Happy birthday to me.
protestants seemed much more effective than the catholics at completely severing a people from themselves…
ok so this was so not my field when i was formerly formally studying history, but one thing i remember being struck by in my Atlantic World History course was how Catholics took such a completely different attitude towards slaves, not so much to the point that they considered them full human beings but like, yeah, there was a lot more room given to folks to keep cultural practices and spaces………oh god, maybe jmjafrx can explain better why?
I feel like a part of it is because, as fucked up as the church has historically been, there’s a certain level of syncretism in their practices.
I mean, there’s still lots of brainwashing involved in their colonial efforts, BUT
there’s also a distinct history of incorporation in how they approached a lot of indigenous belief systems they encountered.
There are some religious historians who argue that’s part of why Saint worship became/is such a crucial part of Catholicism. It was a way to link this ~new~ religion to pantheist, animist, and polytheist (among others) religions and practices.
Unfortunately that never stopped them from being horrific, BUT
there was often more wiggle room in terms of non-Catholic practices’ existence as compared to Protestant missionary/colonialism.
(I mean, none of this is to let them off the hook, natch; nor is it to ignore that the church is responsible for the eradication, and near eradication, of countless religions and spiritualities).
Definitely.. I was thinking about other peoples in the diaspora who are not on the continent and how those africanisms are MUCH more prominent partly because of how lax catholic colonizers were… It’s definitely not to let them off… but to point out how much more detached black people are from african belief systems and practices where they were colonized by protestants… I’m also sure that the steady stream of african folk has something to do with it too.. Even the process of detaching them from their cultures started before they got here.. colonizers weren’t able to severe those ties completely but especially in catholic colonized places..
Another piece: the presence of institutions in Europe itself, such as the “cabildos” of Saville—see Isidoro Moreno, “Festive Rituals, Religious Associations, and Ethnic Reaffirmation of Black Andalusians: Antecedents of the Black Confraternities and Cabildos in the Americas,” in Representations of Blackness and the Performance of Identities, edited by Jean Muteba Rahier (Westport: Bergin and Garvey, 1999), 3-17—that were spaces for people of African descent to congregate and supposedly adopt Catholic modes of worship, which just as often became incubating cells for the renaissance of Afro-Diasporic religious practices. These types of institutions were exported to the “New World,” as in the case of Cuban cabildos that gave rise to houses of orisha worship and Brazilian irmandades. The Catholic tolerance for and promotion of images and rituals like processions also provided opportunities for enslaved people and their descendants to reconstitute and re-envision their religiosity within African frameworks (whether of Yorùbá, Kongo, Ewe/Fon, or Cross-River derivation).
It is time that we systematically expose the pervasive operative presumption that general theory or conceptual reflection is formulated elsewhere than in African Diasporic (American) studies, and that it is only applied here.
Nahum Chandler, 2000, ‘Originary Displacement,’ boundary 2 27.3: 251. (via james-wasnt)
Henri Cartier-Bresson, Easter Sunday, Harlem, New York City, 1947.
i found god in myself: The 40th Anniversary of Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls
September 19, 2014 to January 3, 2015
Since its debut performance in California in 1974, Shange’s work has captivated, provoked, inspired and transformed audiences all over the world. Turning to the choreopoem not simply as an engaging work of text or drama but as a well of social, political and deeply personal issues affecting the lives of women of color, the exhibition will feature 20 specially commissioned pieces in honor of each individual poem, additional non-commissioned artworks on display at satellite locations that address the work’s themes and archival material donated by Shange.
The exhibition’s title is drawn from one of the last lines recited in the finale poem a laying on of hands. The title suggests that navigating through the complexities of what it means to be of color and female is only enlightened by an understanding, acceptance and appreciation of self. With self-empowerment comes the process of “…moving to the ends of their own rainbows.” By presenting visual works from both women and men, all races and various generations, i found god in myself explores the universality inherent in Shange’s powerful message to the world.
A series of spoken word performances, screenings, panels, a community art project and a guided art crawl will accompany the exhibition
For more information click here.
Two images of the Virgin of Regla, from the early twentieth-century Cuban magazine Carteles. Why—how—is the Virgin’s face Black? Read ”The Virgin in the Mirror: Reading Images of a Black Madonna Through the Lens of Afro-Cuban Women’s Experiences” here. From the description:
[This article] examines the historical background and meanings attached to the Virgin of Regla in Cuba in light of the transfer of Yorùbá and other West African religious beliefs and practices to colonial Cuba in the 18th and 19th centuries. Focusing on Afro-Cuban women’s subjectivity, [Elizabeth] Perez argues that the Yorùbá deity Yemayá and the Virgin of Regla have not received the historical or cultural analysis comparable to that of others in the Yorùbá pantheon revered by enslaved and free Africans and their descendents in Cuba and other parts of the Americas. Lucumí-Yorùbá initiates attached distinct meanings to Roman Catholic beliefs and practices they encountered in Cuba; and the Virgin of Regla became the New World version of Yemayá…
The coloring of the Virgin of Regla made it easy for Lucumí practitioners to reinterpet the Virgin as Yemayá, who delivered “Yorùbá captives safely across the Atlantic during the Middle Passage.” Yemayá is also viewed as a mother-figure and nurturer and “the statues that decorate the Virgin of Regla’s church in Regla, Cuba, may be viewed as portraits of Yemayá’s divine issue…”
“This slave pass is one of three found in 1934 in a Book of Common Prayer. The book was donated to the College of Charleston by Daniel Horlbeck in 1875.”
Yemoja: Gender, Sexuality, and Creativity in the Latina/o and Afro-Atlantic Diasporas, Release Date: November 2013
This is the first collection of essays to analyze intersectional religious and cultural practices surrounding the deity Yemoja [called Iemanjá in Brazil and Yemayá in Cuba, among other names]. In Afro-Atlantic traditions, Yemoja is associated with motherhood, women, the arts, and the family. This book reveals how Yemoja traditions are negotiating gender, sexuality, and cultural identities in bold ways that emphasize the shifting beliefs and cultural practices of contemporary times. Contributors come from a wide range of fields—religious studies, art history, literature, and anthropology—and focus on the central concern of how different religious communities explore issues of race, gender, and sexuality through religious practice and discourse. The volume adds the voices of religious practitioners and artists to those of scholars to engage in conversations about how Latino/a and African diaspora religions respond creatively to a history of colonization.
Love this, but why so expensive though? $90? How is this even accessible to Afro Latin@s?
This critique is on point. SUNY usually releases paperbacks at $19.95, yet that is a large sum for many readers, and sometimes new books cost even more. I will be trying to get an electronic format copy through my campus library to post at least a chapter or two in the fall.
- From womanish. (Opp. of ‘girlish,’ i.e. frivolous, irresponsible, not serious.) A black feminist or feminist of color. From the black folk expression of mothers to female children, “you acting womanish,” i.e., like a woman. Usually referring to outrageous, audacious, courageous, or willful behavior. Wanting to know more and in greater depth than is considered ‘good’ for one. Interested in grown up doings. Acting grown up. Being grown up. Interchangeable with another black folk expression: ‘You trying to be grown.’ Responsible. In charge. Serious.
- Also: A woman who loves other women, sexually and/or nonsexually. Appreciates and prefers women’s culture, women’s emotional flexibility (values tears as natural counterbalance of laughter), and women’s strength. Sometimes loves individual men, sexually and/or nonsexually. Committed to survival and wholeness of entire people, male and female. Not separatist, except periodically, for health. Traditionally a universalist, as in: ‘Mama, why are we brown, pink, and yellow, and our cousins are white, beige, and black?’ Ans: ‘Well, you know the colored race is just like a flower garden, with every color flower represented.’ Traditionally capable, as in: ‘Mama, I’m walking to Canada and I’m taking you and a bunch of other slaves with me.’ Reply: ‘It wouldn’t be the first time.’
- Loves music. Loves dance. Loves the Spirit. Loves love and food and roundness. Loves struggle. Loves the Folk. Loves herself. Regardless.
- Womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender.
Alice Walker, “Womanist,” In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens (via knowledgeequalsblackpower)
Here’s a sneak-peak at my next Illustration for my Mythological Women series :) A Yoruba Goddess of Nigerian Mythology, Oshun, the goddess of love and marriage.