What You Need To Know About Marcus Garvey’s Trial


Marcus Garvey had been condemned to five years in prison by the time his trial concluded on June 23, 1923. Garvey blamed his imprisonment on Jewish jurors and a Jewish federal judge, Julian Mack. He felt they were biased because of their political objections to his meeting with the Ku Klux Klan’s acting imperial wizard the year before.

“When they wanted to get me, they had a Jewish Judge try me, and a Jewish prosecutor,” Garvey told a journalist in 1928. I would have been free, but two Jews on the jury argued against me for 10 hours and were successful in convicting me, so the Jewish judge sentenced me to death.”

Marcus Garvey was convicted on federal mail fraud charges related to the selling of shares in the Universal Negro Improvement Association’s Black Star Line; nevertheless, he confirmed that the allegations were politically motivated. Marcus Mosiah Garvey was a Black Nationalism activist in both Jamaica and the United States.

He was a leader of the Pan-Africanism mass movement, and he created the Universal Negro Improvement Association and the African Communities League (UNIA-ACL). Garvey also established the Black Star Line, a shipping and passenger line that advocated for the return of the African diaspora to their ancestral homeland. Despite the fact that many American black leaders rejected his methods and his advocacy for racial segregation, Garvey maintained a sizable following.

When the Black Star Line declared bankruptcy, Garvey was imprisoned for mail fraud in the sale of the company’s stock. This is when his movement abruptly ceased. Prior to the twentieth century, leaders such as Prince Hall, Martin Delany, Edward Wilmot Blyden, and Henry Highland Garnet called for the African diaspora’s involvement in African politics. Garvey was one of the first to advance a Pan-African philosophy in order to inspire a global mass movement and economic empowerment centered on Africa. Garveyism was the name given to his movement.

Garveyism, promoted by the UNIA as an African Redemption movement, would later inspire others, ranging from the Nation of Islam to the Rastafari Movement, which declared Marcus Garvey a prophet. Garveyism centered on people of African heritage in the diaspora redeeming African states and forcing European colonial powers to leave the continent.

His essential ideas about Africa were stated in an editorial in Negro World entitled “African Fundamentalism“, where he wrote: “Our union must know no clime, boundary, or nationality… to let us hold together under all climes and in every country.”

Around November 1919, the BOI launched an investigation into Garvey and the UNIA’s operations. Toward the conclusion, the BOI hired its first five African-American agents: James Edward Amos, Arthur Lowell Brent, Thomas Leon Jefferson, James Wormley Jones, and Earl Titus.

Although initial efforts by the BOI were to find grounds upon which to deport Garvey as “an undesirable alien,” a charge of mail fraud was brought against him in connection with stock sales of the Black Star Line after the U.S. Post Office and the Attorney General joined the investigation.

Garvey later died in London on 10th June, 1940, at the age of 52 years, having suffered from two instances of stroke.

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