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Crossing the Water and Keeping the FaithHaitian Religion in Miami$
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Terry Rey and Alex Stepick

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814777084

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814777084.001.0001

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Vodou in the Magic City

Vodou in the Magic City

Serving the Spirits across the Sea

(p.113) 4 Vodou in the Magic City
Crossing the Water and Keeping the Faith

Terry Rey

Alex Stepick

Archbishop Thomas Wenski

NYU Press

This chapter presents an ethnographic glimpse into Vodouist life and worldview in Miami, arguing that Vodou's traditional raison d'être in the Haitian homeland endures in the Magic City. However, because their religion is so maligned and misunderstood in America, Vodouists have faced more challenges to carry on their faith traditions than Haitian Catholics and Protestants have. The religion does survive in Miami, thanks in large part to its legacy of overcoming some of the most foreboding tragedies in human history, as well as the creativity and knowledge of its priests and priestesses. The chapter dissects the nature of Vodou into four parts: the changes that Vodou has undergone in the Haitian immigrant experience, the use of Catholic churches and shrines for ritual Vodouist purposes, the complexities that Vodou has forced upon Miami's criminal and immigration courts, and the transnational dimensions of Vodouist life in Miami.

Keywords:   Vodou, Magic City, Vodouist life, Miami, Haitian immigrant experience, criminal courts, immigration courts

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