Amy Ashwood Garvey plaque: November 2009

Amy Ashwood Garvey plaque

Date of Installation: November 2009
Location:1 Bassett Road W10
Plaque: Blue

In 2009, the Octavia Foundation and the Nubian Jak Community Trust, unveiled the Blue Plaque celebrating Amy Ashwood Garvey.

Amy Ashwood Garvey, a feminist, a human rights campaigner and a Pan-Africanist, was the first wife of Marcus Garvey and between 1934 and 1960 lived in West London. Born in Port Antonio, Jamaica, on 10 January 1897, she was taken to Panama by her parents as an infant. She returned to Jamaica in 1804 and attended the Westwood High School for Girls in Trelawny, where she met her future husband, Marcus Garvey,with whom she founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in 1914.

The UNIA was the most influential anti-colonial organization in Jamaica up to 1938, and inspired many Africans abroad. Amy 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 City branch. In 1919, she was made secretary of the Black Star shipping Line, and became one of its first directors.

The plaque to her was unveiled by the Jamaican High Commissioner Burchell Whiteman on the 5th November. There was a vocal performance from the young pupils from Elizabeth Garrett Anderson school, who had performed for Michelle Obama.