The mulatta concubine in diaspora is everywhere.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2016-02-08 01:37Z by Steven

The mulatta concubine in diaspora is everywhere. She is in representations of Thomas Jefferson’s long-term “relationship” with the enslaved Sally Hemings, begun when she was fourteen and he forty-four (see Gordon-Reed, American Controversy). She is the protagonist who emblemizes Cuban national identity in Cirilo Villaverde’s 1882 novel, Cecilia Valdes: Novela de costumbres cubanas. She is allusively present in the fantastical and garish transformation of an enslaved black woman to sexually powerful white (by virtue of makeup) mistress in the Brazilian film Xica! She is remembered as the owner of the infamous maison des esclaves (house of slaves) on Gorée Island, the former Senegalese slave entrepôt and now major slavery tour destination. She is the enslaved Joanna, “immortalized in John Gabriel Stedman’s Narrative of Five Years’ Expedition against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam (1806 [1796])” (Sharpe, Ghosts, 46). She is the commodity that drove the fancy slave trade in the antebellum United States. She is present in travelers’ descriptions of antebellum New Orleans’s free women of color. She is “that seductive mulatto woman” in colonial Saint-Domingue (Moreau de Saint-Méry, Civilization, 81-89).

Lisa Ze Winters, The Mulatta Concubine: Terror, Intimacy, Freedom, and Desire in the Black Transatlantic, (Athens: Georgia University Press, 2016), 3.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

A Ballerina’s Tale

Posted in Arts, Forthcoming Media, United States, Videos on 2016-02-08 01:14Z by Steven

A Ballerina’s Tale

By Nelson George | in Dance
Independent Lens
Public Broadcasting Service
Premieres 2016-02-08

Few dancers reach the highest levels of classical ballet; of that few only a fraction are black women. Against the odds, Misty Copeland has made history by becoming the first African American principal dancer with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre, considered the pinnacle of ballet in the United States. A Ballerina’s Tale is an intimate look at this groundbreaking artist as she breaks through barriers and transcends her art.

For more information, click here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Jay Smooth: The Ill Doctrine, Underground Railroad & Disenfranchised cheese puffs

Posted in Audio, Interviews, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-02-08 00:51Z by Steven

Jay Smooth: The Ill Doctrine, Underground Railroad & Disenfranchised cheese puffs

The Katie Halper Show
2016-01-20

Katie Halper, Host

On our first episode of the Live Katie Halper Show I front of an audience we talk to Jay Smooth, founder and host of The Underground Railroad and of the Ill Doctrine video series. His videos have garnered millions of views and praise from people like Rachel Maddow who has called his work genius. Find out what Jay Smooth’s favorite drink and snack are, what he thinks of gun violence, Empire, gentrification and what his grandfather said about The Beatles in the New York Times.

Tags: , , , ,

Episode 16: The Value of Diversity

Posted in Audio, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2016-02-07 16:08Z by Steven

Episode 16: The Value of Diversity

Inflection Point: Conversations with women changing the status quo
2015-09-24

Lauren Schiller, Host

Companies are now paying consultants to increase the diversity of their workforce, with an eye on innovation and the bottom line. But is that the only motivation businesses should be considering?

We’ll talk with Joelle Emerson, a diversity consultant, and Allyson Hobbs, an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Stanford University and the author of “A Chosen Exile. A History of Racial Passing in American Life.” Hobbs argues that what is missing from our society is a deep understanding of the lives of others. The value of diversity. That’s our Inflection Point.

Listen to the episode here.

Tags: , , , ,

Permanent Exile: On Marie Vieux-Chauvet

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Women on 2016-02-07 15:52Z by Steven

Permanent Exile: On Marie Vieux-Chauvet

The Nation
2010-01-14

Madison Smartt Bell, Professor of English
Goucher College, Baltimore, Maryland


Marie Vieux-Chauvet (Anthony Phelps)

In Love, Anger, Madness, Marie Vieux-Chauvet explores the choking fear of life under “Papa Doc” Duvalier.

For the last thirty years of the twentieth century, Marie Vieux-Chauvet’s Amour, colère et folie was legendary for being lost. Published in France by Gallimard in 1968, this triptych of thematically linked novellas soon caused alarming ripples in the author’s native Haiti, where the Vieux-Chauvet family had already lost three of its members to the regime of state terror erected by François “Papa Doc” Duvalier, beginning in 1957. Warned that the book would almost certainly provoke serious reprisals, Vieux-Chauvet persuaded Gallimard to withdraw it, while she went into permanent exile in New York City, where she died in 1973 at 57. Her husband, Pierre Chauvet, made an emergency trip to Haiti, where he purchased as many copies of the book already in circulation there as he could recover–in order to destroy them. Remnants of the Gallimard edition were discreetly sold by Vieux-Chauvet’s children, in very few venues, until the stock was exhausted in 2000, and a pirated edition made a shadowy appearance in 2003. But otherwise the book was virtually impossible to find until its republication in France by Zellige in 2005.

Is the artifact worth such a weight of suffering and struggle? Whether any work of art can ever be worth even a single human life is a question that will never be settled–but this book is surely a masterpiece. Within the community of Haitian writers and writers of the Haitian diaspora it has been prized not only for its rarity but also for its great literary power. In her succinct introduction to the present edition, Haitian-American novelist Edwidge Danticat ranks Vieux-Chauvet among a “multigenerational triad” of the greatest Haitian writers (including Jacques Roumain and Jacques Stephen Alexis) and dubs the trilogy “the cornerstone of Haitian literature.” Backed by such accolades, and now available in both French and English, Amour, colère et folie can take the central place it deserves in late-twentieth-century Haitian letters. If Duvalierism is the central political experience of the end of the Haitian twentieth century, the psychology of those oppressed by it has never been more compellingly rendered than here.

The three narratives that compose this volume have no continuity of plot from one to the next and no common characters. However, they reflect one another in tone, mood and theme sufficiently to integrate the book as a larger whole–a continuum describing the reactions of different classes of people to a generally similar experience of invasion and oppression from without their households, and a suffocating claustrophobia within. Love is the longest and most realistic narrative; Madness is more surreal and much shorter. Standing between them, Anger (which might have been translated better as “Wrath”) has the structure and feeling of Greek tragedy without echoing any particular Greek play in terms of specific characters or plot lines.

Love is set within the community of “aristocrats,” to which Vieux-Chauvet belonged: a comparatively small group of mixed European and African blood, which, since the Haitian Revolution ended in 1804, has preserved, as if in amber, the eighteenth-century French acculturation it received during the colonial period. These milat, as they are called (a term that derives from the uncomplimentary “mulatto” but in the Haitian context conveys wealth, education and social standing as much or more than pigmentation), have in reality always been a thin, fragile, creamy layer floating uneasily at the top of the vast black Haitian majority. For most of Haiti’s history, the often but not always light-skinned elite has been able to concentrate a great deal of the country’s wealth and a disproportionate share of political power; but in Love its position is felt to be threatened by the rise of a movement based on black power, which resembles nothing so much as the Duvalier regime, though Chauvet does make the faint self-protective gesture of setting the story in 1939, eighteen years before Duvalier took the presidency…

Read the entire review here.

Tags: , , , , ,

“So it’s just like a mixture. So I just really never know what to identify myself.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2016-02-06 22:17Z by Steven

“I don’t know if I’m like White, if I’m African American because I am from the Dominican Republic. I was born there,” she said. “My grandmother is like Black…her skin color is Black, but my grandfather was part Chinese…So it’s just like a mixture. So I just really never know what to identify myself.” —Nanyelis Diaz, Tampa, Florida

Naomi Prioleau, “Identity A Challenge For Latinas Who Are Black,” WUSF News/WUSF Public Media, February 3, 2016. http://wusfnews.wusf.usf.edu/post/identity-challenge-latinas-who-are-black.

Tags: , , ,

Black in the USSR: The children of Soviet Africa search for their own identity

Posted in Africa, Articles, Arts, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Media Archive on 2016-02-06 22:11Z by Steven

Black in the USSR: The children of Soviet Africa search for their own identity

The Calvert Journal
2016-02-04

Photography by Liz Johnson Artur


Photograph by Liz Johnson Artur

“When people ask me about my background I usually start by explaining how my mum is Russian, my dad is Ghanaian and that I was born in Bulgaria,” says the photographer Liz Johnson Artur. “It often becomes a long explanation.”

The explanation goes something like this. Along with many African students in the 1960s, Johnson’s Ghanaian father was given the chance to study in Eastern Europe as part of the Soviet Union’s efforts to expand its influence across the African continent during the Cold War. His time in Bulgaria studying biochemistry was cut short after four years when all Ghanaian students were expelled from the country following a confrontation between African students and the police. By then he’d already met Johnson Artur’s mother, who gave birth to their daughter in 1964, a few months after his departure.

Johnson Artur spent her childhood in Bulgaria and then Germany and has been based in Britain since 1990. Her father was unable to return to Bulgaria and is now settled in Ghana. She only met him for the first time in 2010. After doing so, she felt moved to start documenting the stories of other Russians of African and Caribbean origin. “Most black Russians that I met in Moscow and St Petersburg had also grown up without their fathers. Some had been fostered or grown up in children’s homes and had never met their mothers. But we all agreed that we felt Russian as well as African.”…

Read the entire photo-essay here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

The Firebrand and the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice

Posted in Biography, Books, History, Letters, Media Archive, Monographs, United States, Women on 2016-02-06 21:17Z by Steven

The Firebrand and the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice

Alfred A. Knopf
2016-02-02
480 Pages
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0679446521
eBook ISBN: 978-1101946923

Patricia Bell-Scott, Professor of Child and Family Development and Women’s Studies
University of Georgia

Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice

A groundbreaking book—two decades in the works—that tells the story of how a brilliant writer-turned-activist, granddaughter of a mulatto slave, and the first lady of the United States, whose ancestry gave her membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution, forged an enduring friendship that changed each of their lives and helped to alter the course of race and racism in America.

Pauli Murray first saw Eleanor Roosevelt in 1933, at the height of the Depression, at a government-sponsored, two-hundred-acre camp for unemployed women where Murray was living, something the first lady had pushed her husband to set up in her effort to do what she could for working women and the poor. The first lady appeared one day unannounced, behind the wheel of her car, her secretary and a Secret Service agent her passengers. To Murray, then aged twenty-three, Roosevelt’s self-assurance was a symbol of women’s independence, a symbol that endured throughout Murray’s life.

Five years later, Pauli Murray, a twenty-eight-year-old aspiring writer, wrote a letter to Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt protesting racial segregation in the South. The president’s staff forwarded Murray’s letter to the federal Office of Education. The first lady wrote back.

Murray’s letter was prompted by a speech the president had given at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, praising the school for its commitment to social progress. Pauli Murray had been denied admission to the Chapel Hill graduate school because of her race.

She wrote in her letter of 1938:

“Does it mean that Negro students in the South will be allowed to sit down with white students and study a problem which is fundamental and mutual to both groups? Does it mean that the University of North Carolina is ready to open its doors to Negro students . . . ? Or does it mean, that everything you said has no meaning for us as Negroes, that again we are to be set aside and passed over . . . ?”

Eleanor Roosevelt wrote to Murray:

“I have read the copy of the letter you sent me and I understand perfectly, but great changes come slowly . . . The South is changing, but don’t push too fast.”

So began a friendship between Pauli Murray (poet, intellectual rebel, principal strategist in the fight to preserve Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, cofounder of the National Organization for Women, and the first African American female Episcopal priest) and Eleanor Roosevelt (first lady of the United States, later first chair of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, and chair of the President’s Commission on the Status of Women) that would last for a quarter of a century.

Drawing on letters, journals, diaries, published and unpublished manuscripts, and interviews, Patricia Bell-Scott gives us the first close-up portrait of this evolving friendship and how it was sustained over time, what each gave to the other, and how their friendship changed the cause of American social justice.

Tags: , , , , ,

Identity A Challenge For Latinas Who Are Black

Posted in Articles, Audio, Identity Development/Psychology, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2016-02-06 21:04Z by Steven

Identity A Challenge For Latinas Who Are Black

WUSF News
WUSF Public Media
Tampa, Florida
2016-02-03

Naomi Prioleau


Evelin Diaz is Afro-Dominican and a Spanish teacher’s assistant at Lennard High School in Ruskin.
Naomi Prioleau/WUSF

When people think of famous Latina women, Jennifer Lopez or Sofia Vergara come to mind.

Not Zoe Saldana or Rosario Dawson.

The difference between these pairs of Latina actresses isn’t one of talent or fame. Saldana and Dawson also happen to identify as Black – a reality some Tampa-area Afro-Latinas say is difficult to navigate.

“People respect our (Latino) community but for the Afro-Latinas, people just like to group us as Black and stuff and want to deny that we’re Spanish,” said University of South Florida student Jessica Roberts, who is Puerto Rican and Dominican. And Black.

Roberts said she doesn’t speak Spanish, and as a result is told that she’s not “truly” Latina. People say she should only identify as Black…

…However, it’s not so easy to break down the number of Afro-Latinos here – or elsewhere. The U.S. Census doesn’t currently give the option for Latinos to identify as another race, meaning even if someone is Afro-Latino or Asian-Latino, they can only mark Latino.

USF sociology professor and author Dr. Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman said the inability to count Afro-Latinos isn’t the big problem. Latinas who are also Black struggle to find acceptance in both the Latino and Black communities, as well as with themselves…

Read and listen to the story here. Download the story (00:04:19) here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Indian Blood: HIV and Colonial Trauma in San Francisco’s Two-Spirit Community

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, Gay & Lesbian, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2016-02-06 20:46Z by Steven

Indian Blood: HIV and Colonial Trauma in San Francisco’s Two-Spirit Community

University of Washington Press
June 2016
176 pages
1 bandw illus, 2 tables
6 x 9 in
Paperback ISBN: 9780295998503
Hardcover ISBN: 9780295998077

Andrew J. Jolivette, Professor and chair of American Indian studies
San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California

The first book to examine the correlation between mixed-race identity and HIV/AIDS among Native American gay men and transgendered people, Indian Blood provides an analysis of the emerging and often contested LGBTQtwo-spirit” identification as it relates to public health and mixed-race identity.

Prior to contact with European settlers, most Native American tribes held their two-spirit members in high esteem, even considering them spiritually advanced. However, after contact – and religious conversion – attitudes changed and social and cultural support networks were ruptured. This discrimination led to a breakdown in traditional values, beliefs, and practices, which in turn pushed many two-spirit members to participate in high-risk behaviors. The result is a disproportionate number of two-spirit members who currently test positive for HIV.

Using surveys, focus groups, and community discussions to examine the experiences of HIV-positive members of San Francisco’s two-spirit community, Indian Blood provides an innovative approach to understanding how colonization continues to affect American Indian communities and opens a series of crucial dialogues in the fields of Native American studies, public health, queer studies, and critical mixed-race studies.

Tags: , , , ,