Video: Introducing Ms. Donna Haskins and Take Back What the Devil Stole

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Like Karen McCarthy Brown’s Mama Lola: A Vodou Priestess in Brooklyn, this study of an impossibly ordinary life grabs you and refuses to let go, even as it offers new insights into a hidden spiritual world.

Stephen Prothero, author of Why Liberals Win (Even When They Lose Elections): How America’s Raucous, Nasty, and Mean “Culture Wars” Make for a More Inclusive Nation

Today’s AAR/SBL Annual Meetings Exhibit video introduces the forthcoming title Take Back What the Devil Stole: An African American Prophet’s Encounters in the Spirit World, which centers on Donna Haskins’s encounters with the supernatural to offer a powerful narrative of how one woman seeks to reclaim her power from a lifetime of social violence.

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When my friend Jason first invited me to meet Donna, the subject of my new book Take Back What the Devil Stole, I was extremely nervous about visiting her apartment, both because it was adjacent to one of the Boston neighborhood of Roxbury’s most notorious housing projects and because there were those who had described Donna as a woman who did not live “in this world” but had chosen to spend most of her time venturing into another, less tangible realm. Although Donna might appear to be carrying the weight of the world as an oppressed Black woman living in abject poverty, Jason explained, in this unseen dimension she was as free as a ray of light.

-Onaje X. O. Woodbine


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