He immigrated to Harlem in 1916 at the age of 28 and his oratory skills fired the imagination of millions of African Americans. His 'Back to Africa' campaign earned him the nickname of the "Black Moses". His radical views on racial purity and separation from white society antagonized the government and alienated Harlem intellectuals. His Black Star Line ended in financial disaster and he was arrested on charges of fraud. He spent two years in jail, his sentence was eventually commuted by President Coolidge and he was deported to Jamaica in 1927 and then moved to London, England where he died in 1940.
Marcus Garvey Biography Facts for kids: Fast Fact Sheet
Who was Marcus Garvey? Marcus Garvey was a famous political leader, journalist and Black Nationalist during the Harlem Renaissance era.
Why was Marcus Garvey important? Marcus Garvey was important because as a strong advocate of Black Nationalism he founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). He became an inspiration to later civil rights activists. Marcus Garvey also founded the Black Star Line, which promoted the return of the African Americans to their original homelands - the 'Back to Africa' movement. It earned him the nickname of the "Black Moses."
What was Marcus Garvey's philosophy? The philosophy of Marcus Garvey was that a race without pride, authority and power, was a race without respect. His goals were the unification, self-reliance and empowerment of African Americans.
Where and when was Marcus Garvey born? The date of Marcus Garvey birthday was 17 August 1887. He was born in St Ann's Bay, Jamaica
Where and when did Marcus Garvey die? Marcus Garvey died on 10 June 1940 in London.
Facts about Marcus Garvey Facts and Biography
Marcus Mosiah Garvey was born in St Ann's Bay, Jamaica on 17 August 1887
His parents Malcus Mosiah Garvey Snr and Sarah Jane Richards. He was the youngest of 11 children of which only 2 survived to become adults.
He left school at the age of 14 to become a printer's apprentice. He read a lot, was interested in politics and socialism and led a strike for higher wages at the printers.
He traveled to South America and also visited London before returning to Jamaica in 1914.
In 1914, inspired by Booker T. Washington's call for self-reliance he founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA).
In 1916, Marcus Garvey moved to Harlem, New York in 1916 where the UNIA flourished. The first UNIA division was formed in Harlem, New York in May 1917
The goal of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) was to promote black pride and unity. The UNIA focused on black economic self-reliance, black people’s rights to political self-determination, and the founding of a black nation on the continent of Africa.
He became a famous leader and intellectual during the period of the Harlem Renaissance which ushered in a flowering of African American culture.
His excellent skills in public speaking gained him many supporters in Harlem. He then traveled across the United States, gaining thousands of supporters, urging African Americans to be proud of their race and return to Africa.
The new gospel of racial pride was called "Garveyism" that was set to inspire a global mass movement and black economic empowerment.
He established the Black Star Line in 1919, a massive endeavor of the UNIA which involved the purchase of three ships. The purpose of the Black Star Steamship Line was to ultimately provide a means for African Americans to return to Africa. In the short term the Black Star Line would be able transport passengers and enable black people to conduct trade around the Atlantic waters of the United States, the Caribbean, Central America, and Africa.
The Black Star Line, financed and run by African Americans, became a powerful recruiting tool for the UNIA. By 1920 the UNIA had hundreds of branches worldwide, hosted international conventions and published the weekly 'Negro World'.
Marcus Garvey and the UNIA tried to persuade the government of Liberia in west Africa to grant land on which black people from America could settle, but Liberia refused and the attempt failed.
In 1919 he married his first wife, Amy Ashwood Garvey (1897-1969) but the marriage failed and they divorced in 1922.
Black Nationalism: The ideas of Marcus Garvey, that glorified black culture, captured the imagination and inspired millions of African Americans with his call for "Negro Nationalism", also called Black Nationalism. Black Nationalism was a radical form of patriotism associated with the quest to achieve separate statehood for African Americans.
Black Nationalism: The Black Nationalism ideals of Marcus Garvey advocated political power, the self-reliance of African Americans, racial purity and separation from white society.
He married his second wife Amy Jacques Garvey (1895-1973) in Harlem, New York. Amy and Marcus had 2 sons Marcus Garvey Jnr and Julius Winston Garvey.
In August 1920, Marcus Garvey and the UNIA held its first international convention at the New York Liberty Hall in Harlem. The convention adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World. After the convention an estimated 50,000 people marched through the streets of Harlem as a gesture of support.
The activities of the UNIA and Marcus Garvey alarmed white Americans and the government. Memories of the 1919 race riots were fresh in the minds of Americans. In 1919 over 20 race riots broke out in the cities of the United States, the most serious being the 1919 Chicago Race Riot.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) viewed the UNIA as a dangerous catalyst for black uprisings in the cities of America. On May 31, 1921 Race riots broke out in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
On January 12, 1922 Marcus Garvey was arrested for for mail fraud in connection with the sale of stock in the failed Black Star Line. He was accused of using the United States mail to fraudulently collect money for investment in a ship that was never acquired. The prosecution was probably politically motivated. He was held on a $2,500 bond pending presentation of his case to a federal grand jury.
The Black Star Line was plagued by mismanagement and became a financial disaster. Garvey's supporters had invested heavily in the company, in many cases their life's savings. In April 1922 The Black Star Line was dissolved due to financial failure. Estimates of the company's losses were $1.25 million.
The extreme radicals of the UNIA alarmed middle class African Americans and many Harlem intellectuals. Marcus Garvey further alienated key figures in the Harlem Renaissance by criticizing their more conservative views. On June 25, 1922 Garvey met with Edward Young Clarke, the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, that resulted in a vehement "Garvey Must Go" campaign headed by black leaders.
In January 1923 he answered his critics in The Negro World, referring to them as "traitors," "turncoats," and "sinners" who will stop at nothing to defile his name and hinder the work of the UNIA.
Garvey's trial for mail fraud began on May 18, 1923. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison on June 21, 1923 and he was imprisoned in Tombs Prison, New York.
He was allowed bail on September 10, 1923 after a 3-month imprisonment. United States Immigration authorities begin preparing a deportation case against Marcus Garvey.
On February 8, 1925 Garvey was arrested in New York and imprisoned in Atlanta Federal Penitentiary for 2 years.
His sentence was commuted by President Coolidge on November 18, 1927. Garvey's immigrant status was used to have him deported to Jamaica.
Marcus Garvey was deported to Jamaica on December 2, 1927. He would never return to the United States.
In 1928, Garvey founded the People's Political Party (PPP) which was Jamaica's first modern political party
In 1935, he moved permanently from Jamaica to London.
Marcus Garvey died of a heart attack on 10 June 1940 in London at age 53 without ever having set foot in Africa. His "Back to Africa" movement died with him.
On November 10, 1964 the body of Marcus Garvey was returned to Jamaica. The following day he was declared the country's first national hero.
He is buried in the Marcus Garvey Memorial, National Heroes' Park, Kingston, Jamaica.
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