What did Marcus Garvey do for the black community in the United States?

Marcus Garvey traveled throughout the United States and established branches of UNIA in most cities where blacks lived.

In 1920, he held the first UNIA International Convention of the Negro Peoples of the World at Madison Square Garden in New York City. It lasted thirty-one days, with 25,000 persons attending.

A result of this convention was a document called the Declaration of the Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World. The declaration listed the main grievances of the black race and demanded their resolution. Demands were made for the “N” in “Negro” to be capitalized, for black history to be taught in schools, and for lynching and other violence and discrimination against African Americans to cease.

A flag was created, using red, black, and green as the colors of the race: red signified “the color of the blood which men must shed for their redemption and liberty”; black stood for “the color of the noble and distinguished race to which we belong”; and green represented “the luxuriant vegetation of our Motherland.” These colors have been used to this day to represent black pride.

August 31, the last day of the convention, was proclaimed an international holiday for black people.

In 1925, Garvey was sentenced to five years in prison (he had been charged with mail fraud). In 1927, after two years, he was pardoned by President Calvin Coolidge. Garvey was deported back to Jamaica, after which he traveled to London and continued his nationalistic activities until his death in 1940.