Haitian-American couple write of how Africans in the Americas kept faith with their ancestors

FT. LAUDERDALE – A large segment of the population of the Americas is of African descent. As a result, African culture is an essential component of the art, music, philosophy, religion, and science that emerged in this part of the world.

For one to appreciate the American Cultural Heritage, it is crucial that one understands African Traditional Beliefs known in Haiti as Vodou. The honoring of Ancestors in Vodou kept alive memories of West Africa and of its heroes and heroines like Queen Nzinga (Larèn Kongo)
of Angola, Don Petwo of the Kongo, and Kadya Bosou of Dahomey-present day Benin.

Vodou provides a window for understanding Africa, Haiti, and the Americas. Vodou’s influence is ubiquitous. It is in the multi-rhythmic arrangement of our popular music and in the call and response pattern of its lyrics. It is in how Americans describe a person with desirable qualities as cool. Cool is the personification of Legba, the ancestor who was viewed by African-Americans as the old man at the crossroad who taught musicians the great art of jazz, a cool music.

Authors Jerry M. Gilles and Yvrose S. Gilles of www.bookmanlit.com will engage the public in a discussion of their book: Remembrance: Roots, Rituals and Reverence in Vodou. They will also discuss how traditional African writing like Adinkra and Nsibidi are linked to the Haitian spiritual writing called Vèvè.

Jerry M. Gilles, MD, is Associate Professor of Obstetrics at the University of Miami. Yvrose S. Gilles, MA, is a teacher and former curriculum writer for the Board of Education of the City of New York.

Book Signing

The Broward County Public Library Outreach Services invites the community to this book signing event in honor of Haitian Heritage Month on Saturday, May 23 at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center located at
2650 Sistrunk Boulevard (N.W. 6th Street) from 3-4:30pm.

Related Articles

Back to top button