Marcus Garvey Jr., son of famed Pan-Africanist leader Marcus Mosiah Garvey, is dead at age 90.
Garvey Jr., 90, died on Tuesday, Dec. 9, in Wellington, Florida, after a years-long battle with Alzheimer’s disease, according to The Gleaner, a newspaper based in Jamaica. His widow, Jean, confirmed the death in a statement.
“The departure of Marcus Jr., whom I had been married to for over 30 years, will leave a void that cannot be filled, and he will be greatly missed by numerous family, friends, and colleagues from all over the world, in many places where he had left indelible footprints,” she said.
The elder Garvey famously created the United Negro Improvement Association in 1914. The goal of the organization was to foster unity and empowerment within the African diaspora. At its peak, the UNIA had more than 700 chapters across the world.
Nine years later, he was deported to his native Jamaica after serving jail time for mail fraud. Garvey’s supporters believe the charges were trumped up by opponents who felt threatened by the movement he created. He died in 1940 and is considered a hero in Jamaica and across the rest of the African diaspora.
Garvey Jr., the elder of Garvey’s two sons, was an electrical engineer, physicist and mathematician, The Gleaner reported.
Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness is working with Jamaica’s consul general for South Florida to plan a commemoration of Garvey Jr.’s life. As a Jamaican-American, Holness considers Garvey a major ideological influence.
“Part of my activism and political life is based on the principles that Garvey laid out, and that is to work to improve the lives of people of the African diaspora and to make any connection we can back to Africa,” Holness told The South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “And the idea that Marcus had of Africans building self-sufficiency in the diaspora and working to build a tribe in Africa is something I believe in wholeheartedly.”
In addition to his wife, Garvey Jr. is survived by his sons Colin and Kyle-Sekou, stepdaughter Michelle, his brother Dr. Julius Garvey, and four grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements have not been announced.