Religion in slave communities

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What religious practices did the slaves adopt?

  • Obeah-had strong African roots, feared by owners, those who practiced it powerful in communities, believed it could ward off evil, gave a sense of collective identity, Obeah common feature of plantation, made good profit selling charms and incantations.
  • Myalism-Myal men believed they were in direct contact with spirits, also very prominent figures in community, rituals performed near trees, ceremony loud with lots of dancing and drums, spirit took control of Myal men and then their followers, thought of slave owners as evil spirits, anti-sorcery wanting to ward off evil through social strength of slaves.
  • Christianity-Slave owners chose not to convert slaves earlier as it was feared baptism would give a sense of freedom and equality, Missionaries started to have a larger impact mid 18th century, Missionaries faced difficulties such as sexual freedom and polygamy, 1792…


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