When Ras Tafari Makonnen took the imperial throne in Ethiopia in 1930 as Haile Selassie I, a new movement was born in Jamaica. The crowning of a Black King? Was this not what Marcus Garvey told his Jamaican followers fifteen years earlier when he said"Look to Africa for the crowning of a Black King; he shall be the Redeemer"(BARRETT 8 1)?
Selassie would prove to be one of Ethiopia's most noble leaders. He pushed education for his people. He made a valiant effort to drag Ethiopia out of its stagnant state of unpaved roads, minimal schools, very little education and no say in international affairs. He looked and carried himself like a king. The Ethiopian Emperor traditionally took the title King of Kings, Lion of the tribe of Judah as a title.
There are over seventy different ethnic groups within Ethiopia's mountains. The dominant group were the Amharas. Selassie was an Amharic, and the government traditionally was predominantly Amharic.
The people of Jamaica in 1930 were in a hopeless situation. They had been exploited from the first days of slavery on the island. There were minimal opportunities for improvement. With such Biblical inferences and a contrast to the leading, predominantly white, governments of the world, it is not hard to believe that a people of such strong faith would accept this new Emperor as their living savior. The Rastafarians were born out of desperation. They had nothing and were going no where. Haile Selassie was a symbol to them that the black man could be strong, contrary to what they saw in their own country. Ethiopia was a black nation that had been independent for thousands of years, despite its African neighbors (with the ...
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...o he label him a savior remains a personal belief.
Barrett, Leonard E., Sr. The Rastafarians. Beacon Press Books. (Boston, MA). 1997.
Clapham, Christopher. Haile- Selassie's Government. Frederick A. Praeger, Inc. (New York, NY). 1969.
Felleman, Adam. Unofficial Selassie I Archives. http:/ /web.syr.edu/ affellem/
Gorham, Charles. The Lion of Judah: A life of Haile Selassie: Emperor of Ethiopia . Ariel Books, New York. 1966.
Harrison, Michael. Selassie Home Page, Roots and Culture. August 10,1997. http://wwwjah.com
Kaleidescope. Haile Selassie Biography. 1998.
Kapuscinski, Ryszard. The Downfall of an Autocrat. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. (NewYork,NY). 1978.
Lefort, Rene. Ethiopia: An Heretical Revolution?. Zed Press. (Totowa, NJ). 1983.
Scott, William R. Sons of Sheba's Race. Indiana University Press (Indianapolis, IN). 1993.
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