MIAMI – Buoyed by the recent developments in Jamaica surrounding the birthday of Marcus Garvey, the Institute for Caribbean Studies, Rootz Foundation, and the Marcus Garvey Celebrations Committee have extended the deadline for their online petition for the exoneration of Marcus Garvey, the first National Hero of Jamaica. Beginning with an educational campaign that will center around Garvey’s trial and incarceration, the groups intend to take full advantage of the youth vote in their various constituencies.
On January 12, 1922, Marcus Garvey, founder of the UNIA, was arrested by the Bureau of Investigation and charged with mail fraud. In 1925, Marcus Garvey began serving a five-year sentence in the US penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia. After several appeals, his sentence was eventually commuted by President Calvin Coolidge, and he was deported to Jamaica. It is now abundantly clear (and legal scholars agree) that Garvey did not commit any criminal acts, but as Professor Judith Stein has stated, “his politics were on trial.”
“Although Marcus Garvey does not need to be exonerated in our eyes” said Geoffrey Philp, spokesperson for the Rootz Foundation, Institute for Caribbean Studies, and the Marcus Garvey Celebrations Committee, “we are using this strategy as part of a larger goal of the public restoration/rehabilitation of the good name and character of our hero, Marcus Garvey.
“Garvey’s exoneration will not only be an historically redemptive act,” Philp continued, “it will accomplish three things: clear the name of a man who was unjustly convicted; honor the legacy hero in the struggle for human rights, and draw attention to the work of Marcus Garvey, especially his ideas about personal responsibility and success.
The online petition which has gathered over 1,500 signatures from the North America, Caribbean, South America, Africa and its diaspora.