By Aaron Humes: Jamaican national hero and founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) Marcus Garvey has left an indelible impression on the cause of black and Caribbean history.
But his own reputation has been tarnished since a June 1923 conviction for mail fraud and a five-year jail sentence, later commuted by U.S. President Calvin Coolidge.
For 30 years, there have been efforts to obtain a presidential pardon for Garvey and Belize, where a branch of the UNIA was established following the First World War and Ex-Servicemen’s Riot, has joined the call.
On Twitter, Minister of Culture Francis Fonseca announced that he “has joined his regional counterparts in the Caribbean in signing a petition which calls for the exoneration of Marcus Garvey. You too can join in on this movement by visiting http://justice4garvey.org #YourMoECST #MarcusGarvey #BHM.”
Garvey’s sons Julius and Marcus Jr have led the charge, swaying support from Jamaica to the U.S. but so far unable to convince the White House, a petition to President Barack Obama a few years ago gaining no support.
Nonetheless, they remain convinced Garvey was railroaded by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and its all-powerful director J. Edgar Hoover because of his growing influence and ability to organize the black population in the U.S.
The Justice4Garvey movement is seeking 100,000 signatures for its latest White House petition.