Amy J. Garvey stood on her principles

Amy J. Garvey
Thu, 1896-12-31

Amy E.J. Garvey was born on this date in 1896. She was an African American historian, journalist, and Pan-Africanist.

A key figure in the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), she was the second wife of Marcus Garvey. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Amy Jacques was educated at Wolmers Girls’ School. Her family was middle class with valued real estate. She had to move to a cooler climate because of attacks of malaria as a young girl.

Jacques became affiliated with UNIA in 1918, serving as Garvey’s private secretary; they were married in 1922. During Marcus Garvey’s incarceration, her activism through speaking and writing emerged. She served as the editor of the woman’s page column, “Our Women and What They Think,” in the Negro World, the UNIA’s weekly newspaper published in New York.

Her editorials demonstrated her commitment to Pan-Africanism and her belief that Black women should be active in their communities even to the point of sacrifice of self. Amy Jacques Garvey traveled across the United States as liaison between her husband and UNIA officials and the Marcus Garvey Committee of Justice.

Her uncompromising dedication towards organization bothered many within the UNIA. In the heart of this flurry, however, she was able to keep meticulous records. Upon Garvey’s release from prison and deportation in 1927, Amy and her husband returned to Jamaica; they had two sons, Marcus Jr., and Julius.

After Marcus Garvey's death in 1940, she continued to serve the UNIA. Her books include, Garvey and Garveyism (1963) and Black Power in America (1968). Amy Garvey received the Musgrave Medal in 1971; she died on July 25, 1973.

Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia
Volumes 1 and 2, edited by Darlene Clark Hine
Copyright 1993, Carlson Publishing Inc., Brooklyn, New York
ISBN 0-926019-61-9

Person / name: 

Garvey, Amy E. J.