Garvey, Amy Jacques

views updated

Garvey, Amy Jacques

December 31, 1896
July 25, 1973

Journalist Amy Jacques Garvey was the second wife of Marcus Mosiah Garvey, founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). She was born in Kingston, Jamaica, to Charlotte and George Samuel Jacques, who were from the Jamaican middle class. Plagued by ill health, Amy Jacques, in need of a cooler climate, migrated in 1917 to the United States. She became affiliated with the UNIA in 1918 and served as Marcus Garvey's private secretary and office manager at the UNIA headquarters in New York. After Marcus Garvey divorced his first wife, Amy Ashwood Garvey, he married Amy Jacques on July 27, 1922, in Baltimore, Maryland.

During Marcus Garvey's several periods of incarceration for alleged mail fraud (19231927), Amy Jacques Garvey assumed an unofficial leadership position, although she was never elected to a UNIA office. She nevertheless functioned as the major spokesperson for the UNIA and was the chief organizer in raising money for Marcus Garvey's defense. In addition, she served as the editor of the woman's page, "Our Women and What They Think," in the Negro World, the UNIA's weekly newspaper, published in New York. Her editorials demonstrated her political commitment to the doctrine of Pan-Africanism and also her belief that women should be active within their communities.

After Marcus Garvey's deportation from the United States in 1927, Amy Jacques Garvey packed their belongings and joined him in Jamaica. After Marcus Garvey died on June 19, 1940, in London, Amy Jacques Garvey continued to live in Jamaica and to serve the UNIA, headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. Her edited books include The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey in two volumes (1923, 1925). Her biographical memoir Garvey and Garveyism, published in 1963, helped to stimulate a rebirth of interest in Garveyism. Amy Jacques Garvey was awarded a prestigious Musgrave Medal in 1971 by the Board of Governors at the Institute of Jamaica for her distinguished contributions on the philosophy of Garveyism.

See also Garvey, Marcus; Negro World ; Pan-Africanism; Universal Negro Improvement Association


Hill, Robert, ed. The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers. 7 vols. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984.

Taylor, Ula Yvette. The Veiled Garvey: The Life and Times of Amy Jacques Garvey. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002.

ula y. taylor (1996)
Updated bibliography