Drums and Shadows

Survival Studies among the Georgia Coastal Negroes

Georgia Writers' Project

Introduction by Charles Joyner

Photographs by Muriel Bell and Malcolm Bell

Drums and Shadows

Survival Studies among the Georgia Coastal Negroes

Georgia Writers' Project

Introduction by Charles Joyner

Photographs by Muriel Bell and Malcolm Bell

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Set against the background of the antebellum slave trade, Drums and Shadows traces the persistence of African heritage in the culture of blacks living on the Georgia coast in the 1930s. In the later years of the depression, members of the Georgia Writers' Project visited and interviewed blacks, many of whose grandparents, smuggled into slavery as late as 1858, had passed on the customs and beliefs of their African past. Seeking evidence of African traditions, the project's workers questioned the blacks about conjure-the curses and potions responsible for turns of luck, illnesses, and even death-about dreams that often determine the course of daily life, and about spirits and other apparitions as real as walking, breathing people.

The reissue of this valuable collection of interviews . . . with former slaves and descendants of slaves living along the Georgia coast is a welcome addition for folklorists, historians, and general readers.

Georgia Historical Quarterly

Perhaps the most memorable federally financed book to come out of the New Deal.

—Theodore Rosengarten

About the Author/Editor

MALCOLM BELL JR. spent eight eight years researching and writing Major Butler's Legacy on retiring as president and chairman of a Savannah bank. He has published articles and books on Savannah and Georgia history, and with his wife Muriel made the photographs for Drums and Shadows, a Georgia Writers' Project publication reissued by the University of Georgia Press in 1986.