UWI’s Vice Chancellor reiterates call for posthumous pardon for Garvey
Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, has joined the call for United States President Barack Obama to grant a posthumous pardon to Jamaica’s first national hero, Marcus Mosiah Garvey for his 1923 mail fraud conviction in the US.
“Marcus Garvey was the victim of trumped up charges orchestrated by the late J. Edgar Hoover, the famously anti-black director of the US’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI),” said Sir Hilary in a statement on Saturday.
“We are today calling on President Obama, himself the victim of racist campaigns, to de-legitimize his presidency, to exonerate Garvey before he leaves office. It is the right and proper thing to do.”
Sir Hilary’s call comes as the Caribbean and the world observes the United Nations’ declared “Decade for People of African Descent.”
“Garvey’s call for the upliftment of all Caribbean citizens through education and political engagement constitutes a critical part of the ideological and philosophical currents that gave birth to the University of the West Indies almost 70 years ago,” Sir Hilary said. “UWI’s mission and mandate are manifestations of Garvey’s struggles for quality education for the masses of Caribbean peoples, for self-respect, self-determination and cultural awareness in our region.”
A global petition campaign demanding that Garvey’s federal record be expunged has generated tens of thousands of signatures.
The campaign is supported, among others, by the Jamaican Government, the Caribbean Reparations Commission, the New York-based Institute of the Black World 21st Century and by members of the Congressional Black Caucus in the US House of Representatives.
The campaign has intensified in the US, with supporters being urged to visit justice4garvey.org to sign the petition.