All Articles Tagged "african history"
On January 13, 2010 Pat Robertson, founder and chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network, stated that Haiti “swore a pact to the devil.” This was one day after a 7.0 earthquake rocked the island nation resulting in massive loss of life. The “pact” Robertson so confidently mentioned to various media outlets was a reference to the Haitian Revolution, more specifically, the Bwa Kayiman (Bois Caiman) Ceremony in August of 1791.
The event is significant because Africans of varying ethnicities joined together in a traditional ceremony to affirm that they would no longer remain enslaved. The insurrection in Saint-Domingue (modern Haiti), in what would become known as the Haitian Revolution, resulted in the establishment of a Haitian republic in 1804. The “devil” Robertson spoke of was a reference to the African gods invoked by Haitians to overthrow their French oppressors.
This practice of referring to anything in the realm of African spirituality as evil or devilish is a continuation of the propaganda used by missionaries, slave traders, and colonizers ever since they ventured onto the continent. Enslaved Africans were treated as a people without culture. They were reduced to being treated as cargo. Africans were viewed as heathens because they had their own religious traditions prior to the introduction of Christianity and Islam. These traditions include ancestor veneration, systems of initiation and respect for the natural environment.
African Traditions in the Americas
African spiritual systems, which fall under the category of African Traditional Religion (ATR), are the traditions that have sustained us since time immemorial. Enslaved Africans brought these traditions to such places as Haiti, Brazil, Cuba, New Orleans, Florida, and South Carolina. They can be seen in the burial custom of placing items on the graves of deceased family members, knowledge of certain ritualistic and medicinal practices, known under various names as juju, hoodoo, rootwork, etc. They can be seen in the tradition of adorning trees with bottles, vessels, and other objects to protect the household through invocation of the dead as noted in places like Mississippi, South Carolina, and Virginia.
(AJC) — Janai’s number was 4390. He was 22 when he was captured, and his body bore no marks. No. 4391 was 23-year-old Adoo. Tattoos flecked his arms and back. A series of cuts covered the cheeks, back and belly of Kootie, No. 4404. Whether the scars were the result of ritual or battle is unclear. Remarkably, of the more than 12 million Africans ensnared in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, a brutal venture where people lost their birth names and tribal origins in the span of an ocean voyage, these men’s names survive, as do those of almost 70,000 African men, women and children. Scholars believe the names are keys to solving a mystery that has confounded historians and amateur genealogists alike for centuries: Who exactly were all those African slaves who helped transform South, Central and North America and where did they originally come fromAn ambitious international research project based at Emory University is well on its way to solving that puzzle. The project, which officially launches to the public this month, is called “African Origins.” It is part of a much larger, interactive public database called “Voyages” that tracks close to 35,000 slave ship voyages between the early 1500s and 1866 from African ports to docks throughout the Americas. Using nearly $650,000 in grant money from the National Endowment for the Humanities, researchers have built the database using frail, sepia-toned court documents, ship manifests, diaries, church records, newspaper articles and corporate ledgers. Until now, most of this data was available only to scholars willing to travel to countries and cities such as Sierra Leone, Cuba, London or Liverpool, where records of the trade are kept. Its creators call it a “virtual memorial” to those who died on the journey. But they hope it becomes not simply a tool for researchers, but for high school teachers and students, amateur history buffs, even genealogists interested in an event that fundamentally shaped the modern Americas.
(AP) — Internet search giant Google said it is working with the Nelson Mandela Foundation to publish thousands of never-before-seen documents belonging to the anti-apartheid icon through a $1.25 million grant given to Mandela’s foundation Tuesday. The money will allow the foundation to scan more than 10,000 of Mandela’s personal records, including unreleased notes written during his 27 years of imprisonment for his fight against apartheid, Google spokesman Luke Mckend said. The database will be accessible for free on the Internet. Achmat Dangor, the foundation’s chief executive, said anyone with a computer “from Timbuktu to New York” will be able to access documents about the 92-year-old Nobel peace laureate.