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Slave CultureNationalist Theory and the Foundations of Black America$
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Sterling Stuckey

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199931675

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199931675.001.0001

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Introduction: Slavery and the Circle of Culture

Introduction: Slavery and the Circle of Culture

(p.1) 1 Introduction: Slavery and the Circle of Culture
Slave Culture

Sterling Stuckey

Oxford University Press

This chapter lays out the organizing principle of slave culture in North America and underscores the centrality of the ancestral past to the African in America. The most important African ritual in slavery, the Ring Shout, is revealed in some detail. With the ring a symbol of unity and counter-clockwise dance and rhythm consciousness as common starting points, different ethnic groups on plantations of the South began moving toward unity almost before being aware of it. Children were especially drawn to the ring, helping to transmit the Shout over generations. African practices and values are related to specific academic disciplines to make slave behavior comprehensible. Slave art in the form of tales, music and dance are in dispensable to the analysis that establishes far more similarities between slave culture in the North and south than previously thought.

Keywords:   Ring Shout, Charlotte Forten, Pinkster Festival, Bur Rabbit, Harriet Powers, Tribalism, Dahomean, Bakongo, Akan, Ibo

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