Marcus Garvey Day in Jamaica Date in the current year: August 17, 2019

Marcus Garvey Day in Jamaica On August 17, Jamaicans celebrate Marcus Garvey Day. It honors a Jamaican-born political activist, orator, publisher, journalist and entrepreneur who fought for the rights of Afro-Jamaicans.

Marcus Garvey was born on August 17, 1887 in Saint Ann’s Bay to a stonemason and a domestic servant. He was a descendant of African slaves (the Irish last name Garvey had been inherited by his ancestors from their former owners), meaning he was at the lowest level of the Jamaican social hierarchy Garvey attended a local church school until the age of 14 and then had to work since his parents couldn’t afford to pay for his further education.

In 1905, Garvey moved to Kingston in search for a better job. Soon, he joined the trade union movement and took a leading role in the 1908 print workers’ strike. When the strike was broken, Garvey was fired and struggled to find a new job, having been branded a troublemaker. As a result, he became increasingly angry at the inequalities present in Jamaican society and joined the National Club, the first nationalist organization in Jamaica.

Economical challenges made Garvey leave Jamaica. During the next four years, he traveled through Central America, spent some time in London, and undertook a trip across Europe. Upon his return to Jamaica in 1914, Garvey founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL), a Pan-African nationalist organization.

The ideology of UNIA-ACL was nicknamed Garveyism after the organization’s founder. It centered on the unification and empowerment of African-Americans, the fight against their discrimination and marginalization, and eventual repatriation of black Americans descended from slaves to the African continent.

In 1929, Garvey founded the first modern political party in Jamaica, the People’s Political Party. Six years later, he relocated to London but remain active and worked until his death from stroke in 1940. In 1964, his body was taken to Jamaica and reburied in National Heroes Park in Kingston.

Marcus Garvey is considered the first national hero of Jamaica. In 2012, the government of Jamaica created Marcus Garvey Day in honor of his 125th birth anniversary. This memorial day is marked with a wreath-laying ceremony in National Heroes Park, patriotic lessons in schools, concerts, and other events and activities.

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Category

Anniversaries and Memorial Days

Country

Jamaica

Tags

Marcus Garvey Day in Jamaica, holidays in Jamaica, observances in Jamaica, national hero of Jamaica