AFRICANISMS Africanisms Words or Practices that came from Africa to North America
Dance Food Folk Art Folklore Language Medicine Africanisms Directions: Choose a button to learn about an Africanism. You will view pictures, read information and use your graphic organizer to take notes. Then use the home button (looks like a house) to return to this menu. Citations
Dance African culture and African-American slave culture both gave or contributed to American dancing. Two contributions were strong rhythm and “call and response.” Drums are important in African dancing, and the dancers’ bodies often respond to the “call” of the drum. Sometimes the dancer imitates the drum beat by moving different body parts in the same rhythm. Sometimes the dancer’s movements are like drumbeats, but they form a pattern all their own. Many modern dance styles, from break dancing to hip hop have a strong beat, and the dancers move their bodes in a way that follows the beat or forms a changing pattern. African dance influenced these styles. African dance influenced the Charleston, a popular dance in the twenties. In the Charleston, the dancers swing their arms and kick out their feet. This way of dancing comes from West Africa dances, such as the Congo dance called “Seem Buka.” Go to the next slide to see a picture of break dancing and continue getting information from the next slides.
… Other dancing <ul><li>Enslaved Africans in the United States also invented square dance calling. One slave would play the fiddle and the other slaves danced. The fiddler led the square dance by calling out the steps to the dancers. African dance has also influenced tap dancing, ballet and many kinds of modern dance, as well as the rumba, conga, tango and mambo. When you see people dancing, watch the movements and remember- some of those movements probably come from Africa. </li></ul><ul><li>To see square dancing, follow this link: </li></ul><ul><li>YouTube - "Little Kids'" Fandangle Square Dance </li></ul><ul><li>To see tap dancing, follow this link: </li></ul><ul><li>YouTube - Tap dance Gregory Hines and Savion Glover </li></ul>Home
Food Africans brought special foods, special dishes, and special ways of cooking to America. They brought okra (a slippery green vegetable), watermelon, yams and sweet potatoes. They brought black-eyed peas, and sorghum, a grain that is often made into syrup. Africans also brought with them farming skills such as rice growing and tropical gardening. Tropical gardening was particularly important in the South, where the weather was sometimes as hot and damp as Africa. Africans brought deep-frying to America. Peanut soup and many fish stews have their roots in Africa. Enslaved Africans created the dishes that we call “soul food,” dishes like black-eyed peas with collards (a green leafy vegetable), fried chicken, and a rich soup called gumbo, whose name comes from a Bantu word that means “okra.” Many kinds of gumbo exist. Today people all over the United States still eat these foods, especially in the South and in African-American communities. See next slide for picture of Okra, black eyed peas and collard greens.
Folk Art Under slavery, Africans in the United States had a difficult time to create and preserve the arts of their culture. But some form of Folk art survived, especially the art of the Congo culture in central Africa. Congo folk art has influenced the way African Americans decorate their graves. In Africa, graves were decorated for several reasons. They might be decorated to help the dead person on his or her long journey to the afterworld. Graves might be decorated to honor the dead person. Sometimes, decorations were completed just to make sure that the dead person did not come back to haunt the living. What kinds of things were placed on graves? Seashells were put on graves to hold the dead person’s soul. Seashells also represented water, a symbol of life and death.
Folk Art continued… Trees symbolized the dead person’s spirits. Lamps were placed on graves to light the dead person’s way. Bottles were hung from tree branches above the grave or made into a sort of bottle tree. The bottles reminded people of the dead person’s talents. The tree also protected people from the dead spirits. Upside-down flowerpots were placed on graves because in Ki-Kongo language, “to be upside down” can also mean “to die.” In the southern United States, the graves of many African- Americans are still decorated with these things.
This quilt from North Carolina was made by an African American inspired by her African roots
Home African folk art has also influenced fabric, or textile design. The Mande people of West Africa made textiles with a very special pattern. One writer has called the pattern “rhythmized” because it has such an active, lively feel. Mande cloth was made up of narrow woven strips that were sewn together to form designs. These patterns are still used today in African-American art, not only in fabrics but in painting as well .
Folklore African tales, songs, jokes and proverbs (sayings) are still told today by African Americans, and sometimes by other Americans as well. The word for this kind of art is “folklore.” Most African folklore is oral or spoken, and is made up of stories to entertain or teach a lesson “ What goes around comes around.” “ Pretty is as pretty does.” “ Actions speak louder than words.” Proverbs When Africans talked to each other, many used proverbs. The West African Igbo has one proverb that said ”The Art of conversation is regarded very highly and proverbs are the palm oil with which words are eaten.” This means that proverbs are the richest part of Igbo conversation. Many African proverbs have become part of American culture. See the examples below.
Folklore- Stories African Griot or Story Teller American Storyteller
Stories continued… <ul><li>Click on the following link to see a few: </li></ul><ul><li>African Folk Tales, Introduction </li></ul>In Africa, many ethnic groups (people who shared the same culture) had griots or storyteller. The griot’s job was to memorize the history of the community and tell people stories about it. In America, many enslaved Africans acted as storytellers, preserving the culture and history of their lost communities by telling folktales, songs, and jokes.
Folklore Folktales are away of preserving and exchanging information about the storytellers’ own culture. Enslaved Africans in America used these stories to tell each other about the African people’s power and cleverness. Many folktales told how a poor supposedly powerless person outsmarted an enemy by being clever and by talking fast. The “powerless “ person might be a human being or an animal. These stories entertained people, but also encouraged the Africans to stand up to the powerful slave owners. In the story, it was always the powerful person, the person like the slave owner, who was outsmarted. Today rap music and the blues carry on this tradition, telling listeners about the culture, history and experiences of African Americans. Home
Languages Which of the following pictures represent words that come from Africa?
All of them!!! These pictures stand for some of the African words that have become part of the English language. Many of these words came from West African languages, such as Wolof, Mandingo, Akan and Hausa. The West African people brought these languages with them to America when they were forced into slavery in the early 1600s. Gradually, the Africans and Americans began to trade words. As the Africans began to learn English, they also taught the Americans new words. Most of these African words are still used today. How may of these words do you use: banana, banjo, bogus, boogie, bug , cola, elephant, gorilla, jazz, okay, yam, zombie? All of these are African words.
Not only did Africans bring new words to America, they also gave old words new meanings. A good example is what happened to the word bad. Another is the word sick. Sometimes when people say “That’s sick,” or “that’s ill” what they mean is that is really cool or good. Using a word to mean just the opposite is a West African custom. The Mandingo saying “It is good badly” actually means “It is very good.”
Medicine African medicine and African ways to think about healing are an important part of American culture. African medicine helped to give us the smallpox vaccination, a shot that keeps people from catching this serious disease. Africans also introduced a way to deliver babies when the mother cannot give birth the ordinary way; this is called birth by cesarean section. African medicine gave us a ways to cure snakebite. All of these have helped to save many American lives.
Many kinds of people practiced medicine in Africa. Some were women who help other women to give birth, or midwives. Some gave people advice about how to get help from the spirits when they were ill. These African healers emphasized balance and harmony. For them, the body, mind and spirit were not separate. This is called a holistic way of thinking about health. African healers believed that it was important to prevent disease as well as cure it and that worry, or stress, could make people sick. To heal their patients, African healers used prayer, herbs, spirituality and other practices. Today more and more Americans think about medicine in ways that are influenced by African thinking. Many women, both black and white, have their babies with the help of midwives. Holistic medicine has become very popular, and more and more Americans are using natural herbs and spiritual practices to treat illness. More and more Americans are realizing the key to good health is balance and harmony.
Citations Break dancing http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.cepolina.com/freephoto/f/other.sport/break.dance.road1.jpg Square dancing http://eaasdc.de/history/p_square.gif Gumbo http://artistryinfaux.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/gumbo3.jpg Okra http://intlxpatr.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/091007_okra.jpg Grave dec http://z.about.com/d/gomexico/1/0/C/0/-/-/grave_decoration.jpg Bottle tree http://farm1.static.flickr.com/67/153804756_5b53e19bbf_m.jpg Collards http://images.foodnetwork.com/webfood/images/cooking/fruitandveggieguide/big_ collards.jpg Black eyed peas http://www.bunrab.com/dailyfeed/dailyfeed_images_sep-06/df06_09-14_peez.jpg Griot http://homepage.mac.com/melissaenderle/mali/pages/images/Malian%20Arts /wedding%20singer.jpg
American Story Time http:// pictopia.com/perl/get_image?provider_id =698&size = Spider stories http://www.kidsinco.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/Anansi-The-Spider-African-Folktales.png East Africa Cloth http://photos.longjaunt.com/2008/04/03/back_to_kenya/001.jpg American quilt http://www.tfaoi.org/am/7am/7am23.jpg Gospel singers 550x550_mb&ptp_photo_id=320004 http://www.walterbeloch.com/spettacoli/usagospel/usagospelpic.jpg Medicine http://allthingsfirstaid.com/images/products/prestigepins/holistic_medicine.jpg Gorillas http://www.roumazeilles.net/news/fr/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/gorilla.JPG Okay http://www.lawtonka.com/Okay.gif Coke http://trendsupdates.com/drinking-too-much-cola-may-result-in-paralysis/ Elephant http://www.rictus.com/viz/photos/nature/elephant.jpg Banjo http://www.extramusical.com/catalog/images/MFB5DX.jpg