Table of Contents
CHAPTER I: The formative years
1. THE EMERGENS OF RASTAFARI
1.1. Important Scriptures and Books In Rastafarian Theology
1.2. KEY FIGURES IN RASTAFARIANS MOVEMENT
1.3. ORGANIZATION and Structures
1.4. THE RISE OF MARCUS GARVEY
1.5. LEONARD P.HOWELL’S CONTRIBUTION
1.6. GARVEY IN HARLEM NEW YORK
1.6.1. GARVEY CREATES THE UNIA
1.6.2. GARVEY´S BLACKSTAR LINE
1.6.3. GARVEY AND BLACK NATIONALISM
1.6.4. GARVEY: MAN IS A PART OF CREATION
CHAPTER II: The DYNAMICS OF the Movement
2. GARVEYISM AS AN IDEOLOGICAL MOVEMENT
2.1. GARVEY AND THE MOVEMENT
2.1.1. THE DOCTRINE OF SUCCESS
2.1.2. DYNAMICS OF THE NEW THOUGHT
2.1.3. VICTORIAN HISTORICAL SENSEBILITYAND LITERARY TASTE
18.104.22.168. VANITY FAIR
22.214.171.124. THE PLACE NEXT TO HELL
2.1.4. POETRY AND ORAL TRADITION
2.1.5. DIALOGUES AND RELIGIOUS INFLUENCES
2.2. AFRICAN FUNDAMENTALISM
2.3. CLASSICAL INFLUENCES AND THE IDEAL STATE
2.3.1. PLATO’S LAWS
2.3.2. THE IDEAL STATE AND THE UNIA
2.3.3. POLITICAL CORRUPTION
2.3.4. RACIAL EDUCATION
2.3.5. SHORT-LIVED SCHOOLS AND UNIVERSITIES
2.3.6. GARVEY´S COURSE IN AFRICAN PHILOSOPHY
CHAPTER III: conflicting ideologies
3. Identification of Garveyism with Zionism
3.1.1. JEWISH PATRONAGE
3.1.2 GARVEY ADMIRED FASCISM, RACISM AND ANTI-SEMITISM
3.2. SELF IDENTIFICATION WITH HITLER
3.2.1. GARVEY´S ANTI-SEMITIC BELIEFS
3.2.2. GARVEY’S SCHOOL OF RACIAL PHILOSOPHY
3.3. GARVEY ATTACKS HAILE SELASSIE
3.3.1. MUSSOLINI HAILED BY GARVEY
3.3.2. HALLE SELASSIE PROVED A CRINGING COWARD
3.3.3. HAILE SELASSIE -BAD TASTE TO THE ABYSSINIAS
3.3.4. WHAT RIGHT HAS HE?
3.3.5. ITALY’S CONQUEST OF ABYSSINIA
3.3.6. ACK OF EDUCATION
3.3.7. the inconsistency of the Emperor
3.3.8. HAILE SELLASIE IS PROUD OF SHEBA BUT NOT OF SOLOMON
3.3.9. ETHIOPIA SHALL STRETCH FORTH HER HANDS
3.3.10. THE EMPEROR REJECTED BLACK DELEGATION
3.3.11. EMPEROR GAVE POOR EDUCATION
3.3.13. GARVEY THE PROPHET AND IDEOLOGIST
CHAPTER IV: spirituality Meditation And Diet
4. MYSTICISM AND LIFE STYLE
4.1. RASTARIAN SPIRITUALITY
4.2. THE UTOPIAN CITY –BULL BAY
4.3. HINDUISM PAGAN ISM OR BACK TO AFRICA
4.4. DIFFERENT STYLE
4.5. PURITY THROUGH MEDITATION AND I TAL FOOD
4.5.1. THOU SHALL NOT KILL TO EAT
4.5.2. JAH HAS ALLOWED MAN TO EAT FLESH
4.5.3 SPIRITUALITY AND ITAL FOOD
4.5.4. STRICT RECEIPS FOR A SPIRITUAL I TAL
CHAPTER V: conflicting theology
5. RASTAFARIAN THEOLOGY
5.1. The Black Jesus – Isis Jah
5.2.1. BIBLICAL RESPONSE
5.2.2. ROOTS REVOLUTION
5.3. Haile Selassie - The Returned Messiah
5.3.1. Nobody could kill the man Christ!
5.3.2. Jah ! Man of God of Israel
5.3.3. RASTA AND TRADITIONAL CHRISTIAN THEORY
5.3.4. The Last Part of the Bible
5.4. SEARCHING FOR THE RIGHT THEOLOGY
5.4.1. THE BIBLE SEMINARY
5.4.2. THE ORIGINAL BIBLICAL FAITH
5.5. MANSIONS OF RASTAFARI MOVEMENT
5.5.1. Bobo Shanti
5.5.2. Nyahbhingi Order
5.5.3. THE GARVEYITE AFRICAN ORIENTATION
5.5.4. THE TWELVE TRIBES OF ISRAEL
5.6. THE BLACK ISRAELITES
5.7. DREADLOCKS THEOLOGY
CHAPTER VI: the psychological distortion
6. RASTAFARIANS AND MYSTISISM
6.1. RASTA PRAYERS
6.2. STEPPING OUT OF BABYLON
6.2.1. RASTAFARIAN´S MIRACLE STORY
6.2.2. VISIONS OF LIFE
6.3. JAH REVANG
6.3.1. IN THE ARMAGEDDON TIME
6.3.2. RASTAFARI IS MYSTICAL
CHAPTER VII: the psychology of theocracy
7. DIVINE GOVERNMENT AND FAITH
7.1. NYABINGHI AND PRAYER RITUALS
7.1.1. HOUSE OF THE ORDER OF NYABINGHI
7.1.2. NYAHBINGHI AND RASTAFARIANS
7.2. THE GROUNATION DAY
7.3. THE ECUMENIST CRISIS:
7.4. THE SHEARING OF LOCKS
7.5. ELDER SYSTEMS AND THEOCRACY POWER
7.5.1. HYMN: JUMP NYAHBINGHI
7.5.2. HYMN: KEY MAN WINS THE FIGHT
7.5.3. HYMN: I. N. R. I
CHAPTER VIII: the impact of slavery
8. EARLY DAYS OF TRIBULATION
8.1. THE CASE OF BUSTAMANTE
8.2. BLACKMAN DECEIVED
8.3. FORGOTTEN PEOPLE AND A LOST CULTURE
8.4. REPATRIATION IS A MUST
8.4.1. BACK-TO-AFRICA MISSION
8.4.2. REPATRIATION SHALL BE A REALITY
8.4.3. AFRICAN REDEMPTION
CHAPTER IX: self marginalization and confusion
9. IN SEARCH OF DIVINITY
9.1. THE COPTIC DEITY
9.2. MOUNT ZION CHURCH
9.3. THE ZION COPTIC CHURCH
9.4. RASTAFARI’S HOLY TRINITY
9.5. ON THE COMING OF THE SON
9.6. CHURCH OF THE FOURSQUARE GOSPEL CONVENTION
9.7. FINAL DAYS OF TRIBULATION
9.8. COPTIC FOR LIBERATION
CHAPTER x: EUCHARIST, Drug and conflicts
10. RASTAFARIANS THE BIBLE AND MARIJUANA
10.1. THE USE OF MARIJUANA AS AN INCENSE
10.1.1. THE IRANIAN SCYTHIANS AND THE SEMITIC KANBOS
10.1.2. THE USE OF INCENSE IN OLD TESTAMENT
10.2. THE SYMBOLISM OF FIRE IN THE ANCIENT WORLD
10.3. MARIJUANA AS THE CHRISTIAN SACRAMENT
10.3.1. BEHOLD, I HAVE GIVEN YOU EVERY HERB
10.3.2. IN THE CLOUD OF SMOKING INCENSE
10.3.3. ENLARGEMENT OF CONSCIOUSNESS
10.3.4. EUCHARIST IS ASSOCIATED WITH THE SMOKE
10.3.5. SPIRIT AND MATTER ARE INSEPARABL
10.4. MARIJUANA IS THE WEED OF WISDOM
10.5. IT INCREASES SELF-CONFIDENCE
10.6. MARIJUANA IN INDIA
10.7. MARIJUANA USE IN IRAN, EGYPT, CHINA JAPAN
10.8. IN EUROPE AFRICA AND THE NEW WORLD
CHAPTER XI. MARIJUANA AND THE LAW
11. RASTAFARIAN, MARIJUANA AND THE LAW
11.1. THE GANJA MAN IN THE U.S
11.2. LEGALIZE IT
11.3. GANJA MAN AND THE POLITICS
11.4. RASTA, MARIJUANA AND PRISON
11.5. ANTIGUA RASTAS CHALLANGE GANJA LAWS
11.6. MARIJUANA AND THE JAMAICAN LAW
11.7. GANJA - JAMAICAS ECONOMIC HOPE?
11.8. COGNITION AND LONG-TERM USE OF GANJA
CHAPTER XII; DREADLOCKS
12. IN SEARCH OF LIFE STYLE:
12.1. HAIR IN THEORY
12.2. HOWTO BE A DREAD NATURALLY
12.3. WAXE AND DREAD
12.4. THICK AND THIN LOCKS
12.5. DREAD AND THE COMMUNITY
CHAPTER XIIi: Words, HISTORY and politics
13. Reasoning History
13.1. RASTAFARIAN LANGUAGE AND WORDS
13.2. WORDS AND POLITICS (POLY-TRICKS)
13.3. STRAW WORK IDENTIFIED ISRAEL
13.4. RASTA ELDERS ON DIFFERENT ORDERS
13.4.1. RASTA PIDOW
13.4.2. RASTA SAM BROWN
13.4.3. EMMANUEL CHARLES EDWARDS
13.4.4. RASTA JAH BONES
13.4.5. RASTA JAH BULL
CHAPTER XIV: rasta - Women and the movement
14. The WOMAN AND THE RASTA MOVEMENT
14.1. THE FEMALE TABOO AND RASTA WOMEN
14.2. BEING A WOMAN IN A COMMUNITY
14.2.1. WOMAN IN RASTA CULTURE
14.2.2. HOUSEWIFE AND MOTHER
14.2.3. IN REGARDS TO ABORTION
14.3. WOMEN BIBLICAL POSITION
14.4. WOMEN IN ORDAINED LEADERSHIP
14.5. THE NYAHBINGHI MAN AND WOMEN
CHAPTER XV: the emergence of reggae
15. RASTA AND THE EVOLUTION OF REGGAE
15.1. EARLY PRODUCERS
15.2. THA MARLEY UPRISING
15.3. THE ROOTS OF MARLEY’S GONG
15.4. INTERVIEW WITB MRS: BOOKER
15. 5. MARLY AND CATCH A FIRE
15.6. DREAD INNA BABYLON
15. 7. SO JA SEH
15.7. MESSANGER- MASTERANDDIPLOMAT
CHAPTER XVI: dread inna babylon system
16. ON ETHIOPIA AND THE BABYLON SYSTEM
16.1. THE ETHIOPIAN WORLD FEDERATION INC
16.2. HAILE SELASSIE’S ARRIVAL TO JAMAICA
16.3. ETHIOPIA´S GIFT -SHASHAMENE
16.4. ON BABYLON SYSTEM
16.5. BABYLON SYSTEM -ZIGGY MARLEY
APPENDIX II HISTORY OF ETHIOPIA TO THE END OF THE MONARCHY
APPENDIX III Time Table of Jamaica to the death of Bob Marley
aPPENDIX IV: GLOSSARY OF RASTA WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS
The emergence and expansion of Rastafarianism has been a subject for some scholarly study in the Caribbean. The movement has flourished in due process as an outlet to a huge social and psychological confusions and decades-long conflicts inside the movement and society of the islands. To many sociologists, it is the inevitable consequence of Africans in Diaspora, people seeking to define their own identity and psychological needs. It is a movement created not by a revolution but out of confusions and in search of their roots with a Black God on the top.
Rastafarianism presents a mixture of politics and theology that has emerged out of its formative years, as they call it “in the Babylon”. In creating their own religion the Rastafarians depend not only on the historical, social or empirical experience of African descendants in the Diaspora but also for their own analysis to determine an active plan for liberation. Regardless of other social norms, they draw on the transcendental sources of human sensibility, theocracy and imagination.
For as persons who see themselves to be persecuted, wronged and deprived, to be all but trapped in a situation of persistent material poverty including cultural degradation, the only way they see to get out of this situation “Babylon” is through an apocalypse.
From the early Christian history we know that small groups who have worshipped false gods or established their own Temples never succeeded and their religions have corroded including their followers. However, it seems different with the Rastafarians; because their movement is growing stronger -speeding in almost all the continents.
This book is in part a revised version of both books “Babylon Muss Fallen, Germany 1989 and “ The Rastafarians: In search of Their Identity, Puerto Rico 1985” and in part a contribution of Rastafarian elders, women, activists and musicians.
Dozens of authors wrote in this book and throughout the entire book, we have tried to reflect their ideas and philosophy by printing the interviews in their own words of Rastafarian Language (not in pure Creole English or Jamaican Patois = Patwa) to preserve the originality. Thus, we warn our readers that all words and phrases they find in this book is not written in a standard English but intentionally written (and we were kindly requested ) to reflect the importance of the words and how they use them to interpret their deep philosophical ideas.
G.Y. Iyassu Menelik.
April 2009, Miami Beach, FL
We thank all our best friends and elders, friends and musicians without whose support; this book would not have been possible. We owe a lot of stimulation to our advisors Emanuel Charles Edwards, Joseph Hill (Culture), Winston Rodney (Burning Spear), Sigi and Rita Marley, Cedella Booker (Bob´s mother), LKJ, Gregory Isaacs, Junior Reed and the Group Inner Circle (Jamaica) and Steel Pulse (UK). We also thank Mrs Alia Naliwaiko (Kingston), Frau Dagmar Klimmek Germany). Mrs Marianne Samad ( New York), Munro Scarlett, Isaac S. Rose, H. Dunkley (Kingston) and Marcus Garvey JR (California). For technical assistance we thank Andrew Henry (Tuff Gong Studios), M Witney, Orwell Bennet, Beatrix Beuthner, Reginald Beuthner, Carry Breys, Roschan Dhunjibhoy, Bobby Sheppard; for their contributions about Marcus Garvey.
We were greatly supported by the Prime Minister’s Office / Kingston, Jamaica, The Institute of Jamaica, The Jamaican Information Service, The Daily Gleaner / Kingston, Jamaica, The Shomburg Centre for Research in Black Culture / New York, USA, UCLA, Brown Brothers in Pennsylvania and also thanks for the film for the Humanities which we received in Princeton / N.J., USA.
Thanks also for all record companies who allowed us to reprint some of the lyrics
One love ã 1982 Irving Music Inc. & Owls and Six Files Inc. (BMI). Ambush In The Night, Babylon System, Bad Card, Crazy Baldhead, Coming In From The Cold, Exodu Forever Loving Jah, Jamming, One Drop, Rat Race, Redempton Song, Ride Natty Ride, Running Away, So Jah Seh, Survival, Talking Blues, Time Will Tell, Wake Up and Live, Want More, We And Them, Who The Gap Fit, Zimbabwe ã 1980, 1979, 1978, 1977, 1976, 1974 Bob Marley Music Ltd. (ASCAP) all rights administered by ALMO Music Corp. 8ascap9 for the world excluding the Caribbean.. No Woman No Cry, Roots Rock Reggae, War ã 1976, 1974 Tuff Gong Music (ASCAP) all rights administered by (ALMO Music Corp. (ASCAP) for the world excluding the Caribbean. Crisis, Easy Shanking, Guiltiness, Natural Mystic, Roots, Smile Jamaica, So Much Things To Say, Three Little Birds ã 1977 Bob Marley Music Ltd., controlled for U.S. & Canada by ALMO Music Corp. ( ASCAP), controlled for the rest of the world excluding the Caribbean by Rondo Music Inc., I’ve God To Go Home ã Parandy Music Limited. All other songs ãBob Marley Music Limited.
Last but not least, Special thanks to Sigy and Rita Marley to have commented this book and encouraged us to publish it during our meeting (in 2005), in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Prof. Dr. Girma Yohannes Iyassu Menelik, Miami Beach, FL
April 20, 2009, Miami Beach, FL
CHAPTER I: The formative years
1. THE EMERGENS OF RASTAFARI
Rastafari is a movement emerged in the Caribbean adhering a mixture of Coptic-Orthodox Christianity, Black Messianic Judaism and Buddhism. Its unstoppable outgrowth has also affected the colonial inherited culture Religion and Psychology of the Caribbean society.
Rastafari has been branded by many writers as a religious cult, a militant religion or as a sect. The fact is, Rastafarians do not consider themselves to be none of the above and many ridicule any type of categorization. The name Rastafari, which is derived from the Ethiopian language of Amharic Ras (head of a Province), is the title given in Ethiopia and Tafari is a simple common name. In Ethiopia, every member of the Coptic-orthodox Church receives a baptismal name which was used by Ras Tafari (in Amharic Teferi) to his coronation in 1930.
During those days in Jamaica, a brutal poverty, depression, racism and oppression were the perfect environment for the rural and poor Jamaicans to embrace a new direction or alternatives. The general bitterness in the inner cities of Jamaica gave way in the early 1930's to the black power movement through Marcus Garvey's "Back to Africa" movement. This movement is what eventually led to the emergence of Rastafari.
In 1930, when Ras Tafari was crowned Emperor Haile Selassie and was given the traditional title given to all Ethiopian Emperors „The King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the Conquering Lion of Judah has prevailed". Jamaicans heard the news and saw the pictures of Haile Selassie’s coronation with invited European royalists bowing in front of a black “King of Kings” and they affirmed that the prophecy was said to have been fulfilled. In reading the Bible, Revelations 5:2-5; 19: 16 and Ezekiel 28:25 are references used by Rastafarians as proof of the deity of Emperor Haile Selassie. He was seen as Savior and Messiah: Revelations 22 :16, Ezekiel 30, Epistle to Timothy, Psalms 9, 18, 68, 76, 87:4, Isaiah 9, Revelations 17:14He was seen as the deliverer who would take his people back to their promised land as stated in Ezekiel 28:25.
Rastafarians compare their exile from Africa via the means of slavery with the Israelites exile to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar (2 Chronicles 25). Hence the word Babylon is used for any system that oppresses. There is also a comparison to the Israelites who were enslaved in Egypt before they went to the Promised Land. Below are some of the main foundational beliefs of Rastafarians.
Rastafarians believe that God is a spirit and that this spirit was manifested in King H.I.M. Emperor Haile Selassie I.
Rastafarians believe that Jesus was a direct descendant of King David and was black.
Rastafarians believe that the Ethiopian Solomonic Dynasty is a direct representation of King David. Rastafarians believe that they are the original Lost Tribes of Israel that were once scattered by Babylon until the appearance of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I. Rastafarians believe that God will return them to Zion (Rastafarians refer to Ethiopia as Zion).
Rastafarians believe that Ethiopia is the Promised Land and that it is Heaven on Earth.
The White Man took them away from the Promised Land (Ethiopia/Zion) as slaves to Babylon and a Babylonian system.
1.1. Important Scriptures and Books In Rastafarian Theology
The Holy Piby is probably the most important book in Rastafarian Theology. Other books that are important for Rasta Theology are the "King James's Bible“; "The Royal Parchment Scroll of Black Supremacy", "The Promised Key" and the "Kebre Negest" (the Ethiopian Glory of the Kings). Below are brief descriptions of all these books.
The Holy Piby, published in 1924 (Newark, New Jersey), is an occult bible which was allegedly translated from "Amharic". The Piby emphasizes the destruction of white "Babylon" and the return of the Black Israelites to Africa which is the true Zion. It is also known as the "Black Man's Bible". It was quickly adopted by Rastafarians as one of their foundation books for Theological references in the movement.
One Chapter of the book also pays tribute to Marcus Garvey who was one of the most prominent black men fighting for civil rights during the time of publication.
The "Holy Piby" is compiled 1913-1917 by its author Robert Athlyi Rogers (Shepherd Robert Athlyi Rogers), who was born in Anguilla. He committed suicide on 24th August 1931. Many Rastafarians say he "took himself away from this life" versus saying he committed suicide when referring to his death.
"Holy Piby Chapter 2 page 23 First Paragraph -"And it came to pass that God gave his name Elijah, and he called upon the name of the Lord God even though he himself was God. Now when the time had appeared for God to return, the supreme angel commanded the chariot of heaven to meet him. And when the chariot appeared unto Elijah, he ascended and returned to his throne in heaven where he reigned from the beginning and shall unto the end, King of kings and God of gods."
The King James Version of the Bible is not accepted by most Rastafarians but it is the Holy Bible used by Rastafarians. It was published in 1611 and has been the Standard English version for nearly 400 years. They believe that all other versions are corrupt and this version is the closest to the original manuscripts. Like Christians, the Rastafarians believe that the 66 books of the bible tell the account of God's actions, purpose for creation and man's redemption. However their interpretation of many of the books, passages and prophecies in the Bible are very different. Many passages are attributed a reference to the Emperor Haile Selassie. Rastafarians are avid daily Bible readers.
"The Royal Parchment Scroll of Black Supremacy" by Rev. Fritz Balintine Pettersburgh was first published in Kingston, Jamaica in 1926. The book professes Black Supremacy and self-determination under "Afro Centric Ethiopian constructs". Many claim that Leonard Percival Howell's "Promised Key" is a plagiarized version of this book that was modified to fit Rastafari.
"The Promised Key" (published under the Hindu name Gangunguru Maragh which means "teacher of famed wisdom") by Leonard Percival Howell. It contains the foundations for Rastafari and used many of the same concepts found in The Royal Parchment Scroll of Black Supremacy (some have accused him of plagiarizing from this book due to the many similarities) and the Holy Piby.
The "Kebra Negast" which literally translates to "Glory of the Kings" in Amharic, (the Ethiopian national language), is the National Epic of the Ethiopian State. Rastafarians see it as Prophecy. This is one of the main contentions between Rastafarians and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, as they see it as a historical epic of Ethiopian Royalty.
1.2. KEY FIGURES IN RASTAFARIANS MOVEMENT
Emperor Haile Selassie: Ras Tafari Mekonnen (Teferi in Amharic was the son of Ras Mekonnen, the ruler of the then Harargue Province under the Mighty Emperor Menelik II), Emperor Haile Selassie is regarded as the black Messiah or God -Jah
Rastafarians claim that Marcus Garvey foretold the rise of H.I.M. Emperor Haile Selassie when in 1927 he told a church congregation, in a Kingston church; they should "look to Africa when a black king shall be crowned, for the day of deliverance is at hand". There are no official records or writings on this and many "Garveyites" have disputed this claim as being a misinterpretation of an article written by Marcus Garvey that appeared in his Jamaican newspaper, The Blackman (Also the New York-based Negro World newspaper) on November 8, 1930.
Marcus Garvey: Rastafarians regard Marcus Garvey as a prophet similar to John the Baptist, who foretold Christ's coming. "Garveyite" historians and also some of Garvey writings show that he saw H.I.M. Emperor Haile Selassie as an African man who could influence the world and not as a God. As we can see in some chapters of this book, Garvey has even harshly criticized Emperor Haile Selassie about his conduct in Ethiopia's war with Italy in 1935. Marcus Garvey and his organization, Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) also had a few disagreements with Leonard P. Howell on his teaching of Emperor Haile Selassie being the Messiah. In one case Leonard P. Howell was not allowed to sell pictures of Emperor Haile Selassie at the UNIA headquarters in Kingston.
Leonard P. Howell: The first propagator of Rastafari was Leonard P. Howell. He also founded the Pinnacle Encampment in an abandoned estate between Kingston and Spanish Town, where the followers of this new movement found a safe haven. Howell was the Chief of the village and was rumored to have taken thirteen wives for himself. The village was run similarly to the Maroons in Accompong in the hills of Jamaica. Howell eventually proclaimed the he should be the one who should be worshiped and not Haile Selassie. He was confined to a mental institution in 1954 and the Pinnacle was closed down. Below are the 6 foundations by Leonard P. Howell for Rastafari-shared by all Rastafarians today.
- Hatred for the White race
- The superiority of the Black race
- Revenge on Whites for their wickedness
- The negation, persecution and humiliation of the government and legal bodies of Jamaica.
- Preparation to return to Africa
- Acknowledgment of Emperor Haile Selassie I as the Supreme Being and the only ruler of the Black people.
Emanuel Charles Edwards: The late Prince Emanuel Charles Edwards is the central figure in the Bobo Shanti sect of Rastafari. He is mentioned throughout this book
1.3. ORGANIZATION and Structures
As with many other religious groups, the history of this one also begins before the group itself. Marcus Garvey, born in 1887, would direct the philosophical ideologies that would eventually grow into the Rastafarian movement. No official church buildings or leaders. Each individual group and person is autonomous. Moreover, Marcus Garvey's philosophy is credited as the beginning point in the year 1930.
In the early 1920's, Garvey was an influential black spokesman and founder of the "back-to-Africa" movement. He often spoke of the redemption of his people as coming from a future black African king. On one occasion, Garvey proclaimed, "Look to Africa for the crowning of a Black King, he shall be the Redeemer“. Only a few years later that prediction would be fulfilled in the person of Ethiopia's self styled Emperor, Haile Selassie. As Barrett has explained, "in the pantheon of the Rastafarians, Marcus Garvey is second only to Haile Selassie".
On November 2, 1930, Ras Tafari Makonnen was crowned king of Ethiopia. Upon his coronation, he claimed for himself the titles of Emperor Haile Selassie I, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Elect of God and King of the Kings of Ethiopia" After the crowning of Haile Selassie and the apparent fulfilment of the expectations of Marcus Garvey, the Rastafarian movement gained its base community.
One of its early leaders was Leonard Howell, who in 1933 was "arrested by the Jamaican government for preaching a revolutionary doctrine ". While Howell's doctrines helped to shape the theology of the movement, his arrest helped shape the movement's organizational structure. As Mr. Barrett explained, "The harassment of Howell by the police might have been the reason why Rastafarians have decided to remain leaderless, a decision which has strengthened the movement”.
One of the key doctrines of Rastafarians had been their expectation that they would one day return to Africa, „Ethiopia -the Zion which would be restored to them after centuries in slavery and Diaspora”. Garvey, with his "back-to-Africa" ideology had inspired much of this hope.
In 1960 this anticipated move seemed potentially possible. With the help of the Jamaican government, a delegation of Rastafarians set out on a mission to Africa. That opportunity of sending some Rastafarian elders to Africa actually served as an enlightenment in the movement's knowledge of African realities, and probably subtle the movement's enthusiasm for immediate repatriation " A decisive historical event occurred on April 21, 1966, in the Rastafarian movement by Haile Selassie´s visit to Jamaica. This event resulted in two profound developments within the movement. First, Haile Selassie convinced the Rastafarian brothers that they "should not seek to immigrate to Ethiopia until they had liberated the people of Jamaica." Second, from that time forth, April 21 has been celebrated as a “holy day" like a Christmas among Rastafarians.
On August 27, 1975, Haile Selassie the God of the Rastafarians died. With his death came various forms of rationalization from many Rastafarians. The responses concerning Selassie's death ranged from "his death was a fabrication" to "his death was inconsequential because Haile Selassie was merely a messiah". As the Magical Blend states, "When Haile Selassie died in 1975, his divinity did not die with him. According to current belief, the Ras Tafari lives on through individual Rastafarians" However, the Rastafarian way of life or style is wide spread along with all symbolisms but less with the original context of philosophy.
Even within its staunchest pioneers and followers, there have been different interpretations and fragmentations before and after the death of Jah –Rastafari. Our discussions with Bob Marley, Winston Rodney, Joseph Hill and other famous carriers of the “Message” verified the assumptions. One of the prominent splinter-groups, known as the Twelve Tribes of Israel, founded by Vernon Carrington, the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church, Edwardities, Country Rastas, City Rastas and Beach Rastas are some examples. The other group with more political vibration is the so-called “the Ethiopian World Federation”.
1.4. THE RISE OF MARCUS GARVEY.
During an interview with Dunkley in 1979, he told me the following: “Fifty years after the execution of Bogle, and around the same time, when the British Empire fell and they conspired in setting up the United Nations, Goud [God] rose up the Prophet Marcus Garvey in Jamaica, the headquarters of the slave trade in the West Indies, the now head of attraction and Biblical isle of Patmos, where the head of civilisation is. His message was the same as that of Bogle, only that as a son he was wiser and did not believe in the use of guns and bayonets. His mission was as a forerunner to Louv Williams, a faithful disciple of Marcus and upon whose shoulder the mantle of leadership fell, so that we, both Jews and Gentiles, can partake of this great spiritual resurrection”.
A former colleague of Garvey, Munroe Scarlet remembers “Marcus had started the preparation for the spiritual resurrection of the world at large. In Kingston Garvey for the first time was confronted with the “brown” middle class. Garvey noticed:
Negroes which are conscious of their status and educated make the mistake to distance themselves from their own race thinking that it will be beneath their dignity to identify themselves with the majority of the population which is uneducated and underdeveloped however which is yearning for real and honest leaders.”
However, because of the animosity and division between black and white, and the scar of slavery and demolition of his people, he had to set about to rebuild the moral conscience of black man, who is the most precious gem, the chosen race of Goud.
“I saw the injustice which was done to our race. I travelled to South- and Central America to find out that it will be different there. I went to Europe and everywhere I found out the same. I decided for myself to finish the exploitation of the black race. After returning from Europe I organised the UNIA, the society for the improvement of Negro’s situation.”
A former colleague, S. Munroe Scarlet remembers:
“The organisation was constructed as a welfare or culture society. Such as Marcus Garvey emphasised it was most important that they helped each other. Of course, we were British subjects, however this does not abolish the fact that we originate from Africa. Therefore, it is imperative that the black people pursue their own interest and to support the reincarnation of a new Africa.”
Marcus Garvey says: “I never knew that there was so much race discrimination in Jamaica until I began my work with the UNIA. Men and women, black as me, had understood themselves as white in the hierarchy of the West Indian Society. I had to decide myself if I wanted to be a black-white Jamaican and therefore relatively wealthy or if I wanted to take the black men’s side accepting disadvantages. I decided for the last alternative and therefore was hated and pursued“. To enlarge his area of activities he went to the USA in 1916.
1.5. LEONARD P.HOWELL’S CONTRIBUTION
Hailed by many worldwide as the founding father of Rastafari, and vilified by history as a mad man, Leonard Percival Holwell’s contribution to the development of Jamaican culture cannot be denied.
Born in Clarendon, Jamaica on June 16th 1898, Howell was blessed with parents who instilled a fiery sense of independence in their son. Successful farmers they were, Thomas and Clementina graced their son with opportunities that would enhance his intellectual and social capabilities. By his early twenties, the spurt of the Pan-African movement enticed the youth to find his way by ship to New York City, and to search through its boroughs to discover the epicenter of the black civil rights movement, Harlem. But it was his humble rural upbringing that became the catalyst which created history. Howell arrived in New York to find an intensity of Bigotry, Racism, and social oppression much more than he had imagined. It was after one such personal encounter that he dedicated his life to fight against racial hatred and social oppression.
Within months after his decision, Howell plunged himself into preaching his visionary message across America. The power of his word drew invitations from dignitaries across the world including Europe, UK and the Motherland Africa.By the late 1920’s his message had reached the ears of eminent scholars such as W.E.B. Dubios, Heads of States such as Beniot Sylvain Of Ethiopia, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Bishop Johnson Of Nigeria, and Jomo Kenyatta amongst others. In 1932 Howell returned to Jamaica with an urge to share his wealth of knowledge with his kinsman.
He was pleased to find on his arrival, that the message of his majesty’s crowning as Ras Tafari had already been embedded by Marcus Garvey and his Pan-African movement - The UNIA. He set about spreading his message throughout the shanty towns and tenement yards which were scattered on the outskirts of Kingston. By word of mouth his message reached thousands more in other despondent communities throughout Jamaica, fevering a movement that was still yet to take its full form.
Howell’s fundamental philosophy was not much different from the Pan African scope of the Marcus Garvey led UNIA. But his intense focus on social and economic empowerment through self sufficiency soon became a problem, not only for the Jamaican government, but also for UNIA founder Marcus Garvey. Garvey advised Howell at one point to take a much more passive approach in disseminating his message and systematic re-education of the mentally enslaved lower social strata. His decision to stand his ground soon led to rift between the two that sadly was never mended.
His concept of the black God and ultimate supremacy of Africa slowly began to become an item of growing concern amongst the socialites and heads of state in Jamaica. But it was not until his land purchase of over 500 acres in Sligoville, St. Catherine, was Leonard Howell blacklisted by the Jamaican society, becoming the country’s most hated and vilified character in history.
This purchase of land which he named the Pinnacle ignited within Jamaica a mini-exodus. Thousands of despondent members of Jamaica’s lower class moved to Howell’s new nation. It was the birth place and the epicenter of the Rastafarian movement. For many it was a promised land. An African village in Jamaica empowered and preserved by self sufficiency, re-education, and healthy living by consuming organic plants and vegetables. The experimentation of naturalism led to the development of a myriad of herbal root concoctions such as tonics, and medicines that are still produced today.
Unique creative art forms emerged during this period of Black Renaissance. The grassroots poetry movement known as Dub Poetry, Intuitive Art Masters, and world renowned musicians were spawned and inspired by The Pinnacle.
This was the place where the Rastafarian mantra of “oneness” was conceived; whilst Howell designed the divine structure and principles of what is now known today as the “Nyabinghi Order”. The Jamaican Secret Service working under the auspices of the British MI5, began compiling a dossier on Leonard Howell after his landmark case against the Jamaica Government on behalf of the newly formed Rastafarian movement to establish an independent nation within the island.
He was tried and charged on a one count of sedition and sentenced to twenty four months in prison. During this time The Pinnacle sustained and mushroomed and on his release in 1936, Howell was secretly considered the biggest enemy of the State. By the late 1930’s Howell was labeled by the middle class and upper crust as one of Jamaica’s most dangerous social influences, and the evident fact of the growing impact on the lower class did not help his reputation.
His intense hard lined allegiance to Haile Selassie led to Local government officials and the monarch having concerns in regards to his “implicit allegiance to a foreign King”, as recorded in a report by a member of the Jamaica Secret Service. His condemnation of the Christian Church led to thoughts of insurrection and images of revolt.
It came to a boiling point in 1954 with one of the first joint police/military operations in Jamaica. Under orders from Prime Minister Bustamante on special advisement from the Monarch, a battalion of soldiers, police and select members of the Jamaica Secret Service executed a pre-emptive raid on The Pinnacle and destroyed the village, farmers, homes, and schools that had been constructed, leaving thousands homeless.
Many Refugees of The Pinnacle found shelter in Coral Gardens, another Rasta Village that had sprung up in the early 40’s and that too found itself a victim of social persecution and destruction which led to a number of deaths in 1960.
Shortly after the raid on Coral Gardens, The Pinnacle was re-established but again fell prey to an onslaught of raids and unjustified curfews, that led to hundreds of male Rastafarians being locked up and lost in the Grit of the colonial prison system. The few who escaped found refuge in the back-o-wall shanty towns and tenement yards of the garrison ghettos of Kingston City. Other missionaries of the movement, such a Mortimer Planno and Ras Sam Brown continued spreading the word of Rastafari amongst Jamaica’s downtrodden.
These disciples carried with them the seeds of creativity and spiritual passion that has kept the movement alive until today. It was with these seeds and essence of creativity from which the musical art form known as reggae was spawned.
In the mid 70’s a group of Rastafarians returned to occupy a small portion of land belonging to The Pinnacle, and helped support and provide for the aged Howell who died in an infirmary in 1981, labeled a mad man. In his lifetime Howell had been arrested, incarcerated and was sent to Jamaica's Mental Institution over (50) fifty times.
1.6. GARVEY IN HARLEM NEW YORK
At the beginning of this century for many American black people Harlem promised the realisation of the American dream from advancement and prosperity. For many this dream could be realised at least from time to time. Looking for work they have come from the southern countries to the cities of the North. They also escaped from racial discrimination, persecution and torture. But already at the end of World War I the disappointment set in. The war industry did not need new workers. Many of the white workers returned from the war, white emigrants of Europe again came to the country. The labour unions continued to exclude black workers and also in the North the racial discrimination further expanded. The wages of the black people were far below those of the white workers, even if they did the same work. Their residential areas increasingly became slums.
Bitter disappointment made Harlem susceptible to bad news. Marcus Garvey was the first of a large number of liberators and prophets.
Also the black Moslems owe many of their ideas to Garvey's vision. As well as the founder Elija Mohammed and the parents of Malcom X and of Cassius Clay alias Mohammed Ali were members in Garvey's movement.
At the corner of 125th Street the red-black-green banner of UNIA is still fluttering, and a park in the heart of the district remembers to the most radical period of Harlem. In 1918 the First World War was finished. Although the coloured Americans were only 10 % of the former population, 13 % of all soldiers were black. They should defence democracy all over the world, but they did not have a place in their own army. Due to the racial segregation laws the black Americans had to fight next to French forces, on the other hand the US army command was concerned about the fact that their coloured soldiers might learn too much from the French democracy.
Despite the disappointment Harlem continued attracting new immigrants. The building speculators made good business. Harlem was the most densely populated district of New York. Also Garvey was one of these immigrants, a very critical one. He announced:
"We Negroes are not longer prepared to suffer. We do not want to start fighting but we have to protect our interests and will establish a mass organisation. In the past we fought particularly, but now we will organise ourselves."
Marcus Garvey was heard; especially from those who were convinced that the USA would offer the coloured people neither a future nor a home. In 1919 Garvey established the UNIA also in America. At once it was a great success.
In his private living there were some changes. His second wife was Ami Jacques, a Jamaican, living in New York. She is his most reliable assistant. After his death she published his scripts. They have two sons. The elder son Marcus, today living in the USA, says:
“For the first time black from all parts of the world got together. The greatest meaning of the UNIA was to unite Africans of different continents with the aim of forming a nation for the purpose of the return to the mother land, because Garvey’s program planned the mobilisation of the Africans outside from Africa. This aim was very clear, although some people writing about Garvey did not express this clearly enough. The construction of a strong central nation in Africa was scheduled. By this, this concept varied from that of other black inside and outside of the USA who called themselves a leader. They only were isolated tribal chieftains who alone tried to improve the conditions of living and working of the black. For the construction of a whole nation “they” were not interesting.”
The UNIA held the opinion that the black only could emancipate himself only by economic strength and success. For Garvey it was clear: People depending economically from others can never be free. In his article he writes:
“As it corresponds to the actual necessities the UNIA emphasised the economic expansion and solidarity amongst Negroes. We have to make new conquests in economic range; we have to bring everything we possess under our control and to make available for ourselves all our resources.”
1.6.1. GARVEY CREATES THE UNIA
As official organ of his organisation Garvey founded a newspaper, the “Negro World”. Mariana Samath remembers her kindness within the UNIA (United Negro Improvement Association):
”We were described as élite, the most important newspaper; the New York Times wrote that Garvey produced an élitist group. As the other children I needed not to say that I am a “nigger” to outline that I was the lowest. In our organisation we used the word “Negro”, because Mr Garvey used it. As you know he was not an American citizen and we at home knew that we are black: we were Africans and that was the difference. I loved my life as a child and it was a beautiful life. We had our own god and not the white god. We had our African fundamentalism with which we grew. Mr Garvey told us who we were. The Sphinx, the pyramids were ours, he showed us our old kings mentioned in the bible. There were black angels; that were something unusual and some people were something concerned.”
”The woman was honoured in the family; she was the educator and additionally protected by god. The child Jesus looked as we did and my kindness was as complete as that of each white child ever could be. That was our banner in red, black and green being the original banner which Garvey could hold himself. The red colour stands for the common blood, black for ourselves wherever we may be in the world and green stands for our mother Africa.”
The UNIA had an own symbolic army, the African legion. During the day a coloured man was e.g. a porter getting his orders from whites; during the night visiting the assembly in the Liberty Hall he was a dashing officer in the Black Army.
Garvey not only promised the despised blacks a paradise in Africa, he also raised them to a person with character in their environment. One of them was the British seaman James Thornhill, captain in the African legion knowing Garvey 1918 in the USA:
“He asked me to take information material of the organisation which I should distribute to blacks wherever I got to.”
But not all coloured people wanted to hear Garvey’s message. The eldest organisation of coloured people in the USA, the National American Assembly of Coloured Progress (NAACP) despised his followers, ridiculed or hated him.
Their president W.E. Dubois sneered: “When Mr Garvey brought his corrupt followers in their most magnificent fantasy dress to the Madison Square Garden holding court there with new songs and abstruse ceremonies and shouting with his black and wobbling head into the mass: “We shall go to Africa saying to the English, French and Belgian there that they should go to hell” there was a sudden roar over whole America and they listened, laughed and said: “Here is something news”.
“We do not demand the Blacks to go into the street fighting so that the so-called medium class may win. They are selfish people only concerning the fact that they created something new.”
Garvey knew that Harlem liked magnificent parades but not all were as vibrant with colour as that during the annual meeting of UNIA. Thousands of delegates from all over the world marched in Harlem with banners and standards. The band, Garvey’s African legion, his motorised units, the African Motor Corps and the UNIA nurses marched past the usual members. Except the white dressed nurses they all wore the most unusual uniforms in the colours of the organisation.
In each parade the self-appointed “Provisional President of Africa”, Marcus Mosaih Garvey was the centre.
Within few years he established the greatest black mass organisation which there ever was in the United States. His claim to have more than six millions of members may be exaggerated but not unrealistic. His followers mostly were simple people finding consolation and self-respect in the imagination being part of the proud African nation which size soon will be re-established. Garvey taught the black Americans to be self-confident, proud to their look, their race and their original mother land. His ideas were the base for the following movements. From the movement of the Black Panthers and Black-is-Beautiful they influenced the African nationalists as Jomo Kenyatta, Kwame Nkrumah and the students in SOWETO. Garvey called to the mass:
“Sons and daughters of Africa! Stand up, dress over the cape of race pride, threw away the sign of privation, reject the small-minded prejudices which you have against yourselves and reject the terrible meaning nigger. You are Negroes as the pharaoh, your fathers!”
Marianna Samath says:
“This banner represents your motto: One God, one aim, one destiny. Garvey as well as Lincoln knew that there might be no nation within one nation. Therefore he always asked: Where are our kings? Our presidents? Our generals? And where are our ships?”
1.6.2. GARVEY´S BLACKSTAR LINE
Amongst other establishments of business the “Black Star Line” was the economic enterprise which was next to Garvey’s dreams. The ship society only has blacks as little owners should carry on the traffic for people and goods between Africa, the Caribbean and America. Many people thought that the Black Star Line only should be the beginning of a big fleet taking the transported Africans home.
But Garvey has no the slightest idea of business, his employees were not reliable and the ships bought by the society were not seaworthy from the beginning. The Black Star Line was the peak of Garvey’s attempt to establish a black economy empire. But it is doubtful if it is possible to become independent from the white society by copying it. This was the real contradiction in Marcus Garvey’s work.
In 1927 Marcus Garvey returned to Kingston. His reception was overwhelming. Up until today it was the biggest gathering of people which Kingston had ever seen. At once Garvey started to re-organise the Jamaica UNIA. There had been an assembly hall on a piece of land in King Street just on the other side of Dakostas restaurant in which he often took his lunch.
In Jamaica the situation was another as in the USA. Garvey noticed:
“Since slavery period the still sleeping West Indians have forgiven all chances, the people here need a thunder regaining consciousness.”
In his cultural centre ”Edelweiss-Park”, today being a parking place, he tried to carry on culture to the citizens with entertaining programs and at same time to propagate his ideas.
Isaac Rose says:
“In Edelweiss-Park we had the usual departments, the scouts for boys and girls and the other organisation branches. I was very active, wrote poems and songs and many other things helping to propagate the ideas of Garvey.”
Also Edelweiss-Park offered a steady platform to native talents. Many famous Jamaica entertainers started there with their career.
Each effort of Garvey failed but with his imperturbable belief Garvey again went to England asking for the help of his influential friends believing in the establishment of an African home. This time he looked to Ethiopia where the Emperor Haile Selassie I was crowned some time ago.
His asthma he got in Atlanta Federal Prison intensified by the English climate and in June 1940 Garvey died - an embittered and lonely man.
The priest saying a prayer for Garvey with a hand of black London people watched the freedom and satisfaction in the ebony face of a man who was a great prophet and finishing with the words:
“Finally you have gone your own way, you good, devout servant... You will be rewarded now. Go into the peace of God.”
Marcus Garvey always emphasised that without economic power no nation will be really independent. Also see page 19 Philosophy & Aims of Marcus Garvey.
In 1964 Marcus Garvey was declared a national hero and his body was brought to Jamaica.
S. Monroe Scarlet says:
“Of course, I participated in the burial and was one of the bearers of the coffin. But now I like to tell you a little history. There is an old superstition. If you bury a witch the coffin has to be turned to north-south direction; this is called “cross the world”. Furthermore, you have to knock a post into the heart. And so was the grave of Garvey, situated from north to south. I had to go there with two friends, R. Kums and Lesley Alexander, making a fuss so that they changed the direction of the grave now being from east to west, and that is true.”
When Garvey finally was laid to rest everybody in Jamaica who is anybody paid its last respect to him. But Garvey did not wish himself to rest:
“Look for me in the cyclone, in the storm, everywhere. With the help of God I will return bringing with me the millions of black slaves which died in America and in the Caribbean and the millions in Africa to help in the fight for freedom, independence and life.”
“We were the last ones being slaves, because every people of the earth have been slaves. Within shortest time he gave ourselves to us. A dignity to which you may keep, not matter whether they call us slaves, because we know who we are.”
“The fundamental ideas of Garvey and I think that is the purest kind of African nationalism; proud to our race, conscious of our identity, co-operation between the African people so that we ourselves can manage our riches.”
“He taught us to be humans, gave us resistance. I do not think that you may expect more. When we were still sleeping he opened our eyes. When we were lame he taught us to go. We were blind and now for the first time we are able to see by Garvey.”
The decisive connection between Garvey and the Rastafarians followed from his prophecy:
“Turn your view to Africa when a black king will be crowned because the day of release is near.”
When Ras Tafari was called the Emperor of Ethiopia in 1930 taking the name Haile Selassie this was interpreted as the performance of the prophecy.
The Rastas confess to Garvey as the prophet and visionary but they do not include him in their original ideas regarding their philosophy and world view, although many of his expressions made great impression to them and therefore also influenced them.
“We Negroes believe in the god of Ethiopia, to an eternal god, god-father, god-son and god-holy spirit, to god of all times. That is god we believe in and we glorify him with our eyes directed to Ethiopia.”
As for the western hemisphere it is the same United Nations of today who fought against the Deity of Marcus and persecuted him, even as the American government, an agent of the United Nations, is persecuting the Coptic Church. Every nation fights against Herb, the Sacrifice of the Black Goud. They claim they fight against it because it is a United Nations agreement. Let the world know that this United Nations is only a worldwide political conspiracy of 1914 when the British world power failed; and when black man should have been redeemed to his home land, they conspired and set up Politics and thus divided the black suffering masses under the bogus agency called the United Nations, who in its effort to keep the people divided, and thus weak, made their Sacrament to their Goud, the Herb, illegal by their illegal councils.
During the period of Marcus Garvey, a new spirit of unity had awakened in the people, both in Jamaica and America, as it is today through the teachings of the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church. As a result, the political leaders of the time conspired against him and imprisoned him, at the same time spreading propaganda that he was dead. By so doing they were able to kill the fire kindled in the hearts of the people, by this great moral teacher.
1.6.3. GARVEY AND BLACK NATIONALISM
Society is an organisation of mankind to safeguard and protect its own interest. When society is organised and is made evident by regulations, rules, and laws, every member of that society must obey the said rules, regulations and laws. Always, therefore, live up to the organised system of society of which you form a part. The only alternative to this is rebellion. You should never join rebellious movements against society except there is good reason and justification for it.
Society is intended to maintain the greatest good for the greatest number, and that is always uppermost so that in thought you may have to reform. Any society must be calculated to bring about the greatest good for the greatest number, and you must obey its laws, otherwise you are an evil genius living in the midst of that society and that society will seek to destroy you or compel you to obey its rules, regulations and laws.
You cannot live by yourself in a society; you must live upon the goodwill of your fellows. In that society, therefore, you must respect everything that tends to the good of all.
You should always seek to have something at stake in the community in which you live - property of some kind, so as to merit the regard and respect of the community, because society as organised into a community counts first its worthwhile citizens before it thinks of others.
Property in a community is an evidence of your status in the society of the community. If you have no property, have value of some kind to be considered substantial. The police, the officials and the government recognise property holders as the citizens of first claim in an organised society. They are generally recorded to be identified. You must, therefore, teach the people to own property and to be known and recognised members of the community. Always adopt a friendly attitude to the police in your community, because the police are that civil body of officials who are supposed to protect the citizens and see that their right is not infringed upon. You should always welcome the police. The police are never the public enemy, but the public protector.
You should help the police to maintain order because if the community loses its peace, you will have riots and probably bloodshed. No peaceful citizen wants to be caught in such a dangerous state of public affairs.
Never join to incite public disorder. Keep away from it and be innocent to all that happens, by way of revolution. Never allow the U.N.I.A.’s name to be mentioned as among rioters, you will destroy the usefulness of the organisation in that community and may cause suspicion to be cast upon it in other communities.
Disavow always any attempt to label the U.N.I.A. with riotous behaviour. Whatsoever object is desired in a civilised community it can always be achieved by the approach of good reason and good judgment? Always use that good reason and good judgment.
You are not in a community to overthrow the law in that community, you are there to live under the law. The national aspiration of the race is to find expression not in revolution where you are established when you are under other people’s government, but to accomplish the end in Africa. Therefore, never preach rebellion because you will disrupt the society in which you live and it will crush you.
The highest service a citizen can refer to in a community or organised society is to maintain and preserve peace. When the peace is disturbed, it is likely that anybody may get hurt and sometimes most innocently. Never join the [m]ob, you will likely be shot or injured even for curiosity; if you are once shot or injured in a riotous demonstration, it is almost evidence against you that you were one of the rioters, so keep away.
When the riot act or martial law is read or proclaimed in your community, keep indoors. Give this advice to the people. Never join a mob in a foreign country under a foreign government or where you have very little political influence
Politics is the science of government that protects those human rights that are not protected by law. Law is already established. Politics add to the laws or change the laws. You should play politics to get good government.
It is advisable that you become a tax payer of some kind or qualified under the statute to be a voter in your community. To be a voter, you must have the franchise.
To have the franchise you must register as a citizen. Always be a citizen of where you are. When you become a citizen seek to know all other citizens or as many as possible in your district, you may need them and they may need you for political action to insure good government.
The state, the nation or the community in which you live directly is always governed by politicians or statesmen. You should know them and become well acquainted with them for your own good. You need them in trouble and out of trouble.
Always try to know the Mayor of your city and the government of your state or island, or country and also other government officials. To know them before trouble is to get help when you are in trouble; not to know them is to be at a disadvantage when you are brought before them. Always treat them courteously and friendly even if you don’t mean it, but let them always believe you are friendly. If you are to be a leader in your community this makes it even more imperative that you should know everybody of political consequence, because you will have to approach them not only for yourself and for the organization, but, for the members of the race who look up to you as their leader. You must never sell yourself to the politician, but you must get around him in the most skilful manner and get all your rights and the rights of others dependent on you out of him without selling yourself to him, to keep him in office, especially if he is not a good man in the community. Always make your vote count for bringing about the reforms you and others think are right for your community. Never exchange it for money. You should see that every citizen who has a vote does vote on an election day, especially when you have reforms to be enacted.
Whatsoever may be the conditions that give you the suffrage, live up to those conditions to maintain and hold the suffrage, because just at the time when your vote may be most needed may be the time when you are not qualified because of carelessness.
In countries where as a race you are not allowed to vote, work always to get the vote by way of reform. Use the help of everybody, but have political power to bring about the change that will give you the vote, otherwise you would be governed without your consent. To vote is to make the attempt to share in the government of the community with others. You should never be a political slave in a community because others will take advantage of you. Always cast your ballot for good government. Never support a corrupt government.
Always make your government know about your presence. Never hide from the government. Whenever possible, seek an interview with the government on behalf of the people you lead. Always impress government that your movement is not to controvert the established order of that government, but that your people seek a homeland in Africa which is not to be achieved by any revolution in the country in which you domicile as a citizen, but if possible with the cooperation of that government. Leave all policies of an international character affecting the organization desired for a government in Africa to the international officers and don’t complicate yourself with your government with anything revolutionary where you are. You will get the worst of it. A constitutional political agitation is not a riot. If you are a citizen, you have the right of public assembly and the right to protest against anything that is politically wrong, but that does not suggest that you must riot because good government always puts down riots and always has a way to settle its political difficulties in the interest of society and the community of which you are a part, and in which you have a voice.
When you riot against your government, you are rioting against yourself because the government cannot exist without you. That is why there is a constitution. When the constitution is insufficient to give you all the protection you need change it by political action through voting for changes, not by rioting. (With the permission of: Robert A. Hill and Barbara Bair. Marcus Garvey: Life and Lessons (University of California Press, 1987), Pages 240-244)
1.6.4. GARVEY: MAN IS A PART OF CREATION
There is a God and we believe in Him. He is neither a person nor a physical being. He is spirit and He is universal intelligence. Never deny that there is a God. God being universal intelligence created the universe out of that intelligence. It is intelligence that creates. Man is a part of the creation of universal intelligence and man was created in the image and likeness of God only by his intelligence.
It is the intelligence of man that is like God, but man’s intelligence is only a unitary particle of God’s universal intelligence. God out of His universal intelligence made matter and made mind. That matter is made by God and man is matter as well as mind; then man must be in the image of God, because nothing could exist without God.
As God made the universe out of His universal knowledge or intelligence so man in his unitary knowledge or intelligence can make a typewriter, an automobile or a chair, but cannot make the universe because his unitary intelligence is not as much or as great as universal intelligence. All the unitary intelligence of the universe goes to make God who is the embodiment of all intelligence, so no man can be as great as God because he is only a unit of God and God is the whole.
No man therefore can do not measure God nor ask God questions because he is not as intelligent as God and therefore cannot understand God. It is presumptuous therefore, when man questions God from his limited unitary intelligence.
Man never dies; nothing dies. Man is made of body and spirit. The spirit is God. It is intelligence. The body of man is matter. It changes from living matter in the man to other matter in the soil. It is always the same matter. It doesn’t die in the sense of how we understand death. It changes. When man sleeps and passes away in the flesh he goes to earth that lives on, out of which other men and things are formed. All matter is related so man is related to earth and earth related to man.
We eat ourselves over and over again. When we eat the apple, the banana, the fig, the cherry, the grape, when we drink the water, we are eating and drinking ourselves over and over again, so nothing is lost and nothing dies, so do not be afraid of death, because what you call death is only change and you are still in the universe either in the spirit of God to whom your spirit goes after the change or as matter which goes on forever.
You are related to the flower, to the beautiful rose, to the trees, to the fish and to other animals just as you are related to God. All of you sprung from God who is universal intelligence. Do not be more cowardly than the rose, the apple, the coconut, the sheep, the fish or the cow to do that which all must, and which we call death, to die. If you are going to weep to die then the rose should weep to die. If you weep you are a coward. Die like a man because you are not lost, you are still there.
You only weep because you are a glutton, because you think you will not get any more to eat and drink and any more happy times; just as you have been feeding upon things, and other beings who came here before you, so someone else must feed on you to make creation true, otherwise God would not be fair to everybody and everything, and God is fair and just and no respecter of persons or things (See above: Robert A. Hill and Barbara Bair).
CHAPTER II: The DYNAMICS OF the Movement
2. GARVEYISM AS AN IDEOLOGICAL MOVEMENT
What’s in a name---to be precise, in the name Marcus Garvey? A century after his birth, what should we know about him and the extraordinary movement that bears his name? The name Garvey has come to define both a discrete social phenomenon, organized under the banner of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and African Communities League (ACL), and an era of black renaissance, in which Garveyism and the concept of black racial pride became synonymous.
Before white America fell enraptured before the spell of what Claude McKay termed “the hot syncopated fascination of Harlem ” in the Jazz Age, black America had already traversed the age of Garvey and the New Negro. Garveyism as an ideological movement began in black Harlem’s thirty or so square blocks in the spring of 1918, and then burgeoned throughout the black world---nearly a thousand UNIA divisions were formed, and tens of thousands of members enrolled within the brief span of seven years. The reign of the Garvey movement, as Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Sr., wrote, “Awakened a race consciousness that made Harlem felt around the world. ”
Borne along on the tide of black popular culture, Garvey’s memory has attained the status of a folk myth. While the 1987 centennial of Garvey’s birth will be marked by formal ceremonies honouring his memory, on a more dynamic plane, Garvey is daily celebrated and re-created as a hero through the storytelling faculty of the black oral tradition.
As the embodiment of that oral tradition transmuted into musical performance, Jamaica’s reggae music exhibits an amazing fixation with the memory of Garvey. Re-evoking spiritual exile and the historic experience of black dispossession, the music presents a Garvey who speaks from the past directly to the present:
Marcus say, Marcus say, red for the blood that flowed like a river Marcus say, Marcus say, green for the land, Africa Marcus say, Marcus say, yellow for the gold that they stole Marcus say, Marcus say, black for the people they looted from“Rally Round,” Steel Pulse
In extending the legend of Garvey, the downtrodden have succeeded in rescuing his image from years of official neglect. In addition to carrying out this process of vindication, the music has succeeded in merging his name into an anthem of dispossession:
Marcus Garvey words come to pass Marcus Garvey words come to pass Can’ get no food to eat Can’ get no money to spend“Marcus Garvey,” Burning Spear.
In the transfiguration of Garvey in popular memory, historical time has been replaced with mythical timelessness. “Garvey soul yet young/Older than Garvey/Younger than Garvey,” lyrically tells Burning Spear, the Jamaican reggae songwriter and performer, venerating the ongoing importance of Garvey.
In the course of this musical apotheosis, the mythic Garvey becomes the black race’s prophet, as we hear in the exhortation calling people to account:
Marcus Garvey prophesy say, Oh yeah Man a’ go find him back against the wall, yeah It a’ go bitter . Dis ‘yah a’ prophecy, Hold ‘dem, Marcus.
“Right Time,” Mighty Diamonds
If there is a moral in the music, it is that the memory of Garvey is a vital force---daily oral-musical performance has transformed the historic Garvey into a symbolic image that lives on in the popular imagination. Like the sacred African trickster-hero, who interprets the hidden to humans, the name Garvey serves to remind: I’ll never forget, no way they sold Marcus Garvey for rice. So don’t you forget, no way who you are and where you stand in the struggle “So Much Things to Say, “Bob Marley
These lyrics are testimony to that fact that in the struggle for the ultimate regeneration of Africa, Garvey has continued to inspire succeeding generations. “While Mr. Garvey might not live to see his dream come true,” prophesied one of his followers in 1924, “what he has said from the platform of Liberty Hall will be repeated in the years to come by unborn generations, and some day in the dark remote corners of Africa the Red, the Black and the Green will float .”( See: Negro World (hereafter NW), 23 November 1924) This statement, with figurative depiction of the liberation of Africa and the international influence of Garveyism in the struggle for its attainment, has proved to be an accurate prognosis of political transformation in Africa. “The question may start in America,” Garvey had promised, speaking in Washington, D.C., “but [it] will not end there.” (NW, 26. January 1924 )
2.1. GARVEY AND THE MOVEMENT
While Garvey’s name has achieved legendary proportions and his movement has had an ongoing international impact, Garvey as a mortal being was a man who embodied the contradictions of his age. He was seen by his own contemporaries in a plethora of ways, both positive and negative. “A little sawed-off and hammered down Black Man, with determination written all over his face, and an engaging smile that caught you and compelled you to listen to his story” was how the veteran black journalist John E. Bruce (“Bruce Grit”) recalled his initial encounter with the young Jamaican in the spring of 1916. Encouraged by Booker T. Washington, Garvey had come to America hoping to gather support for a proposed school, to be built in Jamaica, patterned on the model of the famed Tuskegee Institute.
By the time Garvey could get to the United States, however, Washington was dead. Garvey started with a nucleus of thirteen in a dingy Harlem lodge room. Within a few short years, he was catapulted to the front rank of black leadership, at the head of a social movement unprecedented in black history for its sheer size and scope. Writing in 1927, six months before Garvey was to be deported from America, Kelly Miller, the African-American educator and author, reflected upon the phenomenon.
Marcus Garvey came to the U.S. less than ten years ago, unheralded, unfriended, without acquaintance, relationship, or means of livelihood. This Jamaican immigrant was thirty years old, partially educated and 100 per cent black. He possessed neither comeliness of appearance nor attractive physical personality. Judged by external appraisement, there was nothing to distinguish him from thousands of West Indian black people who flock to our seaport cities. And yet this ungainly youth by sheer indomitability of will projected propaganda and commanded a following, within the brief space of a decade, which made the whole nation mark him and write his speeches in their books.(Kelly Miller, “ After Marcus Garvey-- What?” Contemporary Review 131 (April 1927): 492)
In the world of the twenties, personalities quickly became notable and were fastened upon by admirers, detractors, and the merely curious. But even by the standards of the day, Garvey’s rise from obscurity was spectacular. Speaking to an audience at Colon, Panama, in 1921, Garvey himself noted that “two years ago in New York nobody paid any attention to us. When I used to speak, even the policeman on the beat never noticed me.”(NW. 30 July 1921) Garvey voiced the marvellous nature of his own rise when he asked an audience in 1921 “how comes this New Negro? How comes this stunned awakening (NW, 18 June 1921) The ground had been prepared for him by such outspoken voices as those of Hubert H. Harrison, A. Philip Randolph, Chandler Owen, and W. A. Domingo. These and other stepladder orators---who began speaking along Lenox Avenue with the arrival of warm weather in 1916 and whose number rapidly grew with each succeeding summer---were the persons who, along with Garvey, converted the black community of Harlem into a parliament of the people during the years of the Great War and after.
The World War I era was the time of the rise of “the ebony sages,” as William H. Ferris termed the New Negro intelligentsia, who laid the foundation in those years for what would eventually come to be known as the Harlem Renaissance? Garveyism was fed in an environment where “in barber shops and basements, tea shops and railroad flats,” Ferris revealed, “art and education, literature and the race question were discussed with an abandon that was truly Bohemian.” (William H. Ferris, “The Negro Intellectual”, NW, 10 June 1922)
By the middle of the decade, Ferris would go so far as to claim that “The New Negro is Garvey’s own Child, whose mother is the UNIA.” Spokesman 1, no. 4 (March 1925) When the UNIA was organized in Harlem in February 1918, its Jamaican leader merged not only with representatives of the New Negro, but with another minority: from the perspective of America’s polyglot of ethnic groups, Garvey was simply one more immigrant voice.
The Garvey phenomenon began amidst the multiple migrations of America, and it was not unusual to find Garvey issuing pronouncements of confraternity with the causes of various immigrant groups.(New York Globe and Advertiser, 3 August 1920)“Just at that time,” recalled Garvey, speaking in Liberty Hall in early 1920 about his start as a street orator in Harlem, “other races were engaged in seeing their cause through---the Jews through their Zionist movement and the Irish through their Irish movement---and I decided that, cost what it might, I would make this a favourable time to see the Negro’s interest through.”(NW, 6 March 1920)
A notable feature of Garveyism as a political phenomenon was the staunch manner in which it accentuated the identity of interests among black people all over the world. For Hodge Kirnon, this quality of internationalism essentially defined the New Negro mood. He observed: The Old Negro press was nationalistic to the extreme, even at times manifesting antipathy and scorn for foreign born Negroes. One widely circulated paper went as far as to cast sarcasm and slur upon the dress, dialect, etc., of the West Indian Negro, and even advised their migration and deportation back to their native lands-a people who are in every way law abiding, thrifty and industrious.
The new publications have eliminated all of this narrow national sentimental stupidity. They have advanced above this. They have recognized the oneness of interests and the kindred ship between all Negro peoples the world over. ( Promoter, 1 (August 1920: 7) A special feature by Michael Gold in the 22 August 1920 Sunday supplement of the (New York World) reported upon Garvey’s meteoric ascent, and registered as well his immigrant status and the international nature of his message.
The headlines accompanying the story made the following announcement “The Moses of the Negro Race Has Come to New York and Heads a Universal Organization Already Numbering 2,000,000 Which is About to Elect a High Potentate and Dreams of Reviving the Glories of Ancient Ethiopia”
Gold captured a defining characteristic of the Garvey phenomenon, namely, its rapid spread throughout the world, including sub-Saharan and southern Africa. Writing from Johannesburg, South Africa, a number of years later, Enock Mazilinko echoed the messianic vision of Garvey held by many in America when he wrote that “after all is said and done, Africans have the same confidence in Marcus Garvey which the Israelites had in Moses.”(NW, 9 February 1929
“Marcus Garvey is now admitted as a great African leader” concurred James Stehazu, a Cape Town Garveyite; indeed, Garvey was the embodiment for tens of thousands of black South Africans in the post-war years of the myth of an African-American liberator. (NW, 16 July 1932)“Already his name is legend, from Harlem to Zanzibar,” allowed the venerable Guardian of Boston when it appraised the significance of Garvey’s life in 1940. (Boston Guardian, 18 May 1940)
But not everyone shared this concept of Garvey. Detractors labelled him a madman or the greatest confidence man of the age. “We may seriously ask is not Marcus Garvey a paranoiac?” enquired the NAACP’s Robert Bagnall in his 1923 article “The Madness of Marcus Garvey.”16
An earlier psychological assessment by W. E. B. Du Bois diagnosed Garvey as suffering from “very serious defects of temperament and training,” and described him as “dictatorial, domineering, inordinately vain and very suspicious.”17 In the view of the organ of South Africa’s African Political Organization, “the newly-created position of Provisional President of Africa [was] an empty honour which no man in the history of the world has ever held, and no sane man is likely to aspire after.”18
It was mainly as an embarrassment to his race, however, that Garvey was dismissed. ‘”The Garvey Movement,” reported Kelly Miller in 1927, “seemed to be absurd, grotesque, and bizarre.”19 “If Gilbert and Sullivan were still collaborating,” commented one African editorial writer, “what a splendid theme for a musical comic opera Garvey’s pipe-dream would be.”20
W. E. B. Du Bois echoed this opinion when he described UNIA pageantry as like a “dress-rehearsal of a new comic opera.”21 A West Indian resident in Panama, writing in the April 1920 issue of the Crusader, offered an ironic commentary on what he took to have been Garvey’s assumption of the grand title of African potentate: “Pardon me,” the gentleman interposed, “but this sounds like the story of “The Count of Monte Cristo’ or the ‘dream of Labadie,’ or worse still, ‘Carnival,’ as obtains in the city of Panama, where annually they elect ‘Her Gracious Majesty, Queen of the Carnival,’ and other high officials.”22
White commentators were not excluded from this game of describing Garvey’s conduct through the metaphor of entertainment. Borrowing from Eugene O’Neill’s surrealistic play about the dramatic downfall of a self-styled black leader, Robert Morse Lovett referred to Garvey as “an Emperor Jones of Finance” to convey Garvey’s financial ineptitude to highbrow readers of the New Republic.23
The wide variety of contemporary opinion about Garvey serves as a backdrop for his own eclectic descriptions of himself. He once announced that: “My garb is Scotch, my name is Irish, my blood is African, and my training is half American and half English, and I think that with that tradition I can take care of myself.”24 While Garvey told his audiences that his mind was “a complete machine,” one “that thinks absolutely in the original,” and, on another occasion, that his mind was “purely Negro,” he also lamented that “the average Negro doesn’t know much about the thought of the serious white man.”25
His own ideology encompassed these two contradictory conceptions. For him, the thought of the New Negro had to be a new thought, for it was incumbent upon the race to develop intellectual (as well as economic and political) independence as a precondition of survival in a world ruled by Darwinian ideas of the survival of the fittest. Nevertheless, the New Negro had to build this original thought on a strong foundation in the mainstream intellectual tradition, borrowing from that tradition while creating new racial imperatives. The present collection is a testimony to the diverse origins of Garvey’s thought and to the ways in which he consciously embraced many of the dominant intellectual traditions of his age, reshaping them to the cause of pan-African regeneration.
The Era Garvey’s career spanned the years of the climax of the Victorian era of empire and its denouement in the period of revolution and counterrevolution. Born in 1887, just after Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, Garvey grew up as a black colonial during the Edwardian era. He arrived at political maturity in the era of the nationalist revolution in Ireland and the October Revolution in Russia. He died on 10 June 1940, the day that Fascist Italy declared war on the Allies and a month after Nazi Germany invaded France. He had predicted in 1937 that “the Negro’s chance will come when the smoke from the fire and ashes of twentieth-century civilization has blown off.”26 His thought was of a piece with the dominant ideas of his tumultuous age, while at the same time offering a new response for black people to the paradigm of white supremacy.
2.1.1. THE DOCTRINE OF SUCCESS
Garvey’s strong belief in the success ethic, a theme that forms a constant thread throughout his speeches and writings, is reflective of the popular culture of his time. Speaking in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1937,
Garvey summed up for his audience the principle that he claimed life had taught him: “At my age I have learnt no better lesson than that which I am going to impart to you to make a man what he ought to be---a success in life. There are two classes of men in the world, those who succeed and those who do not succeed.”27 Rejecting the class analysis being embraced by some of his black contemporaries, Garvey regularly illustrated his speeches with rags-to-riches stories, and offered examples from the fields of business and industry to his followers as models to emulate.
In 1927 Joseph Lloyd, a Garveyite in Cuba, won a UNIA-sponsored “Why I am a Garveyite” contest with an essay on his Garvey-inspired aspirations to become a black captain of industry or political leader. Garvey “has taught me,” Lloyd wrote in the 6 January 1927 issue of the Negro World, “that I can be a Rockefeller, a Carnegie, a Henry Ford, a Lloyd George, or a Calvin Coolidge.” Garvey himself had earlier asked readers of the Negro World in a 6 November 1926 editorial, “Why should not Africa give to the world its black Rockefeller, Carnegie, Schwab, and Henry Ford?”
In the following year he spelled out the connection between such economic achievement and political power, informing his audience that there is no force like success, and that is why the individual makes all efforts to surround himself throughout life with the evidence of it. As of the individual, so should it be of the race and nation.
The glittering success of Rockefeller makes him a power in the American nation; the success of Henry Ford suggests him as an object of universal respect, but no one knows and cares about the bum or hobo who is Rockefeller’s or Ford’s neighbour. So, also, is the world attracted by the glittering success of races and nations, and pays absolutely no attention to the bum or hobo race that lingers by the wayside.28
Garvey’s gospel of success was distinguished from more traditional versions of the doctrine because he merged personal success with racial uplift and established a link between these twin ideals and an overarching vision of African regeneration. From Garvey’s perspective, success of the individual should serve the ends of the race, and vice versa. “There are people who would not think of their success,” Garvey insisted, “but for the inspiration they receive from the UNIA.”29
Speaking in New York in 1924, Garvey claimed to have “already demonstrated our worth in helping others to climb the ladder of success.”30 Reciprocally, the UNIA relied for its own success on the organized support of individuals. “Help a Real Race Movement: The Way to Success Is through Our Own Efforts” was the entreaty printed on the UNIA’s contribution card in the early 1920s.
Garvey offered a doctrine of collective self-help and racial independence through competitive economic development. “As a race we want the higher success that is within humanity’s grasp,” Garvey was quoted in the 21 February 1931 “Garvey’s Weekly Digest” column of the Negro World: “We must therefore reach out and get it. Don’t expect others to pave the way for us towards it with a pathway of roses, go at what we want with a will and then we will be able to successfully out-do our rivals, because we will be expecting none to help us.” Garvey also told his followers that the achievement of a higher class status among black people was the most direct route to obtaining opportunities and individual rights. “Be not deceived,” he wrote, in the spirit of Andrew Carnegie, ‘”wealth is strength, wealth is power, wealth is influence, wealth is justice, is liberty, is real human rights.”31
This imperative of success was tied to what a 21 March 1922 Negro World article termed “a universal business consciousness” among black people in all parts of the world. By featuring the slogan “Africa, the Land of Opportunity,” emblazoned on a banner draped across a picture of the African continent, the official stationery of Garvey’s Black Star Line graphically illustrated this philosophy of racial vindication and uplift through capital investment and development.
Garvey himself was frequently cited in the pages of the Negro World as a prime example of a self-made man, one of those “who worked their way to the top of the ladder by the long, steady climb.”32 Garvey’s interest in conduct-of-life literature and the persistent echoes of it heard in his speeches and writings reflect the impact that such classic success treatises as Booker T. Washington’s Up from Slavery and Andrew Carnegie’s Gospel of Wealth made upon him.
These works were in turn part of an older genre dating back to Emersonian treatises on self-reliance, slave narratives of personal endurance and triumph such as Frederick Douglass’s My Bondage and My Freedom, and Benjamin Franklin’s colonial guide to practical behaviour and economic success. Garvey’s racial ideal was built upon the concept of success, and he saw himself as a black version of the Horatio Alger myth.
2.1.2. DYNAMICS OF THE NEW THOUGHT
Garvey’s pragmatic philosophy, with its emphasis on self-mastery, determination, and willpower, also contained elements of New Thought, which emerged during the Gilded Age out of the allied branches of the mental healing phenomenon. With its emphasis on mind mastery, New Thought offered a set of metaphysical theories that proffered to its millions of adherents a system of mental hygiene to equip them for the journey along the road to success.
In 1920 Hodge Kirnon commented on the pervasiveness of ideas from the teachings of Christian Science and the New Thought movements in the black community. “The Negro has been seized by this spirit,” Kirnon declared, “He has taken a real change of attitude and conduct. So great has been the change,” he continued, “that he has designated himself under the name of The New Negro.”33
Another member of the New Negro phalanx, William Bridges, also alluded to the subsistence of a link between the “spirit of radicalism and new thought.”34 Garvey was assessed by one of his closest colleagues in the leadership of the UNIA, Robert L. Poston, as “the man who is truly the apostle of new thought among Negroes.”35 Indeed, what was deemed a new racial philosophy was in fact Garvey’s wholesale application of the dynamics of New Thought to the black condition. “I have come to you in Jamaica,” Garvey announced on his tour of the Caribbean in spring, 1921, “to give new thoughts to the eight hundred thousand black people in this land.”36 Speaking before the UNIA’s fourth international convention, he declared: “The Universal Negro Improvement Association is advancing a new theory and a new thought” and in 1937 he stated that “to rise out of this racial chaos new thought must be injected into the race and it is this thought that the Universal Negro Improvement Association has been promulgating for more than twenty years.”37 Metaphysics and politics were explicitly linked in Garvey’s mind.
Turning to New Thought to explain the “African vision of nationalism and imperialism,” Garvey advised that “the African at home must gather a new thought. He must not only be satisfied to be a worker but he must primarily be a figure.”38 This New Thought philosophy permeated many UNIA functions and was a strong influence in the literature surrounding the movement.
In 1930 the Black Cross Nurses of the Garvey Club of New York City held a medical demonstration at the facilities of the New York branch of the Field of New Thought on 94th Street.39
The Negro World regularly advertised books that showed New Thought influences, including I.E. Guinn’s Twelve of the Leading Outlines of New Thought.40 Alonzo Potter Holly’s popular book on black people in sacred history, God and the Negro, was, according to Holly, inspired by Ella Wheeler Wilcox. Wilcox, whom Holly described as “an impassioned apostle of ‘the New Thought,”’ was in turn one of Garvey’s favouritepoets.41 Boosterish
Besides its affinity with the gospel of success and the New Thought movement, Garveyism shared the strong emphasis on boosterism that pervaded the popular culture of the Progressive period. On 28 April 1921 Garvey informed an audience in Panama, that he admired “the white man’s spirit for he boosts for race and nation.”42 A few months earlier he had written that “no sensible person objects to any man boasting, booming, and advertising the work or cause that he represents. The old adage still applies: ‘He who in this world would rise/Must fill his bills and advertises.’”43 One of the Negro World’s own advertisements read “If it is Success You Need in Business, Advertise in the Negro World”44 and advertisements heralding various pathways to success and self-promotion regularly appeared in its pages under such titles as “Develop Your Power of Achievement,” “How to Get Rich,” “Key to Progress, Success, and How Attained,” “Knowledge is Power: Make Your Life Yield its Greatest Good,” and “Read This Book for Wealth and Health.”
2.1.3. VICTORIAN HISTORICAL SENSEBILITYAND LITERARY TASTE
While Garvey’s speeches and writings display the influence of popular success ideologies and a racial interpretation of international politics, they also reflect an adherence to a Victorian historical sensibility and literary taste. An admirer of the great and forceful men of history---statesmen, emperors, and conquerors (e.g., Alexander, Charlemagne, Hannibal, Napoleon, Genghis Khan) ---Garvey called black people to rise to a similar vision of political patriarchy and racial leadership. Likewise, while urging his readers and audiences to know and respect the works of black writers and artists, he consistently held up to black people the work of minor and major white authors---Elbert Hubbard, William Ernest Henley, Robert Browning, Cervantes, Shakespeare---for inspiration and reference. By doing so, he upheld the tradition of schooling in “great works” common to the artisan class in the Victorian era. Indeed, Garvey’s motto for the UNIA was quite likely a paraphrase of a line found in the poem of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, written for the occasion of Queen Victoria’s opening of the Indian and Colonial Exhibition.
Britain’s myriad voices call, ‘Sons, be welded each and all, into one imperial whole, One with Britain, heart and soul! One life, one flag, one fleet, one Throne!
In Garvey’s hands, the triumphal exhortation of the final line is paraphrased in the well-known UNIA motto, “One God, One Aim, and One Destiny.” Likewise, the name given by Garvey to the general assembly hall of the UNIA in Harlem, Liberty Hall, which became the cradle of the movement, is reminiscent of Oliver Goldsmith’s ever-popular She Stoops to conquer (1773). In the second act of the play, the residence Liberty Hall is defined as a haven from the outer world, a place of freedom of thought and action---“pray be under no constraint in this house,” Mr. Hard castle assures his guests; “this is Liberty Hall, gentlemen. You may do just as you please here.”
126.96.36.199. VANITY FAIR
More deliberatively, Garvey’s choice of the title for his epic poem, “The White Man’s Game, His Vanity Fair” (later reprinted in pamphlet form under the title The Tragedy of White Injustice) reflects a similar penchant for alluding to great works of English literature. But just as he endowed the gospel of success with new racial meanings, so he converted common literary allusion to his own purposes, making it a medium of a new racial politics. The incorporation of “Vanity Fair” in the poem’s title alludes to the infamous marketplace by that name in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress (1678). While William Makepeace Thackeray used the name of Bunyan’s town as a metaphor for the decadence of bourgeois society in London in his 1848 novel Vanity Fair, Garvey employed the name of the town in his 1927 poem to encapsulate its theme of white oppression and decadence. Just as Bunyan’s work is a kind of sacred picaresque in which evil is pitted against good, so Garvey’s poem is a chronicle of the atrocities committed against native peoples by white colonizers. In Bunyan’s allegory, Christian, the protagonist, and Faithful, his travelling companion, are waylaid on their journey toward the Celestial City at Vanity Fair, a market town ruled by Beelzebub. In this hellish town, the streets are named after Britain, France, Italy, Spain, and Germany. “Knaves and rogues” and “thefts, murders, adulteries, false swearers” are met with on these thoroughfares, and vanities bought and sold. The two travellers are taken prisoner, tortured, and ridiculed. Faithful is tried in a court presided over by Judge Hategood---with a jury made up of Mr. Blind-man, Mr. Malice, Mr. Cruelty, and others---and sentenced to death. He is whipped, stoned, and finally burned at the stake, whereupon his spiritual body is released from his ashes and carried up into the heavens by a horse-drawn chariot---a metaphor of deliverance popularly preserved in Negro spirituals.
In referring to Vanity Fair in The Tragedy of White Injustice, Garvey sought an analogy between the persecution experienced by Bunyan’s travellers at the hands of the immoral townspeople and that experienced by Africans, Native Americans, and aboriginal Australians at the hands of Europeans during imperial expansion.
188.8.131.52. THE PLACE NEXT TO HELL
Bunyan’s work was popular in the nineteenth century as a moral guide for children, and Garvey would undoubtedly have been familiar with it since his youth. Bunyan’s 1678 classic was laden with social and political criticism, as was Garvey’s own epic poem of the 1920s. Bunyan wrote Pilgrim’s Progress while imprisoned for religious dissent in the county jail at Bedford, England, and gave it an autobiographical premise by having the dreamer who narrates the story sleeping in “the gaol.” A vocal Nonconformist who opposed the teachings of the Church of England, he was arrested while preaching and served two six-year sentences, from 1660 to 1672, and another six-month sentence, in 1676 and 1677. Garvey wrote The Tragedy of White Injustice while imprisoned in Atlanta, where he was incarcerated in large measure for his militant racial stand, which diverged sharply from prevailing norms. In writing the poem, he translated, as Bunyan did, his excellent oratorical skills into written form and created a text intended to convert a popular audience to a new philosophy and new conduct.
Garvey’s references to Bunyan’s classic continued after his release from prison and his deportation to Jamaica in 1927. While campaigning for a seat in Jamaica’s colonial legislature in October 1929, he was convicted of contempt of court for criticizing the judicial system on the island. He declared that many judges were influenced by bribes and suggested that some be impeached and imprisoned. The Jamaican Supreme Court did not look kindly upon such contumacy and sentenced him, as a result, to three months’ imprisonment in the Spanish Town prison. The episode---a major setback in Garvey’s efforts to establish a political career---contributed to his subsequent decision to make a permanent move to England in the mid-1930s. Garvey referred to Jamaica in this period as “the place next to hell.”45 In a New Jamaican editorial he created a Bunyanesque dialogue between two Jamaicans who referred to the country as a “Land of Agony and Tears,” which was “small, small in size and small in character,” and where people who spoke their minds would be imprisoned. In Bunyan’s work, the City of Destruction, where Christian was born, is described as “a populous place, but possessed with a very ill conditioned, and idle sort of People.” Just as Bunyan’s Christian leaves the City of Destruction to its brimstone, so Garvey’s two imaginary Jamaicans recommend that the only way to remedy the evils they had witnessed was “by leaving the place and make it perish by itself.”46 Garvey echoed these themes in a May 1934 speech in which he denounced the hypocrisy of the country and announced his intention to publish a book about his journey through life, called, significantly, The Town Next to Hell. He told his audience that he had experienced a vision of “a night in hell” in a dream and that what he had seen was an authentic reflection of life under colonial rule in the Depression.
Garvey’s promise to write an allegory on the subject of Jamaica was to some extent fulfilled; in July 1934 a poem written by him and entitled “A Night in Hell,” was performed at a musical and poetic program at the Ward Theatre in Kingston. Unfortunately, however, the text of the poem has not been preserved.
2.1.4. POETRY AND ORAL TRADITION
Garvey’s penchant for literary allusion and persuasion reflects his own belief that literature, particularly poetry, can be a powerful agent of personal uplift and a tool for teaching success. In the first lesson of the School of African Philosophy course for prospective UNIA leaders, he told his students to “always select the best poets for your inspirational urge.” Writing a review of a poetry reading for the New Jamaican, he reminded his readers that “many a man has gotten the inspiration of his career from Poetry.”47. He went on to describe the beneficial effects of poetry readings, stating that the listener “is able to enter into the spirit of the Poets who write the language of their souls,” while the poets themselves, in creating poetry, are forced to contemplate their lives deeply, “and when they start to think poetic they may realize that after all life is not only an ‘empty dream.” From this perspective, poetry grants those receptive to it inspiration, and inspiration leads to ideation and action.
Garvey’s writings and speeches also show the powerful legacy of his schooling in Victorian moral exhortation through elocution, as well as his genius in integrating the practice of declamation with West Indian and African-American traditions of verbal performance. In the dialogues created for the Black Man in the mid-1930s, Garvey adapted the Platonic form of didactic conversation between teacher and student, with its progression of statement, discussion, and debate, leading to the transfer and growth of knowledge. The dialogues also demonstrate his special sensitivity to communicating with an audience steeped in an oral tradition. By translating the written word into a script of two voices that was to be read as if it were spoken, Garvey created a kind of call-and-response conversational pattern designed both to uplift and to instruct. In any event, Garvey loved an argument.
2.1.5. DIALOGUES AND RELIGIOUS INFLUENCES
Garvey’s experimentation with the dialogue form occurred during the period of its revival following the publication of Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson’s After Two Thousand Years: A Dialogue between Plato and a Modern Young Man (1930). Dickinson had earlier received wide scholarly acclaim for his brilliant series of dialogues in the Socratic tradition, the most famous of which was A Modern Symposium (1905), a treatise that was in some ways a manual of modern politics. In 1931, while Garvey was visiting England, Dickinson broadcast a series of popular radio courses on the dialogues of Plato which were expanded for publication in Plato and His Dialogues (1931).
During the period of Dickinson’s success, the prominent black journalist Joel A. Rogers also popularized the dialogue form as a medium for the discussion of the race question. His forum “Superman to Man” (1919) contained debates on race issues presented under the guise of a
Series of conversations took place between Erudite Dixon, a black porter and various passengers who travelled aboard his train, particularly a Southern Senator with well-entrenched beliefs in white supremacy. What emerged was a scathing critique of the doctrine of white racial superiority. Rogers’s work was widely read and acclaimed, both for its content and for what a reviewer for the Boston Transcript called its “fascinating style and convincing logic.”48
It might be said that Garvey’s greatest achievement was his ability to change the consciousness of black people. Upon his return to New York following a month-long speaking tour of the Midwest in 1920, he likened his movement’s impact upon popular consciousness to a religious conversion: “The masses of the race absorb the doctrines of the UNIA with the same eagerness with which the masses in the days of the supremacy of imperial Rome accepted Christianity. The people seem to regard the movement in the light of a new religion.”49 Garvey aimed to organize the instruction of black children according to the new “religion.” He stated in a 27 June 1931 Negro World editorial that “the white race has a system, a method, a code of ethics laid down for the white child to go by, a philosophy, a set creed to guide its life,” and that black children needed a similar code.
2.2. AFRICAN FUNDAMENTALISM
“African Fundamentalism” was Garvey’s quasi-religious manifesto of black racial pride and unity. It attained canonical status within a short time after it was first published as a front-page editorial in the Negro World of 6 June 1925. Written, like The Tragedy of White Injustice, while Garvey was confined in the Atlanta penitentiary, the essay proclaims ideological independence from white theories of history, makes concomitant claims of racial superiority, and articulates major themes that recur throughout Garvey’s other writings and speeches. Chief among these are the ideas of racial self-confidence, self-development, and success; international black allegiance and solidarity; and the importance of acquiring knowledge of ancient black history.
Garvey’s use of the term fundamentalism in the title reflects this stress on the need for regaining a proud sense of selfhood by setting aside modern racist labels of inferiority and reviving the basic, fundamental beliefs in black aptitude and greatness that he saw exemplified in ancient African civilization. At the same time, the term resonated with Garvey’s long-standing preoccupation with development of an original “Negro idealism.” This notion was essentially grounded in religion. “I don’t think that anyone who gets up to attack religion will get the sympathy of this house,” Garvey declared in a speech in 1929, “for the Universal Negro Improvement Association is fundamentally a religious institution.”50.
“African Fundamentalism” was written at the peak of the fundamentalist revival that swept America following World War I. The revival was expressed both as a theological doctrine and as a conservative neo-political movement. While the concerns of Christian fundamentalists focused on a socio-cultural return to a set of principles untainted by modern rationalism and secularism, and while Populist fundamentalists called for the maintenance of an older agrarian order that would belie the impact of industrialization and urbanization---so Garvey’s call heralded a recognition of the achievements of Africans in the past and a return to the principles of black dignity and self-rule, principles that had been denigrated under the impact of modern racial oppression, slavery, and imperial colonization.
As in his sardonic use of the phrase “Vanity Fair,” Garvey’s choice of the word fundamentalism reflects an intuitive understanding of the types of associations people would apply to his use of the term. He employs these associations in the context of the essay itself, wherein his references to monkeys, caves, and the process of evolution inevitably call to mind the opposing ideas of social Darwinism and the fundamentalist movement. The conflict between these two philosophies peaked symbolically in the Scopes trial, which got under way during the same summer “African Fundamentalism” was written. The trial, which was held in Dayton, Tennessee, in July 1925, pitted prominent attorneys William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow against one another in a much-publicized courtroom battle. At issue was the acceptance of the theory of evolution and its place in the American school curriculum. Bryan argued for the creationist viewpoint (a fundamentalist perspective associated with the agrarian and southern sections of the United States and with the lower classes), while Darrow represented the modern, humanist viewpoint (a secular perspective associated with the urban and industrial areas of the North, with the growth of the social sciences, and with the educated middle classes).
Bryan’s side in the conflict prevailed, and teacher John T. Scopes was found guilty of breaking a law passed by the Tennessee legislature in March 1925, prohibiting the teaching of any doctrine denying the divine creation of mankind as taught from a literal interpretation of the Bible.
In his essay, Garvey played on the social Darwinist issues that were publicly highlighted by the Scopes trial and gave them an ironic twist. He adopted elements of the evolutionary theory of the secularists and of the strong nativist strain of the fundamentalists and utilized them both as premises to support his own counterargument. He presented black people in northern Africa as representatives of a higher form of life and culture than their white counterparts in Europe. He thus reversed the popular contemporary claims of white eugenicists, who applied evolutionary theory to the social milieu, associating people of African heritage with the slow development of the apes and offering their results as “proof’ of white racial superiority. Similar reversals of white-dictated beliefs and standards were reflected in Garvey’s fervent praise for the compelling beauty of black skin and African features; in his championing of the worship of black images of the Virgin Mary, God, and Jesus Christ in the place of white conceptions of the deity; and in his call for a recognition of the heroic accomplishments of black people, such as Crispus Attacks and Sojourner Truth, whose martyrdom, selflessness, and rebelliousness qualified them for respect equal to that accorded white saints like Joan of Arc.
2.3. CLASSICAL INFLUENCES AND THE IDEAL STATE
Much of Garvey’s theory of education---with its emphasis on self-mastery and self-culture as precursors to good race leadership---can be traced to the classical model of education, where the training of the child is the basis of virtue, and virtue in turn is the necessary requirement of statesmanship. “Governing the Ideal State,” written by Garvey in Atlanta Federal Penitentiary in 1925, manifests the influence of classical philosophy on Garvey’s thought and on his view of contemporary political events. The essay stands also as a propagandistic exercise in self-vindication in the wake of Garvey’s recent conviction on fraud charges. It offers an indictment of the behaviour of UNIA leaders and staff members whose misconduct Garvey felt had led to his imprisonment. It is also a scathing comment on the American political system at large and on the widespread corruption among government officials and leaders in the era of the Teapot Dome scandal.
Garvey enjoyed using classical allusions to convey to his audiences the concept of greatness and nobility. In his 1914 pamphlet; “A Talk with Afro-West Indians”, he urged his readers to “arise, take on the toga of race pride, and throw off the brand of ignominy which has kept you back for so many centuries.” Nearly two decades later he told readers that “the mind of Cicero” was not “purely Roman, neither were the minds of Socrates and Plato purely Greek.” He went on to characterize these classical figures as members of an elite company of noble characters, “the Empire of whose minds extended around the world.”51 The title of his 1927 poetic Meditations of Marcus Garvey parallels the title of the work of the “philosopher-emperor” of Rome, The Meditations of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antonious (121--180). Like the work of Marcus Aurelius, Garvey’s meditations included a fascination with the themes of conduct and the moral tenets of Stoicism and Platonism.
In fact, Garvey subsequently described his “Governing the Ideal State” as an abstract exercise to be likened to “Plato’s Republic and Utopia.”52 And like Plato and the Greeks, Garvey shared a strong belief, though he applied it to Africa of antiquity, in the notion of historical decline from a golden age. Garvey believed civilizations were subject to an inevitable cyclical process of degeneration and regeneration. In one of his earliest essays, entitled “The British West Indies in the Mirror of Civilization” published in the October 1913 issue of the African Times and Orient Review, he held up the prospect of a future historical role for West Indian black people in relation to Africa on the premise of this cyclical view. “I would point my critical friends to history and its lessons,” he advised, then proceeded to draw what was to be one of his favourite historical parallels: “Would Caesar have believed that the country he was invading in 55 B.C. would be the seat of the greatest Empire of the World? Had it been suggested to him would he not have laughed at it as a huge joke? Yet it has come true.”53 The essay is important as an early example of the equation, in Garvey’s mind, of history with empire building and decline.
In “Governing the Ideal State,” he announced the failure of modern systems of government and called for a return to the concept of the archaic state, ruled over by an “absolute authority,” or what Aristotle termed an absolute kingship. The fact that Garvey was well versed in Aristotle is highlighted by his request to his wife, shortly after the beginning of his imprisonment, to send him a copy of A. E. Taylor’s Aristotle (1919), a standard commentary. In his essay, Garvey rejected democracy in favour of a system of monarchy or oligarchy similar to the one presented in Aristotle’s Politics, the rule of “one best man,” along with an administrative aristocracy of virtuous citizens. As was the case in Aristotle’s utopia-where those individuals with a disproportionate number of friends would be ostracized from society, while an individual demonstrating disproportionate virtue should be embraced and given supreme authority---in Garvey’s ideal state the virtuous ruler would have no close associations other than with his family and, free from the corrupting influences that companionship might bring, would devote full attention to the responsibilities of state.
2.3.1. PLATO’S LAWS
Garvey borrowed the concept that the key function of law is the maintenance of authority not only from Aristotle, but from Plato, whose Republic and Laws presented a vision of an ideal state in which virtuous behaviour is encouraged through education, while conduct deemed corrupt is punished according to a harsh system of penalties. Plato’s penal code was in turn partially derived from the Hammurabic code that preceded it. The crimes of embezzlement and treason to the state through political fictionalization, which Garvey suggested should be punishable by death, were also crimes meriting capital punishment in Plato’s ideal state (Laws, 9.856) (however, Garvey’s call for stoning as the means of administering the death penalty is more likely derived from biblical descriptions than from Plato). Plato recommended that all public officials be subject to an audit and, should the audit reveal unjust self-aggrandizement, “be branded with public disgrace for their yielding to corruption” (Laws, 6.761--762). Similarly, Plato wrote that “the servants of the nation are to render their services without any taking of presents” and, if they should disobey, be convicted and “die without ceremony” (Laws, 12.955). If, however, leaders passed the state audit and were shown to have discharged their offices honourably, they should, as Garvey’s virtuous leader would, be pronounced worthy of distinction and respect throughout the rest of their lives and be given an elaborate public funeral at their deaths (Laws, 12.946--947). Just as Garvey suggested that a child who identified a father’s crime should be spared the penalty of death, so Plato suggested that children who “forsake their fathers corrupt ways, shall have an honourable name and good report, as those that have done well and manfully in leaving evil for good” (Laws, 9.855).
Garvey’s inclusion of kinship and property relations in consideration of the organization of his ideal state also mirrored the teachings of the Greek philosophers. He borrowed from Plato, who saw the state evolving from the family into a more communal relation and who granted free women some role in public life, in “universal education,” and in the administration of the state. Garvey also borrowed from Aristotle, who, more than Plato, preserved the notion of the private household and the subordination of women as an integral part of his ideal state. Garvey cantered the private life of his ideal ruler in a nuclear family and made the wife of the ruler a kind of chamberlain accountable for her husband’s financial dealings. Both Aristotle and Plato based their ideal states on monogamous marriage and patriarchy, in which the household of a citizen was compared to the larger hierarchy of the state, with a wife subject to her husband as a subject is subordinate to a ruler. Garvey echoed this model in his essay, wherein the wives of leaders are deemed “responsible for their domestic households,” regulated by law in the keeping of their husbands’ private and public accounts, and subject to capital punishment along with their husbands for financial crimes committed during their husbands’ tenure in office. Garvey’s recommendation that both the wife and husband should be disgraced and put to death in cases of corruption in office mirrors not only the family relations of the Greek state but archaic Mesopotamian codes governing debt slavery, in which the wives or children of a male debtor could be enslaved or put to death in payment for his financial failures.
2.3.2. THE IDEAL STATE AND THE UNIA
“Governing the Ideal State” emerges as an essay in self-vindication and wish fulfilment and draws thinly disguised parallels between Garvey’s vision of the ideal state and his desires for the correct operation of the UNIA. Just as the philosopher-ruler is the central theme of Plato’s Republic, so is Garvey the focus of the essay. Garvey’s character might also be adduced from the authoritarian type of society he proposes---an exercise that would be consistent with Plato’s attempt to sketch the four types of character corresponding to the four types of society depicted in book 8 of the Republic.
Written from prison, at a period in his life that called for reflection about the course of his career and the fictionalization and corruption that had overtaken the movement, Garvey’s essay takes on an autobiographical quality, with significant psycho historical connotations. Garvey clearly identified with the extreme authoritarianism of the supreme leader who appoints subordinate officials and exercises absolute authority over them. Just as Garvey impeached or expelled UNIA officers who disagreed with his policies or digressed from his vision of the organization’s goals (often publicly disgracing them in the process), so Garvey’s Spartan utopia would ensure strict accountability, as well as define the boundaries of conduct for subordinates. The role of the president’s wife as his personal accountant in the ideal state closely parallels that of Amy Jacques Garvey as business manager at the UNIA headquarters as well as overseer of her husband’s---the president general’s---personal accounts.
Garvey suggests, through his philosophical musing on the austerity of the ideal state, his own, as well as his wife’s, exculpation by sketching draconian consequences for fraud and mismanagement. At the same time, Garvey’s call for the disgrace of public officials who do not correctly perform their duties reflects a desire for retribution and revenge against fellow UNIA officers and staff members, many of whom he felt had deceived him and whom he charged with graft. Similarly, the call for clemency toward a family member who defied and reported corruption acknowledged Garvey’s feelings toward those who remained loyal to him and who had testified in his defence during the mail fraud trial, offering evidence against the “disloyal” actions of others. The recommendations that the president of the ideal state be freed from pecuniary obligations are natural wishes from a man whose struggles to gain world renown as the head of a movement were always compromised by debt and material need. In addition, Garvey’s description of the absolute leader as a man without friends is also a poignant reflection of his own, perhaps deliberate, isolation from close companionship, a theme that reappears in his advice to prospective UNIA leaders in his lessons for the School of African Philosophy.
2.3.3. POLITICAL CORRUPTION
On a more overt level, “Governing the Ideal State” is a critique of the widespread corruption evidenced on the local, state, and federal levels of government in the 1920s. Garvey was fond of noting that prison mates in Atlanta included former politicians, including Gov. Warren McCray of Indiana, who was convicted of embezzlement, forgery, and mail fraud in 1924; and Mayor Roswell Johnson of Gary, Indiana, who was imprisoned in Atlanta in April 1925 for participation in a liquor conspiracy ring during Prohibition. On a federal level, the nation was rocked in the early 1920s by Senate investigations into irregularities committed by officials associated with the Harding administration, including the Teapot Dome oil reserve scandal of 1922--1923, which led to the eventual prosecution and conviction of government officials on bribery and conspiracy charges and to the investigation and prosecution of former attorney general Harry Daugherty in 1924--1927, which revealed his close alliance with organized crime and frequent abuse of civil liberties through the power of his office. The irony of such malfeasance arising from within the institution of government that condemned him was not lost upon Garvey.
2.3.4. RACIAL EDUCATION
Ethical and cultural instruction---the basis of virtue in Aristotle’s ideal state---was one of the basic goals of the UNIA from its inception. Garvey believed in offering instruction both popularly and institutionally, with the dual goals of reaching a wide audience and of establishing educational facilities. The soapbox oratory, mass meetings, and large conventions that characterized the Garvey movement were all directed at instructing and organizing a large mass of people. Similarly, the dramatic performances, elocution contests, debates, and concerts that UNIA members participated in were forms not only of fund-raising and socializing, but of racial education as well. When Garvey purchased Edelweiss Park in Kingston, Jamaica, as a meeting centre for the black community in the early 1930s, he continued the practices established in New York and throughout the local UNIA divisions---practices based on the nineteenth-century tradition of the Chautauqua circuit, where people would gather locally for popular education and enrichment combined with entertainment, often outdoors or beneath a tent. He advertised Edelweiss Park as a “great educational centre” and a “centre of people of intellect” in the pages of the New Jamaican.54
Garvey’s interest in founding educational facilities was also a lifelong one. He attended courses at Birkbeck College in England before he founded the UNIA in 1914, and one of the new organization’s earliest goals was the creation of an industrial training institute for black people in Jamaica based on the Tuskegee model. Well before the turn of the century, the practical education in skilled crafts that industrial training offered had become one of the popular paths for artisans in their quest for self-culture. The 26 March 1915 Jamaican Daily Chronicle reported that Garvey listed the establishment of “educational and industrial colleges for the further education and culture of our boys and girls” as among the several benevolent goals of the UNIA. Garvey received support in this goal from Booker T. Washington, who, on 17 September 1914, wrote to invite the UNIA leader to “come to Tuskegee and see for yourself what we are striving to do,” and promised again in April 1915 to help Garvey achieve his local aims.
Garvey’s interest in education based on the principles of self-culture persisted after Washington’s death in November 1915 and the relocation of the headquarters of the movement in the United States in 1916. UNIA meetings and programs continued to foster the ideal of self-improvement, and as the association grew, auxiliaries were created with their own educational standards for membership. These standards included examinations in the geography of Africa, mathematics, reading, writing, and other subjects for commissioned officers in the uniformed Universal African Legion; first aid and nutrition classes for the members of the Black Cross Nurses; automobile repair and operation instruction for the Universal African Motor Corps; and a curriculum of elementary courses, including instruction in black history, economics, and etiquette, for members of the Juvenile Divisions. In some areas, local Black Cross Nurse auxiliaries also contracted with community hospitals and clinics to provide members with more advanced practical training in nursing and maternity care.
In February 1918 Garvey invited Columbia University president Nicholas Murray Butler to address the members of the UNIA on the topic of “Education and What It Means” and in April of the same year he and the other officers appealed to Butler to contribute toward the purchase of a $200,000 building in Harlem for an organization headquarters, which they hoped would “be the source from which we will train and educate our people to those essentials that will make them a more cultured and better race.”55
2.3.5. SHORT-LIVED SCHOOLS AND UNIVERSITIES
At the 1922 UNIA convention, Garvey announced the proposed opening of the Booker T. Washington University, which would be used to train leaders of the UNIA from around the world. The university, located on the same site as the UNIA-operated Phyllis Wheatley Hotel (3--I3 West 136th Street, New York, a building rented by the UNIA), was designed to train officers for UNIA civil service positions in accordance with article 31 of the 1922 UNIA Constitution and Book of Laws. A convention committee on labour and industry offered a resolution that a course in agriculture and commerce also be provided at the university, enabling the UNIA to send experts on the subject into the field as advisers.
While the operation of Booker T. Washington University was short-lived, in September 1926 the UNIA celebrated the opening of the newly acquired Smallwood-Corey Industrial Institute. Located in Claremont, Virginia, the school property included several buildings and sixty-six acres of land along the St. James River. A coeducational school, it was operated by a Hampton Institute graduate with a faculty of nine when it was purchased by the UNIA and renamed Liberty University. Amy Jacques Garvey referred to Liberty University in her memoirs as “a practical High School,”56 and young UNIA members became students there beginning with the fall session in 1926. Advertisements for the university appeared in the Negro World, informing readers that the school had opened for the fall term on September 15 and that “every division or chapter should grant a scholarship to a deserving boy or girl and enable them to secure a liberal education.”57. The school experienced great financial difficulties and, after struggling through three years of poverty, was closed in October 1929.58.
Garvey was imprisoned in Atlanta when the UNIA acquired Liberty University, and he was never able to see the school in operation. During his incarceration he continued his personal dedication to self-education, ordering books and newspapers, and in October 1927 he contacted the Columbia University Home Study Department for information about their mail-order courses in philosophy and poetry.
After his release and return to Jamaica, he used the editorial pages of the Blackman and New Jamaican for instruction in racial uplift. He began publishing the Black Man magazine in Kingston in 1933, and when he relocated to London in 1935, he also transferred the publication of the monthly magazine. In March 1936 he described the London journal as “a kind of universal University to educate those who want to be educated in our school of thought.”59.
2.3.6. GARVEY´S COURSE IN AFRICAN PHILOSOPHY
Garvey’s course in African philosophy displays a strong affinity with the “how-to” lessons of New Thought therapeutics, exemplified in the titles of such well-known New Thought treatises as W. W. Atkinson’s The Secret of Success: A Course in Nine Lessons (1908), Elizabeth Towne’s Lessons in Living (1910), Fenwicke L. Holrnes’s Being and Becoming: Lessons in Science of Mind (1920), Nona L. Brooks’s Short Lessons in Divine Science (1928), and Brown Landone’s The ABC of Truth: Fifty-five Lessons for Beginnings in New Thought Study (1926). Garvey’s course in racial leadership could be justly described as a black version of New Thought, offering a similar system of practical metaphysics geared to achieving mental emancipation and personal success60.
Garvey may also have been influenced by the phenomenal success of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, which was first published in November 1936. By the time that Garvey started the course in African philosophy, over half a million copies of Carnegie’s treatise had been sold, making it the national best-seller for the preceding five months. The Carnegie Institute in New York, where Carnegie conducted courses for people who hoped to become leaders in the business and professional world, may well have served as a model for Garvey’s own school for UNIA leaders. Garvey and Carnegie both emphasized the need to arouse enthusiasm in order to assume leadership and earn power and recognition61. Both preached a gospel of self-improvement and practical study of a set of success-oriented principles. Both used examples of great leaders and businessmen, citing how many of the same favourites--- Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Edison, John Wanamaker, John D. Rockefeller, Benjamin Disraeli, Edward VIII, and P. T. Barnum---had succeeded, stressing the principle of hard work. Both shared the common phraseology of success, including a penchant for the terms fundamental, self-improvement, and self-education. Both taught their lessons in order to change behaviour, practicing the dictum of Herbert Spencer that Carnegie quoted in his 1936 introduction: “The great aim of education is not knowledge but action.”62 Carnegie told his readers that he was “talking about a new way of life”63 while Garvey termed his lessons in African philosophy a “New Way to Education.” Both included trickster like advice on how to manipulate and persuade others. While Carnegie saw human relations as a kind of game of disarming potential enemies, in which an appearance of sincerity was key, Garvey gave lessons in what he called “diplomacy,”64 or the artful deception of opponents. While Carnegie noted the power of a “captivating smile”65 in swaying people, Garvey advised his students to “win the world to you with a smile.”66 He echoed the title of Carnegie’s book when he told his students to “Never approach anybody that you want to get anything out of or any good results from, in an offensive manner; to the contrary, win them with the perfect smile. Te idea is to make friends and to get results.”67 Both men were interested in the organizing power of what Carnegie called showmanship and style; and Carnegie illustrated the concept by the example of Garvey’s hero68, Napoleon, who stimulated a feeling of importance among his followers by awarding them exalted titles he had himself created. Each of the graduates of the first class of Garvey’s School of African Philosophy received a new title and appointment as a regional commissioner for the UNIA.
CHAPTER III: conflicting ideologies
3. Identification of Garveyism with Zionism
Garvey’s philosophy of racial loyalty expressed in the School of African Philosophy as well as in his other speeches and writings was earlier influenced by the Zionist movement. At the Fourth UNIA International Convention in New York in August 1924, for example, a reporter for a Hebrew Zionist newspaper was heard to exclaim across the press table, “This is Negro Zionism.”69 The Dahomean proto-nationalist Kojo Tovalou-Hounou declared at the same convention that “your association, Mr. President is the Zionism of the Black Race.”70
Identification of Garveyism with Zionism is a theme that runs throughout commentaries on the Garvey phenomenon. In a November 1922 interview, Claude McKay stated that the Garvey “movement has all the characteristic features of the Jewish Zionists.”71 The same ideological identification persisted after World War II. In the classic statement of the theory and practice of post-war pan-African liberation, Pan-Africanism or Communism, George Padmore addresses the prehistory of the movement and describes the phenomenon of what he defines as “Black Zionism or Garveyism.”72 Amy Jacques Garvey also described Garveyism in her 1963 memoir as “Black Zionism.”73
The political parallels between Garveyism and Zionism were remarkable. As irredentist phenomena, the twin movements were spawned in significant ways by territorial and diplomatic developments during World War I and by the perfervid debate surrounding the settlement of the nationalities question and the issue of national self-determination, matters that were important parts of the protracted peace negotiations. The ground-swell of feeling on the part of black people toward Africa and of Jews toward Palestine occurred within the same twelve months following the Armistice, the period that many historians believe registered the greatest change in attitudes of Jews and persons of African descent toward the question of national independence.
When interviewed by Michael Gold in August 1920, Garvey informed Gold, “Many white men have tried to uplift them [the Negroes], but the only way is for the Negroes to have a nation of their own, like the Jews, that will command the respect of the world with its achievements.”74
The men of the American volunteer Jewish Legion---the first contingent of which was raised in New York in February 1918---became identified as a kind of Jewish national guard for Palestine, while the men of Garvey’s uniformed Universal African Legion (UAL), organized the following year, symbolized the armed detachment of African liberation. At Garvey’s mail-fraud trial the former UAL head Emmett L. Gaines was asked by the government prosecutor whether the UNIA had a military branch. He answered, “It has a uniform rank like the Masons and Odd Fellows and any other organization.” To elucidate the character of his African legion, Garvey then interjected the simple declaration---“Zionists.”75
In the case of both the Garvey and the Zionist movements, the centre of political organization was the United States, specifically New York. Garvey launched a series of construction loans in 1920 that were analogous to the Palestine Restoration Fund promoted by the Zionist Organization of America for the avowed purpose of developing the “Jewish commonwealth of Palestine.”76
The various reconstruction funds that formed so intrinsic a feature of the organizing efforts of both movements were a reflection of their shared concepts of exodus and preparation. The Negro World of 8 August 1922, in providing a summary of one of Garvey’s speeches, reported that Garvey asked his audience “if the Jews could have Palestine, why not the Negroes another Palestine in Africa?” The hoped-for African Palestine, as conceived by Garvey, was to have been Liberia. “We are asking the world for a fair chance to assist the people of Liberia in developing that country,” he announced, “as the world is giving the Jew a fair chance to develop Palestine.”77 Similarly, a proposal presented at the September 1919 Chicago convention of the Zionist Organization of America to transfer “all central Zionist Administrative Institutions and activities” to Palestine was mirrored by Garvey’s announcement, in a Liberty Hall speech on 14 December 1919, that “after the [UNIA] convention to be held next August the headquarters of the association must be transferred to Monrovia, Liberia.”78
Some of the ideas Garvey presents in the lessons from the School of African Philosophy are also similar to thought current in the Ethiopianist movement in Jamaica of the same period and to his own “African Fundamentalism.” The idea of finding antecedents of Egyptian civilization in an ancient Ethiopian culture---including the view that Ethiopians were the architects of the pyramids and the Sphinx---is one such common link”.
The “leprosy” theory of Caucasian racial origin that Garvey presents in lesson 12 was also an ideological strain of Ethiopianism. By 1937, when Garvey taught the first course in African philosophy, the identification of the white man as a leper had become a part of emergent Rastafarian doctrine in Jamaica, which drew upon the older Ethiopianist reference to the Bible’s Numbers 12:10, wherein Miriam becomes leprous---“white as snow.” Garvey taught that Adam and Eve and their progeny were black and that Cain was the first leper, stricken white as a punishment by God for the murder of his brother, Abel.
Garvey differed from Ethiopianist teachings when he claimed that Tutankhamen and other Egyptians were black people who enslaved the Hebrews. For many adherents of Ethiopianism, people of African descent-enslaved and subjected to dispersion from their ancestral African homeland---were strongly identified with the Jews; indeed, some believed that black people were actual descendants of the Jews who had experienced slavery. “The Negro must be [the] original Children of the Sun, of Is-Ra-El,” declared the Norfolk Journal and Guide in 1924, “as the Lord appears to make an opening for them where none appeared to exist.”68
3.1.1. JEWISH PATRONAGE
During the peak years of the UNIA in the early twenties, a number of Jewish figures endorsed and contributed funds to Garvey’s various schemes of African colonization. The Hungarian-born banker and philanthropist William C. Ritter of Brooklyn made a financial contribution to the UNIA’s 1924 Liberian colonization program.79
Two Jewish physicians, Dr. L. A. Goldfine of Chicago and Dr. J Gordon of New York, also gave warm endorsements to the movement, and Gordon addressed the Third UNIA International Convention in August 1921 from the platform of Liberty Hall.80 Garvey’s Jamaican patrons included Abraham Judah, the city engineer of Kingston, and Lewis Ashenheim, a leading luminary of the Jamaican bar. Whereas the former helped make possible Garvey’s first English visit in 1913 and 1914---an undertaking that proved of immeasurable importance to Garvey’s political and ideological orientation---the latter provided Garvey with critical legal defences in Jamaica’s courts after he was deported to the island from the United States.
Garvey reciprocated by taking to the Hustings in support of Ashenheim’s candidacy in the 1935 election, the final election held in Jamaica under the old restricted franchise of crown colony rule. Garvey’s support for Ashenheim proved unpopular with the electorate and occasioned a number of violent disturbances at meetings addressed by Garvey in Kingston. It also marked the end of twenty-five years of close political allegiance between Garvey and the opposing candidate and mayor of the city of Kingston, H. A. L. Simpson.
3.1.2 GARVEY ADMIRED FASCISM, RACISM AND ANTI-SEMITISM
Garvey made frequent calls for black people to emulate the economic successes and national ambition of Jews. “The Jew has something the Negro hasn’t got,” Garvey averred, “he has racial stamina.”81 “We want to work out a plan like the Zionist so as to recover ourselves,” Garvey advised readers of the December 1937 Black Man.82 In an editorial penned in mid-1936, at the outbreak of civil war between Arabs and Jews in Palestine, Garvey drew out the following moral for black people:
The Negro, primarily, like the Jew, needs money, but he also needs simultaneously a strong nationalism. Let the Negro couple the urge for money with that of nationalism, so that in another hundred years when he arrives he will not have the difficulty the Jew is now having in Palestine, but he will have a formidable and well-established nation to protect him anywhere he happens to find himself with his wealth. There is no better place than Africa, his original home. The Negroes of the world, therefore, should concentrate on making money and in using a part of it for helping to establish an independent nationalism in Africa.83
Yet even while Garvey supported Jews as positive socioeconomic and political role models, he was by no means free from the anti-Semitism of his time. He became increasingly anti-Semitic in his rhetoric following conviction on mail-fraud charges in 1923, when he became convinced that Jewish and Catholic jurors and Judge Julian Mack, a leading Zionist and former head of the Zionist Organization of America, had been biased in the hearing of the case because of their political objections to his meeting with the acting imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Klan---an avowedly anti-Semitic and anti-Catholic organization---in 1922. “When they wanted to get me,” Garvey informed the African-American journalist Joel A. Rogers in 1928, “they had a Jewish judge try me, and a Jewish prosecutor. I would have been freed but two Jews on the jury held out against me ten hours and succeeded in convicting me, whereupon the Jewish judge gave me the maximum penalty.”84
This bitterness continued to pervade his thinking, and tainted the positive view of Jews he upheld earlier in his career. By the mid-1930s, racist suspicion of the motivation of Jews was mixed with a more positive identification with Jews as an oppressed minority, so that Garvey frequently made statements about Jewish solidarity that were contradictory.
3.2. SELF IDENTIFICATION WITH HITLER
Garvey was a propagator of the anti-Semitic rhetoric common in the political era epitomized by the formation of the Rome-Berlin Axis in October 1936. He identified with the rise of both Hitler and Mussolini from lower-class status, and admired the power manifested in their nationalistic brand of leadership. He praised both men in the early thirties as self-made leaders who had restored their nations’ pride, and used the resurgence of Italy and Germany as an example to black people for the possible regeneration of Africa. He admired in particular the remarkable ideological stamp the fascist leaders had succeeded in imprinting on the world. “In politics as in everything else,” he declared, “movements of any kind [once] established, when centralized by leading characters generally leave their impression, and so Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin and the Japanese political leaders are leaving on humanity at large an indelible mark of their political disposition.”85 This admiration was tinged with jealousy over the spectacular impact of the fascist movement. In 1937 he went so far as to claim in a London interview with Joel A. Rogers that, as Rogers reported, his Fascism preceded that of Mussolini and Hitler. “We were the first Fascists,” [Garvey] said, “when we had 100,000 disciplined men, and were training children, Mussolini was still an unknown. Mussolini copied our Fascism.”86
Later the same year he declared that the “UNIA was before Mussolini and Hitler ever were heard of. Mussolini and Hitler copied the programme of the UNIA---aggressive nationalism for the black man in Africa.”87
3.2.1. GARVEY´S ANTI-SEMITIC BELIEFS
His naive identification with fascism in the mid-thirties merged readily with the unfortunate anti-Semitic beliefs he had been voicing since the mid-twenties. In his lessons for the School of African Philosophy---which were first delivered when the events of the past few years had brought Nazi policies of racial discrimination and oppression to the attention of the world---Garvey cautioned against relying on Jews, stating that the very racial solidarity he admired made Jews loyal only to themselves and not to other racial groups. These distasteful comments mark the development of anti-Semitism within the black community in the United States, reflecting the tension that had developed in urban areas, in the course of the previous twenty years, between black people who had migrated from the South or the Caribbean in the World War I era and Jewish immigrants already established in the cities. Black perceptions of Jews were influenced by personal resentment of Jewish landlords and shopkeepers, on whom many black people depended for housing and consumer goods. Jews, in turn, were influenced by the larger atmosphere of racial prejudice against black people and prevailing patterns of residential segregation. This economic tension and cultural dissonance between Jews and black people in areas where the UNIA was strong made black people receptive toward anti-Semitic theories of international financial conspiracy.
These racist theories, popular in the early twenties, were propagated by such widely distributed organs as Henry Ford’s Dearborn Independent and The International Jew. Garvey admired Ford as a self-made captain of industry, and was undoubtedly familiar with the anti-Semitic leanings of the Ford publications. Garvey also subscribed to the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which went through six editions in the United States between 1920 and 1922. He told Joel A. Rogers in the course of a 1928 interview in England that “the Elders of Zion teach that a harm done by a Jew to a Gentile is no harm at all, and the Negro is a Gentile.”88
Garvey apparently accepted the theory---widely popular in the twenties and propagated by Ford’s Dearborn Independent reporters and the Protocols---about the existence of a Jewish-capitalist-Bolshevik conspiracy. Garvey details the same conspiracy theory in his otherwise sympathetic editorials criticizing Nazi persecution of Jews. “Hitler is only making a fool of himself,” Garvey argued in publicly denouncing Hitler’s attacks upon Jews, declaring further: “Sooner or later the Jews will destroy Germany as they destroyed Russia. They did not so much destroy Russia from within as from without, and Hitler is driving the Jews to a more perfect organization from without Germany. Jewish finance is a powerful world factor.
It can destroy men, organizations and nations. When the Jewish capitalists get together they will strike back at Germany and the fire of Communism will be lighted and Hitler and his gang will disappear as they have disappeared in Russia. If Hitler will not act sensibly then Germany must pay the price as Russia did”89
Two years before, when Hitler rose to power in Germany, Garvey wrote of the ability of the Jews to ruin Germany financially. “The Jews are a powerful minority group,” as said Garvey, “and although they may be at a disadvantage in Germany, they can so react upon things German as to make the Germans, and particularly Hitler and the Nazis, rue the day they ever started the persecution.”90
While Garvey promulgated prejudicial theories about Jewish culture in the lessons from the School of African Philosophy and elsewhere, he also expressed contrary views, at times harshly criticizing racial discrimination against Jews. In 1933 he directly linked the Jewish reputation for business acumen with German anti-Semitism. He strongly denounced discrimination against Jews as a minority group and ascribed anti-Jewish prejudice to racism motivated by jealousy of Jewish economic success. “The Jewish race is a noble one,” he wrote in a 28 March 1933 New Jamaican editorial, and “the Jew is only persecuted because he has certain qualities of progress that other people have not learnt.” He then drew a direct analogy between the persecution of Jews and the prejudice directed against black people in the United States, and strongly denounced Nazi racial intolerance.91 He specifically denounced Hitler’s and Mussolini’s designs on African colonies, and linked Nazi prejudice against black people with the persecution of Jews, describing both as racist policies that presented dangerous ramifications for world affairs.92
3.2.2. GARVEY’S SCHOOL OF RACIAL PHILOSOPHY
Garvey’s long-standing interest in establishing a school to train individuals in his racial philosophy was realized a decade after his deportation from the United States, when he launched the School of African Philosophy in Toronto. Garvey reported to the readers of the December 1937 Black Man:
“The School of African Philosophy has come into existence after twenty-three years of the Association’s life for the purpose of preparing and directing the leaders who are to create and maintain the great institution that has been founded and carried on during a time of intensified propaganda work. The philosophy of the school embodies the most exhaustive outlines of the manner in which the Negro should be trained to project a civilization of his own and to maintain it. ( BM 2 December 1937: 4)
The first session of the school was held in September 1937, following the second regional conference of the American and Canadian branches of the UNIA in August. Garvey served as principal of the school and led the classes, which met daily, in day and evening sessions, from 1 to 23 September. Entrance was restricted to individuals with a high school education. Eleven students enrolled in the session, including four women and seven men, all from the northern or eastern United States or Canada. Ten of them passed the final examination and received appointments as UNIA regional commissioners.
Garvey described the course in African philosophy as including “a range of over forty-two subjects” and announced that an extensive correspondence course had been drawn up, open “only to Negroes.” The course was available through mail order from UNIA headquarters at 2 Beaumont Crescent, West Kensington, London, for a fee of twenty-five dollars. According to a press release issued by Garvey from his London headquarters, the course “guarantees to prepare each man and woman for a useful career and sure success and prosperity.”(Garvey Opens New School of African Ideals,” Richmond Planet, 5 March 1938).
Garvey’s School of African Philosophy was advertised in the Black Man throughout 1938, and in February 1939 Garvey announced that several more students had completed the lessons.
In May 1939 a second session of the school was taught by Garvey at the Beaumont Crescent headquarters in London, and in June he released a new list of graduates, most of whom were from the United States. African graduates included Mr. J. O. Nwanolue, Onitsha, Nigeria; Mr. D. S. Musoke, Kampala, Uganda; and Mr. H. Illitintro, Cape Province, South Africa. African interest in the school did not go un-noticed by colonial authorities. On 22 June 1939 an intelligence report was sent to the chief secretary in Nairobi, Kenya, by the provincial commissioner of Nyanza province, reporting that collections were being taken up in North Kavirondo, Kenya, to pay for Garvey’s correspondence course.93
In the years immediately following Garvey’s death the correspondence lessons from the School of African Philosophy continued to be circulated. Charles James of Philadelphia and James Stewart of Cleveland, both graduates of the original 1937 session in Toronto, continued to offer the course to applicants by mail. Later, William Sherrill offered the course to students through advertisements in the Philadelphia Garvey’s Voice in the 1950s, and Clifford Barnes, commissioner of Louisiana, served as examiner for those students who subscribed to the correspondence course through Stewart’s wing of the movement in the late 1940s.
The circumstances of Garvey’s life and the lessons he taught his followers reflect the popular intellectual and political currents of his times, revised to the service of the revival of black consciousness. His life remains a testimony to his spectacular ability to capture the popular imagination and move people to a new outlook. “After all discount is made,” declared a contemporary, “after all the tinsel is brushed away, the fact remains that the grandiose schemes of Marcus Garvey gave to the race a consciousness such as it had never possessed before.”94
Marcus Garvey: Life and Lessons is a record, one hundred years after the birth of Garvey, of the travail of self-education among black people. It was out of this tradition that the ideal of Africa’s regeneration evolved. Garvey’s positive contribution was to enrich its continuing legacy of race pride, self-mastery, and hope.
In her memoirs Amy Jacques Garvey wrote of a May 1928 symposium on Garvey at Howard University, where students debated the difference “between ‘The Man’ and ‘The Movement’” that shared his name. The debaters agreed that Garveyism, as a philosophy of black pride and pan-Africanism, was the solution to “the international problem of the Negro.” They alsoagreed that “Garvey’s philosophy was distinguished from the man Garvey” and stressed the timelessness and universality of his legacy. “Garvey was temporal,” they noted, “but Garveyism was eternal.”95. What’s in a name? As anyone familiar with the African-American folktale tradition knows, the answer to the question comes in the telling of the tale.
Copyright © 1995 The Marcus Garvey and UNIA
3.3. GARVEY ATTACKS HAILE SELASSIE
In the Norfolk Journal and Guide (London, 23 January 1937)
The American Negro is the most loyal, self-conscious, and expressive member of the racial group. He is never wanting in his response to racial appeals that stir him to the possibility of real service - religiously, politically, and otherwise.
He has never failed those who appeal to him. Most of the time, however, he allows his enthusiasm for racial causes to get the better of his judgment, and then, when the truth is brought home to him, he becomes disappointed and disgusted. Efforts should be made not to spoil his good disposition and character in this respect, for he it is who is leading the world of other Negroes in the race in the hope of solving a problem that calls for their true responsibility to the most serious application.
The Italo-Abyssinian War had an immediate appeal to the American Negro, like Negroes in all other parts of the world, and his response was immediate and most enthusiastic. Unfortunately when Ethiopia entered upon the War and before, there was no organized intelligence about its true position among Negroes anywhere.
It was difficult, therefore, for Abyssinia to get the right kind of support that was absolutely necessary at the very start of things. The lack of information among Negroes of the world about Abyssinia was due to the fault of the Abyssinian government which up to that time took no diplomatic pains of creating contact with the Negro peoples of the world and particularly those of America so as to create among them an interest that was most necessary and vital for a successful resistance of an Italian or European offensive.
From our knowledge and experience, we are able to say that the Abyssinian government headed by Emperor Haile Selassie felt that its existence was possible without any catering to and contact with Negroes.
In fact, they held themselves to be a separate and distinct race from the Negro race, and the entire administrative policy was to treat the blacks as an inferior people in whom they were not politically interested, except for their enslavement and exploitation.
The Amharic Rulers felt that they had descended from a superior race and even in Abyssinia the darker races of the country were regarded as inferiors only fit to be feudal serfs and in many instances overburdened slaves.
Unfortunately the Emperor’s government was not an enlightened one, in the sense that it could not understand and appreciate European diplomacy and the methods of European statesmen in preserving the political independence of their respective countries and in catering to their respective peoples.
The Abyssinian policy was based on the absolute elevation of the ruling classes and the positive lack of national interest in the native masses. This is contrary to the policy of enlightened and civilized governments where the rulers - whether they be kings, emperors, dictators, or presidents - hold office only as executive trustees for the people whom they must serve, the wishes of the said people being supreme will and law.
With them, the people dictate the policies of government and demand service from government in their interest. With Abyssinia, it was the Emperor who dictated the policy of the government and he used the government, people, and country for his own divine and personal purposes.
Naturally, such a condition in Abyssinia would make it rather difficult for the government to rally the real patriotic support of the people in a crisis such as was brought about by Mussolini. Being an astute diplomat and expert statesman, pandered to the weakness of the Abyssinian oppressed and neglected masses. While the Emperor failed to feed them, to equip them, and to properly train and educate them, Mussolini stepped in after his invasion and supplied their necessary human needs, particularly in feeding and caring for them.
The result was a stampede of the Abyssinians from the Emperor to the invader. This more than anything else, assisted Mussolini to conquer the country. As bad an historian and psychologist as Haile Selassie was, he overlooked the necessary human elements - human aspirations which were common to people of all races. He, instead of providing for the Abyssinian masses as stated, only provided for himself; hence, when the fight reached its crucial point, he had no one to stand alongside of him and so he had to flee, leaving the people to the mercy of Mussolini and the Italian hordes.
3.3.1. MUSSOLINI HAILED BY GARVEY
Much news has been published after Mussolini’s conquest of Abyssinia, about the Abyssinians still fighting successfully against the Italians. This must be taken with a grain of salt. There is really no organized opposition to Italy in Abyssinia. The incompetent rulers who opened Abyssinia to invasion are still making the effort to hold on to Abyssinia, hence a lot of misrepresentative statements which seem to be affecting the American public.
Every Negro desires the freedom of Abyssinia, but that freedom is now suspended, in that Italy is fully established in the country. There is no well recognized government in the country among the Abyssinians. The few men who have been holding out, have been doing so on their own account, but not because they have been supported by the exiled Emperor or his defunct government.
Any appeal therefore, to the American public on behalf of Haile Selassie’s government, suggesting that the war is still going on for the re-conquest of the country, should not be accepted as a truth, but should be explained so that the American public might use proper judgment in the matter.
Haile Selassie, until his defeat and exile, only considered Negroes as being of no consequence, but his view point must not be considered as the view point of the Abyssinian masses that are as unfortunate as the oppressed Negroes everywhere.
The American Negro should, through his own agency, establish contact with the Abyssinian Negroes for better understanding that they may work for the redemption of Africa. An independent course should be taken and no one should allow himself to be deceived into believing that much more can be accomplished through Haile Selassie himself.
His exile from the country will be as permanent as Mussolini decides. The hope of Abyssinia, therefore, rests with other forces than Haile Selassie. Primarily, it rests with the loyal Abyssinians who remained in Abyssinia and who must work out a diplomatic scheme of surprising the Italians.
This may come though civil war, when they are ready, or through Italy becoming involved in a European war to render her incapable of protecting her interest in Abyssinia. To accomplish any good this way, the Abyssinians and their Negro friends must work quietly and diplomatically and not in the way the Emperor and his agents have been working by making statements which are unfounded and which tend to expose the Abyssinian natives to the retaliation and revenge of the ever watchful Italian forces which are gathering information internationally on the Abyssinian situation.
When the Emperor went to Geneva and stated that he had a government in Gore* which he knew he hadn’t at the time, he was only focusing Italian military activities against the few remaining patriots at Gore, who were endeavouring to hold on. If left alone without any interference from the Emperor, they might have been able to strike a bargain with the League of Nations, the British and French governments or with Italy herself to remain independent in the western section of Abyssinia.
The Emperor knows nothing about history and European diplomacy, and he seems to be interested in no one else but himself and his family. Everything is lost to the Abyssinians - the poor Abyssinians who remained at home whilst everything has been taken by the Emperor who sought immediate and voluntary exile, when the situation became too warm for him to remain on the spot The American Negro should be careful on how to support a lost cause.
He is advised not to give away his money foolishly to something that will never be realized, but if he has to support the cause of Abyssinia or the cause of any Negro government, he should first have a proper understanding and agreement with that government to share in the benefits to accrue from the assistance given. This is the only business way to help. This is the way for peoples and governments to act. The Negroes should be no different. A government cannot be built up on sympathy and charity, but on a sound business basis.
Any assistance, therefore, to Negro governments should be given only when there is a proper understanding to result in those offering assistance being considered as being entitled to certain rights which they would not be able to demand without a proper understanding before their assistance was given.96
In the months leading up to the war, Mussolini tried to undermine Haile Selassie’s influence over the provinces by infiltrating and bribing Ethiopians loyal to local chieftains. This method was particularly successful among the Azebu Oromos. Haile Selassie himself acknowledged that many of his rases were on the Italian payroll but described the transactions as bribery without corruption since they would pocket Italian money and remain steadfast to Ethiopia.
One of Ethiopia’s more famous defectors was Dejasmatch Haile Selassie Gugsa, Haile Selassie’s former son-in-law, who made overtures to General De Bono early in the war, bringing some twelve-hundred men and five vintage rifles with him. De Bono appointed him to a powerless position as a civilian chief of Tigre.
In the 1935 poem, The Brutal Crime, Garvey had voiced a different view from the one stated in this document on the issue of the disloyalty of some Ethiopians. The poem included the following stanzas: When Mussolini challenged us, He knew the weakness of the men; T o feed and pat them on the back, Was all, to get them in the pen., The cursed fool who fell for Rome, And marched against the Motherland, Should never live to tell the tale, Of his unholy traitor band. . 1, no. 11 [December 1935]: 4
When Haile Selassie returned to Addis Ababa on 30 April 1936, he summoned his remaining elders to a meeting wherein he supported a plan to transfer both himself and his government to the town of Gore (a settlement in the mountains near the Sudanese border, two hundred miles west of Addis Ababa in the province of Ilubabor). Discouraged by British, French, and U.S. officials, opposed by his family, and supported by only three of his own councillors, the emperor preferred to abandon his plan to continue the resistance and moved himself and government records outside of the country, instead of to Gore. The mountainous region surrounding Gore did remain, however, a stronghold for patriot cadres, including resistance fighters led by Ras Imru.
Garvey’s concern over the disposition of the money collected for Ethiopia had some substance. Despite local efforts, American neutrality legislation made direct recruitment of soldiers and shipment of arms difficult; there is also little evidence that a significant amount of the money solicited for Ethiopian support ever reached its source.
For example, the Friends of Ethiopia, a leading national association organized for Ethiopian aid, failed actually to deliver assistance, and a New York newspaper headline of 1935 proclaimed Ethiopian relief A Juicy Racket in Harlem97.
Garvey’s scepticism about Ethiopia as a lost cause, however, was not shared by most of his American followers. After the fall of Addis Ababa to the Italians and Haile Selassie’s escape into exile, UNIA members in the United Sates continued to work for the relief movement, even though white supporters largely lost interest. In the months following the fall of the Ethiopian capital the relief effort thus took on an increasingly black nationalist cast. For example, United Aid for Ethiopia, a Harlem-based organization in which white progressives participated, disbanded in 1937 and was replaced by the Ethiopian World Federation, made up largely of blacks who saw their organization as a pro-Ethiopia movement of mass proportions with a Black Nationalist base. (See. W.R. Scott).
The fact that the Ethiopian cause became increasingly attractive to black nationalists rather than waning with the turn of events in the African nation left Garvey politically isolated. As Claude McKay noted, the Ethiopian World Federation drew its supporters from the same common people that gave power to the Garvey movement as a result, Garvey’s denunciation did not swing his swing his people98
3.3.2. HALLE SELASSIE PROVED A CRINGING COWARD
Editorial by Marcus Garvey in the “Black Man”99
When the facts of history are written Haile Selassie of Abyssinia will go down as a great coward who ran away from his country to save his skin and left the millions of his countrymen to struggle through a terrible war that he brought upon them because of his political ignorance and his racial disloyalty.
It is a pity that a man of the limited intellectual calibre and weak political character like Haile Selassie became Emperor of Abyssinia at so crucial a time in the political history of the world. Unfortunately, Abyssinia lost the controlling influence of a political personality of patriotic racial character like the late Menelik II., whose loyalty to his race and devotion to his country excelled all his other qualities, to the extent that he was able to use that very strength to continuously safeguard the interests of the Ethiopian Empire. What he did so well to preserve, a cringing, white slave hero worshipper, visionless and disloyal to his country, threw away. This is the impression the serious minded political student forms of the conduct of the ex-Emperor of Abyssinia.
Every Negro who is proud of his race must be ashamed of the way in which Haile Selassie surrendered himself to the white wolves of Europe. These statements may be considered very severe, and in fact, they are. We could have been otherwise apologetic and sympathetic, but that would have been only if we were dealing with a Coptic Priest or a Religious Monk and not a[n] Emperor who held and presided over the political trust of twelve million people of his own country, and the political destiny of the entire Negro race. This little misguided Emperor could not realise that he held in his hands the political trust of the hundreds of millions of Negroes of the world, men and women, who were looking up toward the firm establishment of political sovereignty, and that Ethiopia, like Liberia and Haiti were to them prizes of glory to be perpetuated and strengthened in the maintenance of the dignity of that black race that other men have claimed to be incompetent, inferior and unworthy, which every black man must disprove.
When the war started in Abyssinia all Negro nationalists looked with hope to Haile Selassie. They spoke for him, they prayed for him, they sung for him, they did everything to hold up his hands, as Aaron did for Moses; but whilst the Negro peoples of the world were praying for the success of Abyssinia this little Emperor was undermining the fabric of his own kingdom by playing the fool with white men, having them advising him, having them telling him what to do, how to surrender, how to call off the successful thrusts of his Rases against the Italian invaders.
Yes, they were telling him how to prepare his flight, and like an imbecilic child he followed every advice and then ultimately ran away from his country to England, leaving his people to be massacred by the Italians, and leaving the serious white world to laugh at every Negro and repeat the charge and snare -he is incompetent, we told you so.
Indeed Haile Selassie has proved the incompetence of the Negro for political authority, but thank God there are Negroes who realise that Haile Selassie did not represent the truest qualities of the Negro race. How could he, when he wanted to play white? How could he, when he surrounded himself with white influence? How could he, when in a modem world, and in a progressive civilization, he preferred a slave State of black men than a free democratic country where the black citizens could rise to the same opportunities as white citizens in their democracies?
Even before his coronation as Haile Selassie (Ras Tafari), had sought experts whose nationality was consonant with the goals of his administration and tended therefore to hire individuals from Europe’s great powers or Americans. When he became emperor his ministers and advisers included one American, one Englishman, two Frenchmen, one German, one Greek, two Swiss, but (no) Italians. White foreign professionals - engineers, lawyers, military experts, teachers, technicians - were also routinely employed as consultants for specific short-term projects. By 1932, some one hundred Westerners were affiliated with the Ethiopian government106
A reference to Albert Leopold (1875-1934), who became King Albert I of Belgium in 1909 and set about strengthening his country’s army in an effort to maintain neutrality. Despite these efforts, his soldiers were forced into retreat by German troops in 1914. They set up a defines at Ypres; four years later, reinforced with French troops, Albert led the Allied offensive through Belgium Garvey was a member of a delegation representing the black community in Britain which was spurned by Haile Selassie I when it planned a welcoming reception for him upon his arrival in London.
The emperor declined to meet with the committee, which included representatives from the British Guiana Association, the Colonial Seamen’s Association, the Gold Coast Aborigines Protection Society, the Gold Coast Students Association, the International Friends of Ethiopia, the Kikuyu Association of Kenya, the League of Coloured Peoples, the Negro Welfare Association, the Pan-African Federation, the Somali Society, and the UNIA.
After the emperor arrived in London on 3 June 1936, the tone of Garvey’s previously favourable editorials changed.
Garvey’s criticism of Haile Selassie continued to grow in later issues of the BM107. In the January 1937 “Black Man “, he accused Haile Selassie of negligence and called for a more forceful Abyssinian Napoleon108. He summed up his revised view of the emperor in the following issue, when he wrote that Haile Selassie was a great coward who ran away from his country to save his skin and left the millions of his countrymen to struggle through a terrible war that he brought upon them because of his political ignorance and his racial disloyalty. He went on to question Haile Selassie’s intellectual calibre and to call him a cringing white slave hero worshipper, visionless and disloyal to his country109 . In 1937, Garvey criticized Haile Selassie for hiring a white Hungarian as a cook rather than an Ethiopian refugee, describing the incident as one more example of the Amhara Emperor’s claims to be of a blood quite superior in his imagination to that of the blacks, and so he has kept himself in an atmosphere where he is regarded more as a white man than as a Negro. Garvey went on to emphasize the divisions between the Amharic elite and the majority of Ethiopians, who, he said, are the unfortunate blacks related to other Africans who have always been exploited110.
3.3.3. HAILE SELASSIE -BAD TASTE TO THE ABYSSINIAS
The truth must be told so that the white world will realise that it was not the pride of the Negro that surrendered in Abyssinia. It was the disloyalty of a single man who was too silly to take pride in his race, who played such a game as to disgrace the political integrity of a noble people.
The Negroes of Abyssinia and of the world are satisfied however that Abyssinia was not conquered by Italy and the European forces of Mussolini. Abyssinia was only conquered by the black levies of Italy. The Askaris have really been the victors in Abyssinia. [Rodolfo] Graziani only marched into Addis Ababa after he had made sure of the advanced guard of the Askaris. Every battle that the Italians won in Abyssinia resulted from the advanced charge of the Askaris. It was black men fighting black men, and this was made possible in Abyssinia because the regime of Haile Selassie had given a bad taste to the mouth, not only of the blacks of Abyssinia but of those of the surrounding territories. They felt that they had a cause against the Amharic white loving Emperor who liked to chain and flog black men, and whose brutality to them gave Mussolini the cause to fool the world that he was bestowing a blessing upon the people of Abyssinia by freeing them.
It was a piece of impertinence to suggest that black men should be held as slaves. We must admit that we glorified Haile Selassie when the war started, fought his battles to win international support, but we ever felt deep down in our hearts that he was a slave master. We had hoped that if Abyssinia had won that we would have forced the Government of Abyssinia to free the black whom they held as slaves.
We would have preferred this than seeing the country taken by Mussolini or any European power; but now that the country is temporarily lost and the Emperor has cowardly exiled himself, the truth must be told.
3.3.4. WHAT RIGHT HAS HE?
The future freedom of Abyssinia must be built upon the highest principles of democracy. That is why it is preferable for the Abyssinian Negroes and the Negroes of the world to work for the restoration and freedom of the country without the assistance of Haile Selassie, because at best he is but a slave master. The Negroes of the Western World hose forefathers suffered for three hundred years under the terrors of slavery ought to be able to appreciate what freedom means.
Surely they cannot feel justified in supporting any system that would hold their brothers in slavery in another country whilst they are enjoying the benefits of freedom elsewhere. The Africans who are free can also appreciate the position of slaves in Abyssinia.
What right has the Emperor to keep slaves when all the democratic sections of the world were free, when men had the right to live, to develop, to expand, to enjoy all the benefits of human liberty[?]
The Emperor who has been exiled in Europe must have seen the civilization of Europe. In England where he lives he sees that men are not flogged and chained and kicked because of their colour or because of their condition, but where true human liberty guarantees to every man the happiest pursuit he can bring to himself.
It has been reported that he is leaving England for Syria, where a large number of Abyssinian refugees are living. There is an interpretation that the decision to leave England and to live among his people? In Syria is to perpetuate his divine majesty in the presence of that king worship that he doesn’t get in England, where men look at others as equals and not as masters by divine right. In truth, the Emperor is out of place in democratic England.
He wants to be once more in the environment of the feudal Monarch who looks down upon his slaves and serfs with contempt. Except he changes the attitude of thinking himself better than the Negro who constitutes the larger number of Ethiopia and profit by the experience he has gained, he should not be a fit person to be in authority in the very country in which he was born.
After all, Haile Selassie is just an ordinary man like any other human being. What right has he to hold men as slaves? It is only the misfortune of the slaves that causes him to be a slave master. Negroes who have the dignity of their race at heart resent the impertinence of anyone holding the blacks as slaves.
Haile Selassie ought to realise this and abolish his foolish dream of being an Emperor of slaves and serfs and try to be an Emperor of noble men, and for him to be that he must himself be the noblest of them all.
He hasn’t proved his nobility in the war between Italy and Abyssinia. Rasta Desta proved to be the Lord, the Nobleman of Ethiopia whilst Halle Selassie proved a cringing coward !100
Ras Desta (1892-1937), a Shoan noble who favoured Haile Selassie’s policy of modernization, was married to the emperor’s daughter, Tenagne Werq Haile Selassie. He instituted public works projects in the provinces of Borana and Sidamo in the 1920s.
Haile Selassie made him commander-in-chief of southern Ethiopian forces with the onslaught of the Italian invasion in 1935. Marshal Rodolfo Graziani destroyed his exhausted and malaria-ridden army in the Battle of Ganale Doria, near the south-eastern Ethiopian border, in January 1936. The Italians identified the whereabouts of the starving Ethiopian forces with aerial reconnaissance, and then used some seventeen hundred kilograms of mustard gas against them. Thousands died in the battle. Others were driven into the desert, where they succumbed to hunger and dehydration.
Ras Desta and his servants escaped. He emerged later as a leader of the guerrilla resistance. After Haile Selassie’s exile, he maintained a guerrilla force with Dejazmatch Gabre Mariam in the Great Lake District. He was captured and put to death by the Italians in 1937, his severed head displayed to the population of Jimma province as a warning against opposition. Shortly after, an assassination attempt was made against Viceroy Graziani.
The Italians attributed it to the followers of Rasta Desta and, in the few days following the attempt, massacred thousands of inhabitants of Addis Ababa in reprisal101.
George Padmore debated Garvey on 30 May 1937. According to Ralph Bunche’s account of the debate, Marcus boasted that he was for Mussolini; called [Haile] Selassie a coward, dumb and a trickster; Padmore had to protect him from the white proletarian audience when Garvey attacked them as riff-raff pointing out that the great Empire would be lost if it weren’t for the great men at the head [o]f the govt. [Stanley] Baldwin, et al, attacked Haile Selassie for having white advisors.
3.3.5. ITALY’S CONQUEST OF ABYSSINIA
Editorial by Marcus Garvey in the Black Man102
Mussolini of Italy has conquered Haile Selassie of Abyssinia, but he has not conquered the Abyssinians; nor Abyssinia. The Emperor of Abyssinia allowed himself to be conquered, by playing white, by trusting to white advisers and by relying on white Governments, including the white League of Nations.
We can remember in 1920 inviting the Government of Abyssinia to send representatives to the International Convention of the Negro Peoples of the world in common with other Negro Governments, institutions and organizations.
Whilst others replied, and most of them sent representatives to that greatest of all Negro Conventions, the Abyssinian Government returned the communication unopened. Its policy then, as during the Italo-Abyssinian war, was no doubt to rely completely on the advice and friendship of white people.
They ignored Negro relationship[s] from without and throttled Negro aspirations from within. The result was that they dragged along without any racial policy, except that of the ruling classes believing themselves white and better than the rest, with a right to suppress the darker elements which make up the tremendous population.
When Haile Selassie departed from the policy of the mighty Menelik II., his grandson Crown Prince Lij Iyassu and surrounded himself with European advisers, he had taken the first step to the destruction of the country. It is true that he became heir to the very bad conditions prevailing in Abyssinia, but he had an advantage over previous Emperors.
He travelled to Europe and America; he saw what European civilization was like. He saw the freedom of the peoples of the different countries, and must have been impressed with their high social, educational and cultural developments. A wise monarch, like Peter the Great, would have gone back to his country, if he were patriotic and humane, with a programme to lift the standard of his people and push forward the status of his country.
This Haile Selassie did in a small way, but too small to be effective, to the extent of saving himself and his country from the designs of the very European sharks whose representatives was advising him. He inherited a vendetta from Italy. He knew that Italy one day would strike. Why he kept the majority of his countrymen in serfdom and almost slavery is difficult to tell.
Why he refused to educate on a large scale, thousands of the youths of his country, so that they would be able to help him to carry on the Government and lead the masses in a defensive war against Italy, cannot be understood.
3.3.6. ACK OF EDUCATION
If Haile Selassie had educated thousands of his countrymen and women, and raised them to that status of culture and general knowledge necessary to our civilization, the Italians never would have dared an offensive against Abyssinia, because Abyssinia would have found leaders on the spot competent and ready to throw back the invader. But that is not all.
If Haile Selassie had negotiated the proper relationship with the hundreds of millions of Negroes outside of Abyssinia - in Africa, in South and Central America, in the United States of America, in Canada, the West Indies and Australia, he could have had an organization of men and women ready to do service, not only in the development of Abyssinia, as a great Negro nation, but on the spur of the moment to protect it from any foe. But he had no consulates, he had no Foreign Ministers, he had no Diplomatic Agents among Negroes anywhere and the few that he did appoint were to the courts of white nations, and they were chiefly white men or Abyssinians who were married to Italians and had great leanings toward the whites whom they tried to ape.
When all this is considered it is not difficult to understand why Mussolini defeated Haile Selassie. We gave all the support that we possibly could during the Italo-Abyssinian war to Abyssinia. We tried our best to influence the British Government at home by our speeches and writing, so as to secure the Government’s support for Abyssinia, not only at the League of Nations but independently. This support, at the very start, was given by Great Britain, but the conditions prevailing in Abyssinia, created by the Emperor himself defeated the possibility of immediate success. Italy was attacking Abyssinia from the presumptive high morality of freeing the slaves and developing the country for the good of the people.
Everybody knows that this was a lie, that the real motive was to create Abyssinia as a part of the new Italian Empire and to exploit it for the good of Italians. Nevertheless the appeal of Italy, for the cause of humanity arrested the attention of humanitarians the world over and gave Mussolini allies that he never would have had if there were no such conditions in Abyssinia to cause him to pretend as he did.
3.3.7. the inconsistency of the Emperor
One cannot really understand the inconsistency of the Emperor, being a devout Christian who adheres to the practice of the Christian religion, and observes all the feasts thereof and the treatment to Abyssinians by his Government for the five years of his Regency and eight years of his regime as Emperor. We are not criticising the Emperor, we are only stating the truth for the sake of the Negro world. We must know why we have lost the battle in Abyssinia for the time being. We cannot flatter and fool ourselves about the truth of it, because it is by the very truth of things that the present situation exists.
Abyssinia has been reputed to be one of the richest sections of Africa. In fact, it is so. With such a rich country at its disposal a patriotic and sensible Government would have sought its development. It is true that the prejudice against the Negro is great, and that foreign states would not readily give a loan to an Abyssinian Government for its development, but the proper manipulation of the financial affairs of the Abyssinian Government could have brought it to a state of independence whereby it could have developed the country without humiliating itself, without having to beg for foreign loans.
With twelve million people in Abyssinia, the Abyssinian Government could have issued a domestic paper currency, backed up by the wealth of the country for local use, and with such a currency labour could have been paid for the exploitation of the country’s resources. With the production of that wealth, markets could have been found all over the world ready to accept the productions which not only to stabilize its own domestic currency but to give it a proper credit with other nations. But the Abyssinian Government never even sought a substantial loan. The first time an effort on a loan was made was during the war, when it was too late to raise money.
That the country could stand a tremendous loan is well demonstrated by Mussolini now seeking to raise a loan of more than eighty million pounds for the development of the country. If Mussolini can borrow eighty million on the resources of Abyssinia, the Abyssinian Government could have in thirteen years borrowed twenty or thirty million pounds for civilising purposes.
Mussolini has charged the Emperor and his Government with brutalising the blacks, and at the outset of the war he stated that he was not fighting the blacks, but that he was fighting to emancipate them. That, no doubt, had an appeal to the Askaris, whom he really used as shock troops, and who really conquered Haile Selassie and took not only Adwa but Addis Ababa. It is not Marshal Pietro Badoglio who conquered, it is not the Fascist Army of Italy either, it was the Askaris and the native troops of Italy who temporarily won the war. The same Negroes who have won the war for Italy, can, in co-operation with others, win it back for Abyssinia.
3.3.8. HAILE SELLASIE IS PROUD OF SHEBA BUT NOT OF SOLOMON
As far as we can see, the Emperor’s term of usefulness is at an end for the present in Abyssinia. We say this, because if he returns he will find great trouble with the Abyssinians themselves, and Italy will be spurred on to continue the fight more ruthlessly. Abyssinia must be saved by the Abyssinian youth, and the Abyssinian patriots who are now fighting in the West. They must continue their guerrilla Warfare. It will harass Italy. It will ultimately beat Italy. But to continue the fight there must be real patriotism. There must be a real recognition of the Negro Abyssinian.
He must not be ashamed to be a member of the Negro race. If he does, he will be left alone by all Negroes of the world, who feel proud of themselves. The new Negro doesn’t give two pence about the line of Solomon. Solomon has been long dead. Solomon was a Jew. The Negro is no Jew. The Negro has a racial origin running from Sheba to the present, of which he is proud. He is proud of Sheba but he is not proud of Solomon.
There is always a willingness on the part of certain people to shun the Negro. The Negro is no dog; neither is he a convenience for anybody. The Negro is a man, proud and honourable and willing to bear his share of civilization. Abyssinia or Ethiopia offered a chance for the Negro to show himself, and if Haile Selassie had only the vision, inspired with Negro integrity, he would have still been the resident Emperor in Addis Ababa, with not only a country of twelve million Abyssinian citizens, but with an admiring world of hundreds of millions of Negroes.
Abyssinia has no complaint against the Negroes of the world in this last war, because from Africa to America, from America to the Central American countries, and to the West Indies and Canada, there was an appeal that found a ready answer among the hundreds of millions of Negroes. They were ready to help, not only with the little money that they have, but with their lives and with their blood. But because the Abyssinian Government heretofore had done nothing to organize them, and to treat with them, there was no knowledge of how they could really assist.
The Italians had ambassadors, ministers, plenipotentiary consuls and agents in every part of the world, feeling and testing out the tempers of other governments and races of the world. The Abyssinian Government had none. Do we wonder therefore, why Italy succeeded and Abyssinia failed?
3.3.9. ETHIOPIA SHALL STRETCH FORTH HER HANDS
The Emperor’s reliance on the League was unfortunate, but more so was his reliance on his white advisers. Would one imagine the cats advising the rats? Would one imagine the lions advising the Can you imagine the English advising the Japanese, or can you imagine the German advising the French?
Yet Haile Selassie having his hand in the lion’s mouth allowed the lion to advise him. What else, but be swallowed by the lions as he has been swallowed by the League of Nations. It is too sad, brutally sad, to see the hopes of a people dashed to pieces by bad diplomacy, by bad leadership; but, as stated, Abyssinia is not yet conquered. She will not be conquered. She shall be free. It will take time, for Italy is only stirring up trouble for herself in the future. The spirit of the Negro will never go to sleep. In fact, the Negro will never die. He has learnt too much. He knows too much. The day will shortly come with the blessing of God, when he will stretch forth his hands. Probably it is through Italy in Abyssinia that Ethiopia shall stretch forth her hands unto God and Princes shall come out of Egypt.
We are not condemning the Emperor. Probably he was only an innocent instrument of God’s Will in bringing home to the Abyssinians a consciousness of themselves, and in impressing the Negroes of the world with their true responsibility and duty. Probably his misjudgement was from the best of heart. If it is so, let us be sorry for him. Let us not curse him, but let us hope that he will spend his days in peace in a monastery, and will do the best he can for his country and his race’s country. We hope the Emperor will forget that he is from Solomon and realize that the world looks upon him as a Negro, and it was because he was a Negro why they treated him as they did. His cause was as good as that of Belgium’s, but they treated Albert of Belgium differently because he was a European. He was part of the assimilable flock of Europe. The Italians and other Europeans felt their superiority over the Negro Abyssinians and so nothing would be done to save the country and its autonomy.
3.3.10. THE EMPEROR REJECTED BLACK DELEGATION
The Emperor’s advent into England again revealed the great love he has for the white race and his belief in their sincerity. When he landed at Waterloo Station, in London, he was, no doubt, advised by his Minister to receive the white delegation that waited on him: but a black delegation that was led by an Association known as the Negro Federation was ignored and the address that the delegates had to present to him had to be handed in by the holder, by running after one of the ordinary officials of the Ethiopian Embassy.
His first reception in London was to the white people, some of whom refused the invitation. He extended his invitation even to the Salvation Army. No invitation went to representative Negro Institutions, organizations or individuals. Probably the Emperor is not to be blamed for this. That must have been the work of his advisers, and if so, it is consistent with the advice he has received, which has caused his defeat. He has separated himself from the Negro peoples of the world and he fell into the jaws of the lion that was waiting to devour him.
We feel sure that the Emperor is a sadder but wiser man, and if he had to live his life over again as Emperor, resident in Abyssinia, his policy would not be that of upholding the oppression of [his] own race in Abyssinia, because they are black, nor of ignoring the Negro peoples of the world, but co-operating with them to build a Negro nation worthy of the race of which he is a member.
If Haile Selassie had borrowed substantially from other Governments before the war to develop Abyssinia, making it the Abyssinians’ instead of holding it as his own, and be satisfied with what he has, he would have found many of the nations that refused to carry out sanctions doing so aggressively, to secure their investments in Abyssinian Bonds, but while all the Governments had risks in Italy they had none in Abyssinia, and so they pretended sanctions against Italy but really made it effective against Abyssinia, because they had much to lose with Italy and nothing to gain from Abyssinia, except the delivery of its territory to Italy, to enable Italy to liquidate their bonds. It was the fault of statesmanship that caused Abyssinia to be so deficient103.
African-born delegates who attended the 1920 UNIA convention included Gabriel Johnson, mayor of Monrovia, Liberia; George O. Marke, of Freetown, Sierra Leone; and Prince Madarikan Deniyi, of Lagos, Nigeria (whom Garvey accused of being a fraud)104
3.3.11. EMPEROR GAVE POOR EDUCATION
Before the reign of Emperor Menelik II, education in Ethiopia had been restricted to religious training for boys. Secular education was established under Menelik II, and although intended to reach a broader base (including girls); it still extended primarily to the sons of the privileged. Under Haile Selassie, an embryonic system of secular education and a concept of national indoctrination were established.
Government-operated Amharic-language schools opened in towns and a parallel system of mission schools operated in the rural areas. The Teferi Mekonnen School was founded in Addis Ababa and supported by a special education tax on exports and imports.
By the time of the Italian invasion in October 1935, twenty government schools enrolled perhaps five thousand children, and another two thousand went to denominational schools. Under the reform plan, even mission schools that had previously conducted lessons in local languages were directed to teach in Amharic in the name of national unity. The educational reform movement received its strongest support from young Eritrean intellectuals who embraced Haile Selassie’s vision of a modern, westernized, state. Many of the young men educated in the new school system were killed during the Italo-Ethiopian war.
The Askaris, or black Eritrean soldiers, were members of the regular Italian Colonial Infantry who provided the army’s spear-point. They largely belonged to the same race and had the same religions and customs as their Ethiopian brothers. Regarded by Italian officers as more expendable, more highly trained, and more experienced in guerrilla-style warfare than their Italian counterparts, they bore the brunt of every action, so much so that in many of the actions the white troops would seem to have been little more than spectators of the Askaris’ gallantry.
As a result, their casualty rates were far higher than those of white troops Pietro Badoglio (1871-1956) was governor general of Libya (1929-1933) before becoming marshal of Italian forces in the Italo-Ethiopian war. He later succeeded Mussolini as premier of Italy (1943-1944) Badoglio replaced Marshal Emilio De Bono as head of the Italian forces in Ethiopia in November 1935.
He promptly escalated the war, introducing the bombing and gassing of civilian and medical targets and ordering the befouling of water supplies, the burning of villages, the confiscation of weapons, and other acts of violence and restrictions against the general population. Badoglio’s troops entered Addis Ababa on 5 May 1936, and the marshal served as viceroy until he was replaced in August 1936 by Rodolfo Graziani105.
3.3.13. GARVEY THE PROPHET AND IDEOLOGIST
History books of Marcus Garvey are mainly political and racial oriented with an interest of pushing or making the black race economically equal with the white. In oral tradition, however, he appears as a divinely anointed prophet, the Forerunner of Haile Selassie.
In addition to many miracles and prophecies, he is credited with having predicted that a “mighty king” would arise in Africa and bring justice to the oppressed. When the Prince (Ras)111 Tafari of Ethiopia was crowned emperor to world-wide fanfare, many Jamaicans claimed the prophecy of Garvey had obviously just been fulfilled: the Ras Tafari Movement was born.
Garvey himself was still alive, although his movement had largely collapsed and he himself had been jailed on (subsequently disproved) allegations of business fraud. Garvey was no admirer of Haile Selassie, observing that slavery still existed in Ethiopia, and he attacked the Rastafarians as crazy fanatics. They however continued to revere Garvey nonetheless, remarking that even John the Baptist had had doubts about Christ! In 1930 news came of the crowning of an Ethiopian King. This was not merely another King being crowned. This King was crowned His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Elect of God. This King was reported as being the 225th restorer of the Solomonic Dynasty. It was also reported that the coronation of Haile Selassie I was attended by many nations, including the Duke of Gloucester, the representative of the British Crown who returned the Emperor the sacred sceptre stolen from Ethiopia many years before.
African Christian people now began asking many questions. The throne that Haile Selassie I represented was the oldest throne on earth, over 3,000 years old. The throne of the Royal House of Britain, the colonial sovereign of Jamaica was less than 500 years old.
It was not only that African people saw that they had an African King exceeding all over colonial sovereigns in royal status and antiquity, but that this King’s throne represented the throne of God on earth, established by a covenant between God and King David as recorded in the Old Testament(II. Samuel Ch. 7).
Our people earnestly searched the scriptures and the prophecies concerning this throne in Ethiopia. In the book of Genesis chapter 49 verses 18-12, they read that God had promised the custodianship of His kingdom of the Tribe of Judah. Moreover, God had made an eternal promise to King David and King Solomon that their throne and Dynasty would endure as long as the moon and the sun, and that David would never be short of a man-child to sit on his throne (see psalms 89).
It must also be emphasized that the kings of this dynasty were not only the kings of Ethiopia, but the kings of the whole earth; representing the justice and judgement of God in human affairs (see psalms 72). When God’s people sinned He told them that He would punish them by famine, pestilence and the sword, and he would scatter them to the four corners of the earth. They would be ruled by a foreign power and be servants to other nations. But when they returned to God with all their hearts He would rise up one from the family of David and Solomon who would re-gather His people back into their own land, (see Ezekiel 37, Isaiah 43, Jeremiah. 23, and 33). Then God promised that by the seed of David, the Tribe of Judah, He would set up His promised Kingdom on earth, which would be a light to the world. His people would be returned to their land and no more would they suffer.
H.I.M. Emperor Haile Selassie I. was born on July 23. The discipline of his character, and eyes that reflect a sense of purpose and mission, was seen by the Rastafarian Bible students as the promised Messiah from the House of Judah. His titles fit the only man on earth “worthy to open the book and to lose the seven seals” of Revelation Chapter 5. Known before his Coronation as Ras Tafari, our people who saw him as the long awaited Messiah began calling themselves by his name, Rastafarians. To the Rastafarians, this King was the one promised from the House of David, who would re-gather them from their lands of captivity and bring them again into their own land.
From 1930 until the mid ‘60s, Rastafari was a local Jamaican religious movement with few outside influences. Several Garveyite elders had independently declared that Haile Selassie fulfilled Garvey’s prophecy, and the movement remained dominated by independent “Elders” with widely varying views. Not only did no Jamaica-wide “Rastafarian Church” develop, but there was not even agreement on basic doctrine or a canon of Scripture—both the Holy Piby and the King James Bible were used by various Elders, but were freely emended and “corrected”.
In the year 1930 Ras Tafari was crowned Emperor of Ithiopia, three men in different parts of Jamaica begun to declare that Haile Selassie is the Living God or/and Black Christ. One of the earliest prophets was occultist and magician Leonard P. Howell, known as Gangunguru, Marag and Gentleman.
This “anarchy” was considered a virtue by classical Rastas. Rastafari was not a religion, a human organization, or a philosophy, but an active attempt to discern the will of Jah (God) and keep it. Classical Rastas were mainly uneducated peasants, but they approached Rastafari in an almost Talmudic spirit, holding “reasoning’s”—part theological debate, part prayer meeting—at which they attempted to find the Truth.
Their attitude differed, however, from that of Protestants interpreting the Bible. They were certain that they would arrive, by divine guidance, at an “overstanding” (rather than understanding) of the Truth. The Truth cannot be known by human effort alone, but “Jah-Jah come over I&I”, one can participate in the One who is Truth.
CHAPTER IV : spirituality Meditation And Diet
4. MYSTICISM AND LIFE STYLE
Early Rasta mystical experience emphasized the immediate presence of Jah within the “dread” (God-fearer). The doctrine of Theosis was expressed with great subtlety (although not all Elders correctly distinguished essence from energy). Through union with Jah, the dread becomes who he truly is but never was a process of self-discovery possible only through repentance. (For this reason, Rastas did not proselytize, but relied on compunction sent by Jah.) The mystical union was expressed by the use of the pronoun “I&I” (which can mean I, we, or even you, with Jah present) or simply “I” in contrast to the undeclared Jamaican dialect “me”.
Many Rastas lived (and live today) in the bush in camps ruled by an Elder. Some of these camps are segregated by sex and resemble monasteries (down to the gong at the gate); more often, they are reconstituted West African villages. The dreads observe the rules of “ital”, a dietary code based on the Pentateuch with various additions, and otherwise observe a spiritual rule. Males are usually bearded (uncommon in Jamaica during the classical period, and a cause of social and religious discrimination, so that Rastas who held jobs often were “boldfaces” who kept their affiliation secret.)
The famous “dreadlocks” were worn during the classical period only by a minority of dreads, mostly those who had taken the oath of Nazirite. Very recent historical research suggests that the dreadlocks were popularized by a monastic movement which opposed the unrestrained and potentially corrupting power of the Elders. These celibate and almost puritanical “Nyabinghi warriors” objected particularly to “pagan holdovers” in Rastafari, the continued use by dreads of ritual practices associated with the voodoo-like folk religion of the Jamaican peasantry.
4.1. RASTARIAN SPIRITUALITY
As a spiritual philosophy, Rastafarianism is linked to societies of runaway slaves, or maroons, and derives from both the African Myal religion and the Revivalist Zion Churches. Like the revival movement, it embraces the four-hundred-year-old doctrine of repatriation. Rastas believe that they and all Africans who have migrated are but exiles in “Babylon” and are destined to be delivered out of captivity by a return to Zion or Africa—the land of their ancestors and the sear of Jah Rastafari himself, Haile Selassie I, the former emperor of Ethiopia.
In this beautiful play on words, Joe Ruglass, the poet, folk-song composer, and flutist who has for years played with the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari, begins his poem that expresses the Rastafari rejection of Jamaica as a homeland and their yearnings for repatriation.
The Rastafari ever since the movement’s rise in the early 1930s have held to the belief that they and all Africans in the Diaspora are but exiles in ‘Babylon,’ destined to be delivered out of captivity by a return to ‘Zion,’ that is, Africa, the land of our ancestors, or Ethiopia, the sear of Jah, Ras Tafari himself, Emperor Haile Selassie’s pre-coronation name. Repatriation is one of the corner-stones of Rastafari belief. The fact that the majority of Jamaicans, including most of those who migrate, regard Jamaica as their home might make the position of Joe Ruglass and the other tens of thousands of the Rastafari seem very sectarian. The truth is, however, that the doctrine of repatriation is kindred to a lineage of ideas and forms of action four hundred years old. They arose first in response to European slavery and then, following emancipation, in response to the system of social, cultural, and economic oppression on which modern Jamaica was built.
Of all the contemporary autonomous groups that together make up what we know as the Rastafari movement, the Bongo exhibits the highest intensity of Revivalism. They are Dreadlocks, but because they differ from the mainstream organizationally and in other respects, I treat them separately in this [section.] Unlike other Dreadlocks, most Bongo live together in a commune, organized in the tradition of Howell, and circumscribed by rituals. Outwardly, their separation from the rest of the Dreadlocks is marked by the wearing of tightly wrapped turbans, sometimes long, flowing black or white robes, and attractively handmade sandals. Even their form of greeting is different from that of other Dreadlocks.
The Bongo strike a compromise with the existing society by accentuating respect for certain values flaunted by the Dreadlocks in the Youth Black Faith tradition. All the aggressiveness characteristic of the Dreadlocks is alien to the Bongo, who goes out of their way to cultivate excellent relations with their surrounding community.
4.2. THE UTOPIAN CITY –BULL BAY
Nine miles to the east of Kingston in Bull Bay live the Bongo in a small utopian community. The community is situated on a hillside, below a small promontory. The sight it presents a mile from the main road justifiably merits the name the Bongo give it, “City on a Hill.” Large buildings are painted in red, gold, and green colours and bordered by flags flying. From the commune itself the view out to sea is a beautiful one: a vast, receding expanse of water with slightly changing colours moving away from two hills, on either side of the commune. To reach the commune, one travels between a river bed on the left, and on the right a series of settlements, one or two of them under government sponsorship. Farther up the road, where the gradient suddenly steepness, and immediately below the Bongo, are squatters whose numbers steadily increase day after day. The Bongo themselves are squatters on the vast crown lands.
The compound is entered through an arched gateway under which every Bongo, on leaving and entering utters a prayer, sometimes in his heart, sometimes aloud. Above the arch in bold characters is painted the name Ethiopian International Congress. On the gate is written a warning against bringing weapons of violence into the compound. Inside, and to the right, stands the guardhouse where all material things, such as knives and guns and money are deposited. Then in a very steep ascent one passes the house of Queen Rachel, the young and beautiful wife of Emmanuel, and her four-year-old son Jesus. Directly above her on a terrace is the temple, and stretching out from it the large spacious dwelling house of Emmanuel Edwards, or Dada, as he is called by the Bongo.
Next up the hill lie the kitchen and generating plant on the right and the storeroom on the left. Where the slope becomes gentle, beside the kitchen, is the meeting yard where all services are conducted except on Sabbaths and days of fast. On the edge of the meeting yard is the guest hut, a small circular shed with a table and several benches. A towel hangs from one of its posts. In front of it is raised a basin of water above a patch of basil mint. This gives the distinct impression of being a Revival seal, or sacred spot. No one uses the basin of water or towel, neither Bongo nor guests. The last structure on the right of the path is a sick bay where the women seeing their menses are confined until their two weeks of defilement (calculated by adding twelve days to the duration of the menstrual flow) are over. The other structures throughout the compound are houses. With the exception of the houses and other buildings, the entire compound is a fairly extensive field of G ungu peas, covering more than half of the compound’s two hectares.
There are no other cultivated plants, but during the rainy season Calalu is planted. Gungu peas are rich in protein, and do not require much watering. Over the temple fly four flags: a black, red, and green flag with seven stars, representing the state; a red, gold and, green flag with seven stars, representing the church that rules the earth, “as every traffic light show you”; a blue and white flag, representing the United Nations; and a green and white flag with seven stars and the word Nigeria written across it, representing Nigeria.
Emmanuel Edwards emerged as a Rastafari elder (but see himself as a leader) during the 1950s by spearheading an island wide convention of the brethren at Ackee Walk where his camp was first set up. At the end of the weeklong meeting, the participants marched on Victoria Park and there planted the red, gold, and green flag in a symbolic capture of the ciao The convention was to deal with the question of repatriation, and when this had been announced, many of those people who came in from the country had allegedly done so expecting to depart for Africa. Following the convention, Prince’s followers became more sectarian. They began to attribute divinity to him and separated themselves from other Rastafarians by wearing the turbans and the robes. The Bongo remained at Ackee Walk until 1968 when they were finally bulldozed. They then settled at Harris Street in Rose Town, were again forced out to Eighth Street in Trench Town, then to Ninth Street, and finally, to Bull Bay where they have remained ever since on the rocky government lands overlooking the town.
Because they regarded Emmanuel Edwards as God, they believed each of their stopping places to have been recorded in the Bible. Ackee Walk was Nazareth, where Jesus came from; Harris Street was Galilee, where Jesus went after leaving his native home; Eighth Street, Capernaum; and Ninth Street, Bethlehem, for it was there that Jesus, Queen Rachel’s son, was born. The settlement in Bull Bay they named Mount Temon, where God is supposed to have come from, according to a passage from Genesis.
The compound is organized simply: at the head is Emmanuel Edwards, or Jesus himself, and beneath him his followers. Generally speaking, all male Bongo are either “prophets” or “priests.” The function of prophets is to reason, the function of priests to “move around the altar,” that is, to conduct the services.
Apart from these rules are the other social functions that keep the camp going: a guard at the gate to ensure the ritual purity of all visitors who enter, the keeper of the stores, the cooks, the manager of the Delco plant, and the comptroller whose main task is to purchase supplies. Finally, are the women and the children whose places are subordinate to those of the men.
4.3. HINDUISM PAGAN ISM OR BACK TO AFRICA
Another source of “pagan” thought in Rastafari was the religion practiced by the thousands of East Indian labourers imported to Jamaica after the abolition of slavery. Classical Hinduism is a major religious force throughout the West Indies, especially on Trinidad, but its influence on Rastafari has been little remarked. The dreadlocked, ganja-smoking Saddhu or wandering ascetic is a well-known figure in India, and bands of Saddhus` often live in Rasta-style camps and smoke marijuana from a formally-blessed communal chalice-pipe. The Hindu doctrine of reincarnation is also advocated by many dreads, although often with a subtle twist: to say that (for example) today’s Jamaicans are reincarnated Israelites, and even “I myself have felt the slave-master’s whip”, means to some dreads not that they personally have lived before, but that their solidarity with their ancestors is so great that there is a “oneness through time”.
Among the few things all Elders agreed on were that Haile Selassie was “divine” (although what that meant was much debated) and that he intended to restore New World Blacks to Africa. Although a mystical interpretation of “repatriation” was advanced, there is no doubt that all early Elders (and most modern ones) expected outward literal return as well.
This gave Rastafari an overt political dimension: the Rastafarians all, without exception, wanted to immediately immigrate to Ethiopia. This was a situation with no analogue except Zionism, and was beyond the ability of the Jamaican authorities to deal with.
Revolutionaries are one thing, but the Rasta slogan was not “power to the people”, but “let my people go”. As time passed, Rastafarian frustration at this unmet demand became explosive.
The situation grew especially tense after 1954, when the government overran a Rastafarian mini-state called the Pinnacle, ruled by Elder Leonard Howell in exactly the style of a traditional West African chief. Howell’s followers migrated to the slums of Kingston, and the movement went from a rural peasant separatist movement to one associated with the ghettoes of the capital. In the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, a few Rastas in desperation rejected the non-violent teaching of all authentic Elders and mounted a series of increasingly violent uprisings, culminating in several deadly shoot-outs between Rastas and British troops.
With this violence, the existence of Rastafari came to (negative) worldwide notice; more positive publicity was brought by the popularity of Rasta-performed reggae dance music a few years later. The classical period of isolation was at an end.
4.4. DIFFERENT STYLE
In the modern day, Rastafari is split into many camps—Twelve Tribes, Prince Emmanuel’s followers, Nyabinghi Rastas, as well as thousands of Rastas who find no home in any kind of affiliated group. There is a multitude of beliefs and emphases which are practiced—and for many, Rastafari remains, and a very non-dogmatic, non-stagnant faith (see below Rastafarian Mansion)
Joseph Hill says: I&I own personal spiritual journey has fused Judaism and Rastafari. I am fundamentally an Israelite—a Jew—who acknowledges the degree to which the ancient Israelites interacted with, married, traded and conversed with the ancient Ethiopians (and, of course, Egyptians), including Queen Sheba, who was one of the wives of King Solomon. Were the ancient Israelites darker-skinned people? To me, this seems obvious—of course they were. There are plenty of biblical references to support this, as well as to support the texture of their hair and even of the dreadlocks of the Nazarenes (Samson and his 7 locks, etc.). It’s worth acknowledging—not as a claim of superiority—but as a matter of simple truth.
I view Rastas as having brought biblical Nazarenes consciousness back to the planet, and am deeply grateful for the emphasis on I-tal life (diet, exercise, clarity of intention and purpose, compassion, rejection of status quo standards of appearance and beauty, dreadlocks) back into the human consciousness in such a profound manner. By the same token, I do not read the New Testament as many other Rastas do. I believe Haile Selassie to have been a descendent of King Solomon, and to have performed an invaluable and necessary role on the planet. I believe him to have been a messenger, but not a messiah or God/Jah himself. (Himself/herself? Neither, and both.) Furthermore, I completely reject patriarchal domination and homophobia as they have manifested in the more organized branches of Rastafari. (Thomas a University student at Mona Kingston)
Male domination is a tired concept, plain and simple. Equality is a must. In these ways—and in many others—I do not fit into a traditional Rasta mould. Truth be told, I do not fit into a Jewish mould, either. It’s a lonely kind of spiritual existence, sometimes, but it’s my path. Judge not. Having said that which unfortunately will earn me a host of detractors who may resent my non-traditional views, it’s worth celebrating everything that makes Rastafari such a unique and worthwhile spiritual quest. Rasta practice demands the rejection of all forms of racial and ethnic downpression, and the awareness and celebration of one’s own ethnic heritage. The roots of the faith are unabashedly Afro centric—and for people of African descent Rastafari is often a wonderful homecoming. Ultimately, to bring Rastafari into its essence is to recognize the power of Oneness. One Love - One G-d, One Aim, One Destiny
Tribute to the Martyrs/Steel Pulse (we were asked to quote this with the name of the group)
4.5. PURITY THROUGH MEDITATION AND I TAL FOOD
Rasta Daggi and Sam Brown told me what the Rastas understand and the importance of Meditation to the Spirit and I-tal food for Physical Wellness:
Daggi said: I and I have learned to recognise and feel Jah Rastafari and his order, but still it is very hard to say anything finally about HIM. True I. I and I have now chanted RasTafari´s hola name twenty years and all I life I & I have had passion to investigate dimensions and qualities of true living and still Rastafari and Queen Omega Tafari are mysterious Ones to I & I. One thing I Rasta has yet learned so far: RasTafari is very unique, old and mighty God: He was in first day in Zion and He is still alive and doing miracle works by brimstone, flash lightning, thunder, stars, moon, sun, water, air, plants, animals and his sons and dawtas.
RasTafari has no ideology, He is the Ruler, not political or religious leader, but He gives divine ideas to I and I heavens of divine temple when I and I rest I and I heavens in the transcendent realms of Rastafari´s head´s reality. The master idea is that Almighty is both, Individual Being and the pure limitless existence of cosmic eternity beyond time and I and I are like God´s eyes admiring of hola the creation.
Before this mystical mystery I & I Rasta bow and chant salute to the bearded Creator, First Dreadlock in the universe, RasTafari, HIM who has manifested him power and glory in the temple of Haile Selassie I. I and I Rasta give thanks and praises for yah have found yahselves from here once again, means here on earth, alive and in irie mediation. Jah live.
Yes Fiyah. One Black Love warms up whole planet. Sun, Moon and Stars light up our wander and then there are also Rastaman s best friends. Flash Lightning, Brimstone and Volcanoes. They have expressed Almighty s will ever since three divine temples - Heat, Air and Water - founded this Creation with Tafari millions of years ago. This is the original Nyahbinghi Order.
Scientists seh flash hits to the earth 700-800 million times in one year. 700 - 800 million flash lightning means a great volume of light and energy. There is no such Babylon that can stand itinually shooted by this kind of light-energy; vibrations will change and isolation cupola which Jeesus the Pope have tuned all over our planet, it will be broken. To be glorified will be earth s miraculous destiny, and it is the only destiny to which Rasta can inite his own destiny, cause glorification is the fundamental foundation fe every Rastafari son s and dawta s overstanding of foriver life. The link to iternity Rasta has opened within appointments with bearded God, or better seh bearded Jah, cause Rasta dont wanna mess too much with God- buzines.
It has been told that when Rasta Moses went down from the mountain of Sinai where he had appointment with bearded Jehova, his hair and beard had exploited to wild, strong ropes and knots, dread locks. This kind is appointment with Jah even in this day when it does not happen on a field of one s little mind but in Tafari s own reality where energy of the seed of all living beings shoots forth and strikes against us with pure light.
On this moment I & I locks ( antenas) sling up when dem are reaching I-nity with luminous sparkling information flow of cells, molecules, geens, atoms and the whole living process. In the heart of ecstasy Rasta sees that source of this flow is an inch sized spot between Almighty s eyes.
Ancient ones from every tribe - North American Indian Kings, Tao senseis, Holy ones of India, dancing Dervishes and prophets of Israel - have testified of this one and same knowledge-flow and its gracefully vibrating source where ecstasy of life opens the gate. Now it is our turn to rise and shine. Rasta s mission is to be a living proof of the Fire from within: mystical man and woman whose testify is not based on belief or religion or book, but on individual contact to Powerhouse of Almighty Dreadlock s Rastafari and Mother Omega Tafari. Selassie know, I and I are the chosen few.
The misleads s traps and temptations are set also and specially by the path of Chosen Ones and moving in high energies mean that gorges are deep ones, too. We all are on dangerous trodding, to refuse that means blindness and self-deception. But Tafari seh: be cool still. Satta! (means Praise him). Everything will go well when we are perfect and when we are doing our best.
Rastas from the “Twelve Tribe Order” eat limited types of meat in accordance with the dietary laws stated in the Old Testament, but no Pork. Others and especially those Country Rastas abstain from all meat and flesh whatsoever, asserting that to touch meat is to touch a body that is dead ( a violation of the Nazirite) vow.
4.5.1. THOU SHALL NOT KILL TO EAT
While many come claim say, man has been eating flesh since the beginning of time, I&I know from reading the Holy Bible this nah true! For Genesis 1:29 states: “And Jah said, Behold I have given every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed, to you it shall be for meat (food)” (Genesis 1:29).
From these words one can learn that in the very beginning of creation it was not intended for man to eat flesh. There was no need to kill, for man was richly provided with all the herbs and fruit that flourished in the Garden of Eden. In that time Man walked with JAH and was ever living. Sickness and death they knew not.
Man lacked nothing and was king over all that JAH created and was even to rule over Satan, a fallen angel that was cast down to serve Man. Envious of Mans position Satan was out to prove JAH that he could rule over Man and steal his crown. Genesis tells how Satan was able to lead man and woman into temptation causing them to transgress the one commandment JAH had given unto Man.
Here the faith of man was tested by Satan. By ignoring JAH commandment, man was driven out of the garden into the wilderness, struggling for life and led into slavery. At the anointed time JAH chooses Moses to lead man out of slavery.
 Girma Gebre Sellasie, Babylon Muss Fallen, p.56. Markt Erlbach, Germany, 1988
 Gebre Sellasie, The Rastafarians In search of Identity, p. 67, Kingston 1989
 Barrett, Leonard. Magical Blend, p. 54, June/July 1994
 In the Ethiopian Gé-éz (quasi Ethiopian Latin) Haile Selassie means Power of the Trinity this is a name given as a baptismal name from the EOC. For Example my name is Gebre Sellasie means the one who serve the Trinity
 This is a traditional title of Ethiopian Emperors. See also Schwab eds. Ethiopia and Haile Selassie, p. 11.
 Gebre Selassie, The Rastafarians In search of Identity p.45
 The Perennial Dictionary of World Religions, Keith Crim, editor, p. 601
 Gebre Sellasie, p. 59
 Gebre Sellasie, ibid
 Gebre Sellasie, p. 63
 Ibid, p. 71.
 Gebre Sellasie. Babylon Muss Fallen, p 162
 Magical Blend, June/July 1994, p. 76
 Claude McKay, A Long Way from Home (1937; reprint New York: Lee Furman, 1970), P.150.
 Adam Clyton Powell, Sr. Against the Tide: An Autobiography ( New York: Ricard R. Smith, 19938), P.71.
16 Robert Bagnall, “The Madness of Marcus Garvey,” Messenger 5 (March 1923): 638.
17 W. E. B. Du Bois, “Marcus Garvey,” Crisis (December 1920): 58--60.
18 NW, 28 January 1922 (The African Political Organization was later renamed the African People’s Organization).
19 Kelly Miller, “After Marcus Garvey---What?” Spokesman, May 1927, p. 11.
20 Nigerian Pioneer, 17 December 1920.
21 W. E. B. Du Bois, “Back to Africa,” Century Magazine 105, no. 4 (February 1923): 539.
22 Letter to the Editor, Crusader, April 1920, p. 28.
23 Robert Morse Lovett, “An Emperor Jones of Finance,” New Republic, 11 July 1923.
24 Daily Gleaner, 19 January 1935.
25 Black Man (London) (hereafter BM) 3 (November 1938): 13; 4 (February 1939): 12; 3 March 1938): 3
26 BM 2 (December 1937): 3.
27 BM 3 (March 1938): 8.
28 NW, 29 January 1927.
29 BM 3 (July 1938): 8.
3 0 NW, 14 June 1924.
31 BM 1 (July 1935): 5.
32 NW, 23 August 1924. Promoter 1 (August 1920): 4.
33 “The New Negro and His Will to Manhood and Achievement,”
34 Challenge 2, no. 5 (1919): 140.
35 NW, 8 September 1923.
36 Daily Gleaner, 4 April 1921.
37 NW, 9 August 1924; BM 2 (August 1937): 3.
38 BM 3 (July 1938): 5.
39 NW, 4 October 1930.
40 NW, 27 September 1930
41 Alonzo Potter Holly, God and the Negro (Nashville: National Baptist Publishing Board, 1937), p. 14.
42 National Archives, RG 165, file 10218-418-18.
43 NW, 5 February 1921.
44 NW, 7 February 1925.
45 New Jamaican, 8 April 1933.
46 New Jamaican, 4 September 1933.
47 New Jamaican, 26 January 1933.
48 Joel A. Rogers, From “Superman” to Man 5th ed., 1968; reprint, Helga M. Rogers, 1982.
49 NW 16 October 1920
50 Blackman (Kingston), 31 August 1929
51 “An Apostrophe to Miss Nancy Cunard,” handbill, 28 July 1932.
52 Daily Gleaner, 21 January 1933.
53 Marcus Garvey, “The British West Indies in the Mirror of Civilization,” African Times and Orient Review (October 1913): 160.
54 New Jamaican, 9 July and 23 July 1932
55 Garvey Papers, 1: 238
56 Amy Jacques Garvey, Garvey and Garveyism (Kingston, 1963), p. 164.
57 NW, 28 August 1926 and 26 November 1927.
58 NW, 12 October 1929.
59 BM 1 (March 1936): 3.
60 BM 1 (March 1936):4
61 BM 1 (March 1936):2
62 Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936; reprint, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1964), p. 17.
63 Carnegie, How to Win Friends, p. 37.
64 .BM 4 (February 1939): 6.
65 Carnegie, How to Win Friends, p. 67.
66 lesson 18.
67 lesson 9.
68 quoted in NW, 5 July 1924.
69 Daily Worker, 18 August 1924.
70 Les Continents, 15 October 1924.
71 “The Race Question in America,” Izvestia, 18 November 1922.
72 George Padmore, Pan-Africanism or Communism (1955; reprint, Garden City, N.Y.:
Doubleday-Anchor, 1972), pp. 65--82.
73 Garvey and Garveyism, pp. 252, 267.
74 Michael Gold, “When Africa Awakes, “New York World, 22 August 1920
75 Marcus Garvey v. United States, no. 8317, Ct. App., 2d Cir., 2 February 1925, p. 1,699.
76 New York Times, 19 September 1919. 77. NW, 14 June 1924.
77 NW, 14 June 1924.
78 Meyer W. Weisgal, “The Zionist Convention in Chicago,” Maccabean, December 1919, p. 345; New York Times, 17 September 1919; National Archives, RG 165, file 10218-364-18-190X.
79 NW, 7 June 1924.
80 NW, 3 July and 16 September 1922.
81 BM 1, no. 9 (August—September 1935): 10.
82 BM 2, no. 9 (December 1937): 13.
83 BM 2, no. 2 (July—August 1936): 3.
84 Philadelphia Tribune, 27 September 1928.
85 BM 3, no. 10 (July 1938): 3; also BM 1 no.1 (December 1933): 23; and BM 2, no. 3 (September—October 1936): 2.
86 Joel A. Rogers, “Marcus Garvey,” in Negroes of New York series, New York Writers Program, 1939, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York
87 BM 2, no. 8 (December 1937): 12.
88 Philadelphia Tribune, 27 September 1928.
89 “Hitler and the Jews,” BM 1, no. 8 (July 1935): 9.
90 New Jamaican, 1 April 1933.
91 see also New Jamaican, 1 April 1933.
92 BM 1, no. 7 (June 1935): 8; 1, no. 12 (March 1936): 1--3; 3, no. 9 (March 1938): 1--2; 3, no. 11 (November 1938): 1--2; 4, no. 1 (February 1939):
93 Kenya National Archives, “Nyanza Province Intelligence Reports, 1939--1942,” PC/NZA 4/5/3.
94 Benjamin Brawley, “The Negro Literary Renaissance,”
Southern Workman, 56 (April 1927): 177.
95 Garvey and Garveyism, pp. 1990--1991.
* Capital City of Ilubabor province in South-West of Ethiopia
96 Printed in the Norfolk Journal and Guide, 23 January 1937
97 New York Herald Tribune, 2 August 1935
98 Harlem: Negro Metropolis [New York: E. P. Dutton and Co., 1940] pp. 175-176. Considerable evidence suggests that McKay’s assessment was accurate (New York Post, 15 July 1935; New York Herald Tribune 29 August 1935; Pittsburgh Courier, 13 February 1937; Scott A Study of Afro-American and Ethiopian Relations, pp. 152-329). For an earlier instance of Garvey’s scepticism, see his editorial commentary Collecting Money for Abyssinia (BM 1 no.11 [December 1935]: 11)
99 “Black Man” (London, March/April 1937)
106 Harold G. Marcus, Haile Sellassie 1, pp. 100-101, 138
107 January 1937 “Black Man”
108 “BM” Vol 2, no. 5 [January 1937]: 1; see also pp. 8-9, 17-18, 19).
109 “BM “ Vol 2, no. 6 [March-April 1937/8.
110 New York Age, 28 July 1937
100 Printed in BM Vol 2, No. 6 March-April 1937: 8-9
101 Barker: pp. 244, 282-283; Thomas M. Coffey, Lion by the Tail: The Story of the Italian-Ethiopian War [New York: Viking Press, 1974], pp. 272-274; Chris Prouty and Eugene 1981], p. 49).Rosenfeld, Historical Dictionary of Ethiopia [Metuchen, N.J., and London: Scarecrow Press.
102 Marcus Garvey in the Black Man, London, July/August 1936
103 ( BM) Vol 2, No. 2 (July-August 1936): pp 4-6
104 Garvey Papers 2: 524 n. 4, 525, 563, 650)
105 Barker, The Civilizing Mission, 212-214, 221-222, 328.
111 A rank given either by the Emperors or by the Kings of Ethiopia. The word “Ras” was first introduced in Ethiopia through the Axumite Emperors and it means “Head” of the Province. The title Ras given by the King has minor decorations and is less than that of given by the Emperoror. Only those members of the Royal family by birth are considered as “Prince Royal”. Ras Teferi began his carrier as “Dejazmach” from his Father Ras Mekonen and later he took by himself the title “Ras” Teferi after Emperor Iyassu Menelik was deposed by the Palace intrigue under the leadership of Teferi Mekonen (later on styling himself as Haile Sellasie I).
- Quote paper
- Professor. Dr. Girma Yohannes Iyassu Menelik (Author), 2009, Rastafarians. A Movement Tied with a Social and Psychological Conflict, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/135970