DARC Ethiophile Chronicles
On this day
June 21, 1923 Hon. Marcus Garvey sentenced to five years in prison after his conviction on charges of using the mail to defraud. Garvey said the charges were political.
In 1922, Marcus Garvey and three other UNIA officials were charged with mail fraud involving the Black Star Line. The trial records indicate several improprieties occurred in the prosecution of the case. It didn't help that the shipping line's books contained many accounting irregularities. Garvey was convicted and sentenced to prison for five years. Claiming to be a victim of a politically motivated miscarriage of justice, Garvey appealed his conviction, but was denied. In 1927 he was released from prison and deported to Jamaica.
The case (including the appeal) is Marcus Garvey v United States, no. 8317, Court of Appeals, 2d Circuit, 2 February 1925. Portions of the legal arguments in the case were also reprinted at the time in the Negro World newspaper and in the Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey, volume two, edited by Amy Jacques Garvey (a volume which was produced in part to help publicize the injustice of the case and lobby for Garvey's release from prison). You can also read excerpts along with extended coverage of the case, including Garvey's commentaries, his closing address to the jury, and other public reaction, in volume five of the Marcus Garvey and UNIA Papers, volume 5, edited by Robert Hill, Deborah Forczek, and Devra Weber. That volume covers the 1922-1924 period in which the initial trial took place.
While Garvey's initial mail fraud trial only lasted a month, the full legal proceedings leading up to his imprisonment were protracted. The trial began in New York on 18 May 1923, with Judge Julian Mack presiding. The trial ended on 21 June 1923, with Garvey being sentenced to five years in prison for mail fraud. Garvey's appeal for bail was initially rejected and he spent three months incarcerated in the Tombs Prison in New York before finally being released on bail (pending the appeal of his case to a higher court).