For the past eight years, I have been campaigning for the exoneration of Marcus Garvey. Although some of my petitions have had some success, others have not yielded the desired results.
The reasons are varied. Some of my critics have said that Garvey’s message is outdated while others have said that Garvey’s exoneration is a waste of political capital. In the words of Mutty Perkins, the irascible Jamaican journalist, both are examples of “arrant nonsense.”
Africans at home and abroad face the same existential threat in Garvey’s time as they do now: the erasure of black lives. In 1914, Garvey rightly diagnosed the threat and offered solutions to our lack of organization and collective ignorance about our history. Garvey’s intellect and intuition led him to realization that movements would only be successful if they could draw on the shared memories of their people while also making public their grievances against regimes that try to silence their legitimate complaints. Against the despair that had numbed his people into compliance, the UNIA created the Pan-African flag, published a newspaper, founded schools, operated several businesses, including the Black Star Line, and proclaimed the “Declaration of the Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World”: The Principles of the Universal Negro Improvement Association.
This is why I am suspending my current petitions and fully supporting the UNIA sponsored petition because the UNIA has kept alive Garvey’s educational and organizational program while also pursuing legal remedies to alleviate the persecution of Africans at home and abroad.
It is also my hope that members of the Rastafari community, Nation of Islam, #BlackLivesMatter, and other organizations will support this effort. For although there are serious ideological divisions among these organizations, they share a common goal: the redemption of Africans at home and abroad.
Please join me by signing this petition and sharing the petition with at least ten friends. Time is of the essence.
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