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PM asks Obama to exonerate national hero Marcus Garvey

Published:Friday | April 10, 2015 | 11:57 AM
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller greets US President Barack Obama at Jamaica House.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has asked United States President Barack Obama to exonerate national hero Marcus Garvey.

Speaking with the Associated Press yesterday Simpson Miller said she indicated to Obama that it is the deep desire of the government and people of Jamaica to have Garvey exonerated of the conviction that got him deported in 1927.

Simpson Miller said she asked the US President to consider the matter and to offer any support within his authority during his tenure in the White House, and beyond.

According to the Associated Press, US officials did not immediately provide a comment about Simpson Miller's request regarding Garvey.

Garvey was the first person named a Jamaican national hero following the country’s independence in 1962.

Born nearly 50 years after the abolition of slavery in Jamaica, Garvey founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association in Jamaica in 1914 and then built it into a mass movement in New York from 1919 to 1927.

From his Harlem base, Garvey urged blacks to be proud of their African ancestry at a time segregation was deeply implanted in the US and European colonialism still stretched around the world.

Garvey's Pan-African philosophy urged blacks to return to the continent of their ancestors.

His supporters in Jamaica and abroad contend the US charges were trumped up to silence Garvey.