Beginning in the late 1970s and early 1980s, significant numbers of Haitian immigrants began to arrive and settle in Miami. Overcoming some of the most foreboding obstacles ever to face immigrants in America, they, their children, and now their grandchildren, as well as more recently arriving immigrants from Haiti, have diversified socioeconomically. Together, they have made South Florida home to the largest population of native-born Haitians and diasporic Haitians outside of the Caribbean and one of the most significant Caribbean immigrant communities in the world. Religion has played a central role in making all of this happen.
Crossing the Water and Keeping the Faith is a historical and ethnographic study of Haitian religion in immigrant communities, based on fieldwork in both Miami and Haiti, as well as extensive archival research. Where many studies of Haitian religion limit themselves to one faith, Rey and Stepick explore Catholicism, Protestantism, and Vodou in conversation with one another, suggesting that despite the differences between these practices, the three faiths ultimately create a sense of unity, fulfillment, and self-worth in Haitian communities. This meticulously researched and vibrantly written book contributes to the growing body of literature on religion among new immigrants, as well as providing a rich exploration of Haitian faith communities.
About the Author
Terry Rey was formerly Professeur de Sociologie des Religions at Université d’État d’Haïti and Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Florida International University. He is now Associate Professor of Religion at Temple University.
Alex Stepick is Professor of Sociology at Portland State University and Professor of Global and Sociocultural Studies at Florida International University, where he also is Director of the Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy.
Table of Contents
Archbishop Thomas Wenski
Introduction: Haitian Religion in Miami 1
1 The Haitian Catholic Church in Miami: When the Saints
Go Sailing In 33
2 Immigrant Faith and Class Distinctions: Haitian Catholics
beyond Little Haiti 59
3 Feting Haiti’s Patron Saint in Little Haiti: The Feast of Our
Lady of Perpetual Help 83
4 Vodou in the Magic City: Serving the Spirits across the Sea 113
5 Storefront and Transnational Protestantism in Little
Haiti: Harvesting the Gospel in the Haitian Church of the
Open Door 151
Conclusion: Beasts, Gods, and Transnational
About the Authors 266
What People are Saying About This
“This outstanding book is the first comprehensive overview of the rise and existing triangular relations between the Roman Catholic, Protestant and Vodou communities among Haitians in South Miami, Florida. The authors let their subjects speak and reveal the importance of these religious traditions play in Haitians’ transnational experiences. This volume should be of interest to a general readership and is especially of vital importance to anthropologists, sociologists, theologians and historians of American religion.”-Leslie Desmangles,Trinity College
“A monumental scholarly achievement by two excellent scholars of the three main religions in Haiti and its diaspora: Catholicism, Protestantism, and Vodou. Because of its breadth—covering all three religions of Haiti—and the length of time it covers—decades—no one will be able to teach or write about Haitian and/or Caribbean religion without citing this work.”-Margarita A. Mooney,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill