Prayer Meeting, Georgia, 1872


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Image Reference
STEARNS

Source
Charles Stearns, The Black Man of the South (New York, 1872), facing p. 371

Comments
Caption, "Religious dancing of the Blacks, termed 'Shouting'. Although dating from the post-emancipation period, this scene is evocative of the late slave period. Only a portion of the author's detailed description is given here: "Just before they break up, when the 'spirit is upon them' . . . they engage in a kind of shaker dance, which they term singularly enough, shouting . . . . A ring of singers is formed in an open space in the room, and they, without holding on to each other's hands, walk slowly around and around in a circle . . . . They then utter a kind of melodious chant, which gradually increases in strength, and in noise, until it fairly shakes the house, and it can be heard for a long distance . . . . I know of nothing similar to this dancing or shouting, in the religious excercises of any other class of people. It is entirely unknown among the white Christians here" (Stearns, pp. 371-72).