The Nov. 9 Metro article “Urging a pardon for Marcus Garvey” highlighted the quest of Julius Garvey to vindicate the name of his father, Marcus Garvey, more than 90 years after Marcus Garvey’s unjust 1923 conviction for mail fraud. Julius Garvey is seeking a presidential pardon for his father, an extraordinary leader who received accolades throughout the world — including titles, resolutions in his honor, schools, streets and parks inscribed with his name, and even currency bearing his image.
My grandfather, like Marcus Garvey, was an immigrant from the islands who moved to Harlem after the turn of the 20th century. I had always been told that he was an admirer of the trailblazing leader and owned stock in Garvey’s Black Star Line.
So it is not only fitting but also personal for me for Garvey’s name to be cleared and his legacy uplifted. President Clinton granted a posthumous pardon in 1999 to Henry O. Flipper, the first African American graduate of West Point, who was dishonorably discharged from the Army after being accused of embezzlement. President George W. Bush granted a posthumous pardon to Charles Winters in 2008 for his violation of the Neutrality Act of 1939 by smuggling military planes to Israel when it was a new state.
President Obama must not leave office without granting a pardon to “The Right Excellent” Marcus Garvey as well. Such a pardon would correct a gross injustice, remove the stain of his racially and politically motivated conviction, and restore his legacy to not only his descendants but the global community as well.
Nkechi Taifa, Washington