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Appendix II: The Revolution Denied

Rod Davis University of North Texas Press ePub

APPENDIX II

THE REVOLUTION DENIED

From almost the inception of the slave trade, kings, constitutions and legislatures codified the incubating negative ideologies about Africans into edicts and ordinances, creating a legal and rationalist framework. As early as 1493, only a year after Columbus made landfall in the West Indies, Pope Alexander II ordered Spanish explorers to convert pagans (Indians and, later, slaves) in the New World territories. In 1685, as the French moved into the Caribbean plunder zone, Louis XVI issued the infamous Code Noir (Black Code) requiring, among other things, Catholic baptism for all slaves (as well as expulsion of Jews). One of the most important applications of the Code Noir, however, was its adaptation by Louisiana’s territorial governors, who implemented their own Code Noir in 1724, which yielded to the Black Code of the Louisiana Territories of 1806, sustained until the Civil War. The other Southern colonies (and then states) enacted Black Codes of their own to regulate ownership, maintenance and punishment of slaves, free blacks, creoles and mulattoes.

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Glossary of Voudou Terms

Rod Davis University of North Texas Press PDF

364 -

AMERICAN VOUDOU

Babalu Aye-or Babaluaye, or Babaluaiye; the orisha associated with illnesses and terrible diseases. Also known as Shokpona or

Sonponna. Syncretized with St. Lazarus and planet Saturn.

Bimbe-or bembe; ceremonial party.

Botanica-strictly speaking, a store selling herbs, but in practice a store which sells a variety of religious supplies and implements, including those for voudou or santeria.

Cowries-small seashells at one time used as monetary units in

West Africa. Sixteen are used in a form of Ifa divination. Known as the caracoles in santeria, where the sixteen-shell method is called the dilogun.

Creole-originally, New World born; subsequently has been widely used to mean of mixed African and European race.

Dambada-Wedo-or Damballa-Hwedo, Damballah-Wedo; serpent god entwining the earth. Mate of Aida-Wedo.

Ebo-sacrifice.

Egun-spirits of the dead ancestors.

Egungun"'-costumed figure representing the egun; also the name of the festival for the ancestors.

Elegba-also Esu, Eshu; powerful orisha considered the guardian of the crossroads of the Yoruba spirit world. Syncretized with st. Michael, st. Peter or St. Martin de Porres, and with the planet

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15: The King and His Court

Rod Davis University of North Texas Press ePub

15

THE KING AND HIS COURT

As festival week passed, and ceremonies became sporadic, I filled the days as best I could. Many hours I would sit in the shaded patio or walk among the shrines listening to villagers tell me how they had left their former lives and traveled to South Carolina and then decided to stay, to take up the way of the orisha. Elesin had been bumping around between colleges when he learned of Oyotunji in the mid-seventies and had poured virtually the whole of his adult life into it. Orite had studied theater in New York. Iya Shango had moved down from Buffalo, New York, and never looked back. Chief Alagba, the husband of Iya Ghandi, had once been in public relations.

Early on the morning the festival reached its final day, I spotted Iya Ghandi hurrying across the commons toward her house. I’d been after her to have a beer and tell me about palo mayombe. She said it would have to wait until tomorrow or the next day. I sighed, having been told that before. She shrugged and took off. After a few steps she paused and turned to look me over. She had to “present” Yemonja to the sea at Hunting Island that morning, she said. Maybe I could go with her, I said. “Good,” she said. “We can also use your car.”

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Appendix II: The Revolution Denied

Rod Davis University of North Texas Press PDF

APPENDIX II

THE REVOLUTION DENIED

FROM ALMOST THE inception of the slave trade, kings, constitutions and legislatures codified the incubating negative ideologies about Africans into edicts and ordinances, creating a legal and rationalist framework. As early as 1493, only a year after Columbus made landfall in the West Indies, Pope Alexander

II ordered Spanish explorers to convert pagans (Indians and, later, slaves) in the New World territories. In 1685, as the French moved into the Caribbean plunder zone, Louis XVI issued the infamous Code N oir (Black Code) requiring, among other things,

Catholic baptism for all slaves (as well as expulsion of Jews).

One of the most important applications of the Code Noir, however, was its adaptation by Louisiana's territorial governors, who implemented their own Code N oir in 1724, which yielded to the Black Code of the Louisiana Territories of 1806, sustained until the Civil War. The other Southern colonies (and then states) enacted Black Codes of their own to regulate ownership, maintenance and punishment of slaves, free blacks, creoles and mulattoes.

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21: Orisha Anew

Rod Davis University of North Texas Press ePub

21

ORISHA ANEW

For months I had followed the spirit, drifting with it from Texas into New Orleans, tracking its peaks and depths across the South like lines on a Richter scale chart. I had jumped up into Brooklyn and back down to Miami. And now I would jump again.

A call had gone out across the voudou network: history was going to be made in Atlanta. For the first time ever, American blacks would conduct, in the symbolic capital of both the Old and the New South, a full orisha voudou initiation in the traditional manner. Not santeria, not hoodoo, not some ersatz mix.

Initiations were not uncommon in the U. S., but mostly they were taking place in the urban ports—New York and Miami—or at Oyotunji. To conduct one in Atlanta was evidence the renaissance had moved openly into the heartland. But there was something even more special about the event: the initiate was from New Orleans. With one stroke, the two most important cities of the old slave belt were united in what was once unthinkable—perpetuating the vo-du in America. And it was almost too perfect that the woman chosen to forge the link was the dancer Ava Kay Jones, and that the site of her initiation—to the goddess Oya—was the home of Baba Kunle and Baba Tunde, the two priests who had given me my first taste of sacrificial blood.

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