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My Alabama Shaw Family on My Father’s Side From 1861-2014

My daddy was different from his siblings because he was born with a veil over his face

Posted Aug 18, 2016

Annie Shaw-Barnes, Ph.D.
Author and Speaker
Cultural Anthropologist
Family Specialist
Family Education Specialist
Spousal Abuse Specialist
Christian Church Specialist
Racism Specialist

Hi everyone,

Unlike Daddy’s brothers and sisters, he was born with a veil over his face.
The veil looked like a hair net. Its substance was water. The midwife washed it off. Being born with a veil created occasional misery in Daddy’s life, from childhood far into adulthood, because he had the ability to see “haints” [ghosts] of dead people. The dead looked like themselves, when they were living, or when they showed up to daddy in the form of opossums, raccoons, and livestock. Because some Negroes could see “haints,” most were afraid of the imaginary experiences. In effect, the “haint” culture kept rural Alabama Negroes treating each other good, until the 1960s. They believed that, if they made enemies, and their enemies died first, they would come back and haunt them. Even though Daddy could always see “haints,” as far as I know and as far as others have told me, he never had an enemy. That warmed my heart, even until today, but it was the Shaw way of getting along at home and away from home, with few exceptions.

Haint culture served as informal legal law that helped Negroes get along together. It was replaced by laws far worse than haint culture and those laws, with additions, daily, like criminal justice laws, and their non-implementation to stop wrongful behavior against our people, exist today to the detriment of black Americans.

As the Negro haint culture showed, to stop wrongful behavior, there must be consequences, and this is just as true, today as it was in the early twentieth century.

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