Black legacy: America's hidden heritage by William Dillon Piersen

By William Dillon Piersen

Drawing on an enormous wealth of facts - folktales, oral histories, spiritual rituals, and tune - this publication explores the pervasive if frequently unacknowledged effect of African traditions on American existence. the result's a daring reinterpretation of yankee historical past that disrupts traditional assumptions and turns racial stereotypes within out. William D. Piersen starts by means of analyzing a chain of African and African-American oral narratives that interpret the adventure of slavery from a incredibly black standpoint. situated on problems with ethical fact, those stories undergo witness to the which means and human rate of the slave exchange as perceived through those that have been its sufferers. Piersen then analyzes the ways that enslaved Africans tailored their wealthy cultural historical past to the recent conditions they have been compelled to undergo. He indicates, for instance, how they imaginatively - and infrequently aggressively - devised types of public satire to withstand white authority. He strains the move of conventional African clinical wisdom to the Americas and demonstrates that during antebellum the US many black healers have been extra expert than their white opposite numbers. He additional indicates how African customs contributed to shaping the evolving contours of yank tradition - fairly within the South - from vacation celebrations, musical traditions, and architectural kinds to modes of speech, behavior of labor, and methods of cooking. The black legacy to the United States even prolonged, sarcastically, to the Ku Klux Klan, whose founders imitated covering traditions passed down from West African mystery societies. via reestablishing the forgotten cultural hyperlinks among Africa and the USA, this research enriches our knowing of yankee heritage and is a powerfultestament to the legacy of African tradition in American existence.

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There is one other reason for using comparative evidence. Too often, citizens of the United States think African-American culture is encompassed within a minority subsection of our national history. It would be wiser to recognize that African-American culture spans the Americas. Whereas European cultures split the Americas into Portuguese, Spanish, English, French, and Dutch influenced regions, the heritage of African cultures reunites them all into the wider realm of the African diaspora. Let us be truthful; recognition of this wider heritage reverses the concept of minority cultures, minority history.

The Hidden Heritage of Mardi Gras 121 7. The Mixed Bloodlines of the Early Ku Klux Klan 137 8. Mammy, Indeed! 156 Notes 191 Index 249 Page ix PREFACE An interesting artistic effect most of us have experienced is the way certain black and white designs can be made to contain two vastly different pictures, the observed pattern depending upon which color our mind perceives at a particular moment to be dominant. So it is with history; what the historian sees is influenced by what the historian believes is important.

The Aristocratic Heritage of Black America 74 5. "Duh Root Doctuh Wuz All We Needed" 99 Part III Nigger in the Woodpile 6. The Hidden Heritage of Mardi Gras 121 7. The Mixed Bloodlines of the Early Ku Klux Klan 137 8. Mammy, Indeed! 156 Notes 191 Index 249 Page ix PREFACE An interesting artistic effect most of us have experienced is the way certain black and white designs can be made to contain two vastly different pictures, the observed pattern depending upon which color our mind perceives at a particular moment to be dominant.

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