Marcus Garvey’s views had made him plenty of political enemies. He was unapologetically in favor of an independent Black nation separate from the racist United States, after all! But there was something that made him even more dangerous.
Garvey actually started making his vision happen! By selling stock in the Black Star Line, the ship that would be used to transport Black people to a new country, Garvey made himself even more visible to his enemies. Both the FBI and other famous Black leaders considered him a threat.
So what happened next was suspect, but not necessarily surprising.
Using Black agents, the FBI investigated Garvey, while his Black peers attacked him publicly. When all was said and done, he was sentenced to prison and spent almost three years there! Were the charges legit? It’s incredibly unlikely.
What happened to his endeavors to create a separate, independent Black space?
It continued to grow. While the Black Star Line eventually folded, Garvey’s work continued after he was released. His work inspired the pro-Black movement after World War II, and Garveyism continues to be a staple of the Black liberation movement today.
Black power is a dangerous antidote to white supremacy. We must always question the criminalization of our people, especially because we know the system will do nearly anything it can to protect itself and protect white supremacy!