Father of Rastafari)
L…..Long may you live to guide us the people of our race.
P…..Press onward to the victory our cause is no disgrace.
H…..Haile Selassie guide you , his voice you will obey.
O…..Omega is the watchword, we sure shall win the day.
W….With you to lead us forward our sorrows soon shall cease.
E…..Ethiopia’s children shall dwell at home in peace.
L…..Long may you live to guide us to Ethiopia’s shore.
L…..Long live the Lion of Judah foes tremble at this roar...
By T. C. Telars
Leonard Percival Howell was born in the Parish of Clarendon, Jamaica. W.I. On June 16th, 1898. He died in Kingston, Jamaica. W.I. In 1981. He was born a hero, a scholar and beyond the shadow of a doubt died a hero defending his race. His parents Thomas and Clementina Howell, who were independent farmers and business owners, motivated their son Leonard to travel. In the 1920’s he left Jamaica on a ship to the United States of America, where he advanced his intellect and academic skills.
During the 1920’s, black men and women were living in an era of racial discrimination, bigotry, oppression, segregation and encountered brutality and endless violence. It was not easy for Howell who had fallen victim to hated, bigotry and oppression to stand aside and look. He was convinced it was his responsibility that he committed his life by taking a personal stand against the forces of hated, oppression and injustice. He traveled to many cities and countries, preached among all groups of people to help raise the conscience of the public. He encouraged Black Leaders so that every individual would work and create a world in which genocide will not occur again. He had the support of many African Leaders and Head of states like Kwame Nkrumah, Dr. W.E. Dubois, Bishop Johnson of Lagos, Benito Sylvain of Ethiopia and Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya and black revolutionaries like Marcus Garvey and his UNIA, added to his political and spiritual development in the United States.
Howell became a member and participant of the Pan African movement. After the death of Howell’s father, Charles Howell, he returned to Jamaica in 1932. It was an emotional and demanding experience but it was also critical for anyone who believes in the dignity and value of human lives to understand that Howell was a messenger sent from the Divine Creator to deliver the messages and no time could be set aside for mourning.
Relentlessly, he traveled throughout the City of Kingston, St Thomas and other parts of Jamaica preaching. He performed the role of catalytic agent in teaching the radical millenarian consciousness that based itself on the doctrine of the divine kingship of Ethiopia’s Ras Tafari. He preached the Ivinity of Haile Selassie 1 as a MAN- GOD ( the concept of God being in a man or human form was very prevalent during ancient times, especially in Africa and Eastern spiritual practices) In the Rastafarian philosophy, the re-incarnation of Haile Selassie as God transformed in the flesh is the pillar of the belief systems and doctrine.
” We as Negroes have found a new ideal, whilst our god has no color yet it is human to see everything through one’s own spectacles. And since the whites people have seen their god through white spectacles we have only now started out late thought it be, to see our god through our spectacles….We shall worship Him through the Spectacles of Ethiopia” (The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey. page 41)
Howell became the most successful teacher of Rastafari doctrine. He enjoined black people to be PROUD of heritage and culture, to have their own “Money” Banks, be self-motivated, strong self-sufficient, where black economies would triumph and to hold high the value of education. Furthermore, he preached to show respect, love and honor. He said, “The white mans doctrine has forced the black man to forsake silver and gold and seek heaven after death. It has brought us to live in disgrace and die in dishonor”
King Ras Tafari of Ethiopia was sent as the Messiah, to free the minds of Africans who have been enslaved mentally and physically. King Ras Tafari taught us to go beyond the height of consciousness and accept that the black man too have a GOD that is made in the image of a BLACK man, same as the White GOD is made in the image of a white man, an Indian GOD is made in the image of Indian man, an Oriental GOD made in the image of a Oriental man etc.
Howell’s favorite song:
“ We are not divided all one family
One in hope and justice
One in charity
We are going to a land where milk and honey flow
We are not divided - All one family.”
Despite the fact that Howell became the most persecuted man in the history of Jamaica, he must be credited for purchasing over 500 acres of Land at Sligoville, in St. Catherine became known as PINNACLE. It was the center of the Rastafarian Movement, the first free slave, self sufficient and economically empowered African village in Jamaica (an historical move) Many generation of African slaves , in the thousand , came from rural and urban Jamaica settled on the land and made their vision a reality. They lived a natural way of life, in harmony with the universe, showed love and peace to all race and color, lived in unity worked collectively , uphold culture, heritage, freedom and justice, Many who were farmers planted organic food ,other who were skilled in arts and craft made household items. In addition, herbal medicine, roots, tonics and other produces were supplies and sold to the local government, private and public sectors.
Howell was a man of great vision, and mystic spirituality. He created codes and principles based on the teaching of His Imperial Majesty, Haile Selassie 1 and developed the Nyahbinghi Order (a mystical religious order) that defined “death” by the Divine Creator to the blacks and white oppressors. Years later Howell formed “The Ethiopian Salvation Society”
Before his death in 1981 Howell once said:
" I am convinced that the children we are teaching today, will become vanguards and guardians to our freedom tomorrow and better citizens to defend our democracy and to ensure that generations to come will learn from the Holocaust of slavery, and keep the flame of remembrance burning. Help them to understand more about the past, that our history NEVER repeats itself so that we can create a better future for all human race.”
By Catherine Howell