Electronic copy available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1321527
Jailing a Rainbow: the Marcus Garvey Case
“It may be true that Garvey fancied himself a Moses, if not a Messiah; that he deemed himself a man with a message to deliver, and believed that he needed ships for the deliverance of his people; but with this assumed, it remains true that if his gospel consisted in part of exhortations to buy worthless stock, accompanied by deceivingly false statements as tothe worth thereof, he was guilty of a scheme or artifice to defraud . . . We need not delay to examine in detail the fraud scheme exhibited by practically uncontradicted evidence. Stripped of its appeal to the ambitions, emotions, or race consciousness of men of color, it was a simple and familiar device of which the object (as of so many others) was toascertain how ‘it could best unload upon the public its capital stock at the largest possible price. At this bar there is no attempt to justify the selling scheme practiced and proven; it was wholly without morality or legality.” -- United States v. Garvey
The legal opinion above illustrates how a court opinion can construct a narrative that silencesmembers of what Richard Delgado has called “out-groups,” defined as “groups whose marginality defines the boundaries of the mainstream, whose voice and perspective—whose consciousness— has been suppressed, devalued, and abnormalized.”
Ultimately, the unjust trial and conviction of Marcus Garvey was an attempt to silence and kill the powerful voice of an Outsider.
© 2010 Justin Hansford. All rights reserved. Justin Hansford is a 2007 graduate of GeorgetownUniversity Law Center, and a 2003 graduate of Howard University. He is currently a law clerk forthe Honorable Damon J. Keith, Circuit Court Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for theSixth Circuit. The author would like to thank the exceptional members of the Georgetown Journalof Modern Critical Race Perspectives for their continuous support of this law review article,including former member Tom Smith, and former editors-in-chief Hannah Alejandro and TemiBennett, and current editor-in-chief Christina Bostick. Special thanks to Professor Emma Coleman Jordan for her continuous support for this project which began with her as an independent researchproject and later blossomed into its current form, and also Barbara Monroe, CollectionDevelopment Librarian at Georgetown University Law Center's Williams Library.
4 F.2d 974, 975 (2d Cir. 1925).
Storytelling for Oppositionists and Others: A Plea for Narrative
, 87 M
. 2411,2412 (1989).