Dread History:
The African Diaspora,
Ethiopianism, and Rastafari

Art by Jah Scratch I
(Selassie and Mussolini during the Italian invasion of Ethiopia)

In October of 1935, Italy invaded Ethiopia for the second time in less than four decades. Black people in the United States, the Caribbean, and Europe as well as on the African continent saw the Italian attack as an assault on the black man's Zion. In Harlem, New York City, thousands of Black Americans marched and signed petitions asking the U.S. government to allow them to fight on behalf of the Ethiopian cause. A handful, in fact, fought in this conflict. Rastafari oral tradition and artwork such as this example prominently feature and commemorate accounts of the Italian invasion.

photograph by Jake Homiak, Smithsonian Institution