Step On A Crack, Break Your Mama Back: Top 20 Superstitions Black People Live By

1 Posted by - December 11, 2015 - DID YOU KNOW, Holidays And Birthdays, LATEST POSTS, Looking Black On Today

African-American superstitions originate from a mixture of ancient African religion, Native American traditions, and European folklore.

Growing up do you remember hearing that an itchy palm means you are going to receive money soon? Or stepping on a crack can break your mother’s back? Or dreaming of fish means someone you know is pregnant?

In our technologically savvy times some of these are regarded as foolish wives tales, but superstition was part of a legitimate belief system during slavery. There are many recorded instances of slave masters who stated they saw Black magical conjurers that healed the sick, performed spells and curses, and taught others these superstitions.

Although many typically won’t admit they are superstitious, there are many superstitions black people believe in because of how deeply ingrained they are in Black culture.


1. Step on a crack, break your mother’s back.

step on a crack

Have your ever feared the repercussions of stepping on that infamous crack in the pavement. The original rhyme was far from innocent: “Step on a crack and your mother will turn black.” It is believed to come from the late 19th century racism. Who would have known?!

2. If your ear is ringing someone is talking about you.

ringing in ear

This superstition creates paranoia in many because nobody wants to find out someone is talking about them behind their back.

3. Don’t cut a baby’s hair before his/her first birthday.

cut baby hair
If you do so they will have “bad” hair or bad luck. This wives tale may hold valid reasoning. African American hair naturally changes consistency and texture many times throughout their lifetimes, and methods of hair cuts can affect the look or texture. This old wives tale originates from the fear of coarse, “harder to manage” hair many refer to as “bad” hair, along with a recorded history of babies who have gotten sick because they did not have hair to help in keeping them warm.

4.Sunshine,Raining, and Thunder at the same time: The devil is beating his wife.

sun shower gc

This is called a Sunshower when the sun is shining and it is raining and/or thunder and lightning at the same time. Sun showers are very rare occurrences. Does that mean that the devil keeps his wife happy typically?

5. If you keep making funny faces, one day it will get stuck that way.

funny faces stuck

It is a humorous superstition, although we all know that your face will not really get stuck.

6. If your palm is itching that means that you are coming into some money.

itchy palm

An itching in the right palm means coming gain; in the left, coming loss.

7. Don’t talk on the phone or turn on the TV while it is thundering and lightning.

Apparently you can get struck by lightning. If you are using a landline telephone, you can be shocked by a lightning bolt. There have been lightening related deaths, due the lightning hitting a home and the current passing through wires. Preventative measures have been implemented into most home appliances, but the risk still exists.

8. Don’t put your purse on the floor or you’ll stay broke.

purse on floor

A magic curse may not be the reason you’re broke if you put your purse on the floor, but it might be the issue if you’re not paying attention to your purse and the valuables inside of it.

9. Don’t go to the zoo when you are pregnant.


Your baby will come out looking like an animal, particularly a monkey.  This superstition sounds like it was also created from racist notions.

10. Fish dreams means that someone is having a baby.

dream of fish pregnant

Call it mothers intuition, or mysticism, it is a very interesting superstition.

11. Animals know when you are pregnant.

prgnant animal attack
This superstition is somewhat true. Some scientists believe that a dog’s keen sense of smell allows it to notice a hormonal difference in a woman when she’s pregnant. This phenomena is not completely explainable, but does happen.

12. If you break a mirror, you will have 7 years of bad luck.

break a mirror

Luck is a funny thing. We avoid things that can create bad luck, and believe that we can use lucky items to change our bad luck to good luck.

13. It’s bad luck to cross a black cat’s path.


This is a timeless myth that originates from multiple cultures. Black cats seem to be mystical, sneaky, and even evil. It is always creepy to cross paths with a black cat at night when you are walking alone. It kind of makes you wonder what might happen next.

14. Never buy your boyfriend or husband shoes as a gift. Because he’ll walk out your life with them.

shoes leave


15. You will catch a death of cold by walking around with wet hair.


This one is true. Your head releases most of the heat in your body. If your hair is wet and you are in cold temperatures, you are putting your body at risk of getting a cold.

16. Girls are carried high; boys are carried low.

gender of baby

This is a myth about predicting the gender of a baby during pregnancy. Doctors have proven that this superstition is not true. In fact the way the baby is carried depends on muscle tone or the way the baby has positioned itself in the uterus. It is fun to speculate or guess the gender, but this one isn’t scientifically true.

17.  If you allow children to sweep the floor, they will sweep up unwanted guests.

nose itching


18. When you cross the railroad tracks you touch a screw for safe crossings.

railroad tracks


19. Never put your hat on a bed, or you will have bad luck (or worse die).

hat on bed


20. Splitting the Pole Gives you bad luck.

split a pole

If you are walking with someone, never let a pole, sign, or scaffold, break the plane between the both of you.


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