African Culture Essay Research Paper Continuing Tradition

African Culture Essay, Research Paper

Continuing Tradition, The Struggle For African Culture In America

African-Americans as they are now known as, were originally pulled from their

homelands, disconnecting them from all that they once knew. One way to remember

their ancestors and the ways that they were brought up was to keep their culture

alive in this new land. It freed them from the daily torture from their masters,

healed them from their ailments, as well as entertained themselves and the white

families. African-Americans kept folktales, music, religion, and various

spiritual practices alive while they were indentured here in the new lands.

Their African traditions gave them self-respect, hope, and a sense of community

in their solitude (AP, 346). For almost two and a half centuries

Africans-Americans were in servitude to their white oppressors. During this

period, African cultures were slowly mixed with the English traditions, forming

something new and distinctive (RTAP, 142). Many religious songs are still heard

in black churches today, and various customs are still practiced (RTAP, 152).

Even English-American traditions changed and adapted slightly to African

cultural traditions. Many slaves would entertain their owner?s children with

folktales and songs, often white folklorists would come and record the evenings

festivities (RTAP, 146). Famous children?s games such as ?Ring Around The

Rosie? originated from African games (RTAP, 152). Most of these folklores and

songs have been found to originate from Africa (RTAP, 146). Much folklore told

both in Africa and America, had the same purposes: entertainment, prevention of

youth promiscuity, teaching cooperation values, and the behavior of animals.

Countless tales helped slaves cope with bondage, using characters to outwit

their masters and free themselves from servitude (RTAP, 148). Br?er Rabbit was

one such character (RTAP, 162), he tricked his enemy into throwing into the

briar patch, ?The place where I was born?, he would say (AP, 352). But the

briar patch was filled with thorns and roots, was this a reference to Africa or

to slavery in America or neither?

The slave practice of teaching songs and folklore remained an oral tradition

for many years, due to the ban on educating blacks (RTAP, 149). Some slave

children were fortunate in the chance of being educated. Many slave owner?s

children would come home from their daily lessons and teach the slave children

to read and write, while hiding in a remote part of the forest. Many slave

owners thought that if they taught the slaves to read and write then the slaves

would learn to think for themselves and maybe even rebel (RTAP, 163).

Overall, without slavery and African traditions, America would be a dull

replica of Europe. America altered food, music, religion, sexual restraint, and

literature through learning the African culture. Slaves helped American settlers

develop their own traditions and sense of independence (RTAP, 158).

From: "Retreiving The American Past"



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