Magazine article The Crisis

A Pardon for Marcus Garvey

Magazine article The Crisis

A Pardon for Marcus Garvey

Article excerpt

An off-and-on, 30-year bid to clear back-to-Africa leader Marcus Garvey II's name - he was convicted in 1924 on what several leading historians and legal scholars agree were phony charges - has been resurrected by those who hope President Obama will posthumously pardon Garvey before vacating the White House in 2017.

"My father was criminalized by [the FBI] and the so-called justice department at that time. The trial had no evidence. It was a political set-up to obstruct a civil rights movement for African Americans," said Dr. Julius Garvey, 83, a semiretired New York surgeon and son of the Universal Negro Improvement Association's and Black Star Line Steamship Corp's founder.

Dr. Garvey and Harvard University Law School professor Charles Ogletree are among the key voices in a campaign to win a posthumous pardon for Garvey II, the pan-Africanist who died in 1940.

"It was one of the worst cases of the law being used as a weapon against Black people, particularly against one of our leaders," said attorney Justin Hansford, a St Louis University Law School professor and activist, who, with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, represents the Garvey family.

Based on what scholars argue was a racially-motivated FBI investigation of Garvey's involvements, Garvey was convicted of mail fraud in 1923 and sentenced to five years in federal prison. Specifically, the charges were connected to $5 investments in the Black Star Line, which planned to ship goods and people to Africa. …

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