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Garveyism and Rastafarianism

Powerful Essays
Garveyism and Rastafarianism

I. Introduction

In the twentieth century, two movements have emerged out of Jamaica in protest of black oppression and slavery, both mental and physical. The first to evolve was Garveyism, founded by Marcus Garvey, and was born in the aftermath of the First World War.

Rastafarianism was the second movement to emerge, lead by Leonard Howell during the depression years of the 1930’s. Garveyism and Rastafarianism are both resistance movements based on the same ideal: consciousness and essentialism of Africa and its descendants. The founding brethren of the Rastafari movement were Garveyites themselves, although not members of the Universal Negro Improvement Asscioation (UNIA), they agreed with and defended the principals for which Garvey stood. Essentially, Garveyism provided the ideological premise for the Rastafari movement, and out of this foundation, we see the Rastafari religion evolve. Stemming from many of the ideas that Garvey pursued through the UNIA, but adapting them in different ways, we see the Rasta ideology evolve into a realm it calls its own. It is the spiritual side of the Rastafari movement from which all the major differences the two movements are. This paper attempts to explore the path that Garvey made for the blacks of the world and understand the divergence and principles from which the Rastas made their theological trail.

II. Garveyism Movement

Marcus Garvey was born in Jamaica, and it was in his home country that he recognized the social and political oppression with which the black population lived. From this discontent, he was the first to provide a plan to free the black population from the grips of the Eurocentric world that controlled them. Garvey’s plan calle...

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...d where Garveyism has failed.

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Chevannes, Barry. Rastafari: Roots and Ideology. Syracuse University Press: New York (1994)

Lewis, Rupert. Marcus Garvey and the Early Rastafarians: Continuity and Discontinuity. Chanting Down Babylon: The Rastafari Reader. Ed. Nathaniel Murrell, William Spencer, and Adrian McFarlane. Temple University Press: Philadelphia (1998).

Magubane, Bernard Makhosezwe. The Ties that Bind. Africa World Press Inc.: New Jersey (1998)

Nettleford, Rex. Mirror, Mirror: Identity, Race and Protest in Jamaica. William Collins and Sangster Ltd. Jamaica (1970)

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