|, see Robert M. Baum, Shrines of the Slave Trade: Diola Religion and Society in Precolonial Senegambia (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), pp. 161-162.
84. In a Berbician flight tale set during slavery, Kramanti (Akan) slaves danced back-to-back during their pre-flight ring dancing. See Peter Kempadoo, "Recordings of Folklore, Drama and Music Made in Guyana, 1971-3," University Library, University of Guyana, 1974, K104: “You see when they want to fly, they mark a circle, and they [stand] back to back. And soon as they back-to-back, they use the leg, and they use the [hands?], and they gone!”
85. See Schuler
, pp. 89, 91 92 for returnees from Jamaica, and "Liberated Africans," pp. 12, 21 n. 83 and "Kru Emigration," pp. 172, 179 for returnees from Guyana. It is possible that emancipados
from Brazil were also repatriated from Guyana. Among those who returned in a chartered ship was the Yoruba Davis family. A son, who later changed his name to Orishatukeh Faduma (1857-1946), became prominent as a Pan-Africanist in Sierra Leone and North America. See Rina L. Okonkwo, "Orishatukeh Faduma: A Man of Two Worlds," Journal of Negro History
, 68 (1983): 24-36, and Moses E. Moore, Orishatukeh Faduma: Liberal Theology and Evangelical Pan-Africanism, 1857-1946
(Lanham, MD: The American Theological Library Association and the Scarecrow Press
, 1996). The Fadumas had been captured at sea and taken directly to Guyana, bypassing Sierra Leone. Ship charters, while not common, also occurred elsewhere in the hemisphere. Africans from Brazil and Cuba were returning to West and Central Africa at the same time. See Lisa A. Lindsay, “‘To Return to the Bosom of their Fatherland’” Brazilian Immigrants in Nineteenth-Century Lagos,” Slavery and Abolition
, 15, 1(April 1994): 24-26, for African-Brazilian charters to Lagos and Badagry (Nigeria) in the nineteenth century; Robin Law and Kristin Mann, “West Africa in the Atlantic Community: The Case of the Slave Coast,” William and Mary Quarterly
Series, LVI, 2(April 1999): 307-333; Karasch, Slave Life
, pp. 320-324; Jerry Michael Turner, “Les Brésiliens: The Impact of Former Brazilian Slaves upon Dahomey,” Ph.D. dissertation, Boston University, 1975; Rodolfo Sarracino, Los Que Volvieron
(Havana: Editorial de Ciencas Sociales, 1988). My thanks to Maureen Warner-Lewis for the gift of this book.
86. See, for example, Pier M. Larson, “Reconsidering Trauma, Identity, and the African Diaspora: Enslavement and Historical Memory in Nineteenth-Century Highland Madagascar
,” William and Mary Quarterly
Series, LVI, 2 (April 1999): 337-362; McDaniel, Big Drum Ritual
; Guss, “Hidden Histories,” 161-172; Rosalind Shaw, “The Production of Witchcraft/Witchcraft as Production: Memory, Modernity and the Slave Trade in Sierra Leone,” American Ethnologist
, 24, 4 (1997): 856-876; Baum, Shrines of the Slave Trade
, pp. 108-163; Peel, " Missionary Narratives," pp. 581-607; Judy Rosenthal, Possession, Ecstasy, & Law in Ewe Voodoo
(Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1998), p. 27; Graeber, “Painful Memories,”
374-400; Luise White, “Vampire Priests of Central Africa: African Debates About Labor and Religion in Colonial Northern Zambia,” Comparative Studies in Society and History
35, 4 (October 1993): 760-764, 767, 770-771. Parallels with Gomez, Exchanging Our Country Marks
, pp. 199-219 discussion of red cloth stories are apparent.
87. See Jan Vansina
, Oral Tradition as History
(Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1989), pp. 10-11, 21-22, 89-90, 126, 139-146; MacGaffey, “Oral Tradition
,” International Journal of African Historical Studies
, 7, 3(1975): 417-424; MacGaffey, Custom and Government in the Lower Congo
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1970), pp. 17-35; McGaffey, Religion and Society
, pp. 58-61, 195; Joseph Miller, ed. The African Past Speaks
(Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, 1980), esp. 7-8, 33-52.
88. The other world is Mpemba
(Diola of southern Senegal), ro-seron
, a tripartite realm of spirits, ancestors and witches known as ro-soki
, ro-kerfi, and ro-seron
(Temne), and Teme
(Kalabari of the eastern Niger River Delta). The other world’s fabulous wealth, to which humans with occult powers can gain access, is usually associated with water spirits. These named rivers are nevertheless “nongeographical.” See MacGaffey, “Oral Tradition,” 417-421; MacGaffey, Religion and Society
, pp. 42, 57, 62;
Baum, Shrines of the Slave Trade
, p. 72; Robin Horton, Patterns of Thought in Africa and the West
(New York: Cambridge, 1993; 1997), pp. 25, 38, 217-219; p. 203; Robin Horton, “The Kalabari World View: An Outline and Interpretation,” Africa
, 32, 3(July 1962): 199-203; Shaw, “Production of Witchcraft, pp. 856-857, and “Splitting Truths from Darkness: Epistemological Aspects of Temne Divination,” in African Divination Systems: Ways of Knowing
, ed. Philip M. Peek, p. 143 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991). See also R. S. Rattray, Ashanti
. 1923; reprint ed. (New York: Negro Universities Press,1969), pp. 199-200; C. N. Ubah, “The Supreme Being, Divinities and Ancestors in Igbo Traditional Religion: Evidence from Otanchira and Otanzu,” Africa
, 52, 2(1982): 91, 96; Elisha P. Renne, "Water, Spirits, and Plain White Cloth: the Ambiguity of Things in Bunu Social Life," Man
n.s. 26, 4 (December 1991): 709-722; Ivor Wilks, Forests of Gold
(Athens: Ohio University Press
, 1993), pp. 232-234, A. B. Ellis, The Ewe-Speaking Peoples of the Slave Coast of West Africa
(1890; reprint ed., Oosterhout, Netherlands: Anthropological Publications, 1970), p. 108; Rosenthal, Possession, Ecstasy, & Law
, pp. 27, 252-3 n. 1 and 252, n. 5. The Yoruba cosmic symbol is a “calabash of the world” (iba
). The lower half of the calabash is said to contain aye
, the earth, the visible world of the living; the top to contain heaven (orun
), heaven, the invisible realm of gods and goddesses, spirits and ancestors; and the place where the upper and lower halves meet is the threshold between the two realms, approximating Kalunga in the BaKongo cosmogram. See Henry Drewal, Pemberton, Abiodun and Wardwell, eds. Yoruba: Nine Centuries of African Art and Thought
, pp. 14 15. For Fon (Dahomey) and Haitian cosmologies, see Leslie G. Desmangles, The Faces of the Gods: Vodou and Roman Catholicism in Haiti
(Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1992), pp. 100-108.
89. See, for example, three West African
, a North American and a Cuban case: Olaudah Equiano, "The Early Travels of Olaudah Equiano," in Africa Remembered
, ed. Philip D. Curtin, p. 97 (Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1969), p. 96; “Letter of Mr. Samuel Crowther to the Rev. William Jowett, in 1837. . . . Detailing the Circumstances of His Being Sold as a Slave,” in Journals of the Rev. James Frederick Schon and Mr. Samuel Ajayi Crowther
(1842; London: Frank Cass and Co., Ltd., 1970), pp. 379-380, 382. The attempt at a “radical reading” of the “African voice” (“in Yoruba cosmological terms”) in Crowther’s enslavement narrative made by Andrew Apter, Black Critics and Kings: The Hermeneutics of Power in Yoruba Society
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 195-200, did not consider this river-crossing passage, possibly because it was not “critical” like the passage concerning Europeans as cannibals. But Yoruba would have grasped the deeper meaning of his dread at crossing the river to a “new world.” See, for instance, the narratives of Thomas King and James White, Yoruba liberated slavery, quoted in J. D. Y. Peel, "For Who Hath Despised the Day of Small Things? Missionary Narratives and Historical Anthropology," Comparative Studies in Society and History
, 37, 3 (1995): 594. William D. Piersen, Black Legacy: America’s Hidden Heritage
(Amherst, Mass.: University of Massachusetts Press, 1993), pp. 36-37;
Estaban Montejo, The Autobiography of a Runaway Slave
, ed. Miguel Barnet (1968; New York: Random House Vintage Books, 1973), p. 16; Rosenthal, Possession, Ecstasy, & Law
, pp. 27, 252-3 n. 1 and 252, n. 5.
90. Personal communication. See Gibson’s Cinema Guild video, “a Celebration of Life,” which deals in part with Kongo rites in contemporary Guyana. The idea of Guyana as both a hydraulic environment and a hydraulic society is derived from pp. Gert Osstindie and Alex van Stipriaan, “Slavery and Slave Cultures in a Hydraulic Society: Suriname,” in Slave Cultures and the Cultures of Slavery, ed. Stephan Palmié, pp. 79-96 (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press). However, the authors appear unfamiliar with the African cosmology behind the religious significance of water that they detect in Suriname.
91. See Vincent Roth, Tales of the Trails (Georgetown: The Daily Chronicle, Ltd., n.d.), pp. 77-79. Roth’s association of Komfo with the Kongo confirms Kean Gibson’s contention that it is a Kongo, not an Akan observance as earlier scholars believe. I am indebted to Gibson for this information.
92. James Fernandez, Bwiti: An Ethnography of the Religious Imagination in Africa (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1982), pp. 491-493.
93. MacGaffey, Religion and Society
, p. 81, and MacGaffey, “Kongo and the King of the Americans
,” Journal of Modern African Studies
, 6 (1968): 181. Cloth was also used as currency. In Kongo, for instance, libongo
was a standard-size piece of cloth used as money. See Thornton, Kongolese St. Anthony
, p. 83. For associations of slaves with underwater weaving, see John H. Weeks, Among the Primitive Bakongo
(1914; reprint edition, New York: Negro Universities Press, 1969), pp. 294-295; Wyatt MacGaffey, “Kongo and the King of the Americans,” Journal of Modern African Studies
, 6 (1968): 18. The section of the Temne other world called the Place of Witches (ro-seron
) is the realm that most resembles the consumer paradise associated by the Kalabari with the Water People and the Kongo with Mputu or America. Temne ro-seron
has for sale such items as luxury automobiles and electronic goods, cooked human flesh and clothing that disguises humans as predatory animals. Here “witch airports dispatch witch planes . . . so fast . . . that ‘they can fly to London and back within an hour’ – to destinations all around the globe.” See Shaw, “Production of Witchcraft,” 856-857, 869-870. Compare with the association of railroad stations, trains or planes with physical or symbolic death in the paintings of Tshibumba Kanda Matulu and other Congolese artists in Johannes Fabian, Remembering the Present: Painting and Popular History in Zaire
, Narrative and Paintings by Tshibumba Kanda Matulu (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996), pp. 87, 98, 109, 111, 123, 127-131, 203; and in prophetic Kongolese dreams where witches teach a dreamer how to fly an airplane or use a video camera
, see Simon Bockie, Death and the Invisible Powers: The World of Kongo Belief
(Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993, pp. 52-53. See also articles in Comoroff and Comoroff, eds. Modernity and Its Malcontents
. Guyanese and West Indians associate treasure with European graves. See Brackette Williams, "Dutchman Ghosts and the History Mystery: Ritual, Colonizer, and Colonized: Interpretations of the 1763 Berbice Slave Rebellion," Journal of Historical Sociology
, 3, 3 (June 1990): 133-165, especially 144-145. See also Judith Roback, "The White-Robed Army: Cultural Nationalism and a Guyanese Religious Movement in Guyana," Ph.D. dissertation, McGill University, Montreal, 1973, p. 103; Elliott Skinner, "Ethnic Interaction," p. 257. A similar myth substituting Spaniards for Dutchmen circulates in Trinidad where Spanish spirits are also believed to live in silk-cotton trees beneath which they were believed to bury their treasure. See Arthur and Juanita Niehoff, East Indians in the West Indies
(Milwaukee: Olsen Publishing Company
, 1960), pp. 160-161. Compare with buried treasure in the American South in Georgia Writers’ Project, Drums and Shadows: Survival Studies Among the Georgia Coastal Negroes
(Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 1940, 1986), pp. 15, 41, 97, 124, and in Kongo in Thornton, Kongolese Saint Anthony
, pp. 159, 160-161.
94. Mavis Morrison, Annandale, East Coast Demerara, April 7, 1985.
95. See Hollis R. Lynch, Edward Wilmot Blyden Pan Negro Patriot 1832-1912 (Oxford University Press, 1967)
, pp. 191-247, Patrick Bryan, The Jamaican People, 1880-1902
(London: MacMillan Caribbean, 1991), pp. 239-263, and Bryan, "Black Perspectives in Late Nineteenth Century Jamaica: The Case of Dr. Theophilus E. S. Scholes," in Garvey: His Work and Impact
, ed. Rupert Lewis and Patrick Bryan, pp. 47-63, especially pp. 51-53 (Trenton, N.J.: Africa World Press, 1982); Leo Spitzer, The Creoles of Sierra Leone: Responses to Colonialism, 1870-1945
(Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1974), pp. 117, 121-138, 159-169, 171-179. On Ethiopianism as a pan African phenomenon see George Shepperson, "Ethiopianism, Past and Present
," in Christianity and Tropical Africa
, ed. C.G. Baeta (Oxford, 1968); M. G. Smith, Roy Augier and Rex Nettleford, The Rastafari Movement in Kingston, Jamaica
(1960; reprint ed. Mona: Institute of Social and Economic Research, 1968), pp. 14 16, 19 20, 101; Leonard E. Barrett, The Rastafarians: A Study in Messianic Prophecy
(Rio Pedras: Institute of Caribbean Studies, University of Puerto Rico, 1969), pp. 109, 128 136; Chevannes, Rastafari
, pp. 34-41; Jeremiah Moses Wilson, Afrotopia: The Roots of African American Popular History
(New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998); Classical Black Nationalism from the American Revolution to Marcus Garvey
(New York: New York University Press, 1996); Wilson Jeremiah Moses, The Golden Age of Black Nationalism, 1850-1925
(Hamden, CT: Archon Books, 1978); Elias Farajajé-Jones, In Search of Zion: The Spiritual Significance of Africa in Black Religious Movements
(Bern: Peter Lang, 1990); Tony Martin
, Race First
(1976; Dover, Mass.: Majority Press, 1986); Gomez, Exchanging Our Country Marks
, pp. 218-219, 267, 277.
96. See Francis Barker, Peter Hulme, Margaret Iverson, eds., Cannibalism and the Colonial World
(New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998) and William Arens, The Man-Eating Myth: Anthropology and Anthropophagy
(New York: Oxford University Press, 1979) for discussions of the construction of cannibalism. See Bogumil Jewsiewicki and Mumbanza Mwa Bawele, "The Social Context of Slavery in Equatorial Africa during the 19th and 20th Centuries," in The Ideology of Slavery in Africa
, ed. Paul E. Lovejoy, pp. 75-76 (Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, 1981); Miller, Way of Death
, pp. 32, 147-149, 157-158 for descriptions of alleged Central African cannibalism. Practices which might have encouraged the association of witchcraft with commerce and exportation of slaves were rotating credit or financial associations such as the Kongo Kitemo
, the Cameroonian Ekong
association of chiefs and wealthy businessmen, the Lemba association
, and Temne esusu
, the use of protective shrines by merchants associated with slave trading and Central Congo basin sacrifices of slaves to expiate ritual offences or to mark important political decrees. See MacGaffey, Janzen, de Rosny and Shaw references below. Central African beliefs about witchcraft are discussed in MacGaffey, Religion and Society,
pp. 162-174; Vansina, Paths in the Rainforests
, pp. 96-98; and Comaroff and Comaroff, eds., Modernity and Its Malcontents
, Introduction, pp. xxv xxvi and selected articles. Central African fears of cannibalism are described in Miller, Way of Death
, pp. 4 5, 389, 409-410, 413-414, 425-426; Harms, River of Wealth
, pp. 31, 198-210, 240 n. 15; MacGaffey, “Kongo and the King of the Americans,” pp. 174-177; Thornton, Africa and Africans
, pp. 161, 316; Thornton, Kongolese St. Anthony
, p. 206. See modern Congolese artists’ representations of nineteenth century slave-trading chief Ngongo Leteta (1856-1893) as a cannibal and European colonizers as butchers in Fabian, Remembering the Present,
pp. 32, 49-50, 202, 298-305; Piersen, "White Cannibals,” 147 159; Piersen, Black Legacy
, pp. 5-12, 35-42; Eric de Rosny
, Healers in the Night
(Maryknoll, N. Y.: Orbis Books, 1985), 60-63, 278 n. 24; John Janzen, Lemba, 1650-1930: A Drum of Affliction in Africa and the New World
(New York, 1982).
For West Africa, see Shaw, “Production of Witchcraft, 856-876, especially 859, 863-864, 867, 868; Hair, “Heretics, Slaves, and Witches,” 137; Baum, Shrines of the Slave Trade, pp. 115-125, 138-140, 161-162, 221 n.6; K. Onwuka Dike and Felicia Ekejiuba, The Aro of South-eastern Nigeria, 1650-1980 (Ibadan: University Press, 1990); E. J. Alagoa, "The Niger Delta and Their Neighbours to c. 1800," in The History of West Africa, ed. Michael Crowder and J. F. Ade Ajayi, pp. 406-408 (3rd ed., New York: Longman, 1985); and Alagoa, "The Slave Trade in Niger Delta Oral Tradition and History," in Africans in Bondage, ed. Paul Lovejoy, p. 127 (Madison: University of Wisconsin, 1986); Captain William Snelgrave, A New Account of Some Parts of Guinea and the Slave Trade. 1734; reprint ed., 1971 (London: Frank Cass and Co., Ltd., 1971), pp. 162-163, 172; "Letter of Mr. Samuel Crowther,” p. 382, in Journals; "The Early Travels of Olaudah Equiano," pp. 92-97; Quobna Ottobah Cugoano, Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil of Slavery, ed. Vincent Carretta 1787; (New York: Penguin Books, 1999), pp. 13-14; Selena Axelrod Winsnes, ed., Letters on West Africa and the Slave Trade: Paul Erdmann Isert’s Journey to Guinea and the Caribbean Islands in Columbia (1788) (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), p.175-177.
Many cases of maritime slave revolt or suicide were attributed to fears of European cannibalism. See, for instance, Winsnes and Pierson references above; Gwendolen Midlo Hall, Africans in Colonial Louisiana: The Development of Afro-Creole Culture in the Eighteenth Century
(Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1992), pp. 90-91; and Postma Dutch in the Atlantic Slave Trade
, p. 165.
97. R. G. Butts, the Guyanese labor recruiter who related the tale of red coats and boiled heads, secured immigrants only when the governor of Sierra Leone held recaptives from a Spanish slaver incommunicado to all except labor recruiters. See No. 200, Henry Light to Lord Stanley, enclosing R. G. Butts to Young 23 July 7 August 1844, CO 111/213; No.57, Light to Stanley enclosing Butts to Young 13 March 1845, CO 111/221. See Schuler, Alas, pp. 25-26 for Sierra Leone recaptives' reluctance to emigrate and pp. 28, and 134 n.74 for 1843 St. Helena emigrants' fears of being eaten.
98. See White, “Vampire Priests of Central Africa,” pp. 760-764, 767, 770-771, for discussions of colonial Central African associations of Roman Catholic missionaries with vampirism.
99. See notes 88, 91, 92. See Fernandez, Bwiti
, 1982, pp. 491-493. See MacGaffey, “Oral Tradition,” pp. 418-421, MacGaffey, Religion and Society
, pp. 14, 234, and MacGaffey “Kongo and the King of the Americans,” pp. 176, 178 for the initiatory sojourn of Central African chiefs and magicians among the dead underwater or in caves, and a prophet’s and a friend’s “resurrection” after three days. See Mbundu and Haitian folktales printed in Harold Courlander, A Treasury of Afro-American Folklore
(1976; reprint ed. New York: Smithmark, 1996), pp. 62-63, 577-579. See Paula Girshick Ben Amos, “The Promise of Greatness: Women and Power in an Edo Spirit Possession Cult,” in Religion in Africa
, ed. Thomas D. Blakeley, Walter E. A. van Beek and Dennis Tompson, p. 125 (Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann, 1994), for Benin priests’ and priestesses’ visits underwater. In Haiti
, where Agwe, the god of the sea, is believed to reside in the land of the dead and the gods, an undersea island called Vilokan, associated with Africa or Ginen is the destination of similar underwater visits by priests and priestesses, according to Alfred Métraux, Voodoo in Haiti
(New York: Schocken Books, 1972),
pp. 63, 104. See Karen McCarthy Brown, “Systematic Remembering, Systematic Forgetting,” in Africa’s Ogun: Old World and New
, ed. Sandra T. Barnes, p. 67 (Bloomington: Indiana
University Press, 1989; Desmangles, The Faces of the Gods: Vodou and Roman Catholicism in Haiti
(Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1992), pp. 104-105, 106, 154-159; Métraux, Voodoo
, p. 164; and excerpt from Maya Deren, Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti
(London: Thames and Hudson, 1953), in Courlander, Treasury
, pp. 32-35, for Agwe and Vilokan. Compare with Brazil in Joseph Murphy, Working the Spirit
(Boston: Beacon, 1994), p. 79. Compare with David Graeber, “Painful Memories.” Journal of Religion in Africa
27, 4 (1997): 387 for the nineteenth century Malagasy slave and spirit medium Ranoro who claimed to have lived three days with the water spirits. MacGaffey’s, Courlander’s, Métraux’ and Graeber’s accounts measure the length of the underwater stay in threes, either three days or three years. See Metraux, Voodoo
, pp. 258-259. When Vodun devotees die, they supposedly spend at least a year and a day at the bottom of a lake or river, according to Desmangles, Faces of the Gods
, pp. 73, 75, 80-85.
100. See L. Peytraud, L'esclavage aux Antilles françaises avant 1789, d’aprè s des documents inédits des archives coloniales (Paris, 1897), p. 372.
101. Tony Martin, Race First (Dover, Mass.: The Majority Press, 1986), p. 164. In the African diaspora, many religio-political leaders and their followers conceive of leadership in terms similar to those described for Central African chiefs and “big men” by MacGaffey, Religion and Society, pp. 175-178, MacGaffey, “The Religious Commissions of the BaKongo,” Man, n.s., 5, 1(1970): 27-38, and Vansina, Paths in the Rainforests, pp. 73-74; Harms, River of Wealth, pp. 30-32; Vansina, Tio Kingdom, p. 277. Although no connection is suggested, it is useful to compare the idealization of the Kongo King and the Kingdom after its abandonment in 1776 with the idealization of Africa and Haile Selassie by diaspora peoples. MacGaffey, for instance, describes Kongo as “primarily a religious idea. . . . the perfect kingdom to which the BaKongo hope to return, a place of peace and prosperity where . . . a benevolent king protects his subjects from all evil and settles all disputes.” See Wyatt MacGaffey, Custom and Government in the Lower Congo (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1970), pp. 17-35; MacGaffey, “Oral Tradition,” pp. 420-422; Anne Hilton, The Kingdom of Kongo (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985), pp. 179, 198, 199-210, 218-223; Thornton, Kongolese Saint Anthony