The “Real” Mrs. William Travilla – Dona Drake

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2020-03-28 01:34Z by Steven

The “Real” Mrs. William Travilla – Dona Drake

Travilla’s Legacy: Keeping True Fashion Alive
2013-11-07

In 1944, [William] Travilla met and married starlet Dona Drake, who at the time was more famous than he was having been in the entertainment industry for eleven years under several different names. Dona Drake, born Eunice Westmoreland, on November 5, 1914 to Joseph and Novella Westmoreland in Jacksonville, Florida. Jacksonville was a major port on the East Coast shipping lanes and due to it’s balmy weather, a vacation destination for Northerners seeking to escape the cold winters.

From 1907 until 1918, it also thirty permanent film studios. Known as “The Winter Film Capital of the World” and where Oliver Hardy got his start and until politicians, plus other factors forced the film makers to California, was a leading industry in the city. Life was good for most of Jacksonville’s residents, but not for the Westmorelands, as segregation was strictly enforced and though Dona claimed Latin heritage throughout her personal and professional career, Eunice Westmoreland was negro. Referred to as such in both 1920 and 1930 census records. Both parents were interchangeably referred to as negro and mulatto in the early 1900 censuses.

By 1930, Eunice’s family has relocated to Philadelphia with her father working in a chili parlor and her older brother enrolled in college. Eunice helped at the restaurant, but soon quit to pursue her life long dream of singing and dancing. By 1933 she had moved to New York City with her mother and another waitress named Rene Villion. Changing her name to Una, she and Rene formed a “sister act” and the pair found work at the Paradise Club on Broadway. Earl Carroll spotted her on stage one night and cast her in his production of Murder at The Vanities. When that ended, the girls toured until Rene left to get married and Una continued solo, performing in packaged tours headed by Rudy Vallée and Harry Richman. Returning to New York City, Una began dating a local Brooklyn mobster named [Louis] “Pretty” Amburg. In October of 1934, Amburg’s nude body was found in the trunk of a burning car. At the time, Una was in Hollywood, with a new name, Rita Rio, and filming her first movie, Strike Me Pink with Eddie Cantor

Read the entire article here.

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I Am a Descendant of James Madison and His Slave

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Virginia on 2020-03-22 02:26Z by Steven

I Am a Descendant of James Madison and His Slave

Zora
Medium
2020-03-17

Bettye Kearse


Illustration: Sophia Zarders

My whole life, my mother told me, ‘Always remember — you’re a Madison. You come from African slaves and a president.’

President Madison did not have children with his wife, Dolley. Leading scholars believe he was impotent, infertile, or both. But the stories I have heard since my childhood say that James Madison, a Founding Father of our nation, was also a founding father of my African American family.

In my childhood, whenever I whined or squirmed or got into trouble, my mother repeated the refrain: “Always remember — you’re a Madison. You come from African slaves and a president.” This is my family’s credo, the statement that has guided us for 200 years.

Though many in our family have heard we descend from President Madison and his slaves, only the griots — the one-in-a-generation oral historians in the family — know the full account of our ancestors, White and Black, in America. Gramps had told me many stories, but the detailed family history was Mom’s responsibility to convey to me when I became the next griotte.

The night my mother passed those stories on to me, I understood for the first time why some of the details of our family history were passed only from the griot of one generation to that of the next. Not only were some of the stories intimate, but this tradition safeguarded their accuracy, truth, and longevity. I sank into the sofa with my mother and listened with a new awareness of the significance of her words and what they meant to me. She began…

Read the entire article here.

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The Famous Fultz Quads

Posted in Articles, Biography, Economics, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States, Women on 2020-03-22 02:18Z by Steven

The Famous Fultz Quads

Stanford University Press Blog
February 2020

Andrea Freeman, Associate Professor of Law
William S. Richardson School of Law
University of Hawai’i, Mānoa


Pet Milk ad featuring the Fultz quadruplets. Their doctor sold the rights to use the sisters for marketing purposes to the highest-bidding formula company.

“Four Little Babies.” Pet Milk, “Four Little Babies Become Four Little Ladies,” advertisement, Pittsburgh Courier, October 22, 1949, 5. Public Domain.

The origin of America’s first surviving set of identical quadruplets.

We’re pleased to present an excerpt from Chapter 1 of Skimmed: Breastfeeding, Race, and Injustice » by Andrea Freeman.

Annie Mae Fultz could not afford to let anything go wrong with her pregnancy. Her doctor, Fred Klenner, had detected three tiny heartbeats inside her. It was 1946. Annie Mae was a tall, strong, thirty-seven-year-old half-Black, half-Cherokee woman from Tennessee.1 Dr. Klenner, although originally from Pennsylvania, happily adhered to southern racial norms.2 He had separate waiting rooms for Blacks and Whites in his downtown Reidsville, North Carolina, office. The old-fashioned decor of his practice matched his dated views. His segregated waiting rooms gave way to treatment rooms full of ancient furniture and unusual medical instruments.3 His walls displayed White supremacist literature and, later, a “Vote for George Wallace” poster.4 He vigorously defended Hitler as misunderstood to anyone who would listen.5 The local hospital where he delivered babies, Annie Penn Memorial, relegated Black mothers to the basement.6 Despite his unapologetic racism, Annie Mae had faith in Dr. Klenner’s medical abilities…

Read the entire chapter here.

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The Other Madisons: The Lost History of a President’s Black Family

Posted in Biography, Books, History, Monographs, Slavery, United States, Virginia on 2020-03-22 02:03Z by Steven

The Other Madisons: The Lost History of a President’s Black Family

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
2020-03-24
272 pages
Hardcover ISBN-13/EAN: 9781328604392
Hardcover ISBN-10: 132860439X

Bettye Kearse

In The Other Madisons, Bettye Kearse—a descendant of an enslaved cook and, according to oral tradition, President James Madison—shares her family story and explores the issues of legacy, race, and the powerful consequences of telling the whole truth.

For thousands of years, West African griots (men) and griottes (women) have recited the stories of their people. Without this tradition Bettye Kearse would not have known that she is a descendant of President James Madison and his slave, and half-sister, Coreen. In 1990, Bettye became the eighth-generation griotte for her family. Their credo—“Always remember—you’re a Madison. You come from African slaves and a president”—was intended to be a source of pride, but for her, it echoed with abuses of slavery, including rape and incest.

Confronting those abuses, Bettye embarked on a journey of discovery—of her ancestors, the nation, and herself. She learned that wherever African slaves walked, recorded history silenced their voices and buried their footsteps: beside a slave-holding fortress in Ghana; below a federal building in New York City; and under a brick walkway at James Madison’s Virginia plantation. When Bettye tried to confirm the information her ancestors had passed down, she encountered obstacles at every turn.

Part personal quest, part testimony, part historical correction, The Other Madisons is the saga of an extraordinary American family told by a griotte in search of the whole story.

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Skimmed: Breastfeeding, Race, and Injustice

Posted in Biography, Books, Family/Parenting, Law, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Justice, Women on 2020-03-10 18:07Z by Steven

Skimmed: Breastfeeding, Race, and Injustice

Stanford University Press
December 2019
304 pages
Cloth ISBN: 9781503601123
Digital ISBN: 9781503610811

Andrea Freeman, Associate Professor of Law
William S. Richardson School of Law
University of Hawai’i, Mānoa

Born into a tenant farming family in North Carolina in 1946, Mary Louise, Mary Ann, Mary Alice, and Mary Catherine were medical miracles. Annie Mae Fultz, a Black-Cherokee woman who lost her ability to hear and speak in childhood, became the mother of America’s first surviving set of identical quadruplets. They were instant celebrities. Their White doctor named them after his own family members. He sold the rights to use the sisters for marketing purposes to the highest-bidding formula company. The girls lived in poverty, while Pet Milk’s profits from a previously untapped market of Black families skyrocketed.

Over half a century later, baby formula is a seventy-billion-dollar industry and Black mothers have the lowest breastfeeding rates in the country. Since slavery, legal, political, and societal factors have routinely denied Black women the ability to choose how to feed their babies. In Skimmed, Andrea Freeman tells the riveting story of the Fultz quadruplets while uncovering how feeding America’s youngest citizens is awash in social, legal, and cultural inequalities. This book highlights the making of a modern public health crisis, the four extraordinary girls whose stories encapsulate a nationwide injustice, and how we can fight for a healthier future.


President John F. Kennedy visits with Mary Alice Fultz, Mary Louise Fultz, Mary Anne Fultz, and Mary Catherine Fultz, a set of quadruplets from Milton, North Carolina, 2 August 1962.
Robert Knudsen. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston, 1962-08-02.

Contents

  • 1. Introduction: A Formula for Discrimination
  • 2. The Famous Fultz Quads
  • 3. Black Breastfeeding in America
  • 4. The Bad Black Mother
  • 5. When Formula Rules
  • 6. Legalizing Breast Milk
  • 7. The Fultz Quads after Pet Milk
  • Conclusion: “First Food” Freedom
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Creole Son: An Adoptive Mother Untangles Nature and Nurture

Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Books, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Louisiana, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2020-03-06 20:47Z by Steven

Creole Son: An Adoptive Mother Untangles Nature and Nurture

LSU Press
March 2020
216 pages
5.50 x 8.50 inches / 6 halftones
Paperback ISBN: 9780807173107

E. Kay Trimberger, Professor Emerita of Women’s and Gender Studies
Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, California

Introduction by:

Andrew Solomon, Professor of Clinical Psychology
Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York

Creole Son is the compelling memoir of a single white mother searching to understand why her adopted biracial son grew from a happy child into a troubled young adult who struggled with addiction for decades. The answers, E. Kay Trimberger finds, lie in both nature and nurture.

When five-­day-­old Marco is flown from Louisiana to California and placed in Trimberger’s arms, she assumes her values and example will be the determining influences upon her new son’s life. Twenty-­six years later, when she helps him make contact with his Cajun and Creole biological relatives, she discovers that many of his cognitive and psychological strengths and difficulties mirror theirs. Using her training as a sociologist, Trimberger explores behavioral genetics research on adoptive families. To her relief as well as distress, she learns that both biological heritage and the environment—and their interaction—shape adult outcomes.

Trimberger shares deeply personal reflections about raising Marco in Berkeley in the 1980s and 1990s, with its easy access to drugs and a culture that condoned their use. She examines her own ignorance about substance abuse, and also a failed experiment in an alternative family lifestyle. In an afterword, Marc Trimberger contributes his perspective, noting a better understanding of his life journey gained through his mother’s research.

By telling her story, Trimberger provides knowledge and support to all parents—biological and adoptive—with troubled offspring. She ends by suggesting a new adoption model, one that creates an extended, integrated family of both biological and adoptive kin.

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Katherine Johnson Dies at 101; Mathematician Broke Barriers at NASA

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2020-02-24 15:55Z by Steven

Katherine Johnson Dies at 101; Mathematician Broke Barriers at NASA

The New York Times
2020-02-24

Margalit Fox


Katherine Johnson, part of a small group of African-American women mathematicians who did crucial work at NASA, in 1966.
NASA/Donaldson Collection, via Getty Images

She was one of a group of black women mathematicians at NASA and its predecessor who were celebrated in the 2016 movie “Hidden Figures.”

They asked Katherine Johnson for the moon, and she gave it to them.

Wielding little more than a pencil, a slide rule and one of the finest mathematical minds in the country, Mrs. Johnson, whose death at 101 was announced on Monday by NASA, calculated the precise trajectories that would let Apollo 11 land on the moon in 1969 and, after Neil Armstrong’s history-making moonwalk, let it return to Earth.

A single error, she well knew, could have dire consequences for craft and crew. Her impeccable calculations had already helped plot the successful flight of Alan B. Shepard Jr., who became the first American in space when his Mercury spacecraft went aloft in 1961.

The next year, she likewise helped make it possible for John Glenn, in the Mercury vessel Friendship 7, to become the first American to orbit the Earth.

Yet throughout Mrs. Johnson’s 33 years in NASA’s Flight Research Division — the office from which the American space program sprang — and for decades afterward, almost no one knew her name…

Read the entire obituary here.

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Washington, Fredi

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, History, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2020-02-20 22:21Z by Steven

Washington, Fredi

The Broadcast 41: Women and the Anti-Communist Blacklist
2019-08-07

By Jeremiah Favara, Carol Stabile, and Laura Strait

Dancer, Actress, Journalist

Frederika (Fredi) Carolyn Washington (1903-1994) was born in Savannah, Georgia. Like other cultural workers of her generation, she was multitalented, excelling as a dancer, actress, journalist, and activist. Washington began her career as a dancer in the 1920s before going on to a career in film, radio, and the stage in the 1930s and 1940s. Washington was an activist throughout her career, organizing against racism in unions, theaters, television, and film.

Washington was born on December 23, 1903 in Savannah, Georgia. Her father, Robert T. Washington, was a postal worker and her mother, Harriet Walk Ward Washington, was a homemaker.1 Washington was one of five siblings with two brothers, Bubba and Alonzo, and two sisters, Isabel and Rosebud.2

Read the entire article here.

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Passing for White: Merle Oberon (Make Me Over, Episode 4)

Posted in Arts, Audio, Biography, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2020-02-20 22:14Z by Steven

Passing for White: Merle Oberon (Make Me Over, Episode 4)

You Must Remember This
2020-02-10

Halley Bondy

In 1935, Merle Oberon became the first biracial actress to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar, an incredible achievement in then-segregated Hollywood—except that nobody in Hollywood knew Oberon was biracial. Born in Bombay into abject poverty in 1911, Oberon’s fate seemed sealed in her racist colonial society. But a series of events, lies, men, and an obsession with controlling her own image—even if it meant bleaching her own skin—changed Oberon’s path forever.

This episode was written and performed by Halley Bondy, a writer and journalist whose work has appeared in NBC, The Outline, Eater NY, Paste Magazine, Scary Mommy, Bustle, Vice, and more. She’s an author of five young adult books, a handful of plays, an is a writer/producer for the podcast “Masters of Scale.” She lives in Brooklyn with husband/cheerleader Tim, and her amazing toddler Robin.

Listen to the podcast (00:44:57) here.

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This NC man was one of the most important Civil War leaders, but he was erased from history for 100 years

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2020-02-12 01:08Z by Steven

This NC man was one of the most important Civil War leaders, but he was erased from history for 100 years

ABC11 (WTVD-TV)
Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina
2020-02-10

Cameron Clinard, Senior Digital Producer

Meet the most important Civil War leader you’ve never heard of

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WTVD) — One of the most important African American leaders of the late 1800s was born in North Carolina, but his accomplishments and influence vanished from history for 100 years.

Abraham Galloway was a spy, an insurgent, a statesman, a fierce advocate of the working class and a warrior against oppression and tyranny.

“When he did speaking tours in the North, he didn’t introduce Frederick Douglass as the main speaker of the night. Frederick Douglass introduced him as the main speaker of the night,” historian Dr. David Cecelski said.

Yet today, Frederick Douglass is a household name and central figure of study in American history, while Abraham Galloway is hardly known.

When Galloway died in 1870, approximately 6,000 people attended his funeral. Newspapers at the time reported that it was the largest funeral in North Carolina history.

“Everybody knew who Abraham Galloway was at that point,” Cecelski said…

Read the entire story here.

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