Jamaica has six National heroes and one heroine. All of them are people who have sacrificed self to stand up for the rights of our people in one way or another. A Portrait of each hero can be found on different Jamaican notes. This is done in further honor to their significant contribution to the rich Jamaican heritage we have today. Jamaica national heroes are:
1. Marcus Garvey
Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jr. ONH (17 August 1887 – 10 June 1940) was a proponent of Black nationalism in Jamaica and especially the United States. He was a leader of a mass movement called Pan-Africanism and he founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL). He also founded the Black Star Line, a shipping and passenger line which promoted the return of the African diaspora to their ancestral lands. Although most American Black leaders condemned his methods and his support for racial segregation, Garvey attracted a large following. The Black Star Line went bankrupt and Garvey was imprisoned for mail fraud in the selling of its stock. His movement then rapidly collapsed.
Prior to the 20th century, leaders such as Prince Hall, Martin Delany, Edward Wilmot Blyden, and Henry Highland Garnet advocated the involvement of the African diaspora in African affairs. Garvey was unique in advancing a Pan-African philosophy to inspire a global mass movement and economic empowerment focusing on Africa known as Garveyism. Promoted by the UNIA as a movement of African Redemption, Garveyism would eventually inspire others, ranging from the Nation of Islam to the Rastafari movement (which proclaim Garvey as a prophet).
Garveyism intended persons of African ancestry in the diaspora to “redeem” the nations of Africa and for the European colonial powers to leave the continent. His essential ideas about Africa were stated in an editorial in Negro World entitled “African Fundamentalism”, where he wrote: “Our union must know no clime, boundary, or nationality… to let us hold together under all climes and in every country.