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A Commemorative Blue Plaque to honour Mrs. Amy Ashwood Garvey, the first wife of Jamaica’s National Hero, The Rt. Excellent Marcus Garvey, was unveiled in London England, on November 5.
The plaque is part of the ‘Herstories: Women of change project’, of the Octavia Foundation and the Nubian Jak Community Trust.
Jamaica’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Burchell Whiteman, unveiled the plaque at 1 Bassett Road, in Ladbroke Grove, West London. The house was Mrs. Garvey’s home for 26 years.
The High Commissioner paid tribute to the Octavia Foundation and the Nubian Jak Community Trust for recognising Mrs. Garvey. He said it was important to recognise those who had contributed in the past to secure a better quality of life for their community and succeeding generations.
“Amy Ashwood Garvey stood beside her husband in the early period of his work to improve conditions for the people of Jamaica and also for Black communities across the world. She was in her own right an outstanding woman and a steadfast campaigner for social justice,” Mr. Whiteman said.
He expressed particular pleasure at the involvement of young persons in the project and in capturing the events and the story of Mrs. Garvey on video recordings.
Jak Beula, founder of the Nubian Jak Community Foundation, said Mrs. Garvey was an outstanding and formidable woman who was a feminist, human rights campaigner and a very brave woman.
Mrs. Garvey was born in Portland in 1897. She was a noted human rights activist and was one of the founding members of Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). She organised a women’s section of the UNIA, and in 1918, she moved to the United States, where she worked as Garvey’s aide and as Secretary of the UNIA’s New York branch.
She then moved to Britain in 1922 following her divorce from Garvey. In 1924, she returned to New York, where she produced comedies. She returned to London in 1934 and opened the Florence Mills Social Club in Carnaby Street. In 1959, she chaired an enquiry into race relations in London, following the murder of Kelso Cochrane. She died in May 1969.

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