of the "cultured class" of Jamaican society. Many also felt that he was unnecessarily derogatory when describing black Jamaicans, with letters of complaint being sent into the Daily Chronicle after it published one of Garvey's speeches in which he referred to many of his people as "uncouth and vulgar". One complainant, a Dr Leo Pink, related that "the Jamaican Negro can not be reformed by abuse". After unsubstantiated allegations began circling that Garvey was diverting UNIA funds to pay for his own personal expenses, the group's support began to decline. He became increasingly aware of how UNIA had failed to thrive in Jamaica and decided to migrate to the United States, sailing there aboard the SS Tallac in March 1916.
To the United States: 1916–1918Edit
Arriving in the United States, Garvey began lodging with a Jamaican expatriate family living in Harlem, a largely black area of New York City. He began lecturing in the city, hoping to make a career as a public speaker, although at his first public speech was heckled and fell off the stage. From New York City, he embarked on a U.S. speaking tour. At stopovers on his journey he listened to preachers from the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the Black Baptist churches. While in Alabama, he visited the Tuskegee Institute and met with its new leader, Robert Russa Moton. After six months traveling across the U.S. lecturing, he returned to New York City.
In May 1917, Garvey launched a New York branch of UNIA. He declared membership open to anyone "of Negro blood and African ancestry" who could pay the 25 cents a month membership fee. He joined many other speakers who spoke on the street, standing on step-ladders; he often did so on Speakers' Corner in 135th Street. In his speeches, he sought to reach across to both black West Indian migrants like himself and native African-Americans. Through this, he began to associate with Hubert Harrison, who was promoting ideas of black self-reliance and racial separatism. In June, Garvey shared a stage with Harrison at the inaugural meeting of the latter's Liberty League of Negro-Americans. This his appearance here and at other events organised by Harrison, Garvey attracted growing public attention.
After the U.S. entered the First World War in April 1917, Garvey initially signed up to fight but was ruled physically unfit to do so. He later became an opponent of African-American involvement in the conflict, following Harrison in accusing it of being a "white man's war". In the wake of the East St. Louis Race Riots in May to July 1917, in which white mobs targeted black people, Garvey began calling for armed self-defense. He produced a pamphlet, "The Conspiracy of the East St Louis Riots", which was widely distributed; proceeds from its sale went to victims of the riots. The Bureau of Investigation began monitoring him, noting that in speeches he employed more militant language than that used in print; it for instance reported him expressing the view that "for every Negro lynched by whites in the South, Negroes should lynch a white in the North."
By the end of 1917, Garvey had attracted many of Harrison's key associates in his Liberty League to UNIA. He also secured the support of the journalist John Edward Bruce, agreeing to step down from the group's presidency in favor of Bruce. Bruce then wrote to Dusé Mohamed Ali to learn more about Garvey's past. Mohamed Ali responded with a negative assessment of Garvey, suggesting that he simply used UNIA as a money-making scheme. Bruce read this letter to a UNIA meeting and put pressure on Garvey's position. Garvey then resigned from UNIA, establishing a rival group that met at Old Fellows Temple. He also launched legal proceedings against Bruce and other senior UNIA members, with the court ruling that the group's name and membership—now estimated at around 600—belonged to Garvey, who resumed control over it.
The growth of UNIA: 1918–Edit
In 1918, UNIA membership grew rapidly. In June that year it was incorporated, and in July a commercial arm, the African Communities' League, filed for incorporation. Garvey envisioned UNIA establishing an import-and-export business, a restaurant, and a launderette. He also proposed raising the funds to secure a permanent building as a base for the group. In April 1918, Garvey launched a weekly newspaper, the Negro World. Financially, it was backed by philanthropists like Madam C. J. Walker, but six months after its launch was pursuing a special appeal for donations to keep it afloat. Various journalists took Garvey to court for his failure to pay them for their contributions, a fact much publicised by rival publications; at the time, there were over 400 black-run newspapers and magazines in the U.S. Unlike may of these, Garvey refused to feature adverts for skin-lightening and hair-straightening products, urging black people to "take the kinks out of your mind, instead of out of your hair". By the end of its first year, the circulation of Negro World was nearing 10,000.
After the First World War ended, President Woodrow Wilson declared his intention to present a 14-point plan for world peace at the forthcoming Paris Peace Conference. Garvey was among the African-Americans who formed the International League of Darker Peoples which sought to lobby Wilson and the conference to give greater respect to the wishes of people of color. In the U.S., many African-Americans who had served in the military refused to return to their more subservient role in society and throughout 1919 there were various racial clashes throughout the country. The government feared that black people would be encouraged to revolutionary behavior following the October Revolution in Russia, and in this context, military intelligence ordered Major Walter Loving to investigate Garvey.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
By August 1920, the UNIA claimed four million members. The number has been questioned because of the organization's poor record keeping. 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. 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.
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. Garvey drew parallels 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". 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. 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."
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."
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. The national level of support in Jamaica helped Garvey to become one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century on the island.
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. 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. Garvey divorced Ashwood Garvey in Missouri in the summer of 1922.
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.
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. 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. 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.
While W. E. B. Du Bois felt that the Black Star Line was "original and promising", 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." 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.
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". 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. In addition, Garvey accused Du Bois of paying conspirators to sabotage the Black Star Line in order to destroy his reputation.
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. 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.
Charge of mail fraudEdit
In a memorandum dated 11 October 1919, J. Edgar Hoover (age 24), special assistant to the Attorney General and head of the General Intelligence Division (or "anti-radical division") of The Bureau of Investigation or BOI (after 1935, the Federal Bureau of Investigation), 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."
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.
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.
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.
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." In the end, the ship was never registered to the BSL.
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.
The trial began on 18 May 1923 in front of Julian W. Mack in the U.S District Court in New York. 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". 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." 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. Garvey blamed Jewish jurors and a Jewish federal judge, Julian Mack, for his conviction. 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. 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."
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 were unsuccessful, he was taken into custody and began serving his sentence at the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary on 8 February 1925. 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."
Professor Judith Stein has stated, "his politics were on trial." 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.
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. 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. 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 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.
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.
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. 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". 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
While living in London, Garvey suffered a stroke which left him largely paralysed. His rival, George Padmore, spread rumours of Garvey's death while the latter was still alive; this led to many newspapers publishing premature obituaries, many of which he read. Garvey then suffered a second stroke and died on 10 June 1940.
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 named him Jamaica's first National Hero and reinterred his body at a shrine in National Heroes Park, Kingston. The monument, designed by G. C. Hodges, 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, by Alvin T. Marriot, of Garvey, which was added to the park in 1956 (before his reinterment) and relocated after the construction of the monument. 
According to Grant, while in London Garvey displayed "an amazing capacity to absorb political tracts, theories of social engineering, African history and Western Enlightenment." Tony Martin stated that when Garvey returned to Jamaica and established UNIA, he displayed "a burning desire to rescue his people from ignorance and poverty".
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. 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 ..."
Cronan believed that Garvey exhibited "antipathy and distrust for any but the darkest-skinned Negroes". Garvey accused Du Bois and NAACP of promoting "amalgamation or general miscegenation". Garvey was willing to collaborate with white supremacists in the U.S. to achieve his aims. They were willing to work with him because his approach effectively acknowledged the idea that the U.S. should be a country exclusively for white people and would abandon campaigns for advanced rights for African-Americans within the U.S.
Garvey did not believe that all African-Americans should migrate to Africa, but that instead only an elite selection, namely those of the purest African blood, should do so. The rest of the African-American population, he believed, should remain in the United States, where they would be extinct within fifty years. He promoted ideas of racial separatism, but did not stress the idea of racial superiority.
The scholar of African-American studies Wilson S. Moses stated that rather than respecting indigenous African cultures, Garvey's views of an ideal united Africa were based on "the imperial model of Victorian England". When extolling the glories of Africa, he cited the ancient Egyptians and Ethiopians who had built empires and large-scale buildings, which he saw as evidence of civilisation, rather than the smaller-scale societies of other parts of the continent. Moses thought that Harvey "had more affinity for the pomp and tinsel of European imperialism than he did for black African tribal life".
Garvey's envisioned Africa was to be a one-party state in which the president could have "absolute authority" to appoint "all his lieutenants from cabinet ministers, governors of States and Territories, administrators and judges to minor offices". According to Moses, the future African state which Garvey envisioned was "authoritarian, elitist, collectivist, racist, and capitalistic", suggesting that it would have resembled the Haitian government of François Duvalier. Garvey told the historian J. A. Rogers that he and his followers were "the first fascists", adding that "Mussolini copied Fascism from me, but the Negro reactionaries sabotaged it". He argued that mixed-race people would be bred out of existence.
Economically, he supported capitalism, stating that "capitalism is necessary to the progress of the world, and those who unreasonably and wantonly oppose or fight against it are enemies to human advancement." He proposed that no individual should be allowed to control more than one million dollars and no company more than five million.
In Garvey's opinion, "without commerce and industry, a people perish economically. The Negro is perishing because he has no economic system". In the U.S., he promoted a capitalistic ethos for the economic development of the African-American community. He wanted to achieve greater financial independence for the African-American community, believing that it would ensure greater protection from discrimination. He admired Booker T. Washington's economic endeavours although was critical of his individualistic focus: Garvey believed African-American interests would best be advanced if businesses included collective decision making and group profit sharing.
Garvey viewed ideas about communism as a white person's creation that was not in the interests of African-Americans. He stated that communism was "a dangerous theory of economic or 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." He urged African-Americans not to support the Communist Party.
— Garvey, on viewing God as black, 1923
Garvey sought to create a black religion, with Cronon suggesting that Garvey promoted "racist ideas about religion". Garvey emphasised the idea of black people worshipping a God who was also depicted as black. In doing so, he did not make use of pre-existing forms of black-dominant religion. Garvey had little experience with these, having attended a white-run Wesleyan congregation as a child and later converting to Roman Catholicism. Reflecting his own Catholicism, he wanted this black-centric Christianity to be as close to Roman Catholicism as possible.
Personality and personal lifeEdit
Physically, Garvey was short and stocky; he suffered from asthma, and throughout his adult life was affected by bouts of pneumonia. He was eloquent and a good orator, with Cronon suggesting that his "peculiar gift of oratory" stemmed from "a combination of bombast and stirring heroics". Grant described Garvey's public speeches as "strange and eclectic - part evangelical[…] party formal King's English, and part lilting Caribbean speechifying". Garvey enjoyed arguing with people, and wanted to be seen as a learned man. Cronon suggested that "Garvey's florid style of writing and speaking, his fondness for appearing in a richly colored cap and gown, and his use of the initials "D.C.L." after his name were but crude attempts to compensate" for his lack of formal academic qualifications.
Reception and legacyEdit
— Edmund David Cronon 1955
Garvey was a polarizing figure. Grant noted that he was "revered and reviled in equal measure", while Cronon noted that different perspectives on him had been offered: "strident demagogue or dedicated prophet, martyred visionary or fabulous con man?" Grant described Garvey as "Jamaica's first national hero". Martin noted that by the time Garvey returned to Jamaica in the 1920s, he was "just about the best known Black man in the whole world." His ideas influenced many black people who never became paying members of UNIA. He noted that in the years following Garvey's death, his life was primarily presented by his political opponents. Critics like Du Bois often mocked him for his outfits and the grandiose titles he gave to himself; in their view, he was embarrassingly pretentious.
In 1955, Cronon described Garvey as someone who "awakened fires of Negro nationalism that have yet to be extinguished". Cronon added that while Garvey "achieved little in the way of permanent improvement for his people, […] he did help to point out the fires that smolder in the Negro world." For Cronon, "Garvey's work was important largely because more than any other single leader he helped to give Negroes everywhere a reborn feeling of collective pride and a new awareness of individual worth."
Garvey has received praise from those who see him as a "race patriot". Many African-Americans see Garvey as having encouraged a sense of self-respect among black people. Writing for The Black Scholar in 1972, the scholar of African-American studies Wilson S. Moses expressed concern about "that uncritical adulation of him that leads to the practice of red baiting and to the divisive rhetoric of "Blacker-than-thou"" within African-American political circles. He argued that Garvey was wrongly seen as a "man of the people" because he had been born to a petty bourgeoise background and had "enjoyed cultural, economic, and educational advantages few of his black contemporaries were priviledged [sic] as to know."
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.
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. 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."
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 and the British-born actor of Jamaican descent Delroy Lindo.
Garvey as religious symbolEdit
According to the scholar of religion Maboula Soumahoro, the Abrahamic religion of Rastafari "emerged from the socio-political ferment inaugurated by Marcus Garvey", while for the sociologist Ernest Cashmore, Garvey was the "most important" precursor of the Rastafari movement. Rastafari does not promote all of the views that Garvey espoused, but nevertheless shares many of the same perspectives, with many Rastas regarding Garvey as a prophet. Some Rastas also organise meetings, known as Nyabinghi Issemblies, to mark Garvey's birthday.
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, and was, in fact, raised as a Methodist who went on to become a Roman Catholic.
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.
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. His likeness was on the 20-dollar coin and 25-cent coin of the Jamaican_dollar.
Marcus Garvey DayEdit
In 2012 the Jamaican 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."
The Brownsville neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York City, is home to Marcus Garvey Village, whose construction was completed in 1976. 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.
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- Martin, Tony (21 October 2009). "Marcus Garvey". BBC. Retrieved 18 October 2010.
- Grant, Colin, Negro with a Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey, OUP, 2008, p. 18.
- 32 Market Street, 16 March 2013.
- "Bank of Jamaica | Coins". Boj.org.jm. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
- "Gov't Declares August 17 Marcus Garvey Day". Jamaican Information Service. Government of Jamaica. 17 August 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
- Bellafante, Ginia (1 June 2013). "In Marcus Garvey Village, a Housing Solution Gone Awry". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
- "Marcus Garvey Apartments - Clean Energy Group". Clean Energy Group. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
- Carter, Shawn (2002). "The Economic Philosophy of Marcus Garvey". Western Journal of Black Studies. 26 (1). pp. 1–5.
- Cashmore, E. Ellis (1983). Rastaman: The Rastafarian Movement in England (second ed.). London: Counterpoint. ISBN 978-0-04-301164-5.
- Clarke, Peter B. (1986). Black Paradise: The Rastafarian Movement. New Religious Movements Series. Wellingborough: The Aquarian Press. ISBN 978-0-85030-428-2.
- Cronon, Edmund David (1955). Black Moses: The Story of Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
- Edmonds, Ennis B. (2012). Rastafari: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0199584529.
- Grant, Colin (2008). Negro with a Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey. London: Jonathan Cape. ISBN 978-0099501459.
- Moses, Wilson S. (1972). "Marcus Garvey: A Reappraisal". The Black Scholar. 4 (3). pp. 38–49. JSTOR 41163608.
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.
- 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.
- 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. 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.
- BBC Radio 4 programme about Marcus Garvey – listen online:
- Lanset, Andy, "Marcus Garvey: 20th Century Pan-Africanist". A Public Radio Documentary online
- Marcus Garvey at Find a Grave
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Marcus Garvey.|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Marcus Garvey|
- Ayanna Gillian, "Garvey's Legacy in Context: Colourism, Black Movements and African Nationalism", Race and History, 17 August 2005
- Marcus Garvey: Look for Me in the Whirlwind. PBS documentary film
- UNIA website.
- Marcus Garvey economic principles
- Marcus Garvey speaks – text and audio
- Poem – Ras Nasibu of the Ogaden
- "Information – People: Marcus Garvey", Black Atlantic Rersource, University of Liverpool.
- Newspaper clippings about Marcus Garvey in the 20th Century Press Archives of the German National Library of Economics (ZBW)