How one woman discovered her true cultural heritage

Posted in Biography, Louisiana, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Videos, Women on 2021-04-08 02:16Z by Steven

How one woman discovered her true cultural heritage

BBC News
2021-04-06

What would you do if you discovered one of your parents wasn’t who they said they were?

That’s what happened to Gail Lukasik who found out her mother had ‘passed’ as white to escape racial segregation in the US, in the early 20th Century.

She was, in fact, mixed race but had kept it secret all her life and made Gail promise to keep the secret until after she died.

Gail has turned her story into a book called White Like Her.

Video produced by Trystan Young.

Watch the video here.

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The complex history of Alexander Twilight, nation’s first African American to earn a bachelor’s degree

Posted in Articles, Biography, Campus Life, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2021-02-11 00:04Z by Steven

The complex history of Alexander Twilight, nation’s first African American to earn a bachelor’s degree

USA Today
2021-02-08

Marina Affo, Reporter
Delaware News Journal, New Castle, Delaware

Though Twilight is lauded today as an African American scholar, preacher and educator, for much of his life he was marked as white on census records.

Tucked away on Franklin Street at Vermont’s Middlebury College sits a modest, red-bricked building bearing the name of Twilight Hall.

It pays homage to the first student of African descent who graduated from Middlebury in 1823. Alexander Twilight was also the first Black person to obtain a bachelor’s degree across America – a piece of history Middlebury is proud to represent.

At Northern Vermont University, there is Alexander Twilight Theater and in Boston, there is Alexander Twilight Academy, which offers year-round academic programming for middle school students from under-resourced backgrounds to prepare them for high school and college.

Though not widely know, Twilight is celebrated as an accomplished African American man whose achievements paved the way for others like him.

But consider this: Though Twilight is lauded today as an African American scholar, preacher and educator, for much of his life he was marked as white on census records…

Read the entire article here.

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A Family History of British Empire

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2021-02-10 01:42Z by Steven

A Family History of British Empire

Black Perspectives
2021-02-05

Mary Hicks, Assistant Professor of Black Studies and History
Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts

“Where are you from?”—The deceptively simple question looms over the sprawling narrative of Imperial Intimacies: A Tale of Two Islands, the newest work by Black feminist theorist, literary critic, and historian Hazel Carby. This historical and existential query frames Carby’s gripping exploration of her ambivalent relationship to idealized “Britishness” as the child of a white, working-class Welsh mother and a Black, Jamaican father born in 1940s London. The omnipresent demand by strangers that she produce a satisfying account of her origins exemplifies her experiences as an unlocatable and thus unimaginable subject (98). Her own emotionally charged childhood memories ground Carby’s evocative examination of the intertwined nature of intimacy, race, and labor in the British Empire, stretching from the period following World War II back to the revolutionary wars of the late eighteenth century.

Imperial Intimacies begins with the Gramscian imperative to reconstruct, and at times invent, one’s personal genealogy, not only in fact but in feeling…

Read the entire review here.

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The True Story of Jess Krug, the White Professor Who Posed as Black for Years—Until It All Blew Up Last Fall

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2021-02-05 01:24Z by Steven

The True Story of Jess Krug, the White Professor Who Posed as Black for Years—Until It All Blew Up Last Fall

The Washingtonian
2021-01-27

Marisa Kashino


Photograph courtesy of YouTube

She fabricated harrowing personal backstories, peddled gross caricatures, and spoke from perspectives she had no right to claim. And nobody stopped her.

“Iam a coward.”

Jessica Krug’s confession started ricocheting across screens one brutally muggy afternoon in late-summer Washington. “For the better part of my adult life,” it began, “every move I’ve made, every relationship I’ve formed, has been rooted in the napalm toxic soil of lies.” Krug, a faculty member at George Washington University, had taken to Medium, the online forum, to reveal a stunning fabrication. Throughout her entire career in academia, the professor of African history—a white woman—had been posing as Black and Latina.

“I have thought about ending these lies many times over many years, but my cowardice was always more powerful than my ethics. I know right from wrong. I know history. I know power. I am a coward,” she wrote. “You should absolutely cancel me, and I absolutely cancel myself.”

The statement, posted September 3, 2020, went viral immediately, unleashing a tidal wave of Oh, my Gods across the text chains of Krug’s GW colleagues and other academics. “We were all blindsided,” says GW history-department chair Daniel Schwartz. Distraught emails from Krug’s students—less than a week into a virtual semester already upended by the coronavirus pandemic—began piling up in faculty in-boxes. Meanwhile, an online mob went to work churning up old photos of Krug and tanking the Amazon ratings of her book. By the end of the day, a now-infamous video of Krug calling herself “Jess La Bombalera” and speaking in a D-list imitation Bronx accent was all over the internet….

Read the entire article here.

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An Upstream Battle: John Parker’s Personal War on Slavery

Posted in Biography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery, United States on 2021-01-30 21:43Z by Steven

An Upstream Battle: John Parker’s Personal War on Slavery

Anne Stanton Publications
2019-02-12
136 pages
ISBN-13 : 978-1796696295
5.5 x 0.34 x 8.5 inches

Anne Stanton

John Parker wasn’t interested in helping anyone run away. He had worked too hard getting himself free to want to risk losing it for someone he didn’t know. But Sam didn’t give up, and soon John was enlisted to help two young women cross the Ohio River to freedom. What neither man knew at the time was that this marked the beginning of a personal war on slavery for John Parker, one in which he would help hundreds of runaways escape. An Upstream Battle is comprised of four stories from the life of John Parker, an African American businessman and inventor. Based on events portrayed in Parker’s autobiography, An Upstream Battle illustrates the real danger that Parker and other members of the Underground Railroad were exposed to, and their commitment to helping runaway slaves, despite that danger. This book makes a great gift for YA readers who couldn’t put down “Bud, not Buddy”.

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

Posted in Biography, Books, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Religion, United States on 2021-01-21 15:53Z 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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Olivia Ward Bush-Banks and the Dualism of African and Native American Identity

Posted in Articles, Biography, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States, Women on 2020-11-02 18:50Z by Steven

Olivia Ward Bush-Banks and the Dualism of African and Native American Identity

Amistad Research Center
Tilton Hall, Tulane University
6823 St. Charles Avenue
New Orleans, Louisiana 70118

2014-09-24

Chianta Dorsey

The birth of the African American literary condition occurred in 1773 with the publication of Phyllis Wheatley’s book of poetry and has evolved into a thriving apparatus within American literature ever since. Olivia Ward Bush-Banks is amongst this tradition and the presence of her literary work offers a view into the complex identities of Americans—Black, Native American, and a woman, Bush-Banks had plenty to pull from when she began her writing career at the turn of the 20th century…

Read the entire article here.

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Black Like Kamala

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Biography, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Women on 2020-11-01 01:23Z by Steven

Black Like Kamala

The New York Times
2020-08-14

Jamelle Bouie, Opinion Columnist


Kamala Harris in 1966 during a family visit to Harlem. Kamala Harris campaign, via Associated Press

Republican efforts to deny Senator Harris’s identity as an African-American and turn her into a noncitizen are destined to fail.

It was probably inevitable that becoming Joe Biden’s running mate would result in controversy over Kamala Harris’s heritage.

Harris, whose mother emigrated from India and whose father emigrated from Jamaica, is a woman of Tamil and African ancestry who identifies as Black. That’s why, after Biden’s announcement, she was described as the first Asian-American and African-American woman on a major-party presidential ticket.

Not everyone thought this was the right description for Harris. Several allies of President Trump, for example, were quick to dispute the idea that Harris was or could be Black. The radio host Mark Levin said Harris’s Jamaican origins placed her outside the category of African-American. “Kamala Harris is not an African-American, she is Indian and Jamaican,” Levin said. “Her ancestry does not go back to American slavery, to the best of my knowledge her ancestry does not go back to slavery at all.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Afro-German Women are Still Upholding the Legacy of May Ayim

Posted in Articles, Biography, Europe, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Women on 2020-09-13 01:55Z by Steven

Afro-German Women are Still Upholding the Legacy of May Ayim

Catapult
2020-09-10

Tari Ngangura


May Ayim with Audre Lorde/Photograph via audrelordeberlin.com

There have always been people suffering from anti-Blackness. And May Ayim highlights the continuity of the Black experience—not only her own, but those before her as well.

In 1986, Afro-German author and poet May Opitz—better known as May Ayim—co-edited the anthology, Showing Our Colours: Afro-German Women Speak Out. The book carries the stories of Afro-German women and their volatile, often violent experiences with anti-Blackness, belonging, and sexism in the European nation. Showing Our Colours remains a seminal offering in works that claim the existence and legitimacy of Black history within Europe, and also examines Germany’s specific role in the nineteenth century colonization of Africa—including the genocide in Namibia, which saw over one hundred thousand of the Herero, Nama, and San people killed by the German regime from 1904 until 1908.

Those who survived the genocide were locked in concentration camps, a precursor to those that would be utilized in the Holocaust. Showing Our Colours is as much about claiming space as it is about holding Germany accountable to its imperial history and its effects on the contemporary realities of Black immigrants living in the country. The book also outlines political shifts through the ages that saw terms like Moor, Negro, and African morph into racial epithets that would later be used by pseudoscientists to justify anti-Black racism, fascism, and medical bias.

Ayim died by suicide in 1996, and in her life and death, I see a testament to the resilience of Black women, and an indictment of insidious white supremacy that makes Black life a fragile negotiation between visibility and erasure. Since her death, Ayim’s work has been revisited most often by young Afro-Germans searching for the language and tools to explore their Blackness and womanhood alongside a European history that interrupted their ancestry and systematically destabilizes their present. For Afro-Germans, and especially the youth who have lived through global Black Lives Matter conversations, who witnessed police brutality on both a national and global scale, it is not enough to be simply German. It’s in this space that Ayim’s work is finding new eyes…

I spoke with Marny Garcia Mommertz, a Black-German researcher born in Oldenburg, Lower Saxony, about how the late author’s work has been something of a map, detailing similar experiences of othering, and a reminder that her contemporary reality is not simply of her own making, but part of a larger structural legacy of oppression…

Read the entire interview here.

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Born Enslaved, Patrick Francis Healy ‘Passed’ His Way to Lead Georgetown University

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Passing, Religion, Slavery, United States on 2020-09-11 02:22Z by Steven

Born Enslaved, Patrick Francis Healy ‘Passed’ His Way to Lead Georgetown University

Smithsonian Magazine
2020-09-08

Bryan Greene
Washington, D.C.


Because the 19th-century college president appeared white, he was able to climb the ladder of the Jesuit community

This back-to-school season, as the coronavirus pandemic demands continued social distancing, many college students are logging onto their classes remotely. While the country fights this public health crisis on one front, it fights the ongoing effects of systemic racism on another, and the battle is joined on America’s college campuses, where skyrocketing tuition costs, debates over academic freedom, and reckonings with the legacies of institutional racism come together.

The University of North Carolina, for instance, has had to tackle both crises this summer, as it shuttered dorms and sent students home after Covid-19 cases spiked soon after opening. In July, administrators approved guidelines for renaming buildings that currently honor North Carolinians who promoted the murderous 1898 overthrow of Wilmington’s elected multiracial government. In June, meanwhile, Princeton acceded to longstanding demands to strip Woodrow Wilson’s name from its public policy school, since his most notorious public policy as President of the United States was to segregate the federal workforce. Following the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd, an ever-widening circle of students on campuses nationwide are re-examining their institutions’ unquestioned genuflection to their white-supremacist heritage.

But at Georgetown University, students, faculty, alumni, and administration have been re-appraising the school’s racist past for years. In 1838, when the Jesuit school was deep in debt, its president, Reverend Thomas F. Mulledy, on behalf of the Maryland Jesuits, sold 272 black men, women and children to Louisiana plantations to keep the school afloat. Three years ago, Georgetown pulled Mulledy’s name off a dormitory, replacing it with the name of enslaved laborer Isaac Hawkins. Georgetown will now consider applicants who are descendants of these enslaved persons in the same light as the children of faculty, staff and alumni for purposes of admission.

What makes Georgetown’s reflective moment most remarkable, however, and complicated, is that 35 years after Mulledy salvaged the school’s finances by selling human property, the school would be led by a man who, himself, was born enslaved. The story of Georgetown president Reverend Patrick Francis Healy reveals how a university built by enslaved persons, and rescued from collapse by the sale of enslaved persons, saw its “second founding” in the late 19th century under the guidance of a man whom the Jesuits knew had been born black but helped “pass” as white

Read the entire article here.

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