Voodoo Queen Chapter Summary

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Martha Ward’s book “Voodoo Queen: The Spirited Lives of Marie Laveau” aims to dissect the complicated identity of the 19th-century voodoo priestess and her daughter of the same name. This book is the first study of the powerful religious leaders in a way that dismantles the common narrative of voodoo equating evil. During her examination of the Laveau legacy, Ward skillfully presents primary and secondary sources, as well as oral testimonies (1935-1943) from the Federal Writers’ Project of the Works Progress Administration. With a combination of archives that has considerable depth and breadth, Ward is able to analyze one of the most dynamic heritages in American Voodoo. One of the most important factors to consider while reading this book…show more content…
Ward’s intention for creating such a book to not only explain the significance of the Laveau’s in New Orleans Voodoo History but to also educate the mainstream American audience about the alternative narrative regarding this religion. Because of the author’s personal admiration for the city of New Orleans, by way of the Laveau’s biographies, she is able to convey the rich culture that has been built on and around creole culture. In the introduction specifically, Ward explains she has been confronted with questions by her peers that discuss voodoo in a negative light, such as: “Isn’t Voodoo dangerous? What happens to you if you tell its secrets?” Ward accomplished her goal demystifying the religion by explaining the significance behind its rituals and traditions that have often been misinterpreted by popular culture and used to demonize voodoo as a whole. Specially, Ward chose to highlight how the Laveaus were heroines of New Orlean’s for saving countless lives from the diseases rapturing the city as well as spearheading anti-slavery movements. Together they treated the lowest classes of society (death-row inmates, prisoners..etc) from ills such as malaria, cholera and yellow fever. They not only allocated their healing mixes and homemade medicines, but they were also great sources of spiritual comfort for those
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