MIAMI, CMC - A Miami-based group spearheading an initiative to exonerate Jamaican Marcus Garvey has expanded its online petition to the US House of Representatives.
The Coalition for the Exoneration of Marcus Garvey, Jamaica’s first National Hero, said it is urging the US Congress to clear his name once and for all.
Geoffrey Philp, a spokesman for the group, said the drive for the exoneration of Garvey has been going on now for at least 80 years and that on January 10, 2007, Harlem Congressman Charles Rangel introduced a bill to the 110th Congress.
The bill had urged the US President to “grant a pardon to Marcus Mosiah Garvey to clear his name and affirm his innocence of crimes for which he was unjustly prosecuted and convicted”.
Philp said the current “113th Congress and the Black Congressional Caucus in particular will have an opportunity to correct this historic injustice” and that the group had begun the “drive” with a series of lectures, entitled “Rethinking Garveyism in the Twenty-First Century”.
On January 12, 1922, Garvey, founder of the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and charged with mail fraud. In 1925, Garvey began serving a five-year sentence in a US penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia.
After several appeals, his sentence was eventually commuted by President Calvin Coolidge, and he was deported back to his homeland, Jamaica.
Observers and political and legal analysts say that while Garvey did not commit any criminal acts, “his politics were on trial.”
As a Jamaican political leader, writer, entrepreneur, orator and thinker whose philosophy supported the “Back to Africa” movement of the 1920s, Garvey advocated that members of the African Diaspora return to their ancestral lands. He is remembered for his influence on Black Nationalism and pan-Africanism.
Garvey, who was born on August 17, 1887, died on June 10, 1940.