Amy Jacques Garvey

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Amy Jacques Garvey
Marcus Garvey with Amy Jacques Garvey, 1922.png
Garvey with her husband, Marcus, in 1922
Amy Euphemia Jacques

(1895-12-31)31 December 1895
Kingston, Jamaica
Died25 July 1973(1973-07-25) (aged 77)
Kingston, Jamaica
Other namesAJ Garvey
OccupationPublisher, journalist
Known forActivism, black nationalism, Pan-Africanism
Spouse(s)Marcus Garvey (1922–1940)
ChildrenMarcus Mosiah Garvey Jr., Julius Winston Garvey
Parent(s)George Samuel, Yvette Samuel

Amy Euphemia Jacques Garvey (31 December 1895[1] – 25 July 1973) was the Jamaican-born second wife of Marcus Garvey, and a journalist and activist in her own right. She was one of the pioneering female Black journalists and publishers of the 20th century.[2]

Early life[edit]

Amy Euphemia Jacques was born on 31 December 1895 in Kingston, Jamaica.[3] As the eldest child of George Samuel and Charlotte Henrietta (née South) Jacques,[2] she was raised in a middle-class home.[3] Yvette Taylor, in her account of the life of Amy Jacques Garvey, refers to her as being "mulatta".[4] Charlotte Henrietta was half-white, and George Samuel was a dark-skinned black. Taylor goes on to explain that her mixed race heavily influenced her upbringing. At a young age, Garvey was taught to play the piano and took courses in music appreciation because music and music appreciation were believed to be considered the "cultural finishing to a girl's education". Garvey was a part of a small minority of Jamaican youth to attend high school. She attended Wolmer's Schools.[5]

AJ Garvey was urged by her father to read periodicals and newspapers to "enhance" her knowledge of the world.[6] Upon graduating school and receiving some of the highest honours of the time, Garvey was recruited to work at a law firm.[3] Her father initially said no, refusing to allow his daughter to work in an environment with males.[3] George Samuel died that year,[3] and the lawyer proceeding over his estate urged Charlotte Henrietta to allow Garvey to work in the clerical office so that she could control the estate. Charlotte agreed, and Garvey worked there for four years, where she ultimately gained knowledge of the legal system.[3]

After four years of working for this company, Garvey migrated to the United States in 1917.[7] She promised her employer and mother that she would return in three months if conditions in the U.S. were not suitable to her;[7] however, Garvey did not return. Karen Adler, in her article chronicling Garvey's life, argues that she did not return because she was enthralled by Garveyism.[8]

Adler says that Amy attended a conference being held by Marcus Garvey and was moved by his words, soon afterwards assuming the role of his private secretary and working alongside him and the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). She also became involved with the publishing of the Negro World newspaper in Harlem from its inception in August 1918.[9][10]

Marriage to Marcus Garvey[edit]

On July 27, 1922, several months after his previous marriage was severed,[11] Marcus and Amy were married in Baltimore.[11]

Jacques was said to have been Amy Ashwood's (Marcus Garvey's previous wife) chief bridesmaid in her wedding to Garvey.[12] Ashwood attempted to have the second marriage annulled and failed,[12] leaving Amy Jacques as Garvey's legitimate wife.

Garvey had two children in her marriage, Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jr. and Julius Winston Garvey born in 1930 and 1933 respectively.[13]

Leadership of UNIA[edit]

Garvey was said to have been an excellent speaker, having toured the country with and without her husband.

After making a return from their western tour, Marcus was scheduled to speak in New York and Amy was not a part of the program.

Even though she was not scheduled to speak at the event she was allowed to because of the mass outcry by the crowd[8] Adler believes that Marcus Garvey failed to show any appreciation for his wife despite her growing fame in the public forum.[8] Amy, however, did not pose an initial threat to Garvey. Given her strong beliefs in her position as his wife, and the structure of the organization, Amy took a back seat, as did other women in the UNIA .[14] The grievances were made public at UNIA's national convention in 1922. Sexism found a means to thrive even in spite of UNIA's commitment to sexual equality. This being the case, women such as Amy Jacques Garvey found a way to become invaluable to the organization.

In light of unforeseen circumstances, Garvey was forced to assume a lead role in UNIA after Marcus was convicted of mail fraud on 21 June 1922,[15] less than a year after their marriage. It is at this time that Garvey assumed interim leadership of UNIA. In addition to speaking all over the country to raise money for Garvey's defence fund, she edited and published volume 2 of the Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey, two volumes of his poetry, The Tragedy of White Injustice and Selections from the Poetic Meditations of Marcus Garvey. While doing this she worked tirelessly with lawyers to get her husband out of jail, and kept UNIA moving forward by delivering speeches and meeting with the leadership of the group occasionally. Despite the effort that Garvey put into keeping Marcus's dream alive, Marcus rarely showed appreciation toward her.[8] Garvey never assumed official leadership of the organization because Marcus would not allow it.[11]

Life after UNIA[edit]

After her husband was deported in 1927, Garvey went with him to Jamaica.[14] They had two sons: Marcus Mosiah Garvey III (b. 1930) and Julius Winston Garvey (b. 1933).[16] She remained with their children in Jamaica when Garvey moved to England in 1934.[16]

After Garvey's death in 1940, Jacques continued the struggle for black nationalism and African independence. In 1944 she wrote "A Memorandum Correlative of Africa, West Indies and the Americas", which she used to convince U.N. representatives to adopt an African Freedom Charter.

In November 1963, Garvey visited Nigeria as a guest of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, who was being installed as that nation's first Governor-General. She published her own book, Garvey and Garveyism, in 1963, as well as a booklet, Black Power in America: The Power of the Human Spirit, in 1968. She also assisted John Henrik Clarke in editing Marcus Garvey and the Vision of Africa (1974). Her final work was the Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey volume III, written in conjunction with E. U. Essien-Udom.[17]

She was awarded the Musgrave Medal in 1971.[5]


Garvey was an ardent writer on behalf of the UNIA movement and her husband, Marcus Garvey.

Title Year published
The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey Vol I 1923
The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey Vol II 1925
Garvey and Garveyism 1963


Garvey died aged 77 on 25 July 1973, in her native Kingston, Jamaica,[13] and was interred in the churchyard of Saint Andrew's Parish Church.[18]


  1. ^ According to the African American National Biography, Volume 3, and PBS, her year of birth was 1896.
  2. ^ a b "Amy Jacques Garvey" Archived 9 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine,
  3. ^ a b c d e f Boyce Davies, Carole (2008). Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora: Origins, Experiences, and Culture, Volume 1. ABC-CLIO. p. 458. ISBN 9781851097005. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  4. ^ Taylor, Yvette (October 2002). "Mrs. Garvey". The New Crisis. 109 (5): 1–34.
  5. ^ a b "Amy J. Garvey Stood On Her Principles" Archived 9 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine, African American Registry.
  6. ^ Taylor, James Lance (January 2003). "The Veiled Garvey: The Life and Times of Amy Jacques Garvey". History: Reviews of New Books. 32 (1): 29–29. doi:10.1080/03612759.2003.10527689. ISSN 0361-2759.
  7. ^ a b "Amy Jacques Garvey".
  8. ^ a b c d Adler, Karen S. (2 January 1992). "Always Leading Our Men in Service and Sacrifice': Amy Jacques Garvey, Feminist Black Nationalist". Gender and Society. 6 (3): 346–375. doi:10.1177/089124392006003002. S2CID 145570748.
  9. ^ "Honoree Amy Jacques Garvey", Institute for Gender and Development Studies, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine.
  10. ^ "Women and Garveyism", in Rosemary Skinner Keller, Rosemary Radford Ruether (eds), Encyclopedia of Women and Religion in North America: Women in North American, Indiana University Press, 2006, p. 1077.
  11. ^ a b c Blain, Keisha N. (2018). Set the world on fire : black nationalist women and the global struggle for freedom. Philadelphia. ISBN 978-0-8122-4988-0. OCLC 990257593.
  12. ^ a b Grant, Colin (2008). Negro with a hat : the rise and fall of Marcus Garvey. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-536794-2. OCLC 177014251.
  13. ^ a b "Amy Jacques | American Experience | PBS". Retrieved 1 May 2021.
  14. ^ a b Stein, Judith (1986). The world of Marcus Garvey : race and class in modern society. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press. ISBN 0-8071-1236-4. OCLC 12050038.
  15. ^ "BBC - History - Marcus Garvey". Retrieved 27 April 2021.
  16. ^ a b "People & Events: Amy Jacques, 1896-1973", website for Marcus Garvey: Look For Me in the Whirlwind, American Experience, PBS.
  17. ^ Amy Jacques Garvey at website.
  18. ^ Espiritu, Allison (25 February 2007). "Amy Jacques Garvey (1896-1973) •". Retrieved 27 April 2021.

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