THEBLACK SAINTS GO MARCHING IN
TheBlack Saints Go Marching In
Fora long period, most scholars and researchers have turned a blind eyeto the contributions made by the Africans in the wider context of artand aesthetics in the United States of America. TheFlash of the Spirit byRobert Thompson clearly reveals how five different African countrieshave contributed to the existing cultures of the present worlddescendants. These five countries include Mande, Yoruba, Cross River,Ejagham and Kongo and how they have shaped the metaphysical, socialand aesthetic culture and how they are reflected in the black peoplein Cuba, America, Haiti, Brazil, Mexico and other many places in theNew World1.This paper will explore the various contributions of Yoruba to theNew World culture to support the argument that Africans have played asignificant role in shaping various cultures in most parts of theworld. These contributions range from textiles, music, sculpture,architecture, ideogrammatic writing and religion.
TheAfrican countries have shaped the culture of different parts of theNew World in the following ways. First, in Europe between the 12thand 13thcenturies when there was no comparable art in Europe, the mastersculptors of the Yoruba city were used in shaping the art which isevident from the Berlin Museum terra-cotta head2.Secondly, the people of Yoruba believed in the providence of God for‘ashe.’The avatars of ‘ashe’werefound in the Ibadan city in the year 1964 proving the adoption ofYoruba culture in this city. The Yoruba people influenced countriessuch as Cuba, Caribbean, Brazil and Haiti after being captured by theDahomeans as slaves where they still observed their cults and othertraditions. The Yoruba were introduced to the Roman Catholic Churchcult where they influenced many other slaves to join them in theirreligious culture. Eshu-Elegbawas an image where the Yoruba brought their sacrifices so as to sendEshuwhat he was to bring from God3. This made Eshu-Elegbaraa significant image for the black people in the Atlantic World to thepresent. Cuban blacks honor Eshu currently mostly in Rio de Janeirowhere candles are lit to request Eshuto give them the favors they need. The Yoruba surrounded their homeswith images of Eshuto guard them, and this tradition has been transferred fromCaribbean-New York-Miami where these images exist in hundreds.
Conclusively,this chapter of the Flash of the Spirit offers a measure of theachievement of the Africans traveling with their culture from theirhomeland to the larger New World. The Yoruba people in America, Cuba,Brazil, amongst others still conserve their culture even in their newhomes. This has resulted in other people from the countries theymigrated to adopting the Yoruba culture.
Thompson,Robert Farris. Flashof the spirit: African & Afro-American art & philosophy.Vintage, 1994.
1 Robert, Thompson Farris. Flash of the spirit: African & Afro-American art & philosophy. Vintage, 1994.
2 Ibid 4
3 Ibid 16