When he published its third edition in 1935 from London, Garvey described The Tragedy of White Injustice in these terms: "It must be remembered that this is not an attempt at poetry: it is just a peculiar style of using facts as they impress me as I go through the pages of history and as I look at and note the conduct of the White race."
Garvey wrote this "epic poem" in 1927 while in an Atlanta prison. Its first and second editions were published while he was serving a five-year sentence "as the result of the White man’s prejudice in America". According to him, at the time of publishing the third edition, thousands of copies had already been circulated all over the world. In this foreword to the third edition, Garvey indicated that Mussolini's "savage-like" efforts to "conquer Abyssinia" inspired its publication.