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African Slave Spells and Root Work: Crossing the Boundary of Past to Present in Contemporary Cemeteries

Author(s): Sharon K. Moses

Year: 2015

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Summary

Recurring evidence of "root work" or "hoodoo" and other African magic rituals have been found periodically in and around the graves of the recently dead in contemporary cemeteries located in the South. This paper is an exploration of the connection between the author’s excavation site, a slave street on a former rice plantation located in the South Carolina Low Country, and descendants that maintain conjuring traditions and practices. Slaves used "root work" and rituals for health curatives, to provide justice in the face of injustice and to ask supernatural forces for protection against oppressors. Contemporary motivations have crossed the boundaries of the past; again addressing issues of poverty, health, inequality and empowerment through religious traditions and ritual.


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African Slave Spells and Root Work: Crossing the Boundary of Past to Present in Contemporary Cemeteries. Sharon K. Moses. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Seattle, Washington. 2015 ( tDAR id: 433981)


Keywords


Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 246

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America