By Samiri Hernández Hiraldo
Loiza is a Puerto Rican city recognized for most sensible representing the African traditions, a group of a commonly black inhabitants stricken by profound racial discrimination and poverty. yet many Loiza citizens strongly establish themselves in spiritual phrases, strategically dealing with their person, familial, gender, generational, neighborhood, nationwide, and racial identities via a non secular prism that successfully is helping them take care of and rework their tough reality.
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Additional info for Black Puerto Rican Identity and Religious Experience
My mother, however, became a Baptist as an adult, after my father invited her to his church during one of his evangelistic visits to her community. 2 During my fieldwork, I found out that one of my interviewees, Toño Lacen, who was one of the main Spiritist leaders in Loíza (the number one Spiritist in Loíza some people say), had visited my mother’s parents’ home to organize Spiritist meetings (sesiones or veladas). For many years, my grandfather operated a stand in the farmers’ market downtown and dealt with local farmers and fishermen as well as people from the town of Loíza where, I was told, many black people lived who were superstitious and practiced witchcraft, Spiritism, and Santería.
The three compo- Introduction: Catching Identity and/or/in Religion / 11 nents of Puerto Rican national culture are in the seal of the ICP and have been reproduced everywhere: a Spanish man is at the center with a grammar book in his hand, an Indian man is on the Spanish man’s right, along with a carved stone god surrounded by plants, and an African man is on the Spanish man’s left, along with a machete and a drum. Cultural centers in each municipality were also created to help the cause of the ICP at the local level (Dávila 1997: 79).
Family members were mostly Catholic and had some beliefs in Spiritism, although some members, including my grandparents, converted later to a very traditional Pentecostalism. My mother, however, became a Baptist as an adult, after my father invited her to his church during one of his evangelistic visits to her community. 2 During my fieldwork, I found out that one of my interviewees, Toño Lacen, who was one of the main Spiritist leaders in Loíza (the number one Spiritist in Loíza some people say), had visited my mother’s parents’ home to organize Spiritist meetings (sesiones or veladas).
Black Puerto Rican Identity and Religious Experience by Samiri Hernández Hiraldo