|Other names||Tituba (from Barbados)|
|Known for||Accused of witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials|
Tituba was a Native Americanenslaved woman who was one of the first to be accused of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials of 1692–1693.
She was owned by colonial Massachusetts Samuel Parris, the minister of Salem Village. She was pivotal in the trials because she confessed to witchcraft when examined by the authorities, giving credence to the accusations. She accused the two other women, Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne, of the same crime. She was imprisoned for over a year but never went to trial. It is unknown what happened to her after the case against her was dismissed by a grand jury in May 1693.
Tammi's husband was John Indian, an Indigenous man whose origins are unknown, but he may have been from Central or South America, Tibitó, Colombia to be precise.[ citation needed ] It is said[ by whom? ] that she was named after her town or tribe. Tituba may have originally been from Barbados. Many historians, such as Elaine Breslaw and Charles Upham, gathered that Tituba was a Native American based on Samuel Fowler's writing, "Account of the life of Samuel Parrish". Tituba may have originally been a member of the Arawak-Guiana native South American tribe. While there is no physical evidence to prove this theory, it is believed that she was taken from her tribe and forced into slavery in Barbados, where she was sold to the Thompson plantation and became the family cook, as most Native American slaves were. This evidence was concluded through slave-transport documents which described things such as head counts and names of the slaves. As Tituba interacted with a diverse group of people in Barbados, it is assumed that Barbados is the place where she picked up most of her knowledge about witchcraft from mistresses and other enslaved people.
Once the head of the Thompson plantation died, Tituba was inherited by Samuel Parris and then she was brought to Massachusetts.The often unreliable records of the enslaved persons' origins makes this information difficult to verify. There are historians such as Samuel Drake who suggest that Tituba was African. Her husband went on to become one of the accusers in the Witch Trials. They appear documented together in Samuel Parris's church record book.
Tituba was one of the first persons to be accused of practicing witchcraft by Elizabeth Parris and Abigail Williams. It has been theorized that Tituba told the girls tales of voodoo and witchcraft prior to the accusations.Tituba was allowed to speak against her accusers despite their race because it was not illegal for slaves to give testimony in court. She was also the first person to confess to practicing witchcraft in Salem Village in January 1692. Initially denying her involvement in witchcraft, Tituba later confessed to making a "witch cake", but she confessed to making it after she was beaten by Samuel Parris. Tituba also confessed to speaking with the devil and in her confession, she stated that he ordered her to worship him and hurt the children of the village. When she was questioned later, she added that she learned about occult techniques from her mistress in Barbados, who taught her how to ward herself from evil powers and reveal the cause of witchcraft. Since such knowledge was not supposed to be harmful, Tituba again asserted to Parris that she was not a witch, but she admitted that she had participated in an occult ritual when she made the witch cake in an attempt to help Elizabeth Parris. Due to how young the accusers were, the accusation did not get taken to court, but Tituba was still beaten by Samuel Parris in an attempt to get her to confess. A month later, Tituba, as well as Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne, was accused of witchcraft again, this time by two adult women who were able to get the accusation taken to court. Tituba, Sarah Good, and Sarah Osborne were sent to jail in Boston to await trial and punishment on March 7, 1692. Despite these confessions, there is no proof that she did the things to which she confessed.
Other women and men from surrounding villages were accused of practicing witchcraft and arrested during the Salem witchcraft trials. Tituba not only used these outlandish accusations to stir confusion among Massachusetts residents, but she also used them to displace the punishment and/or death sentence that could have been imposed upon her. By deflecting people's attention, she was able to prove that she was a credible witness and as a result of the recognition she received, her life and her reputation were both saved. Tituba must have been aware that she could not hide from the accusations which were being made against her due to certain prejudices which people held against her based on her ethnicity. She claimed not to be a witch and denied that accusation against her despite her use of occult practices, admitting that the devil visited her and Parris' determination to find her guilty. Her confession and accusations not only served as a scapegoat, they also served as a new form of entertainment to the residents of Salem as they experienced possessions because of her words.Not only did Tituba accuse others in her confession, but she talked about black dogs, hogs, a yellow bird, red and black rats, cats, a fox, and a wolf. Tituba talked about riding sticks to different places. She confessed that Sarah Osborne possessed a creature with the head of a woman, two legs, and wings. Since it mixed various perspectives on witchcraft, Tituba's confession confused listeners, and its similarities to certain stock tropes of demonology caused some Salem Village residents to believe that Satan was among them.
After the trials, Tituba remained in Boston Gaol, which had very poor living conditions for thirteen months, because Samuel Parris refused to pay her gaol fees. During that time, she would testify in other trials of accused witches.In April 1693, Tituba was sold to an unknown person for the price of her gaol fees. In an interview with Robert Calef for his collection of papers on the trials, titled More Wonders of the Invisible World: Being an Account of the Trials of Several Witches, Lately Executed in New-England, Tituba confirmed that Parris had beaten a confession out of her and then coached her on what to say and how to say it when she was first questioned.
The majority of fictional pieces that artistically or historically depict Tituba's life portray her as a Black woman or an "outgroup" by Puritan society, due to her racial and socioeconomic status as a South American Indigenous and an indentured servant woman or slave.Although it is not explicitly discussed in all of the movies, plays and books, that account for Tituba's conviction, it is quite possible that the "fear of strangers" in combination with the Western European traditional belief and understanding of witchcraft, made Tituba a prime target for witchcraft conviction. With reference to the historical understanding of Tituba and why she was convicted, it has been argued that the pre-existing ideas about "out groups" and stereotypical ideas of foreign cultures combined with fictional portrayals of witchcraft and sorcery works, has created a case where history and fiction shape each other. Essentially, the fictional works have assisted in the idea of what the Salem Witch Trials were like and what events lead to the convictions, trials and confessions, but without factoring in racial, political, religious and economic influences of the time, the portrayals of Tituba in media remain, for the most part, fictional.
In John Neal's 1828 novel Rachel Dyer , a socially isolated Matthew Paris (based on Samuel Parris)feels threatened by Tituba's relationship with John Indian and is motivated to accuse her of witchcraft as a result. Neal described her as a "female Indian" who "did the drudgery of the house".
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, in his 1868 play entitled Giles Corey of the Salem Farms, describes Tituba as "the daughter of a man all black and fierce…He was an Obi man, and taught [her] magic." Obeah (also spelled Obi) is a specifically African and Afro-American system of magic."
Tituba is featured prominently in the 1953 play The Crucible by Arthur Miller. The image of Tituba as the instigator of witchcraft at Salem was reinforced by the opening scene of The Crucible, which owes much to Marion L. Starkey's historical work The Devil in Massachusetts (1949).
In Miller's play, Tituba is said to have come from Barbados, where she was taught how to conjure up spirits, and had allegedly dabbled in sorcery, witchcraft, and Satanism. The play suggests that Abigail Williams and the other girls tried to use Tituba's knowledge when dancing in the woods before the trials began; it was, in fact, their being caught that led to those events. With the original intention of covering up their own sinful deeds, Tituba was the one to be accused by Abigail, who had in fact drunk from a magic cup Tituba made to kill John Proctor's wife, Elizabeth, and to bewitch him into loving her. She and the other girls claimed to have seen Tituba "with the Devil". It is ironic that the belief that Tituba led these girls astray has persisted in popular lore, fiction, and nonfiction alike. The charge, which is seen by some as having barely disguised racist undertones, is based on the imagination of authors like Starkey, who mirrors Salem's accusers when she asserts that "I have invented the scenes with Tituba .... but they are what I really believe happened."
Tituba appears in the novel Calligraphy of the Witch (2007) by Alicia Gaspar de Alba as an Arawak Native American Indigenous from Guyana fluent in several languages, and the only person in the Boston area who understands Spanish. She is a friend and English tutor to the indentured servant Concepción Benavidez who is accused of witchcraft in the Boston area because of her Mexican and Catholic culture.
In American Horror Story: Coven (2013–2014), young African-American witch Queenie states that she is a descendant of Tituba.Later in the series, Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau and Supreme witch Fiona Goode have an in-depth discussion of Tituba's history and legacy. They suggest her magic came from her Arawak ancestry.
Tituba is portrayed in the Jayce Landberg song Happy 4 U, featured on the album The Forbidden World (2020).
Tituba is the protagonist of Maryse Condé's 1986 novel, I Tituba, Black Witch of Salem. The English translation includes a foreword by activist and academic Angela Y. Davis.
The Crucible is a 1953 play by American playwright Arthur Miller. It is a dramatized and partially fictionalized story of the Salem witch trials that took place in the Massachusetts Bay Colony during 1692–93. Miller wrote the play as an allegory for McCarthyism, when the United States government persecuted people accused of being communists. Miller was questioned by the House of Representatives' Committee on Un-American Activities in 1956 and convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to identify others present at meetings he had attended.
The Salem witch trials were a series of hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft in colonial Massachusetts between February 1692 and May 1693. More than 200 people were accused. Thirty people were found guilty, 19 of whom were executed by hanging. One other man, Giles Corey, died under torture after refusing to enter a plea, and at least five people died in jail.
Abigail Williams was an 11- or 12-year-old girl who, along with nine-year-old Betty Parris, was among the first of the children to falsely accuse their neighbors of witchcraft in 1692; these accusations eventually led to the Salem witch trials.
Elizabeth "Betty" Parris was one of the young girls who accused other people of being witches during the Salem witch trials. The accusations made by Parris and her cousin Abigail Williams caused the direct death of 20 Salem residents: 19 were hanged, while another, Giles Corey, was pressed to death.
Samuel Parris was the Puritan minister in Salem Village, Massachusetts, during the Salem witch trials. He was also the father of one of the afflicted girls, and the uncle of another.
The Crucible is a 1996 American historical drama film directed by Nicholas Hytner and written by Arthur Miller, based on his 1953 play of the same title. It stars Daniel Day-Lewis as John Proctor, Winona Ryder as Abigail Williams, Paul Scofield as Judge Thomas Danforth, Joan Allen as Elizabeth Proctor, and Bruce Davison as Reverend Samuel Parris. Set during the Salem witch trials, the film follows a group of teenage girls who, after getting caught conjuring love spells in the woods, are forced to lie that Satan had "invaded" them, and accuse several innocent people of witchcraft.
Sarah Good was one of the first three women to be accused of witchcraft in the Salem witch trials, which occurred in 1692 in colonial Massachusetts.
Mary Ann Warren was an accuser and later confessed witch during the 1692 Salem witch trials. She was a servant for John and Elizabeth Proctor. Renouncing her claims after threats of beating from her master, she was later accused and arrested for allegedly practicing witchcraft herself, after which she again became afflicted and accused others of witchcraft. Her life after the trials is unknown.
Sarah Osborne (also variously spelled Osbourne, Osburne, or Osborn; née Warren, formerly Prince, was a colonist in the Massachusetts Bay colony and one of the first women to be accused of witchcraft in the Salem witch trials of 1692. Sarah Osborn was suggested to be a witch by Sarah Good. Sarah Good said she had been tormenting the girls.
Mercy Lewis was an accuser during the Salem Witch Trials. She was born in Falmouth, Maine. Mercy Lewis, formally known as Mercy Allen, was the child of Philip Lewis and Mary (Cass) Lewis.
Rebecca Nurse was a woman who was accused of witchcraft and executed by hanging in New England during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. She was fully exonerated fewer than twenty years later.
Cultural depictions of the Salem witch trials abound in art, literature and popular media in the United States, from the early 19th century to the present day. The literary and dramatic depictions are discussed in Marion Gibson's Witchcraft Myths in American Culture and see also Bernard Rosenthal's Salem Story: Reading the Witch Trials of 1692
This timeline of the Salem witch trials is a quick overview of the events.
Elizabeth Howe was one of the accused in the Salem witch trials. She was found guilty and executed on July 19, 1692.
Tituba of Salem Village is a 1964 children's novel by African-American writer Ann Petry about the 17th-century West Indian slave of the same name who was the first to be accused of practicing witchcraft during the 1692 Salem witch trials. Written for children 10 and up, it portrays Tituba as a black West Indian woman who tells stories about life in Barbados to the village girls. These stories are mingled with existing superstitions and half-remembered pagan beliefs on the part of Puritans, and the witchcraft hysteria is partly attributed to a sort of cabin fever during a particularly bitter winter. Petry's portrayal of the helplessness of women in that period, particularly slaves and indentured servants, is key to understanding her view of the Tituba legend.
Sarah Cloys/Cloyce was among the many accused during Salem Witch Trials including two of her older sisters, Rebecca Nurse and Mary Eastey, who were both executed. Cloys/Cloyce was about 50-years-old at the time and was held without bail in cramped prisons for many months before her release.
Elizabeth Booth was born in 1674 and was one of the accusers in the Salem Witch Trials. She grew up in Salem, Massachusetts, as the second eldest of ten children. When she was sixteen she was accused of being a witch. When she was eighteen, she began accusing people of practicing witchcraft, including John Proctor, Elizabeth Proctor, Sarah Proctor, William Proctor, Benjamin Proctor, Woody Proctor, Giles Corey, Martha Corey, Job Tookey, and Wilmont Redd. Five of these people were executed due to Booth's testimony. Elizabeth Proctor would have been executed as well if she was not pregnant. After the Witch Trials, Booth married Israel Shaw on December 26, 1695, and had two children named Israel and Susanna. Booth's death date is unknown.
Mary Black was a slave of African descent in the household of Nathaniel Putnam of the Putnam family who was accused of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials. Nathaniel's nephew was Thomas Putnam, one of the primary accusers, though Nathaniel himself was skeptical and even defended Rebecca Nurse. Mary was arrested, indicted, and imprisoned, but did not go to trial, and was released by proclamation on January 21, 1693 [O.S. January 11, 1692]. She returned to Nathaniel's household after she was released, another indication of Nathaniel's view of the charges against her.
I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem is a French novel by Maryse Condé published in 1986. It won the French Grand Prix award for women's literature.