Marcus Garvey, Negro Ex-Leader
By THE NEW YORK TIMES
LONDON, June 11 (UP)--Marcus Garvey, West Indian Negro, who once set himself up as "Emperor of the Kingdom of Africa" in New York's Harlem and later appeared before the League of Nations as representative of "the black peoples of the world," died here yesterday.His Career as a Promoter
Marcus Garvey was a short, stout, ebony-colored firebrand who styled himself a "world- famous orator." He was a promoter who sold hundreds of thousands of American Negroes on the idea of a nation for themselves, an African empire. He preached racial solidarity, racial enterprise and race segregation. Until some of his promotions landed him in jail, they paid him at least $22,000 a year, and probably much more.
Where Father Divine of a later day created "angels" and "archangels" among the colored population of Harlem, Garvey in his time sprinkled the area with princes and princesses, barons, knights, viscounts, earls and dukes, and kept for himself for a time the comparatively humble designation of "Sir Provisional President of Africa." There was no evidence that he had ever set foot on that continent, and the Republic of Liberia was, by announcement of its government, closed to him and his followers. He blamed the British and French Governments for that. His proposed hegira of black men and women back to the continent of their origin remained to the last simply a proposal.
Exact information about the origins of Marcus Aurelius Garvey, as he sometimes proudly named himself, was never forthcoming. It appeared, however, that some time about 1880 he was born in Jamaica, B.W.I., which fact made him a British citizen. According to his own story he was the editor of a Catholic newspaper in Jamaica at the age of fifteen, and thereafter edited papers in Jamaica and Costa Rica. He also said that he spent a year traveling through Europe before coming to the United States as the World War was about to begin.
His career in this country began as a journalist and lecturer to Negro audiences. It appeared to him that the Negroes in this country were in a state of semi-serfdom and he proposed to do something about it. The first step was the formation, in July, 1914, of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, with an original membership of 15.His Fire-Brand Period
The next five or six years were his fire-brand period. He made inflammatory attacks upon white people; suggested that for every Negro lynched in the South a white man should be similarly treated by the Negroes in New York. The trickle of dues into his "parent body," as he began to call the U.N.I.A., swelled into a stream, and Garvey began to dream other dreams than race fighting. He had learned that small sums contributed by many persons may reach an impressive total.
So he organized the Black Star Steamship Line and the Black Star Steamship Company, to establish a world shipping firm staffed wholly by Negroes. He called a convention of his U.N.I.A. and offered some 5,000 Negroes who attended at Madison Square Garden an opportunity to buy stock at $5 a share. The money rolled in and he bought several ships. One was the Yarmouth, another the Kanawha, which had been the pleasure yacht of the late colonel Henry Huddleston Rogers. The first job the Yarmouth had was to haul a $3,000,000 cargo of liquor from Brooklyn to Cuba for a firm that wanted to get it out of the country before prohibition became effective on Jan. 15, 1920. All that whisky was too much temptation for the crew, who got drunk and put in at Norfolk, where the ship was seized under the prohibition law. A total loss.Kanawha Rams a Pier
The black skipper of the Kanawha also had bad luck at Norfolk. On his first voyage he rammed a pier there, his boiler exploded, and the Kanawha, too, became a total loss.
Nothing, meanwhile, had happened in Harlem except the multiplication of Garvey's notions. He had organized the African Community League, incorporated at $1,000,000; the Negro Factories Corporation and, on the non-commercial side, the Order of the Nile; the Black Cross Nurses and the Universal African Legion.
In February, 1925, three years after he had been arrested on a charge of using the mails to defraud in soliciting funds for one of his ship companies, Garvey went to Atlanta penitentiary, where he stayed until the middle of 1927, when his sentence was commuted, so that he could be deported. Sent back to Jamaica, he tried to carry on with the mission he had inaugurated in the United States. Back within the British Empire, his pleas were less well received, financially, and, after a futile effort to raise funds to rescue Ethiopia from the Italians, he sank into obscurity.
Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr., ONH (17 August 1887 – 10 June 1940), was a Jamaican political leader, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator who was a staunch proponent of the Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism movements, to which end he founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL). He founded the Black Star Line, which promoted the return of the African diaspora to their ancestral lands.
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 Pan-African philosophy to inspire a global mass movement and economic empowerment focusing on Africa known as Garveyism. Promoted by the UNIA as a movement of African Redemption, Garveyism would eventually inspire others, ranging from the Nation of Islam to theRastafari movement (some sects of which proclaim Garvey as a prophet).
Garveyism intended persons of African ancestry in the diaspora to "redeem" the nations of Africa and for the European colonial powers to leave the continent. His essential ideas about Africa were 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…"
Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr. was born as the youngest of eleven children in St. Ann's Bay, Jamaica, to Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Sr., a mason, and Sarah Jane Richards, a domestic worker. Only his sister Indiana along with Marcus survived to adulthood. His family was financially stable given the circumstances of this time period.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. While attending these schools, Garvey first began to experience racism. In 1907, he took part in an unsuccessful printer's strike and the experience kindled in him a passion for political activism. In 1910 Garvey left Jamaica and began traveling throughout the Central American region. His first stop was Costa Rica, where he had a maternal uncle. 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. Over time, Marcus Garvey became influenced by many civil rights activist 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.
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, who was a considerable influence on the young man. Garvey sometimes spoke at Hyde Park'sSpeakers' Corner.
Organization of UNIA
In 1914, Garvey returned to Jamaica, where he organized the 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:
The UNIA held an international convention in 1921 at New York'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 65,000 to 75,000 members paying dues to his support and funding. The national level of support in Jamaica helped Garvey to become one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century on the island.
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. Garvey visited Tuskegee, and afterward, visited with a number of black leaders.
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. They began advancing ideas to promote social, political, and economic freedomfor 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". 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.
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. 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. 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. During the first year, the Black Star Line's stock sales brought in $600,000. This caused it to be successful during that year. It had numerous problems during the next two years: mechanical breakdowns on its ships, what it said were incompetent workers, and poor record keeping. The officers were eventually accused of mail fraud.
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 Aim, One God, One Destiny," to black veterans of the first World War.
Garvey also established the 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.
Complete 1921 speech
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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 for 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."
Marriage and family
At the age of 32 in 1919, Garvey married his first wife, Amy Ashwood Garvey. Amy Ashwood Garvey was also a founder of The UNIA-ACL. She had saved Garvey in the Tyler assassination by quickly getting medical help. After four months of marriage, Garvey separated from her.
In 1922, he married again, to Amy Jacques Garvey, who was working as his secretary general. They had two sons together: Marcus Mosiah Garvey, III (born 17 September 1930) and Julius Winston (born 1933). Amy Jacques Garvey played an important role in his career, and would become a lead worker in Garvey's movement.
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. He had the idea that Communists were only 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).
Conflicts with Du Bois and others
On 4 October 1916, the Daily Gleaner newspaper 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, in which 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 feared that Garvey's activities would undermine his own efforts toward black rights.
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. 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 in early 1922, he went to Atlanta, Georgia, for a conference with KKK imperial giant Edward Young Clarke. According to Garvey, "I regard the Klan, theAnglo-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." Leo H. Healypublicly accused Garvey of being a member of the Ku Klux Klan in his testimony during the mail fraud trial.
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.
Charge of mail fraud
In a memorandum dated 11 October 1919, J. Edgar Hoover, 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 fraudwas 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.
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 itsbow. 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.
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. 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.
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. But 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.
When the trial ended on 23 June 1923, Garvey had been sentenced to five years in prison. 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 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 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. In the Senate, Bilbo was a supporter of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal. Bilbo, an outspoken supporter of segregation and white supremacy and, 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.
See also: List of premature obituaries
Garvey died in London on 10 June 1940, at the age of 52, having suffered two strokes, putatively after reading a mistaken, and negative, obituary of himself in the Chicago Defender in January earlier that same year, which stated, in part, that Garvey died "broke, alone and unpopular". Due to 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 in London near Kensal Green Cemetery. Twenty years later, his body was removed from the shelves of the lower crypt and taken to Jamaica, where the government proclaimed him Jamaica's first national hero and re-interred him at a shrine in the National Heroes Park.
In London, there are no markings at the cemetery where his body was held for many of those of the African and Caribbean diaspora to pay tribute to this Jamaican national hero. However, a blue plaque was placed outside the house where Garvey once resided at 53 Talgarth Road, Kensington, and a second blue plaque was placed outside 2 Beaumont Crescent, London, the offices of the UNIA where Marcus Garvey and UNIA members conducted their important work. There is also a small park named after him between North End Road and Hammersmith Road near Olympia.
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 Worldnewspaper, for which Louise covered UNIA activities.
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 soccer team the Black Stars as well. The black star at the center 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."
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.
The Obama Administration declined to pardon Garvey in 2011, writing that its policy is not to consider requests for posthumous pardons.
Rastafari and Garvey
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!"
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 was given major prominence as a national hero during Jamaica's move towards independence. As such, he has numerous tributes there. The first of which is the Garvey statue and shrine in Kingston's National Heroes Park. 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. His likeness is on the 20-dollar coin and 25-cent coin. Garvey's recognition is probably most significant in Kingston, Jamaica.
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.
Garvey's influence is acknowledged through a number of sites in England, most of which are in London:
- The Marcus Garvey Library is inside the Tottenham Green Leisure Centre building in North London.
- There is a street named Marcus Garvey Way in Brixton, London.
- A blue plaque marks 53 Talgarth Road, Hammersmith, London, as his residence.
- 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 behind Hammersmith Road, named after him called Marcus Garvey Park
The United States is the country where Garvey not only rose to prominence, but also cultivated many of his ideas.
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 in the Jane-Finch area of Toronto.