Editorial

EDITORIAL: Pardon Marcus Garvey

Roger Stone, a longtime personal confidant and adviser to President Donald Trump, joined the growing list of Trump associates arrested, charged and convicted by special counsel Robert Mueller for crimes related to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. Stone was arrested by FBI agents who stormed his Florida home in the middle of the night last Friday and was later indicted on three counts by a grand jury.

Upon his release on a $250,000 bond by a Florida judge, Stone held a press conference at which he asserted his innocence; he has since pleaded not guilty to the charges.

But when a reporter asked him repeatedly if he is found guilty, would he ask for a pardon from Trump, Stone said what he told reporters more than a year ago: “The only person I have advocated a pardon for is Marcus Garvey.”

Garvey Jr., a Pan Africanist, born in Jamaica in 1887, was also considered by some a founder of the civil rights movement. A journalist, publisher and entrepreneur, he was among the founders and president of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL), an organization that promoted social, political and economic freedom for Black people. UNIA-ACL grew to more than four million members, and it continues to exist today. He was also president of the Black Star Line, a shipping and passenger line. As Garvey’s movement grew globally, so did the focus of an investigation of his activities by the Bureau of Investigations (later called the FBI). He was subsequently convicted of mail fraud and jailed for two years.

Upon his release, Garvey was deported, causing him to abandon the movement that many believe was killed by U.S. political and legal operatives led by J. Edgar Hoover. In 1950, Garvey died in London, at age 52, and his family, led by his youngest son, Dr. Julius Garvey, has continuously sought to clear his name with a presidential pardon and exoneration of the mail fraud charges.

Stone reportedly has asked Trump to pardon the late Black nationalist leader more than once over the past two years. He’s made his wishes known in various interviews, and he stated it plainly last week to reporters. Others including Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.); Reps. John Lewis (D-Ga.), James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.), Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY) and Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY) appealed to President Barrack Obama to pardon Garvey, but it didn’t happen.

Stone has urged Trump, who favors granting pardons posthumously, to issue a pardon to Garvey during Black History Month. We will be looking forward to Trump’s declaration if for no other reason than to show support of his beleaguered Dear Friend, and pardon Marcus Garvey in February.

The deed is long overdue for a man celebrated around the world.

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