Every year, the people of Jamaica celebrate the lives of those that fought for the rights of their people. The week-long event is titled, “Jamaica’s National Heroes Week”. At the same time, the United Nations’ Decade for People of African Descent is observed by communities in the Caribbean and countries throughout the world.

Along with the current events is the transition of presidency in the U.S. Professor Sir Hilary Beckles views this as a perfect time to call on President Barack Obama for a posthumous pardon for Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jr.  In 1923, Garvey was deported from the U.S., after being falsely accused and convicted for mail fraud.

“Marcus Garvey was the victim of trumped up charges orchestrated by the late J. Edgar Hoover, the famously anti-black director of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation. We are, today, calling on President Obama, himself the victim of racist campaigns to de-legitimize his presidency, to exonerate Garvey before he leaves office. It is the right and proper thing to do”, says Beckles.

A global petition has received tens of thousands of signatures, demanding that the U.S. government clear Garvey’s name and his federal record in the U.S. Backing the petition is the Caribbean Reparations Commission, members of the Congressional Black Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Institute of the Black World 21st Century, and the Jamaican Government.

Beckles had this to share about Garvey Jr.: “Garvey’s call for the upliftment of all Caribbean citizens through education and political engagement constitutes a critical part of the ideological and philosophical currents that gave birth to The University of the West Indies, almost 70 years ago. The UWI’s mission and mandate is a manifestation of Garvey’s struggles for quality education for the masses of Caribbean peoples, for self-respect, self-determination, and cultural awareness in our region.”