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African or Christian?

I have been reading an article written by a grad student from UT who has done archeological work at African-American burial sites; the article focuses on the burial practice of leaving a shoe on the coffin. (I can hook anyone from class up with this article; just comment below. I also checked out some books from the UT library today, so feel free to ask me if you want to take a peak at those.) This article seems to really narrow in on the question of where the practice comes from, specifically presenting the dichotomy of Christian religious beliefs versus traditional African beliefs. This is a question that I hadn’t really considered before. To be honest, I had never before thought about the continuity between African Americans and Africans in any meaningful way. Now that I’ve read some literature that has brought that continuity into play, I am beginning to look at and acknowledge the cultural practices that people brought with them across the Middle Passage. I still think that it wouldn’t be accurate to view all or even a majority of modern African American culture as descending from African experience, but I am sure that as I delve into the literature more, it will come into play in surprising ways.

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