C’bean think-tank conducts poll on US presidential pardon for Garvey

Sunday, August 19, 2018

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WASHINGTON, United States (CMC) — The Washington, DC-based Institute for Caribbean Studies (ICS) has resurrected the notion of a presidential pardon for Jamaica’s first national hero, Marcus Garvey.

In a message posted on its website, on Friday, the ICS gives viewers two options regarding the proposed pardon: “Option 1: Ask President Trump for a pardon (this assumes Garvey did something wrong); or option 2: hold out for exoneration (this assumes Garvey did nothing wrong).”

In January 2017, Caribbean American Congresswoman Yvette D Clarke, who had taken the lead, with 17 other members of the United States House of Representatives, in calling on then outgoing President Barack Obama to posthumously pardon Garvey, had expressed disappointment with Obama’s non-action.

On his last day in office, Obama granted commutation of sentence to 330 individuals, with Garvey not included.

Garvey was convicted for mail fraud in the US in 1923.

“While the exoneration and/or pardon of the Right Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey remains elusive, unresolved and unfinished business, we must continue our education and organising efforts in the pursuit justice for the legendary icon,” said Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, who represents the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn, New York, told the CMC.

She said it was important that “we build upon the efforts waged over the years, most recently in pursuit of a presidential pardon, and that we continue to maintain and elevate the integrity of” Garvey’s contributions to American history.

“His is a case of unjustified persecution that continues to cry out for justice,” said Clarke, stating that Garvey was “widely viewed as the Father of the 20th Century Civil Rights Movement.

“His leadership and intellectual contributions inspired the movements for independence in Africa and the Caribbean,” Clarke said. “However, it was the establishment of the UNIA [United Negro Improvement Association] here in the United States and its affiliates throughout African Diaspora nations that drew the ire of the FBI under J Edgar Hoover, and that ultimately led to the frivolous charges, prosecution and persecution against him.”

Clarke said it was “all in an attempt to displace” Garvey “from the positive role he played in advancing the civil and human rights in American history.”

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