American Series Jacket Text

Volume VI: September 1924--December 1927

The sixth volume of The Marcus Garvey and UNIA Papers spans the great divide in the history of the American Garvey movement which resulted from imprisonment of its charismatic leader. In early 1925 Garvey was denied appeal of his 1923 conviction on mail fraud and was imprisoned in Atlanta federal penitentiary. This volume marks the first publication of Garvey's prison correspondence and provides complete documentation of the appeal briefs filed by both Garvey and the government in the aftermath of the initial trial. It also brings together in print for the first time documentation of the extended legal battle that was fought to secure Garvey's release from prison and the massive grass-roots campaign that helped to maintain the political pressure for that release.

While many UNIA members responded to the plight of their leader with renewed activism, others rose to challenge the movement's focus upon a single man. Increasing conflicts over leadership and authority erupted within the UNIA. These internecine struggles were compounded by the growing financial difficulties faced by the organization---the failure of the Black Cross Navigation and Trading Company, the loss of Liberty Hall, and the bankruptcy of Liberty University, a UNIA undertaking that for a short time fulfilled the organization's dream of operating an educational institution for the benefit of its members.

Garvey tried to maintain control of the affairs of the UNIA from his prison cell, and by the beginning of 1927 the political tide was beginning to turn in his favor. With a majority of the members of the jury that had convicted him supportive of his release, President Coolidge finally commuted Garvey's sentence in November, but subjected the UNIA leader to immediate deportation. Volume VI ends as Garvey leaves New Orleans in early December 1927. He would never again set foot in the United States, though he would continue his powerful influence upon the movement from afar, first from Jamaica, and then from his final exile in Britain. With publication of the present volume, documentation of Garvey's astounding rise and fall in the United States is completed.

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