NEW YORK, United States (CMC) — US Congresswoman Yvette Clarke is seeking presidential pardon for one of Jamaica’s National Heroes – Marcus Mosiah Garvey who was charged with US mail fraud.
Clarke – the daughter of former New York Council woman Una Clarke hopes that Garvey will be exonerated before US President Barak Obama leaves office in January 2017.
In a recent address to the Jamaica Diaspora here, Clarke said that two other congressmen from the Congressional Black Caucus – House Ways and Means Committee – Chairman and friend of Jamaica Charles Rangel of New York and the Dean of Congress, the longest serving member of the House, Representative John Conyers of Detroit – would join her to lead the charge in ensuring ensure that the Jamaican National Hero received the presidential pardon and that his name is reclaimed.
On January 12, 1922, while residing in the United States, Garvey, founder of the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and charged with mail fraud.
In 1925, Garvey began serving a five-year sentence in a US penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia.
After several appeals, his sentence was eventually commuted by President Calvin Coolidge, and he was deported to Jamaica.
Observers and political and legal analysts say that while Garvey did not commit any criminal acts, “his politics were on trial.”
As a Jamaican political leader, writer, entrepreneur, orator and thinker whose philosophy supported the “Back to Africa” movement of the 1920s, Garvey advocated that members of the African Diaspora return to their ancestral lands. He is remembered for his influence on Black Nationalism and pan-Africanism.
Over the years, several organizations and governments including Jamaica, have lobbied the US authorities to expunge Garvey’s record.
Garvey, who was born on August 17, 1887, died on June 10, 1940.