Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr.
CASTRIES, St Lucia -- The head of the Caribbean’s top university is getting support from the region for his call on the departing black American president to clean-up Marcus Garvey’s name before leaving the White House.
Vice chancellor of the University of the West Indies Prof. Sir Hilary Beckles, over the weekend called on US President Barack Obama “to grant a posthumous pardon” to Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr., for his 1923 mail fraud conviction in the United States.
Beckles has received support from Earl Bousquet, a Saint Lucia-based Caribbean journalist who is also chairman of the island’s National Reparations Committee (NRC).
“The Caribbean and the black world need to support Sir Hilary’s call, which is on behalf of the entire Caribbean and in support of a move already under way by Garvey’s family, with the full support of black America,” Bousquet said.
Beckles’ call followed Jamaica’s observance of National Heroes Week, the annual celebration of the country’s heroes and martyrs and while Jamaica, the Caribbean and the world, are observing the United Nations-declared Decade for People of African Descent.
The UWI vice chancellor noted that 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.”
He called on President Obama to exonerate Garvey before he leaves office, because “it is the right and proper thing to do.”
Bousquet, a 40-year veteran who was earlier this year awarded the Saint Lucia National Medal of Honour (Gold) “for his Contribution to Journalism”, said Obama “should also be encouraged to expunge the disgraced J. Edgar Hoover’s name from the FBI headquarters building.”
He said Obama “should also be encouraged to order a comprehensive probe into and exposure of all Hoover’s dirty deeds against black leaders and others he politically persecuted and falsely prosecuted.”
According to Bousquet, “J. Edgar Hoover’s fingerprints are all over the destruction of every black American leader in his time as the head of the FBI, from Marcus Garvey to Martin Luther King.
“His dirty deeds are on record in a letter now on the desk of the current FBI director, who claims he keeps it as a reminder of what not to do.”
A former press secretary to Saint Lucia’s former prime minister, Dr Kenny Anthony, Bousquet said, “There were no e-mails in Hoover’s time to be exposed by the likes of Wikileaks today.
“But, just as the records exist today to show Hoover framed Garvey, so too are the records of his dirty deeds as a racist director who used the FBI as a political tool to frame and punish, suppress and repress, jail and banish black leaders in and from America.”
A global petition campaign demanding that Garvey’s federal record be expunged has generated tens of thousands of signatures.
The campaign is supported by the Jamaica government, the Caribbean Reparations Commission, the Institute of the Black World 21st Century and members of the Congressional Black Caucus in the US House of Representatives.