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“Gong” Day – Leonard P. Howell

Greetings in the name of His & Her Imperial Majesties Qedamawi Haile Sellassie I & Itege Menen Asfaw,

I welcome you all to yet another post here on Ras Tafari Renaissance! Today, we acknowledge the birth as a memorial to whom is known as the “First Rasta.”  Leonard Percival Howell, known to the world or those who knew him personally one of the first proclaimers of Ras Tafari or Christ in His Kingly Character.

Born June 16, 1898, in May Crawle River village, Jamaica; the oldest of ten, to Clarence Theophilus & Clementina; a cultivator and a agricultural laborer, respectively.  Howell’s story can seriously help many people from around understand the movement of Ras Tafari, more precisely.  This instance being one that is very much overlooked more times than not.  Howell reportedly left Jamaica early in his youth, traveling to many places gaining an understanding that few of his birthplace and few ever, gain in a lifetime.  Like many in Jamaica at that time, the people found themselves because of historical disposition, in adherence to many Anglican principles.  Howell and his family being in that number, but unawares of the desires and destiny to be set in motion.

Howell’s exposure became more grandeur when he began to work as a seaman as part of a Jamaican contingent sent to Panama, during World War I (WWI).  Howell then found himself traveling from time-to-time between Jamaica, Panama, the United States (New York City, specifically) utilizing his knowledge and skillset to further his endeavors in agricultural cultivation and distribution.  Howell also made subtle trips to Europe and among other places, as well.

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These experiences then began to expose him other schools of thought while congregating with other people from other walks of life.  Howell is suspected to have been exposed to the philosophies and opinions of Marcus Mosiah Garvey while traveling to and fro, in between the Americas.  Communism, Marxism, Pan-Africanism, these are just some of the schools of thought that Howell was expected to have been exposed to while on his travels, according documenter Helene Lee and others.  Howell also married a woman named Tyneth.  Upon his return to Jamaica in whelms of the rising of a young king to the status Emperor of an empire in Africa, Howell had been inspired to take action on the influences he’d been experiencing for some time.  When Howell returned to Jamaica in 1932, two years after Haile Selassie I was crowned emperor of Ethiopia, he began holding public meetings, fusing all that he’d learned abroad with local ideas. His worldliness and gifts as a speaker not only attracted Jamaica’s underclass, they gained him the attention of local authorities.

Leonard with wife Tyneth, circa 1930

During his time in New York, he joined fellow Jamaican, Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), founded in 1914.  But, while Howell was clearly influenced by Garvey’s thinking, so much so that Garvey is often mistakenly identified as the founder of Ras Tafari; it is fairly unknown that Howell had a mixed relationship with Garvey, a Roman Catholic Christian, who later criticized Emperor Haile Sellassie I & the Ras Tafari movement in a negative light.  A criticism which earned him a stern rebuttal by the Dr. Melaku E. Bayen, who lead the movement also in Harlem and other parts of the US, which would become the Ethiopian World Federation, Inc., founded in NYC in 1937.Howell’s first public articulation of the divinity of Haile Selassie occurred in January 1933. This first open deification, which proclaimed the Emperor of Ethiopia to be the incarnation of God, took place at “Redemption Ground” in Kingston but was not successful in gaining converts.

Leonard P. Howell (Ras Tafari’s first proclaimer)

Among his followers, Howell preferred being called Gangunguru Maragh or G.G. Maragh to distinguish his ritual, mystical personality from his secular identity. Howell’s ritual name is thought to be a combination of three Hindi words – gyan (wisdom), gun (virtue or talent), and guru (teacher). In Hindi, Maragh means “great kings” or “king of kings.”[6] Howell used this name as a pseudonym when he published The Promised Key.

 

Even amidst many struggles with the Jamaican government Howell started and establishment which was dubbed “Pinnacle.” But, for his teachings of black power and denunciation of colonial rule, for created the first Rastafarian village in Jamaica at Sligoville, St. Catherine in 1940. The settlement called “Pinnacle” due to its high hilltop elevation and was symbolically located in the first free village established to house former slaves in Jamaica. Pinnacle was one of the country’s first self-sustaining communities, which was intended outcome all the while.  Its community members were able to meet their needs without dependence on outside resources.  Some refer to Pinnacle as a commune, in which Howell’s form of socialism was practiced.  After Pinnacle’s foundation, other similar Rastafarian communities were established across the country. Pinnacle was especially known for the cultivation of cannabis (marijuana) that has religious significance for Rastafarians.

In efforts to shut down Howell and his followers, police raided Howell’s community of Pinnacle multiple times and labeled the community a “communist experiment” in 1941. Just one year after the creation of the settlement, government forces infiltrated and arrested many of Howell’s followers. After escaping immediate arrest, Howell was eventually arrested and tried once again for sedition and consequently was faced with two more years behind bars. Upon his release in 1943, he returned to Pinnacle once again.[20] Howell hired guards and brought in watch dogs to protect Pinnacle from future attacks.

The police raided Pinnacle several more times in the 1950s. In 1954, militia invaded the community and almost completely destroyed the village. Even after this mass destruction, settlers returned, though the settlement was never restored to its previous thriving state. During a final raid in 1958, the police cleared out the remaining residents completely. Despite its ultimate destruction, the impact of the settlement made it legendary among other settlements around the country, who were observed to have been “miniature Pinnacles.”

Howell still to this day doesn’t receive the just do of recognition he earned as one of the most prolific peoples of African descent in the Western Hemisphere & that must change.

RASpect To Those Who Respect JAH’s RULE & WISDOM

Greetings in the name of His & Her Imperial Majesties Qedamawi Haile Sellassie I & Itege Menen Asfaw,

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I, Lidj Yefdi (pronounced Lij, Yef-dee), welcome you all to yet another post here at Ras Tafari Renaissance. I also thank everyone who has supported the efforts put forth here.  I, Lidj Yefdi, on behalf of Ras Tafari Renaissance, offer the utmost gratitude.

On this post Ras Tafari Renaissance Revelations-RRR would like to acknowledge and show our appreciation for one’s individual unprecedented diligence, determination, dedication(more Ras Tafari enlightened= “livication” [live-i-cation]) in identifying, locating, collecting and preserving vast amounts of memorabilia pertaining to Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Imperial Monarchy, Emperor Haile Sellassie I, Reggae music, Ras Tafari Livity, Jamaica, Africa & the Holy Herb: from  relatively common place, to the items that more than likely could’ve been utilized in the Imperial Palaces, themselves; also items of significance coined, by that, of Reggae music.

We here at Ras Tafari Renaissance Revelations send our thanks, and show our respect to someone who has taken it upon themselves to show to the world that an inheritance such as Imperial Ethiopia, should have, not only have a significant place in OUR hearts (speaking of Ras Tafarians & Ethiopians; in Ethiopia & in the diaspora, in particular & respectively) but, also to others of the world.  For someone like this to freely attempt to preserve artifacts from all of these related categories, and things of similar categories whether for altruistic reasons, the issue remains that the importance of the Solomonic Dynasty & all it has inspired, as well as, those who hold it in an esteemed position have found a friend in this bredrin.  Brothers & sisters , we here at Ras Tafari Renaissance Revelations, officially(I-fficially) thank bredrin Jim Marshall.

RRR commends bredrin Jim Marshall, for keeping alive memories, relics, artifacts, ephemera,  and items of great intrinsic and sentimental value among those who value Ethiopian antiquity.  We also commend his work in collecting & sharing these hard to find collectable items with other collectors.  We also certainly appreciate comments he makes uplifting the history and people of Ethiopia and its diaspora,  especially when his motivation is noted by comments such as; “…At all times, I want to offer the largest possible selection of authentic & vintage items on these subjects…”  Jim Marshall.

The books known as the World of Reggae, featuring Bob Marley(ብርሃነ ሰላሴ-Birhane Selassie) by Roger Steffens,  Stir It Up by and David Cupples, as well as, the new printing by Tsehai Publishing of Haile Sellassie’s Government by Christopher Clapham, also have all recognized the efforts to shine the light on Imperial Ethiopia and related subjects by bredrin Jim Marshall.

He is also to be commended for recently accepting a granting of the honor, rank and dignity of Grand Officer of the Order of the Star of Ethiopiaawarded by His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Sellassie Haile-Sellassie & the Ethiopian Crown Council which he hails as “his GREATEST and MOST HUMBLING honor in his life, by far.”  They gave him this high ranking and venerable Order of Chivalry for what they termed “…for his decades of selfless work on behalf of the Sellassie family, the nation of Ethiopia, & the Solomonic Dynasty…”
bredrin Jim Marshall

bredrin Jim Marshall

Haile Selassie's Government _ by Christopher Clapham

Haile Selassie’s Government _ by Christopher Clapham

Order of the Star of  Ethiopia, awarded to bredrin Jim Marshall, by H.I.H. Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile Selassie for service in preserving historical items of Imperial Ethiopia.

Order of the Star of Ethiopia, awarded to bredrin Jim Marshall, by H.I.H. Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile Selassie for service in preserving historical items of Imperial Ethiopia.

Ras Tafari Renaissance Revelations-RRR, presents this post to promote this bredrin’s efforts & also hopefully inspire others, among the Ras Tafari family to also preserve Imperial Ethiopian collectibles (whether it be literature, art, or any other items) , in this manner; like bredrin Jim Marshall and by other means.  Again, we applaud and sincerely thank bredrin Jim Marshall for a work of selfless sacrifice & service to the King of Kings of Ethiopia.

May JAH guide & protect him, all the days of his life!

….some items available that can serve as a snippet of the great variety of items bredrin Jim Marshall always has available…

possible items still available...(please, contact bredrin Jim Marshall, for further information, and details on selective items

possible items still available…(please, contact bredrin Jim Marshall, for further information, and details on selective items

NOTES: from bredrin Jim Marshall

…invites all to enjoy searching for more items to acquire regarding, His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Sellassie I, Ethiopia, Reggae, Ras Tafari, Jamaica, the Holy Herb, or Africa; in his archives.  Books, periodicals, medals, insignia and Orders of Chivalry (such as the one awarded to bredrin Jim Marshall) and more are all available.  Many of the books available are signed by the authors, so inquire about what you see fit, family…

For, more detailed information, the bredrin has provided a link for his notes via facebook here;

for inquiries, on items of bredrin Jim Marshall,

please, make contact using rastafarilives@excite.com

[payment arrangements can be made via Paypal, with the

above mentioned email address.]  Others can contact

through Facebook, (search for rastafarilives@excite.com) {if requesting

friendship, for possible transactions, please make sure that

the reasons are clear, in the friend requests; bredrin Jim

Marshall’s friend list is nearly filled to capacity}.