Calling for the exoneration of Marcus Mosiah Garvey
It is no secret that the life and work of the Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey attracted the attention of Booker T. Washington who invited him to the United States in 1916. His arrival laid the foundation of the contemporary civil rights movement across America and the rest of the globe in the early 20th century and his work paved the way for future leaders such as Dr. King, Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, and even W. E. B. Du Bois, who notably made enviable and bitter utterances against Garvey. Garvey’s brilliance as an island man proved unbearable to Du Bois, who projected himself as a more worthy leader.
As the socio-political and philosophical trendsetter of the day, Garvey was without question, primarily instrumental in carving out the fundamentals of America’s basic human rights parameters and reinforced the dignity of a people enslaved in its boundaries. He hammered out the early concept of Black Nationalism and the need for economic development and respect, laying the ground-work of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL) before he was unjustly silenced.
The UNIA served as the headquarters of an unparalleled movement aimed at lifting the black race out of the slums of subhuman imposition, and propelling people of African descent toward the recognition of self-respect, dignity, and racial pride. The UNIA, therefore, served as the unique entity that consolidated Garvey’s vision of political nationalism of the Black race in America during the period 1917-1923. This movement led to the establishment of the first and largest mass organization in Western Black history. From the inception of his humanitarian mandate- as early as1910- Garvey’s resolve and determination were seemingly concreted by the inhumanity and legacy of the Atlantic slave trade as well as the continuous racial and socio-economic manipulation of his people. At the height of lynching and the burning of crosses, Garvey confronted the acting imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Klan with a plan of repatriation that would once and for all ended Black suffering in the West according to his calculations. His bold confrontation softened the flames of hate towards the Black man, as his value to white America's economic reality could not be ignored.
Garvey’s work did not eradicate injustice towards the Black man but triggered his sense of worth, and harnessed his capability of developing himself via commerce and industry which would serve as primal revitalized Africanism / African Fundamentalism, in the African American community. Garvey’s work created ripples across America’s early economic front where the black man could suddenly see himself as a worthy driving force of his own independence and upward mobility.This created grounds for the unleashing of the wrath of J. Edgar Hoover's destructive campaign which was aimed at the heart of Garvey’s liberating objectives. But as his But as his enemies plotted to stop him, a politically motivated prosecution became their tool of choice, and a clear miscarriage of justice ended in the wrongfully imprisonment of Garvey in the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary on February 8, 1925.This marked the downward spiraling of his life and work.
The depth of his writings indicates that no one can deny his awareness of his enemies, nor his knowledge of the differences between the Jews and the Gentiles. His grasp of the purpose of the establishment of a cruel and dreaded socio-political frame was clear, and the focus of its objective, that seemed to deem the Negro to be an insignificant group was noted. Furthermore, it is evident in his writings that Garvey was very aware of the architects of that political conspiracy that shaped America’s early capitalist agenda, and in the process, created a cruel left–right divide that remains as an abomination to this day.
One might also add that great Black writers such as Langston Hughes, Wallace Thurman, and Claude McKay all benefitted from Garvey’s trail blazing efforts that gained the attention of every historic, political and academic scholar during his lifetime and beyond. Nevertheless, he continues to be viewed as criminal. It is high time for this civil right pioneer, historical giant and Jamaica’s first national hero to be exonerated without further hesitance. I already have 50 people who have signed my "MoveOn" petition that I would like to transfer to this campaign
Dr. Clovis B. Nelson Ed. D (all but dissertation).