In this Book

American Voudou
summary
Voudou (an older spelling of voodoo)—a pantheistic belief system developed in West Africa and transported to the Americas during the diaspora of the slave trade—is the generic term for a number of similar African religions which mutated in the Americas, including santeria, candomble, macumbe, obeah, Shango Baptist, etc. Since its violent introduction in the Caribbean islands, it has been the least understood and most feared religion of the New World—suppressed, out-lawed or ridiculed from Haiti to Hattiesburg. Yet with the exception of Zora Neale Hurston's accounts more than a half-century ago and a smattering of lurid, often racist paperbacks, studies of this potent West African theology have focused almost exclusively on Haiti, Cuba and the Caribbean basin. American Voudou turns our gaze back to American shores, principally towards the South, the most important and enduring stronghold of the voudou faith in America and site of its historic yet rarely recounted war with Christianity. This chronicle of Davis' determined search for the true legacy of voudou in America reveals a spirit-world from New Orleans to Miami which will shatter long-held stereotypes about the religion and its role in our culture. The real-life dramas of the practitioners, true believers and skeptics of the voudou world also offer a radically different entree into a half-hidden, half-mythical South, and by extension into an alternate soul of America. Readers interested in the dynamic relationships between religion and society, and in the choices made by people caught in the flux of conflict, will be heartened by this unique story of survival and even renaissance of what may have been the most persecuted religion in American history.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright Page
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  1. Contents
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  1. Preface / Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-xvii
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  1. Part One: The Street
  2. p. 1
  1. 1: Midnight Ritual
  2. pp. 3-16
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  1. 2: Looking for Lorita
  2. pp. 17-27
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  1. 3: The Gods and Their Ways
  2. pp. 28-38
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  1. 4: Countertop Voudou
  2. pp. 39-52
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  1. 5: Preacher to Priestess
  2. pp. 53-62
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  1. 6: Jesus Out of Africa
  2. pp. 63-71
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  1. Part Two: The Road
  2. p. 73
  1. 7: On the Hoodoo Trail
  2. pp. 75-88
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  1. 8: Spirit Wars
  2. pp. 89-99
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  1. 9: Two-Headed Men and Ghosts
  2. pp. 100-115
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  1. 10: Elvis and Dr. King
  2. pp. 116-136
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  1. 11: Kindred Spirits, Lingering Foes
  2. pp. 137-155
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  1. 12: Crossing the Line
  2. pp. 156-174
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  1. Part Three: The Way
  2. p. 175
  1. 13: Africa in America
  2. pp. 177-190
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  1. 14: The Day of the Living Dead
  2. pp. 191-206
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  1. 15: The King and His Court
  2. pp. 207-215
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  1. 16: Advice and Consent
  2. pp. 216-226
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  1. 17: Sacrifice
  2. pp. 227-241
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  1. 18: Exiles and Apostles
  2. pp. 242-254
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  1. 19: Santeria
  2. pp. 255-275
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  1. 20: Urban Herbs and Little Haiti
  2. pp. 276-298
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  1. 21: Orisha Anew
  2. pp. 299-312
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  1. 22: Amen
  2. pp. 313-318
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  1. Appendix I: Voudou in the Media
  2. pp. 319-346
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  1. Appendix II: The Revolution Denied
  2. pp. 347-361
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  1. Glossary of Voudou Terms
  2. pp. 363-369
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 371-380
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 381-392
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