In this paper, I explore the Black radicalism inherent in the Black Anglican movement of the early United States republic, with a specific focus on Mary Jones (née Thomas) and the African Church, est. 1792, that eventually transformed into the St. Thomas African Episcopal Church in 1794. I shed light on the ideological connections between the early Christian Black radicalism in the US republic and the similar radicalism found in the Rastafari movement, which emerged in Jamaica during the 1930s. To do this, I emphasize the crucial, yet often overlooked, contributions made by women within these movements. There are significant ideological undercurrents that connect these two movements, with women’s roles serving as one key link. However, the more prominent aspect is the political radicalism that later matured within the Rastafari movement in the 1930s. This included the incorporation of the Ethiopian prophecy—“Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God” (Psalm 68:31)—as a means of developing a Black radical political ideology. Furthermore, this connection helped shape the integration of statecraft with theology in the pursuit of democratic ideals.
Associate Professor and Chair, Black Studies & Peace Studies, University of Missouri-Columbia, Missouri, United States
Anglicanism, Rastafari, Resistance, Slavery, Colonialism
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