Black Nationalist Marcus Garvey

Black Nationalist Marcus Garvey

Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr was born on August 17, 1887 in St Ann’s Bay, Jamaica. Though poor, his father had a large library from which Garvey first developed a love of reading.

In his 20s, Garvey traveled throughout the Central American region, first in Costa Rica where he worked for a newspaper. Later he did the same in Panama.

He returned to Jamaica in 1912, but soon left to attend Birkbeck College in the United Kingdom (keep in mind that Jamaica was at the time part of the British Empire) where he continued to be involved in publications. He also began to speak publicly about Black Nationalism.

As the diJamaica site states: Garvey thought that the only way blacks could take their rightful place in history was in a secure African homeland, where they could develop their own culture and civilization. He was convinced that blacks would always be dominated by whites if they remained as minority groups scattered throughout white-dominated countries.

Black Nationalist Marcus Garvey
Back to Jamaica thence to the USA

July 20, 1914: Garvey returned to Jamaica and there he and Amy Ashwood founded the  Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League in Jamaica. The U.N.I.A. was originally conceived as a benevolent or fraternal reform association dedicated to racial uplift and the establishment of educational and industrial opportunities for blacks.

In a 1923 Current History article, Garvey explained, Where did the name of the organization come from? It was while speaking to a West Indian Negro who was a passenger with me from Southampton, who was returning home to the West Indies from Basutoland with his Basuto wife, I further learned of the horrors of native life in Africa. He related to me in conversation such horrible and pitiable tales that my heart bled within me. Retiring from the conversation to my cabin, all day and the following night I pondered over the subject matter of that conversation, and at midnight, lying flat on my back, the vision and thought came to me that I should name the organization the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities (Imperial) League. Such a name I thought would embrace the purpose of all black humanity. Thus to the world a name was born, a movement created, and a man became known.

March 23, 1916: Garvey arrived in America penniless, moved in with a Jamaican family in Harlem, New York City, and found work as a printer. He gained a following for his movement by speaking nightly as a soapbox orator on a Harlem street corner.

April 25, 1916: Garvey visited W.E.B. Du Bois, the editor of The Crisis, the magazine of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

In May – June 1916: Garvey began a year-long, 38-state speaking tour that takes him across America.

In May 1917: Garvey returned to New York after completing his U.S. speaking tour. Thirteen members joined to form the New York branch of the Universal Negro Improvement Association.

July 8, 1917: delivered an address, “The Conspiracy of the East St. Louis Riots,” at Lafayette Hall in Harlem, in which he stated that the riot was “one of the bloodiest outrages against mankind.” (St Louis race revolt, see July 2, 1917)

Black Nationalist Marcus Garvey
US Government surveillance 

June 3, 1918: the Federal Bureau of Investigation learned via a written report that Garvey spoke nightly at outdoor meetings on a Harlem street corner.

Black Nationalist Marcus Garvey

August  17, 1918: the first issue of The Negro World, the official publication of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, published.

February – August 1919: copies of The Negro World confiscated by authorities in various countries. It was banned by the governor of Belize, called seditious by the governor of Trinidad, and seized by the government of British Guiana. The acting governor of Jamaica ordered the postmaster to open and detain copies of the newspaper.

Black Nationalist Marcus Garvey
Black Star Line

Black Nationalist Marcus Garvey

April 27, 1919: Garvey announced his plan to start the Black Star Line. The Black Star Line was to be the U.N.I.A.’s vehicle for promoting worldwide commerce among black communities. In Garvey’s vision, Black Star Line ships would transport manufactured goods, raw materials, and produce among black businesses in North America, the Caribbean, and Africa, and become the linchpin in a global black economy.

June 23, 1919: Garvey assists with the incorporation of the Black Star Line, the Universal Negro Improvement Association’s vehicle for promoting worldwide commerce among black communities. In Garvey’s vision, Black Star Line ships would transport manufactured goods, raw materials, and produce among black businesses in North America, the Caribbean, and Africa, and become the linchpin in a global black economy.

August 25, 1919: Garvey held a mass meeting at Carnegie Hall in New York to promote the sale of Black Star Line stock.

October 11, 1919: with the goal of deporting Garvey firmly in mind, J Edgar Hoover wrote a memo suggesting that investigators pursue the idea of prosecuting Garvey for fraud, in connection with his Black Star Line activities. October 14, 1919: a George Tyler burst into Garvey’s Harlem office by kicking in the downstairs door and demanding an audience. When Garvey went to investigate, Tyler opened fire. Garvey was struck once in the scalp and twice in the leg but was shielded from further injury by Amy Ashwood.

After a scuffle, Tyler ran off but was arrested.  The next day, Tyler reportedly tried to escape by jumping through a window but fell 30 feet to his death. Some historians consider his death a homicide.

Despite being bandaged and still recovering from the wounds, Garvey made it to a speaking engagement in Philadelphia the next day, solidifying his growing support.

Black Nationalist Marcus Garvey
Negro Factories Co and more

January 23, 1920: Garvey incorporated The Negro Factories Corporation, the finance arm of the Universal Negro Improvement Association. A cornerstone of Garvey’s vision for black economic independence, he created the NFC with the goal of supporting businesses that would employ African Americans and produce goods to be sold to black consumers. Garvey envisioned a string of black-owned factories, retailers, services and other businesses, and hoped that the corporation would eventually be strong enough to power and sustain an all-black economy with worldwide significance.

Black Nationalist Marcus Garvey August 1 > 31, 1920: the Universal Negro Improvement Association held its first International Convention of the Negro Peoples of the World at Madison Square Garden and scheduled a massive parade in Harlem. During this convention, the UNIA adopted and signed a Declaration of Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World, adopts a “nation” flag with the colors of the Red, Black, and Green, and elects officials for its provisional government. The convention elected Garvey the first Provisional President of Africa.

Black Nationalist Marcus Garvey

Garvey arrested Black Nationalist Marcus Garvey

January 12, 1922: Garvey arrested for fraudulent use of mails; he is held on a $2,500 bond pending presentation of his case to a federal grand jury.

Black Nationalist Marcus Garvey

February 7, 1923: Edward Young Clarke. Imperial Giant of the Ku Klux Klan, came New York City from Atlanta, GA and appeared before the Federal Grand Jury as a witness against Garvey. who would to be tried on Feb. 20 on a charge of defrauding investors in the Black Star Line.

June 17, 1923: two days before his trial ended with a guilty verdict, Garvey spoke to a crowd at Liberty Hall in New York City. Here is the beginning of that speech:

Among the many names by which I have been called, I was dubbed by another name a couple days ago.  The district Attorney, with whom I have been contesting the case for my liberty and for the existence of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, in his fervid appeal, in his passionate appeal, to the gentlemen of the jury last Friday cried out: “Gentlemen, will you let the tiger loose?

The tiger is already loose, and he has been at large for so long that it is no longer one tiger, but there are many tigers.  The spirit of the Universal Negro Improvement Association has, fortunately for us, made a circuit of the world, to the extent that harm of injury done to any one, will in no way affect the great membership of this association or retard its great program.  The world is ignorant of the purpose of this association.  The world is ignorant of the scope of this great movement, when it things that by laying low any one individual it can permanently silence this great spiritual wave, that has taken hold of the souls and the hearts and minds of 4000,000,000 Negroes throughout the world.  We have only started; we are just on our way; we have just made the first lap in the great race for existence, and for a place in the political and economic sun of men.

Black Nationalist Marcus Garvey

June 21, 1923: Garvey sentenced to 5 years in prison for mail fraud. He remained free on bail but on…

February 8, 1925

June 8, 1927: Malcolm X’s father, Earl Little, a follower of Marcus Garvey, appealed to President Coolidge for Garvey’s release.

Black Nationalist Marcus Garvey
Commutation and deportation

November 18, 1927: President Coolidge commuted Garvey’s sentence. Garvey was released from the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary and taken to New Orleans for deportation. (NYT article)

Black Nationalist Marcus Garvey

Jamaica, London and Garvey’s last days

Black Nationalist Marcus Garvey

In 1935, Garvey moved to London where on June 10, 1940, he died.  (NYT story)

Black Nationalist Marcus Garvey

November 10, 1964: Garvey’s body was returned to Jamaica. The following day he was declared the country’s first national hero. He is buried in the Marcus Garvey Memorial, National Heroes’ Park, Kingston, Jamaica.

The Jamaican government has repeatedly tried, but failed, to have the US government exonerate Garvey’s name.

Black Nationalist Marcus Garvey

Black Nationalist Marcus Garvey

August 17 Peace Love Art Activism

August 17 Peace Love Art Activism

August 17 Peace Love Art Activism

Immigration History

August 17, 1587: Virginia Dare became the first child of English parents to be born on American soil, on what is now Roanoke Island, N.C. [North Carlolina ‘pedia article] (see March 26, 1790)


Emma Goldman

August 17, 1894: Goldman released from prison. Her account of the experience appears in the New York World the next day. (see Goldman for expanded story)

Voting Rights

August 17, 1917: after three days of brutal attacks on pickets by mobs and police, six pickets arrested (Edna Dixon, Lavinia Dock, Lucy Ewing, Catherine Flanagan, Natalie Gray, Madeleine Watson) and sentenced to 60 days at Occoquan Workhouse, this time without pardon from President Wilson. (see Aug 28)

August 17 Peace Love Art Activism

US Labor History

August 17, 1918: the jury’s deliberations in the IWW trial in Chicago took less than 2 hours. It returned a verdict of guilty for all. The defendants were stunned. Wobbly leader and defendant Bill Haywood stated, “I believe Judge Landis’s instructions pointed clearly to an acquittal,”  At sentencing, the defendants were given heavy fines and prison terms ranging up to 20 years. Haywood jumped bail, finding refuge in the Soviet Union. (Haywood, see May 18, 1928)

In 1919, following World War I, there was a wave of strikes. More than 40,000 coal workers and 120,000 textile workers walked off the job. In Boston, a police strike caused chaos in the city. The labor unrest was associated with the Red scare and agitators were rounded up and the public turned suspicious of labor unions.

From 1919 – 1921 there was the First Red Scare: In 1971, Murray Levin in his bookPolitical Hysteria in America: The Democratic Capacity for Repression wrote that the “Red Scare” was “a nation-wide anti-radical hysteria provoked by a mounting fear and anxiety that a Bolshevik revolution in America was imminent—a revolution that would change Church, home, marriage, civility, and the American way of Life.”  [Washington dot edu article] (see Jan 21)

August 17 Peace Love Art Activism



August 17 Peace Love Art Activism

August 17, 1945:  Indonesia independent from the Netherlands. [Vilonda article] (see Sept 2)


August 17 Peace Love Art Activism

August 17, 1960: Gabon independent from France. [SAHO article] (see many for full list of 1960 Independence days)

August 17 Peace Love Art Activism

August 17 Music et al

August 17 Peace Love Art Activism

August 17, 1960: The Beatles arrived very early in the morning om Hamburg and the Indra Club was closed. A manager from a neighboring club found someone to open it up, and the group slept on the red leather seats in the alcoves.

The group played at the club on the same night. Management  said that they could sleep in the Bambi Kino’s storeroom. The Bambi Kino was small cinema and the storage room was cold, noisy, and directly behind the movie screen.

Paul McCartney later said, “We lived backstage in the Bambi Kino, next to the toilets, and you could always smell them. The room had been an old storeroom, and there were just concrete walls and nothing else. No heat, no wallpaper, not a lick of paint; and two sets of bunk beds, with not very much covers—Union Jack flags—we were frozen.”[30] Lennon remembered: “We were put in this pigsty. We were living in a toilet, like right next to the ladies’ toilet. We’d go to bed late and be woken up next day by the sound of the cinema show and old German fraus [women] pissing next door.” After having been awoken in this fashion, the group were then obliged to use cold water from the urinals for washing and shaving. They were paid £2.50 each a day, seven days a week, playing from 8:30-9:30, 10 until 11, 11:30-12:30, and finishing the evening playing from one until two o’clock in the morning.

German customers found the group’s name comical, as “Beatles” sounded like “Peedles”, which meant a small boy’s penis.[see Aug 18)

Bob Dylan

August 17, 1963: Peter, Paul, and Mary’s cover of “Blowin’ In the Wind” reached number two on the Billboard pop chart, with sales exceeding one million copies. (see Aug 28)

People Got to Be Free

August 17 – September 20, 1968: “People Got to Be Free” by the Young Rascals #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

see Woodstock for much more

August 17:  Abbie Hoffman interrupted The Who’s set to protest John Sinclair’s imprisonment. (next BH, see Dec 11, 1971)

August 17 Peace Love Art Activism

The Cold War

see Francis Gary Powers for more

August 17, 1960: the trial of U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers began in Moscow. (see Powers for expanded story)

Cuban Missile Crisis

August 17, 1962: US Central Intelligence Agency Director John McCone stated at a high-level meeting that circumstantial evidence suggested that the Soviet Union was constructing offensive missile installations in Cuba. Dean Rusk and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara disagree with McCone, arguing that the build-up is purely defensive. (Cold War, see Aug 25; see Cuban Missile Crisis for more)

August 17 Peace Love Art Activism


August 17, 1965: after a deserter from the 1st Vietcong regiment revealed that an attack was imminent against the U.S. Marine base at Chu Lai, the American army launched Operation Starlite. In this, the first major battle of the Vietnam War, the United States scored a resounding victory. Ground forces, artillery from Chu Lai, ships, and air support combined to kill nearly 700 Vietcong soldiers. U.S. forces sustain 45 dead and more than 200 wounded. (see Aug 30)

August 17 Peace Love Art Activism

US Labor History

Juan de la Cruz

August 17, 1973: Juan de la Cruz, 60, and his wife were walking a picket line along the highway between Arvin and Weedpatch, California. As a caravan of non-union workers drove out of the fields, five shots were fired from one of the pick-up trucks. Juan de la Cruz saved his wife, shoving her to the ground, but was himself killed by a twenty-two caliber semiautomatic rifle slug just below his heart.

Bayani Advencula, a 20 year old Filipino worker, was identified as the pick-up truck passenger who fired the rifle into the picket line. Advencula was charged with murder and then freed on $1,500 bail. Advencula was later acquitted of all charges by a Kern County jury. The county paid for the cost of his trial. [Chavez site PDF]  (see January 15, 1974)


August 17, 1985: members of a local of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union in Austin, Minnesota, go on strike against the Hormel Foods Corporation, ignoring the advice of their national union. Highlighting the confusion within the labor movement, the workers continue their action even after the company vows to reopen the plant with replacement workers. Some union members cross the picket lines and the strike drags on for ten months with no gains for union members. The futile action is emblematic of a labor movement in disarray. [Cornell PDF] (see Sept 22)

Student Rights

August 17, 2015: the National Labor Relations Board dismissed a petition by Northwestern football players who were seeking to unionize, effectively denying their claim that they were university employees and should be allowed to collectively bargain. In a unanimous decision that was a clear victory for the college sports establishment, the five-member board declined to exert its jurisdiction in the case and preserved one of the N.C.A.A.’s core principles: that college athletes were primarily students.

The board did not rule directly on the central question in the case — whether the players, who spend long hours on football and help generate millions of dollars for Northwestern, are university employees. Instead, it found that the novelty of the petition and its potentially wide-ranging impacts on college sports would not have promoted “stability in labor relations.” [NYT article] (LH, see Aug 27; SR, see June 5, 2017)

August 17 Peace Love Art Activism


August 17, 1998: President Bill Clinton became the first sitting president to testify before a grand jury investigating his conduct. After the questioning at the White House is finished, Clinton goes on national TV to admit he had an inappropriate relationship with Monica Lewinsky.

August 17, 2000: CNN learned that in July Independent Counsel Robert Ray impaneled a new grand jury as part of an investigation into the scandal involving President Bill Clinton and former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.  (see Clinton for more)

August 17 Peace Love Art Activism


Iraq War II

August 17, 2009: the AP reported that Iraqi militiamen were torturing and killing gay Iraqi men with impunity in a systematic campaign that had spread from Baghdad to several other cities, a prominent human rights group said in a report. Human Rights Watch called on the Iraqi government to act urgently to stop the abuses, warning that so-called social cleansing poses a new threat to security even as other violence recedes. [Gulf News article] (see Aug 21)

Jim Cato and Joe Stapleton

Remove term: August 17 Peace Love Activism August 17 Peace Love Activism

August 17, 2015: attorneys for a gay couple who sued a Texas county clerk who denied them a marriage license on religious grounds announced they had reached a settlement of the lawsuit. In a statement, attorneys for Jim Cato and Joe Stapleton said that they’ve settled their federal lawsuit against Hood County Clerk Katie Lang for what they’ve spent in attorneys’ fees — almost $44,000. Cato and Stapleton had filed the lawsuit July 6 after they’d been refused a marriage license for almost a week after the Supreme Court recognized the right of gay couples to marry. The couple was granted a license the day they filed their lawsuit. [NBC News article] (see Aug 26)

August 17 Peace Love Art Activism

Activism, August 17 Peace Love Activism, August 17 Peace Love Activism,