Black History Month kicks off at the International Voodoo Museum (includes video story)

Some people think Voodoo is taboo, but one Miami man sheds light on the subject so that more people become enlightened. 

Emmanuel Millen is an American who was born in Port-au-Prince. His family moved from Haiti to Miami, Florida when he was sixteen years old. 

As a student, Millen attended North Senior High and Miami Dade College, where he earned an associate’s degree in travel and tourism.  He went on to Florida International University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management.

The Miami International Voodoo Museum was launched by Millen in 2019.

In celebration of Black History Month, the museum opened on Feb. 2 for its annual exhibition.

It is located in Millen’s backyard in North Miami. He has collected art, antiques, and ritual items from Haiti and Brazil for the museum.

He’s done over seven exhibitions since the museum opened. Millen put his own money into setting it up.

Voodoo in Haiti represents a relentless fight against slavery and colonialism, he says.

“People need to understand that this is about 1000 years of history of African descent, culture, traditions,” said  Millen. “There is nothing negative that exists here…. It is my job to educate people when they come here about the culture, about the civilization, and about the traditions that our ancestors left for us…Haiti has that history of the first republic that abolished slavery and I embrace that.”

By sharing a narrative of Afro-Diaspora resistance, resilience, and creation, Millen hopes to counter misconceptions.

The museum provides space for local houngans and mambos (Voodoo priests and priestesses) to hold conferences on various topics such as Vodoo and the Haitian Revolution and the role played by women in Vodoo. There are also performances, such as drum concerts, religious celebrations and worship sessions.

The Miami International Voodoo Museum tour is offered in person and virtually. If you’re a history buff, art lover, or just want a fun-filled day to learn more about the culture, you can make reservations for this Black History Month celebration through their website or eventbrite.

Daniela Zulueta is a FIU Alumni at Florida International University who graduated with her bachelor's in digital broadcasting and media and holds an associate degree in journalism from Miami Dade College. She loves Miami and aims to share the stories of the citizens who live here and all over the world. After her studies, she wishes to pursue a career in the entertainment field.