August 17, 1887

Marcus Mosiah Garvey is born in St Ann's Bay in Jamaica, West Indies.


The French construction of Panama Canal (1/1/1881 to 5/15/1889) ends.


Ernest Hogan, a misguided self-hating Black, composes the song Every Coon Looks Alike as a play on words so as to copy the white song Every Pimp Looks Alike, which starts the coon genre of songs.


Will Heelan and Fred Helf continue the coon genre with the song,                  Every Race Has A Flag But The Coon, which becomes very popular.


Young Marcus Garvey enters in apprenticeship with his uncle - Alfred Burrowes - who had an extensive library of which Garvey made good use.

1903, August 9-15

A hurricane hits Jamaica wiping out all the crops in Garvey's area; afterwards Garvey moves to Kingston to try his luck there, promising his mother that as soon as things improve he would send for the family. With the assistance of a maternal uncle, Garvey secures a job at Benjamin's Printery.

November 1903

Panama gains independence from Colombia (via US role) and is immediately recognized by the United States.


The United States acquires from France the equipment used in the unsuccessful French construction of the Panama Canal (the Big Ditch).

1905, Autumn

Garvey becomes the youngest foreman printer in the history of the trade in Kingston; becomes acquainted with the abysmal living conditions of the laboring class. He quickly involves himself in social reform.


Garvey sends for his mother to live with him in Kingston.

1907, January 14

The 1907 Kingston earthquake measuring 6.5 on the scale damages every building in Kingston with 85% of all buildings destroyed; shortly thereafter a tsunami hits the north coast of Jamaica.


The Jamaican economy goes into a tailspin. England refuses to offer assistance to the colony; as a result, wages and morale are depressed. The first trade union to be formed on the island, the Printer's Union, struck demanding higher wages. By that time, Garvey was Vice President of the union. Despite assurances to the contrary, Garvey's support for the strike cost him his job. In addition, Garvey is mentored by Dr. J. Robert Love.

1908, March 18

Sarah Garvey dies of cerebral apoplexy at Public Hospital in Kingston.

1909, March 3

The National Club is founded in Kingston by Sandy Cox (with Garvey as the secretary) so as to expose and redress the abuses of the British colonial government in Jamaica.


Garvey realizes that organizing for social uplift is hard, demanding, full-time work. So he decides that he has to quit his government printing job and commits full time to the upliftment of the race. Subsequently, he starts the newspaper The Watchman.


As The Watchman drains his resources, he sets out to improve his finances; Garvey leaves Jamaica and travels throughout Central America.

1910, September

Moves to Costa Rica and stays with maternal aunt; works as a timekeeper at the United Fruit Company (UFC); publishes daily newspaper La Nación so as to unite his fellow Blacks that they might press for better working conditions and higher pay; Garvey is arrested for agitation.


Avoiding the authorities, Garvey flees to Panama (Bocas del Toro); founds bi-weekly newspaper La Prensa to publicize the plight of the Black workers at the Panama Canal.

1911, July 26-29

The First Universal Races Congress is held at the University of London. In attendance is an Egyptian born Sudanese named Dusé Mohammed Ali.


Wallis Budge writes Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection; Prior to that, in 1904, Budge had translated The Book of The Dead. Earlier in 1888, Budge had stolen the Papyrus of Ani from the Egyptian Museum and brought to the British Museum where it remains today. The Papyrus of Ani is cut into thirty-seven pieces from the original seventy-eight feet long and smuggled out of Cairo to London.


Garvey visits Ecuador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Columbia and Venezuela.


While still in Central America, Garvey learns from Black veterans that Jamaican and Barbadian troops in the British West India Regiments had been used to crush and decimate indigenous Africans for imperial England such as the last of the Asante Wars (1887-1900).

1912, January

Garvey returns back home to Jamaica.


Dusé Mohammed Ali founds the African Times and Orient Review (ATOR) in London. The journal advocates Pan African nationalism. It becomes a forum for African and other intellectuals and activists from around the world. The journal covers issues in the United States, the Caribbean, West Africa, South Africa, and Egypt.

1912, April 15

Sinking of RMS Titanic, flagship of the White Star Line, 375 miles south of Newfoundland on its way to New York City from Southampton, England.

1912 Autumn

Garvey moves to London, England.

1912 (Autumn) to 1914

Garvey attends college and studies law, philosophy; speaks at Hyde's Park's Speakers' Corner; visits Scotland, Ireland, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Hungary and Germany.


Garvey works for and is mentored by Dusé Mohammed Ali of the ATOR; Garvey contributes an article to the journal's October 1913 issue.

1914, June 17

Garvey departs from England on SS Trent to return back home to Jamaica.

1914, June 28

The archduke of Austria-Hungary is assassinated in Sarajevo (then part of the Austria-Hungary empire, but is now the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina).

1914, July 2

As the ship stopped in Port-of-Spain on its way to Jamaica from England, Garvey has a chance to do some sightseeing. This was his first visit to Trinidad and he had no close friends there. As he strolled through the streets of Port-of-Spain, just another Black face in the crowd, he could not have guessed that in a mere five years time, his would be one of the most revered names on the island.

1914, July 15

Garvey finally returns back to Jamaica.

1914, July 20

Garvey founds the UNIA in Jamaica.

1914, July 28

Austria-Hungary delivers ultimatum to the Kingdom of Serbia, thus starting World War I.

1914, August 15

The United States finishes construction of the Panama Canal.

1915, July 28

Woodrow Wilson orders United States marines to invade and occupy Haiti, which will last until 1934 (August 15).

1915, November 15

Booker T. Washington dies.

1916, March 24

Garvey arrives in the United States on the ship SS Tallac to start a tour to raise funds for a vocational school in Jamaica similar to Tuskegee Institute.

1916, March 25

After moving to New York, he finds work as a printer by day. At night he would speak on street corners, much as he did in London's Hyde Park.

1916, May

On the ninth of May 1916, Garvey holds his first public lecture in New York City at St. Mark's Church in the Bowery; starts the 38-state speaking tour.

1917, May

Forms the first UNIA division outside of Jamaica.

1917, July 2

East St Louis riots

1917, July 8

Garvey delivers the East St Louis Conspiracy speech at Lafayette Hall.

1917, July 28

Silent March along Fifth Avenue in New York City is held to protest lynchings and race riots; Half of 10,000 attendees are to be UNIA members

1918, August 17

Garvey worked to develop a program to improve the conditions of Africans "at home and abroad" under UNIA auspices. On 17 August 1918, he begins  publishing the Negro World newspaper in New York, which was widely distributed. Garvey works as editor until November 1920. He uses the Negro World as a platform to encourage growth of the UNIA.


Trinidad Workingman's Association teams up with UNIA for labor strike.

1919, June

UNIA purchases the first Liberty Hall at 120 W 138 Street (6,000 seating capacity).


UNIA sends representative Jean Joseph Adam to Paris Peace Conference.

1919, June

UNIA membership is at least 2MM

1919, June 27

Black Star Line (BSL) of Delaware is incorporated (capitalized at $10MM)

1919, September

Purchases first ship; S.S. Yarmouth is rechristened the S.S. Frederick Douglass

1919, September 14

SS Shadyside is the second vessel; SS Kanawha is the third vessel

1919, October 11

J. Edgar Hoover writes letter to Special Agent Ridgely concerning Garvey indicating that Garvey has not violated any federal law as of yet.

1919, October 14

At his office at 54-56 West 136th Street, George Tyler fires 4 shots into Garvey who is not injured; Tyler indicates that Edwin Kilroe, Assistant District Attorney, sent him to kill Garvey.

1919, October 15

It is reported that George Tyler, foot cuffed & handcuffed, jumps to his death.

1919, November

BOI (Bureau of Investigations) hires their first 5 Black agents so they can spy on Garvey and the UNIA: James Wormley Jones (Agent 800); James Edward Amos; Arthur Lowell Brent; Thomas Leon Jefferson; Earl E Titus. One of Garvey's close confidante, Herbert Boulin (Agent P-138), was a spy. James E Amos was an ex bodyguard of Theodore Roosevelt.

1920, January 17

National Prohibition starts in the United States of America.


UNIA had 1,100 chapters in 40 countries around the world

1920, August

UNIA membership is at least 4MM

1920, August 1

First International Convention of UNIA held in NYC with opening ceremonies at Madison Square Garden where 25,000 members enter at 10 abreast.

1920, August 13

The convention adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World which is one of the earliest and most complete document advocating human rights and detailing the abuses against Black people.


Garvey establishes the Negro Factories Corporation so as to develop the businesses to manufacture every marketable commodity.

1921, June 1

Tulsa white mob destroys Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

1922 (Early)

Attends meeting at invitation of Ku Klux Klan imperial leader, Edward Young Clarke, in Atlanta, GA. Afterwards other Black so-called leaders ask US Attorney General, Harry M. Daugherty to have Garvey incarcerated. Subsequently, Assistant District Attorney Leo Healy testifies that Garvey is a member of the KKK.

1923, January 15

On January 15, 1923, a group of eight prominent African Americans petitioned Attorney General Harry M. Daugherty asking the U.S. government to continue its prosecution of Garvey.

1923, June 23

The trial ends with Garvey being found guilty of mail fraud.

1923 December

Late 1923, Robert Lincoln Poston and others travel to Liberia

1925, February 8

Garvey begins incarceration in Atlanta Federal Penitentiary

1925, February 10

Garvey pens the First Message to the Negroes of the World from Atlanta Prison

1926, September

UNIA opens Liberty University in Claremont, Virginia

1927, November

Garvey's sentence is commuted by Calvin Coolidge

1927, November

Garvey is deported to Jamaica via New Orleans where a large crowd meets him at Orrett's Wharf in Kingston.


Garvey travels to Geneva to present the Petition of the Negro Race.

1929, September 9

Garvey founds the People's Political Party, the first modern political party in Jamaica; focuses on workers' rights, education, and aid to the poor


Garvey founds The Blackman newspaper.


Garvey is re-elected to the council in Kingston.

1931, April

Garvey launches the Edelweiss Amusement Company.


Garvey founds the New Jamaican newspaper.


Garvey leaves Jamaica and moves to London.


Garvey writes his poem: Ras Nasibu Of Ogaden.

1937, September

Garvey sets up the School of African Philosophy in Toronto to train UNIA leaders.


Garvey gives evidence before the West Indian Royal Commission on conditions in Ethiopia.

1940, January

Garvey reads his premature obituary while in London.

1940, June 10

Garvey dies in London.


Garvey's body is exhumed and returned back to Jamaica where the government proclaims Garvey as Jamaica's first national hero and re-inters him at a shrine in the National Heroes Park.

1987 August

The findings of the Judiciary Committee are that Garvey was innocent of the charges against him. Although the Committee determined he had been found guilty earlier due to the social climate of America at the time, they had no legal basis upon which to exonerate a person who was deceased.