Perhaps the best comparison to Onaje Woodbine’s Take Back What the Devil Stole is Karen McCarthy Brown’s Mama Lola (1991). While McCarthy sought to elucidate and destigmatize the religion of Vodou by writing a biography of a Haitian manbo who had immigrated to the United States, Woodbine uses a similar methodology in his portrayal of African American prophet Donna Haskins. While the previous work depicts its subject through a feminist lens, the recent text rests upon a foundation of womanist theory. Perhaps most importantly, both Brown and Woodbine construct compelling, even moving, narratives of lived religion within a marginalized community.

As Woodbine puts it, his goal is to examine “how a contemporary Black woman constructs ultimate meanings, often on the peripheries of social and political power” (5). In particular, he focuses on a concept of religion that emphasizes both everyday life as well as the centrality of the body. In...

You do not currently have access to this content.