Media Notes Akin Gump’s Pro Bono Work for Presidential Pardon of Civil Rights Pioneer Marcus Garvey

(Washington, D.C.) – The Washington Times, in its article “Activists ask Obama for posthumous pardon of black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey,” noted Akin Gump’s involvement in efforts to secure a posthumous presidential pardon of the late civil rights leader’s criminal conviction, which family and supporters believe was politically and racially motivated.

Akin Gump is noted as having assisted the Garvey family by spearheading the presidential pardon petition. In late June, the petition was filed with the U.S. Department of Justice, with a copy sent to the White House, requesting a presidential pardon of Garvey.

The article reports that Garvey’s activism attracted the attention of  FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, so that Garvey was monitored and his movement infiltrated by FBI agents with the goal of bringing charges against him. As a result of those charges, he was convicted of mail fraud and sentenced to five years in prison. President Coolidge commuted his sentence, and the Jamaican-born Garvey was deported to that island.

Garvey’s son, Dr. Julius Garvey, is quoted as saying at press conference, “Everyone stands on the shoulders of everyone who comes before. There would be no black president if it wasn’t for the Civil Rights movement. The civil rights movement started with Marcus Garvey…[and the] president stands on that foundation.”

A petition has been created at the White House's website to solicit signatures supporting a presidential pardon of Marcus Garvey. It can be viewed here.

Founded in 1945, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP is a leading international law firm with more than 900 lawyers in offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

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