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Marcus Garvey – The People’s Hero


Marcus Garvey (1887 – 1940) – The People’s Hero

While the question of national heroes is debatable in several parts of Europe, Jamaicans are quite clear on who the country’s heroes are.  All except one were men who received Jamaica’s highest honor for their leadership in nation building and in combating oppression.

Marcus Garvey was perhaps unique among these heroes since he worked assiduously for the advancement of people of African descent not only in Jamaica but throughout the Americas and Africa. In this endeavor he spent much for his time in the USA and later the UK.

Like all exceptional people, Garvey was a controversial figure in his time, yet he has left an indelible mark worldwide that is evident in several ways:

  • Schools, colleges, highways, and buildings in Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, and the USA have been named in his honor.
  • The United Negro Improvement Association (an organization founded by Garvey) flag with red, black, and green has been adopted as the Black Liberation Flag.
  • Garvey's statue  is housed in the Organization of American States' Hall of Heroes in Washington, D.C.
  • Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first prime minister, named the national shipping line the Black Star Line, as well as their national soccer team, the Black Stars in honor of Garvey
  • Garvey’s philosophy influences many political movements, including the Nation of Islam in the USA and Rastafarians


A biopic of Garvey's life starring British born actor of Jamaican descent Delroy Lindo is due in 2017. 

Have a look at the Marcus Garvey Foundation website.  http://www.garveyfoundation.com/

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Updated June 2020