Omowale Jabali : West African Nature Spirits in the South Carolina Lowcountry

Discussion in 'Omowale Jabali' started by Omowale Jabali, Apr 22, 2008.

  1. Omowale Jabali

    Omowale Jabali The Cosmic Journeyman PREMIUM MEMBER

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    The following is from a presentation presented by Ras Michael Brown of Dillard University at the Southeastern Reginal Seminar in African Studies (SERSAS) in 2000 at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

    This presentation discusses three periods in which Africans were imported into the Lowcountry with the Early Period being 1710-1744. It states the Final Period was between 1783-1808. I believe one of my maternal Ancestors (Mariah Stribling) was either brought during this period to Union County, South Carolina, or her parents except family history has her birth date recorded as 1820. Which means her parents most likely correspond to this late period even though I have no way of proving this. In reading DuBoi's Suppression of the African Slave Trade he stated that the importation of Africans continued after 1808.

    This ties to a previous post and mention of simbi spirits and states "Although we lack written sources that identify simbi spirits in the Lowcountry before the 1840s, I maintain that they became part of the African-Lowcountry culture during the Early Period of importation and settlement."

    This is where it gets tricky. My Ancestors from the Low Country were later taken by the Stribling family (early white settlers from Virginia who have re-settled in South Carolina) to Neshoba and Attala counties in Mississippi (Right now I am in Meridian, off the highway to the old homestead in Phailadelphia MS). Somewhere down the line my family, through Mariah's brother Jonas and one of his son's are related to Oprah Winfrey's family from and in Attala county. We even have a greatgrandmother by the same name, Hattie Ross. One supposedly born in Texas, andother supposedly born in Mississippi, in the same year, 1847. Oprah has stated she felt she was Zulu. henry Louis Gates research indicated her ancestors were from Zambia. I do believe that with its proximity to the Zulu and Kitongo region, both have traditions of simbi spirits. One links them to Mami Wata. Oprah may have been correct as the NGONI occupied both regions. This leads me to ask a basic question: HOW do You Honor Your Ancestors? And Im not speaking simply of deities according to a specific ATR but your own ancestors. What I find interesting is that as the culture spread to west africa "simbi" and "ngoni" become identical to various musical instruments. It really didnt register with me until last night when I was doing some research on Kwaku Anansi and saw an illustration of him anthromophed into a talking drum.

    http://www.ecu.edu/african/sersas/BrownF00.htm
     
  2. lite16

    lite16 Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Thank you Bro Omowalejabali-
    I've been thinking about my ancestors and began to give thanks to them who are with me or watching me. I would like to connect with the home land. My fam is from Mississippi on my dad's side. I have some Nat american blood as well. I didn't know until fairly recently that the Natives were also "black" so I have some research to do. You've inspired me to keep going. Thanks for the reminder.
     
  3. Blackbird

    Blackbird Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Nsala malecum uncle,

    We cross paths too much around here for me. I had large percentage of ancestors in Lowcountry, South Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.

    Blackbird
     
  4. Omowale Jabali

    Omowale Jabali The Cosmic Journeyman PREMIUM MEMBER

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    At the time I first posted this I was not familiar with the Igbo lineage which was largely representative in the Lowcountry. Thanks to all who have contributed to this historical knowledge.
     
  5. Omowale Jabali

    Omowale Jabali The Cosmic Journeyman PREMIUM MEMBER

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    The purpose of this short essay is to highlight the belief held by African-Americans in the South Carolina lowcountry in Kongo water spirits known as simbi (pl. bisimbi) as illustrated by several first and second hand accounts in the St. John's Berkeley Parish. Researchers of the African diaspora (Brown 2000, 2002; Thompson 1998) have linked this belief to an area in West-Central Africa from where a significant portion of Africans was imported (see Brown 2002: 300-305; Littlefield 1981: 111; Wood 1974: 334-339). In the case of St. John's Berkeley, these spirits were widely believed to inhabit the limestone sinkholes that were prolific in that region.
    The accounts uncovered focus on Woodboo and Pooshee Plantations now located under the waters of Lake Moultrie. A portion of the Santee limestone karst region is found in the area around modern-day Santee State Park, and incorporates Lake Moultrie, Lake Marion, the Santee Canal, and areas along the Santee River near Jamestown (Figure 1).
    In 1860, Henry Ravenel published an essay entitled "The Limestone Springs of St. John's Berkeley," noting that the most remarkable one in that area was located at Woodboo Plantation. Although his examination was not exhaustive, he also visited springs at a plantation east of Woodboo, also Wantoot, Pooshee, Fountain Swamp, and Chelsea -- all currently under the waters of Lake Moultrie (Figure 2). He also discusses the spring at the Eutaw battlefield of Revolutionary War fame, and springs near Black Oak Lock on the Santee Canal (Taylor 1998: 198-199).

    http://www.diaspora.uiuc.edu/news0607/news0607.html
     
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