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 conjurethe curses and potions responsible for turns of luck, illnesses, and even deathabout dreams that often determine the course of daily life, and about spirits and other apparitions as real as walking, breathing people.
About the Author
This study of African survivals was conducted by the Savannah unit of the Georgia Writers' Project, under the direction of Mary Granger, the district supervisor. Muriel and Malcolm Bell, Jr., are natives of Savannah. Charles Joyner, the author of Down by the Riverside: A South Carolina Slave Community and editor of several collections of sea island black folk tales and songs, is Burroughs Distinguished Professor of Southern History at Coastal Carolina University.