Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir

Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, United States, Women on 2020-08-12 01:11Z by Steven

Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir

Ecco (an imprint of HarperCollins)
2020-07-28
224 pages
6x8in
Hardcover ISBN: 9780062248572
Large Print ISBN: 9780063076709
E-book ISBN: 9780062248596
Digital Audio, MP3 ISBN: 9780063005860

Natasha Trethewey, Board of Trustees Professor of English
Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

An Instant New York Times Bestseller

A chillingly personal and exquisitely wrought memoir of a daughter reckoning with the brutal murder of her mother at the hands of her former stepfather, and the moving, intimate story of a poet coming into her own in the wake of a tragedy

At age nineteen, Natasha Trethewey had her world turned upside down when her former stepfather shot and killed her mother. Grieving and still new to adulthood, she confronted the twin pulls of life and death in the aftermath of unimaginable trauma and now explores the way this experience lastingly shaped the artist she became.

With penetrating insight and a searing voice that moves from the wrenching to the elegiac, Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Natasha Trethewey explores this profound experience of pain, loss, and grief as an entry point into understanding the tragic course of her mother’s life and the way her own life has been shaped by a legacy of fierce love and resilience. Moving through her mother’s history in the deeply segregated South and through her own girlhood as a “child of miscegenation” in Mississippi, Trethewey plumbs her sense of dislocation and displacement in the lead-up to the harrowing crime that took place on Memorial Drive in Atlanta in 1985.

Memorial Drive is a compelling and searching look at a shared human experience of sudden loss and absence but also a piercing glimpse at the enduring ripple effects of white racism and domestic abuse. Animated by unforgettable prose and inflected by a poet’s attention to language, this is a luminous, urgent, and visceral memoir from one of our most important contemporary writers and thinkers.

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No Future in This Country: The Prophetic Pessimism of Bishop Henry McNeal Turner

Posted in Biography, Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs, Religion, United States on 2020-08-12 00:40Z by Steven

No Future in This Country: The Prophetic Pessimism of Bishop Henry McNeal Turner

University Press of Mississippi
November 2020
208 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 9781496830708
Paperback ISBN: 9781496830692

Andre E. Johnson, Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Media Studies
University of Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee

A critical study of the career of the nineteenth-century bishop

No Future in This Country: The Prophetic Pessimism of Bishop Henry McNeal Turner is a history of the career of Bishop Henry McNeal Turner (1834–1915), specifically focusing on his work from 1896 to 1915. Drawing on the copious amount of material from Turner’s speeches, editorial, and open and private letters, Andre E. Johnson tells a story of how Turner provided rhetorical leadership during a period in which America defaulted on many of the rights and privileges gained for African Americans during Reconstruction. Unlike many of his contemporaries during this period, Turner did not opt to proclaim an optimistic view of race relations. Instead, Johnson argues that Turner adopted a prophetic persona of a pessimistic prophet who not only spoke truth to power but, in so doing, also challenged and pushed African Americans to believe in themselves.

At this time in his life, Turner had no confidence in American institutions or that the American people would live up to the promises outlined in their sacred documents. While he argued that emigration was the only way for African Americans to retain their “personhood” status, he also would come to believe that African Americans would never emigrate to Africa. He argued that many African Americans were so oppressed and so stripped of agency because they were surrounded by continued negative assessments of their personhood that belief in emigration was not possible. Turner’s position limited his rhetorical options, but by adopting a pessimistic prophetic voice that bore witness to the atrocities African Americans faced, Turner found space for his oratory, which reflected itself within the lament tradition of prophecy.

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The Truths We Hold: An American Journey

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Biography, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Women on 2020-08-12 00:29Z by Steven

The Truths We Hold: An American Journey

Penguin Press
2019-01-08
336 Pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4
Hardcover ISBN: 9780525560715
Paperback ISBN: 9780525560739
eBook ISBN: 9780525560722

Kamala D. Harris

A New York Times bestseller

From one of America’s most inspiring political leaders, a book about the core truths that unite us, and the long struggle to discern what those truths are and how best to act upon them, in her own life and across the life of our country.

Senator Kamala Harris’s commitment to speaking truth is informed by her upbringing. The daughter of immigrants, she was raised in an Oakland, California community that cared deeply about social justice; her parents–an esteemed economist from Jamaica and an admired cancer researcher from India–met as activists in the civil rights movement when they were graduate students at Berkeley. Growing up, Harris herself never hid her passion for justice, and when she became a prosecutor out of law school, a deputy district attorney, she quickly established herself as one of the most innovative change agents in American law enforcement. She progressed rapidly to become the elected District Attorney for San Francisco, and then the chief law enforcement officer of the state of California as a whole. Known for bringing a voice to the voiceless, she took on the big banks during the foreclosure crisis, winning a historic settlement for California’s working families. Her hallmarks were applying a holistic, data-driven approach to many of California’s thorniest issues, always eschewing stale “tough on crime” rhetoric as presenting a series of false choices. Neither “tough” nor “soft” but smart on crime became her mantra. Being smart means learning the truths that can make us better as a community, and supporting those truths with all our might. That has been the pole star that guided Harris to a transformational career as the top law enforcement official in California, and it is guiding her now as a transformational United States Senator, grappling with an array of complex issues that affect her state, our country, and the world, from health care and the new economy to immigration, national security, the opioid crisis, and accelerating inequality.

By reckoning with the big challenges we face together, drawing on the hard-won wisdom and insight from her own career and the work of those who have most inspired her, Kamala Harris offers in The Truths We Hold a master class in problem solving, in crisis management, and leadership in challenging times. Through the arc of her own life, on into the great work of our day, she communicates a vision of shared struggle, shared purpose, and shared values. In a book rich in many home truths, not least is that a relatively small number of people work very hard to convince a great many of us that we have less in common than we actually do, but it falls to us to look past them and get on with the good work of living our common truth. When we do, our shared effort will continue to sustain us and this great nation, now and in the years to come.

PRH Audio · The Truths We Hold by Kamala Harris, read by Kamala Harris
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Biden’s VP pick: Why Kamala Harris embraces her biracial roots

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Women on 2020-08-11 21:33Z by Steven

Biden’s VP pick: Why Kamala Harris embraces her biracial roots

BBC News
2020-08-11

Soutik Biswas, India correspondent


Getty Images

US Senator Kamala Harris – chosen by Joe Biden as his Democratic vice-presidential candidate – is known as a prominent black politician. But she has also embraced her Indian roots.

“My name is pronounced “Comma-la”, like the punctuation mark,” Kamala Harris writes in her 2018 autobiography, The Truths We Hold.

The California senator, daughter of an Indian-born mother and Jamaican-born father, then explains the meaning of her Indian name.

“It means ‘lotus flower’, which is a symbol of significance in Indian culture. A lotus grows underwater, its flowers rising above the surface while the roots are planted firmly in the river bottom.”

Early in life, young Kamala and her sister Maya grew up in a house filled with music by black American artists. Her mother would sing along to Aretha Franklin’s early gospel, and her jazz-loving father, who taught economics at Stanford University, would play Thelonius Monk and John Coltrane on the turntable.

Shyamala Gopalan and Donald Harris separated when Ms Harris was five. Raised primarily by her Hindu single mother, a cancer researcher and a civil rights activist, Kamala, Maya and Shyamala were known as “Shyamala and the girls”.

Her mother made sure her two daughters were aware of their background.

“My mother understood very well she was raising two black daughters. She knew that her adopted homeland would see Maya and me as black girls, and she was determined to make sure we would grow into confident black women,” she wrote…

Read the entire article here.

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Born into Slavery, Joshua Johnson Became the First Black Professional Artist in the United States

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Virginia on 2020-07-17 21:06Z by Steven

Born into Slavery, Joshua Johnson Became the First Black Professional Artist in the United States

Artsy
2020-07-16

Jaelynn Walls, Curator and Writer
Houston, Texas


Joshua Johnson
Family Group, ca. 1800
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

Historians know woefully little about Joshua Johnson, the first professional African American artist to work in the United States. An active painter in Maryland and Virginia from roughly the 1790s to 1825, Johnson was all but forgotten until the middle of the 20th century. In 1939, Baltimore genealogist and art historian J. Hall Pleasants attributed 13 paintings to Johnson and began the long journey of reconstructing his career through scraps of often contradictory information. Even the artist’s last name is uncertain, and many art historians are still debating whether it was spelled “Johnson” or “Johnston.”

Johnson was born into slavery in mid-18th-century Maryland to a white man and a Black slave woman owned by William Wheeler Sr. Chattel records note his race as mulatto, though Maryland had no legal definition for what constituted “Black” versus “mixed race” at the time. Pleasants located documents variously describing Johnson as a slave, a slave trained as a blacksmith, a Black servant afflicted with consumption, and an immigrant from the West Indies.

While much of Johnson’s history remains mysterious, his special place in art history is assured. The next renowned African American artists to emerge in the United States, Robert S. Duncanson and Henry Ossawa Tanner, followed Johnson by decades…

Read the entire article here.

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Between Two Worlds

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Biography, Canada, Judaism, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2020-07-06 21:01Z by Steven

Between Two Worlds

Toronto Life
2018-05-22

Anais Granofsky

I grew up in ​subsidized housing​ with my mom, ​and spent weekends with my wealthy grandparents at their Bridle Path mansion. If I wanted to be loved, I’d have to learn to live two lives

My mother, Jean Walker, was the 13th of 15 children, born in 1949 to a church-going black family on a farm in Ohio. The house had only two bedrooms, so her parents slept on a pull-out bed on the porch in the summer and in the living room in winter. Her seven brothers slept in one bedroom, while the eight sisters shared the other. They attended a small school where the white kids sat up front and the black students at the back, separated by a row of empty desks. When she wasn’t studying, she did chores around the farm. The girls planted the vegetable gardens with corn and green beans, churned butter, did laundry, and took care of the younger children. The boys helped with the heavy work and looked after the animals. “With 14 siblings,” my mother used to say, “you’d better get to the table quick, or you weren’t going to eat that day.” There was never enough food or money to go around, but the family didn’t feel poor. Everyone around them was in the same situation.

Jean was a sensitive girl who used to lie in the fields and watch the clouds scuttle by. Her parents were always quick with a whipping, and the casual violence wore on her soul. She found a cubbyhole in the back of a closet, where she’d hide out and devour books by the light of a bare bulb. Desperate to get away from her chaotic, rural home life, she worked tirelessly in high school to earn a scholarship to Antioch in Yellow Springs, Ohio, a liberal arts college and one of the first post-secondary schools to integrate. As a nascent feminist, she was drawn to Antioch’s progressive vibe. In 1971, she enrolled in women’s studies and journalism…

Read the entire article here.

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Colin Kaepernick’s Life to Become Netflix Series From Ava DuVernay

Posted in Arts, Biography, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2020-07-06 20:38Z by Steven

Colin Kaepernick’s Life to Become Netflix Series From Ava DuVernay

The Hollywood Reporter
2020-06-29

Lesley Goldberg, West Coast TV Editor

‘Colin in Black & White’ will tell the story of the athlete and activist’s adolescent life.

Colin Kaepernick’s formative years are becoming a Netflix series.

The athlete and activist is teaming with Ava DuVernay for Colin in Black & White, a scripted limited drama that has been picked up straight to series at the streaming giant.

The six-episode series will examine Kaepernick’s adolescent life, focusing on his high school years and the acts and experiences that led him to become the activist he is today. Kaepernick will appear as himself as the narrator of the series, which will cast an actor to play the younger version of the star quarterback.

Kaepernick in 2016 protested racial injustice, police brutality and systematic oppression when he kneeled during the national anthem ahead of a San Francisco 49ers game. His act of protest was, at the time, considered polarizing with both NFL officials and fans, eventually drawing the ire of President Trump, who urged team owners to fire players who protest during the national anthem. Kaepernick became a free agent in 2017 and filed a lawsuit against the NFL and its owners, alleging that they colluded to keep him out of the league. He remains a free agent. More recently, in the wake of George Floyd’s killing at the hands of Minnesota police, Kaepernick has become another face of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Read the entire article here.

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In Irish orphanages, being ‘coloured’ was a defect. I wish Mam had lived to see Black Lives Matter

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Biography, Europe, Media Archive on 2020-07-05 20:03Z by Steven

In Irish orphanages, being ‘coloured’ was a defect. I wish Mam had lived to see Black Lives Matter

The Irish Times
2020-07-04

Jess Kavanagh


Jess Kavanagh with Lorraine Maher of I Am Irish

Black Irish Lives: Multiculturalism is seen as new. But Ireland has generations of mixed-race people

I’m not a fan of weddings, but I made sure not to miss my cousin Jamie’s big day. Jamie and I always got along; racially ambiguous like myself, he looks more indigenous Latin American via Dublin 3 but is actually southeast Asian-Italian. After the wedding another cousin, annoyed at her lack of an invitation to the dinner, is spitting some low-grade venom as I roll a cigarette. I tune in at the worst moment.

“I don’t know why anyone ever told you your grandfather was a doctor. He was a sailor – and everyone knew that.”

I’m taken aback. I don’t react. If you’ve experienced racism you know this moment: a surreal outburst, wildly out of context. It happens so quickly you tend to be left feeling only confusion and mild amusement. The rage creeps in hours, maybe days later.

My biological grandfather was a Nigerian medical student and my biological grandmother was a nurse when they met. The story of their affair changes. Until I was in my 20s I was told he was a student at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland when they met, but that has shifted at times to them meeting in the UK. My mother was adopted as a newborn from a religious-run institution in Blackrock, Co Dublin, and my aunts and uncles – Nigerian-Irish, Indian-Irish, Filipino-Italian and North African-Irish – were also adopted as babies…

Read the entire article here.

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My grandparents were racist. Here’s how I moved on with my head held high.

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Biography, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2020-06-26 02:00Z by Steven

My grandparents were racist. Here’s how I moved on with my head held high.

The Washington Post
2020-06-23

Carolyn Copeland


The author, Carolyn Copeland, circa 1998, when she was about 7, with her father, Brian Copeland, her mother, Mary Copeland, and her brothers Casey, left, and Adam. (Carolyn Copeland)

My grandparents loved to take photos, but there are no pictures of them holding me as a baby. They weren’t in attendance at my birth, my baptism or any of my birthdays. That’s because for the first few years of my life, my grandparents rejected me and my two brothers because we are black.

I’ve hesitated over the years to share my story publicly out of fear that I would embarrass or hurt the people in my extended family, but with the demonstrations taking place around the country after the police killing of George Floyd, I feel it has never been a more important time to reveal my personal experience with racism and explain the different ways it has shown its face within my family. The age of “going along to get along” is over.

From the moment my white mother started dating my black father in the late 1980s, her father disowned her. From that point forward, on my grandfather’s orders, my parents were disinvited from all family gatherings. My grandmother — who said from the beginning that she was against the idea — still complied. Neither attended my parents’ wedding…

Read the entire article here.

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The Confederate Flag Didn’t Bother Bubba Wallace. Until It Did.

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2020-06-22 00:05Z by Steven

The Confederate Flag Didn’t Bother Bubba Wallace. Until It Did.

The New York Times
2020-06-19

Juliet Macur


Barry Cantrell

The only black driver in NASCAR’s top tier, he has emerged as an impassioned activist who got the flag banned at races in the largely white sport after years of putting up with it.

Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr., the only black driver in NASCAR’s top racing series, has drawn widespread attention and acclaim for his principled stand that got the Confederate flag banned from races in a largely white sport.

Yet, after years of often quiet acceptance of the sport’s “racist label,” as he put it, nobody was more surprised than his mother that he had become a central figure in the sports world’s upheaval regarding race.

“I was shocked,” his mother, Desiree Wallace, said in a telephone interview. “I said, ‘Wait a minute, is this my son? The one who doesn’t really care about anything but getting in the car and driving?’ I’m tripping that he’s gone from being a racecar driver to becoming a daggone activist. Who does that? Not Bubba.”

Yet a series of events, particularly the killing of a black man, Ahmaud Arbery, while he was jogging in a predominantly white neighborhood in Georgia, flipped a switch in Wallace, he and those who know him said…

Read the entire article here.

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