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MARCUS GARVEY

 

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Marcus Garvey

Jewish Patronage

During the peak years of the UNIA in the early twenties, a number of Jewish figures endorsed and contributed funds to Garvey's various schemes of African colonization. The Hungarian-born banker and philanthropist William C. Ritter of Brooklyn made a financial contribution to the UNIA's 1924 Liberian colonization program.

Two Jewish physicians, Dr. L. A. Goldfine of Chicago and Dr. J Gordon of New York, also gave warm endorsements to the movement, and Gordon addressed the Third UNIA International Convention in August 1921 from the platform of Liberty Hall.

Garvey's Jamaican patrons included Abraham Judah, the city engineer of Kingston, and Lewis Ashenheim, a leading luminary of the Jamaican bar. Whereas the former helped make possible Garvey's first English visit in 1913 and 1914---an undertaking that proved of immeasurable importance to Garvey's political and ideological orientation---the latter provided Garvey with critical legal defenses in Jamaica's courts after he was deported to the island from the United States. Garvey reciprocated by taking to the hustings in support of Ashenheim's candidacy in the 1935 election, the final election held in Jamaica under the old restricted franchise of crown colony rule. Garvey's support for Ashenheim proved unpopular with the electorate and occasioned a number of violent disturbances at meetings addressed by Garvey in Kingston. It also marked the end of twenty-five years of close political allegiance between Garvey and the opposing candidate and mayor of the city of Kingston, H. A. L. Simpson.

 

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