Oyotunji: The Yoruba Community in the United States

Pamela J. Olúbùnmi Smith, University of Nebraska at Omaha

This “Oyotunji: The Yoruba Community in the United States” was published in Encyclopedia of the Yoruba. No part of it may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted, or distributed in any form, by any means, electronic, mechanical, photographic, or otherwise, without the prior permission of Indiana University Press. For education reuse, please contact the Copyright Clearance Center <https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url? u=http-3A__www.copyright.com_&d=DwIGaQ&c=Cu5g146wZdoqVuKpTNsYHeFX_rg6kWhlkLF8Eftwwo& r=qMHo0jABnWy_k058JRFMMbozPcY5ZtnWAZeTWwiqyb8&m=U8WzATo2C4pmiPmYhhhZ8Iw35QzomXqJSNdshvCd1JQ&s=HismmQQO_X9Cg36GnOJSCaJvBqro9p6GIlaXDVKDREM&e=>. For all other permissions, contact IU Press at <https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__iupress.indiana.edu_rights_&d=DwIGaQ&c=Cu5g146wZdoqVuKpTNsYHeFX_rg6kWhlkLF8Eftwwo& r=qMHo0jABnWy_k058JRFMMbozPcY5ZtnWAZeTWwiqyb8&m=U8WzATo2C4pmiPmYhhhZ8Iw35QzomXqJSNdshvCd1JQ&s=xkp6ywTwrRaslGaAt8M9VEKSs_j1EPab1AKWL9pxa9Q&e=>.”


Founded in 1970 by Walter Eugene "Serge" King, Qy9tunjf African Village is located near Sheldon, Beaufort County, South Carolina. King was a black nationalist who found in separatist ideology the solution to his fervent search for a black cultural identity in the 1960s. While this separatist ideology was rooted in the black national identity movement of the turbulent 1950s and 1960s, its uniqueness lies in the fact that King eschewed mere rhetoric. He planned carefully, traveling in the mid-1950s to Egypt, where he was introduced to Kemetic antiquities, and thereafter to Cuba and Haiti, where he was introduced to West African indigenous cultures and New World Vodou religion. King was steadfast in his conviction that the healing balm to assuage the battered social identity of blacks in America could be only the rejection of the enslaving cultural baggage of Western civilization and the donning on of the mantle of a reinvented West African culture. It would take him many years of travel abroad in the 1950s and 1960s to study the mores, values, and cultures of West Africa as well as to undergo a formal initiation into Yoruba religion, endeavors he undertook in order to realize his separatist vision.