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Reviews385 this most conscientious of historians of his people did not preserve his own papers. The only Carter G. Woodson papers that survive are in the Library of Congress, and they consist of documents about the history of black people all over the world. They are not personal papers, of which no collection exists. Carter G. Woodson is strong in the delineation of Woodson's enterprise, particularly in tracing the shifting sources of its funding. However, Goggin sUghts two aspects of Woodson 's life, one quite understandably, the other less so. Goggin's impressive research in a multitude of varying sources uncovers little of her subject's inner workings. Woodson never mamed, for instance, and we will never know why. Like a priest, it seems, he was married to his vocation, which may camouflage, as in the case of some priests, a problematic inner life. Like so many others of his peers (Charles A. Johnson among them), Woodson seems to have wanted his public role to obscure the rest of his being, and the documents that would illumine the thought and feeling behind the pubUc face are fugitive or nonexistent. The other missing dimension, a coherent account of Woodson's intellectual trajectory , is harder to explain. Although Goggin has done a superb job of showing how Woodson's Negro history mission was founded and sustained, she does not grapple with the content of his scholarship. As a result, this book's contribution is far more materialist than intellectual. Having neglected Woodson's writing, Goggin accepts as his intellectual legacy only what he could see himself before his death in 1950. Goggin appreciates his rescue of African American history from blindness and bigotry, but by overlooking Woodson 's role as a pioneer of southern history and the repercussions of black history in southern history, she ignores his long-term contribution to the study of southern culture. The Old Ship of Zion: The Afro-Baptist Ritual in the African Diaspora. By Walter F. Pitts. Oxford University Press, 1993. 199 pp. Cloth, $29.95. Reviewed by Jerrilyn McGregory, assistant professor of folklore and English at Florida State University. Her currentproject revolves around an ethnographic documentation ofthe Wiregrass region, which encompasses parts of Florida, southwest Georgia, and southeast Alabama. The results should appear as a publication in the University ofMississippi's "Folklife in the South Series." Walter Pitts's premature death, 20 July 1991, is our true misfortune, for his scholarship can be labeled cutting edge, groundbreaking, and most innovative. The Old Ship ofZion is a significant contribution to the fields of sociolinguistics, ritual anthropology, ethnomusicology , and African American folklore—a cross-cultural investigation that ultimately covering the African diaspora. Pitts's research offers an undaunted departure from more conventional studies of African American religion because he blazes his own analytical and interpretive trails. In the first chapters of his monograph Pitts contextualizes his phenomenological study of Afro-Baptist ritual in central Texas. For the study he served in the dual capacity of both an anthropologist and a pianist at various Afro-Baptist churches in the region. He terms these churches Afro-Baptist in recognition of the fact that their ritual structure is rooted in West African religious practice. Such claims are not new, but they have 386Southern Cultures generally lain fallow until recent decades because more conservative social scientists have demanded inordinate amounts of evidence. Nonetheless, Pitts provides exceptional historical examples. Pitts also does an excellent job of summarizing the history not only of the AfroBaptist church in the South but of Texas proper. He brings together fresh, convincing evidence to document the syncretisms that resulted from the cross-fertilization of African and European forms of religious expression. He notes that the prevailing traditional sacred performances are as old as the American Revolutionary War. Other histories are presented such as "The History of the Black Sermon," "The History of Prayer Speech," and "The History of Afro-Baptist Hymnody." It is important to Pitts's thesis to estabUsh that these seemingly Anglo-American forms of expression grew out of a burgeoning African American culture. Pitts contends that African and African-based ritual conform to a certain binary structure. The first structural frame involves the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-1488
Print ISSN
1068-8218
Pages
pp. 385-387
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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