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Urban Intellectuals

Marcus Garvey met with the Ku Klux Klan on June 25, 1922
Garvey recognized the influence of the Ku Klux Klan, and in early 1922, he went to Atlanta, Georgia, for a conference with KKK imperial giant Edward Young Clarke. According to Garvey, “I regard the Klan, the Anglo-Saxon clubs and White American societies, as far as the Negro is concerned, as better friends of the race than all other groups of hypocritical whites put together.

I like honesty and fair play. You may call me a Klansman if you will, but, potentially, every white man is a Klansman, as far as the Negro in competition with whites socially, economically and politically is concerned, and there is no use lying.” Leo H. Healy, who was Garvey’s Attorney, publicly accused Garvey of being a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

Part of Garvey’s motivation in meeting with the Klan was to work in coalition with the Klan along racial separatist lines–a White America for white people and a Black Africa for black people–with a shared concern to prevent miscegenation, or the mixing of the races. Garvey expressly negotiated with the Klan that the U.N.I.A. would oppose the NAACP’s campaigns in the South in behalf of integration, housing and residential rights, and other anti-Jim Crow measures.

In exchange, he hoped in part that the KKK would help lobby the federal government — whom Garvey believed held political beliefs very similar to those of the KKK — to keep Garvey out of prison, or if imprisoned, to help win him a pardon. All these elements, and more, contributed to Garvey’s ultimate deportation from the United States. #UIHistorian

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