The main and most obvious reason why the search for an identity and a homeland traditionally represented a vital aspect of African American vernacular and literary tradition was because African Americans were completely robbed of their indigenous vernacular and literary traditions. In such a vacuum, it is a natural human response to begin asking the vital human questions all over again: Who are we? Why are we here? How did we get here? Where are we going?
These are natural human questions, and a large part of human cultural evolution hinges around our search for satisfactory answers. To a great extent, cultures are their collective answers to these questions, whether those cultures exist in developing nations, isolated jungles or the most modern of cities. Despite superficial doctrinal differences, much in the same way that iwapẹlẹ, meditation, and sincere veneration sufficiently strengthened the Yoruba practitioner, Western religious rituals engage in essentially the same search for answers to these questions whether Catholic, Muslim, Protestant, atheist or anything else. To deny people their innate rights of self-discovery is perhaps the pinnacle of cruelty and inhumanity, enforced all the more stringently as black people were uprooted from their families and friends in their own lands, transported thousands of miles away only to be conscripted to nothing less than a living hell.