How did enslaved African Americans hold on to their African customs?
Through song, stories and beliefs.
Slaves were unable to take objects with them but they could tell stories and sing songs. They could hold on to their spiritual beliefs.
These were all ways to deal with the trauma of their experiences and pass on beliefs.
Songs were often used as part of a work process like pulling together to move large objects. Slaves used field shouts and hollers to create rhythms in work and to encourage others. These call and response type songs continued on to be part of the development of Blues music.
The Brer Rabbit stories of Uncle Remus had their roots in African mythology brought over by the Slaves. Although there has been a modern day backlash against the mainstreaming of this part black culture.
Voodoo is a fusion of African and New World influences. Voodoo gave a continuity to African spiritual beliefs and mixed it with spirituality they found in the New World.
These songs, stories and beliefs would be all that the slaves could hold on to of their former lives. This would be a cultural presence to pass on to children. Songs, stories and beliefs would help distract from hardships and encourage moral behavior.
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