WASHINGTON, CMC – Caribbean American Democratic Congresswoman, Yvette D Clarke, has joined 22 of her Congressional colleagues in sending a letter to President Joe Biden calling for the exoneration of Jamaica’s first national hero, Marcus Mosiah Garvey.
“We write with due respect to express our strong support for April 18, 2023, request for a posthumous pardon of Marcus Mosiah Garvey’s 1923 conviction for fraudulent use of the mail, submitted to your administration,” they wrote.
“Nearly 100 years ago, Marcus Garvey was convicted of mail fraud in a case that was marred by prosecutorial and governmental misconduct. As a result of this injustice, President Calvin Coolidge commuted Garvey’s sentence upon eligibility.
“The evidence present and available at our disposal paints an abundantly clear narrative that the charges brought against Marcus Mosiah Garvey were not only fraudulent but executed in bad faith.
“A Presidential pardon for Mr. Garvey would correct the historical record and shift the narrative during a time when African-American history faces the existential threat of erasure by radical state legislatures. More importantly, exoneration would reaffirm our commitment to a criminal justice system that guarantees de facto equity under the rule of law,” the letter added.
The Congressional members said that Marcus Garvey’s contributions and influence are interwoven into the fabric of American history, adding that his works have influenced leaders from Martin Luther King, Jr to Nelson Mandela, as well as inspiring generations of leaders and planting the seeds for the civil rights movement.
The congressional representatives note that, as the founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League, Garvey inspired nearly six million people across 40 countries with a message of social progress through economic prosperity.
They also wrote that, although President Coolidge commuted his sentence, Garvey was immediately deported and never permitted to return to the United States and that calls for Garvey’s exoneration have been constant since his conviction.
“Many people had supported pardon efforts during Garvey’s lifetime and have continued to do so posthumously, Congressional efforts to rectify this matter began in 1987, when then-Congressman, John Conyers held a Judiciary Committee hearing regarding Garvey’s unfair trial,” the letter said.
See the entire article here: Jamaican Observer