December is a month many people look forward to, mainly because of the holiday season commemorating the birth of Christ, Christmas. Generally, December seems to be a month of good fortune, for many. For Marcus Garvey, the month of December seemed to have been an eventful, probably memorable one, as well. Let us highlight a few of the events that would have contributed to this.

  • Amy Jacques, Garvey’s second wife, was born on December 31, 1895.
  • Commissioned by Marcus Garvey, the Universal Ethiopian Anthem was written by Arnold Josiah Ford and Mignon Inniss Ford and was officially sung for the first time at a UNIA meeting held at Liberty Hall in Harlem, New York on December 21, 1919.  
  • Garvey courted Amy Ashwood, his first wife, for over five years. After this seemingly long period of courtship, the couple got married in a private ceremony at a Catholic church in Harlem on December 25 (Christmas Day), 1919.  This ceremony was followed by a more elaborate public ceremony and then a reception at the Liberty Hall in Harlem.
  • After having closely monitored the activities of Garvey and the UNIA for several months, the Bureau of Investigation requested that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) investigate them on December 12, 1921.  
  • Garvey was incarcerated for mail fraud and sentenced to 5 years in prison. However, his sentence was commuted by President Calvin Coolidge after having served 2 years and 9 months. Garvey was deported from the US on December 2, 1927. He arrived in Jamaica on December 10, 1927 to a hero’s welcome.
  • The official opening of Edelweiss Park at 67 Slipe Road, Kingston was commemorated with the hosting of a ceremony on December 10, 1928. This venue became the international headquarters of the UNIA in 1929.
  • Garvey was imprisoned for contempt of court because of comments he had made concerning one of the points on his manifesto for his political party, the People’s Political Party, the first official political party in Jamaica. The manifesto stated that there should be “A law to impeach and imprison judges who, with disregard for British justice and constitutional rights, dealt unfairly”. He was sentenced to a fine of £100 and three months at the St. Catherine District Prison, Spanish Town. Garvey was released from prison at 4:00 p.m. on December 19, 1929.

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