Exonerate Marcus Garvey! Sign the White House petition before October 22, 2011

Marcus Garvey said, "We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery, for though others may free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind."

Marcus Garvey with quote on mental emancipation, the next stage of human development.

Click here to sign the petition to exonerate Marcus Garvey!!!

Marcus Garvey is the source for Bob Marley’s well known phrase in “Redmption Song:”

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; None but ourselves can free our minds.

That famous lyric originated with Marcus Garvey.  In his 1937 speech “The Work That Has Been Done” given at Menelik Hall in Nova Scotia Garvey states:

We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind.

The mental emancipation Garvey spoke about has yet to become significantly widespread among the human race.  One indication humanity has yet to achieve mental emancipation is the fact criminal charges are still on the records of the United States Federal Government.  Does such fact Garvey’s of universal emancipation warrant his exoneration?  With such a powerful statement having influence on people worldwide to the extent they seek further knowledge as to source of Bob Marley’s lyrics it would seem the answer is in the affirmative.

The only evidence used to convict Marcus Garvey was actually an absence of evidence.  At trial a single empty envelope was presented.  Allegedly the envelope once contained a flyer which suggested the Black Star Line owned a ship named for Phillis Wheatley, the first African-American to have published poetry.  Garvey was out of the USA at the time and therefore could not have created such a flyer if one actually existed.

This link will take you to the White House petition in support of Marcus Garvey’s exoneration.  We need 5000 signers by October 22, 2011.  Please share this with as many people as possible.

More information on the Garvey Case can be found in the article by Professor Justin Hansford.  Jailing A Rainbow can be read at the link below:







Women’s History Month exhibit honors Lady Henrietta Vinton Davis

Below are a few photos of the exhibit reviewing the life of Lady Henrietta Vinton Davis at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, DC.

Livication 2009




Nnamdi Azikiwe


email: info@ladydavis.org

website: http://www.ladydavis.org

blog: http://henriettavintondavis.blogspot.com


-Events to recognize cultural icon-

Washington, DC –Today the Henrietta Vinton Davis Memorial Foundation announced plans to host Livication Day 2009.  The Foundation has as its mission to raise awareness of the life and legacy of Shakespearean actor, elocutionist, dramatic reader and activist Henrietta Vinton Davis.

Miss Davis remained relatively unrecognized until July 1983 when an article entitled “Henrietta Vinton Davis and the Garvey Movement” by Professor William Seraille was published in the journal ‘Afro-Americans in New York Life and History’.  Nearly a year later, acknowledgment of her contributions increased with the publication of the book ‘Shakespeare in Sable’ written by Professor Errol Hill of Dartmouth University.  In 1994, actor Clayton LeBouef received a commission to write a play on her life entitled ‘Shero: The Livication of Henrietta Vinton Davis.’   Her home in Northeast Washington, DC has been listed on Cultural Tourism DC’s African American Heritage Trail since 1999.

In 2008, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty issued a proclamation designating August 25 ‘Henrietta Vinton Davis Day.’  The designation furthers the Foundation’s efforts to raise awareness of Miss Davis’ life and garner funds to place a marker at her grave.  The decree issued in 2008 acknowledges Davis as the first African American to work at the DC Recorder of Deeds office beginning in 1878, before Frederick Douglas was appointed Recorder.  The proclamation also recognizes Miss Davis’ significance as a cultural icon.  She made her career debut as a Shakespearean actor, elocutionist, dramatic reader and impressionist in Washington, DC on April 25, 1883 where she was introduced by Douglas, a family friend.

The proclamation also acknowledges the success of Miss Davis as a public speaker. During 1919, a year remembered for its “Red Summer,” she joined the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League headed by Marcus Garvey.

The Livication Service will be conducted at her grave site located in National Harmony Memorial Park 7101 Sheriff Road Largo, MD (phone:301-772-0900). on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 10:00 A.M. Other activities are also in the planning stages.

About Henrietta Vinton Davis

For thirty-five years after her debut performing “Shakespearean delineations”, original plays and dramatic readings with her own performing company, and local troupes throughout the United States, South America and the Caribbean, Henrietta Vinton Davis broke new ground as a successful theatrical artisan in the United States. Her dedication to her craft gained her recognition as the first African American “woman of the stage.”

As a leader of the African Redemption Movement beginning in 1919, Davis made use of her acting skills to promote the aims and objectives of the UNIA. Her ability to “transport her listeners” to another place with her oratorical skills played a key role in both attracting members to the organization and promoting the Black Star Line Shipping Company.  As such, she was elected to numerous positions including International Organizer, and Third Assistant President General of the UNIA.  Additionally, as Vice President and a Director of the Black Star Line. Davis was the de facto authority aboard the Black Star Line’s flagship vessel, the S.S. Yarmouth, on its maiden voyage.  The ship was laden with a cargo worth upwards of $5.000.000 destined for the Caribbean.  On the ship’s return Marcus Garvey proclaimed Miss Davis “the greatest woman of the [African] race today” in a meeting at the UNIA’s Liberty Hall.

About The Henrietta Vinton Davis Memorial Foundation

Initially organized to raise funds solely to place a marker at the grave of Lady Henrietta Vinton Davis in 2005, the mission of The Henrietta Vinton Davis Memorial Foundation has evolved to include educating the general public on her life by producing plays, publishing books, producing documentary videos and conducting symposiums educating the general public about her life and the times in which she lived.

A scene from the play Christophe by William Edgar Easton

A scene from the play Christophe by William Edgar Easton

Proclamation for Henrietta Vinton Davis Day

Proclamation for Henrietta Vinton Davis Day

Hilton R. Jordon to Professor William Seraile

Below is text of a letter from Hilton R. Jordon to Professor William Seraile.  Mr. Jordan was a little boy when he lived in New York and shares his remembrances of Henrietta Vinton Davis with Professor Seraile.  This letter is verification of the reality in the Liberian proverb “No One Ever Truly Dies Until They Are Forgotten.”  Reading this letter suggests that both Professor Seraile and Mr. Jordan were inspired by the spirit of Lady Davis to act on her behalf.   May we all be so inspired.

601 South Harvard Boulevard
Los Angeles, California
January 28, 1981

Pro. William Seraile
Herbert H. Lehman College
Bedford Park Boulevard West
Bronx, New York 10468

Dear Pro. Seraile,

I received your letter some time ago, and am sorry that I didn’t answer before.  It is quite a coincident [sic] receiving your letter just when i was wondering why someone did not write about Lady Vinton Davis as she was quite an outstanding person.  I am quite interested in Black History and make posters of outstanding Blacks each February for Black History Month, and wanted to include Miss Davis, but i don’t have a picture of her and since I was only between the ages of ten and eleven I can’t say very much about her.  I met her when I was involved with the Garvey movement, the U.N.I.A.  I was about eleven or twelve years of age then, anyhow I was very glad to know you are writing a book on Lady Davis so I went to many libraries to find something about her, but could not, until a few days ago i was fortunate to find just a little after quite an extensive research.  This is the material I found.  Miss Henrietta Vinton Davis was born in the city of Baltimore Md.  Her father was Mansfield Vinton Davis, her mother a beautiful young widow married Captain George A. Hackett a few years after Mr. Vinton Davis died.  Captain George A. Hackett was a recognized leader of the black people of Baltimore and a man of means possesing a generous heart who gave to his step daughter Henrietta all the advantages his condition could allow, but Mr. Hackett like Miss Davis father died when she was young.  After a year of her step father’s death Henrietta’s mother made her residence in the city of Washington, D.C.  Miss Davis having a natural liking for books made rapid progress in her studies, and by her studious and genial manners soon became a favoriate with her teacher Miss Mary Bozeman who was first to advise Henrietta to study elocution.

At the age of fifteen Henrietta passed the necessary examination and was awarded the position as teacher in one of the public schools in Baltimore.  While holding the teacher’s position Miss Davis attracted the Board of Education in the State of Louisiana where she was awarded a higher position and remained until she was called home because of her mother’s illness.  The Louisiana Board of Education issued Miss Davis a certificate testifying to the ability and efficiency with which she discharged her duties.  In 1878 Miss Davis entered the office of Recorder of Deeds as copyist in Washington, D.C. where she resided until 1884 when she resigned to follow her chosen profession and to carry out a long desire to study for the dramatic stage.  Miss Davis studied under the best masters of her day in classic and dramatic literature.  Miss Davis later became the pupil of Miss Margueritte E. Saxton a lady of great ability and a very conscientious teacher.  On April 25/1883 Miss Davis made her debut at Washington.  I hope I have helped a little; Lady Henrietta Vinton was a Lady to be admired, I can see her now as she walked the streets of Harlem in New York, she was erect gracious and a great orator.  In the twenties I was refered [sic] to as “Little Marcus” by Garveyites and held the rank of sergeant in the U.N.I.A. Juvenile Corps.  I have composed a book of my original poems which is copyrighted but I am unable to get a reasonable publisher and since you are an author may be you can recommend one.  Remember me to my niece Norma.

If you have a picture of Lady Henrietta Vinton Davis I will be happy to have one you could spare.

Sincerely yours,

Hilton R. Jordan

L.A. Scruggs, 1893.)

IN ALL HER GLORY: The Honorable Henrietta Vinton Davis, Lady Grand Commander Of the Nile

IN ALL HER GLORY: The Honorable Henrietta Vinton Davis, Lady Commander Order of the Nile


Henrietta Vinton Davis from Women of distinction: remarkable in works and invincible in character. (Raleigh, N.C. : L.A. Scruggs, 1893.)
Henrietta Vinton Davis from Women of distinction: remarkable in works and invincible in character. (Raleigh, N.C. : L.A. Scruggs, 1893.)

The Honorable Lady Henrietta Vinton Davis was a Shakespearean actor, elocutionist, dramatic reader, and public speaker. She was proclaimed by Marcus Garvey to be “the greatest woman of the [African] race”. She is currently lying in an unmarked grave in National Harmony Memorial Park in Largo, Maryland. The Henrietta Vinton Davis Memorial Foundation is committed to increasing the general public’s awareness and erecting a memorial to the life and legacy of the Honorable Henrietta Vinton Davis, Lady Commander Order of the Nile. In addition to raising funds for a fitting memorial to her life, we also intend to sponsor performances of a play entitled “Shero: The Livication of Henrietta Vinton Davis” written by Actor Clayton Lebouef, produce a biopic on her life and publish her biography.  Hopefully, after reading this brief synopsis of her life you too will be inspired to add your name to the list of those who consolidated their resources in order to bestow a fitting memorial upon her. Nothing less is due a woman of her stature.

On August 15, 1860, Henrietta Vinton Davis was freeborn in Baltimore, Maryland to Mansfield Vinton and Mary Ann (Johnson) Davis. Her father, who was a pianist, died shortly thereafter.  Six months later in 1861, her mother married George A. Hackett. A coal yard operator and former livery stable owner, Hackett is one of the most prominent Africans in Baltimore at that time. His lobbying efforts are credited with swaying public opinion among the citizens of Maryland to defeat the 1859 Jacobs Bill. The intention of that bill was to deport from Maryland all adults of African ancestry and enslave all free African children. It was considered a response to the raid on Harper’s Ferry by John Brown. He was also a member of the Board of Directors of The Chesapeake Marine Railway and Dry Dock Company of Baltimore City, the only African American Shipbuilding company in the United States which was co founded by  Hackett’s friend Isaac Myers.  Captain Hackett died in April of 1870 after voting despite warnings to the African community in Baltimore against doing so. He was given an elaborate funeral at Bethel AME Church with Senator Hiram Revels of Mississippi among the distinguished list of attendees and an eulogy conducted by Bishop Daniel Alexander Payne. The ceremony was followed by a mile long procession of carriages and marchers across the city of Baltimore from west to east. Hackett was interred in what was then Laurel Cemetery (bulldozed in the 1950s for a shopping mall, some graves including Hackett’s were moved to Johnsville, Maryland).

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The Holy Piby Speaks of Henrietta Vinton Davis

The Holy Piby Speaks of Henrietta Vinton Davis

In the Holy Piby Henrietta Vinton Davis is identfied as one of the “Apostles” apointed to “to save Ethiopia and her generations from everlasting downfall” with Marcus Garvey and Robert Lincoln Poston.



Therefore, Athlyi yielded him a copy of the map, and declared Marcus Garvey an apostle of the Lord God for the redemption of Ethiopia and her suffering posterities.


Now when Marcus Garvey, God’s foremost apostle, heard the voice of his colleague, apostle Robert Lincoln Poston, preaching in the city of Detroit, Michigan, United States of America, he knew that this was his colleague for the lord God hath revealed, notwithstanding the three apostles had met in the spirit before they came to administer the law Gospel for the full salvation of Ethiopia’s posterities.

Now when the amalgamation of their apostleship was verified, apostle Poston came to New York City, United States of America, and then teamed with apostle Garvey in the work for the redemption of Ethiopia and her trodden posterities, whom through the oppression of the nations and the ignorance of the Negro ministers of Christian faith, were hanging over the bridge of death, both body and soul.



“Moreover, behold at thy side is the noble woman Henrietta in whom the whole heaven adore because of her greatness of faith and the loyal way in which she fights to save Ethiopia and her generations from everlasting downfall. Place her at the side of thy colleague, for great is her wisdom, saith the Lord, and send ye also another that they go and prepare a home for mine anointed.”