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Hoodoo is Black Culture: Ancestor Veneration in the Everyday


October 16, 2023, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Location: Online

A black and white engraving of a tarot card that says The High Priestess

Priestess and conjurewoman Toya Smith will trace the everyday cultural aspects of African Americans, exploring how those aspects are influenced by traditional African cultures brought over by ancestors. She will discuss how those aspects of culture are, in fact, ancestor veneration and a maintained belief in and participation in an African-based spirituality. Her talk will cover Black church music, tradition, and superstition.

This is the second in a series of six lectures, Beyond the Veil: Making Sense of the Spirit World, the fall 2023 Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery Spotlight! symposium. The symposium presents speakers who explore themes from the Special Collections’ Eileen J. Garrett Parapsychology Foundation collection, such as the history of human interaction (beliefs and practices) with supernatural, paranormal, mystic, and psychical phenomena, as well as the interaction of race, spiritualities, magic, mysticism and feminist expression with the otherworldly.

Toya R. Smith, known in African Traditional Religion circles as Iya Opan Eguntola Osunyemi, is a mother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a Black girl from West Baltimore. She is a priestess, a Black witch, a Conjurewoman, a lifelong Hoodoo. More than anything, she is a curator of joy.

Admission is free. Please join this event online via Webex.

Image: High Priestess Tarot Card. 1922. The pictorial key to the tarot; being fragments of a secret tradition under the veil of divination, by Arthur Edward Waite, W. Rider, 1922, p. 77.



October 16, 2023
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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