The NAACP vied with the UNIA for the support of the black masses. The competition was exacerbated by Marcus Garvey’s personal conflicts with W.E.B. Du Bois and other NAACP officials and mutual accusations of wrongdoing. In January 1922, Marcus Garvey was arrested on mail fraud charges regarding the sale of Black Star Line stock.
In his newspaper the Negro World, Garvey blamed “All the troubles on certain organizations calling themselves Negro Advancement Associations.” He accused them of sabotaging the ships “to bring about the downfall” of the UNIA. James Weldon Johnson asserted that “such a statement applied to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People could be characterized only as a malicious falsehood of the most contemptible sort.” In this letter Garvey responds to Johnson’s demand for a retraction.