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- DescriptionIn Voice of the Leopard: African Secret Societies and Cuba, Ivor L. Miller shows how African migrants and their political fraternities played a formative role in the history of Cuba. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, large kingdoms controlled Nigeria and Cameroon's multilingual Cross River basin. Instead, each settlement had its own lodge of the initiation society called Ekpe, or leopard, which was the highest indigeus authority. Ekpe lodges ruled local communities while also managing regional and long-distance trade. Cross River Africans, enslaved and forcibly brought to colonial Cuba, reorganized their Ekpe clubs covertly in Havana and Matanzas into a mutual-aid society called Abakua, which became foundational to Cuba's urban life and music. Miller's extensive fieldwork in Cuba and West Africa documents ritual languages and practices that survived the Middle Passage and evolved into a unifying charter for transplanted slaves and their successors. To gain deeper understanding of the material, Miller underwent Ekpe initiation rites in Nigeria after ten years' collaboration with Abakua initiates in Cuba and the United States. He argues that Cuban music, art, and even politics rely on complexities of these African-inspired codes of conduct and leadership. Voice of the Leopard is an unprecedented tracing of an African title-society to its Caribbean incarnation, which has deeply influenced Cuba's creative energy and popular consciousness. This book is sponsored by a grant from the InterAmericas(r)/Society of Arts and Letters of the Americas, a program of the Reed Foundation.
- Author BiographyIvor L. Miller, a cultural historian specializing in the African Diaspora in the Caribbean and the Americas, is currently a Research Fellow at the African Studies Center, Boston University. His previous book, Aerosol Kingdom: Subway Painters of New York City, was also published by University Press of Mississippi.
- Author(s)Ivor L. Miller
- PublisherUniversity Press of Mississippi
- Date of Publication30/03/2012
- SubjectRegional History
- Series TitleCaribbean Studies Series
- Place of PublicationJackson
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintUniversity Press of Mississippi
- Content Note60
- Weight703 g
- Width152 mm
- Height229 mm
- Spine25 mm
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