Marcus Garvey's Family Seeks Posthumous Presidential Pardon From Joe Biden

Photo: Getty Images

The living descendants of Marcus Garvey are calling on President Joe Biden to extend a posthumous pardon for the Black revolutionary's 1923 mail fraud conviction.

Garvey, the Jamaican-born activist who founded and led the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), was convicted of mail fraud in 1923 after the Black Star Line –– the shipping company he started –– mailed out advertisements depicting a ship it didn't yet own, but was in the process of purchasing, The Washington Post reported.

For the mailed advertisement, Garvey received a $1,000 fine and a prison sentence of five years, later commuted by then-President Calvin Coolidge. The social justice entrepreneur was eventually deported to Jamaica and later moved to London where he died in 1940.

In 1964, his body was returned to Jamaica, where he was made the country's first national hero.

Photo: Getty Images

"President Biden has made statements in his inaugural address about the dream for justice not to be delayed any longer," one of Garvey's sons, Julius Garvey, 88, told The Post.

"We'll take him at his word. Racial injustice was done to my father more than 100 years ago. He committed no crime. What he was trying to do was elevate the status of African Americans and Africans across the world," the leader's son, who is a New York-based vascular surgeon, added.

"I think the pardon and indeed complete exoneration of Marcus Garvey is warranted given the sham prosecution that resulted in his conviction," Anthony Pierce, an attorney representing Garvey's descendants, told The Hill in a statement.

Through the newspaper he founded, Negro World, Garvey amassed a following of 6 million people across the world –– despite colonial powers banning the publication from several African nations.

To read more about Garvey's pioneering impact and his living descendants' push for a posthumous pardon, please click here.

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