PINNACLE: The Birthplace of the RasTafari Movement

It was November 2014 when I learnt that the Birthplace of the RasTafari movement was being sold in lots and new houses built on top of our heritage land while the government was in full knowledge of what was happening. There was never a second thought about why we need to fight to reclaim this stolen history. The question was now, what to do, how to do it, who would help, when would it happen, where these moments would lead us to. On January 31, 2014 a group of RasTafari youths and elders from many walks of life came together to Occupy Pinnacle in defiance and protection of the Legacy, Roots and Heritage that these lands represented.



Who is Leonard P. Howell?

A DSE Short film

This question has lingered on the lips of so many in recent weeks as the realities of the issues surrounding Pinnacle come to light. This question not only exposes the ugly underbelly of Jamaican history, but also that of the world at large.

How accurate are our history books if they contain no mention of a black man in Jamaica who acquired 500 acres of land in a time when blacks were prohibited from having significant land holdings? When the accomplishments of Pinnacle have been taken into account, this historical exclusion can no longer be seen as an act of negligence, but an outright act of conspiracy. But, who would conspire to suppress the truth about Jamaica’s only self-sustaining community, and what motivation could one have for such action?

A Pinnacle survivor, Sister Audrey shares a few thoughts and memories about the times spent at the birthplace of the Ras Tafari movement in Jamaica.

De-colonial Artivism in Jamaica

Presentation at the University of Bari Aldo Moro (Bari, Italy)

The "Occupy Pinnacle" tour to raise awareness for the situation around Pinnacle, the first Rasta community in Jamaica between the 1930's and 1954, took place from mid-October until mid-November 2014.

This clip shows footage from the event at the University Aldo Moro of Bari + more.
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Why Occupy?

A DSE Short film

A first hand account of members of the Occupy Pinnacle cause sharing their motivation for being apart of the now global initiative to save Pinnacle, the birthplace of Rastafari culture from corporate violation. Meet Suns of Dub Addis Pablo and Ras Jammy. Both have been actively involved with the occupation efforts from its inception and recently visited for an acoustic session at Pinnacle with a few of the resident drummers. Addis is the Son of world renowned ‘Mellodica and Dub King’ Augustus Pablo. Addis alongside producer/ selector Ras Jammy, who hails from Trinidad, the duo founded the Suns of Dub label and is quickly making a name for themselves, working on numerous projects with the likes of Inner Circle, Black Redemption and Rory StoneLove.

Self Sufficient Pinnacle

On May 23, 1954 the Colonial police under orders from Alexander Bustamante invaded and burnt Pinnacle, a self sustaining community founded by Leonard P. Howell, the first Rasta.

The colonial authorities saw Pinnacle as a direct challenge to the social order of the time. Historically, blacks were the cogs that kept the colonial machine operating. However, this newfound desire and realization of self-sustenance would lead to the eventual collapse of the colonial system. Just imagine what the result would be if there was a Pinnacle in each parish. The state would have to seek an alternate source of cheap labour, and this they were not prepared to do. This meant that Pinnacle, and anything resembling that idea had to be removed completely from the consciousness of the masses. 

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