Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Time runs out for Garvey - Petition fails to garner required signature total

Published:Thursday | September 29, 2016 | 9:30 AM
Marcus Garvey

The online petition launched to commence the proceedings of clearing the name of National Hero Marcus Garvey was archived yesterday after it failed  to amass the 100,000 signatures needed for it to be considered.

Garvey, the country's first named National Hero, was made a criminal in the United States in 1923 after he was found guilty by nine of 12 jurors of committing mail fraud.

Discussions surrounding the issue led to the petition 'Grant Marcus Mosiah Garvey a Posthumous Presidential Pardon of His Wrongful 1923 Conviction' being started on the White House We the People website, where it was hoped the president of the United States would take steps to address the issue once the required signatures were met.

More than 9,000 signatures were added in its final hours but it was not enough. By yesterday's deadline, 25,732 signatures were attached to the petition, 74,268 short of the required 100,000 signatures.

The petition alleges that Garvey, a civil rights activist, was wrongfully convicted of use of the mails in furtherance of a scheme to defraud.

It further alleges that Garvey was convicted after being targeted by J. Edgar Hoover, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and deprived of a fair trial.

According to the petition, "during a time when Blacks were seen as second-class citizens, Garvey led a mass movement to elevate the Black community through economic empowerment and independence".

The argument has been floated that it is embarrassing that Garvey has been conferred with Jamaica's highest honour but at the same time is on record as a criminal in the US.

This week's Sunday Gleaner reported that Senate President Tom Tavares Finson said it would be a "travesty" if the petition does not get the required support.