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Happy birthday Marcus Garvey!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Marcus Garvey (image credit: Getty)

MARCUS MOSIAH Garvey was born on August 17, 1887 in the Jamaican parish of St. Ann's to Marcus Garvey Sr. and mother Sarah Jane Richards, who had 11 children in total.

Garvey left a legacy to the global African diaspora that was strong enough to remain relevant and heavily-referenced today; widely-known as 'Garveyism'. The respected leader inspired those of Caribbean descent, African-Americans and black Brits alike to consider how they might make ideological, political and economic moves towards Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism in their everyday lives.

The essence of these two schools of thought was the preservation of a distinct black identity with its foundation in undisrupted African tradition and values, as opposed to an assimilation with white western culture.

The Universal Negro Improvement Association, African Communities League and the Black Star Line were three significant organisations that Garvey set-up, aimed at black repatriation to Africa and supporting and growing black businesses.

Whilst climbing the heights of notoriety, Garvey moved to America where he worked as a newspaper editor and later attended Birkbeck College, University of London and worked for the African Times and Orient Review.

THE LATE GREAT: Marcus Garvey in 1922

COMMEMORATE: A blue plaque dedicated to Marcus Garvey was erected at his last residence before his death, 53 Talgarth Road, Barons Court, London W14 9DD, London

Garvey's ability to inspire people to action did not go unnoticed by the US government, who attempted to thwart his enterprises with the help of the FBI's first black undercover agent who infiltrated his inner circle in order to pass information back to the government. Eventually, Garvey was imprisoned for five years for 'mail fraud' before being released in 1927 and swiftly deported to his birthplace, Jamaica.

Garvey died in London in 1940 from a stroke. In 1964, once war-time travel restrictions were no more, his remains were transported to Jamaica, where the government proclaimed him the island's first national hero.

A recent campaign urging former US president Barack Obama to pardon Garvey and exonerate him of the 'mail fraud' charges before he left office was unsuccessful.


1. "A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots."

2. "If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life."

3. "Liberate the minds of men and ultimately you will liberate the bodies of men."

4. "Africa for the home and abroad!"

5. "Men who are in earnest are not afraid of consequences."

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