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What is the ring shout dance?

The Ring Shout. The Ring Shout has its origins in a dance form indigenous to much of Central and West Africa, in which the dancers move in a counterclockwise circle. "Wherever in Africa the counterclockwise dance ceremony was performed," Sterling Stuckey wrote, "the dancing and singing were directed to the ancestors and gods,...

What was the purpose of the ring shout?

Calling it "an essential ritual of enslaved Africans," historian Jonathan David notes the ring shout's role in "validating a group solidarity in the face of enormous oppression" (David 1999, p. 565).

What is a shout service?

The "shout" is a peculiar service in which a dozen or twenty jog slowly round a circle behind each other with a peculiar shuffle of the feet and shake of arms, keeping time to a droning chant and hand-clapping maintained by bystanders. As the exercise continues, the excitement increases, occasionally becomes hysterical.

Was there a ring shout in the Civil War?

Another white Civil War witness to a ring shout, Colonel Thomas Wentworth Higginson (1823–1911), described it in his memoirs: All over the camp the lights glimmer in the tents, and as I sit at my desk in the open doorway, there come mingled sounds of stir and glee.


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