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Missouri Hoodoo Archeology Artifacts Anthropology Documents

News stories and historical documents relating to the practice of conjure. Brought to you by our sister-site, Southern-Spirits.com
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Meisterlowin
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Missouri Hoodoo Archeology Artifacts Anthropology Documents

Unread post by Meisterlowin » Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:04 pm

I've been going through the forums for several days now and found them, as well as many of the related sites, very helpful and informative -- particularly http://southern-spirits.com which is a fantastic resource.

Anyway, I live in the mid-Missouri region and have been researching the Little Dixie area and any associated stories of conjure and hoodoo. For more info on what Little Dixie is, wikipedia has more here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Dixie_(Missouri)

I came across a few items and wanted to share them for whomever may be interested.

The first is an article about a local storyteller, Gladys Coggswell, who has been relating stories of local history and folklore for decades. There is only a small reference to hoodoo in the article on the 3rd page, second column; however, the references mentioned are worth further consideration, namely:

Blassingame, John W. The Slave Community: Plantation Life in the Antebellum South, revised edition. New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979.

The article about Coggswell can be found here: http://mofolkarts.missouri.edu/docs/cogswell.pdf

The second item I found is from an old newspaper and, primarily, speaks for itself. The full source document for citation purposes can be found here: http://statehistoricalsocietyofmissouri ... r3/id/3304

An excerpt of the pertinent article:
http://i954.photobucket.com/albums/ae21 ... 501969.jpg

Again, I don't know if this will be of interest and/or use to anyone other than myself but I thought I would pass it along anyway if only to have the obligatory post under my belt. Also, if anyone has any further info about where I might find further historical references to hoodoo in Missouri, I would be particularly grateful.

Stirling

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catherineyronwode
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Re: Hoodoo in Missouri

Unread post by catherineyronwode » Sun Aug 17, 2014 11:00 am

Thanks for this post. The material is of particular interest to those who are trying to bring down to earth the rather fabulous claims of those who have recently invented something called "Ozark Hoodoo," despite the fact that black controbutions to Missouri culture were regionally defined, and took place primarily in the South-eastern "Little Dixie" counties rathar than in the Ozarks.

The newspaper article about "Voodoo or the Fetish faith" is typical of its time. Such articles often, but not always, specifically refer to slaves who had been brought in illegally after the official end of slave importations. They are often embedded in a kind of literary trope or urban legend concerning the unpredictable "African" religious rites of these illegally-acquired foreign-born slaves in which the outcome is a murder. I am not saying that such murders did not occur -- of course they did, as documented in legal papers of the time -- but the cautionary side-story in these accounts was that illegally acquired "pure African" slaves were more dangerous to have around, in many ways, and for many reasons -- one reason being their adherence to the "Fetish religions" of Africa.

Thanks very much for the documentation.

How and when these African religious retentions evolved into hoodoo of the type i am documenting -- 20th century rural and urban black folk magic -- is a contested issue. Just as with the similarly contested issues of how much Germanic folk magic was admixed into Ashkenazi Jewish folk magic and how much Iberian folk magic was admixed into Sephardic Jewish folk magic during the Jewish diaspora in Europe, the question of "what in hoodoo is African?" is fraught with hotly argued issues of identity politics and academic special-pleading that render simple public discussion difficult. Thanks for helping bring the past to light.
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