President Donald Trump’s longtime confidant and former campaign adviser Roger Stone has been asking him to pardon Marcus Garvey, a black nationalist and pan-African advocate who influenced the civil rights movement and died in 1940.
Stone, a Republican operative, requested to Trump in writing “a year ago” to pardon Garvey, The Daily Beast reported on Friday, and in a Reddit forum last year said he hoped the president would grant it during Black History Month.
There have been no reports of Trump addressing the case of Garvey, who was indicted for mail fraud by the Department of Justice and was imprisoned for two years, then deported to Jamaica.
Garvey was born in Jamaica in 1887 and arrived in New York in 1916. He wanted to unite blacks across the globe, but he had the biggest footprint in the U.S., according to History.com. He founded the Negro World newspaper, a worldwide shipping company and the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), which during the 1920s and World War I became the biggest black secular group in history, possibly reaching one million members.
Among Garvey’s goals were to bring an end to imperialist rule and modernize African societies. In 1920, he oversaw the UNIA’s first international convention, aimed at uniting black militant efforts to overcome class divisions.
“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots,” Garvey famously said.
Garvey’s organization provided a haven to some blacks, but ultimately failed to unite them. As Garvey’s movement was weakening, the Justice Department indicted him for mail fraud, and he was convicted in 1923. He was put in prison two years later, and deported to his homeland in 1927. Garvey failed to bring the UNIA back to life, and he relocated to London, where he died.
A “Justice4Garvey” campaign was launched by Garvey’s son Julius Garvey during former President Barack Obama’s tenure, but it was largely abandoned after Trump took office.
“We have not pursued it with the current president or the Department of Justice,” Julius Garvey told The Daily Beast. “I’m not sure of the direction [Trump] is going in with his pardons. It seems he is responding more to celebrities more than out of a reason of social justice. So I don’t know if my father fits in that context.”
The White House did not respond to a request for comment from The Daily Beast or Newsweekon Friday.BY