Petition drive to Biden renews call for Garvey pardon

Black nationalist Marcus Garvey is shown in a military uniform as the 'Provisional President of Africa during a parades up Lenox Avenue in Harlem, New York City, Aug. 1922, during opening day exercises of the annual Convention of the Negro Peoples of the World.
Black nationalist Marcus Garvey is shown in a military uniform as the ‘Provisional President of Africa during a parades up Lenox Avenue in Harlem, New York City, Aug. 1922, during opening day exercises of the annual Convention of the Negro Peoples of the World.
Associated Press/File

A renewed effort to mobilize support for a presidential pardon for Jamaica’s first national hero is now in effect after recently re-launching during the anniversary birthday week of Marcus Mosiah Garvey.

Jump-started by Pulitzer prize winning author Karen Hunter, the movement was resuscitated after the first Black president of the USA failed to respond to the mostly-Jamaican-led campaign that called for the exoneration of the Pan-African proponent who was charged with mail fraud, imprisoned and deported to his birthplace.

Prior to the Aug. 17 date, Hunter implored her Sirius XM listening audience to sign on to petitioning President Joe Biden for a pardon.

The hope is to secure 100,000 signatures.

Hunter is reputed for action and a cutting edge approach to tackling offensive and racist issues.

Seven years ago, she initiated a petition to remove the Confederate flag from the South Carolina statehouse building after a deranged racist massacred nine congregants at a Charleston church. Listeners to her program responded by registering 500,000 signatures Gov. Nikki Haley could not ignore.

Within two weeks the offensive banner was removed.

For Garvey’s 135th birthday anniversary the radio personality decided on revisiting the process Cong. Charles B. Rangel introduced in the house of representatives 2004, and President Barack Obama failed to fulfill throughout eight years of leadership.

Roy T. Anderson and actress Alfre Woodard at Harlem premiere.
Roy T. Anderson and actress Alfre Woodard at Harlem premiere.Steve Donaldson

Using her self-titled, thought-provoking talk show format, Hunter invited filmmaker Roy T. Anderson to promote his documentary titled “African Redemption: The Life and Legacy of Marcus Garvey.”

On the show, Anderson revealed how J. Edgar Hoover toiled to malign the reputation of the Jamaican immigrant who dared to change the mindset of Black Americans.

Although primarily a stuntman/actor, Anderson said he was influenced to make the film by Garvey’s youngest son Julius who endeared him to collaborate.

The first proposition was made in 2013 at a time Anderson found himself knee-deep in another project about Jamaican heroes. The Jamaica-born talent said he felt privileged for the confidence expressed by the offspring and later researched Garvey’s life and legacy for a solid eight months before unearthing untold information about the visionary.

Completion of the film took six years to premiere at the Harlem location named in honor of the nationalist.

Narrated by Keith David, the film incorporates re-enactments of the hero’s lifelong mission to re-educate masses of mis-educated Africans and uses documents and actual footage of the ambitious leader who was born in 1887.

Garvey died in 1940.

In the film, Anderson asks intellectuals, entertainers, advocates and his surviving son to explain the psyche of the visionary whose dream to reverse the mindset of a population dominated by negative perspectives of their heritage.

The fact that Garvey met with members of the Ku Klux Klan or that Malcolm X’s parents filed an appeal to President Calvin Coolidge for Garvey’s release from prison after he was convicted of mail fraud may not be common knowledge.

However, Anderson was able to find supporting documents to bolster the legacy and understanding still suppressed in education.

“One Aim, One Destiny, “directly spoke to his mission of uniting Africans dispersed throughout the global communities.

Hunter subscribes to the ‘One Aim’ objective Garvey espoused when he implored Black action saying: “Up you mighty race, you can accomplish what you will.”

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