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A Free Reading Passage on Ring Shouts for AP U.S. History

Cate O'Donnell

2 min read

May 26

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Ring Shouts are a referenced topic in the Regions of the British Colonies topic in Period 2 of AP U.S. History. You could reference this example on your AP U.S. History test.



ring shout

The Ring Shout is a powerful and enduring cultural tradition that originated among enslaved Africans in colonial America. This spiritual and communal dance, deeply rooted in West African religious practices, became a cornerstone of African American cultural expression and resilience.


The Ring Shout typically involved a group of participants forming a circle and moving in a counterclockwise direction while singing, clapping, and stomping their feet. The dance was accompanied by call-and-response chanting and rhythmic percussion, often created by the shuffling of feet and the clapping of hands. Participants would often enter an ecstatic state, which they believed allowed them to connect with their ancestors and the divine.


This tradition was particularly prevalent in the Southern colonies, where large populations of enslaved Africans were forced to work on plantations. Despite the harsh conditions and brutal treatment they faced, enslaved Africans used the Ring Shout as a form of resistance and a way to maintain their cultural heritage. It provided a sense of community, spiritual solace, and a way to express their shared experiences of suffering and hope.


The Ring Shout was often held in secret, away from the watchful eyes of slaveholders, who viewed such gatherings with suspicion and fear. The enslaved used the cover of night or secluded locations to perform these rituals, which helped preserve their cultural identity and foster a sense of solidarity.

As generations passed, the Ring Shout evolved and adapted, incorporating elements of Christian worship. Enslaved Africans and their descendants blended African spiritual traditions with Christian hymns and biblical themes, creating a unique form of worship that resonated deeply within their communities. This syncretism laid the foundation for the development of African American religious practices, including the emergence of gospel music and other forms of worship that are still prevalent today.



PRINTABLE READING PASSAGE ON RING SHOUTS

Would you prefer to share a printable passage with your students? Click the image below to grab it!



Ring Shouts FREE Reading Passage


Do you want to watch a video about ring shouts?







The Regions of British Colonies

Period 2

AP U.S. History




ring shouts



#RingShouts

Cate O'Donnell

2 min read

May 26

10

0

0

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