Time runs out for Garvey petition
Petition fails to garner required signature total
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 (US) 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 US would take steps to address the issue once the required signatures had been 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 mail 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 secondclass 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 did not get the required support.