As I am continuing with my research, I have found that so many historical events contributed to the Jamaicans’ view of Haile Selassie as a “god”. For example, a seemingly unconnected event, the foundation of the UNIA (Universal Negro Improvement Association) by Marcus Garvey, a black rights activist in 1914, indirectly influenced this phenomenon as well. Garvey’s objectives were to claim or reclaim a black identity of pride, freedom, and autonomy through education, organization, and centralization. For example, one of his mottos was “One God, One Aim, One Destiny”. A direct quote from Garvey, before he traveled to England, was “Look to Africa, when a black king shall be crowned, for the day of deliverance is at hand”. After receiving acclaim in the United States, Marcus Garvey also found a following in Jamaica after he organized strikes in the ports to seek better rights for black workers. These Jamaican followers called themselves Garveyites, and were the forefathers of the Rastafari movement. Garvey’s quote was then used as a prophesy by Rastafari.
For the past month, I first started by researching Haile Selassie to get a good sense of background for my main research topic, the role of culture in global Diasporas. Haile, the Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974, worked to modernize Ethiopia for many decades before shortage of food and political conflict forced him out of office. He was Ethiopia’s last emperor, tracing his line back to Menelik I, who was the descendent of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. I found this background information more stimulating than I expected it to be. I took on the freshman Monroe project to expand upon my narrow interests in International politics in a more specific way. Growing up in a Chinese household and being raised in the United States, I have never been exposed to northern African culture or history. It is unique to delve into a research project where I am completely out of my comfort zone.
I plan to study the influence of Haile Selassie on the beginnings of Rastafarianism in Jamaica in order to better understand the role of culture in global Diasporas in order to further my personal comprehension of major world phenomenon. Haile Selassie was the Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974. As the Rastafarian movement emerged in Jamaica during the 1930s, Selassie was worshipped as God incarnate and the messiah who will lead and save the peoples of Africa and African diaspora to freedom and success.