On December 23, 1910 the Baltimore Afro-American Newspaper printed on page 6 “The Crimes of Being Black” 2,458 known lynching of Black men in America with no one punished. Between 1882 and 1911 white people in Maryland had lynched 31 known African Americans.
Reverend William S. Brooks, who was the pastor of Baltimore’s Bethel A.M.E Church located at 1300 Druid Hill Avenue; from 1917 to 1920. On December 18, 1918; Rev. Brooks partnered with the Universal Negro Improvement Association leader William D. Rankin in launching a historic meeting at Baltimore’s Bethel A.M.E Church to discuss the terror of lynching which featured anti-lynching advocate Ida B. Wells-Barnett, and UNIA founder and president Marcus Garvey.
During the early years between 1919-1922 Reverend James Robert Lincoln Diggs, pastor of the Trinity Baptist Church located at 1601 Druid Hill Avenue, was one of the early founders in the Niagara Movement. Reverend Diggs, a close friend of Marcus Garvey, was one of his main supporters who helped to establish the local chapter of Universal Negro Improvement Association in Baltimore City. On Thursday, February 28, 1919, the Baltimore Afro-American Newspaper publish the locations, dates and times where Marcus Garvey would be delivering a series of lectures starting on Sunday March 2 and ending on Thursday, March 6, 1919.
By 1920, the Universal Negro Improvement Association national office claimed to have 4 million members. This was the same year that the Baltimore Chapter of the U.N.I.A. No.72 opened up an office at 1917 Pennsylvania Avenue, with D. Rankins as its president. On Friday, September 17, 1920 the Baltimore Afro-American Newspaper published that Marcus Garvey, head of the U.N.I.A., with his singers and band will hold a three day meeting in city on September 21st, 22nd, and 23rd. On Friday, October 1, 1920, Marcus Garvey’s third appearance in Baltimore City was set at a three day meeting held on the first floor at the Richmond Armory Market located at 800 N. Howard Street (now converted into a out-patient clinic at Maryland General Hospital).
September, 1921 Reverend Diggs becomes the president of Baltimore’s Chapter No.72 U.N.I.A.
On Friday, November 25, 1921 the Baltimore Afro-American Newspaper published that last night Marcus Garvey was speaking at St. Peter Claver’s Hall; and Garvey stated that “America is a White Man’s Country and unless the Negro organized that we will be driven out in the next hundred years.”
On Thursday, February 8, 1922 Marcus Garvey speaks at Reverend Diggs’s Trinity Baptist Church on three consecutive nights drawing large crowds each night. The Baltimore’s Chapter said they have about 3,000 followers of Marcus Garvey in the city and Reverend Diggs is appointed as the official chaplain general of U.N.I.A. On June, 1922 the local chapter moved its headquarter further down the street to a larger building located at 1428-1430 Pennsylvania Avenue. On Friday, June 2, 1922 the Baltimore Afro-American Newspaper states the Pennsylvania Avenue headquarters will be called “Liberty Hall,” the same title as the New York U.N.I.A. Headquarter.
On Sunday, June 11, 1922 the Baltimore U.N.I.A. Chapter held a rally at the 1,349 seat, Black-owned Douglass Theater, with Marcus Garvey as the main speaker. William Sherrill, a staunch advocate of Pan Africanist and Black nationalist philosophy joined the Baltimore Chapter of the UNIA after hearing Marcus Garvey speech on racial unity and Black pride at the old Douglass Theater.
On Thursday, July 27, 1922, Reverend Diggs presided over the marriage of Marcus Garvey and Amy Jacques-Garvey at the Trinity Baptist Church in Baltimore City. By August 1922 Reverend Diggs entered the hospital and found out he is suffering terminal cancer. A few days later Reverend Diggs goes to U.N.I.A. National Convention where he issued a defense of Garvey’s leadership, citing biblical backing for the movement, and a call for racial unity. The same year, UNIA founder and president Marcus Garvey is arrested for mail fraud. William Sherrill takes a leading role within the Baltimore Chapter. William Sherrill is recognized and became a force within the UNIA and is asked to moved to New York to served as the organization’s national assistant president general.
On Saturday, April 14, 1923 Reverend Diggs health gets worse and he dies of cancer. He is buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery. On Saturday, June 23, 1923, Marcus Garvey is sentenced to five years in jail.
On Friday, January 18, 1924, William Sherrill came to Baltimore City to speak at the Goldfield Theater telling the audience Marcus Garvey fight is to free his people from economic and social slavery. He tells the audience that Marcus Garvey is out on bail and will be speaking this week at the St. Peter Claver’s Hall at Pressman and Carey Street and at the New National Theater at Monument and Eden Street.
The Old Douglass Theater was sold to a white company in 1925 and the theater’s name was later change to the Royal Theater. By December 1, 1927, Marcus Garvey is deported from the United States to Jamaica.