Drums and Shadows, by Georgia Writer's Project, , at sacred-texts.com
Brownville, more prosperous of aspect than the Negro communities usually fringing business and industry, spreads westward along the edge of Savannah. Though on its Currytown boundary it, too, contains the inevitable shacks in lanes, several of its streets, paved and tree shaded, are lined with good frame and brick houses which are occupied by the more well-to-do Negroes, among them teachers, doctors, lawyers, and business men. A substantial school building and the Charity Hospital speak of advanced social consciousness.
On Bismark Street is found the House of Prayer, one of the many churches established throughout the country by Bishop Grace. Here several times each year the leader visits his congregation, and the day on which "Daddy Grace" 1 16 returns to his flock is always a gala occasion. Regular members and visitors from outlying districts crowd the heavy lumber benches of the House of Prayer. The air is tense with excitement. Above the confusion can be heard the strident but rhythmic beat of drums. 23 Bright splashes of color are given by the crepe paper decorations and the vividly contrasting military costumes of members of the church organizations, among which are the Lilies of the Valley, the Queens, the Royal Guards, the Silver Leaf Band, the Transportation Committee, Male Ushers No. 1, Male Ushers No. 2, and the Sons and Daughters of the Prophet. Others in the
congregation don their newest and most colorful garments.
Preparation has been made for all emergencies. In attendance are burly guards whose duty it is to see that nothing occurs to disturb the smooth performance of the ceremonies. The floor has been thickly sprinkled with sawdust and the stout posts at the front of the church are padded to prevent injury to overzealous worshipers.
At the sudden sharp sound of a whistle all activity ceases; there is silence in the church. The Armor Bearers leave the building to escort the Bishop to his seat of honor. Soon they return, followed by the Queen who is arrayed in a pate green satin evening dress over which is worn a black velvet cape lined with scarlet. A double line of uniformed guards follows, and marching proudly between the lines is the Bishop. According to his own statement, the Holy Prophet, as his followers call him, is of Portuguese birth. His long dark hair which falls to his shoulders, his piercing eyes, his pointed beard, and sideburns all combine to give him a distinguished and unusual appearance. 1
The procession continues to the front of the church, where, with much ceremony, the Bishop seats himself upon a lofty throne set far back on the spacious platform. The Queen stands at the Bishop's right, facing the congregation. The music blares forth with renewed intensity and the entire
multitude, led by the uniformed guard, passes in single file before the throne. As members approach the Bishop, they pledge themselves to him by removing their hats and bowing low. In the midst of all this commotion "Daddy" sits, a remote, detached figure, his downcast eyes seemingly indicating that he is scarcely aware of this carefully planned reception.
Between the musical numbers several of the congregation rise and loudly testify to the miracles that Bishop Grace 22 has performed in their behalf. A flourishing sale is conducted in consecrated handkerchiefs and copies of a newspaper published by the cult. These are believed to possess unusual healing powers. 8, 12 A ready market is also found for large pictures of the Bishop, for it is said that to chew up his likeness will cure many kinds of illness.
The grand march is spectacular. All those present assemble in the large center aisle. The band strikes up a lively measure and the procession starts. At the front of the church the line of march divides, half the people going down one side aisle, the other half going down the opposite one. At first the procession is orderly and fairly quiet, but as time passes, the music becomes increasingly loud. Above the brass instruments the steady throb of the drum can be heard. Voices are raised in accompaniment, feet stamp, shoulders sway, and hands clap. 19
Around and around the procession winds. The singing and dancing become wilder and more abandoned. Many now close their eyes, dancing blindly and stumbling into those near them and into the benches and posts. By this time the music is almost deafening and the noise made by the worshipers is equally loud. The muscles of their bodies twitching convulsively, they continue in their dance. 46
Occasionally one of the participants stops, and, regardless of the hindrance to the rest of the worshipers, jumps up and down wildly, crying out in a shrill, hysterical voice. At length, exhausted, he sinks to the floor and is dragged by friends from under the whirling feet of the others.
One woman, seized by such a paroxysm, falls to her knees, screaming incoherently. Exhausted by her violent emotion, she lies on the rough board floor, her jaws hanging open
loosely, her eyes closed. Slowly, she raises her hands and beats them together muttering, "Praise Daddy. Praise Daddy Grace."
The pulsating rhythm of the instruments increases in tempo. A man leaps high into the air, gesticulating and babbling; faster and faster he whirls, until he too falls from utter exhaustion. Still the wild display continues. The terrific nervous strain is taking its toll, and now all but a few of the dancers stumble wearily. The steady, insistent sound of the drum urges them on; feet still shuffle, hands beat out the rhythm, and voices chant an incoherent incantation.
Abruptly the band ceases and members straggle back to their places. Those who have fallen out from exhaustion are dragged to the benches by their friends.
The service continues. During the evening many collections are taken up. Two of the deacons, acting on behalf of the Bishop, urge the people to contribute freely. Their methods of approach present a strong contrast. One, stout, dark-skinned, and clad in a pearl gray suit, has a gentle and persuasive manner. He says softly to the congregation, "Precious Haht, hep us tuh raise fawty bucks fuh Daddy Grace right quick. Wile duh Prophet sits on duh throne befo us, let us all contribute freely tuh him."
The other deacon, short and wiry, darts about among the congregation. His manner of speaking is quick, and he barks his orders to first one and then another of the church members. "Step right up now," he advises. "Dohn hole back on us. Anybody else now, come right up an contribute. Ebrybody gib at leas one nickel now wile we still hab duh privilege uh gibin tuh Daddy. Step up, ebrybody."
Until this point Bishop Grace, apparently indifferent, has had no active part in the ceremony, but he now steps forward. There is a sudden hush.
"Daddy" becomes an intimate, vivid part of the group. Coming down among the congregation, he addresses his talk now to one individual, now to another, dropping frequently into the southern Negro dialect. The theme of his address is, "Whatsoever a man soweth, that also shall he reap." The main issue, however, is often sidetracked, and the speaker comments in turn upon world politics, the war, anecdotes of
his own trips abroad, his persecution by enemies, all of whom "the Lord struck down dead," and the general condition of the local community. The entire discourse is interspersed with humorous sayings that find a delighted response. "Daddy" advises his followers strongly against trusting anyone. "If the angel from Heaven comes down an wants an extra pair of wings, don't trust him," he warns. "Tell him you ain't got no time to keep books today. He have to pay cash." Near the conclusion of his talk the Bishop says that be can accomplish anything he chooses, even to sinking ships, destroying fleets of planes, or conquering entire nations. He is not the actual power, he says, but he is so close to it that he has only to reach out his hand and pull the switch.
After every sentence or two that "Daddy" utters his listeners echo his statements with such remarks as "Ain't it so, Daddy," "Dat is duh trute," "Yes Daddy," "You tell em, Daddy," "Hallelujah," "Amen." These utterances, do not always agree with what the speaker has just said but nevertheless are meant to express thorough approbation. At one time "Daddy" tosses to a woman in the congregation a rose he has used in illustrating a point in his sermon. This unexpected honor overcomes the recipient to such an extent that she is seized with violent convulsions.
Noticing that the hour is growing late, the Bishop abruptly ends his talk. There follows a prayer, led by one of the deacons and chanted rather than spoken. At the end of each line the man's voice catches on a high sob verging on hysteria, and those in the congregation murmur an almost inaudible echo of the speaker's plea. The other deacons join in the recital and in the wild sobbing. At the conclusion of the prayer a high pitch of excitement is reached.
It is now time for the Bishop to take leave of his flock. Slowly, reverently, his attendants bring him his top coat and high Stetson hat. From his pocket "Daddy" draws out a large white handkerchief which he waves slowly in accompaniment to the closing hymn, a corrupt version of Nearer My God To Thee. The worshipers, too, wave their handkerchiefs in solemn tribute to their departing leader.
Shortly after a visit from the Bishop we pursued our course
of research in Brownville. We found a number of people who had been named for week days or the month in which they had been born. Thursday Jones, 1 when questioned about this particular custom, replied, "Dey name me dat way jis cuz uh happen tuh be bawn on Tursday, I guess. Sech tings seem tuh be in our fambly. I hab an uncle whose name is Monday Collins. It seem tuh come duh fus ting tuh folks' mine tuh name duh babies fuh duh day dey is bawn on." 20
Another man 2 told us, "We hab membuhs in our fambly name Monday, Friday, July an Augus. Dey jis didn tink ub any name tuh call em but duh day dey wuz bawn. 20 Deah wuz two brudduhs call July an Augus an deah two sons wuz name aftuh um. Some uh deze names go all duh way back tuh slabery time. Duh chillun jis name aftuh duh kin."
"Ise quainted wid two ole men, one call Uncle Friday, duh othuh Uncle July," was the statement of a third Brownville resident. 3 "One wuz bawn on Good Friday an duh othuh on duh Foth uh July." 20
We learned that certain foods are viewed with suspicion and are never eaten or allowed to be brought into the house. 65 The exact reason why these foods are forbidden was not explained to us. One woman said, "One ting I do lak is peanuts, but I dohn eat um. An I dohn let nobody else eat um in muh house. I dohn know jis wy, but it bring bad luck all duh week." 4
The palmetto tree, Robert McNichols 5 told us, supplies an edible substance in the form of palmetto cabbage taken from the center of the tree, about a foot below the top. This is the terminal bud of the tree, white in color, tender, and resembling the ordinary northern cabbage. It may be eaten cooked or uncooked. 45a
From the same tree a wine is made. We learned two different recipes for the preparation of this beverage. The wine is sometimes made from the cabbage, which when first cut contains a white sap. The chopped cabbage is put in a container
where it is allowed to ferment, after which it is strained and sugar added. 1 45b The wine may also be made from the dark blue palmetto berries. These are placed in a container until fermentation occurs after which the juice is extracted and sweetened. The wine is a clear dark brown and is said to have an excellent flavor. Incidentally, the palmetto tree serves a variety of other purposes. Palmetto fibre is used in making baskets, rugs, bottle holders, and numerous other objects. 45
Many of the Brownville residents are skilled in palmetto weaving and also in woodcarving. Walking sticks were brought to our attention. One had a lizard carved on its handle, 2 while the likeness of a snake twisted its body realistically about the length of the stick. 50, 70a-h On a similar stick of dull, yellowish wood the tense, erect head of the large reptile which wrapped itself about the cane formed the handle. 50 In the gaping mouth was held a ball. Even the smallest detail had been delicately and artistically executed. We could learn little of the history of the stick except that it had been carved many years ago by an old Negro who had given it to the present owner and soon afterward moved away from the section. 3 The snake decorating 50 a third cane had eyes of rhinestones 41c which gleamed and flashed as the stick was moved about. 4
Crude hand-carved wooden table utensils were in use in several households. 70a-h We were shown a fork with only two prongs set wide apart on the far sides of the base. One of the Spoons was about the size of an average tablespoon, but with a bowl of considerably greater depth. 5
One Negro showed much ingenuity in the carving of a linked chain 6 with a box-like object attached. inside the box was a small wooden ball. This entire contraption had been made from one solid piece of wood. 70f-h Another man employed his spare time in the carving of small wooden
dolls, jointed and so designed that they could stand alone. 41e-i 1
An old Negro living in very poor circumstances owned a number of interesting objects. 2 These he said he had inherited from a grandfather who had come to this country from Santo Domingo, West Indies. Among the objects were old coins, a pistol, and a pocketbook made of shells clamped together with metal bands. The most significant item, however, was a carved stone fig. The grainy texture and the slight splits in the skin had been executed with great skill. The fig had been carried as a charm by the old man's ancestor, but where this forebear had obtained it we were unable to learn. 8, 32, 34c
On the Ogeechee Road not far from Brownville we came in contact with a Negro 3 whose favorite pastime was carving. 70a He showed us the figure of a man, about twenty-seven inches high, with heavy shoulders and torso overbalancing the lower part of the figure. The head was large and square, the eyes were painted on roughly, and the nose and mouth were attached pieces of wood. A wooden crane and other birds carved by the same man bore a crude, primitive stamp. 70c, 70d, 70g
Near by on the Ogeechee Road we found Tony William Delegal, 4 an old man, well over one hundred years old, who was formerly a slave of Major John Thomas, Harris Neck, plantation owner. His dark eyes are filmed, his once powerful shoulders are bent, but Uncle Tony can still recall incidents which took place during his childhood on the plantation. Sitting on the front porch of his daughter's house, he sang an African song to us. Unfortunately he did not know the English translation. The old man sang the song over and over and we were finally able to take down the following:
Wa kum kum munin
Kum baba yano
Lai lai tambe
Ashi boong a nomo p. 51
Shi wali go
Kum baba yano
Lai lai tambe
Ashi lai lai lai
Shi wali go
In the heart of the thriving Brownville community live fortune tellers, root doctors, and vendors of magic charms who conduct flourishing businesses. 22a, 22e, 48 There is a ready market for their wares which are used for the various activities of daily living. Numerous perplexities pertaining to. matters of business, luck, and love affairs are thought to be solved by the mere possession of certain charms. 8
Mattie Sampson, 1 a robust young Negro woman, told us that she does an active mail order business as representative of the Lucky Heart Company, the Sweet Georgia Brown Company, and the Curio Products Company. She supports herself comfortably by means of selling her credulous neighbors good luck perfumes, roots, lodestones, and similar charms. "Duh chahms an good luck puhfumes an powduhs do deah wuk independent of any additional hep," Mattie said. "Ef anybody believe a puticuluh chahm is wut dey need, well, dat chahm will do duh wuk."
"Mos of muh customuhs depen on special chahms tuh bring em good luck," the young woman continued. "Dey nevuh puhmit deah supply tuh give out but awduh it ovuh an ovuh. I have sevral bes selluhs. One is duh Mystic Mojo Love Sachet. Dis is sometimes call Quick Love Powduh an is guaranteed tuh make yuh populuh, successful, an happy. Yuh use it tuh attrac a pusson an tuh make dat pusson admyuh an love yuh. A lill uh dis powduh is wone in a bag aroun duh neck aw rubbed on duh body. But ef yuh prefuh, yuh kin sprinkle it in duh dressuh draw aw in duh bottom uh duh shoes.
"Mystic Mojo Incense is anudduh one uh muh bes selluhs. On duh box it says dis is duh same incense used by duh Hindus an Arabs an Tuks, an also duh Egyptians, an Chinese.
[paragraph continues] In every box is five diffunt culluhs, each one fuh a diffunt puhpose." From a box which Mattie had on hand we took down the directions: "Work the magic spell now. Just hold Mystic Mojo in hand and light match to tip. Perfumed with rare fragrance and exotic sandalwood, myrrh and incense. Price 25¢. Sweet and strong."
Mattie also constantly reorders a product known as Magnetic Lodestone in Holy Oil. "Dis is used," she explained, "tuh drive away evil spirits an bad luck an tuh bring yuh luck in love, an business, an gamblin games. Den deah's Five Finguh Grass. A lot uh duh people heah are sked of witches an spirits visitin em at night. Dey hang Five Finguh Grass ovuh deah bed aw doeway tuh protec duh whole house." Some of em use Black Cat Incense an Powduh."
A few blocks from Mattie Sampson lives William Edwards 1 who follows the diverse trades of root doctor, 48 piano tuner, and watchman at a filling station. For a while the old man stubbornly insisted that, although he had been a popular root doctor in his younger days, he had not treated a patient in years. After a good deal of casual friendly conversation, he at length admitted that he was at present doctoring a man who had malaria. He also admitted that he was treating a cousin for an ailment and said that by the use of roots he had recently cured another patient of kidney trouble.
"Muh roots kin cuo mos any pains," he said earnestly. "I wuks on dogs too. I kin cuo a mad dog in lessn a day ef dey git tuh me in time. I make muh medicine frum King Physics. It grows on duh salts an is bery plentiful neah Montgomery, but yuh hab tuh know how tuh fine it.
"Duh spiduh is bote good and ebil an is useful tuh man. I make a medicine out uh duh spiduh 5 by stooin eel skin in lahd wid it. Wen dis is done, I hab a saave dat will stop any kine uh pain. On duh iluns, specialty St. Catherine, duh spiduh is hel in high regahd by some uh duh people. 53
"I make muh medicine out uh King Physic root, an Indian Ash, an Tukish Wine. Wen I wuz a boy I lun many tings frum duh ole people bout herbs dat wuz good fuh diffunt ailments. Deah wuzn so many doctuhs in dem days. We hab
tuh fine remedies fuh our sickness an know how tuh cuo snake bite aw cuts an boils, eben female complaints. So I lun wut herbs tuh use fuh deze ailments too.
"I kin cuo any rattlesnake bite in twenty-fo hours. Duh remedy is King Physic, tuhpentine, an wiskey. Attuh duh pizen is kill, gib em plenty sweet milk an ebryting will be all right in twenty-fo hours.
"Duh spiduh web is good fuh stoppin duh blood wen anybody git cut. I make a saave by stooin physic vine leaves an talluh an spiduh tuhgedduh. Dis saave will relieve any bruise aw ole so. It draw all duh pizen out uh duh so. 48a, 48b
"Tuh keep ghos away, missus, yuh hab tuh go in duh woods an fine a tree dat wuz strik by lightin, an git some uh duh bahk an put some unduh duh doe step an carry a piece in yuh pocket. No ghos would ebuh bodduh yuh agen. I done dat an ain been bodduh since. Now all yuh hab tuh do tuh keep witches frum ridin yuh is keep a Bible unduh yuh pilluh at night." 12
Another root doctor 1 in the section told us that he had been born with a special knowledge of healing and had studied the science of herbs from the time he was a small boy. 48 Some of the herbs he uses in his mixtures are Golden Seal, Yellow Dust, Golden Thread, Hippo Root, Pink Root, Lady Slipper, Yellow Root, Blood Root, Rattlesnake Master, Black Snake Root, and John the Conqueror.
"I know in a dream," he said, "jis wen a patient is comin to consult me an I know head uh time zackly wut kine uh herbs tuh gadduh in awduh tuh cuo im."
He had been born with this power to foretell the future, he asserted. 22a, 22e "Outside uh dreams," he went on, "I kin use leaves an coffee grouns an a suttn kine uh seed known as duh sensitive aw jumpin seed. Yuh fine deze seeds at suttn times long duh sho uh duh Wes Indies. Yuh hab tuh keep duh seeds in a closed containuh aw dey will jis disappeah. Tuh tell fawchuns yuh spread duh seeds out fo yuh on duh groun an dey'll moob bout. Dey moob cawdn tuh wut yuh tinkin. Tellin fawchuns is jis a mattuh uh concentratin yuh imagination on suttn tings. Den ebryting will appeah to Yuh." 22b-d
Conjure is being practiced all the time, the root doctor informed us. "Frawgs an lizuds an sech tings is injected intuh people's bodies an duh people den fall ill an sometime die. 5, 15 Udduh strange tings is happenin, too. Take duh story uh dem people wut fly back tuh Africa. Das all true. Yuh jis hab tuh possess magic knowledge tuh be able tuh cumplish dis. 69c Not long ago I see a man vanish intuh tin eah by snappin his finguhs. Hab yuh heahd uh duh man wut wuz put in prison in Springfield? He jis flied away frum duh jail an wuz nebuh caught agen. 68b, 69c Yes, ma'am, I know wut yuh hab tuh hab in awduh tuh fly aw vanish away, but it is mighty hahd tuh git. It's duh bone ub a black cat."
A woman 1 informant, too, had heard about flying Africans and persons who could disappear at will. 69c She said also that she had often been ridden by witches. "Dey seem tuh come frum. noweah an staht chokin yuh. 69 Witches an root men hab duh same magic powuh."
Relative to the custom of placing food and possessions on a new grave this woman spoke earnestly. "Dis wuz a common ting wen I wuz young. Dey use tuh put duh tings a pusson use las on duh grabe. 47 Dis wuz suppose tuh satisfy duh spirit an keep it frum followin yuh back tuh duh house, I knowd a uhmun at Burroughs wut use tuh carry food tuh uh daughtuh grabe ebry day. 58 She would take a basket uh cooked food, cake, pies, an wine. Den she would carry dishes too an set out a regluh dinnuh fuh duh daughtuh an uhsef. She say duh daughtuh's spirit meet uh deah an dey dine tuhgedduh."
Another woman 2 told us that on holidays she carried food to her husband's grave and left it there for the spirit to come and get. 58 "I carry duh kine uh food we use tuh hab tuh eat on duh days be wuz off frum wuk," she said. "I take cooked chicken an cake an pie an cigahs--he like tuh smoke attuh eatin. 58a, 58b I do dis cuz I know he will be lookin fuh me tuh bring it.
"Ebuh since I kin membuh I hab heahd bout spirits wanduhin roun at night," 59 she continued. "Muh mothuh nebuh
would let us go tuh bed at night widout leabin plenty uh watuh in duh pails fuh duh spirits tuh drink wile yuh sleep. Ef yuh dohn leab no watuh dey wohn leh yuh res good. I tink das wy hags ride some folks, 69 cuz dey dohn leab no watuh. I blieb witches is people dat's sole deah soul tuh duh debil. Dey hab duh powuh tuh change frum deah own shape tuh anyting dey wants tuh be, 68 so dey kin tawment udduh folks. Wen a ghos is roun I kin feel duh hot eah."
We found that belief in supernatural beings such as witches and ghosts was widespread throughout the community.
"Witches is lak folks," one woman said. 1 "Dey done sell demsefs tuh duh debil an he make em do anyting he wants tuh. Some git a grudge gense yuh an stahts tuh ride yuh. 69 No mattuh wut yuh do, dey kin git in yuh house. Sometime dey come lak a mouse, sometime a rabbit, an sometime eben a roach. 68 I membuh heahin bout a witch wut come ebry night lak a rabbit an rode a woman. A man wut knowd duh woman laid a trap fuh duh witch. Duh witch scape frum duh house, but duh dogs track uh down. Wen she see she wuz caught, she beg duh man not tuh do nuttn tuh uh an she wouldn nebuh do no mo witchin."
A Negro preacher 2 in a near by section said that he had been in the habit of seeing ghosts all his life. 56, 59 "Once wuz jis aftuh muh fathuh died. I saw him all dressed up an weahin a Stetson hat. I called muh mothuh an said, 'Mothuh, heah come Papa.' Wen I tun roun, he wuz gone.
"Aftuh I marry I moob out by duh watuh wuks. A frien uh mine name Arthur Perry die. Some time latuh anothuh frien die. One night I wuz lyin down wen I heah a noise. I look up an deah wuz two men all dressed up in wite, walkin cross dat room. As I watch em dey begin tuh shrink till dey wuzn no bigguhn dawls. Den dey disappeah. I see ghos mos any time, so Ise used to it now."
That he was frequently visited by both witches and ghosts was the assertion of another man. 3 "Duh witches come in an strangle me," 69 he said, "but duh ghos yuh jis see, an no
hahm come frum um. Jis las night attuh I gone tuh bed a ghos come in muh house. 59 I hab tuh git up an run im out. Sometime dey pull duh cubbuh right off muh bed."
The same man said considerable conjuring was being practiced in the neighborhood, but that he kept a careful distance from people who were believed to be able to "do tings tuh yuh." 15
"Yuh see," he volunteered, "I hab muh leg fix once. Dat wuz back in 1893. Fus muh foot swell up, den muh leg. It wuz so bad I couldn walk. A man tole me tuh go tuh Doctuh Buzzud, a root doctuh. 48 Doctuh Buzzud gimme some root medicine an in no time I wuz all right." 6
A more recent case of attempted conjure was told us by the woman 1 who had been the intended victim. 15 We found her living in new quarters where she had hurriedly moved to escape the evil influences directed towards her by the downstairs tenants in her former residence. Stout and middle-aged, she had not yet recovered from her fright at the time she was interviewed. As she talked, her dark eyes rolled wildly and her manner betrayed signs of extreme agitation.
"Dem folks wuz detuhmined tuh git muh spirit. Ef dey do dat, den I go crazy an nobody could hep me. Dey hab a' dog trained wut would git unduh muh winduh an bahk twice tuh git me tuh look out. Ise on tuh em an uh stay shut in muh ruhm. Den dey would blow a automobile hawn twice. Sometime dey would beat on a sycamo tree in front uh duh house an call muh name, 'Tressie, Tressie, Tressie, wake up! Yuh gwine tuh sleep alluh time?'
"Dey bun all kine uh powduh unduh muh winduh. 8b I moob muh bedruhm, but dey fine it out an somehow dey make holes unduh muh bed. Attuh twelve o'clock dey staht bunnin powduh an roots an callin muh name agen. Duh nex mawnin I fine all kines uh tings on muh poach, red peppuh an haiah an some kine uh powduh an some bus eggs.
"One night I see em bunnin some kine uh powduh unduh muh winduh. Dat sho sked me. I run upsteahs, and git muh huzbun's gun. Den I stan in duh back uh duh house listenin.
"I heah a voice callin way off. It keep sayin 'Tressie,
[paragraph continues] Tressie,' tryin tuh git me tuh ansuh. I didn say nuttn, cuz ef uh ansuh tuh muh name den muh spirit would be stole. I heah muh name obuh an obuh an it seems dat it go right tru me. I take duh gun an fyuh two shot tru duh flo. Duh voice stop right off. Den somebody call a pleeceman. Wen he speak tuh me, I tell im all bout duh root wuk an wy uh fyuhd duh gun. I ax im wouldn he uh done duh same an he say, 'Cose, but dohn do it agen.'
"I bin tuh duh poeleece tuh hep me but dey cuss me out. Once wen dat poeleece show up, duh uhmun wut tryin tuh fix me staht combin uh haiah. She kep it up till duh poeleece jis walk away. Den I went tuh a root doctuh an he tole me duh poeleece caahn do nuttn long as duh uhmun comb uh haiah. He tell me tuh use tuhpentine tuh destroy duh ban wut she put down fuh me. Duh uhmun jist keep on wukin gense me an nobody couldn do nuttn tuh stop uh so I know I bettuh moob fo she git muh spirit."
In Brownville we found a man who knew how to make the old time drums. He made one for us out of a hollow log, across the end of which he tightly stretched a goat skin. He fastened the skin to the log by means of a number of wooden Pegs. Unlike modern drums, this one was taller than it was wide, measuring about eighteen inches in length and ten inches in diameter. 25
The drum maker, James Collier, 1 a middle-aged, intelligent, well-educated Negro, said he had made a number of drums in this primitive manner. Collier told us that he had heard of drums having been used during funeral ceremonies in former years. The mourners beat the drum while on the way to the cemetery; after arriving they marched around the, grave in a ring and beat the drum and shouted. 24 "They call it the dead march," explained the man.
"The spirit don't stay in the grave," he went on. "When the funeral procession stahts tuh leave, the spirit leaves the body an follows the people frum the graveyahd. It nevuh stays with the body." 66 A little later he volunteered the additional information, "Fuh the spirit tuh rest in the grave folks
have tuh be buried at home. They nevuh feel right ef they buried frum home. The spirit jist wanduh aroun. 1
"I have seen something I think wuz a ghost. I have no explanation of it, but I think it wuz supuhnatural. I have heard of witchcraft, cunjuh an magic. I believe some of these things happen, and the mo yuh probe intuh them the less yuh know.
"I have heard about a magic hoe that folks put in the gahden. They speak certain words tuh it; then the hoe goes ahead an cultivates the gahden without anyone touching it. They jist tell it tuh do the wuk and it does it." 39
We questioned Collier again about his personal experiences with supernatural beings and he related the following story:
"Wen I wuz jist a young boy muh family use tuh live in Currytown. Me and muh brothuh use tuh go and see muh aunt who lived in Yamacraw. Tuh get frum our house tuh wheah she lived we had tuh go past a cemetery which wuz in back of the Union Station.
"One time we had been tuh see muh aunt and it got tuh be late. We stahted fuh home. It wuz beginnin of night. Muh brothuh he had rheumatism an he wuz hobblin along on a stick. We stahted along by a fence tuh get tuh West Broad Street an wen we had gone about a hundred yards we saw a lady comin tuhwards us. 59 She wuz very feah, very feah, an she wuz all dressed in black and had on a long black veil. Her dress wuz black silk and rustled as she walked.
"Muh brothuh an I, we were suhprised tuh see the lady all of a sudden, fuh we hadn't noticed her befo. She come up tuh us an she say, 'Are yuh goin roun the fence?' We tell her we wuz an she say, 'Yuh not afraid?' an we say, 'No--we not afraid.'
"The lady wanted tuh walk with us an we all staht walkin along. We had gone a short ways wen all of a sudden we look in the cemetery an we see a little white thing risin up out of the groun. It wuz kinduh hazy an shadowy an it spring up from the groun an streak out tuh meet us on the path ahead. it looked like a lill animal. 54
"The lady, wen she see the lill white sumpms a comin, she daht out like lightin an she go right tuh meet it. Wen she get tuh it she disappeah right intuh the eah, disappeah right
befo our eyes. Muh brothuh fuhgot he wuz crippled, he drop his stick an staht runnin, an I run too. An we nevuh stop runnin, kept right on goin till we got home tuh Currytown. He don't like to speak of it tuhday cause we're not supuhstitious."
43:1 Though the meetings of Bishop Grace are common to many parts of the United States, it was thought well to include an accurate description of the House of Prayer as it was found in this Community.
44:1 Details of the early life of "Daddy Grace" are clothed in obscurity and little can be learned of the real origin of the House of Prayer. Some claim that he is of West Indian birth, others that he was born Marcilino Manuel Garcia in Portugal, and still others interpret his references to "a land beyond the sea" as indication that he hails from Egypt. All members of the cult must be baptized and during a four-week session in 1936 1,789 candidates were ministered to at a charge of 1.00 each. The Bishop advocates that members give generously of their material goods to the church and he has been known on occasions to go about among his congregation seizing purses and demanding that worshipers sacrifice treasured jewelry. It is a well known fact that his profession of "spiritual leader" has proved a vastly profitable one, and in the course of the last several years he has amassed a huge fortune. Many of "Daddy's" enterprises are looked upon with disfavor and suspicion by the police department. His frequent clashes with the law over various matters of an extremely worldly nature serve only to increase the attendance and the collections at the church and also give the Bishop much desired publicity. Followers are unimpressed by his occasional arrests, secure in the knowledge that no earthly force can ever conquer "Daddy." See Time (New York), March 7,1938, XXXI, No. 10, p. 30.
48:1 Thursday Jones, Brownville.
48:2 John Blackshear, 625 Grapevine Avenue.
48:3 William Mikell, 616 West 32nd Street.
48:4 Beatrice Ward, 832 West 35th Street.
48:5 Robert McNichols, Brownville.
49:2 Made by and property of William Brown, Florence Street.
49:3 Property of Henry Haynes, 41st and Harden Streets.
49:4 Crawford Smith, 1704 Ogeechee Avenue.
49:5 Made by and property of Alfred Wilcher, 610 West 31st Street.
50:1 Made by and property of Marion Ralph, 2411 Harden Street.
50:2 Julian Linder, 612 West 36th Street.
50:3 Lee Ross, Ogeecheetown, near Brownville.
50:4 Tony William Delegal, Ogeecheetown, near Brownville.
51:1 Mattie Sampson, West 32nd Street.
52:1 William Edwards, corner West Broad and 32nd Streets.
53:1 George W. Little, 737 West 34th Street.
54:1 Florence Postell, 928 West 51st Street.
54:2 Bessie Reese, 2407 Harden Street.
55:1 Emma English, 628 West 36th Street.
55:2 Barry Higgins, 1810 West Broad Street.
55:3 Albert Jenkins, 627 West 36th Street.
56:1 Tressie Cook, 911 West 38th Street.
57:1 James Collier, 806 West 39th Street.