This chapter is an introduction to a book that examines the role of black magic and religion in the African American spirituality. It begins by defining magic and religion, and explains that, in some African American spiritual traditions, ideas about magical and religious practice can enclose identical experiences. The study examines a range of African American spiritual traditions such as Conjure, Hoodoo, and root working, and contrasts them with the official doctrines of institutionalized religion: Protestant Christianity. African Americans have resignified the supernatural practices as religion, and it can be concluded that African American religion is not always distinct from what others call magic. Instead, these are complementary categories, and they have historically exhibited complementary forms in African American culture.
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