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BLACK LIBERATION MOVEMENT

and  
RASTAFARI OF JAMAICA

 

INTRODUCTION

This study is based on my own personal experience.  It is seldom that we recognize that we are part of the history.  We take life as it comes and do not always see the significance of those small events and experience in terms of the wider history until after the events.  It is surprising that I went through the sequence of being in the countries in the right sequence only to realize it 50 years later looking back into history.

My carrier as a teacher took me first to Addis Ababa, in the school which was started by Emperor Haile Selassie in 1960.  The Emperor was a constant visitor to the school and I have conversations with him and to the members of his family.  Then I went to Ghana into the school that was started by Ossagifo Kwame Nkrumah himself in Cape Coast : Ghana National College..  That gave me the opportunity to visit the various slave castles in Ghana.  The Elmina castle was particularly of importance which served as the center for slave trade with all the horrid memories. Then surprisingly I went to Jamaica into the Mandevilleís DeCarteret College. There I had the direct contact with the post slavery period and to the indentured laborers from my own country, India.  The Rastafari were still in the formation.  But the Jamaican ska was still in its peak which eventually led to Reggae music and the explosion of Rasta as a religion. The Indians were still coolies and even refused to come in contact with other Indians who came into Jamaica in various professions.  The Hindu Yogies and temples were gradually in formation with most of the teachings and worship confined to homes.  Apparently they contributed in the formation of Rasta and eventually took over as the HIM the Lion of Judah was caught and killed without any hope of resurrection or second coming.  In 50 years it developed into a religion with Hindu theology with the outward worship forms of African and/or Christianity.

It is this sequence of learning that prompted me into doing this research.  While the Rastas may have helped the post slave mentality to recover, I donít think it helped in the ultimate recovery and reinstatement of the black into the American Society.  Those who did recover to whom I had the opportunity to mix with were exceptional people who will be remembered all our lives.

Rastafarians remain still as an enigma.  Their insistence on the worship of HIM and falling back into Gnostic Hindu teachings leaving their preliminary Christian origins is perplexing.  But there was no other way of comfort or survival when the whole hope on Haile Selassie fell to pieces.  If it survives it will be only through the Ganja power.

Prof.M.M.Ninan
Normal, IL

Jan, 2019