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Marcus Garvey: Look for Me in the Whirlwind | Timeline

Marcus Garvey Timeline

August 17: Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jr. is born in St. Ann's Bay, Jamaica to Marcus Mosiah Garvey Sr., a mason, and Sarah Jane Richards, a domestic worker and farmer.

Garvey begins an apprenticeship at his godfather's printing business in St. Ann's Bay.

ca. 1903
Garvey's formal primary education ends after he completes the sixth standard.

ca. 1906
Garvey leaves St. Ann's Bay and moves to Kingston, where he is employed in the printing shop of P. A. Benjamin Manufacturing Company; Garvey's mother relocates there with him.

March 18: Garvey's mother dies, at age 56, in Kingston.

Garvey publishes Garvey's Watchman; the paper ceases after its third issue.

Garvey begins to travel to Central American countries (1910): he lives in Port Limon, Costa Rica for several months; edits La Nacion (a daily newspaper, 1911); resides in Colon, Panama (and edits a tri-weekly paper, 1911); then returns to Jamaica (1912).

April-May: Garvey moves to London, where he attends Birkbeck College.

October 13: Garvey's article, "British West Indies in the Mirror of Civilization: History Making by Colonial Negroes" is published in the African Times and Orient Review magazine.

December 10 - January 14: Garvey visits Paris, Madrid, Boulogne, Monte Carlo, and other European cities.

mid-January: Garvey returns to London via Scotland, and attends more classes at Birkbeck College.

June 17: Garvey leaves England aboard the "S. S. Trent," destined for Jamaica.

June: Garvey's article, "The Evolution of Latter-Day Slaves: Jamaica, A Country of Black and White," is published in The Tourist.

July 8: Garvey arrives in Jamaica.

July 20: Garvey meets Amy Ashwood shortly after his return to Jamaica and on July 20th they co-found the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League.

ca. July - August: Garvey publishes a pamphlet, "A Talk with Afro-West Indians: The Negro Race and Its Problems."

August 4: Great Britain declares war on Germany.

September 8: Garvey writes Booker T. Washington, founder of the Tuskegee Institute, and asks him for support.

October 3: Washington invites Garvey to visit Tuskegee.

Booker T. Washington. Courtesy: Library of Congress

June: Garvey's father, Marcus Garvey Sr., is committed to St. Ann's Poor House.

November 14: Booker T. Washington dies.

March 6: Garvey leaves Jamaica aboard the "S. S. Tallac," bound for the United States.

March 24 : Garvey arrives in America penniless, moves in with a Jamaican family in Harlem, New York City, and finds work as a printer. He gains a following for his movement by speaking nightly as a soapbox orator on a Harlem street corner.

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

May 9: Garvey holds his first public lecture in the U.S. at St. Mark's Church Hall in New York. It ends disastrously, with him falling off the stage.

ca. May - June: Garvey begins a year-long, 38-state speaking tour that takes him across America.

April 6: The U.S. declares war against Germany.

May: Garvey returns to New York after completing his U.S. speaking tour.

May: Thirteen members join to form the New York branch of the Universal Negro Improvement Association.

July 2: A race riot breaks out in East St. Louis.

July 8: Garvey delivers an address, "The Conspiracy of the East St. Louis Riots," at Lafayette Hall in Harlem, in which he states that the riot was "one of the bloodiest outrages against mankind."

October: The first split appears in the Harlem branch of the Universal Negro Improvement Association.

November 7: The Russian Revolution. The Bolsheviks, a broad-based Socialist group supported by workers and soldiers and led by V. I. Lenin, seizes power from the tsarist Romanov dynasty, which has ruled Russia for over three centuries.

Amy Ashwood joins Garvey in New York.

June 3: The Federal Bureau of Investigation learns via a written report that Garvey speaks nightly at outdoor meetings on a Harlem street corner.

July: The Universal Negro Improvement Association publishes its Constitution and Book of Laws Made for the Government of the UNIA/ACL.

August 17: The first issue of The Newgro World, the official organ of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, is published.

November 8: An armistice is signed, and the First World War ends.

February 19-21: The Pan-African Congress organized by Du Bois meets in Paris.

February - August: Copies of The Negro World are confiscated by authorities in various countries. It is 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 orders the postmaster to open and detain copies of the newspaper. April 27: Garvey announces his plan to start the Black Star Line.

July 12: The Bureau of Investigation (the predecessor to the FBI) requests that its New York office forward all information on Garvey to headquarters in Washington, and instructs its Chicago division to monitor Garvey and other black radicals.

Amy Jacques becomes Marcus Garvey's private secretary.

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

August 29: Garvey is arraigned before the Court of General Sessions and committed briefly to the Tombs prison in New York; he is released after paying $3,000 bail.

September 10: The British colonial secretary authorizes the West Indian governments to introduce legislation to suppress The Negro World and other publications considered seditious.

September 15: The Bureau of Investigation instructs its New York division that it wishes to establish "sufficient evidence against Garvey to warrant the institution of deportation proceedings."

September 17: The Black Star Line signs a contract to purchase its first ship, the "S. S. Yarmouth," later renamed the "Frederick Douglass," for $165,000.

October 11: With the goal of deporting Garvey firmly in mind, J. Edgar Hoover writes a memo suggesting that investigators pursue the idea of prosecuting Garvey for fraud, in connection with his Black Star Line activities.

October 14: Garvey is shot and wounded in an assassination attempt by George Tyler.

October 15: George Tyler commits suicide while in jail.

November 5: Plans to float a second Black Star Line ship, the "S. S. Phyllis Wheatley," are announced.

December 25: Garvey marries Amy Ashwood in Liberty Hall.

Courtesy: The Marcus Garvey and UNIA Papers Project

Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer begins what will become known as the Palmer Raids, monitoring the actions of people perceived to be "foreign radicals." The young J. Edgar Hoover is appointed Palmer's assistant.

January 23: The Negro Factories Corporation is incorporated.

January 16: Prohibition goes into effect in the United States.

January 17: The "S. S. Yarmouth" leaves New York harbor for Havana, carrying a cargo of whiskey.

January 19: The "S. S. Yarmouth" is found sinking 101 miles outside New York harbor, and is assisted by the Coast Guard.

January 22: Rumors of dissension among Black Star Line and Universal Negro Improvement Association officers are reported in the New York news.

February 3: The U.S. government seizes the cargo from the "S. S. Yarmouth."

March 6: Garvey separates from Amy Ashwood Garvey; his personal secretary, Amy Jacques, has become his constant traveling companion.

March 28: Garvey addresses a Liberty Hall meeting, decrying the enemies of his organization, and announces a purge of Universal Negro Improvement Association officers.

April 9: Marcus Garvey Sr. dies in Jamaica.

August 1-31: The Universal Negro Improvement Association holds its first International Convention of the Negro Peoples of the World at Madison Square Garden and schedules a massive parade in Harlem. During this convention, the UNIA adopts and signs 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. Garvey himself is elected Provisional President of Africa. James W. H. Eason, a Philadelphia minister, is named Leader of the American Negroes.

August-September: Garvey is indicted on charges of criminal libel, and the government investigates ways to deport him.

ca. October 17: Garvey announces a $2 million Liberian Construction Loan, meant to repatriate black people to Africa.

January 2: Garvey delivers an address at Liberty Hall on "Du Bois and his Escapades."

January 4: Garvey begins another trip across the country on a speaking tour.

February: A 16-man Universal Negro Improvement Association delegation leaves for Liberia. Garvey applies for American citizenship.

February -July: Garvey obtains a British passport for travel to the West Indies. While he is on tour there, the State Department instructs the U.S. consul general in Jamaica to refuse Garvey a visa, in view of his activities in political and race agitation. After being temporarily detained by U.S. immigration authorities, Garvey finally is able to return to New York on July 17.

May 11: J. Edgar Hoover submits a brief to the Department of State about Garvey's activities in the U.S.

May 31: Racial riots break out in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

August 1: The Universal Negro Improvement Association opens its second annual convention.

August 5: The Universal Negro Improvement Association secretary general is charged with misappropriation of funds.

August 25: Formal charges are raised against various Universal Negro Improvement Association executive officers and debated on the floor of the convention.

September 30: The Pan African Congress meets in Paris.

December 12: The Bureau of Investigation requests that the Internal Revenue Service investigate Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association.

The Negro World newspaper is confiscated and banned throughout Africa.

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

April: The Black Star Line is dissolved due to financial failure.

June 15: Garvey obtains a divorce form Amy Ashwood.

June 25: Garvey meets with the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, Edward Young Clarke, in Atlanta, resulting in a vehement "Garvey Must Go" campaign headed by black leaders.

ca. July 8: Garvey announces at a Liberty Hall meeting that he plans to ask all Universal Negro Improvement Association and Black Star Line officers to resign at their next convention.

July 9: Garvey explains his meeting with the Klan.

July 27: Garvey marries Amy Jacques in Baltimore.

August 23: The Universal Negro Improvement Association trial against James Eason, the Leader of the American Negroes, begins. Garvey accuses Eason of doublecrossing him. Eason will eventually be expelled from the UNIA for 99 years.

September 11: A Universal Negro Improvement Association delegation to the League of Nations arrives in Geneva.

ca. September 11: Eason forms a rival organization, The Universal Negro Alliance.

January 1: Eason is shot in New Orleans; he dies January 4. William Shakespeare and Fred Dryer, two Garveyites, are later arrested for his murder.

January 15: Chandler Owen and seven other black leaders send letter of complaint against Garvey to Attorney General Harry M. Daugherty. The "Garvey Must Go" campaign continues.

January 31: Because of a failure to pay rent, the Universal Negro Improvement Association enterprise is closed.

January: Garvey publishes an answer to his critics in The Negro World, referring to them as "race defamers," "traitors," "turncoats," and "sinners" who will stop at nothing to defile his name and hinder the work of the UNIA.

April 2: William Shakespeare and Fred Dryer are sentenced to 18 to 20 years in prison for Eason's murder.

May 18: Garvey's trial for mail fraud begins.

June 21: Garvey is sentenced to 5 years in prison for mail fraud. His appeal is soon denied, and he is taken to Tombs Prison in New York.

ca. July 5: The Marcus Garvey Committee on Justice forms, and mounts a petition drive to free Garvey. Garvey is finally allowed bail on September 10, after a 3-month imprisonment.

September 25: Immigration authorities begin preparing a deportation case against Garvey.

February 2: The Negro World adds two sections, one in French and one, edited by Amy Jacques, devoted to women's issues.

May: Du Bois writes an editorial in The Crisis calling Garvey a "lunatic or traitor." This is one of several editorials published in The Crisis during the 1920s critiquing Garvey and his movement.

July 10: Liberia refuses to grant visas to Universal Negro Improvement Association members.

August 1: The Fourth International Convention of the Negro Peoples of the World opens.

February 8: After being arrested at the 125th Street train station in New York, Garvey is taken to Atlanta Federal Penitentiary and incarcerated.

March 12: Amy Jacques publishes a pamphlet, "Was Justice Defeated?," a critique of Garvey's trial and conviction.

April 28: Members of Garvey's Pardon Delegation submit a petition for Garvey's release to President Calvin Coolidge.

June 13: Garvey submits his first official application for executive clemency.

June 26: The Immigration and Naturalization Service issues a warrant for Garvey's deportation after a hearing in the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary.

July: The U. S. Attorney's Office in New York and the U. S. Post Office Inspector recommend that Garvey's application for clemency be denied.

December: Amy Jacques lobbies for the release of her husband. She will eventually publish a second volume of Philosophy and Opinions, a collection of writings by Garvey.

January: The Universal Negro Improvement Association office building at 52 West 135th Street in New York is sold for nonpayment of taxes.

May 11: Garvey is cited by a prison guard for insolence; he receives a warning and reprimand.

September 8: A parole board denies Garvey's application.

December: Nine members of the jury that convicted Garvey sign an affidavit recommending the commutation of Garvey's sentence.

June 8: Malcolm X's father, Earl Little, a follower of Garvey, appeals to President Coolidge for Garvey's release.

Nov. 18: President Coolidge commutes Garvey's sentence.

Garvey is released from the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary and taken to New Orleans for deportation.

Dec. 2: Garvey delivers a farewell address from the deck of the "S. S. Saramacca" and is deported from the U. S., never to return.

January 1: Laura Kofey establishes a splinter group in Miami called the African Universal Church and Commercial League.

March 8: Kofey is assassinated at the pulpit during a meeting in Miami.

April 29: Garvey goes to London and establishes temporary Universal Negro Improvement Association headquarters.

March 30: Garvey begins publishing a daily newspaper, The Blackman, in Jamaica.

September 17: A son, also named Marcus, is born in Jamaica to Garvey and Amy Jacques Garvey.

June 11: The last issue of The Negro World with Garvey listed as the managing editor is published.

Courtesy: The Marcus Garvey and UNIA Papers Project

August 16: A second son, Julius Winston Garvey, is born in Jamaica to Garvey and Amy Jacques Garvey.

October 17: The Negro World ceases publication.

March 26: Garvey relocates to London. His wife and children remain in Jamaica.

ca. January 20: Garvey suffers a cerebral hemorrhage; he is paralyzed on his right side and his speech is affected.

May 18: The Chicago Defender carries a story by a London correspondent erroneously announcing the death of Garvey.

June 10: After suffering a second cerebral hemorrhage or cardiac arrest while reading the inaccurate news reports of his death, Garvey dies in London.

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

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