Millennialism in the Caribbean

Barry Chevannes

in The Oxford Handbook of Millennialism

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780195301052
Published online January 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Millennialism in the Caribbean

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The Rastafari of Jamaica represents the main millennial force in the Caribbean, which derives its impetus from European racism. This article deals with the advent of the Rastafari movement in the Caribbean, emerging around the theme of the repatriation of colored people to their original home: Africa. The prophetic parallel drawn between the coronations of Ras Tafari as the Emperor Haile Selassie (1930) and a mention of the event in crowning of the king and queen of Africa (1928), penned by Marcus Mosiah Garvey, intensified the aspirations for repatriation. The Rastafari movement began under the leadership of Leonard Howell, the man who proliferated the prophetic connection, proclaiming Selassie to be the messiah. A militant faction, the Youth Black Faith, incorporated the defining attributes of the Rastafarian—the dreadlocks, the coconut vessel, and the herbal diets. Although millennialist, the movement was far more institutionalized, engaging the state, society, and other counterparts, and had an expressly defined objective.

Keywords: rastafari; repatriation; Youth Black Faith; coronation; European racism; messiah

Article.  6945 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Religious Studies ; Philosophy of Religion ; Christianity

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