UNIVERSAL NEGRO IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION, INC.
(A NEW YORK CORPORATION)
AND UNIVERSAL NEGRO IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION AND AFRICAN COMMUNITIES LEAGUE 1929 OF THE WORLD, INC.
(AN OHIO CORPORATION)
TIMELINE OF CONTINUED EXISTENCE
2011 Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League 1918 and 1929 of the World, Inc.
August 1, 1914 – The first attempt to found the UNIA is made by Marcus Garvey and others in Jamaica.
July 1917 – The New York Division was formed and became the new headquarters of the Association. This Division dissolved a few months later.
July 02, 1918 - The UNIA, Inc. is incorporated in New York by Isaac B. Allen, Irene M. Blackstone, Walter J. Conway, Carrie B. Mero, Harriet Rogers, and Marcus Garvey. Also in July of 1918 the “CONSTITUTION AND BOOK OF LAWS” “Made for the Government of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League,” went into effect.
1920 – The “First Great Convention” of the UNIA, Inc. was held at Madison Square Garden in Harlem, New York, with an attendance of 25,000 and a parade ten miles long.
1920 - During the 1920, 1921, and 1922 Conventions also held in New York, the “Constitution and Book of Laws” were duly amended.
August 1922 – Isaiah Emmanuel Morter attends an International Convention of the UNIA, Inc. while in New York seeking medical treatment. He is Knighted Commander of the Distinguished Order of Ethiopia. After his visit to the 1922 Convention he decides to bequeath 2/3 of his entire fortune to the UNIA, Inc.
1925 – Marcus Garvey, then President-General of the UNIA, Inc. was incarcerated.
THE FIRST SPLIT
March 1926 – Marcus Garvey, President-General in exile (still incarcerated), calls an emergency Convention to impeach the Acting President-General Sherrill and elected President Fred Toote as Acting President-General. This Convention is deemed unconstitutional and not recognized by the majority of members from other Divisions of the UNIA, Inc. including Cincinnati, Detroit, East Brooklyn, Washington, D.C., Georgia, etc.
August 1926 – An International Convention of the UNIA, Inc. is held in New York where George Weston overwhelmingly defeats Marcus Garvey and is elected President-General. Afterwards, some disgruntled members loyal to Marcus Garvey called the Convention a sham, walked out and held a rival Convention a few blocks away where in his absence they elected Marcus Garvey as their President-General.
1926 - Immediately following Convention President-General Weston filed a series of legal grievances and complaints against the rival UNIA headed by Marcus Garvey and others, barring them from using the name UNIA claiming among other things, that Marcus Garvey and his disgruntled group were only using the name UNIA as a means of deceitfully acquiring the Morter Estate.
1926 - President-General Weston’s Convention having carried a majority of the membership, maintained jurisdictional authority over the corporate entity UNIA, Inc., and the members loyal to Marcus Garvey unofficially became known as the UNIA unincorporated.
1926 to present - After Weston, Fred Toote, Clifford Borne, Lionel Francis, and Nana Prempeh (Milton Kelly, Jr.) become successive President-Generals of the UNIA, Inc. In 2005 Ahmed Assalaam, aka William R. Day is elected as Potentate and Supreme Commissioner of the UNIA, Inc. in New York.
December 1927 – Marcus Garvey is released from Prison and deported to Jamaica where he continued to organize and preside over the breakaway membership and attempts to move the headquarters from New York to Kingston, Jamaica.
August 1929 – Marcus Garvey holds convention in Jamaica where he publicly denounces and distinguishes his group as a separate entity from the UNIA, Inc. of New York. He names the new organization the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League August 1929 of the World.
1929 - The UNIA, Inc. remains active and headquartered in New York.
1930-1940 – Marcus Garvey remains President-General of the newly organized UNIA & ACL August 1929 of the World until his death.
August 18 - 21 1940 - The Emergency Conference of the UNIA-ACL 1929 was held to discuss, among other things, the Acting President-General to fill the remaining two years of Mr. Garvey’s term. Commissioner James Robert Stewart (Cleveland, OH) is elected Acting President-General unanimously; Commissioner Charles Lynell James from (Gary, IN) is elected Assistant Acting President-General; High Chancellor Thomas Watson Harvey retains his post; Secretary-General Ethel Collins retains her post; Daisy Whyte is elected Assistant Secretary-General; Theresa E. Young is elected Second Assistant Secretary-General. Amy Jacques Garvey sends a letter of support to the Conference attendees.
Historiographical Time Line of the UNIA-ACL
(June 10, 1940 – Present)
June 10, 1940 - Marcus Garvey dies in London after suffering a second cerebral hemorrhage or cardiac arrest while reading the inaccurate news reports of his death.
July 21, 1940 - Memorial Service for the Honorable Marcus Garvey held at St.Marks Methodist Episcopal. Captain Alfred Leslie King was Master of Ceremonies; Bishop Frederick Augustus Toote, Reverend Father William Buchannan and Reverend H.A. Barnard were officiates. Ave Maria was sung by coloratura soprano Madame Ethyl Houghton Clarke & Ethline Smith. 3,000 attended. (Spady, p. 72, 73)
August 18 - 21 1940 - The Emergency Conference of the UNIA-ACL 1929 was held to discuss, among other things, the Acting President-General to fill the remaining two years of Mr. Garvey’s term. Commissioner James Robert Stewart (Cleveland, OH) is elected Acting President-General unanimously; Commissioner Charles James from (Gary, IN) is elected Assistant Acting President- General; High Chancellor Thomas Watson Harvey retains his post; Secretary-General Ethel Collins retains her post; Daisy Whyte is elected Assistant Secretary-General; Theresa E Young is elected Second Assistant Secretary-General. Amy Jacques Garvey sends a letter of support to the Conference attendees. ( NAN , 8-31-1940, p.4,9; CD, 8-31-1940; Spady, p.73; CCP, 8-8-1941, p.4-A)
September 1940 - The UNIA Headquarters was transferred from New York to Cleveland. President-General Stewart also began touring the country, speaking on behalf of the Association. (BA, 10-5-1940, p.5)
Sept./Oct. 1940 - Letter from Barrister Basil J Spencer Pitt, Solicitor-General and Former Chair of the Emergency Convention to Amy Jacques Garvey concerning his ambivalence over the transfer of the International Headquarters from New York to Cleveland . (Spady, p.74)
October 19, 1940 - The New Negro World newspaper is launched in Cleveland , OH .
(MGPP, Vol. X, p. 694)
February 2, 1941 - President Stewart and Assistant President-General James speak in New York as Mr. James launches a 60 day tour of the US East Coast Divisions. (CD, 2-8-1941, p.12)
February 14, 1941 - Third Executive Council Meeting was held in Cleveland during the 21st Anniversary of the UNIA’s occupation of the Cleveland
Liberty Hall. Ethel Collins expressed grievance over the Administration’s failure to reimburse her for expenses. (Spady, p.75; CD, 2-8-1941, p.6)
February 25, 1941- President Stewart Address a Mass Meeting in Chicago at Bacon‘s Casino. (CD, 3-1-1941, p.8)
March 30, 1941- President Stewart and Dr, Wheat speak in Cincinnati , OH at Jones Tabernacle AME (CD, 3-29-1941, p.11)
April 13, 1941- President Stewart Appoints Sherrill to Head an International Lobbying Committee called the Public Relations Committee. Members included: Carlos Cooks, Ethel Waddell, Charles L James and Samuel R Wheat (Sherrill Papers; CD, 4-19-1941, p.5)
May 25, 1941 - The Montreal Division under President Ellis James Tucker hosts a Mother’s Day Mass Meeting. (CD, 5-31-1941, p.11)
June 23, 1941 - Carlos Cooks founds the African Nationalist Pioneer Movement on his 28th birthday. (Carlos Cooks and Black Nationalism p. xi-xiii)
July 20, 1941- New York Division hosts a Garvey Memorial Celebration at St. Mark’s ME Church. President Robert Osborne of the Brooklyn
Division was Master of Ceremonies. (8-2-1941 CD, p.4)
August 4, 1941 - The UNIA Inc of 1918, headed by President Lionel Antonio Francis in Belize and Vice President Dr. Charles Augustus Petioni in New York, sponsored a visit by the Solicitor General W T Courtenay to the Parent Body Headquarters 216 West 125th St NY, NY. He reported on the activities of the estate plantations in Belize . (CD, 8-23-1941, p.9)
August 15 -20, 1941 - Western Hemisphere Conference of the UNIA-ACL was held in Cleveland with international delegates represented by proxy due to WWII. The Conference hosted a massive Garvey Day rally and parade on August 17. The Course of African Philosophy was also taught by President-General Stewart. This is the first UNIA Convention held in the US since Mr. Garvey’s death. A number of Parent Body Officers spoke including Arthur Clement Moore, Commissioner of Canada. An Official Photo of the Conference was taken. Senator Bilbo cancelled his speaking engagement scheduled for Garvey Day in New York under the auspices of the Advance Division and African Patriotic League Division of the UNIA-ACL 1929. The UNIA Inc held their annual convention at 158 W. 132nd St. (CCP, 8-9-1941, p.4A; CD, 8-23-31 CD, p.9; 8-16-1941 NY Amsterdam Star News, p.4; Photo Courtesy of Stewart Family)
Nov. 23 - Dec. 1, 1941 - UNIA-ACL Sixth District Conference held in South Kinloch Park and St. Louis . Several Resolutions were passed and Divisions from Kansas City, MO; South Kinloch Park, MO; Forest City, AK; Oklahoma City, OK; East St Louis, Ill; Kansas City, KS. (CD,12-6-1941, p.6)
May 31, 1942 - Greater New York Rehabilitating Committee host a Mass Meeting on World Crisis and the Negroes’ Rights (ALK)
August 13 - 19, 1942 - The 9th International Convention was held in Cleveland , OH . The first in the US since Mr. Garvey died. Officers were elected, business reported and resolutions issued. (UNIA Pamphlet; 8/9-1942, p.10 NNW) (Photo Attached)
Sept. 26-27, 1942 - A group of disgruntled members of the UNIA Rehabilitating Committee called a conference in New York to organize a campaign to oust President-General Stewart. Barrister Pitt becomes the first Chairman; Cleophus Jacobs Sr., Secretary-Treasurer. (Spady, p.83)
August 28-31, 1943 - National Conference of the UNIA-ACL 1929 of the World held at Liberty Farms in Oregonia , OH . (NNW, 9-1943)
November 21, 1943 - Montreal Division hosts Barrister Pitt’s visit to help wind up building fund drive to secure UNIA property. (CD, 12-11-1943, p.19A)
August 19-20, 1944 - Annual Conference at Liberty Farms (NNW, April-May 1944, p.3)
April 1945 - NPR Director William LeVan Sherrill is elected to observe and petition the UN in San Francisco . (CD, 4-28-1945, p.5)
June 24, 1945 - The UNIA Rehabilitating Committee hosts a Mass Meeting at their Liberty Hall 2395 8th St , NY , NY . Cleophus Jacobs is Secretary. (NYAN, 6-23-1945, p.7) during hurricane Hattie.
August 4 – 30, 1946 - The Garvey Club sponsors the 8th International Convention of the African Peoples of the World at the Golden Gate Auditorium in New York , chaired by Benjamin Gibbons. The convention opens with a parade and over 500 delegates were expected to attend. Invited guest speakers include: George Harris (Ethiopian World Federation), Arnold Crawford (Brooklyn Division UNIA), Dr. WV Cholmondeley (Garvey Memorial Hall, Philadelphia ), WH Ferman (Harlem Labor Union), Vernal J Williams (Attorney), Malcolm Levy (President, Garvey Youth Movement), et al. Confirmed speakers include: Arthur Reid (African Progressive League), Mrs. Amy Jacques Garvey, Benjamin Gibbons, William Devine and Grant Reynolds. The convention concludes with the formation of the Universal African Nationalist Movement. It is incorporated September 4th. (BA, 8-17-1946, p. 5; BA, 7-27-1946, p.5)
August 16-24, 1946 - 10th International Convention of the Negro Peoples of the World held at Liberty Farms in Oregonia , OH . James Stewart is
President-General and Christina Lyons is Secretary-General. (CD 8-24-1946, p.19B; UNIA 1946)
September 29, 1946 - Newly elected officers of the Universal African Nationalist
Movement were installed, including: Mrs. Amy Jacques Garvey as Supreme Matron, Nnamdi Azikiwe as Supreme Potentate, Benjamin Gibbons as President-General, Arden Bryan as Secretary-General, et al. (CCP, 9-21-1946, p.5B)
October 24, 1946 - The Garvey Memorial Liberty Hall dissolves the Rehabilitating Committee and closes out its assets. The Hall attempted to sale its building to the UANM for one dollar through their mutual agent Llewllyn Campbell. (UNIA vs UNIA (RH))
January 12-16, 1947 - President-General Stewart Rallies in New York (NYAN, 1-18-
February 1949 - The President-General, first family et al repatriate to Liberia and transfer the International Headquarters to Africa. They transport a deep freeze unit, dynamo, incubators, tractors, automobile, trailer, printing press, motors of various types and many other modern equipments and implements necessary in the development of a community. (UNIA 1950)
THE SECOND SPLIT
1949 - 1953 - Around this time and four years after President General Stewart left for Liberia, members of the UNIA-ACL 1929 Rehabilitation Committee formally split from the legitimate Ohio Corporation under President Stewart. They elected William LeVan Sherrill as President-General.
June 1950 - Chairman Pitt and Vice Chairman Sherrill begin
Publishing the Garvey’s Voice as the Official Organ of the Rehabilitating Committee. (GV, 6-1-1950, p.1)
June 3-4, 1950 - Annual Conference held at the Cleveland Headquarters with
hundreds in attendance ahead of the World Convention of the Association to be held in Liberia. Cleveland President and Secretary-General Elrod Sylvester Robinson and Assistant Secretary-General Christine Nimmer were elected delegates to the convention. (CCP, 6-10-1950, p. 4a) (Photo p.2_A)
June 18, 1950 - Memorial Services held for Marcus Garvey by Commissioner
Sarah R Isaac in Philadelphia. A pamphlet featuring a message
from President-General Stewart is circulated, updating the attendees on the progress of the UNIA in Liberia. (UNIA 1950)
September 3, 1950 - UNIA Mass Meeting and Labor Day Picnic at the Cleveland
Liberty Hall. A parade and military drills marked the occasion. (CCP, 9-2-1950, p.8)
October 29, 1950 - The Moziah Club, affiliated with the Rehabilitating Committee, hosts an event in Cincinnati to explain the reason for the Rehabilitation and recruit new members. Barrister Pitt is the Chairman with headquarters in Detroit. (CD, 11-4-1950, p.19)
February 22–24, 1952 - Atlanta Division #140 (Fourth Ward) hosts a Southern
Conference of the UNIA-ACL, Rev. James R Rakestraw is President. The Hon. C.M. Tolbert, American Leader of the UNIA is special guest. Other speakers include Lillie Mae Gibson (International Organizer), Elrod Sylvester Robinson (Minister of Labor), Jessie Avant (Minister of Legion), and Mr. Lester W Whitfield, President of Division #101 (Summerhill). The Conference is attended by more than 175 delegates from about ten widely-scattered US cities. (ADW, 2-21-1952, p.2; ADW, 2-27-1952, p.1)
August 1954 - The New York Vanguard Division of the UNIA hosts a Mass
Meeting for visiting delegates enroute to the 12th International Convention being held in Gbandela, Liberia, West Africa. (CD, 9-4-1954, p.5)
December 4, 1955 - General Hugh M Kirkwood speaks at the Cleveland
Headquarters of the UNIA on the necessity of “unity in the Brotherhood of Negroes as the only successful means of meeting today’s problems.” (CCP, 12-10-1955, p.3_A)
1956 – The State Supreme Court in Philadelphia, PA issues a ruling that the group operating in Philadelphia were actually a Committee of the Parent Corporation in Ohio, decrees that the real property rightfully is owned by the Parent Corporation in Ohio, and appoints Trustees to hold the property located on what is now known as Cecil B. Moore Avenue, on behalf of the Parent Corporation in Ohio.
August 17, 1958 - Vanguard Division #304 host the 71st Annual Marcus Garvey
Day Celebration, Raymond Lewis is President. Special guest James Lawson is invited and receives the endorsement of the Division for his nation-wide fundraising campaign to send a delegation to the All African People’s Conference in Accra, Ghana. Delegates en route to the 13th International Convention were honored during the celebration. Many of the delegates were previously honored in Cleveland, OH at a ceremony where Jesse Owens (brother of International Organizer Lillie Mae Gibson) was guest speaker. (ADW, 8-21-1958, p.7; AO, 8-1958, p.7)
August 14 – 17, 1960 - A series of meetings including an August 17th Memorial Banquet
was held at 2200 E. 40th St. Guest speakers included the International Organizer Lillie Mae Gibson and Secretary-General Margaret Davis fresh from Liberia. Ms. Davis showed a film about the progress being made in developing the UNIA’s Liberia estate. (CCP 8-13-1960, p. 1_C) (Photo attached)
1961 – President General Lionel Francis of the UNIA, Inc. of New York, dies in Belize
April 30, 1964 - President-General James R. Stewart dies in Gbandela, Liberia.
James Bennett of Youngstown, OH succeeds as President-General. (Interview of Ms. Roberta Stewart, daughter of President-General Stewart)
January 31, 1965 -The Vanguard Division presents “The Life of Frederick Douglas,”
a film about the life and times of the famous abolitionist.
Archbishop Edwin Collins of the Coptic Orthodox Church narrates the film. (NYAN, 1-30-1965, p.13)
January 13, 1968 - President-General James Bennett dies. Vernon Wilson
succeeds, naming Roberta Bennett Secretary-General. (CCP, 1-13-1968, p.12A)
February 24, 1968 - The UNIA-ACL hosts a Conference at St. John AME in
Cleveland. Rev. Joseph E. S. Ray is reappointed Public
Relations Coordinator by Counsel-General Wesley J Gray. Mrs.
Roberta Bennett is elected Secretary-General, filling the office recently vacated by the death of Mrs. Mary Thompson. (CCP, 2-24-1968, p.6A)
September 19, 1970 - President-General Vernon Wilson Appoints Mason Hargrave President of the Cleveland Division and Commissioner of District 8. His appointment is expected to expedite the development of the proposed $10 Million Marcus Garvey Complex. (CCP, 5-31-1969)
December 20, 1970 - The Honorable Colonel Thomas Payne returns from Liberia to speak at the American Headquarters in Cleveland on the “Black Potential in Africa.” Rev. DeForest Brown, President of the Hough Area Development Corporation, and Councilman J. H. Bell also share the podium emphasizing the importance of cooperation in achieving the aims and objects of the Association. (CCP, 12-19-1970, p.11B)
May 21 – 23, 1971 - A “Unification Council” is formed by the UNIA-ACL and the remnants of the renegade Rehabilitating Committee headquartered in Philadelphia. A meeting was scheduled at the Garvey School of Education in Youngstown, OH to iron out differences in programs and approaches in an effort to consolidate the movement. (CCP, 5-8-1971, p.15A)
March 1972 - The UNIA-ACL is granted a temporary injunction and other equitable relief by Judge George J McMonagle against 13 dissident members of the Association. The court found that the alleged “Unification Convention” held by these dissident members were ‘not in conformity with the rules and regulations governing the Association.’ The dissidents were further enjoined by the courts from interfering with or disrupting the business of the UNIA-ACL and two of the members were ordered to move their residency from the building within 10 days.
March 9, 1974 - President Mason Hargrave succeeds in flying the Red, Black and Green flag over Cleveland City Hall. (CCP, 3-9-1974, p. 6a)
August 1974 - President-General Vernon Wilson is re-elected in convention. Shortly afterwards he falls ill. Get well letters are sent to Mercy Hospital. (CD, 11-19-1974, p. 17)
October 1974 - Lt. Parks, Mary Louise Mason and 19 others are denied an
immediate restraining order against the UNIA-ACL and file a complaint to dissolve the corporation. (CCP, 10-5-1974, p.2A)
January 1975 - President-General Vernon Wilson dies at 72 years old. He was memorialized at the A. R. Leek’s Funeral home in Chicago, IL. (CCP, 1-18-1975, p.4A)
February 1975 - Mason Alexander Hargrave succeeds Vernon Wilson (CCP, 2-
August 17, 1980 - President-General Mason Hargrave attends the unveiling of the
bust of the Most Honorable Marcus Garvey in Washington at the Organization of American States. Queen Mother Audley Moore is also in attendance. (Interview of Tarik A Oduno, attendee at the event)
July 28, 1987 - President-General Mason Hargrave gives testimony on behalf of
the UNIA-ACL at the US Congressional Hearing before the Sub-Committee on Criminal Justice concerning the mail fraud charges against Marcus Garvey. (Congressional Transcript)
October 2, 1988 - President-General Mason Hargrave invites the Conscious
Community to join the UNIA in taking a Walk Thru The Projects to lend moral support to those in need and inspire hope in those less fortunate. (Open Letter To The Conscious Community)
November 16, 1988 - UNIA-ACL International Headquarters is destroyed by fire. (PD,
December 12, 1988 - President-General Mason A. Hargrave Sr dies.
April 27, 1989 - Cleophus Miller Jr succeeds President-General Mason Hargrave
as the 6th President-General of the UNIA-ACL 1929 of the World. President-General Miller vows to restore the movement to prominence, rebuild the International Headquarters (Liberty Hall) in Cleveland, make the UNIA-ACL Historical Society viable and mobilize former members to return and rebuild the premier association for the uplift of the race. (CCP, 4-27-1989, p.A1, 2B)
February 7, 1990 - President-General Miller leads the Mayor, City Officials and 300
students in reciting a Toast To The Flag as part of Cleveland’s salute to the Red, Black and Green Flag and Black History. (CCP, 2-22-1990, p. 2B)
2005 – William R. Day also known as Ahmed Assalaam is elected as Potentate and Supreme Commissioner of the UNIA, Inc. in New York.
2006 – Potentate and Supreme Commissioner Ahmed Assalaam introduces his first Ten Year Plan.
August 2007 – A Unification Conference and Joint Convention was held in Washington, D.C. by the UNIA, Inc. of New York, and the UNIA-ACL 1929, Inc. from Ohio. The first Unification agreement was signed and officers were elected. Under the Agreement Ahmed Assalaam was also elected as the Potentate of the Ohio Corporation and Cleophus Miller, Jr. was also elected as the President-General of the UNIA, Inc. Former President-General of the UNIA, Inc. Nana Kwabena Prempeh moved to Ghana, Africa and stepped down as the President General of the UNIA, Inc. and was elected as the Ambassador to Ghana. The Ten Year Plan was adopted by both Corporations.
September 2009 – After much lengthy civil litigation the Honorable Judge Maurice Ross of the District of Columbia Superior Court in the case of Muhammad vs. Hawkins [Civil Action Number 2007 – 06662B], reversed the previous Court Ruling and issued an Order overturning the previous adjudication of fraud alleged by the by members of the Rehabilitating Committee, then Judge Ross DENIED the claims presented in their civil complaint, and altogether DISMISSED the case the Rehabilitating Committee then brought against the officers of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, Inc. of New York, and the UNIA-ACL 1929, Inc. of Ohio
March 2011 – A Revised Ten Year Plan was presented to the High Executive by the Potentate and Supreme Commissioner. It was approved by the unanimous vote of all officers present.
ADW Atlanta Daily World
ALK Alfred Leslie King Papers
AO African Opinion
BA Baltimore Afro-American
CC Carlos Cooks and Black Nationalism
CD Chicago Defender
CCP Cleveland Call and Post (CCP)
G&G Amy Jacques Garvey, Garvey and Garveyism
GV Garvey’s Voice
GT Rev. Pastor Georgina Thornton Papers
MGPP Marcus Garvey & UNIA Papers
NAN New Amsterdam News
NNW New Negro World
NYT New York Times (NYT)
PD Plain Dealer
Spady James Spady, Marcus Garvey, Africa and the Universal Negro Improvement Association: a UMUM perspective on concentric activity in the Pan African World
UNIA 1946 Minutes of the 10th International Convention, 1946
UNIA vs UNIA (RH) Trustees of Division #121 vs Garvey Memorial Liberty Hall Appeal
UNIA 1950 UNIA 1950 Convention Pamphlet