Police raid at Pinnacle.
A self-sufficient community of people creating a new identity for themselves in a colonial world.
Imagine being persecuted simply for trying to find a way to live and an identity indigenous to a time and place, beyond the physical.
Leonard Howell Fact Sheet
-Born on June 16, 1898, thirty-three years after the 1865 Paul Bogle led Morant Bay Rebellion and 60 years after Emancipation.
-Leonard Percival Howell was born 16th June 1898, the first born of 11 children born to parents Charles Theophilus Howell and Clementina Bennett in Red Hills, Clarendon, Jamaica.
-Migrated to the U.S.A. in 1912 and joined the US Navy in 1916 and would travel the world for the next 6 years, always returning to New York as his home base.
His travels exposed to him to the sub- human treatment of blacks in every country he visited, this coupled with the Pan- African opinions of black leaders in New York planted the seeds for the revolutionary to be borne in Howell.
After working various jobs and eventually owning a tea room, he returned to Jamaica in 1932 following the depression caused by the Wall Street Crash of 1929.
African religious formations were on the rise in the 1930s despite opposition from colonial authorities because of the extreme economic hardships worsened by weak political leadership; it was against this background that Howell returned to his homeland and established this redemptive movement that catered to the material and spiritual needs of the population of ex-slaves.
The 1930 coronation of Ras Tafari as King Haile Selassie I was seen by many as fulfillment of the prophecy found in Revelations. The idea of RasTafari challenged the religious and political monopoly of the colonial order. Not only did this new school of thought preach the divinity of a black man but it also encouraged introspection among the peasants to begin questioning their lowly place in society, a direct result of slavery. In 1934 Howell was arrested in St. Thomas and tried for sedition along with his chief lieutenant, Robert Hinds and sent to prison.
On his return from prison he established the Ethiopian Salvation Society in 1939, the economic unit responsible for conceptualizing the first Rasta community- Pinnacle.
Pinnacle had over 4000 residents working and living in harmony with each other and the environment, utilizing the areas highly fertile land to grow a wide array of crops, including cannabis and hemp. The cannabis being used for spiritual/ religious and medicinal purposes while the hemp was used in numerous industrial ways.
By 1954, after years of terror from the authorities, Pinnacle was destroyed and the seeds of Rastafari scattered all over Jamaica. Today, what began as a small rural-based political-religious movement has disseminated its universal ideology of inity and oneness all over the world.
Howell became one of the most persecuted men in Jamaica, and the most neglected messianic force in New World spiritual tradition.
His contribution to the anti-colonial resistance cannot be overstated as not only did he orate a philosophy of upliftment and self- reliance for black people but he also dedicated his life to this cause, accomplishing feats that cannot be fathomed even by today’s standards.
Howell passed away on February 25 1981
Bob Marley's granddaughter has become involved in a campaign to protect the site of Jamaica's first Rastafarian community, it appears.
Donisha Prendergast and other supporters are occupying a tabernacle - a Rastafarian place of worship - near the village established by Leonard P Howell in the 1930s, according to the Jamaica Gleaner.
The campaign wants the property - a hilltop called The Pinnacle west of the capital, Kingston - to belong to the Howell family and the community.
No black person in Jamaica owned property, nothing compared to Pinnacle
Monty Howell, Jamaica Observer
Prendergast told the newspaper: "We are not going anywhere, one by one we are filing in, we are going to camp out and reason."
It appears that the Rastafarian community may have no title to the land, but they claim they are entitled to use it due to their historical and cultural connection to the site.
JUSTICE AT THE PINNACLE WITH NISHA REBEL
As the days progress the truth rises, and the stains of past injustices present themselves. It is without a doubt that there are many layers to the story of how the lands of Pinnacle have been taken and sub-divided, and it is without reservation that we question the capacity of the Jamaican government, both past and present, in protecting her people and the rights to our Heritage, the true root of it. Now what we want, as has been stated before, is clarity and tangible efforts to move forward in a way that seeks to remedy the situation with due provision of lands and ability to practice our principles in safety.
“Might cannot defeat Right”
"We must become something for which our environment and education have ill prepared us. We must become members of a new race, overcoming petty prejudice to achieve the ultimate allegiance, which is not to Nations, but to Humans."
-H.I.M Emperor Haile Selassie I.
The resolution to the problems facing Pinnacle today demands the attention of us all. To find out how you can lend your talents, time, skills, and efforts to the Occupy Pinnacle Movement send through your message here.
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