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Open Access ‘Cleave to the Black’: expressions of Ethiopianism in Jamaica

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‘Cleave to the Black’: expressions of Ethiopianism in Jamaica

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Describes the development of Ethiopianism, and illustrates its ideological and thematic content and manifestations, especially focusing on Jamaica, while also referring to the US and South Africa. First, the author outlines the content of Ethiopianism, describing how it is pro-black, contests white hegemony, colonialism, poverty and oppression, looks at Africa, and points at black people's redemption. Therefore the Bible is reread, Africa (Ethiopia) the holy land, and God considered black. He discusses Ethiopianism's early origins in the slavery period, and how it could take political as well as non-political, mental forms. Author points at the 1865 Morant Bay Rebellion as the vital link in developing Ethiopianism in Jamaica, and then describes 3 groups/movements embodying the movement: the influence of the preacher Bedward and his teachings against black oppression, Marcus Garvey's teachings and activities for black progress, and the first Rastafarians between 1930 and 1938, who were in part influenced by Bedward and Garvey.

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