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Black MagicReligion and the African American Conjuring Tradition$
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Yvonne Chireau

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780520209879

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520209879.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 04 December 2021

“Medical Doctors Can't Do You No Good”

“Medical Doctors Can't Do You No Good”

Conjure and African American Traditions of Healing

(p.91) CHAPTER 4 “Medical Doctors Can't Do You No Good”
Black Magic

Yvonne P. Chireau

University of California Press

This chapter explores the relationship between African American supernaturalism and healing. Ever since the slavery period, black people in the United States have retained distinctive ideas and practices concerning sickness, its causes, and cures. African Americans viewed healing as an integral part of the ongoing struggle of good against the evil that plagued humankind, and, using a language of invisible causes, articulated health concerns by incorporating spiritual healing practices and beliefs into their therapies. Their supernatural healing practices were developed, as they lacked the access to formally trained medical practitioners, contempt of black patients by white physicians, and distrust of white doctors among blacks. In general, healing with herbs, roots, and other organic substances was implemented for common physical ailments, but supernatural healing and rituals were utilized for illnesses that were not responsive to other methods. Two religious groups, the black Pentecostals and the black Spiritual churches, also promoted ritual healing, actively conjoining supernaturalism and Christian piety in African American religious life.

Keywords:   supernaturalism, ritual healing, African Americans, traditional therapies, United States

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