Festival in Atlanta Celebrates Ancient African Religion

June 7, 2001

Source: The Atlanta Journal and Constitution

On June 7, 2001, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution reported on "the Ifa Festival of Ile Ife, a three-day celebration of dance, drumming, spirituality and culture" which will be held at the Ifa Orisha Cultural Center/ African Shrine in Atlanta. Nigerian Bolu Fatunmise, the leader of the center, "is bringing to [participants in the celebration] the religion and teachings of Ifa (EE-fay) -- a religion built around a reverence for ancestors and spiritual beings known as orisha. The religion originated with the...

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Members of Ifism Face Charges After Sacrificing Pig

February 27, 2001

Source: New York Daily News

On February 27, 2001, the New York Daily News reported that "six members of a religion that routinely practices animal sacrifice face animal cruelty charges for slaughtering a pig late Sunday at the East Islip Marina... Police said the suspects are members of Ifism, which they believe may be an offshoot of Santeria. The Santeria religion,...

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New Jersey Exhibition on West African Deity

February 25, 2001

Source: The New York Times

On February 25, 2001, The New York Times reported that "an exhibition about Shango, 'Faces of Worship: A Yoruba God in Two Worlds' will open at the Newark Museum today." Shango is "a deity of the Yoruba people in West Africa. The religion was brought to the Americas by West Africans sold into slavery," and is now called Santeria.

Health Risks May Be Associated with use of Mercury in Religious Practice

February 18, 2001

Source: The New York Times Magazine

On February 18, 2001, The New York Times Magazine reported that "comparatively minor sources of mercury contamination in New York's harbor may be a result of local spiritual and cultural practices...Thirty-five New York-area botanicas, or stores offering herbal products and religious items used in the Afro-Caribbean and Latin American traditions of Santeria, voodoo and Espiritismo, as well as revised Wiccan practices, reported selling 100 to 300 capsules per day."

Project Explores Healing and African-descended Spirituality

January 28, 2001


On January 28, 2001, reported on "a groundbreaking $750,000 research venture called the Boston Healing Landscape Project. Funded by the Ford Foundation...and implemented by the Department of Pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine, the project's main focus will be examining communities of African descent in the Boston area and exploring how people use alternative and...

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Thousands Practice the Religion of Their African Ancestors in Secret

January 1, 2001

Source: Essence

In January, 2001, Essence published an article by Marta Moreno Vega on her grandmother (abuela), who was one of the thousands born to generations of Africans in the Americas who practice Espiritismo in secret. These African-Americans hide "their beliefs behind images of the captors' religions, masking their orishas [the African gods and goddesses of creation] with the faces of their enslavers' saints. For this reason," Vega writes, "my ancestors' religion came to be known as Santeria, the Way of the Saints." Vega was intrigued by her abuela'...

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Interview of Kwanzaa Founder

December 26, 2000

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

On December 26, 2000, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published its interview of Maulana Karenga, the black nationalist and professor of black studies at California State University in Long Beach who started Kwanzaa in 1966. "Rooted in East African harvest festivals," Kwanzaa is "a festival of music, drama, dance, readings and mask-making" that is observed from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1. Each day focuses on one of the nguzo saba, the seven principles of living: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility,...

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Kwanzaa Celebration Emphasizes Community Unity And Sense Of Self

December 23, 2000

Source: Omaha World-Herald

On December 23, 2000, the Omaha World-Herald reported that the Rev. Larry Menyweather-Woods of Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church and his congregation are expecting roughly 200 people at this year's Kwanzaa celebration. "The weeklong observance will focus on 'positive reaffirmation, information, inspiration and fellowship,' Menyweather-Woods said. Each of the seven principles of Kwanzaa (unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith) is represented by a...

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Kwanzaa Celebrates Family and Unity

December 22, 2000

Source: Star Tribune

On December 22, 2000, the Star Tribune reported that Kwanzaa, created by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966 as "as a time for black families to focus on community responsibility, commerce and self-improvement; 34 years later, the New York Times reports, it is observed by 15 million people worldwide." Modelled after first fruits festivals in Africa, Kwanzaa includes a focus on gathering together and introspection. Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday, but it allows people to feel the spirit of the season and the new year. "Kwanzaa is...

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A Rastafarian Questions: Did He Not Get Hired Because of his Religion?

September 24, 2000

Source: The Buffalo News

On September 24, 2000, The Buffalo News reported that a "member of the Rastafarian religion claims that he was turned down for a bus driver's job in Buffalo because his hair hung halfway down his back in dreadlocks. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit in Buffalo last week against Greyhound Lines on behalf of Kevan Sheppard, 43, of Rochester. The federal anti-discrimination agency charges that Sheppard was the victim of religious discrimination when Greyhound officials in Buffalo turned down his...

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Candles for Santeria

August 15, 2000

Source: Los Angeles Times

On August 15, 2000, the Los Angeles Times reported on Marty Mayer, president of Indio Products. Mayer "oversees the transformation of several tanker-cars full of wax into candles...every week at his Long Beach factory." He also boasts an "inventory of nearly 7,000 magic candles, oils, essences, soaps, aerosols, and floor washes flowing to distributors throughout the Americas, Europe, Australia, and Japan." While Mayer himself does not believe in magic, many of his customers do; most of his "customers are wholesalers running...

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Dance Troupe Teaches Americans the Real Nature of Vodou

July 17, 2000

Source: The Baltimore Sun

On July 17, 2000, The Baltimore Sun reported on Christopher Obas, a Haitian-American who "heads a five-member dance troupe, Anba's Lakay." Obas "feels the spirits have given him and his dancers spread the true word about Haitian Vodou culture in the United States, where many associate the religion with evil and spells. Vodou, in fact, is one of several religions combining West African deity worship and elements of Roman Catholicism practiced in the Caribbean and Brazil today."

Santeria in Washington, DC

January 4, 2000

Source: The Washington Post

On January 4, 2000, The Washington Post published an article on the presence of Santeria in the Washington, DC area. Santeria, which now attracts several thousand adherents in the region who cross ethnic, racial, professional, and religious lines, became a more visible presence in the Washington area about 20 years ago, when the Mariel boat lift brought Cubans to the District. Santeria is an Afro-Cuban faith with roots in the Yoruba region of Nigeria. The religion began when West African slaves who were brought to the New World...

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