Justice 4 Garvey Campaign Reading List

In February 2022, the global campaign will begin to gather the required signatures to petition President Biden for a POSTHUMOUS PARDON for the Honorable Marcus Garvey.

Marcus Garvey was an outstanding and influential civil rights and anti-colonial leader of the early twentieth century. His movement, which espoused Black pride and Black self-reliance, economic independence, and Black unity, garnered unprecedented support around the world. The impact of his legacy still reverberates globally today. In May 1923, Garvey was unjustly convicted of mail fraud in relation to the operation of his signature program for Black economic independence, The Black Star Line. He was sent to prison and later deported to Jamaica. Consequently, his global movement for racial and economic justice never again regained its previous level of momentum and growth.

Check out our recommended reading list below. These books will explore the impact, teachings, and genius of Marcus Moziah Garvey.

#Justice4Garvey Campaign Book List

#1 – Race First  by Tony Martin

A classic study of the Garvey movement, this is the most thoroughly researched book on Garvey’s ideas by a historian of Black nationalism.

This book is based on the simple premise that no one could have organized and built up the largest black mass movement in Afro-American history, in the face of continuous onslaughts from communists on the left, black reactionaries on all sides, and the most powerful governments in the world, and yet be a buffoon or a clown, or even an overwhelmingly impractical visionary. 

Distortions are not new to Afro-American history, but one would be hard to find a major black figure who has suffered more at the hands of historians and commentators. This study attempts to treat Marcus Garvey and the Universal Improvement Association with the seriousness and respect which they deserve.

After a brief biographical introduction, the study examines the major features of Garvey’s ideological outlook, as they manifested themselves both in theory and practice.

“This book has the important element that is missing in most of the books and articles on Garvey – a political analysis of what the Garvey Movement was about.” (John Henrik Clarke, The Black Scholar

#2 – Negro with a Hat by Colin Grant

“The story of Marcus Garvey, the charismatic and tireless black leader who had a meteoric rise and fall in the late 1910s and early ’20s, makes for enthralling reading, and Garvey has found an engaging and objective biographer in Colin Grant….Grant’s book is not all politics, ideology, money and lawsuits. It is also an engrossing social history….’Negro With a Hat’ is an achievement on a scale Garvey might have appreciated.” – New York Times Book Review

New in paperback, this groundbreaking biography captures the full sweep and epic dimensions of Marcus Garvey’s life, the dazzling triumphs and the dreary exile. As Grant shows, Garvey was a man of contradictions: a self-educated, poetry-writing aesthete and unabashed propagandist, an admirer of Lenin, and a dandy given to elaborate public displays. Above all, he was a shrewd promoter whose use of pageantry evoked a lost African civilization and fired the imagination of his followers. Negro With a Hat restores Garvey to his place as one of the founders of black nationalism and a key figure of the 20th century.

Colin Grant is an independent historian who works for BBC Radio. The son of Jamaican parents, he lives in London.

#3 – Marcus Garvey and the Vision of Africa by John Henrik Clarke

First published in 1974, and edited by John Henrik Clarke with the aid of Amy Jacques Garvey, this is a superbly edited collection of writings reflecting the life and work of Marcus Garvey. Included are essays by Garvey scholars, contemporaries and critics including Robert Hill, Rupert Lewis, and W.E.B DuBois.

Opening with an extensive Introduction by Clarke, the book is presented in seven parts, primarily delineated by the major phases of Garvey’s career. Each part opens with a commentary by Clarke, followed by essays written by Garvey scholars, family, contemporaries and critics. Concluding each part is a section titled “Garvey in His Own Words” presenting speeches and writings by Garvey.

Parts I and II, titled The Formative Years and the Years of Triumph and Tragedy respectively, Clarke includes a short biographical look at Garvey’s early years written Amy Jacques Garvey while Robert Hill speaks of Garvey’s work prior to his arrival in the United States. Clarke describes 1920-1925 as the “building years, searching years, and years of magnificent dreaming”, and provides several essays by Garvey that share his perception on the failure of the Black Star Line along with a critical essay by W.E.B. DuBois. Also included is an “insider’s view”. 

#4 – Message to the People: the course of African Philosophy by Tony Martin

This book represents the last political will and testament of a man who stands without equal in the history of the worldwide mobilization of African peoples. For Marcus Garvey did not merely organize the most massive Black movement in the history of the United States of America, he also organized the largest and most successful movement among African people in the Caribbean. 
In 1937, Marcus Garvey, founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and one of the most controversial figures in the history of race relations, assembled his most trusted organizers to impart his life’s lessons. For one month he instructed this elite student body — at its peak the largest international mass movement of African peoples — on topics ranging from universal knowledge and how to attain it to leadership, character, God, and the social system.
A crucial guide to the understanding of Garvey’s philosophy and teachings, Message to the People features profound insights into the nascent days of the Civil Rights movement. This volume will prove an enlightening companion to students of African American and twentieth-century history.

#5 – Black Power and the Garvey Movement by Theodore G. Vincent

This provocative study examines the far-reaching influence of Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association. Theodore G. Vincent details UNIA’s origins and clarifies the many myths and controversies surrounding the organization and its founder. Initially written to explore the black militancy movement of the 1920s from the point of view of the Black Power struggles of the 1960s, the author’s new introduction adds a 21st-century perspective.

Theodore G. Vincent, a retired history instructor from the University of California, Berkeley, is a former newspaper columnist for the Los Angeles Herald Dispatch. He is the author of four books, most recently Keep Cool: The Black Activists Who Built the Jazz Age, and has published many articles on Afro-Mexico.

#6 – Garvey and Garveyisms by Amy Jacques Garvey

Like all great dreamers and planners, Marcus Garvey dreamed and planned ahead of his time and his peoples’ ability to understand the significance of his life’s work. A set of circumstances, mostly created by the world colonial powers, crushed this dreamer, but not his dreams. Due to persistence and years of sacrifice of Mrs. Amy Jacques Garvey, widow of Marcus Garvey, a large body of work by and about this great nationalist leader has been preserved and can be made available to a new generation of black people who have the power to turn his dreams into realities. From the introduction by John Henrik Clarke.

Written as a participant and confidant, Amy Jacques Garvey’s perspective continues to provide an intimate and first-person narrative of the Garvey movement and this important nascent period of Black Nationalism. 364 pages.

Sign the Petition

We are calling for a coordinated, global effort to obtain the needed 100,000 signatures, within thirty days starting on February1, 2022, in support of our petition for a Presidential pardon for the Honorable Marcus Garvey. We encourage you to support this historic effort by:

  1. Signing the petition; and
  2. Sharing the petition with your family, friends, and your social and professional networks and encouraging them to do the same.
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