House Design Tells A Forgotten History Lesson

Exodus 39:1 tells us, “For the priests who served in the holy place, they decorated finely woven garments with blue, purple, and scarlet thread donated by the people.” Blue was special to priests, but our people have a spiritual connection to this color, too. What is it?

House Design Tells A Forgotten History Lesson
Via Flickr 

Traveling through the South, you might notice a pattern. Many homes proudly showcase porch ceilings, doors, and window treatments painted a specific color blue.

The selection, many are surprised to learn, goes way deeper than a design preference.

The color symbolism honors many rich African spiritual traditions – including honoring one Yoruba, deity Iya Mapo.

Many Black families believe this color blue protects their families against evil spirits, known as “haints,” conjuring up the illusion of “uncrossable” water or of the expanse of the sky. But that’s not all the appropriately named “haint blue” signifies.

In the 18th century, indigo plants produced coveted blue dye. Its production drove the economy of colonial-era South Carolina with a value that far exceeded cotton.  

Its rich tones serve as a reminder of the atrocities committed against enslaved laborers on indigo plantations.

In spite of the historic wrongs perpetrated against their ancestors behind this rare dye, a reclamation movement is rising. Blue has a history of suffering within our bloodlines, but it also signifies the ability of our people to survive boundless racism and oppression.

Find something blue around you. How does this color inspire you to protect and celebrate our people?

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