Many claim that Rastafari was as a result of a “prophecy” by Marcus Mosiah Garvey.
Marcus Garvey the Jamaican-born 1930,s Black Nationalist and head of the U.N.I.A. was a vehement critic of Haile Selassie he maligned him for seeking British protection during the Italian aggression led by Benito Mussolini against Ethiopia in the nineteen thirties .
Garvey never recognized the Rastafari as a serious Black Nationalist organization.
Marcus Mosiah Garvey the Jamaican-born leader of the U.N.I.A. the Universal Negro Improvement Association. Garvey possessed a flair for the dramatic as is evinced in the choice of attire of him and his followers during their marches and rallies.
Garvey organized Africans on the continent and around the globe, around his Black Nationalist philosophy it is from the school of thought developed by this man, that many of the modern African intellectuals and Pan- Africanists gained their core ideology.
Although many earlier Garveyites later became Rastafari this was a personal choice not something inspired by a cohesive philosophy.
Garvey proclaimed many times in speeches that a prince would come out of Africa Ethiopia would soon stretch out her hands unto God quoting from psalms. In order to put into proper context what Garvey said I want to include some quotes pertinent to the alledged ‘prophecy”, by Marcus Garvey concerning Ethiopia. On November 8th 1930 Garvey published an article in his Jamaican newspaper the Black Man that read: “Last Sunday, a great ceremony took place at Addis Ababa, the capital of Abyssinia. It was the coronation of the new Emperor of Ethiopia — Ras Tafari. From reports and expectations, the scene was one of great splendor, and will long be remembered by those who were present. Several of the leading nations of Europe sent representatives to the coronation, there by paying their respects to a rising Negro nation that is destined to play a great part in the future history of the world. Abyssinia is the land of the blacks and we are glad to learn that even though Europeans have been trying to impress the Abyssinians that they are not belonging to the Negro race, they have learned the retort that they are, and they are proud to be so.
Haile Sellassie has travelled to the West including America and is therefore no stranger to European and American hypocrisy and methods; he must be regarded as a kind of a modern Emperor, and from what we understand and know of him, he intends to introduce modern methods and systems into his country. Already he has started to recruit from different sections of the world competent men in different branches of science to help develop his country to the position that she should occupy among the other nations of the world.We do hope that Ras Tafari will live long to carry out his wonderful intentions. From what we have heard and what we do know, he is ready and willing to extend the hand of invitation to any Negro who desires to settle in his kingdom. We know of many who are gone to Abyssinia and who have given good report of the great possibilities there, which they are striving to take advantage of.
The Psalmist prophesied that Princes would come out of Egypt and Ethiopia would
stretch forth her hands unto God (Psalm 68:31). We have no doubt that the time is now come. Ethiopia is now really stretching forth her hands. This great kingdom of the East has been hidden for many centuries, but gradually she is rising to take a leading place in the world and it is for us of the Negro race to assist in every way to hold up the hand of Emperor Ras Tafari”. I included the entire article as a means of allowing the reader an understanding of the general context in which, Garvey spoke. After having read the article on numerous occasions it is plain to see that Garvey regarded Haile Sellassie as someone who symbolized black pride and nationalism at the time in question.
Rupert Lewis wrote a scholarly analysis on the Rastafarians which he entitled: Marcus Garvey and the Early Rastafarians: Continuity and Discontinuity. In it he made certain interesting points and inferences, which are great for establishing a historically accurate documentary for the time period in question. I will include some of the more dynamic and poignant, which as the reader will see bears up many points made in the present work.
I think the following from Lewis is poignant in understanding the viewpoints of Howell and Marcus Garvey; “The anticolonial content of Howell’s preaching was clear in
his message that black people’s only true king was Emperor Haile Selassie. But Garvey did not approve of Howell’s teaching and rejected his claims that Selassie was God”. Robert Hill in his book often quoted in this work wrote that; Garvey refused to allow Howell to sell the emperors picture in Edelweis Park, Jamaican headquarters of the UNIA. Lewis went on to state that Garvey was decidedly pro Christian and the doctrines that Howell taught were of a defiant anti-Christian character, which Lewis cited would have been in obvious conflict with Garvey’s publicly expressed Christianity. When Italy invaded Ethiopia Rastafari and certain Garveyites protested in Montego Bay on the western portion of Jamaica, similarly protesters took to the streets in St Kitts, Trinidad and other West Indian territories. Lewis wrote that; “The Garveyite newspaper Plain Talk was commended by Dr. Malaku Bayen, Haile Selassie’s personal representative in the United States, who was in charge of organizing the Ethiopian World Federation”. Early Rastafarian leaders Joseph Nathaniel Hibbert, Archibald Dunkley, and many other Rastas were foundation members of the first local branch of the Ethiopian World Federation established in Jamaica. However, Garvey was very hostile in his criticism of Haile Selassie. As early as October 1935, Garvey had argued that the Italo-Ethiopian war “affords only another example of what unpreparedness means to a people.”
The following damning editorial that appeared in Garveys New Jamaican on August 13th 1932 references specifically Cannabis smoking. “Ganja is a dangerous weed; it has been pronounced so by responsible authorities. The smoking of it does a great deal of harm or injury to the smoker; we understand it has the same effect on the subject as opium has. Every day we hear of cases of ganja sellers, being brought before the Court.
Fines, small and heavy, have been inflicted with the object of destroying the trade, but yet it grows. The other day a man was found in possession of ninety pounds of Ganja, this was enough deadly weed to destroy a thousand men. That our people are being destroyed by the use of ganja there is absolutely no doubt.
We have come in contact with young men and middle aged men who have become a menace to society through the smoking of ganja. Sometimes they perform in such a crazy manner as to frighten us. Aren’t we playing with the danger by not more severely putting it down? Most of the people who smoke ganja do so as a means of getting themselves in such a state or condition as to forget their troubles and worries — troubles and worries brought upon them by the bad conditions that exist in the country…. It would be good that more serious steps be taken to suppress this ganja habit. Between ganja and fanatical religion, we are developing a large population of half-crazy people who may not only injure themselves but injure us. Some will do it in the name of the “Lord” and others may do it under the influence of the evil weed”.
This position brought Garvey into conflict with those who advocated and practiced the ritual, sacramental use of ganja, as well as with those who traded in it. And who were those that practiced the ritual use of Marijuana in Jamaica at that time but Rastafari? Those who traded in Cannabis on a huge “commercial”, scale at that time in Jamaica were the wealthy, merchant and some in the planter class, there is evidence that persons in the highest echelons of government, including the police force and the army were all engaged in the trafficking of Cannabis.
The historical record with a view to what was written in newspaper periodicals by Marcus Garvey concerning Rastafari is nothing short of scathing denunciations and the like. That Rastafari today hail him as their prophet is their prerogative my duty is to present the facts with that thought in mind I will present a few more. Another article in the New Jamaican (Marcus Garvey’s newspaper), written by Garvey reported the following; “There is good and there is bad in religion. Some religions are foolish, and we have a
lot of them in Jamaica. We have religion here that is running the people crazy.
In different sections of our city, and for that matter, on the island, scheming and
wicked persons are promoting all kinds of fanatical religions, and they are finding fertile fields among the unfortunate and ignorant people.” Garvey referenced the Revivalist’s in the article, the Pocamaniacs and the Rastafari. Lewis in his analyses cites Barry Chevannes which is instructive to reiterate herein; “These elements, as Chevannes and others have pointed out, were all present in early Rastafari. That was a different phase of the movement, and as such, it is necessary to distinguish among the Howellites, the old
supporters of Bedward, the revivalists who became Rasta and initiated a campaign to recognize Haile Selassie as God, and the latter-day Rastafarian movement that
gained international currency with the music of Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Bunny Wailer. Garvey knew the Howellites, the Bedwardites, and the anticolonial milieu,
and with these Jamaicans he dialogued. It is the latter-day Rastafarians, however, who, through reggae, have canonized Garvey and become the most active force in Jamaica for perpetuating aspects of Garvey’s philosophy.
Burning Spear was one of the earliest and still is the most persistent of the “Garveyite” Reggae-Rasta lyricists”. I have not included some of the more scathing quotes from Garveyites concerning Leonard Howell, as some of them can be deemed as slander and libel particularly his alleged “Obeah”, practices, in their defense though and this was referenced in Robert Hill’s book (Dread History), Howell did claim to be a student of Hindu occultism.
The bible was held in high esteem, anyone familiar with scripture was honored by poor blacks of the time. Garvey was no exception he was shrewd, he knew how to, collectively mobilize people for mass action. Garvey never prophesied of the coronation of Haile Sellassie, a scriptural quote is not a prophesy.
The Rastafari took Garveys scriptural quotation of psalms 68: 31; “Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God,” as direct prophetic fulfillment in the crowning of Haile Sellassie.
I will now deal with a very troubling development, in a certain type of literature that has been developed, but which will not remain unchallenged.
The type of literature I am alluding to is that which has been created by white writers and journalists, pandering to what they consider to be their humanist side, what it truly is; is
Arrogance and an economic niche that they have created for themselves, wherein they have been able to generate exorbitant sums of money pandering to the type of readership that they cater to.
Within this type of literature, there exists much hypocrisy, I will touch lightly on the subject, and it is with indignation that I write when I deal with their outright blatant attempt, to minimize, and diminish the accomplishments and contributions, that Marcus Garvey made to the Black man globally. I am aware of quite a few people, whose lives changed for the better after reading Garveys work; the statements made by, this white Journalist will not go unchallenged in this work. An even worse type of literature purporting to be “Christian”, is being written on Rastafari by certain mainly North American evangelical’s and charismatics, that shows the ignorance and lack of investigation that went into preparing the material. I will examine here one such writer Paula A. Price, Ph.D. her book is entitled: “The Prophet’s Dictionary: The ultimate Guide to Supernatural Wisdom”. On page 181 she purports to be writing on Rastafari, quotes from her book will reveal the absolute lack of knowledge that this writer a Ph.D. holder no less, has pertinent to Rastafari. The writer does not cite any sources when writing about a subject, presumably she believes her own hype, that she is the “ultimate”, authority on supernatural wisdom. The following are her own words quoted from page 181 414: “dreadlocks – A long shaggy hairstyle worn by followers of Prince Ras Tafari of Jamaica. He was the foundation of the Rastafarian religion founded by Marcus Garvey. The hairstyle is worn in obeisance to his belief in himself as the incarnate messiah and as such his being the lion of the tribe of Judah. The loose, flowing hair is to emulate the mane of a lion who is venerated for its power, prowess, and hunting skill. The lion as the king of the jungle is the means by which this religion celebrates their cult”. When I read this woman’s elucidation on Rastafari I was eager to include it herein as an example that the readers could themselves compare with the account given by me in this book of the coronation of Haile Sellassie his titles and their spiritual and historical context, here is a perfect example of exactly the type of writer this work opposes and exposes as fraudulent pseudo-scholars. I went to the section in her book entitled: About The Author on page 601 of her book, I will briefly quote from her book what she is about. “Paula A. Price is vastly becoming the international voice on the subject of apostolic and prophetic ministry she is widely recognized as a modern day (apostle) with a potent anointing”. Rarely have I seen such ignorance and arrogance displayed in one setting as with this pseudo-apostle. Now I will begin to deconstruct her fallacious presentation of Rastafari. Tafari as this book has shown from documented evidence was the pre-coronation familial name of the Ethiopian emperor Haile Sellassie, Ras was a title designating him as a prince or a ruler of one or more provinces. Price claims that Sellassie was a Jamaican, (her lack of respect for the subject she claims to be writing about is glaringly illuminated in her referring to Haile Sellassie an Ethiopian emperor, as a Jamaican since when did the colonial system of Jamaica ever had an emperor?), who viewed himself as messiah. Nothing could be farther from the truth, when Price claims in her book that Haile Sellassie viewed himself as a messiah, that is not only outright ignorance it is a boldfaced lie! “The lion as king of the jungle”, these are the ranting’s of a barely concealed racist mentality, couched as “Christian”, writing of the type of garbage exposed above, gives any writing that is truly Apostolic a bad name, notwithstanding the god ordained precept that no woman can attain to the “office” of an Apostle, in the Full Body Ministry of Jesus The Messiah of the Ages, exposing Price as a fraud. Price and her ilk are part of the Christian Industrial Complex forged in charismaticism, with their pseudo-Christian belief in the “Trinity”, which is a concept that this book has shown, was born in witchcraft. I have taken pains to deconstruct lies and misperceptions pertaining to Caribbean people in general in this book and Rastafari in particular, as a means of presenting as balanced and objective a picture, as I possibly could. I know it is impossible to satisfy everyone, yet still I have attempted to present as much factually verifiable data, on all the subjects handled in this book including Rastafari. If a “writer”, is not possessed of even the most fundamental respect, for his or her subject then why bother to write about it. If one must descend to lies and subterfuge, why bother? Any honest writer with the barest of dignity will do well, to afford their subject with the same dignity that they would prefer for themselves had the roles been reversed. The so called West Indies have produced many great leaders with Marcus Mosiah Garvey not being the least of them, Caribbean people have been clamoring for true independence since, they learnt what ‘nation building” truly entail The term independence in this work does not only refer to political autonomy or a semi-independent political status, as is the case regionally. The term independence here refers to the ability of a nation to perpetuate its civilization throughout millennia using the means of the political process, the educational, as well as the religious institutions, cultural and technological wealth of its people. Independence herein also encompasses national identity as well as a constitution which guarantees the rights of all citizens by law, within said constitution the rights of the citizens and the sovereignty of their nation is sacrosanct, the democratic system being the one system in said constitution that will be utilized to safeguard and protect said rights. If the reality of true independence in the Caribbean context were to be examined however briefly and minutely in this work I will like to make mention of the ideological fathers of said movement in the region.
Image: The Jamaican-born Marcus Mosiah Garvey, the protégé of the Sint Thomas native Edward Wilmot Blyden.
Through the Freedom of Information Act, the widow of Garvey Amy Jacques Garvey was able to procure formerly confidential FBI documents and also the actual transcripts of the court proceedings that led to the illegal conviction of Marcus Garvey.
Marcus Garvey was influenced by his own admission by one Edward Wilmot Blyden.
Blyden was a native of the B.V.I.A who traveled to Africa as a missionary (Timothy White erroneously claimed that Blyden was a Liberian).
Many people will try to falsify history and reduce Garvey to a narrow paradigm , exclusive to Jamaica his significance transcends geographic boundaries, he was truly a world citizen, his teaching was universal the aspects of “Garveyism” that are separatist and racist his concept of race “purity”, is rank racism and “nationalism”, I reject outright and condemn that aspect of his teaching the other aspects of Garveyism that are conducive to my wholesome development I can consume the rest I discard as unacceptable for my “consumption”.
Garvey was a product of the type of thinking being developed amongst African descendants in the West at that time.
The global universe of education produced Garvey, Blyden, George Padmore, C.L.R. James and later Malcolm X and Martin Luther King J.R.
Image: Edward Wilmot Blyden ideological father of Marcus Mosiah Garvey.
These men were not mere soapbox orators they literally shaped the world and influenced generations of the earth’s populace.
In Photo Marcus Garvey and his wife Amy Jacques Garvey.
Although men like C.L.R. James were Marxist’s they still shaped much of what is termed “Black Literature” today. For this reason I have stated apostolic people cannot honour anyone whether they are black or white simply on the basis of their status as a “pop icon”, pop culture is not limited to music. ‘Popular culture” denotes all accepted art forms that have made a significant impact in what is considered an acceptable or professional standard.
Often when one hears about Pan- Africanism, the name that usually comes to mind is Marcus Mosiah Garvey, yet Garvey was in fact a student of Edward Wilmot Blyden. Blyden was a Sint Thomas native who wanted to be a missionary; he later changed his course of thinking and dedicated himself to a lifelong struggle of African liberation. The Caribbean gave to the world many great intellectuals and thinkers I will like to mention a few here, Frantz Fanon (who was a doctor and fought himself literally to death in a war of liberation in Algeria), Cesaire, George Padmore who was advisor to Kwame Nkrumah the president of Ghana on African affairs, C.LR James, and many others. The program that the UNIA, the organization headed by Garvey is worthy of mention here, as it embodies a vision and insight far beyond its time and is even more progressive and relevant than any program enacted by any Western power on the planet today as pertains to the African in the Diaspora in their midst. Even the independent countries in the Caribbean and Africa cannot boast of the most basic application of anything even vaguely reminiscent of what Garvey’s UNIA advocated as a means of mass social uplift. Iam not mentioning this simply as a means of lauding the insight and vision of the UNIA, Iam attempting to show the relevance of such a program even for the African in the Diaspora today and how government can be used as a tool for social reformation, mass education and social uplift rather than the present dismal and apathetic state of affairs.
The aims of the Universal Negro Improvement Association were and still are:
1: To establish a universal confraternity among the race.
2: To promote the spirit of race pride and love.
3: To reclaim the fallen of the race.
4: To administer the imperialism of independent Africa.
5: To establish Universities, Colleges and Secondary Schools to further education and culture of the boys and girls of the race.
6: To conduct worldwide commercial and industrial intercourse.
There were also local Jamaican objectives, which were ipsi facto Caribbean objectives.
1: To rescue the fallen women of the island from the pit of vice and infamy.
2: To do all that is possible to help the struggling masses to a higher state of moral appreciation.
3: To help generally in the development of the country.
The points and objectives mentioned above were not exclusive to Garvey or the UNIA but were and are part of the total objective of nation building in and of itself.
Men like Garvey and C.L.R James understood that in order for them to b effective leaders of the African in the Diaspora they would have to interpret these principles from out of his experience and reality, C.L.R James however and his peers , transcended the role of simply “Black Leaders”, James never presented himself as such he was a truly universal leader and it is this type of leader who is in fact the most effective, therefore while Garvey has his place men like James must also be given their place in history, this work tries to draw the oft difficult balance between the varying types of leaders without attempting to diminish one and to falsely promote another . Some of the men mentioned above enjoyed stellar success in their chosen areas of endeavor, George Padmore is worthy of mention here, in The Pan-African Connection Tony Martin wrote: “Padmore was born in Trinidad in 1902 and attended universities in the United States from 1924-1929. During this period he enjoyed meteoric success in the Communist Party of the USA. In 1933 he broke with Moscow and with Communism but not with Marxism. From 1957-1959 he served as advisor on African affairs to President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana. He died in the latter year. And in the words of his biographer, “It only remained for the Ghanaians to institutionalize him, which they quickly did”. Tony Martin in his “The Pan African Connection” wrote about another Caribbean man notably Frantz Fanon the Martinique born revolutionary: “but my most vivid recollection from that night was the frequency and reverence with which Carmichael quoted Fanon. The deference accorded to Fanon by this outstanding revolutionary of our time was the deference which some men pay to the quotations of Jesus Christ and others to Mao Tse Tung or Karl Marx”. Of course by mentioning Jesus Christ in the same sentence as Mao and Marx, in the same vein, as the aforementioned persons Martin cleverly attempts to reduce Jesus to a mere “leader”, which he most certainly was much more than a great leader, later in this work Jesus will be examined from a biblical perspective. Aimé Césair Fanon’s friend wrote that: “Fanon probably soared to such heights and was possessed of so wide a horizon because he was a West Indian, meaning that he started from so lowly and narrow a basis. Maybe it was necessary to be West Indian, that is to be so destitute, so depersonalized, in order to go forth with such ardour to the conquest of oneself and of plenitude; West Indian, this is to say, so mystified in the beginning as to finally be able to expose the most secret motives of mystification, and with such mastery, finally, West Indian to be capable of so forcefully escaping from impotency by action, and solitude by fraternity”. (From Césair’s Homage 1962).
I will like to elucidate on one Cyril Lionel James (1901-1989) as he was literally a giant and an internationally renowned and respected world scholar, political theorist, philosopher, literary, critic and Pan-Africanist. James was a world figure who advocated African self-government, and West Indian or Caribbean self-government. The reason for the expose on James is many fold one of the chiefest being he is not read in any major university in the Caribbean and he has been totally omitted from most historical studies in the region on Caribbean history how can one omit so crucial a man to the very development of “Caribbean History”, as a subject in cultural studies is yet a mystery. In this work he will be given his just due James was born in Trinidad his father was a schoolteacher his mother an educated woman. James worked as teacher for a time on Trinidad he completed a novel Minty Alley published in 1936 the book was about the life of the lower classes. In England he became an “enigmatic phenomena” he published several works worth mentioning here “The Case for West Indian Self-Government”, “World Revolution 1919-1936: The Rise and fall of the Comintern” (this was of course a Marxist work). He also authored “The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution”. His play “Toussaint L’Ouverture” London premiere starred his friend Paul Robeson who was influenced by James. James completed a noted major philosophical study entitled “Notes on Dialectics”; a literary critical study of Melville, Mariners Renegades, and Castaways; and several collaborative works on world politics. In 1962 in London James published; “Beyond a Boundary: an historical study of Cricket”. James influenced greatly such writers as Vincent Harding, Manning Marable, Edward Said, Stuart Hall, Walter Rodney, and Sylvia Winter. Scholars place him among the founders of cultural studies as well as “black studies” with the overwhelming evidence of this man’s greatness in America and especially England the country of Trinidad in particular is in fact contributing to its own demise by not highlighting this giant of the twentieth century, Caribbean educational institutions are a farce until they all collectively embrace and acknowledge this man who was in fact the intellectual dynamo that gave them voice it was because of his work that they now exist how can one ignore one’s “creator”?Stokely Carmichael was a Trinidad born revolutionary who was greatly influenced by Fanon and he most definitely would have read of and was well aware of James and his many contributions it is simply a crime that education is being conducted in the Caribbean without acknowledging the very persons that made it possible for “true education” to exist in the region or are we to think that the so called independent governments are yet forwarding a colonial agenda by deliberately miseducating their countries youth. The Caribbean Pan-Africanist has influenced global Pan-Africanism to an extent not yet appreciated nor understood by the academicians in the region. Marcus Garvey one of the most prolific of these thinkers and certainly the greatest organizer amongst them popularized what many were already writing about and agitating for Garvey in fact wrote about a “West Indian Federation”and laid down the blueprint for its attainment. What Garvey and many others articulated was simply Caribbean nationalism and African Nationalism across the board. The European has created his brand of nationalism in the European Union; all of Europe is in fact governments built out of the nationalist ideal a study of European history will attest to this fact. The British Labor party was conceived out of the Fabian Society in 1893.In 1906 the party was given its present name George Bernard Shaw and Annie Besant were two of the more famous members of the Fabian society. Anyone familiar with the literary works of Annie Besant might be surprised to find out that she is one of the persons who molded what we refer to as socialism. The Europeans themselves acknowledge that socialism is in fact a child of Marxism. Have they discarded the socialist model because Karl Marx helped write the Communist Manifesto? No they simply evolved Marxian theory to reflect their present reality out of such the British Labor Party of which Tony Blair was a very prominent member was born. Why have I brought this point to the fore? The Caribbean has for years sought to create a certain amount of cohesive hegemony. The Caricom is concrete proof of such the ineffectiveness of the Caricom is as a result of there being an absence of a Caribbean identity forged in nationalism, the cricket cup is a sport it is not a nationalistic symbol although if correctly used it can become a unifying symbolic event. The tendency of the leadership in the region to form their ideology based on Eurocentric values is an Achilles heel that will continue to cripple them. Pan-Africanism in the Caribbean context can be correctly termed Pan-Caribbeanism can a cohesive ideology be developed out of Pan-Africanism beneficial to a Federated Caribbean? I think this can be achieved no true Caribbean intellectual can claim to be a “Caribbean” intellectual without having been influenced by the likes of Garvey, Fanon, Aimee Césair, Blyden and the many other thinkers to have sprung from the region.
Image: Some Caribbean islands including the lesser and Greater Antilles. Martinique, Guadeloupe and French Sint Martin were called the French Antilles, with Sint Maarten, Curacao, Aruba, Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatia comprising the Dutch Antilles. Frantz Fanon the Martiniquan Doctor, revolutionary, author, Marxist and Antillean. Carlos Cooks was an Antillean. Maurice Bishop though a Grenadian by parentage was born on Aruba and attended school for a period of time there. Athyli Rogers author of the “Rastafari bible”, the ‘Holy Piby, was an Anguillan, though Anguilla is not an Antillean island, Anguillans and Sint Maarteners are related by blood ties and share a common heritage. Edward Wilmot Blyden the man whose world renowned protégé Marcus Garvey, is heralded by most Pan-Africanist’s as the father of their ideology, is a virtual unknown in so called “black studies” literature. Most writers writing about the Pan-Caribbean Pan-African experience tend to focus on Jamaicans and Africans conveniently omitting the fact that the actual Pan-Caribbean, Pan-Africanist movement started in the smaller islands and not in Jamaica. The movement was begun by people like Edward Blyden and others even before him. George Padmore and C.L.R James are rarely ever written about but they are in fact intrinsic to any honest analysis of the Pan-Caribbean and Pan-Africanist movement in the world today. This book though not a Pan African nor a Pan Caribbean work, yet gives due credence to the greats in the aforementioned since, without their efforts a work such as this would indeed be lacking substance in certain areas.
There are many black Marxists and Communists some like Harry Belafonte are revered by people who call themselves Christian, how can you claim Christ and revere and honor someone who is diametrically opposed to all that you claim to stand for?
The mistake of black people identifying with anyone “popular” who looks like them is an example of a negative cultural characteristic that apostolic people must avoid.
I identify more with a Chinese or Japanese who is truly saved than with any black man or woman who is not, skin color is not the basis for my allegiance, another person’s allegiance to Jesus forms the basis of my allegiance to that person regardless of race, color, or creed.
Malcolm X’ impact transcends the so-called African American Malcolm X is revered by many Muslim youth from Morocco and throughout much of Muslim Africa, particularly in the Sudan and outside of the Muslim community. In Africa he is honored by many on the continent and throughout the Western hemisphere.
The significance of these people and their life’s work was mentioned in order to illustrate how these persons influenced and shaped the thinking of Caribbean people.
In her book The First Rasta Helen Lee claims, that Marcus Garvey was agitating for integration, how a supposedly informed individual could make such a claim, can mean only one thing, Lee who is obviously enamored with Howell; was pandering to certain sentiments and sensibilities of the type of readership that she caters to.
After his release from prison on trumped up charges Marcus Garvey was deported to Jamaica in 1928, where he resumed his activities on behalf of Africans everywhere.
He was politically active in Jamaica where he ran for a seat on the city council while he was in prison, he won by an overwhelming margin.
Lee’ attempt at diminishing the impact and influence of Marcus Garvey on the development of African civilization in the Diaspora is exposed in this work for what it is, a specious attempt at misinformation. The historical records clearly show that, Garvey was deported back to Jamaica he later left for England, where he died in 1940. By creating the false notion that Garvey never returned to Jamaica but was somehow sent to England, is a deliberate and malicious attempt, by this white journalist, claiming to identify so greatly with the Rastafari, that even within the obvious suicidal behavior of Athlyi (“Roger Athlyi” writer of the Holy Piby i.e. the Rastafari bible). Lee attempted to make Athlyi some sort of hero. Athlyi killed himself plain and simple; no amount of misplaced pandering to misdirected sensibilities can change that.
The likes of Athlyi was not and have never been a great influence on black people globally Athlyi’ marginal influence is limited to the few followers he had in his heyday, likewise Leonard Howell. Marcus Mosiah Garvey on the other hand influenced black intellectuals globally and he still does so today from politicians and preachers to university students to street hustlers Garveyism has had an enduring impact on the world that no human being can diminish nor deny.
The ideology that Garvey espoused, led to many African leaders, such as Kwame Nkrumah, and Jomo Kenyatta just to mention two very famous leaders, who openly called themselves Pan-Africanists after the ideology developed by Marcus Mosiah Garvey. The ideology called Garveyism, led to these men formulating the methods, and means that they would later utilize to bring about the independence of their respective countries. That they failed to follow in the Pan-African tradition after having achieved independence is no reflection on Garveyism at all, but rather it is a reflection on the men as human beings.
Today both the JLP and the PNP of Jamaica are vying for the right to call themselves the ideological successors of Marcus Garvey; fortunately for Garvey history will show that he was not a socialist. Garvey believed firmly in the democratic ideal, and capitalism, in fact was his preferred economic model.
Both the JLP and PNP are socialistic in their rhetoric, in practice they are decidedly autocratic, and absolutist in their governing styles bordering on oligarchies. The very fact that these parties are now vying for the right to call Marcus Garvey, the father of their political ideology, points to his universal acceptance that has in fact forced the political hierarchy in his homeland, to want to adopt him as father of their various movements.
Pan-Africanists, the Rastafari, students of the enlightened variety both white and black
have long accepted and understood the universal truths espoused by Marcus Garvey; however his separatist rhetoric, has been and rightly should be avoided by most. The applicability of his political program, as pertains to the betterment, of the condition of the African in the Diaspora, should be championed by any truly enlightened Caribbean leader.
Caribbean people, do not need journalists, or academicians to define their reality; they can define their own reality.
On the point of the church’ role in the Caribbean; Lee attempts to portray the role of women, as substituting for the lack of men in said institutions. The Jesus image, as created by Roman Catholicism is portrayed by Lee, as a psychological prop; unto which black Caribbean Christian women, project all of their pent up sexual emotions.
Lee in her attempt to describe the church services of some people, who may or may not be Christian, lumped Christianity with Pocomania/Pukumina, and other religious sects, like Obeah and Shango. In the spiritist practices above the adherents are said to become possessed by one of their many “deities”, demon spirits, who cause them to manifest a wide assortment of behavior, while persons who experience the real indwelling of the Holy Ghost are experiencing what was spoken of in Acts 2:38. Moreover the chief spirit of most of the cults mentioned, correspond to the “divine androgyne”, of ancient paganism, which has been identified as a symbol of Satan. For instance Obatala the chief deity of the Yoruba’s is a spirit manifesting both male and female characteristics , not unlike many of the other so called gods of the ancient and modern pagans examined in this book.
The Pentecostal movement is a fact worldwide; many people around the world grew up in the Pentecostal movement.
Lee erroneously claimed that speaking in tongues is akin to the “possession,” of the cults.
“Speaking in tongues” has been observed all over the globe even among Europeans and Caucasians in America and Canada, accounts of such are to be found in newspaper articles and on video footage throughout the western hemisphere.
The attempt by some white writers to portray “speaking” in tongues as a “black phenomena”, limited to the uneducated and the ignorant is an example of their use of
their mastery of the written word to portray events in favor of the worldview that they espouse. This in the case of writers like Helen Lee and Timothy White is a decidedly pro-Rastafari worldview (of the Bob Marleyite variety).
While these writers can champion whatever worldview they want to ,their attempts at lumping the very real experience of the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, in “true Christians” with demon or spirit possession akin to the possession at a Voodoo ceremony, will be challenged in this work, as it is mere fantasy and conjecture on the part of two journalist’s attempting to explain away something that is experienced by people globally regardless of color or creed on a daily basis, as a purely “black” phenomena limited to a few backward peasants and women with a limited education nothing could be farther from the truth.
Since true Christianity is diametrically opposed to occultism, those of us who truly know what the “Full Body Ministry,” stands for can appreciate the paradox in the matter.
For one the truly Christian woman would consider such thoughts sacrilegious, and the so-called white Jesus image, even in Jamaican society is not revered by all, not in the early 20th century nor today.
There has been and still are in the region churches that emphatically teach an anti-Eurocentric doctrine, there are many church institutions regionally who do not encourage the veneration of any imagery period taken from Roman Catholicism, even the pagan Christmas is not venerated nor celebrated by Apostolic people in the Caribbean nor around the globe.
The weak attempt of a white woman to define the experience of the African in the Diaspora failed, as all such attempts must fail, by dint of the fact that; the African in the Diaspora is far more complicated, and sophisticated than any one from outside said group, presuming to be able to precisely analyze an entire group of people will ever be able to fathom.