Universal Negro Improvement Association National Historic Event

Montreal, Quebec
Date Created/Published: 1924 Aug. 5. (© Library of Congress)
Marcus Garvey, founder of the UNIA
(© Library of Congress)
Address : 2741 Notre-Dame Street West, Montreal, Quebec

Recognition Statute: Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
Designation Date: 2018-02-27
  • 1919 to 1940 (Significant)

Other Name(s):
  • Universal Negro Improvement Association  (Designation Name)
Research Report Number: 2016-21

Importance: Black fraternal and political organization founded in Jamaica in 1914 and led by Marcus Garvey.


Existing plaque:  2741 Notre-Dame Street West, Montréal, Quebec

The Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), founded by Jamaican-born Marcus Garvey in 1914, was part of a global movement to unite, empower, and improve the lives of people of African descent. From its headquarters in Harlem, New York, the UNIA expanded rapidly across Canada, with approximately 5,000 members in 32 divisions by the early 1920s. The first opened in Montréal, where the UNIA’s Liberty Hall was an important centre for education, economic, social, and cultural activities. The vast majority of Canadian members were West Indian immigrants, who brought a strong pan-African consciousness to the leadership of the UNIA.