This book reveals how five distinct African civilizations have shaped the specific cultures of their New World descendants.
"Robert Farris Thompson is the art historian of Africa who has turned his talents to Afro-America and sketched the course that creative new work is likely to follow." -- Eugene Genovese
This landmark book shows how five African civilizations -- Yoruba, Kongo, Ejagham, Mande and Cross River -- have informed and are reflected in the aesthetic, social and metaphysical traditions (music, sculpture, textiles, architecture, religion, idiogrammatic writing) of black people in the United States, Cuba, Haiti, Trinidad, Mexico, Brazil and other places in the New World.
"A wonderfully enthusiastic book...Mr. Thompson is a professor of art history, but he takes his subject in the round, not in any specialized or compartmentalized manner. He is part anthropologist, part art critic, part musicologist, part student of religion and philosophy, and entirely an enthusiastic partisan of what he writes about."
-- The New York Times Book Review
"Centuries of racist assumptions go packing it in Flash of the Spirit." -- The Village Voice
"This is art history to dance by." -- The Philadelphia Inquirer