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The Ethiopian World Federation

As the new millennium unfolds, a part of New York's history is being revealed to a new generation of primarily African Americans and West Indians, by members of The Ethiopian World Federation, Incorporated, and it's affiliated Units. This organization with it's scope for the entire Ethiopian Race (black peoples of the world),was established in Harlem on August 25th, 1937, by African American citizens, with the guide of an emissary from the Ethiopian Government.

In that same era, Marcus Garvey and his U.N.I.A., had already opened up the mass conciousness of returning to the motherland. The E.W.F., Inc. was organized because, as the distinguished historian Dr. John Hope Franklin stated at the time, "when Italy invaded Ethiopia in October of 1935, African Americans all over the United States, protested with all the means at their command. Almost overnight even the most provincial among black people became international minded and it became crystal clear to all, that if allowed to happen, the destruction of Ethiopia, the only remaining Independent Black Country, would symbolise the final victory of the white man over the black man".

Within a few years, branches (called Locals) of The Ethiopian World Federation, Incorporated, were established throughout the U.S., South America and the Caribbean. Jamaica produced more than 15 Locals, strengthened by the spiritual ties of the Rastafarian community to the Emperor and Ethiopia. The 12 Tribes of Israel, a Rastafarian organization based in Jamaica, is an offshoot of the Federation's Charter # 15, from Trench Town.

In 1958, thanks to Ms. Maymie Richardson of The E.W.F. Headquarters in New York, Jamaica's Charter # 43 of The E.W.F. was formed through the efforts of Ras Solomon Wolfe (Christian name Marcus Selassie), who remains it's Chairman today.

As a direct result of the support Ethiopia received from black people in the West during Ethiopia's hour of need, the Emperor in or around 1948 granted 500 hectares of land in Shashemanie, Ethiopia, for Africans in the Diaspora, centralized in Harlem, New York, who desired to see the motherland restored to her former state of complete independence and self-reliance, through the co-operative efforts of the race. The land was granted with the understanding that more lands would be provided as needed, when occupancy and development of the first settlement was achieved. The Ethiopian World Federation, Incorporated, was given the responsibility to manage the development and settlement of the land.

In 1970, Ras Solomon Wolfe, President of Charter # 43 in Jamaica, was personally appointed by the Emperor as the Administrator of the "Land Grant".Now a revered Rastafarian Elder in The E.W.F. and Ethiopia, Ras Solomon Wolfe, arrived in New York in September of ' 97 from Ethiopia with a report on the "Land Grant" as the land in Shashemanie is sometimes reffered to. He also officiated with the New York Local # 1, in celebrating the release of a 700-page volume entitled, "Selected Speeches of H.I.M. Haile Selassie First". The book was re-published by the New York Local as a fund- raising effort to accomplish the development of Shashemanie on a more expanded and sustained level than has been attempted in the past.

Speaking with New York's Amsterdam News, Ras Solomon Wolfe expressed dismay at the slow pace of resettlement in Shashemanie, and is calling upon black peoples of the West and especially New Yorkers, who played such an important role in the historical process, to take advantage of this gift and move towards migrating to Ethiopia. He took time out to explain the difference between "migration" and "repatriation" and said that while migration was a voluntary desire by individuals who made their own decisions and provide their own funding, repatriation depended upon others, or institutions to make the decision and provide the financing for a move from one place to another. Ras Solomon also expressed some concern, that with changing governments and younger individuals in charge of policy, the land grant might be placed in jeopardy because of it's under-utilization. Ras Solomon has also appeared on New York Radio and Television to talk about the Ethiopian World Federation, Incorporated and the land grant in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia's place in history is enviable and undeniable: Ethiopia is mentioned by name in the 2nd Chapter of Genesis, the First Book of the Bible and in numerous other Chapters; the Ark of the Covenant is said to be in Ethiopia: geographically, Ethiopia has the highest point on earth towards the heavens; two-thirds of the water for the River Nile comes from Ethiopia; Ethiopia is the only African country and perhaps the only country that has never been colonized by another power; many artifacts, fossils and bones found in Ethiopia dates it as having the oldest records of human existence and development; the advent of His Imperial Majesty, Haile Selassie First, a direct descendant of King David and King Solomon (of the line of Judah), and the many marvelous and miraculous stories about His life, His achievements as a Statesman - gaining the respect of all world leaders of the time; the beauty and bountifulness of Ethiopia; it's deep religious roots in Christianity, Judaism and Islam - all paint a picture of a land "where the Gods love to be" as stated in the Federation's Anthem.

According to Claude McKay's "Negro Metropolis" of the latter 1930's, "To the emotional masses of the Black American Church, the Ethiopia of today, is the same wonderful Ethiopia of the Bible. In a spiritual sense, it is far more real to them than the West African lands from which it is assumed that most of the ancestors of African Americans came". In an interview with newsmen, an ambitious and dedicated young Black American, Ms. Mildred Houston of New York, perfectly conveyed the love of Harlemites for international black unity, when she explained, "There is nothing that I won't do for Ethiopia if I am ever needed". Three prominent black Harlemites, Reverend William Lloyd Imes, pastor of the prestigious St. James Presbyterian Church, Mr. Phillip M. Savory, chairman of the Victory Insurance Company and co-owner of the New York Amsterdam News, and Mr. Cyril M. Philp, secretary of the United Aid, visited the Head of Black Independent Government, The King of Kings, His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Haile Selassie First, in Bath, England, in the summer of 1936, during the Ethiopian Government's period of exile, which lasted five years. The Emperor cordially received the African American party at His residence, to the surprise of many sceptics, where the party told the Emperor of their concerns about unauthorized persons and racketeers who were "lining their own pockets" with the monies being raised to help Ethiopia and the numerous Ethiopians who were now refugees in other lands. In response to their concerns, the Emperor agreed to send His personal assistant and doctor, Malaku Emmanuel Bayen, who had matriculated in the United States at the Medical School of Howard University in 1928, to take charge of coordinating the fund-raising effort. The Ethiopian World Federation, Incorporated, was given a democratic constitution based on parliamentary proceedures to guide the organization. The present membership of the E.W.F. believes that the constitution was meant to have an even wider reach as a guide for black peoples of the world, to have their divine heritage, alphabet and language returned to them, wherever they may be residing around the world and manage themselves and their affairs in a democratic manner for the benefit of the black Race as a whole.

Dr. Bayen's stated reason for attending a Black University was, "my belief in Race solidarity and also in order that I might have a closer relationship with my people. In fact", he continued, "it was this idea that caused me to marry Ms. Dorothy Hadley, a Black American. Quoting another Ethiopian physician in the United States, Dr. Azaj Workneh Martin, a mentor to Dr. Bayen, "the greatest service you could render Africa, would be to influence thousands of Black Americans and West Indians, to come and help us develop Ethiopia". Some notable names who helped in establishing The Ethiopian World Federation, Incorporated, headquartered in Harlem, were Mrs. Dorothy Bayen, Ms. Ada Bastian, Ms. Eudora Paris and Colonel John Robinson the Tuskegee Aviator, just to mention a few, who elected Dr. Lorenzo H. King, pastor of St. Mark's Methodist Church in Harlem, the Federation's first President. The Schomburg Library in Harlem, is named after Arthur Schomburg, himself an original member of the Federation's Board, and someone who has donated his papers and collection of books to the City of New York's Public Library Service.

The success of the United States in laying the Democratic Republic foundations of the "new international order", which best responds to the laws of our Redeemer, has earned Black Americans the opportunity to be exposed to higher education and learning for a more prolonged period of time than any other Black Peoples throughout the World today. Therefore, it's not surprising that the loudest voice of protest against Italy's act of aggression on Ethiopia, came from Black America. Our Black American and West Indian brothers and sisters living in Harlem during the "great depression" of the 1930's, forged a Unity at that time and established the Federation for Black People all over the World, with the scope of combining our ancient Ethiopian Heritage with the benefits of modern Scientific Achievements. How can we ever thank them ?, maybe we never can, yet, to appreciate what they have done for us, before we seek to abreviate it, then build on their accomplishments, seems the prudent thing to do.

New York's Local # 1 members, are privileged to sing the praises of their Black American foreparents, who have bequeathed to black people a legacy of liberation in the face of oppression, making it a cherished duty to help black people of the diaspora, in their desire to have the Continent of Africa and it's People restored to their former state of self-reliance and complete independence. The Federation invites the great sons and daughters of all other Continents to assist us in this effort for the 21st Century, so that the social condition of the Race worldwide, will enjoy significant improvement, thereby benefitting the complete Human family.

The executive members are inspired by a surge in public interest towards the Federation and the idea of returning to the motherland, and they are girding themselves to carry out what many members consider a divine and historical mission - many of the present members being Rastafarian, see Emperor Haile Selassie First as a divine entity. At a recent meeting of the organization, it was stated that Dr. John Hope Franklin was appointed Chairman of the Advisory Board to the President's Initiative on Race. Readers will recall that this Advisory Board was created by President Bill Clinton to improve Race Relations in America and review the proposed bill of Congressman Thony Hall (D) Ohio, concerning the apology of white people to black people about the slave trade, racial segregation and discrimination. Africans in the Americas are seeking solutions and alternatives to secure our place in the sun and many are now thinking that that place may not be the United States of America with it's entrenched and institutionalized racism. Does Africa and The Ethiopian World Federation, Incorporated, offer a solution ?. "The work of rehabilitating a people who had experienced moral breakdown, and whose cultural heritage had been undermined, required going back and revisiting what had happened. It is only then that one understands that everything needs to be started from scratch. ...", Important Utterance of H.I.M. Haile Selassie I, suggests that the slave trade in the U.S. and West Indies, needs to be revisited.

The Ethiopian World Federation has Locals in other US Cities, England, France, Jamaica, Martinique and other Caribbean Islands. The E.W.F. Local # 1, Inc., is also making arrangements to rebuild it's arsoned building in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, that is to serve the community as a cultural center of learning, featuring a day care center, a computerized academic resource center, a music school and also provide medical health services.

The Federation's Directors recalls, that at the time when Winnie and Nelson Mandella were securing the final victory for Democracy over Apartheid, the Mandella's visited the United States, where Mr. Mandella stated publicly, "Africa needs the help and expertise of Black Americans so that the Continent may realize it's full potential". We, the members of the Ethiopian World Federation, Incorporated, echoes the same sentiments of President Mandella, and encourages all our beloved people to actively participate.

Through the interest and generosity of the Student Government Association at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, The Ethiopian World Federation Local # 1, was able to presents classes in Ethiopia's "AFRICAN ALPHABET & LANGUAGES", using the facilities at the College. The organization also presents regular public forums on "PARLIAMENTARY PROCEEDURE".  Those facilities are no longer available to us.  However, we have weekly public meetings at the Paul Robeson Center, 54 Greene Avenue (corner of Adelphi Street), Brooklyn, New York - Sundays from 3:00 - 7:00 p.m.  All are welcome.

For more information on the activities of the Federation, you may call (718) 277-1547.

To make a donation and receive your copy of the Book, "Selected Speeches of H.I.M. Haile Selassie First", Link to our Contributions & Support page


call toll free (800) 877-5925.

Mail: The E.W.F. Local # 1, Inc.
P.O. Box 40-1167
Brooklyn, N.Y. 11240-1167.