Voodoo – North American History
As referred to in many parts of West Africa, the Dahomean religion of voodoo means “spirit” or “deity” in the Fon language and it is described as a highly structured religious and magical system. Many people during those times also referred to voodoo as hoodoo which is the negative term used for voodoo. With duties, symbols, rituals, and faithful adherents, this system of voodoo is both complex and functional. Most people have a response of fear which is based on exaggerated negative views of the supernatural world of voodoo. On the lighter side a laughter response is often motivated by an ignorance that associates voodoo with mere superstition. Then there is respect, this comes from one’s knowledge that voodoo is a functional religious system from West Africa.
The word and system of voodoo arrived in North America when the first Africans landed in Jamestown in the year 1619 as slaves. The number of voodoo worshipers increased as more Africans arrived from Africa and through the West Indies. It is at that time when voodoo became entrenched in the North American colonies and later throughout the United States. There is no written record of the introduction of voodoo worship in Louisiana, but it is known that New Orleans is the birthplace of voodoo in North America. The Louisiana colony received ships full of slaves that came over directly from Africa as well as the French colonies of Martinique, Guadeloupe, and Santo Domingo. All three of these colonies were known to be the breeding grounds of voodooist. Hundreds of Haitian refugees settled in New Orleans after the Haitian Revolution of 1791, this reinforced voodoo in and around the New Orleans area many of them were voodoo cult leaders and adherents.
In many small cities and towns through the United States, remnants of African culture flourished in language patterns, vocabulary, and literature, techniques of storytelling, in folktales, in music, dancing forms, singing, and...