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In African history, the gris-gris was an amulet or symbol of good luck and spiritual protection. The practice of using a gris-gris symbol was brought to America by African slaves near Senegal and Mali in the 17th & 18th centuries. The gris-gris is a small bag full of little objects specific to the person or place intended. Part of early Islamic culture in West Africa, the gris-gris bag is usually inscribed with scriptures from the Qu’ran. In some parts of african culture like Senegal, the gris-gris was sometimes used as a form of contraception.

The term gris-gris was said to derive from the Mande language, and the West African term juju, which means sacred. One of the most famous practitioners using gris-gris was Marie Laveau, the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans in the 19th century. Laveau was said to have inherited her magical powers from her African ancestors.

Little Known Black History Fact: Gris-Gris  was originally published on blackamericaweb.com

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