Exhortation to Action: The Writings of Amy Jacques Garvey,
Journalist and Black Nationalist
Amy Jacques Garvey picked up her pen in 1924 and for four years she used
journalism to become one of the primary voices for the Black Nationalist
movement led by her husband, Marcus Mosiah Garvey. Through the pages of
Marcus Garvey's newspaper, the Negro World, Jacques Garvey waged a
campaign aimed at elevating blacks in the United States, the Caribbean, and
Africa. She once noted that her husband "whipped Negroes into the
consciousness of race pride and, consequently, made them grow in power and
stature." With a militancy and fierceness, Jacques Garvey was like her
husband, trying to lift blacks out of the "lethargy of inferiority."
Jacques Garvey was a prolific writer and editor, serving as an associate
editor of the Negro World during the 1920's. Extant literature consulted
for this paper revealed that she wrote exclusively for the Negro
World. In 1924, she started the paper's woman's page, "Our Women and
What They Think," because she wanted to give the women in the movement a
voice. Beginning with her first editorial for that page on February 2,
1924, Jacques Garvey sought to influence black thought and action. She
continued her editorials through November 1927, contributing approximately
one hundred-fifty that appeared on the woman's page; and she solicited and
edited articles, letters, and opinion pieces from female Garveyites.
Jacques Garvey's work as a journalist has been given little historical
review. The extent to which her journalistic writings had an ideological
appeal to blacks is also not investigated or acknowledged. Historical
scholarship focuses overwhelmingly on Jacques Garvey in connection with her
husband and her role as an organizer of the UNIA. Recent scholarship has
focused on Jacques Garvey's writings about what she described as white
imperialism and the exploitation of darker nations. This paper provides
a textual analysis of another theme on which she dwelled--black elevation
through economic independence. Achievement of that goal would come through
racial productivity, self-reliance and self-determination, other themes on
which she dwelled.
This analysis should allow for the discovery of new insight into how a
black woman who is virtually invisible in the literature on the history of
the press used journalism to advance the agenda of a movement that impacted
perhaps millions of black people in the early 1900s. The study seeks to
ascertain the values she espoused and the meaning Jacques Garvey ascribed
to being a black person, a woman and a black woman during a volatile time
in the history of blacks and the history of this country. In her quest to
empower blacks, she informed and advocated, thus fulfilling the advocacy
role of the early black press. The lack of historical recognition of
Jacques Garvey as a journalist created a need for this study. If her
contributions warrant it, that history should be recorded.
Before delving into Jacques Garvey's narratives and her ideology, it is
appropriate to place her life and work within the historical context of the
period in which she lived and worked. Amy Euphemia Jacques was born in
Kingston, Jamaica, on December 31, 1896, to Samuel and Charlotte Jacques,
members of the Jamaican middle class and educated property owners.
 Samuel Jacques greatly influenced his only child, kindling in her a
love for reading and exposing her to world affairs. A year after
graduating from the Wolmers Girls' School in Jamaica and moving to the
United States to seek further education, Jacques Garvey became Marcus
Garvey's private secretary and office manager at UNIA headquarters in New
York. She married Garvey in 1922, after his divorce from Amy Ashwood
Jacques Garvey was among a group of black women who used journalism to
accomplish their activism on behalf of blacks and women at the turn of the
twentieth century. Historians indicate that nineteenth and early twentieth
century black women accomplished their activism through their roles as
teachers, journalists, church women, club women, suffragists, workers,
wives, mothers and daughters. These activists and feminists struggled
to define themselves and their world politically and socially as they
fought racial and sexual oppression, according to author Paula
Giddings. They supported woman suffrage "because they hoped that black
women could help uplift the standards of the race through exercising the
franchise." Through the club movement, African-American women
established long lasting educational and social service programs for poor
and uneducated blacks. Through journalism, they encouraged race
empowerment and demanded racial and gender equality.
Journalism historian Roger Streitmatter, writing about black women
journalists, notes that despite racial and sexual discrimination, they
fought against racism and oppression, and he noted that the women refused
to be silent victims of their times. Those journalists publicized and
criticized the horrendous conditions under which blacks lived and worked,
and they sought to bring about changes in the economic, political, and
social structure of the country.
The late 1800s and early 1900s has been characterized by historians as the
Nadir, a period of approximately forth years when blacks were
considered at their lowest ebb in the United States. Through written and
unwritten rules, blacks were denied access to education, employment, and
the franchise, thus guaranteeing them consignment to a permanent underclass
status. Gloria Wade-Gayles notes that blacks were freed from slavery and
"delivered—with-all-deliberate-speed—into a new-style (peculiar
institution)" that included "disfranchisement, economic exploitation,
lynching, rapes, and other institutionalized barbarities" that "sought to
keep the race forever in a state of powerlessness."
African Americans were further disillusioned with their country after
having fought for freedom in Europe during World War I, and, subsequently,
denied rights at home when they returned. Lawrence W. Levine writes that
blacks who had served "heroically" and with "devotion" believed that their
second emancipation would come when they returned from the
war. Instead they found "brutal racial repression." Levine notes
loyalty and hope were rewarded by inferior treatment for black troops, by a
hardening of the lines of discrimination by increased humiliation, and by
the bloody summer of 1919 which saw major race riots in city after
city. Blacks had played the game by the rules and discovered definitely
that the rules simply did not apply to them.
The early 1920s saw the flourishing of the Harlem Renaissance, a literary
movement during which African-Americans' talents and contributions in art,
music, literature and drama were evident and were seen as a means through
which blacks would gain respect and acceptance by white
America. However, the masses of blacks were not affected by the
Dashed expectations and disappointment were evident throughout black
communities in the United States. Blacks scratched out a meager
existence by working as domestic servants or in agriculture, and
African-American children were six times more likely to be illiterate than
their white counterparts," Dorothy C. Salem argues. To escape harsh
treatment in the South and seek better opportunities, blacks migrated in
great numbers to the northern cities where they did not fare much better
than their southern brethren. The editors of The Making of Black
The Great Migration during and after World War I accelerated a trend toward
greater segregation in northern cities, which had been evident for a number
of years. By the 1920's Negroes were already barred from countless
recreation centers, restaurants, and hotels. Many northern communities
extended segregation in the schools.
Historian Harvey Sitkoff confirms this view, arguing that whites who
viewed the arrival of blacks during the Great Migration as a threat to
their jobs and the status quo did not welcome African-Americans to the
urban areas and frequently attacked them.  Sitkoff explains that most
African Americans "found squalor, discrimination by labor unions and
employees, decayed housing milked by white slum lords, and liquor and
narcotics the only escape from despair." Providing further elaboration
is Edward Peeks who writes, "The Roaring Twenties proved no exception to
the rule of violence against Negroes, violence arising especially from the
issues of jobs and homes in the North and from more general animosities in
According to Levine, the anxiety that accompanied blacks' discovery that
they would not be recognized as equals "was marked by the dramatic rise of
a series of revitalizing movements. Marcus Garvey's United Negro
Improvement Association, "with it insistence on race history, race pride,
and an autonomous race development," was one such movement. Garveyism
and its back-to-Africa philosophy reached its zenith during the 1920s, when
Jacques Garvey was at the helm of the Negro World. Historian John Hope
Franklin points out that Garvey enjoyed "wide popularity at a time when
Negroes generally had so little of which to be proud," for he insisted that
the color black stood for "strength and beauty."  Sociologist E.
Franklin Frazier argued that blacks in America were "fertile soil" for the
Garvey movement for they were "repressed and shut out from all serious
participation in American life." Franklin added that the black
intellectual also felt "this repression." Therefore, blacks "took
refuge in the belief that in an autonomous black Africa they would find
their proper place."
Sitkoff sums up the Garvey Movement as follows:
Despite his opposition to civil rights organizations, Garvey did more than
any previous Negro leader to convince blacks to believe in their ability to
shape their destiny. A master showman, Garvey dramatized the extreme
plight of Afro-Americans and the desperate necessity of change. An
intuitive psychologist, he radicalized the powerless by instilling in them
a sense of their potential power. A persuasive teacher, the Jamaican
leader convinced masses of Negroes that white racism and not black failings
explained their lowly status.
It was within that context that a fiercely militant Jacques Garvey worked
as a journalist and advocated through her editorials in the Negro
World. She was unlike other black women journalists of the time, such as
Mary Church Terrell, Ida B. Wells, and Alice Dunbar-Nelson, who were
writing about how to change the political, educational, social and economic
structure within the United States. While she was like the women in
emphasizing racial and gender uplift, Jacques-Garvey's main focus was
single-mindedly espousing the ideology of Marcus Garvey-- that of race
pride and solidarity and black liberation through economic enterprise and
repatriation to Africa. The future for blacks lied not in improvement
of conditions in this country, but in a new life in Africa. And that was
the constant refrain in her writings.
Jacques Garvey's journalistic activism was manifested as she used the power
of her words and the reach of the Negro World to seek to motivate blacks
the world over to elevate themselves. The themes she addressed pointed to
the necessity of blacks to gain economic independence, especially at that
point in the history of the black race. Framing her writings in what was
happening in the international arena, the columnist advocated racial
advancement and productivity via self-determination and self-reliance and
productivity, economic independence as the route to empowerment and uplift
and the role of women in the home and society. The lack of motivation on
the part of black men was also a constant theme.
Racial Productivity through Self-Determination and Self-Reliance
Jacques Garvey reiterated the Garveyism view that only grim
self-determination would lead to productivity, which, in turn, would bring
about economic independence for black people throughout the world. This
stream of reasoning was a theme echoed in the black press of the period and
by other black women journalists who wrote for both the black and
mainstream press. In almost all of her editorials, Jacques Garvey
stressed that the black race must be productive by engaging in economic
development initiatives, seeking to become involved in business ventures,
making sound judgments regarding how to invest and spend its money, and
assisting fellow blacks.
In her scrapbook housed in the Marcus Mosiah Garvey Memorial Collection at
Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, Jacques Garvey's handwritten
notation, "important editorial," reflected the extent of her strong
ideology regarding self-reliance and productivity. The editorial urged
blacks to become motivated and to organize themselves. Throughout the
year, while focusing mainly on the negative effects of what she termed
white exploitation, Jacques Garvey also encouraged her fellow blacks
worldwide to be self-reliant, self-directed, and productive.
In her January 1925, New Year's message, she wrote that her readers should
weigh "the year's misfortunes," find out the reasons for their failures,
and resolve in their minds "to conquer the cause." She added, "When
this is done you will be on the way to success in the New Year." Under
the subhead, "What Are You Doing with Your Money?" Jacques Garvey
emphasized that it amounted "to criminal negligence for us as individuals
to spend money foolishly." Such squandering, she noted, "not only
hurts us personally, but hurts the race," she advised, adding: "Money
accumulated can be invested in business, which would not only bring profit
to the investors, but give employment to members of the race, thereby
serving a two-fold purpose."
A week after her New Year's message, Jacques Garvey urged her readers to
back up their talk with action and not to get to the end of the year
remarking that they could have been productive but something prevented them
from accomplishing anything. She offered,
There are not buts'[sic] that you cannot remove. The things that you plan
to aid in need your help, and are neglected while you talk about it. Get
into action so that you will be able to say to yourself at the close of the
year "Thank God, I was able to better my condition and help my race in its
struggle for manhood rights." Herein lies the joy of living.
The need to take action was still on Jacques Garvey's mind in April 1925,
when she issued the following impassioned directive:
Wake up, Mr. Black Man, and go up and possess the land. Your women are
tired of menial jobs and being abused by men of other races; your children
want care and provisions made for their future if they are to live. Your
race wants a first class rating according to present day standards. Your
country calls. Will you answer?
Five months after that pronouncement, Jacques Garvey penned an editorial
that questioned what the League of Nations had accomplished following World
War I, but also provided additional direction for blacks aimed at helping
blacks to become productive and to elevate themselves. The columnist
challenged the men of her race to "get all the implements of protection
that the other fellow has, and if possible improve on it so that the very
knowledge of your preparedness will cause other races to think twice before
they attempt to seize your land and wealth."
At the end of 1925, Jacques Garvey returned to her January admonishments
when she told readers to ask themselves whether they had "been slipping
back or advancing," whether they were "merely observers of the
accomplishments of others or active participants in the march for human
attainment." Jacques Garvey then called upon her readers, whom she
described as "son, wife, husband, patriot or race lover," to "make their
contributions of good deeds."
Jewish Example of Racial Solidarity and Economic Independence
In seeking to motivate her fellow race members, Jacques Garvey's treatises
often cited the Jewish people as an example of an oppressed group that had
risen above obstacles and elevated itself. Jacques Garvey writings
indicate that she clearly embraced the negative stereotype of Jews as
shrewd, wealthy, money-grubbers. In an editorial titled "Will the Jews
Conquer the World?," Jacques Garvey argued that the Jews were not trying
"to conquer the world religiously, and rule it spiritually" because they
knew that "the spirit of hate would vent itself even above the ideas of
Judaism." She offered that "the Jew" had instead "shown the good sense
in the choice of leadership when he chose to become the financial leader of
the world," adding, "he has emancipated himself without bloodshed." A
few months after that editorial, the columnist explained that blacks,
unlike the Jews, could not envision a "national home," nor could they
"forget their factional differences and work toward that end." In what
was clearly a reference to the UNIA, Jacques Garvey held that some people
were "working with might and main" to "secure to themselves and to their
posterity the independence and glory that was once their
forebears." She explained in May 1924, that the "Jew employs himself,"
and "thinks always in terms of race," while "the Negro always thinks in
terms of self." The approach of the Jews allows them to conquer
prejudice, Jacques Garvey wrote, while the "Negro bemoans his fate and
prays to God for relief." She concluded pointedly, "God only helps those
who help themselves."
Jacques Garvey did not relent in invoking the stereotype of Jews when she
compared blacks to them. In June, she related that New York Jews had
raised more than six million dollars for a cause, and she asked what blacks
were doing. On September 18, 1926, Jacques Garvey used her editorial
to stress the need for blacks to put themselves in a position where they
could gain respect, just as Jews had done. She argued that "the wandering
Jew" had compelled the "hostile Gentile" to "respect him because he
monopolizes trade everywhere he goes and thereby becomes rich and
dictatorial. He employs his own people and prevents them from being
servants to others." Jacques Garvey continued to educate on the
differences between blacks and Jews when she noted that some Jews only went
to synagogue twice a year, but went to their businesses every day. Further
elaborating, Jacques Garvey maintained that Jews did not keep the Sabbath
because it fell on a Saturday, "the day when Gentiles spend the most
money." On the other hand, Jacques Garvey professed, "Negroes go to church
every Sunday and spend the other six days of the week hunting a job. There
lies the difference between a thinking and unthinking group of
people." The columnist urged activism as she ended her piece with the
admonishment that if whites kicked blacks around in the western world, "it
is all our fault." She added, "we are too darn lazy, [sic] and lack
the pluck and ambition that cause men of other races to go out and to make
themselves independent and respected." 
Reflecting what was her animosity toward Jews, Jacques Garvey used a
January 8, 1927 editorial to make yet another comparison. She equated
persecution of Jews in Rumania with the persecution of blacks, and noted
that "both groups" were "wanderers without protection of a government of
their own, no flag and no aeroplanes." Again embracing the stereotype,
pointing to Jewish wealth, she offered, "Yet Jews are treated better than
Negroes in all countries because they control big finance and are huge
producers, while Negroes are poor consumers, dependent on other races for
employment." And Jacques Garvey criticized Jews for what she called
their "opposition to African redemption." Pointing out that both blacks
and Jews were "striving for nationalism," and working "for their respective
homelands," while "programs in Europe and lynchings in American continue to
take their toll," Jacques Garvey said "the Jew is heartless enough to
persecute the Negro."
Racial Productivity and Economic Independence
Jacques Garvey emphasized that Jews had prospered in the world because they
had achieved economic independence. Such was the road that would lead to
elevation for blacks, she believed. The Garvey and UNIA creed advocated
that blacks should become business owners and support black businesses to
assure economic empowerment. Espousing that doctrine, she vehemently
lamented that blacks were their "own worst enemy" because of their attitude
"toward business conducted by members of the race." The editorial
writer was referring to the failure of blacks to build businesses in the
United States and Africa, as well as the neglect of blacks to patronize
black businesses that did exist.
Despite her negative declaration about blacks, it was clear that Jacques
Garvey believed that the failure to build businesses did not rest solely
with the race. She provided a list of circumstances that prevented blacks
from becoming successful, including inexperience and a lack of capital. Of
the black businessman and the business acquisition process, Jacques Garvey
He belongs to a pauper race; he is himself poor compared to the men of the
other race who compose his business environment. He goes to the white bank
in which he places his money, and lays his plans before the manager, who
will listen attentively, lean back in his chair, scratch his head, cough a
little, and then remark, "Well, that's a very good idea, and you ought to
make money in that line, but it is the policy of our office not to make
loans of that sort to colored people."
Although it was a common practice for white lenders to refuse to lend money
to blacks during the period, that was not the only problem that the
potential black businessman faced. His plight was exacerbated by the lack
of support from fellow blacks, Jacques Garvey noted. In this editorial,
she may have been referring to her husband who had collected money to buy
the Black Star Shipping Line, a shipping and passenger fleet, in order to
engage in foreign commerce and to take blacks back to Africa. Ula Y.
Taylor points out that the "Black Star line Steamship Company was the
UNIA's main venture to offset" the "injustice" of black people the world
over living as "second-class citizens, largely as a result of economic
oppression. Garvey had been imprisoned for alleged mail fraud in
connection with misuse of funds for that failed venture.
In her editorial, Jacques Garvey charged that as soon as funds for the
black business trickled in, "five or ten dollars at a time," the black
press began to harass the entrepreneur, the black newspapers "malign the
five thousand dollars he has collected into five hundred thousand dollars,"
and they ask, "What has he done with the money? Where is the business he
promised?" Black ministers, fearful of a drop in collections, urged
their congregations not to contribute to black business ventures, "but to
lay it (their money) on the altar." Finally, "stockholders became
distrustful and, consequently, the businessman "is at a loss to know what
In what was clearly a reference to Marcus Garvey's plight and again casting
aspersion on Jews, Jacques Garvey explained,
Mr. Colored Man is so harassed that he is compelled to buy the first
business he can lay his hands on, in order to satisfy his critics. The
result is that he has not enough money left to equip the business to meet
the white competitor in his line. His patrons have no sympathy for his
efforts. They refuse to buy from him if he cannot sell cheaper than Mr.
Ginsberg, whose brother is a wholesale dealer; whose uncle is his landlord;
and who gets a loan from his bank to properly stock his store or equip his
Jacques Garvey ended her discourse with the revelation that the black
business inevitably failed, and black newspapers "trumpet the demise" with
headlines that read, "Mr. Colored Man Failed." The black preacher,
likewise, "gets up in the pulpit and says, 'I told you so, sisters and
brothers; colored folks just can't do anything right," Jacques Garvey
Black dependence on whites for primarily menial jobs for which they were
underpaid was another concern addressed in the editorials. After pointing
out that the invention of laborsaving devices was further eroding the
ability of blacks to earn a living, the columnist warned that it was
"imperative that the Negro create his own job, or face unemployment and
consequently starvation." The need to engage in commerce in order to
build nationhood was the subject of Jacques Garvey's supplication as she
told blacks to "learn the value of industry and commerce." Despite Jim
Crow and other impediments during the period, blacks were becoming educated
and making advances in medicine, nursing, teaching, the arts, and other
areas. Jacques Garvey pointed out that it was fine to have a profession,
but those professionals depended on blacks who had no economic means to
patronize them or use their services. She believed that "the basic
foundation of a people's existence" was not just seeking a profession but
creating "the means whereby they shall eat bread."
Still preaching economic independence, Jacques Garvey asserted in October
1926, that only when the black man stopped "hunting a job" and created one
would he prosper. In a condescending and angry tone, she charged that
blacks were "the greatest job hunters in the world." In the following
passage, she both complained about the attitude of blacks toward
entrepreneurship, and she explained why business development was
necessary. She wrote:
The opportunities for doing business does not interest him; [sic] the light
of slavery being still on him, he is afraid of responsibilities and clings
to the idea of working under a white man and saying, 'Thank you boss' for a
pay envelope, no matter how small it is. That's the reason why the race is
so poor and backward. When a people of any race cannot employ themselves
[sic], they must be prepared to be dictated to by those who employ them,
and subjected to their whims and fancies. Naturally white men are not
going to the trouble of opening up their industries, and give Negro the
best positions, nor are they disposed to build their governments for
Negroes to legislate for them. Knowing the strength of the Negro race,
they are not going to give them big sticks to break their heads.
The familiar refrain in this editorial was that the solution rested with
blacks themselves. Moving away from holding Jews up as the example of
entrepreneurship, Jacques Garvey explained that financier J. P. Morgan and
industrialist Henry Ford were not going to assist blacks through the maze
of the financial world or hire them for any of their
industries. Therefore, the woman implored blacks who wanted to be bank
presidents to open their own banks and "experiment" until they reached "the
standard of a Morgan." As if to illustrate that the poverty of blacks
should not prevent them from being entrepreneurs, Jacques Garvey observed
that Ford "started out with only a few dollars" and "worked his way up to
the top—the richest man in the world."  The writer then asked, "why,
therefore, should he make a berth for Negroes, when his own race needs his
help." Returning to another on-going theme, she pointed out that there was
"plenty of iron ore and coal in Africa; and she again posed the question,
"Why can't Mr. Blackman go there and do for that great continent what Ford
has done for America?"
In this lengthy editorial, Jacques Garvey sought to educate her readers as
to how economic self-sufficiency worked and why it was so important. She
maintained that one race should not have to provide for another "either
industrially or economically." Instead, the race should provide for its
members. A pessimistic Jacques Garvey wondered whether blacks would pick
up the gauntlet when she wrote, "it remains to be seen whether they will
continue to be, or will make an effort to become independent, and thereby
claim the respect of their white neighbor."
Throughout 1926, Jacques Garvey aggressively urged blacks to rise above
their economic dependency and to take charge of their destinies by becoming
entrepreneurs. Editorials in this year continued to reflect the writer's
dismay about the lack of racial productivity in that area. The February
27, 1926, piece, "Don't Avoid, But Seek Responsibility," pointed out that
the white race had advanced because of "the readiness of its individual
members to shoulder responsibilities." The column called the black
race a "child race" and lamented that it was "the most backward, measured
by the material standards of progress," because it had "been accustomed to
be led by others." Jacques Garvey took the opportunity to again stress
her husband's and the UNIA's quest to teach blacks "the spirit of
independence," as she told her readers to have faith in themselves. Such
faith would save the race and would "enliven" its members to stand on their
own feet, instead of doing "the white man's bidding."
While the exhortation for blacks—especially black men—to elevate themselves
was a constant refrain of the opinion pieces, an equally frequent refrain
was Jacques Garvey's view that the UNIA and Marcus Garvey were the avenues
for black resurrection. During the years she wrote for the Negro World,
Jacques Garvey never grew weary of promoting the UNIA as the means of
helping blacks to become self-reliant. In an editorial titled "Racial
Achievements," Jacques Garvey lauded the efforts and achievements of the
organization and enthusiastically claimed that it was "the only organized
body of Negroes that employs a large number of Negroes all over the
world." She stressed the organization's endeavors to go into big business,
and its encouragement of its members to do so.
On November 14, 1925, Jacques Garvey explained that her husband had studied
the economic, political, and economic life of blacks and America, and that
he was convinced that blacks could not rise above their present status in
the United States because of white prejudice and intolerance. After
pointing out that the invention of labor-saving devices was further eroding
the ability of blacks to earn a living, Jacques Garvey warned,
It is imperative that the Negro create his own job, or face unemployment
and consequently starvation. The black consumer is short unless he starts
out immediately to produce essentials of everyday life, [sic] which will
take him out of the servant class and at the same time ensure his
livelihood, [sic] but the question of protection lies in the establishment
of a government of his own in Africa strong enough to protect him in any
part of the world he may reside.
Truly the Negro has served well the white man's purpose for bringing him to
America; and the enlightened wide-awake Negro is now determined to serve
his own purpose, [sic] that of living and enjoying life as any other man,
without limitations and without barriers against his development and
Jacques Garvey believed that the poverty of her race equated to slavery
and that the black race was the poorest of all peoples, despite the
richness of Africa. Acknowledging that poor people would never be
independent because they had to work for money, the columnist wrote, "To be
truly independent, one must have money invested, so that whether one wants
to play golf or play the fool, that money will be earning enough interest
to meet all expenses."
Not only focusing on the plight of blacks in American, midway into 1927,
Jacques Garvey provided a blueprint for blacks in the West Indies to obtain
economic independence and self-sufficiency through entrepreneurship. The
headline on her May 14, 1927 column, "It All Depends on You," summarized
her view. She maintained that British control, its failure to invest
in industries that benefited natives, and its discouragement of American
investment, robbed West Indians of their ability to find employment or earn
a living. Because of such "repressive practices," natives had been forced
to immigrate to other countries, but popular places of immigration were
beginning to bar their entrance. West Indians who remained had to pay
exorbitant prices for imported goods, thereby enriching the government and
further impoverishing the natives, Jacques Garvey argued.
After outlining the situation, she proposed a solution. She called upon
the "elected members of the legislative councils of their respective
colonies" to enact laws that would encourage outside capital and local
commercial ventures. She observed that tropical countries had the most
delicious fruits, but because they had no jam or preserve factories, the
fruit rotted on the ground. Consequently, factories should be built in the
tropics where the natives could construct them and where jobs would be
Not only was Jacques Garvey dismayed about the lack of entrepreneurial
spirit and acumen, she was chagrined that West Indian housewives, whom she
said had "so much citrus fruits in their garden that even hogs refuse it,"
still sent to the grocery for a jar of marmalade made in England. Such
actions accounted for lack of achievement and economic empowerment, Jacques
Garvey believed. Of the housewives, she wrote,
They don't stop to consider that to consider that they could gather their
own citrus fruits and make marmalade to be used in and out of season. They
also fail to observe that oranges do not grow in England, and the fruit
used in making the marmalade was bought for a small amount from some
tropical country, shipped to England and preserved in factories there, then
reshipped to the tropics and sold at an enormous price.
Jacques Garvey, therefore, suggested that the women could "help materially
by using good judgment in the regulation of their purchase for their
Jacque Garvey's editorials afforded a unique analytic opportunity to gain
insight into another aspect of the Garvey Movement by one of its premiere
unsung proponents, and they provided perspective on the role and voice of a
segment of the black press during the early 1920s. The more than one
hundred fifty editorials analyzed in this paper indicate that Jacques
Garvey raised the consciousness of blacks on social and economic issues
that impacted their human dignity and well being. She placed the black
experience for the black masses in context by providing lessons on world
affairs and insight into the negative impact of international activities on
blacks and people of color worldwide.
Calling for a oneness of blacks, she crafted messages that beseeched,
chastised, encouraged, demanded-- almost willed-- that blacks worldwide act
in their race's interest and rely on themselves to achieve racial
freedom. In providing courses of action for her readers, she challenged
blacks to have pride in their race and to look toward Africa for their
future. She argued that black empowerment could only occur by bringing
together American blacks, Caribbean people and Africans to establish, own
and manage large-scale businesses in order to create their own economic
enterprises leading to "a distinct coloured economy" and a
black-governed nation in Africa that would stand up for the rights of black
The themes found in her pronouncements reflected Jacques Garvey's
determination to energize her race by apprising them of consequences of the
perils associated with the failure of blacks to determine their
destinies. Hence, the overarching theme of Jacques Garvey's editorials was
economic independence via self-help and productivity as a means of
overcoming white domination.
Believing, as did her husband, that white people would never "place black
people on a par with them," Jacques Garvey trusted no white people, and
she negatively stereotyped Jews as she held them up as an example of racial
productivity and accomplishments. In this aspect, she came from a
different ideological position than the black press and other black
activists of her day that fostered interracial cooperation as an avenue of
black empowerment. Jacques Garvey's racial ideologies centered on
detachment from anything American in favor on repatriation to
Africa. Therefore, her editorials totally ignored what was happening in
the United States—Jim Crow, lynching, disfranchisement—while focusing
exclusively on Pan-Africanism. It may be surmised that her reason for not
placing those issues on the agenda for her readers and for not seeking
changes at home to better their conditions was her desire for blacks to
turn to her husband and his movement to ameliorate their plight.
In addition, her unrelenting criticism of the black race for what she
termed its lack of productivity, and black males for what she argued was
its laziness was unlike other black men and women of the press, who
sometimes criticized blacks but also acknowledged racial accomplishments in
the face of almost insurmountable political, social and educational
odds. Only one of Jacques Garvey's articles highlighted racial achievement.
From an economic standpoint, it can be further argued that in seeking to
motivate blacks to be self-reliant and establish their own businesses,
Jacques Garvey displayed a lack of understanding of or a refusal to
acknowledge the constraints that prevented blacks during the 1920s from
being successful in business. Her editorials blamed black people for the
dearth of black businesses. Only one editorial acknowledged the problems
the black businessman faced. Instead, Jacques Garvey singled out the black
press, black ministers and the black masses for criticism. But, blacks
were largely powerless. As Jacquelyn Jones posited in her 1985 book, the
structure of the time limited availability of work to blacks, especially
black men. Hence, black men "were deprived of the satisfaction of
providing for their families with a reliable source of income." Again,
Jacques-Garvey's motivation was positioning the Garvey Movement as the
solution for blacks.
Nevertheless, like the black press, Jacques Garvey advocated on behalf of
blacks. Like other black women journalists, she sought to elevate her race
and gender, albeit, through a different path. Her writings had an impact
on thousands, perhaps millions, of blacks who joined the movement and
adhered to its teachings. Her editorials were informative, persuasive, and
insightful. Although their tone was often harsh, critical and even
demeaning, Jacques Garvey, like Marcus Garvey, sought to empower hundreds
of thousands of economically marginalized blacks worldwide. She also
helped her husband draw dozens of black leaders to his side. 
In sum, this study reveals that Jacques Garvey was a journalist who used
straightforward, unadorned language to report on and convey the values and
racial ideologies of a major movement in this country during an especially
dark period in black history. As she instructed, cajoled and criticized,
she articulated the Black Nationalism view that had been defined as "a loss
of hope in America." Moreover, through the pages of the Negro World,
Jacques Garvey fulfilled the advocacy role of the black press. In doing
so, she did as other black journalists of her day had done. She gave a
voice to a voiceless.
Interestingly, African-Americans are dealing today with the issues of
economic independence, self-reliance and self-determination, just as
Jacques Garvey three quarters of a century ago.
 Amy Jacques Garvey, the second wife of Black Nationalist Marcus Mosiah
Garvey, will be referred to as Jacques Garvey in this paper to
differentiate her from Amy Ashwood Garvey, Garvey's first wife.
 For information about Marcus Garvey, see Amy Jacques Garvey, Garvey
and Garveyism (New York: Self, 1923); John Hope Franklin and Alfred A.
Moss, Jr., From Slavery to Freedom: A History of Negro Americans (New York:
McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, 1988), 321; Tony Martin, "Women in the
Garvey Movement," in Garvey, His Work and Impact, eds. Rupert Lewis and
Patrick Bryan (Trenton, NJ: African World Press, Inc., 1991), 72. Honor
Ford-Smith, "Women and the Garvey Movement in Jamaica," in Rupert Lewis and
Patrick Bryan, eds., Garvey: His Work and Impact (Trenton, NJ: African
World Press, Inc., 1991), 78. These writers have called Marcus Garvey the
preeminent symbol of Black Nationalism that developed after World War I.
Garvey was successful in attracting between one-half million and six
million blacks to the Garvey Movement during its zenith, but in 1924 he was
arrested and found guilty of mail fraud. He was imprisoned from 1925
through 1927, after which time he was deported to Jamaica. Jacques Garvey
ran the UNIA and the Negro World while her husband was
incarcerated. Garvey historians Honor Ford Smith and Tony Martin argue
convincingly that Jacques Garvey was a powerful force in the movement even
before Garvey was imprisoned.
 3Thousands of UNIA members in the United States and almost every
Caribbean and sub-Saharan African country read the Negro World during the
time Jacques Garvey was at its helm and served as one of its editorial writers.
This paper uses the word "black" as apposed to African-American because
Jacques Garvey appealed to and referred to black people beyond the borders
of the United States.
Amy Jacques Garvey, Introduction to Black Power in America: Marcus
Garvey's Impact on Jamaica and Africa (Kingston, Jamaica: Self, 1968), 1.
It is not clear exactly when Jacques Garvey became an editor of the Negro
World; however, she is listed as associate editor in March 1925, the
earliest copy of the complete paper that was available for this study.
 Amy Jacques Garvey, Handwritten notation in Scrapbook, Marcus Mosiah
Garvey Memorial Collection, Box 12.
For reference, see Jinx C. Broussard, "Amy Jacques Garvey: Black Woman
Journalist and Vocal Race Advocate," Paper presented at the Annual
Convention of the American Journalism Historians Association, October 7,
2001, San Diego, California.
Darlene Clark Hine, Elsa Barkley Brown, and Rosalyn Terborg-Penn, Black
Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia, vol. 1 (Bloomington, IN:
Indiana University Press, 1993), 482- 483.
Amy Jacques Garvey, "Role of Women in Liberation Struggles," The Negro
World, 9 February 1924. Jacques Garvey writes that Samuel Jacques made her
an independent and analytical thinker. He collected foreign newspapers on
Sunday afternoons and directed Amy to get a dictionary and read editorials
and news items to him. He then explained what Amy had read and answered
her questions. This routine benefited Jacques Garvey, she later recalled,
and her writings revealed an independent streak.
Clark Hine, Black Women in America, 483.
References can be found in Cynthia Neverdon-Morton, Afro-American Women
of the South and the Advancement of the Race (Knoxville, TN: University of
Tennessee Press, 1895-1925); Jacqueline Jones, Labor of Love, Labor of
Sorrow: Black Women, Work, and the Family from Slavery to the Present (New
York: Basic Books, 1985).
 Paula Giddings, When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on
Race and Sex in America (New York: William Morrow and Company, 1984) 6.
 Ibid., 26.
 References can be found in Gerder Lerner, A Majority Finds Its Past:
Placing Women in History (New York: Oxford University Press, 1979), 93.
 Rodger Streitmatter, "Raising Her Voice: African-American Women
Journalists Who Changed History (Lexington, KY: The University of Kentucky
Press, 1994), 2-6.
Reference can be found in Rayford W. Logan, The Betrayal of the Negro:
From Rutherford B. Hayes to Woodrow Wilson (New York: Collier Books,
1965), originally produced as The Negro in American Life and Thought: The
Nadir, 1887-1901(New York: Dial Press, 1954).
 Gloria Wade-Gayles, "Black Women Journalists in the South: 1880-1905:
An Approach to the study of Black Women's History," Callaloo 4 (1982): 138.
Lawrence W. Levine, Black Culture and Black Consciousness: Afro-American
Folk Thought from Slavery to freedom, New York: Oxford University Press,
 For, reference see, Peeks, The Long Struggle for Black Power, 222;
Nathan I. Huggins, Voices from the Harlem Renaissance, (New York: Oxford
University Press, 1995), 3-11. Huggins writes that the "New Negro", as
blacks dubbed themselves, was "a man and a citizen in his own
right—intelligent, articulate, self-assured,." As well as "a revived and
Sitkoff, A New Deal for Blacks, 32.
Dorothy C. Salem, "Black Women and the NAACP, 1902-1922: An Encounter
with Race, Class, and Gender," in Kim Marie Vaz, ed., Black Women in
America (Thousand Oaks; Sage Publications, 1995), 54.
 August Meier and Elliot Rudwick, Introduction to Emma Lou
Thornbrough, "Segregation in Indiana during the Klan Era of the 1920s," in
August Meier and Elliot Rudwick, eds., Making of Black America: Essays in
Negro Life and History (New York: Atheneum, 1969), 184.
 The Great Migration saw large numbers of African Americans leave the
South the escape poverty and discrimination and search for employment and
better opportunities in the North.
Harvard Sitkoff, A New Deal for Blacks, The Emergence of Civil Rights as
a National Issue: The Depression Decade (New York: Oxford University Press,
 Edward Peeks, The Long Struggle for Black Power (New York: Charles
Scribner's Sons, 1971), 226.
 Franklin, "From Slavery to Freedom, 320.
 E. Franklin Frazier, "The Garvey Movement," Opportunity 4 (November
 Sitkoff, A New Deal for Blacks, 32.
Jacques Garvey, Black Power in America, 2; Amy Jacques Garvey, Garvey and
Garveyism (New York: Self, 1963).
 For reference, see, articles in the New York Age, Wilmington
Advocate, Cleveland Plaindealer, and Pittsburgh Courier written during the
 Amy Jacques Garvey, Handwritten note in Scrapbook, Marcus Mosiah
Garvey Memorial Collection, Box 12.
 Amy Jacques Garvey, "New Year's Resolutions," The Negro World, 3
 Amy Jacques Garvey, "How to Help Better the Economic Conditions of
the West Indies," The Negro World, 10 January 1925.
 Garvey, "Why White Men Want Africa," 18 April 1925.
 Amy Jacques Garvey, "Is Life Worth Living?," The Negro World, 17
 Amy Jacques Garvey, "What Have You Accomplished This Year?," The
Negro World, 28 November 1925.
 Garvey, "The Civilized Savage," The Negro World, 16 February 1924.
Amy Jacques Garvey, "Solving the Jewish Problem," The Negro World, 1
 Amy Jacques Garvey, The Negro World, 24 May 1924.
 Amy Jacques Garvey, "New York Jews Raise Over Six Million
Dollars—What of Negroes?," The Negro World, 5 June 1926.
 Amy Jacques Garvey, "The Negro World, 18 September 1926.
 Amy Jacques Garvey, "Man's Inhumanity to Man," The Negro World, 8
 Jacques Garvey, "Some Handicaps."
 Ula Y. Taylor, The Veiled Garvey: The Life and Times of Amy Jacques
Garvey (Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 2002), 3.
 Jacques Garvey, 7 February 1925.
 Amy Jacques Garvey, "Fearful of Going Black," The Negro World, 14
Amy Jacques Garvey, "What the World Needs."
Amy Jacques Garvey, "Stop Hunting a Job and Create One," The Negro World,
9 October 1926.
 Amy Jacques Garvey, "Africa Bides Her Time," The Negro World, 27
Amy Jacques Garvey, "Racial Achievements," 1 November 1924.
 Amy Jacques Garvey, "Fearful of Going Black," The Negro World, 14
 Amy Jacques Garvey, "Poverty Is Slavery," The Negro World, 21 August
 Amy Jacques Garvey, "It All Depends on You," The Negro World, 14 May
Amy Jacques Garvey, "How to Help Better."
 Amy Jacques Garvey, Introduction to Black Power in America: Marcus
Garvey's Impact on Jamaica and Africa (Kingston, Jamaica: Self, 1968).
 For reference, see Satter, "Marcus Garvey," 44; Jacques Garvey,
Garvey and Garveyism.
 James H. Cone, Martin and Malcolm and America: A Dream or a Nightmare
(Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1991), 10.
 Jacquelyn Jones, Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black Women, Work,
and the Family from Slavery to the Present (New York: Basic Books, Inc.,
 "Marcus Garvey and the UNIA," The Marcus Garvey and UNIA Papers Project.