Sir Hilary’s call came in the wake of Jamaica’s National Heroes Week, the annual celebration of the country’s heroes and martyrs, held last week. It also came at a time when countries and communities in the Caribbean and across the world are observing the United Nations’ declared ‘Decade for People of African Descent’. “Marcus Garvey was the victim of trumped up charges orchestrated by the late J Edgar Hoover, the famously anti-black director of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation,” said Sir Hilary.
“We are calling on President Obama, himself the victim of racist campaigns to de-legitimise his presidency, to exonerate Garvey before he leaves office. It is the right and proper thing to do.” 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 Jamaican 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.
“Garvey’s call for the upliftment of all Caribbean citizens through education and political engagement constitutes a critical part of the ideological and philosophical currents that gave birth to The University of the West Indies almost 70 years ago,” said Sir Hilary.
“The UWI’s mission and mandate is a manifestation of Garvey’s struggles for quality education for the masses of Caribbean peoples.