BEGINNINGS Born in St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica He was an avid reader; he imagined giving speeches before adoring crowds. He was ambitious and was determined to get out of St. Ann’s Bay
Education Garvey only attended school until age 14 because of the rules under the colonial education system. He became a printer’s apprentice. He quickly earned the status of master printer and published his first newspaper: Garvey’s Watchman
Influences on Garvey In 1910, the 23 year old Garvey traveled through Central America. He believed that the black workers were the power behind the economy but because of isolationism from other blacks; they were powerless. Booker T. Washington’s book, Up From Slavery influenced Garvey’s motto: One God, One Aim, One Destiny”
Universal Negro Improvement Association The UNIA stressed race pride and looked for investors for a school like Tuskegee. In his first venture, Garvey created enemies because he antagonized established leaders. He was not a good money manager; contributions for the school were being used for living expenses. When questioned about his accounting, Garvey left Jamaica for NY in 1916 at age 29
Life in America Garvey was not unknown in the US A. Phillip Randolph invited him to speak. Garvey rehearsed the lecture over and over, but when it came time to deliver it, he fell short. He was very nervous and he got heckled and he literally fell off stage. He embarked upon a year long tour of the US
Rise to Fame Garvey’s tour across the US gave him first hand knowledge of the status of African-Americans. He opens the first American division of the UNIA in 1917. Garvey doesn’t believe that the white people can represent the best interests of black people.
Rise to Fame As in Jamaica, Garvey sets himself apart by calling established black leaders weak and self-serving. He toured the nation again, starting UNIA branches in big cities and small towns. Sunday meetings attracted thousands; they were part revival meeting part political rally. Membership requirements: 35 cents, a photo and a pledge to support Garvey’s nation building program.
UNIA The UNIA had something for everyone: men had the African Legion, youth had the Juvenile Division, women had the Black Cross Nurses. Summer of 1918 Garvey set out to create a separate economy of black owned businesses. UNIA headquarters were established in a half-finished Church named “Liberty Hall.” He established the Negro World newspaper
Business endeavors His newspaper carried essays poetry, articles on Black History and editorials. Garvey established the first investment fund. Money was put into commercial ventures. Garvey financed UNIA enterprises through the Negro Factories Corporation (money from small investors). UNIA companies began to flounder; funds were being shifted from one company to another; managers had little experience Garvey’s leadership style didn’t help: he was authoritarian and anti-democratic
By the end of 1919, Garvey claimed over three-quarters of a million followers and The Negro World was the most popular black newspaper in the US. His rising influence would make him a target of the federal government and black critics .
Federal Government vs. Garvey • J. Edgar Hoover and the Justice Dept became focused on Garvey • In a letter Hoover wrote “Garvey is a notorious negro agitator, affectionately referred to by his won race as the “negro Moses’.”
Fed. Gov’t vs. Garvey • After WWI, Hoover hired the first full time black FBI agent to go after Garvey. • This agent was known as a number: 800 • His job was to go to Harlem and infiltrate Garvey’s movement and build a case to get rid of Garvey. • As the campaign against him escalates; Garvey begins his most ambitious plan: a black shipping line called the Black Star Line
The Black Star Line would not only carry people but goods. • Garvey envisioned commercial trade among black communities all over the world. • In 1919, Garvey offered Black Star Line stock for sale. • Just months later, Garvey purchased his first ship. He raised 200,000 dollars and purchased 2 more ships.
First International Convention of the Negro Peoples of the World • August 1, 1920- Madison Square Garden • 1,000 of UNIA members from 25 nations convened in NYC. • He hoped to move a step closer to his dream of a black nation in Africa with himself as leader. • Although much of the convention was symbolism, there was a groundbreaking document that came out of it: Declaration of Rights of the Negro People of the World.
Declaration of Rights • Called on the nations of Europe and America to respect the rights of black people of the world. • The next day a huge UNIA parade was held in Harlem. • Garvey was the head of the largest black movement in history, but at the same time the UNIA was losing money and both the US government and black critics were on the attack
Federal gov’t stepped up surveillance of Garvey. • Garvey confided in Herbert Bowlin, who turned out to be an FBI agent. • In 1921, Black Star Line on verge of bankruptcy but Garvey went ahead advertising stock in another ship. • Garvey put out a brochure which pictured a ship that he did not own; making it false representation. • In January 1922, Garvey and three others were arrested for mail fraud. Mail fraud was the only means they could use to prosecute him.
The End of Garvey’s Run • Garvey’s trial began on May 18, 1923. • Garvey announced he was defending himself. • After a 4 week trial, Garvey was convicted and given max. sentence of 5 years in prison. • After two years of appeals, Garvey entered Atlanta federal prison. • Garvey was often sick and in the prison hospital.
The federal government did not want Garvey to become a martyr so in 1927 Garvey was pardoned by President Coolidge. • He was ordered immediately deported to Jamaica. • Back in Jamaica, he received a hero’s welcome. • He later moves to London where he dies on June 10, 1940.
Bibliography • PBS.org. American Experience • http://infodome.sdsu.edu/research/guides/govfilm/aframst.shtml • http://www.international.ucla.edu/africa/mgpp • http://www.marcusgarvey.com/gallery/displayimage.php?album=1&pos=10