H.I.M. Emperor Haile Selassie’s message spoken at the South Park Baptist Church on June 8, 1954, was that if the United States has been able to assume its outstanding position as leader in the world today, “it has been due, in no small part, to your [i.e descendants of Africa] profound religious faith and ideals.” His Imperial Majesty also said, “The high station which the United States has attained has also been due to the devoted labours of every American citizen. And not the least of the credit for these achievements is due to the numerous groups of American citizens who have made their home on the great African continent of which Ethiopia is proud to be a part.”
Recalling his 1936 warning to the League of Nations, when Italy was invading his country, Haile Selassie I said that in those “difficult hours in our fight for independence, we were not standing alone because peoples of African origin throughout the world were with us in spirit through their moral and spIritual support. It is only natural, therefore, that WE AFRICANS should follow with deepest interest the inspiring achievements and contributions of the peoples of African origin in the United States. By your actions, your devotions and your sacrifices you are justifying throughout the world the advancement of the cause of racial and social equality and the right of all peoples to freedom, independence and self-expression.”
In His Imperial Majesty’s first exclusive interview since His arrival to the United States on May 25, 1954, Emperor Haile Selassie told the Chicago Defender newspaper that, “My message to the colored people of the United States is that they continue to press forward with determination, their social and intellectual advancement, meeting all obstacles with Christian courage and tolerance, confident in the certainty of the eventual triumph of justice and equality throughout the world.” During the brief but exclusive interview the Emperor also exploded the oft repeated rumor that the people of Ethiopia do not wish to be identified with the colored people of America or associate themselves with their problems.
With this rumor in mind, the Emperor was asked, “Is there a kindred feeling between your people and the colored people of America?” The Emperor replied: “The people of Ethiopia feel the strongest bond of sympathy and understanding with the colored people of the United States. We greatly admire your achievements and your contributions to American life and the tremendous development of this great nation. I have been deeply impressed with the warmth of the reception which the colored people of the United States have reserved for me.” Next, the Emperor was asked, “What do you feel is the best solution to the unrest found in Africa today?” Emperor Haile Selassie u replied, “The orderly progress of the African people toward self-government and the increasing participation by the people themselves in the institutions of their government, is, in my opinion, the best long term solution to the political tensions which exist in parts of Africa where self-determination has not yet been fully achieved.
[Ras note: Remember that HIM is speaking in 1954, before even Ghana had independence (1957)– nine years before the OAU was formed.] The expansion of opportunity for education and the improvement in living standards through development programs will also be important factors in any such program.” Finally, the Emperor was asked what had been the highlight of his visit to America thus far. Haile Selassie I replied, “I have of course been greatly impressed by the warmth and cordiality of my reception, including of course, the overwhelming warmth of the reception extended me by the colored people of this great nation.”
Consider finally that when HIM Haile Selassie I visited Jamaica twelve years later in 1966, he told the descendants of Africans in Jamaica the they were “blood brothers”.