Thomas Watson Harvey (November 27, 1893 – June 27, 1978) was President-General of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA) from 1956 to 1978.
The Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL) is a black nationalist fraternal organization founded in 1914 in the United States by Marcus Mosiah Garvey, a Jamaican immigrant. The Pan-African organization enjoyed its greatest strength in the 1920s, and was influential in the United States prior to Garvey's deportation to Jamaica in 1927. After that its prestige and influence declined, but it had a strong influence on African-American history and development. The UNIA was said to be "unquestionably, the most influential anticolonial organization in Jamaica prior to 1938."
Harvey was born in Douglas, Burke County, Georgia, the oldest of twelve children of Walker and Billie Harvey. His father was a farmer and both his grandparents were slaves. He was named after Thomas E. Watson, the leader of the Populist Party in Georgia who at the time was a champion of Georgia's dispossessed, both black and white.
Burke County is a county located along the eastern border of the U.S. state of Georgia in the Piedmont. As of the 2010 census, the population was 23,316. The county seat is Waynesboro.
Thomas Edward "Tom" Watson was an American politician, attorney, newspaper editor and writer from Georgia. In the 1890s Watson championed poor farmers as a leader of the Populist Party, articulating an agrarian political viewpoint while attacking business, bankers, railroads, Democratic President Grover Cleveland, and the Democratic Party. He was the nominee for vice president with Democrat William Jennings Bryan in 1896 on the Populist ticket.
Georgia is a state in the Southeastern United States. It began as a British colony in 1733, the last and southernmost of the original Thirteen Colonies to be established. Named after King George II of Great Britain, the Province of Georgia covered the area from South Carolina south to Spanish Florida and west to French Louisiana at the Mississippi River. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788. In 1802–1804, western Georgia was split to the Mississippi Territory, which later split to form Alabama with part of former West Florida in 1819. Georgia declared its secession from the Union on January 19, 1861, and was one of the original seven Confederate states. It was the last state to be restored to the Union, on July 15, 1870. Georgia is the 24th largest and the 8th most populous of the 50 United States. From 2007 to 2008, 14 of Georgia's counties ranked among the nation's 100 fastest-growing, second only to Texas. Georgia is known as the Peach State and the Empire State of the South. Atlanta, the state's capital and most populous city, has been named a global city. Atlanta's metropolitan area contains about 55% of the population of the entire state.
Harvey left Douglas as a young man seeking employment. His travels led him to Waynesboro, Augusta, Atlanta and other towns in the rural area. He became increasingly agitated as he became aware of his plight of black Americans, and he travelled north in search of a better life. He arrived in Philadelphia in 1917 at the age of 22. In 1919 he was discharged from the U.S. Army. Soon afterwards he became involved with the UNIA and its founder, Marcus Garvey, and became one of the thirteen students taught by Garvey in the School of African philosophy.
Waynesboro is a city in Burke County, Georgia, United States. The population was 5,766 at the 2010 census. The city is the county seat of Burke County. It is part of the Augusta, Georgia metropolitan area.
Augusta, officially Augusta–Richmond County, is a consolidated city-county on the central eastern border of the U.S. state of Georgia. The city lies across the Savannah River from South Carolina at the head of its navigable portion. Georgia's second-largest city after Atlanta, Augusta is located in the Piedmont section of the state.
Atlanta is the capital of, and the most populous city in, the U.S. state of Georgia. With an estimated 2017 population of 486,290, it is also the 38th most-populous city in the United States. The city serves as the cultural and economic center of the Atlanta metropolitan area, home to 5.8 million people and the ninth-largest metropolitan area in the nation. Atlanta is the seat of Fulton County, the most populous county in Georgia. A small portion of the city extends eastward into neighboring DeKalb County.
He joined the Association in 1919 and became very active, rising from ordinary membership to the successive positions of lieutenant of the African Legions, commissioner of the State of New York, Commissioner of the State of Ohio, High Chancellor of the Parent Body (when the Parent Body was located in London, England), Confidante of Mr. Garvey, and division president. In 1938 he distanced himself from Senator Theodore Bilbo, following the latter's use of racist invective in promoting the repatriation of African Americans under the age of 40 as an amendment to the House Joint Resolution 679.
New York is a state in the Northeastern United States. New York was one of the original Thirteen Colonies that formed the United States. With an estimated 19.54 million residents in 2018, it is the fourth most populous state. To distinguish the state from the city in the state with the same name, it is sometimes called New York State.
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the Great Lakes region of the United States. Of the fifty states, it is the 34th largest by area, the seventh most populous, and the tenth most densely populated. The state's capital and largest city is Columbus.
London is the capital and largest city of the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.
Finally, Harvey was elected President-General of the UNIA Rehabilitating Committee in Detroit in 1951. Shortly afterwards he established the Garvey's Voice newspaper. He was elected again to the post again in 1960, and was re-elected every four years until his death; his many years of service often included minor tasks such as painting a room, sweeping or preparing meals for visitors. He was known as a peacemaker, and as a spokesman who believed staunchly in Garvey's philosophy and opinions.
Detroit is the largest and most populous city in the U.S. state of Michigan, the largest United States city on the United States–Canada border, and the seat of Wayne County. The municipality of Detroit had a 2017 estimated population of 673,104, making it the 23rd-most populous city in the United States. The metropolitan area, known as Metro Detroit, is home to 4.3 million people, making it the second-largest in the Midwest after the Chicago metropolitan area. Regarded as a major cultural center, Detroit is known for its contributions to music and as a repository for art, architecture and design.
The rest of his association with the UNIA can be documented by members of the organization who knew him well. In his travels from Georgia to various cities, the Senate Chamber, university campuses, and offices of foreign and domestic government officials, he touched the lives of many people. He was renowned for his patience with and commitment to his fellow men.
The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress, which along with the United States House of Representatives—the lower chamber—comprises the legislature of the United States. The Senate chamber is located in the north wing of the Capitol, in Washington, D.C.
One of the highpoints of Harvey's career was the creation and founding of the African Project in 1966 under the leadership of the late Reverend Clarence Harding, Jr. The project was located in Monrovia, Liberia, and included a fully accredited school under the Garvey Memorial Foundation, headed by the minister of education.
Harvey died in 1978 at the home of his daughter, Jean Slappy of Philadelphia. He was 84 years old. His funeral took place at Antioch Second Baptist Church, and he was interred at Mount Lawn Cemetery, Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania.
Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jr. ONH was a Jamaican-born political leader, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator. He was first President-General of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL). He also was President and one of the directors of the Black Star Line, a shipping and passenger line incorporated in Delaware. The Black Star Line went bankrupt and Garvey was imprisoned after a trial that was "probably politically motivated" for mail fraud in the selling of its stock. Even though Garvey's conviction was upheld on appeal, his sentence was commuted in 1927. Advocates of African Redemption have openly sought to have him exonerated since 1987, continuing to the present day.
Theodore Gilmore Bilbo was an American politician who twice served as governor of Mississippi and later was elected a U.S. Senator (1935–47). A filibusterer whose name was a synonym for white supremacy, like many Southern Democrats of his era, Bilbo believed that black people were inferior; he defended segregation, and was a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
The Pan-African flag—also known as the UNIA flag, Afro-American flag, Black Liberation flag and various other names—is a tri-color flag consisting of three equal horizontal bands of red, black and green. The Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL) formally adopted it on August 13, 1920 in Article 39 of the Declaration of the Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World, during its month-long convention at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Variations of the flag can and have been used in various countries and territories in the Americas to represent Garveyist ideologies.
William Vacanarat Shadrach Tubman was a Liberian politician. He was the 19th President of Liberia, serving from his election in 1944 until his death in 1971.
The Black Star Line (1919−1922) was a shipping line incorporated by Marcus Garvey, the organizer of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), and other members of the UNIA. The shipping line was created to facilitate the transportation of goods and eventually African Americans throughout the African global economy. It derived its name from the White Star Line, a line whose success Garvey felt he could duplicate. Black Star Line became a key part of Garvey's contribution to the Back-to-Africa movement. It was one among many businesses which the UNIA originated, such as the Universal Printing House, Negro Factories Corporation, and the widely distributed and highly successful Negro World weekly newspaper.
Henrietta Vinton Davis was an African-American elocutionist, dramatist, and impersonator. In addition to being "the premier actor of all nineteenth-century black performers on the dramatic stage", Davis was proclaimed by Marcus Garvey to be the "greatest woman of the Negro race today".
Amy Euphemia Jacques Garvey was the Jamaican-born second wife of Marcus Garvey, and a journalist and activist in her own right. She was one of the pioneering Black women journalists and publishers of the 20th century.
Robert T. Lincoln Poston was an African-American newspaper editor and journalist, who was an activist in Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). He died at sea as he returned from a UNIA mission to Liberia.
The Declaration of Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World was drafted and adopted at the Convention of the Universal Negro Improvement Association held in New York City's Madison Square Garden on August 13, 1920. Marcus Garvey presided over the occasion as Chairman. It was at this event where he was duly elected Provisional President of Africa.
The African Blood Brotherhood for African Liberation and Redemption (ABB) was a radical U.S. black liberation organization established in 1919 in New York City by journalist Cyril Briggs. The group was established as a propaganda organization built on the model of the secret society. The group's socialist orientation caught the attention of the fledgling American communist movement and the ABB soon evolved into a propaganda arm of the Communist Party of America. The group was terminated in the early 1920s.
Amy Ashwood Garvey was a Jamaican Pan-Africanist activist, who was married to Marcus Garvey between 1919 and 1922. With him she founded the Negro World newspaper and she was a director of the Black Star Line Steamship Corporation.
Robert Josias "Raphael" Morgan was a Jamaican-American who is believed to be the first Black Orthodox priest in the United States. After being active in other denominations, including the AME Church, Church of England, and the Episcopal Church, Morgan converted to Orthodoxy. He was ordained as an Orthodox priest of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. He was designated as the "Priest-Apostolic to America and the West Indies"(Greek: Ιεραποστολος). He claimed to have founded the "Order of Golgotha", but the Orthodox Church is not organized into orders.
Lecba Elizier Cadet was a Haitian Vodou priest who, in 1919 attended the Paris Peace Conference and First Pan African Congress on behalf of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA).
Black nationalism is a type of nationalism or pan-nationalism in the United States that seeks to promote, develop and maintain a black national identity for people of black ancestry.
James Robert Stewart G.S.A. Ph. was a member of the Universal Negro Improvement Association. Stewart succeeded Marcus Garvey Garvey as President-General of the UNIA. He successfully he relocated its headquarters to Liberia.
Earnest Sevier Cox was an American Methodist preacher, political activist and white-supremacist. He is best known for his political campaigning in favor of stricter segregation between blacks and whites in the United States through tougher anti-miscegenation laws, and for his advocacy for "repatriation" of African Americans to Africa, and for his book White America. He is also noted for having mediated collaboration between white southern segregationists and African American separatist organizations such as UNIA and the Peace Movement of Ethiopia to advocate for repatriation legislation, and for having been a personal friend of black racial separatist Marcus Garvey.
The Peace Movement of Ethiopia was an African-American organization based in Chicago, Illinois. It was active in the 1930s and 1940s, and promoted the repatriation of African Americans to the African continent, especially Liberia. They were affiliated with the Black Dragon Society.
Maymie de Mena was an American-born activist who became one of the highest-ranking officers in the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). She has been credited with keeping the organization alive after Marcus Garvey's conviction for mail fraud and deportation from the United States.
Henry Vinton Plummer, Jr. was an American lawyer, real estate agent, civil rights activist, and black nationalist. In the 1920s he became involved in Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA), leading the organizations publicity and propaganda wings, Garvey's secret service, and its militia.