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African Spiritual Traditions, Survival and Continuity in North America

Affiliations with formal African spiritual traditions continue to increase in North America. This trend is attributed, in large part, to the initiation of the offspring of earlier converts who were reared in African spiritual traditions. However, at least three other factors have contributed to the increased interest in African spiritual traditions: (a) the civil rights movement and wave of Black nationalism that was awakened in the 1960s and 1970s, (b) the landmark 1993 Supreme Court decision rendered in Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. Hialeah, and (c) the immigration of traditional practitioners to the United States.

Historical Background

The routes by which African spiritual traditions reached North America are varied and circuitous. The most direct route was that traveled by captive ...

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