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Marcus Garvey: Look For Me in the Whirlwind

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Marcus Garvey Timeline

1887 - 1919 | 1920 - 1964


August 17: Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jr. is born in St. Ann's Bay, Jamaica to Marcus Mosiah Garvey Sr., a mason, and Sarah Jane Richards, a domestic worker and farmer.


Printing house in St. Ann's Bay, JamaicaGarvey begins an apprenticeship at his godfather's printing business in St. Ann's Bay.

ca. 1903

Garvey's formal primary education ends after he completes the sixth standard.

ca. 1906

Garvey leaves St. Ann's Bay and moves to Kingston, where he is employed in the printing shop of P. A. Benjamin Manufacturing Company; Garvey's mother relocates there with him.


March 18: Garvey's mother dies, at age 56, in Kingston.


Garvey publishes Garvey's Watchman; the paper ceases after its third issue.


Garvey begins to travel to Central American countries (1910): he lives in Port Limon, Costa Rica for several months; edits La Nacion (a daily newspaper, 1911); resides in Colon, Panama (and edits a tri-weekly paper, 1911); then returns to Jamaica (1912).


April-May: Garvey moves to London, where he attends Birkbeck College.


October 13: Garvey's article, "British West Indies in the Mirror of Civilization: History Making by Colonial Negroes" is published in the African Times and Orient Review magazine.

December 10 - January 14: Garvey visits Paris, Madrid, Boulogne, Monte Carlo, and other European cities.


Amy Ashwood, Marcus Garvey's first wifemid-January: Garvey returns to London via Scotland, and attends more classes at Birkbeck College.

June 17: Garvey leaves England aboard the "S. S. Trent," destined for Jamaica.

June: Garvey's article, "The Evolution of Latter-Day Slaves: Jamaica, A Country of Black and White," is published in The Tourist.

July 8: Garvey arrives in Jamaica.

July 20: Garvey meets Amy Ashwood shortly after his return to Jamaica and on July 20th they co-found the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League.

ca. July - August: Garvey publishes a pamphlet, "A Talk with Afro-West Indians: The Negro Race and Its Problems."

Naval vessel, World War I.August 4: Great Britain declares war on Germany.

September 8: Garvey writes Booker T. Washington, founder of the Tuskegee Institute, and asks him for support.

October 3: Washington invites Garvey to visit Tuskegee.


Booker T. WashingtonJune: Garvey's father, Marcus Garvey Sr., is committed to St. Ann's Poor House.

November 14: Booker T. Washington dies.


March 6: Garvey leaves Jamaica aboard the "S. S. Tallac," bound for the United States.

March 24 : Garvey arrives in America penniless, moves in with a Jamaican family in Harlem, New York City, and finds work as a printer. He gains a following for his movement by speaking nightly as a soapbox orator on a Harlem street corner.

April 25: Garvey visits W.E.B. Du Bois, the editor of The Crisis, the magazine of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

May 9: Garvey holds his first public lecture in the U.S. at St. Mark's Church Hall in New York. It ends disastrously, with him falling off the stage.

ca. May - June: Garvey begins a year-long, 38-state speaking tour that takes him across America.


World War I. U.S. troopsApril 6: The U.S. declares war against Germany.

May: Garvey returns to New York after completing his U.S. speaking tour.

May: Thirteen members join to form the New York branch of the Universal Negro Improvement Association.

July 2: A race riot breaks out in East St. Louis.

July 8: Garvey delivers an address, "The Conspiracy of the East St. Louis Riots," at Lafayette Hall in Harlem, in which he states that the riot was "one of the bloodiest outrages against mankind."

October: The first split appears in the Harlem branch of the Universal Negro Improvement Association.

November 7: The Russian Revolution. The Bolsheviks, a broad-based Socialist group supported by workers and soldiers and led by V. I. Lenin, seizes power from the tsarist Romanov dynasty, which has ruled Russia for over three centuries.


Amy Ashwood joins Garvey in New York.

June 3: The Federal Bureau of Investigation learns via a written report that Garvey speaks nightly at outdoor meetings on a Harlem street corner.

July: The Universal Negro Improvement Association publishes its Constitution and Book of Laws Made for the Government of the UNIA/ACL.

Headline from The Negro WorldAugust 17: The first issue of The Negro World, the official organ of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, is published.

November 8: An armistice is signed, and the First World War ends.


February 19-21: The Pan-African Congress organized by Du Bois meets in Paris.

February - August: Copies of The Negro World are confiscated by authorities in various countries. It is banned by the governor of Belize, called seditious by the governor of Trinidad, and seized by the government of British Guiana. The acting governor of Jamaica orders the postmaster to open and detain copies of the newspaper. April 27: Garvey announces his plan to start the Black Star Line.

July 12: The Bureau of Investigation (the predecessor to the FBI) requests that its New York office forward all information on Garvey to headquarters in Washington, and instructs its Chicago division to monitor Garvey and other black radicals.

Marcus Garvey and Amy JacquesAmy Jacques becomes Marcus Garvey's private secretary.

August 25: Garvey holds a mass meeting at Carnegie Hall in New York to promote the sale of Black Star Line stock.

August 29: Garvey is arraigned before the Court of General Sessions and committed briefly to the Tombs prison in New York; he is released after paying $3,000 bail.

September 10: The British colonial secretary authorizes the West Indian governments to introduce legislation to suppress The Negro World and other publications considered seditious.

September 15: The Bureau of Investigation instructs its New York division that it wishes to establish "sufficient evidence against Garvey to warrant the institution of deportation proceedings."

S. S. YarmouthSeptember 17: The Black Star Line signs a contract to purchase its first ship, the "S. S. Yarmouth," later renamed the "Frederick Douglass," for $165,000.

October 11: With the goal of deporting Garvey firmly in mind, J. Edgar Hoover writes a memo suggesting that investigators pursue the idea of prosecuting Garvey for fraud, in connection with his Black Star Line activities.

October 14: Garvey is shot and wounded in an assassination attempt by George Tyler.

October 15: George Tyler commits suicide while in jail.

Promotional flyer for The Black Star LineNovember 5: Plans to float a second Black Star Line ship, the "S. S. Phyllis Wheatley," are announced.

December 25: Garvey marries Amy Ashwood in Liberty Hall.


Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer begins what will become known as the Palmer Raids, monitoring the actions of people perceived to be "foreign radicals." The young J. Edgar Hoover is appointed Palmer's assistant.

1887 - 1919 | 1920 - 1964

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