Jumping the Broom

They Were Told No

They were told no
Over and over
They were not allowed—
No, is a worthless answer
Given by a worthless cause
To someone perceived as worthless--

Laws were unjust
Legality held no merit
The system is broken--
And they were told no
Over and over
Regardless of the question...

But an earthly no
Is surpassed by a heavenly yes
And they refused to be broken--
No cannot stop love,
No cannot stop truth,
No did not stop the bonding of souls.

Image from Jumping the Broom Eliza, a company that makes custom brooms for wedding ceremonies.

The History of Jumping the Broom

The origin of jumping the broom is debated by some, but many will say was born of a wedding tradition in Ghana in which bridal brooms are waved over the couple's head after the ceremony. In the US, the tradition of jumping the broom began during slavery. During that time, slaves were not permitted to legally marry, thus jumping the broom was their way of announcing that they were married and starting a new life together.

Present day, many blacks (and even other cultures) continue this tradition by jumping the broom at the close of their wedding ceremony (or the beginning of the reception). Brooms may be ornately decorated or plain and simple. For many, continuing the tradition is a reminder of the hardships our ancestors endured and symbolic of overcoming those hardships. Others choose not to include the tradition in their ceremony. The 2011 movie Jumping the Broom, named after the tradition, features the showdown between a bride who does not want to jump the broom and a mother-in-law who insists the couple should.


  1. Ka-Veronica Braddy. "Here's our take on 'Jumping the Broom'". African American Bridal; visited 2014
  2. "Here's the tangled history behind why some couples jump over a broom at their wedding". Insider. April 2017
  3. Rachel Wilkerson Miller. "24 Couples Who Honored Their Heritage and Jumped the Broom". BuzzFeed. February 20, 2015
  4. Chelsey Pippin. "Wedding Traditions From Around the Globe". Buzzfeed. November 4, 2014

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