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One of the First Ras Tafari Movement Pioneers alongside Archibald Dunkley and Joseph Hibbert; was Leonard Percival Howell - The Gong Guru Maragh "Teacher of famed wisdom" the "First Ras Ta". G.G Maragh was born on June 16th, 1898 to an Anglican family. Howell left the country as a youth, traveling to many places, including Panama and New York. He became one of Garvey's top-brass members and would after Garvey's deportation returned in 1932. By which time his focus was shifted from Garveyism. He began preaching in 1933 about what he considered the symbolic portent for the African Diaspora the crowning of Ras Tafari Makonnen as Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia. His preaching asserted that Haile Selassie was the "Messiah returned to earth," and teaching "IRITS" that were considered by the authorities as anti-Church and anti-government.
He soon attracted the attention of the colonial authorities, and was arrested in December 1934 for sedation. In March 1935 he was sentenced to two years imprisonment, when he apparently wrote The Promise Key. After he was released he published a newspaper called "The People's Voice". Imprisonment did not shake the foundation of Howell's beliefs. Upon his release from prison in 1940, he set up the first Ras Tafari Community village in Jamaica on 400 acres at Sligoville, St Catherine.
The settlement was called The Pinnacle because of its high hilltop elevation, and the residents became self-sufficient farmers. Howell's influence spread outside of The Pinnacle, and Ras Tafari communities were set up across the country. The original Rasta camps were also regularly raided and dislocated by the police. In 1941, government forces swooped down on Pinnacle and arrested many of Howell's followers. Howell fled, but he was eventually arrested, and on August 20, he was tried again for sedition and sentenced to two years in prison. When he was released in 1943, he returned to Pinnacle.
For almost a decade after his return, Pinnacle flourished as the residents were left alone to carry on their lives.
Trading and farming were their major sources of income, of which they earned a lot. The population also boomed as people saw Pinnacle as a place where they could go to prosper on their own.
In 1954, his commune was raided and much literature, including copies of this book, were burned. The residents would return but Pinnacle would cease to flourish as the Ras Tafari Community in its initial stage. The Movement would continue however to increase rapidly as Howell's core beliefs in the power of black people to overcome white oppression and his movement expanded to become an international concern given his strong messages of black liberation and Pan Africanism that resonated with blacks across the globe. His Anti Colonial Movement, Positive Black Radical Identity during an era of Post Slavery inspire some of the Great Reggae artist who would further the Message of "Death to Black and White Oppressors" before the commercializations affirmed the "One Love Slogan". It is important to note that Ras Tafari Movement was born and rooted in the Liberation of Africans; Home and abroad.