Marcus Garvey

(1887 - 1940)

Born in Jamaica, the Pan-Africanist leader Marcus Garvey founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association in 1914 and moved to New York to build support for his Black nationalist movement. He started several businesses that sought to give Black Americans control of their financial future outside of white-dominated spaces, including a cruise line and several factories. His belief in Black separatism and disdain for respectability politics meant that he had a more combative relationship with the NAACP than the Ku Klux Klan; both A. Philip Randolph and W.E.B. Du Bois campaigned against Garvey in the 1920s. The FBI hired its first Black agent in 1921, and his investigation into Garvey’s cruise line eventually led to Garvey’s prosecution for mail fraud in 1923. After failing to win a Supreme Court appeal, he was imprisoned in Atlanta and later deported, dying in London at the age of fifty-two.

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