Garvey, Amy Jacques (1896–1973)

views updated

Garvey, Amy Jacques (1896–1973)

African-American nationalist. Born Amy Jacques in Jamaica, West Indies, in 1896; died in Jamaica in 1973; married Marcus Garvey (1887–1940, black nationalist and founder of the United Negro Improvement Association), in 1922; children: Marcus M. Garvey, Jr.; Julius Garvey.

Born in 1896 in Jamaica, West Indies, and influenced by her father who made her read the dictionary and foreign-language newspapers as a child, activist Amy Jacques came to the United States in 1917. In 1922, she became the second wife of Jamaican pan-Africanist Marcus Garvey, founder of the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and advocate of the "Back to Africa" movement, whose first wife, from 1919 to 1922, was Amy Ashwood . Working alongside her husband, Amy Jacques Garvey became an activist in her own right. While Marcus was imprisoned for two years for treason (he was later pardoned), she worked to keep his message

alive, raising money for his defense and publishing the first two volumes of Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey (1923). From 1924 to 1927, she served as the associate editor of the UNIA newspaper Negro World and, as such, introduced a page called "Our Women and What They Think." In her own editorials, she expressed strong feminist views, encouraging black women to overcome male tyranny and demand their own positions of power in the Universal Negro Improvement Association.

When Marcus was deported in 1927, Amy toured England, France, and Germany with him, while continuing to write for Negro World. In 1934, when political pressure caused him to move to London, she stayed in Jamaica with their two young sons. After her husband's death in 1940, she continued to work for black nationalism, becoming a contributing editor to the journal African and founding the African Study Circle of the World in the late 1940s. She also wrote a biography, Garvey and Garveyism (1963), and published a book of articles (1966) before her death in Jamaica in 1973.

suggested reading:

Garvey, Amy Jacques. Garvey and Garveyism. Collier, 1970.

More From