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Levines Black Culture and Black Consciousness as the title suggests devotes its attention to a people who at the time of the books publishing had been traditionally neglected and overlooked by scholars In the 1960s and 70s Levine along with other emerging scholars in the Afro-American studies field attempted to break the established mold Levines text itself is significant in this movement because in tracing the birth growth and transformation of various elements of black culturewith a focus on the oral traditionhe acknowledges the significance and complexity of a culture that had been labeled up until that point as nonexistent Levine argues that once brought to the New World although a unifying language and set of institutions were nonexistent the Africans were able to forge a culture expressing their shared values and ideals manifested through a rich oral tradition on which Levine focuses The songs beliefs and folktales to which Levine devotes his attention separately reveal one aspect of the slaves consciousness 134 as they each served distinct needs of the slave culture Levine studies music as a distinguishing cultural form because of how much it illustrates about slave life Levine contends that the religious emphasis of the slave music resulted from the slaves attempt transcend the limited world to which they were bound By expanding the world in which they existed the slaves were able to forge the values community and structure needed to survive 33 Slave folk beliefs were incorporated into the slave culture as a means of controlling the circumstances which controlled them in so much of their lives And finally lave folklore as Levine suggests is significant because it reveals the attitudes and values of the slave culture In the tales the weak always overcome adversity and are never dominated by the strong And furthermore the weak never turned around and dominate the strong These tales allowed the slaves to understand why they had to survive the circumstances under which
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