Roger Stone, a Republican campaign strategist and longtime adviser to President Donald Trump is reportedly making a push to get Marcus Garvey pardoned. Stone has encouraged Trump to consider granting clemency to the Black nationalist leader who died in 1940.
Stone claimed he wrote to Trump a “year ago” to consider pardoning Garvey but the president has yet to respond to the advisor’s request according to the Daily Beast who reported the story on Friday. It’s unclear what Stone’s motivations are as he’s knee deep in Robert Mueller‘s Russia investigation. Stone came under scrutiny after boasting of his ties with Julian Assange and Wikileaks.
Garvey was a Pan-Africanist who founded the hugely successful “Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League” in 1914. He became a threat to white officials during the time and was set-up by FBI director J. Edgar Hoover who used Garvey’s “Black Star Line” corporation against him and charged the leader with mail fraud. The revolutionist was given a five-year sentence but only served three. His conviction was reduced by President Calvin Coolidge “on condition that he be deported to Jamaica.” Many white nationalists feared “one of the most prominent negro agitators in New York.”
“J. Edgar Hoover targeted him when he just came out of law school,” said Dr. Julius Garvey, Garvey’s son. “He was the new head of the FBI and he had the first Black agent infiltrate his movement. There was no evidence against Garvey. The whole thing was travesty of justice.”
Marcus Garvey was also a major Black advocate in Jamaica and was admired by several civil right leaders who were influenced by his politics.
“He changed the whole dimension of politics,” said Julius.
The revolutionist’s son started a campaign “Justice4Garvey” during Obama’s presidency to exonerate his father but felt his efforts were unmet when a pardon was not granted.
“We have not pursued it with the current president or the Department of Justice,” the doctor told the news source adding that he has no clue who Stone is. “I’m not sure of the direction [Trump] is going in with his pardons. It seems he is responding more to celebrities more than out of a reason of social justice. So I don’t know if my father fits in that context.”
Trump recently exonerated a Black grandmother Alice Johnson and issued a posthumous pardon for boxer Jack Johnson. He also offered to grant clemency to the people’s champ Muhammad Ali, but the boxer’s attorney Ron Tweel declined the pardon.
“We appreciate President Trump’s sentiment, but a pardon is unnecessary. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Muhammad Ali in a unanimous decision in 1971,” Tweel told NBC News. “There is no conviction from which a pardon is needed.”
The report mentioned that Stone has noted the Garvey pardon suggestion once before in 2017 during a Reddit thread where he told users he was “serious” and wanted Trump to announce the pardon for Black History Month.