George Garvey is a renowned lawyer renowned for his contributions to the legal field. Additionally, he is an active civil rights activist involved in many causes.
He was born into a moderately prosperous Afro-Jamaican family in Saint Ann’s Bay, Jamaica and apprenticed into the print trade as a teenager. Later he got involved with trade unionism.
Early Life and Education
Born on 17 August 1887 in St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica, Garvey attended elementary school and the local trade school for stonemasons before working as a printer in Kingston – Jamaica’s capital city.
He joined the first labor union for print tradesmen in Jamaica, which ultimately spurred him on to become an activist. In 1914 he founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), and soon after opened a branch of this organization in New York City.
His philosophy was a synthesis of racial pride and unity, international black allegiance and solidarity, economic self-development and independence. In his writings, speeches, and the 1928 epic poem “The Tragedy of White Injustice,” he articulated these themes.
Garvey had a storied college career in both football and baseball. Though he never played quarterback, he earned his letter as a defensive back, recording 30 tackles in 1967.
In 1968, he earned the title of MVP for Michigan State University baseball team after hitting an incredible 9 home runs and driving in 38 runs.
After graduating, Garvey pursued a legal career and earned his law degree from Harvard University. He quickly rose to become a highly-rated attorney and is currently employed at Munger, Tolles & Olson in Los Angeles. He has earned recognition as an expert in Securities Litigation and Business Litigation matters; furthermore, he is an author of numerous publications and presents on legal topics both domestically and abroad.
Achievements and Honors
Garvey was an eminent African-American politician, journalist, publisher, entrepreneur and orator. He founded and served as President-General of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), through which he declared himself Provisional President of Africa.
He also founded the Black Star Line, an international steamship corporation with a mission to provide transportation, communication and trade for African people around the world. This organization published UNIA’s flagship newspaper The Negro World in three languages and spread its philosophy throughout the globe.
He was an anti-socialist and anti-colonial activist who sought to establish African racial purity and political independence in Africa. He became a controversial figure in the United States, where his Justice Department attempted to discredit him. Ultimately, President Calvin Coolidge pardoned him and he returned to Jamaica in 1927.
Garvey had a vibrant personal life. He married twice, first in Jamaica then England; and had two sons.
He wrote numerous articles and books expressing his opinions on social issues. Additionally, he was renowned for his oratory abilities.
His speeches were passionate and captivating. He frequently used classical allusions to convey a message of greatness and nobility.
He traveled widely and immersed himself in various cultures. His fascination with African history deepened as he read Booker T. Washington’s (1856-1915) “Up from Slavery” during this period.
George Garvey was raised with modest means in Saint Ann’s Bay, Jamaica and began his apprenticeship in the print trade as a teenager. Later he immigrated to America where he founded the Union of Negroes in America (UNIA) in 1914 to promote unity among Africans and their diaspora.
He envisioned Africa as a united one-party state led by black people with laws to maintain racial purity. Among other ideas, he believed that black people should become economically independent and return home to Africa.
Garvey often supported the plight of Africans in America, yet his fiery rhetoric and collaboration with white supremacists caused considerable controversy among black activists. Additionally, he was accused of discriminating against mixed-race people and Jews.