This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Hoodoo in the Gulf Coast: Empowerment and Protection during the 19th and 20th Centuries: The Black cat bone and Snakes




Evans, Arielle

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis




Hoodoo during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries provided African Americans with knowledge, protection, and power. Although previous scholarship has focused on the role of different charms and herbal treatments, this research shows that the Devil played a role not only in hoodoo, but in Black communities of the South. The Devil was able to provide assistance to people with the help of two specific tools; the black cat bone and snakes. Slave Narratives/ autobiographies, interviews, and WPA Narratives provide insight on the practices and the uses for the black cat bone and snakes in hoodoo rituals. Although hoodoo was constantly evolving, the Devil’s role remained the same. The Devil was African Americans’ source of empowerment and protection during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.