Feb 26, 2009 - Sale 2171

Sale 2171 - Lot 234

Price Realized: $ 7,800
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 2,500 - $ 3,500
GARVEY, MARCUS. Black Star Line. Invest Your Money in the Most Colossal, Most Prosperous Negro Industry of all Times. Double-sided broadside, 8- 1/2x11- 1/4 inches, with photographic images of the SS. Frederick Douglass on one side and the SS. Phillis Wheatley on the other; paper de-acidified with some archival restoration. New York: Hunt Printing Company, 34 West 136th Street, [1921]

Additional Details

Marcus Garvey (1887-1940) was the most powerful "radical" black leader of the twentieth century. While Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X both had strong followings, neither galvanized the black community across economic and social lines as Garvey and his United Negro Improvement Association. By 1919, Garvey''s huge success among African Americans had triggered an all-out effort by the FBI to find some weakness, some mistake that would lead to his arrest and indictment.
In 1921, Garvey''s Black Star Line provided the opportunity. The line had been trying to buy a large ship to be called the SS. Phillis Wheatley. In their efforts to raise money for this purpose, the UNIA issued posters like the present one to be placed in store windows etc. The only problem was, they didn''t as yet own the ship. The FBI had found the excuse they needed. Garvey and several of the top officers of the UNIA were arrested on charges of mail fraud---soliciting money through the mail. By September of 1922, Garvey was tried, found guilty and sent to federal prison. Though he was later pardoned and deported, Garvey''s UNIA movement was never able to recover the momentum it had lost. Garvey died, all but forgotten in 1940.