Jeffrey Green

Jeffrey is a historian
based south of London

078: Charles Garnett of the League of Universal Brotherhood


Charles Garnett (1855-1930) was a Christian minister born in Birkenhead who served for many years as the secretary of the League of Universal Brotherhood. From Ancoats he moved to London in the 1890s and was the pastor at Arundel Square Congregational Church, Barnesbury until 1909 when he became an officer of the League. Having twice visited the USA in the 1890s he was opposed to racial discrimination, and joined the League in 1904 – its ideals included peace, temperance and the recognition of human brotherhood.

At Arundel Square and then with the League Garnett helped black South Africans and went there in 1908. Two black associates from this period were Joseph Gumede and a Jamaican engineer Isaac Edmestone Barnes.

In 1911 Garnett was an executive of the Universal Races Congress held in London and in 1913 spoke at a conference on Africans in London. It was at this time he may have met Marcus Garvey. In 1919 Garnett was involved with the black South African delegation in England to seek rights at the peace conference in France. In June 1928 Garnett spoke in support of Garvey (Royal Albert Hall, London) and two months later chaired a meeting in Westbourne Grove’s Century Theatre addressed by Garvey.
Garnett, a constant supporter for black and African causes, opposed imperialism and racism.

His last known address was Eastdene, Bow Lane, Finchley (north London). He was married with several children.
He died in the late Spring of 1930.

Garnett has been on the margins of history and it is requested that anyone with information, no matter how trivial, makes contact.

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