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Jumping the BroomThe Surprising Multicultural Origins of a Black Wedding Ritual$
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Tyler D. Parry

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781469660868

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469660868.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 04 July 2022

A Multicultural Tradition

A Multicultural Tradition

(p.1) Introduction A Multicultural Tradition
Jumping the Broom

Tyler D. Parry

University of North Carolina Press

The book’s introduction begins with a largely unknown vignette of two enslaved people “jumping the broom” in an elaborate ceremony, which the author specifically selected to portray the ritual’s complexity and rich symbolism. Following the analysis of this ceremony, the introduction engages a number of broader subjects explored in the book’s subsequent chapters. First, it questions why, despite its popularity among multiple groups throughout the Atlantic world, the broomstick wedding has not received adequate attention in previous literature. This requires an overview of researchers who have commented on the custom and why a more extensive history needs to be written. Second, it examines how certain traditions are lost to communities and how their descendants reimagine them to fit their contemporary needs. Essentially, the need to reinvent a ceremony crosses the various cultural groups who claim it. Finally, it provides an overview of the book’s trajectory, which is both thematic and chronological, showing how “culture” is conceptualized, reimagined, reinvented, and exchanged throughout time and space.

Keywords:   Ceremony, Culture, Atlantic world, History, Symbolism, Ritual, “Jumping the Broom”

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