Sept 3, 1937: EWF Presents Its Charter & Early Rastafari Leaders
Law firm of Delaney, Lewis and Williams presents the Charter of the Ethiopian World Federation, Incorporated at the regular Friday meeting of the Ethiopian World Federation, 36 West 135th Street.
In presenting the Charter, Attorney Delaney said,
“I never dreamed that I would be called upon to serve His Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie. Dr. Bayen has come to this country and has felt out its pulse and was able to accomplish his purpose. He knew what he wanted in the charter; he knew what you wanted — an organ that would encompass the whole world wherever Black People live, and he got it. You have a right, a charter, but without the work of each one of you, it will be useless. With this right, there is a responsibility and a duty. It gives me great pleasure to present the Charter.”
Attorney Lewis emphasized the oneness of the Black race everywhere, saying,
“The destiny of the Black man in Ethiopia is just as important to me as the destiny of the Black man in Harlem. A Black man from Jamaica or Trinidad or Georgia is the same. The white man has been trying to divide us on that issue for a long time. I believe in the omnipotence above and in the Bible. I believe that princes shall come out of Ethiopia. I believe that the destiny of the Black man is in the stars and soon will come to the realization of his destiny here on this earth. The difference between Black Americans and West Indians is that on the way from Africa, some of our foreparents dropped off in Jamaica and others came on to the United States.”
Mr Mathew E. Gardner, EWF Chairman said,
“We will profit by the mistakes of the past. In spite of past defeats, the work must go on until freedom is assured. The Ethiopian World Federation is THE ORGANIZATION, not merely an organization. Unity of all Black people in the United States, Africa and elsewhere is our goal. Soon the white man, our oppressor, will realize that the Black man is united.”
In that same year, EWF Local #17 was established in Jamaica with L.F.C. Mantle as President and Paul Erlington as vice-president. Joseph Nathaniel Hibbert, Archibald Dunkley and other early Rastafari leaders were EWF foundational members. On December 31, 1938, Leonard P. Howell wrote to the EWF newspaper, the Voice of Ethiopia. By 1939, the EWF had nineteen (19) locals (including Jamaica) and hosted its first international convention in New York City, July 19-23. It was the EWF under the Red, Gold and Green banner that first united the early Rastafari leaders with the Government of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie.
In 1939, Leonard Howell was the first to break away from the EWF by establishing the the Ethiopian Salvation Society. A year later, after Malaku E. Bayen’s death, Howell established the Pinnacle settlement. On July 25, 1941, EWF Local #17 member Joseph Nathaniel Hibbert established a branch of the Ethiopian Mystic Masons. Six years later, Bredda Arthur, Phillip Panhandle, Kurukong and others founded the Youth Black Faith in Trench Town, West Kingston, Jamaica. From this emerged the Nyahbinghi Order as it is known today.
It was in 1958 that EWF member Charles Edwards (aka Prince Emmanuel) established the Ethiopia Africa Black International Congress and Church of Salvation at 54 B Spanish Town Road.
Also, it was EWF Local #15 member Vernon Carrington (aka Prophet Gad) who established the Twelve Tribes of Israel in Kingston.
It was directly out of the EWF that came so many of the Houses of Rastafari