AFT Resolution


WHEREAS, Marcus Garvey was a Jamaican-born black nationalist, who founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in 1914, attracting thousands of supporters as he spoke across America urging African Americans to be proud of their race and return to Africa; and

WHEREAS, the UNIA exponentially grew, with more than 700 branches across the U.S., attracting the attention of the FBI and causing it to hire its first Black agents to infiltrate the association and spy on Garvey; and 

WHEREAS, the FBI acknowledged that it began investigating Garvey to find reasons to deport him as an undesirable alien, then initiated a mail-fraud case with an overwhelming amount of errors and questionable evidence, resulting in a commuted five-year sentence and deportation for Garvey and an acquittal for three other defendants; and

WHEREAS, for more than 82 years, Garvey’s family, followers (Garveyites), and several U.S. representatives have advocated for a presidential pardon from Presidents Calvin Coolidge to Barack Obama:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will acknowledge Marcus Garvey as an influential figure for civil rights activists that followed him; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT, in collaboration with its members and other community organizations, will produce and distribute appropriate teaching resources about the life and legacy of Marcus Garvey; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will declare that the mail-fraud charge against Marcus Garvey was politically motivated, and that the U.S. government played a leading role in his false conviction; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will join the growing clamor for the posthumous pardon of Marcus Garvey by encouraging its local, state and national affiliate organizations to work with our elected federal officials to stand in solidarity to convince President Joe Biden to grant clemency to Marcus Garvey.

Adopted 9/29/2022