The Rastafari Chronicles – U.S.A. 1994

The Rastafari Chronicles – U.S.A. 1994

Welcome to The Rastafari Chronicles, a series of articles, utterances, links from the archives of Rastafari history. This is an encouragement to all Rastafari worldwide to revive memories of InI glorious trod.
Give thanks to ones and ones for helping to uplift this initiative, to share and exchange works, greetings, stories, memorabilia, reminiscences, and ephemera of Rastafari. Let InI rise up a thunderous orchestration of Ises to the Majesty and elevation of the Movement.
One perfect love in His Imperial Majesty and Empress Menen.

U.S.A. 1994

Rastafari is on the move.  An international assembly of the faithful was convened in Miami, Florida, USA for a week (strong) of deliberations May 20-26 1994.

Representatives of all major Rastafari organisations in America, the Caribbean and Europe attended. Honoured guests were the Nyahbinghi elders of the Jamaica House, several of whom had made the history-making trod to Ethiopia in 1992.

The 50-strong flag waving delegation in resplendent colours were the focus of attention throughout their stay in Florida. The seven-day program included a Family Day open to the public on May 22nd, followed by seminars on topics of vital concern to the international Rastafari community: human rights, education, health, economics and repatriation.

Superb open-air venues such as the Oletta River State Park and the East Greynolds Park were chosen by the organizers ICOMRAS (International communicators of Rastafari), for the main sessions.

On Friday May 20th the entire delegation were guests at a Malcolm X remembrance celebration sponsored by the International African Movement (IAM) of Miami. The Rastafari presence added solidarity to the occasion, with a full-house audience joining in the Rastafari chant ‘Black Liberation Day’.

The highpoint of the strong of activities came last. On Wednesday 25th May, African Liberation Day, the venue shifted to Big Cypress Reservation, a Seminole heritage site, which became the setting for all-night Nyahbinghi celebrations.

A wide clearing, dotted with thatched wooden dormitories was transformed into a Rastafari village for the space of 24 hours. About 500 Rastafari attended the closing event. Throughout the night drumming and chanting echoed across the reservation under a full Florida moon until daybreak. The chanting continued well into the morning.

Final presentations at the Big Cypress Reservation included an appeal fund launched by the London-based Centenary Committee for Rastafari. The appeal was for a permanent Tabernacle in Shashemane, Ethiopia. A scale-model of the proposed building was unveiled for the gathering’s acceptance and approval. Plans to commence building are set for September 1995 with a completion date and opening ceremony in July 1996.

On Friday 27th May delegates began returning individually and in groups to their respective regions, having set an urgent agenda and direction for the movement in the 90s.

ICOMRAS have also produced the first edition of Red Pages, a Rastafari directory listing international organisations, outlets, agencies and services.

Shango Baku (Centenary Committee for Rastafari)

Footnote from Dr Desta Meghoo (founder ICOMRAS):
REDD PAGES was the acronym for Rastafari Economic Development Directory the first comprehensive listing of Rastafari mansions, organizations, businesses and individuals along with a Solidarity Section for African owned businesses. I think it is worth mentioning the Ancients in attendance as most have now transcended: Congo Rocky, Mama Baby I, Ras Bonargees, Ras Sam Brown, Jah Bones, Bongo Pidow and Ma Ashanti, the sole survivor today. This International Rastafari Gathering was the first in a series of three consecutive gatherings with the next one held in Toronto in 1995 followed by St. Croix in 1997.