Marcus Mosiah Garvey was born in St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica, to an Afro-Jamaican family. He worked in the print trade as a teenager and became involved in trade union activity. In 1914, he founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), and in 1916, moved to the US to establish a branch of the organization in Harlem. Garvey promoted unity between Africans and the African Diaspora, sought an end to the colonial rule of Europe in Africa, and encouraged the political union of the continent. He urged Africans in the Diaspora to migrate to Africa in his Back-to-African Movement. His strong Black separatist opinions separated him from other African American civil rights advocates who worked for racial integration.
Garvey started various business enterprises in the belief that Black people should be financially independent, including the Negro Factories Corporation, Negro World newspaper, and the Black Star Line shipping and passenger firm. The Black Star Line was launched to facilitate the migration of African Americans to Liberia in Africa. Garvey was convicted to mail fraud in 1923 for selling Black Star stock and spent nearly two years in prison in Atlanta. This sentence was commuted by US President Calvin Coolidge, and Garvey was deported to Jamaica in 1927. He established the People’s Political Party in 1929 and served as a city councilor in Kingston. He moved to London in 1935 and died there in 1940. His body was returned to Jamaica in 1964 for interment in Kingston’s National Heroes Park. He was named Jamaica’s first National Hero.