Conjuring Moments in African American Literature: Women, by Kameelah L. Martin (auth.)

By Kameelah L. Martin (auth.)

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Extra info for Conjuring Moments in African American Literature: Women, Spirit Work, and Other Such Hoodoo

Sample text

Tituba and Marie Laveau are exceptional examples of conjure women garnering national recognition, but their lives also provide evidence that African Americans are born from a legacy of black mystic women that is traceable and knowable if we only know where to seek it. Their pasts demonstrate that history is always three or four layers deep and that the majority perspective does not speak to all audiences. By recalling the memory of these lives and translating them into a culturally specific way of knowing, one begins to unearth new connections between black women’s experience in a New World context and the characterizations of black women in literature.

Following the birth of Victor Pierre in 1853, Marie Eucharist is scarcely found in any reliable, documented records. Ward observes that Marie Eucharist was last seen publicly—and by publicly I assume her to mean outside of the free Creole community within the French Quarter where she resided—around 1873 based on a report in a local paper, The New Orleans Times: “Marie Laveau, the Voudou Queen, made her advent as a spectator yesterday in the lobby of the Criminal Court, and attracted special attention by her weird appearance.

1 which is adjacent to Congo Square—yet another place associated with her legendary life. “Marie Laveau II,” or Marie Eucharist, rumored to be the spitting image of her mother, was born February 2, 1827. Very little is known about her young life, probably because she was living in the shadow of her famous mother. At some point, however, lore dictates that she did rise to power among the New Orleans Voodoo society. 43 Unlike her mother, Marie Eucharist is not linked to the Catholic Church or charitable acts.

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