The other side of “otherness”

26 05 2009


The racial politics of American folk healing and other notes

Anthony Cavender has a brief section in his book, Folk Medicine in Southern Appalachia on the role of African-Americans in the development of American folk healing. (I will do a broader post on the rest of the book later.) As usual, the American black was considered by the white populace of being a practitioner of witchcraft, and able to be manipulated by superstitions. (Gladys-Marie Fry shows some of this in her book, Night Riders in Black Folk History, which is on my reading list.) Even though the black populace was (and to an extent still is) very much Christian, white Christians always suspected them of not having given up their “pagan ways”, and the white press was always keen to talk about the “voodoo” and “hoodoo” of the black minority at every possible turn.
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