Master of Arts (MA)
African American studies, African Americans, Black studies, Religion
When on September 4, 1950 I went to the Republic of Haiti as a missionary for the Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission Convention, U.S.A., I found Voodoo to be far more prevalent there than I had been led to believe, and I was very ill-prepared to cope with it in the rural area where I was assigned to work. I knew also that after two years I was to go to Liberia, ' West Africa, where I would find a similar situation. I then set about to learn all that I could about Voodoo.
Two main reasons, then, led me to attempt an investigation of the Voodoo religion: (1) My own people here in America, and indeed I myself, have been influenced by the Voodoo tradition. To understand Voodoo is to understand better the American Negro. (2) The prospect of going to West Africa to work where Voodoo still flourishes called forth the need of understanding as much as possible of this primitive religion in order that my ministry among the people who practice it might be as effective as possible.
My aim in making this study has been to describe Voodoo in its historical setting, to depict it in its relation to Catholic and Protestant Christianity in the Republic of Haiti, Voodoo's last Western stronghold, to show that Voodoo is a genuine religion which contains values worthy to be preserved, but that it is essentially an inferior religion which ought to be superseded by Christianity, and finally to suggest- and only to suggest- a general Christian strategy for dealing with Voodoo.
Burton, William Dewitt, "The Voodoo Gospel and The Christian Gospel" (1953). Honors Papers. 777.