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Upon his return, Howell was therefore able to benefit from preparations made by Garvey, as well as by Bedward. This newspaper, to put the event into context, was established in by Jewish Jamaican brothers, Joshua and Jacob DeCordova Cundall , Their father ran a coffee plantation in St. The Gleaner was born at the moment that African freedom became a reality in British Jamaica. Writing later, John Bigelow would observe how greatly even coffee planters like the DeCordovas had suffered because of African freedom.

Howell had returned on 17 November on a steamer, the Sixaola , which had sailed from New York to Kingston. In fact, none of the links that Howell had with the Garvey movement was mentioned, and perhaps this was due to the lack of information, but which for a newspaper, also meant the lack of interest. In any case, Howell, in due course, exposed the fact that he was the victim of stereotyping by the press, that the story in the Gleaner was a fabrication, that he was not deported because he was a degenerate or a career criminal.

In almost no time, Howell became the founder of a religious movement, and one with strong social, political, and economic commitments. This same leadership role into which Howell had put himself was also responsible for the investigation that the police conducted into his past in , an inquiry that uncovered that he had returned to Jamaica in exchange for his release from prison, but that he had been convicted of grand larceny, which had served as a way to undermine his career as a businessman, and had spent eighteen months in jail out of a sentence that was longer, based on the kind of charge that he had faced in court.

The Howellites have insisted that their leader was not a thief.


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They acknowledge that he was charged for grand larceny, but insist that this was due to the fact that he was selling folk medicines from his tea room in Harlem without the required license. He was arrested, they claim, because of his subversion of the pharmaceutical establishment in the United States. Howell began holding these meetings in Kingston and St. Andrew between December and February Evidently, he realized that the police had him on their radar, and decided that he should change the locations of his meetings to the eastern parish of St.

Why he chose to relocate to St.

Thomas is not difficult to explain; this was the parish in which the famous Morant Bay Rebellion of had erupted. The leader of this rebellion was also a black preacher, Paul Bogle, a deacon of the Native Baptist Church, the same church that later came under the influence of Bedward, who had helped to create the context in which Howell could start his movement, shortly after returning to Jamaica. Bogle, like Howell, was a leading figure in a religious organization that had started in Jamaica among poor black people.

Like Bogle, Howell adopted the idea that religion should be used for earthly liberation, a notion known as liberation theology, and which was based on a new translation of biblical hermeneutics, which located the purpose of religion in the experiences of the worshippers. For these Christians, religion was not for worship and fellowship alone; it was also and more importantly, the divinely approved engine of social, economic, and political growth; it was the will of God in action Dick The police had followed him there to gather more information about his activities, and then brought him to court for sedition on the basis on this information.

Becoming Rasta: Origins of Rastafari Identity in Jamaica

The trial, which was held in Morant Bay, the capital of the parish where Howell had been holding most of his meetings, showed that everything about this trial was about Howell—about his preaching, organizing, and leadership role in the Rastafari movement. Thomas, where Howell had relocated, where most of his meetings were now being held.

Not only was he the chief justice of Jamaica, he was also an experienced high court judge, who had presided over the trials of other blacks who had committed acts against British rule—acts seen as sedition, or treason. The freedom fighters of Nyasaland, the British protectorate of Central Africa, were tried by Lyall-Grant following the rebellion that was led by Rev.

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John Chilembwe, who also founded the Providence Industrial Mission, a church that had been active in struggles against the British in Africa McCracken The only outcome that the colonial government intended when Howell was put on trial for sedition was his suppression, but almost no mention was made in the charges brought against him of the Rastafari movement that he had started.

The focus was on statements that he made in his speeches at his street meetings, which were said to have been seditious. An onslaught of articles in the Gleaner followed, alleging disturbances caused by the Rastafari people and sensationalizing the growing movement while deriding it as a cult. Thomas Wars on the Ras Tafari Cult. They knew of no one else in the movement who could be blamed for its sudden appearance and its apparent growth. It was perceived by ordinary citizens such as Maud Wray, a woman from St. Thomas, and take careful notes of what he had been telling the people.

Therefore, it is difficult to determine whether the majority of these informants were white, colored, or black people. Miss Wray was apparently the only name ever mentioned during the trial, and some of what was said about her suggests that she was a person of some means. She lived in a house with a drawing room, implying that she was at the very least from the lower middle class, but she could have been black, white, or colored, and at this late period, the latter could include even people who were partly of Indian or Chinese descent.

He served summonses on Francis and her witnesses for disturbance of the peace, as well as for assaulting a policeman, in the case of Francis. The resident magistrate who presided at the trial felt compelled to support the district constable, whose actions were potentially bad publicity for the constabulary, as well as the colonial government. In other words, the trial was disposed of quietly. Woolley, the colonial secretary, was approached by Francis and her witnesses after they were sentenced to pay fines, or to serve time in the general penitentiary, which was not in the parish.

Two letters sent in delivered the same message that the public had reached its tipping point, and was ready to take matters into their own hands to permanently put to rest the problem of Leonard Howell, since the government seemed unable or unwilling to take further action. The other letter writer, V.

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Cameron, had no reservations about stating his name for the record, even adding that he was a pastor from Font Hill, St. Thomas, one of the areas in that parish where Howell had been active. The Baptist Church had a long history of aiding blacks in Jamaica, and was very active in the struggles against slavery, which partly implied that Howell had enough charisma as a preacher to attract followers from even this Church, and partly because he had created a doctrine that was sufficiently powerful and enticing.

Howell was even bold enough to castigate the practitioners of the folk tradition known as Obeah, who were feared by most people. To his followers, Howell was not afraid to make enemies, not afraid to do what he thought was necessary to grow his movement.

Rastafari - Wikipedia

His opponents, on the other hand, became even more anxious about his leadership, and expressed more eagerness to suppress him. He formed a union in that same year, the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union, to which he gave his name, and appointed himself as its president-general. It was the strongest union in the island, and the one that Howell criticized at a meeting he held in Port Morant on 25 June Bustamante had benefitted from the invitation by A. Coombs to join his Jamaica Workers and Tradesmen Union in However, in time, Bustamante also publicly turned his back on the ideology of black nationalism, which was embraced by earlier labor leaders, such as Coombs.

Almost the same position was taken by the press, which reported that Howell ruled his Pinnacle community like a tyrant, but what was almost never reported was that the community was under attack by intruders, or by other poor people who joined to steal from the residents, as well as from inhabitants of the surrounding communities.

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He would put them on trial like a judge, and ordered floggings and expulsions from the community. The measures Howell took were never mentioned as security procedures. Almost nothing was printed in the press, which stated that the Pinnacle community was itself under attack. For example, one of the representatives of the press, R. The articles that Leevy wrote represented an outrage against Howell and his encampment at Pinnacle, developments which continued to raise concerns in spite of the police raid and the sentencing of Howell, and along with 27 of his followers.

Catherine, the home parish of Pinnacle. It was obvious that this article was another fabrication. It was two days after this article in The Jamaica Times was published that the police raided Pinnacle for the first time. The police contingent that went on this raid was comprised of personnel, half of them armed, and their target was Howell. Thomas, which the police ignored. The fabrication became more obvious when Nelson was not found at Pinnacle on the day of the raid, or any time after that.

Howell was not found at Pinnacle either, but was taken into custody eleven days later, when the police returned to the community during the night, and found him at home in bed. An even clearer piece of evidence that this was a fabricated campaign to suppress Howell by sending him to jail for another period was the way that the police gathered the witnesses, who gave the testimonies used to convict Howell and 27 of his people. Howell could not escape conviction on the basis of this evidence; he was well-known as the leader of Pinnacle. By this, he meant that there was little confrontation with the colonial authorities, or with any other group in the society for that matter.

The self-reliance had itself served as one of the enticements for people who joined the community. Members received plots on which they built houses made of wood with thatched roofs, and on which they cultivated food crops for subsistence and sales. They also made household items, such as mats and brooms, and they burned coal for use in the community, and to sell in the markets in Spanish Town and downtown Kingston. Howell also started a bakery, which brought in cash. Pinnacle was similar to a Maroon village in that it was self-governed.

There was a communal dining room, and a place where everyone went to worship. The interview for these articles was done from either or The island was at a critical juncture in its political history and in its nationalism, yet Howell and his people were still receiving attention in the press. Among her main reasons for this view are the labour protests and the constitutional change of , both of which had occupied the attention of the government Lee However, it is not likely that the government would have been less concerned about Howell in the midst of public unrest, or while facing political transformation.

It was Howell who had started a movement that was also comprised of poor and suffering people. Also true is that the first raid on Pinnacle had taken place only three years after the labor protests, which indicates that there was still anxiety within government about Howell and his movement, to which the Parish Board of St. Catherine contributed greatly with its reports of unhygienic conditions at Pinnacle between November and January , which had possibly caused the illness of some seventeen or eighteen people who had entered the Poor House in the parish, one of whom, according to a subsequent report, had died.

The fact that this letter was intercepted was evidence of concern about Howell, not only Padmore, and the British government therefore sent a copy of the letter to the government of Jamaica for its further consideration. This second raid was delayed for more than a decade simply because the government of Jamaica needed a final solution for Howell, one that was permanent.

The search for this final solution began from the moment that Howell was released from jail following his imprisonment after the raid, around the middle of Aiding the government was also the fact that World War II and its distractions had ended in , and in just three years, the final solution was found in the form of the marijuana ban, introduced by an amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act in Haughton The House of Representatives, populated by the labor leadership, supported this amendment.

It appears that everybody opposed to Howell supported this solution, and before the second raid, Howell said during a trial for marijuana possession at the Sutton Street Court in Kingston, where Justice C. Fritchet was unsympathetic and sentenced Howell to twelve months in prison in for the possession of marijuana.

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Lee makes another problematic suggestion, which implies that the second raid was a more spectacular event than the first one, and to support this view she cites the massive deployment:. Anthropologist Price unites the personal and the social in his exploration of identity formation among Rastafarians in Jamaica, where the Rastafari religion originated in This well-written, sophisticated, and continuously engaging account belongs in all libraries.

This book is one of the most important additions to the discourse on the Rastafarian movement to appear in years. Price reveals himself to be both a skilled cultural anthropologist and superb storyteller; the volume reads as much like a piece of literature as social scientific treatise. Cross, Jr. I have not done justice to his theoretical sophistication and synthesizing abilities, qualities enhanced by accessibility and grace. It deserves both a scholarly and a general readership. Du kanske gillar. Spara som favorit.