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'Pardon Marcus Garvey': University of West Indies asks Obama

CALL TO ACTION: Sir Hillary wants Obama to act whilst he is still in office.

VICE CHANCELLOR of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, has joined the call for outgoing United States President Barack Obama to grant a posthumous pardon to Jamaica’s first national hero, Marcus Mosiah Garvey for his 1923 mail fraud conviction in the US.

Sir Hilary says Marcus Garvey was the victim of trumped-up charges orchestrated by the late J. Edgar Hoover, the infamous anti-black director of the US’s Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Noting that Obama was himself the victim of racist campaigns, he says the US president should exonerate Garvey before he leaves office as it is the right and proper thing to do.

Sir Hillary joins many other many vocal advocates of justice who are working to protect and change how Garvey's legacy is recorded. Other protestors to the 1923 charges include the activist's son Dr. Julius Garvey, Washington Post newspaper reporter Wesley Lowery and former Jamaican Prime Minister Edward Seaga who had conversations around a pardon in 1987 with then US President Ronald Reagan.

Hero Garvey began the Black Star Line which served as a black-owned transport system for those who heeded the call to be proud of their African origins and return to the continent, after being enslaved and forced to call various Caribbean islands 'home'. The British Broadcasting Corporation's (BBC) online history fact file says;

"Garvey was a Jamaican-born black nationalist who created a 'Back to Africa' movement in the United States. He became an inspirational figure for later civil rights activists."

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