Taken from his autobiography “The Long Walk to Freedom”, 1994:
“Ethiopia has always held a special place in my own imagination and the prospect of visiting Ethiopia attracted me more strongly than a trip to France, England, and America combined. I felt I would be visiting my own genesis, unearthing the roots of what made me an African. Meeting the emperor himself would be like shaking hands with history.” (…)
“Suddenly we heard the distant music of a lone bugle and then the strains of a brass band accompanied by the steady beating of African drums. As the music came closer, I could hear — and feel — the rumbling of hundreds of marching feet. From behind a building at the edge of the square, an officer appeared brandishing a gleaming sword; at his heels marched five hundred black soldiers in rows four across, each carrying a polished rifle against his uniformed shoulder. When the troops had marched directly in front of the grandstand, an order rang out in Amharic, and the five hundred soldiers halted as one man, spun around, and executed a precise salute to an elderly man in a dazzling uniform, His Highness the Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, the Lion of Judah.
Here, for the first time in my life, I was witnessing black soldiers commanded by black generals applauded by black leaders who were all guests of a black head of state. It was a heady moment. I only hoped it was a vision of what lay in the future for my own country.” (…)
“The conference was officially opened by our host, His Imperial Majesty, who was dressed in an elaborate brocaded army uniform. I was surprised by how small the emperor appeared, but his dignity and confidence made him seem like the African giant that he was. It was the first time I had witnessed a head of state go through the formalities of his office, and I was fascinated. He stood perfectly straight, and inclined his head only slightly to indicate that he was listening. Dignity was the hallmark of all his actions.