At the National Press Club in Washington D.C. on Aug. 17, the son of the late Black nationalist Marcus Garvey requested that President Barack Obama pardon his father for a 1923 mail fraud conviction.
The request was timely because Wednesday marked what would have been Marcus Garvey’s 129th birthday.
In the video clip above, Howard University professor, Dr. Quito Swan, talks about Garvey’s influence on Black history while piggybacking on his son’s demand for a pardon.
“To speak of Garvey is to speak of Black thought, of Black men and Black women,” Swan explains. “Garvey’s genius was the ability to build the world’s most expensive Black mass movement that we have never seen since.”
New York surgeon Dr. Julius W. Garvey tells media members that his father would be better known if it were not for the 1923 conviction.
As a result, Marcus Garvey was deported back to his native Jamaica from the United States.
“There is still a whiff of subversion about the idea of being” a fan of his father’s teachings, he says in the clip below. “It was very difficult as a young man to reconcile … When it was clear that he gave his whole life and even sacrificed his family for African people.”