People & Events: Amy Jacques, 1896-1973
Amy Jacques, editor, feminist, and race activist, was Marcus Garvey's second wife and his principal lieutenant during his incarceration in an Atlanta penitentiary from 1925 to 1927. Born in Jamaica, Jacques moved to the United States in 1917 and became involved in the Universal Negro Improvement Association the following year, after hearing Garvey speak. She became Garvey's personal secretary and traveling companion, as well as the office manager at U.N.I.A. headquarters and secretary of the Negro Factories Corporation, in 1920.
Jacques and Garvey married in July 1922, shortly after his divorce from his first wife, Amy Ashwood. During the period of Garvey's trial, conviction, and imprisonment on mail fraud charges (1923-1927), Jacques emerged as a major propagandist for him. In an effort to improve Garvey's reputation and raise funds to pay for his defense, Jacques published two volumes of his speeches and writings as Garvey's Philosophy and Opinions. She acted as his personal representative while he was in prison, traveling to speak at local U.N.I.A. divisions throughout the country, meeting with public officials and U.N.I.A. officers to carry out his directions, and organizing U.N.I.A. conferences and affairs. She became the associate editor of The Negro World (1924-1927), and introduced a new page, called "Our Women and What They Think," which carried international news about the status of women, poetry, profiles of leading black women and black female historical figures, and columns by and about members of the women's auxiliaries. After Garvey's deportation, Amy Jacques Garvey returned with him to Jamaica, and continued as a contributing editor of the U.N.I.A. paper in 1927-1928. She and Garvey toured England, France, and Germany in the spring and summer of 1928, and she wrote articles for The Negro World about her impressions.
Amy Jacques Garvey was the mother of Garvey's two sons, Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jr., and Julius Winston Garvey, born in 1930 and 1933 respectively. When Garvey moved to England in 1934, she and the children stayed behind in Jamaica. The family was united only briefly after that time.
After Garvey's death in 1940, Jacques became a contributing editor to a black nationalist journal, the African, published in Harlem in the 1940s, and established the African Study Circle of the World in Jamaica in the late 1940s. She published Garvey and Garveyism in 1963.