History of Rastafarianism
The history of Rastafarianism originated from the islands of Jamaica, during the 1920’s and 1930’s. During this time poverty, racism and class discrimination was at its all-time high. Making the Rastafarian message of black pride easily embraced; Rastafarians emphasized freedom of oppression, and the hope of someday returning to their homeland in Africa. The movement of Rastafarian began from the teachings of Marcus Garvey, a Jamaican activist who led a movement called “Back to Africa”. He emphasized that Africans were the true Israelites and were put into exiled and separated to different parts of the world as divine punishment. Therefore as blacks they should embrace their heritage. Garvey strived to change the mindset of inferiority that decades of enslavement had implanted on the minds of blacks. He also encouraged blacks to take pride in being black. In 1927, Garvey prophesied to his followers stating that they should “look to Africa, for there a king shall be crowned”. From this famous quote, it is led to believe that Garvey was considered to be the second John the Baptist. Coincidently, on November 2nd 1930 the prophesy of Marcus Garvey came true. Ras Tafari Makonnen was crowned emperor of Ethiopia. On the day of his coronation, he took on the name Haile Selassie, which means “Might of the Trinity”. From the teachings of Garvey, many followers believed that Selassie was the messiah that was predicted. In addition to that, they believed that the divine punishment had ended and they would start the process of migrating back to their homeland. Although Haile Selassie was considered to be divine by Garvey’s followers he denied his divine status. In 1957, he stated on a Canadian CBC interview that “I have heard of the idea [that I am divine]. I told them clearly that I am a man, that I am mortal and that I will be replaced by the oncoming generation, and that they should never make a mistake in assuming or pretending that a human...
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