Burning with a Flame in America ": African American Women in African-Derived Traditions

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JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. While collecting ethnographic data in New Orleans in the 1930s, anthro pologist Zora Neale Hurston, who was researching southern, African American religion and folklore, asked Mrs. Rachel Silas where she could find a good "hoodoo doctor." Mrs. Silas immediately eschewed any knowledge of, connec tion to, or belief in the African-derived practice of hoodoo. As Hurston tried to reassure her of the potency and efficacy of hoodoo and the healing and help ful effects of its work, Mrs. Silas gradually relaxed her cautious disposition. Like Hurston, Mrs. Silas was familiar with the unbelievable accounts of hoodoo, remarking, "Oh it kin be done, honey, no effs and ands 'bout de thing. There's things that kin be done."' A nearby African American woman, Mrs. Viney White, quickly chimed in and explained the ways in which she employed hoodoo as a means of protection, informing Hurston of the "Big John de Con

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  • TRacey E. Hucks

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