African Diaspora In The New Wo Essay — страница 3

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South Carolinaworshipped their new Christian god with ‘the kind of expressive behavior their African heritage taught them was appropriate for an important deity’ ” (Bright & Broderick 11). Slaves also used African forms such as dances, chants, trances and spirit possession in their practice of Christianity. The call and response pattern characteristic of West African music was adapted to this new religion. Sundays were designated as free days for South Carolina slaves and this day was often devoted to family, religious and community activities. In this process of transformation there was also an element of rebellion. After having gained elements of community and family ethnic identity and freedom, slaves in Colonial South Carolina would not become totally accepting of

their condition and would resist attempts to limit those freedoms they did have. An element of African culture that was modified for the purpose of rebellion was the use of poison. In the tradition of the West African Obeah-man, powers could be used to cure or to punish enemies. In this respect, poison could be used in a negative capacity. The use of poison as a form of rebellion is visible in both the examples from Colonial South Carolina and Jamaica. Cases of death by poison in Colonial South Carolina leading up to theStono Rebellion led to its inclusion in the Negro Act of 1740. The Act made poisoning a felony punishable by death. In conclusion, both significant African retentions and transformations took place in the early European settlement of theAmericas. More recently,

there has been a tendency to overemphasize or even romanticize the “Africanisms.” While acknowledging “Africanisms” did make their way into the Americas, I find the evidence from accounts of early slave cultures and the Anthropological background provided by Thornton on cultural transformation and change persuasive in suggesting the formation of Afro- American rather than “Afro-centric” communities. This approach to the slavery and the slave era is relatively young and will have to be developed. A conclusion that is clear after studying works of Peter Wood, Gwendolyn Hall andRichard Price, is that the early arguments suggesting no connection of African heritage to the Americas are entirely invalid.