American Series Sample Documents

Volume IV: 1 September 1921--2 September 1922

Edward J. Brennan to William J. Burns, Director, Bureau of Investigation

NEW YORK, N.Y. September 1st, 1921

Dear Sir:

I am attaching herewith an article said to have been written by MAD[AR]IKAN DENIYI, the author of which is opposed to the movement of Marcus Garvey as well as the Universal Negro Improvement Association. This information was furnished [to] Agent Scully by Mr. Worthington of the New York Tribune. Very truly yours,

EDWARD J. BRENNAN Division Superintendent

CJS-WED Enclos. [Endorsements] Memo JEH 9/7/21 GFR

DNA, RG 65, file BS 198940-257. TLS, recipient's copy. Handwritten endorsements.


New York City, N.Y. September 1, 1921

African Redemption Fund Is Fraud Negroes in America Are Warned to Beware of Fakers

By Madarikan Deniyi, Native of Lagos, Nigeria, West Africa

Because the Universal Negro Improvement Association is only an organization in the United States of America, and has no power to perform the functions of a Government, therefore I am writing this article to warn all the Negroes in America against the bogus "African Redemption Fund," that was invented recently by Marcus Garvey in New York City, during the Negro Convention at Liberty Hall, West 138th St.

The black Kings, Chiefs, Princes and Presidents in Africa, did not send any special invitation to a black slave or descendant of slave like Marcus Garvey to use such fraudulent schemes of defrauding poor and needy Negroes in America, by inducing and preaching to them to contribute five dollars ($5.00) each for the redemption of Africa. But through my investigation about this "African Redemption Fund," I discovered that the contribution is for the purpose of paying the salaries of the President (Marcus Garvey) and officials of the Universal Negro Improvement Association in America, instead of using the money for the purpose of educating and Christianizing the African natives. Therefore I will advise the white and black Missionaries of various denomination[s] in the United States to investigate thoroughly under what condition Marcus Garvey is inducing Negroes to contribute five dollars ($5.00) each to such fraudulent fund.

A few months ago in this greater city of New York, Marcus Garvey issued and sold the bogus "Liberian Liberty Bonds" to these Negroes for the purpose of redeeming Africa, without the proper seal of the Liberian Government on the bonds; but the Universal Negro Improvement Association did not make any improvement with the money in Liberia or any part of Africa. The Secretary General (Rev. J. D. Brooks) of the organization disappeared with [a] few thousand dollars of the Negroes' money, and did not return to make the report of the money, that he collected from various branches in the United States.

If there is any law in the United States, that protects a person, whether white or black from the pickpockets and highway robbers, I think the policemen and detectives ought to use the law, and exercise their Federal authorities to protect poor and needy Negroes from being robbed by the so-called Negro "Moses," who is using his fraudulent schemes to catch suckers easily as molasses always catch[es] the flies without any molestation.

There are lots of Negroes to-day in the United States, who are out of work on account of the propaganda of Marcus Garvey and the Universal Improvement Association. Some of them have to depend on various white and black charity societies to feed and clothe them. This is the kind of conditions we are facing in America, but still, the Universal Negro Improvement Association hasn't ma[d]e any preparation to help solve the problem of hard time[s], instead of imposing on these unfortunate Negroes to contribute five dollars ($5.00) each for the redemption of Africa, when some of the people in this country are almost starve[d] to death. In some part of Africa, a person can buy the whole chicken for fifteen cents, and hog for three or four dollars each, whereas you have to pay fifty cents for a leg of fried chicken in the American restaurants, and few pig ta[i]ls with lima beans for thirty-five cents a plate. Therefore I will advise the Negroes all over the world not to contribute to this bogus "African Redemption Fund," because the African natives will not receive a penny out of the fake invention. If the black rulers in Africa need money for the redemption of Africa, they will send the native educators and lawyers to negotiate with the United States Government in America.


DNA, RG 65, file BS 198940-257. TD.

Report by Bureau Agent F. M. Ames

Pittsburgh, Pa. Sept. 1, 1921

Universal Negro Improvement Association, Woodlawn, Pa.

From a confidential source the following report was received of a meeting of the above named Association held at Woodlawn, Pa., Sunday, August 14th, 1921:---

Subject: Universal Negro Improvement Association

I attended the Negro meeting at three P.M. this date [in] the hall at the corner of Wykes and Davis Sts., Plan H exten[s]ion. The President, Walter Greaves presided. He was ably assisted by the Vice President, Irv Franklin. The charter members were present and were sitting up front. The principal speaker was S. A. Franklin from 1604 Wylie Ave., Pittsburgh, Pa. Accompanying him was Mr. Wider, Capt. of the Military Dept. of the Association.

S. A. Franklin made a very spirited address on the subject of equal rights for the negroes throughout the entire world. He spoke for an hour and one half. He called the attention of the members to the fact of my presence there and explained that I was conducting an investigation of the association; that I had been informed that the Association was radical and should not be permitted to exist. He remarked that some one was a traitor and had been carrying lies to the whites and that he had information as to who was the guilty one. He then said that if he was sure he would kill him. Repeating it he said, "I will kill him myself" (at this time he pounded himself on the chest) and no government in the land would question it because it would only be another negro out of the way. He explained in very emphatic language that the negro was just as good as any white man and that they would ask for their rights first and if they did not get them they would fight to the death for them. He called the negroes cowards for standing indignities forced upon them by whites. He told them that if they had any backbone they would lynch a white man every time a negro was lynched.

Franklin th[e]n mentioned the Klu Klux Klan, saying that it was being organized all over the country for the purpose of suppressing the negroes. He said that a large Klan was now being organized in Pittsburgh. He then added that when their organization was complete they would have an organization "far more terrible than the Klu Klux Klan ever was."

A book of the By-Laws of this organization is attached to the Washington copies of this report.


[Endorsement] Filed General Intelligence Library 9/8/21

DNA, RG 65, file BS 202600-824-7. TD. Handwritten endorsement.

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