Biographies
Marcus Garvey

Marcus Garvey
Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jr.(1887-1940)
Black Nationalist Leader, Journalist, Orator




Garvey was born in St. Ann's Bay, Jamaica in 1887. At age 14, He left the Church of England school he attended to become a printer's apprentice. In 1906, he moved to Kingston, and worked at a printing company, where two years later he led a printer's strike for higher salaries. In 1912 he traveled to London, England to study at Birbeck College. There he became interested in black history and culture, and conceived of a "Back to Africa" movement.

In 1914 Garvey returned to Jamaica, and shortly after established the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), and the African Communities League (ACL), two organizations that promoted educational and industrial opportunities for black people. He arrived in New York City on March, 1916, where in 1918 he founded the Harlem branch of the UNIA and established a weekly newspaper, The Negro World. The paper served as the official organ of The UNIA and the ACL. At its height, its circulation was over 200,000, and the paper was distributed throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, and in Central America. Many renowned black journalists including T. Thomas Fortune, Zora Neale Hurston, W.A. Domingo, Hubert Harrison, and John E. Bruce contributed articles to and/or edited The Negro World. It ceased publication in 1933.

During the paper's existence, Garvey suffered several financial disasters. In 1922 he was arrested for mail fraud. He served a two-year prison sentence and was later deported to Jamaica. During the last years of his life, Garvey lived in London, and made several unsuccessful attempts to revive the UNIA. He died on June 10, 1940.

Further Readings


Clarke, John Henrik. Marcus Garvey and The Vision of Africa. New York: Random House, 1974.

Cronon, E David. Black Moses: The Story of Marcus Garvey. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 1955.

Garvey, Amy Jacques. Garvey and Garveyism. New York: Collier, 1976.

---.Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey. New York: Collier, 1976.

Hill, Robert A. Marcus Garvey: Life and Lessons. A Centennial Companion to The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1987.

Stein, Judith. The World of Marcus Garvey. Race and Class in Modern Society. Baton Rouge, Louisiana: State University Press