Video: Dr Swan On Marcus Garvey’s Legacy

August 18, 2016

Bermudian Dr. Quito Swan spoke at an event yesterday in the United States centered around the request for a posthumous presidential pardon filed by descendants of Marcus Garvey, with Dr. Julius Garvey – Marcus Garvey’s son – also speaking at the presentation.

The Associated Press said “The son of early 20th century black nationalist Marcus Garvey on Wednesday said his father’s 129th birthday marked the perfect day to begin a public push for a presidential pardon to exonerate Garvey for an unjust conviction.

marcus garvey

“Dr. Julius W. Garvey, a New York surgeon, wants President Barack Obama to clear his father’s name from a mail fraud conviction that caused Marcus Garvey to be deported from the United States to his native Jamaica.

“Garvey’s family, along with supporters and fans, have filed a pardon request with the White House and are waiting to see if Obama will consider the request before he leaves office next year. If not, future presidents will get the same request, they said.”

Speaking at the event, Dr. Swan said, “It is truly an honour to be here and be a part of this really important, illustrious event.

“Marcus Garvey’s legacy is still being explored and understood in really important ways. It’s hard to speak of Garvey in 10 minutes, because to speak of Garvey is to speak of the black world in the 1920s.

“To speak of Garvey is to speak about ideas of black Africa and Africanism. To speak about Garvey is to talk about African resistance to systems of enslavement.”

“Garvey’s genius was the ability to build the world’s most expansive black man’s movement of the likes we have never seen since. The Negro World, for example, this amazing document, this newspaper, that’s not only written in English, but also French and Spanish, traveled across the world as contraband material.

“This speaks to the assault on Garvey and literature of Garvey and Garveyites for speaking about black unity, for speaking about the need for black people, like other populations across the world, to have a right to self-determination.

“When we heard the words of Bob Marley - emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, for nothing but ourselves can free our minds – that is a straight quote from Marcus Garvey; his legacy has been ever present.

“Garvey has fueled so many other organizations. Garvey still lives with us in many ways. I think this event is really important, not just for the historical dynamic of how I look at Garvey, but as stated, it’s now time to right the wrongs.”

Dr Swan obtained his Ph.D. in African Diaspora History from Howard University in 2005 and serves as an Associate Professor at Howard University, where he teaches courses on the global African Diaspora. He is the author of Black Power in Bermuda and the Struggle for Decolonization.

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Comments (13)

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  1. Its me again says:

    Notice C Span doesnt put Dr. in front of his name

    • Nice to hear, but remember he was BANNED from entering Bermuda and there is still a stigma of Anti-Black Nationalism in Bermuda.
      REPERATIONS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • truth says:


        I think education would be a better demand.

    • Roger the Cabin Boy says:

      Notice CSpan never puts “Dr.” in front of any PhD’s name. Not an issue.

  2. sage says:

    “Grow your dreadlocks, don’t be afraid of the wolfpack…” Bob Marley.

  3. Common Sense says:

    I happened to get up very early this morning and listened to the debate on CSpan about the movement to seek a posthumous Presidential pardon for Marcus Garvey.

    As a white person I knew very little about Mr. Garvey but always understood that he stood up for black people at a time when racism in America and around the world was probably at its worst. Having read more about his life and what he stood for, and how J. Edgar Hoover did everything possible to have him charged with a crime, any crime, so he could be deported from the US, I would have no hesitation in supporting this move by Mr. Garvey’s family and others, including Professor Swan to have President Obama grant Mr. Garvey a posthumous presidential pardon.

    I woud also encourage my fellow whites to read more about Marcus Garvey to better undestand why he is still revered as true hero to people of African descent – with very good reason.

    • I agree, but disagree with the timeline when racism was at its worst.
      The worst times in my oppinion where racism was worst was Post-Emancipation (even though Blacks were still being lynched and murdered in his time). Even though progress has been made our society is still deeply engrained with racism and the white community is still benefitting economically, politically and socially.

      • Common Sense says:

        I would not disagree at all with Onion Juice about when racism was at its worst in America. It struck me that Marcus Garvey was standing up for African Americans and all people of colour at a time when it was extremely dangerous, and it took great courage to do so. The purpose of my earlier comments were simply to say that the so-called “fraud” conviction of Marcus Garvey was manifestly political and unjust, and he is deserving of a presidential pardon – albeit posthumously.

        • BONITA S says:

          As we all should know the US ALLOWED J. Edgar Hoover (gave him power) to persecute whomever he choose too. Including our Presidents (Kennedy) and the numerous/ ALL Black Leaders.

    • Terry says:

      If your so strong on this why not sign your real name.

      Your a hippocrite.

      • Common Sense says:

        … and Terry’s position on this issue is? Just for the record – the word is spelled “hypocrite”.

  4. Shari-Lynn Pringle says:

    Proud moment for Dr. Swan and Bermuda. Hoping the family and supporters are successful in obtaining a presidential pardon.

  5. Bermudalove says:

    To have Dr. Swan speak at this important debate is indeed a proud moment for himself ,his family and Bermuda alike. It is amazing that thou US scholars and educators enlist the support of Dr Swan for their cause and view him as a important contributor .. when Dr Swan speaks about racial and educational injustices being perpetrated here in Bermuda some call him a fascist or racist.. I applaud Dr Swan for being an advocate for the causes of ppl of color aboard and here in Bermuda..I just wish those here at home would value his intelligence and insight as much as those intellects aboard do…