President Biden, Exonerate Marcus Garvey: Justice for Garvey, Now

President Biden, Exonerate Marcus Garvey: Justice for Garvey, Now

Ambassador Curtis Ward

Amb. Curtis Ward

The campaign to Exonerate Marcus Garvey hits high gear as 100,000 people in the United States and from around the world are urged to sign the White House Petition asking President Joe Biden to issue an exoneration of the historical Black leader Marcus Garvey. In what is celebrated as Black History Month in the United States, the time is now to right a wrong that was done against one of the most celebrated Black leaders of all time.

Marcus Garvey’s movement, the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA) promoted the elevation of Black people as equals to all other races. A Pan-Africanist, Garvey through his movement, sought to unify people of African descent around the world and worked tirelessly towards eliminating economic discrimination and deprivation to which Black people were subjected. Garvey said to the colored race that if they were to be free of the oppressive societies in which they lived, they must become so through their own efforts. He preached economic and political empowerment for all peoples of African descent, and for that he was persecuted by white racists who felt their privileges threatened by his words and his works.

Rt Hon. Marcus Mosiah Garvey

Numerous studies of the legal process and documents involved in Garvey’s prosecution and conviction by a biased judge showed that Garvey was framed by the J. Edgar Hoover-led FBI who launched an undercover investigation to stop Garvey and his movement.

With the campaign in the United States by white racists and their enablers to deny and prevent the teaching of the history of the United States, many well-thinking Americans of all races may never learn of the importance of Garvey. But as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, expressing a sentiment of Black leaders and people around the world,

Marcus Garvey was the first man of colour in the history of the United States to lead and develop a mass movement. He was the first man, on a mass scale, and level, to give millions of Negroes a sense of dignity and destiny, and make the Negro feel that he was somebody … He gave to the millions of Negroes in the United States a sense of personhood, a sense of manhood and a sense of somebodiness ….”

Africans and people of African descent in the African diaspora understand the impact Garvey had in awakening pride in themselves, and empowering them to reach beyond their immediate surroundings.  The lessons of Garvey resonate worldwide today. As Garvey himself said,

“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”

We cannot afford those who are scared by the truths of our American and global history to deny us access to learning about it.

President Biden, it is not by happenstance that you have the best chance yet to exonerate Marcus Garvey and restore his name and honored place in the history of America and the world. You chose as your Vice-Presidential running mate a woman of color, Kamala Harris, whose father was born in the same Parish in Jamaica as did Marcus Garvey. You have this timely opportunity to clear the name of Garvey, a man who stands as the first designated National Hero of one of America’s most faithful ally and friend, Jamaica. The land of your Vice President’s ancestry.

As this campaign to exonerate Marcus Garvey takes on urgent proportions for all of us who yearn for justice, the campaign is joined by former Jamaican Prime Minister P. J. Patterson as head of the PJ Patterson Centre for Africa and Caribbean Advocacy urging President Biden to exonerate Marcus Garvey. In a letter to the Heads of Government of all CARICOM member states he urged each Caribbean leader to write to President Biden asking him to exonerate Garvey. According to the PJ Patterson Centre,

“No one has devoted more of his life to the fight for freedom from the scourge of racism or written with greater clarity to inspire those who seek no more than the right for the dignity of each and every human-being, despite the colour of one’s skin than the Rt Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey.

Former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson, ON,

[Links to the PJ Patterson Centre campaign statements on the Exoneration of Marcus Garvey: and ]

What we ask of people of good conscience and those who pursue justice for all is to sign the Petition to Exonerate Marcus Garvey. We call on people of all color, no matter where you are to join in signing the Petition. It takes less than a minute. Here’s the link to the White House Petition:

For more information, please visit the campaign website:

In my recent interview on my Podcast, Real Talk with Ambassador Curtis Ward, Dr. Goulda Downer, chair of the Caribbean-American Political Action Committee, who is leading the global campaign, made a compelling case for everyone to join in this drive to get 100,000 signatures on the Petition to Exonerate Marcus Garvey. I urge you to join this global appeal and sign the Petition now.

[Interview with Dr. Downer can be heard here:]

© Curtis A. Ward/The Ward Post

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