On This Day

Marcus Garvey

Black Nationalist Marcus Garvey

Profession: Black Nationalist


Biography: Born in Jamaica, Garvey created the "Back to America" movement first in Jamaica then in New York, centered in Harlem. Garvey was a powerful orator and spoke across the US urging Black Americans to return to their ancestral homeland and installing a sense of pride in black heritage.

Garvey founded a number of businesses to support the movement, including the Black Star Line in 1919 and the newspaper "Negro World". However Garvey's policies of separatism brought him enemies and he was arrested for mail fraud in 1922, serving two years before his sentence was commuted by President Calvin Coolidge in 1927.

Garvey lost much of his influence in his later years, but remained a powerful inspiration for later civil rights leaders.

Born: August 17, 1887
Birthplace: Saint Ann's Bay, Jamaica

Generation: Lost Generation
Star Sign: Leo

Died: June 10, 1941 (aged 53)

Historical Events

  • 1911-06-11 Universal Negro Improvement Association founded by Marcus Garvey
  • 1914-08-01 Marcus Garvey and others found the Universal Negro Improvement Association in Jamaica with aim of creating black-governed nation in Africa
  • 1919-06-23 Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) incorporates
  • 1920-08-02 Marcus Garvey presents his "Back To Africa" program in NYC
  • 1920-08-13 Flag designed by Marcus Garvey consisting of three horizontal stripes of red, black and green is adopted as the pan-African flag
  • 1923-06-21 Marcus Garvey sentenced to 5 years for using mail to defraud
  • 1925-02-08 Marcus Garvey enters federal prison in Atlanta

Famous Civil Rights Activists