Chapter

Dread Uprising

Ennis Barrington Edmonds

in Rastafari

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780195133769
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834167 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195133765.003.0003
Dread Uprising

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The emergence of Rastafari in Jamaica in the early 1930s must be viewed in the historical and social context of economic deprivation, political marginalization, and cultural alienation of masses of Jamaicans of African descent. Furthermore, Rastafari has deep historical roots in the tradition of resistance etched in Jamaican history by the enslaved and oppressed Africans. In this respect, Rastafari is the direct heir of the radicalism of African and Afro‐Christian religions and the African‐centeredness of Ethiopianism and Garveyism. With the crowning of Haile Selassie as emperor of Ethiopia in 1930, deprived and marginalized Jamaicans steeped in the tradition of resistance and informed by the liberation ideas of Ethiopianism and Garveyism acclaimed him as the black messiah, and thus started the Rastafarian movement. At the forefront of the movement was the charismatic Leonard P. Howell, who articulated the Rastafarian critique of Jamaican society and expressed and embodied the desire to return to the African homeland.

Keywords: African; Afro‐Christian religions; cultural alienation; economic deprivation; Ethiopianism; Garveyism; Howell; political marginalization; resistance; Haile Selassie

Chapter.  5400 words. 

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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