The Life of Elreta Melton Alexander: Activism within the Courts

Posted in Biography, Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Law, Monographs, United States, Women on 2022-01-19 03:08Z by Steven

The Life of Elreta Melton Alexander: Activism within the Courts

University of Georgia Press
2022-05-01
224 pages
Illustrations: 11 b&w
Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in
Hardcover ISBN: 9-780-8203-6192-5
Paperback ISBN: 9-780-8203-6193-2

Virginia L. Summey, Historian, Author, and Faculty Fellow
Lloyd International Honors College, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

This book explores the life and contributions of groundbreaking attorney, Elreta Melton Alexander Ralston (1919-98). In 1945 Alexander became the first African American woman to graduate from Columbia Law School. In 1947 she was the first African American woman to practice law in the state of North Carolina, and in 1968 she became the first African American woman to become an elected district court judge. Despite her accomplishments, Alexander is little known to scholars outside of her hometown of Greensboro, North Carolina. Her life and career deserve recognition, however, not just because of her impressive lists of “firsts,” but also owing to her accomplishments during the civil rights movement in the U.S. South.

While Alexander did not actively participate in civil rights marches and demonstrations, she used her professional achievements and middle-class status to advocate for individuals who lacked a voice in the southern legal system. Virginia L. Summey argues that Alexander was integral to the civil rights movement in North Carolina as she, and women like her, worked to change discriminatory laws while opening professional doors for other minority women. Using her professional status, Alexander combatted segregation by demonstrating that Black women were worthy and capable of achieving careers alongside white men, thereby creating environments in which other African Americans could succeed. Her legal expertise and ability to reach across racial boundaries made her an important figure in Greensboro history.

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Black Americans on the Way to Sainthood: Henriette Delille

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, Religion, Slavery, United States, Women on 2022-01-18 02:32Z by Steven

Black Americans on the Way to Sainthood: Henriette Delille

St. Charles Borromeo Church
Brooklyn, New York
2021-02-13

Josephine Dongbang

Henriette Delille, (1812-1862), founder of Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
“For the love of Jesus Christ, she had become the humble and devout servant of the slaves.”

Henriette Delille was born in 1812 in New Orleans, Louisiana, to a loving Catholic family. While Henriette was born a free woman, she was descended from an enslaved African woman and white slave owner. Thus, following the tradition of the females in her family, she was groomed to form a monogamous relationship with wealthy white men under the plaçage system. She was trained in French literature, music, and dance, and expected to attend balls to meet men who would enter into such civil unions. Most of these agreements often ended up with the men later marrying white women in “official” marriages and/or abandoning their promises of support for the women and their mixed-race children. As a devout Catholic, Henriette opposed such system, believing it went against the Catholic sacrament of marriage…

Read the entire article here.

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Rebecca Hall’s Brief But Spectacular take on ‘Passing’ and racial identity

Posted in Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Biography, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United Kingdom, United States, Videos on 2022-01-13 14:53Z by Steven

Rebecca Hall’s Brief But Spectacular take on ‘Passing’ and racial identity

PBS Newshour
2022-01-12

Melissa Williams

Rebecca Hall has been on-screen since age 10, but in her new film “Passing” she steps into the director role for the first time. It is based on a novel that was written in 1929 by Nella Lawson Larsen at the height of the Harlem Renaissance. Hall shares her Brief But Spectacular take on “Passing” and on her own racial identity as part of our arts and culture series, CANVAS.

Read the full transcript here.

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Hannah Lowe

Posted in Articles, Audio, Biography, Caribbean/Latin America, Interviews, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2022-01-12 01:34Z by Steven

Hannah Lowe

Writers Mosaic
August 2020

Hannah Lowe was born in Essex in 1976 to a white English mother and Afro-Chinese Jamaican father. She studied American Literature at the University of Sussex, followed by an MA in Refugee Studies. She undertook her PhD in Creative Writing at Newcastle University in 2012.

Broadly, Lowe’s work is concerned with migration histories, multicultural London and the complex legacies of the British Empire. Her first poetry collection, Chick (Bloodaxe, 2013), blended these political concerns with a deeply personal and elegiac commemoration of her father, a member of the Windrush generation, who earnt a living in London through playing cards and dice. Her second collection, Chan (Bloodaxe, 2016), expanded these explorations of family in writing about the life and untimely death of her father’s cousin, the jazz saxophonist, Joe Harriott. In this book, Lowe developed a new poetic form – the ‘borderliner’ – which uses typography and double narration to explore ideas about multi-heritage experiences. Lowe’s work is often concerned with historical omissions, and in Ormonde, (Hercules Editions, 2014), she excavates the story of the SS Ormonde, on which her father migrated, and which arrived in Britain before the better known Empire Windrush. Most recently she has published the chapbook, The Neighbourhood, (Outspoken Press, 2019), which explores how communities respond to the pressures of austerity, gentrification and deportation. Her third full-length collection, The Kids, inspired by her work as an inner-city sixth form teacher, won the 2021 Costa Poetry Award…

Read the entire article here.

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To a Dark Girl

Posted in Biography, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, Religion, United States, Videos, Women on 2022-01-12 01:13Z by Steven

To a Dark Girl

North Star
Louisiana Public Broadcasting
Source: Louisiana Digital Media Archive
1985

Contributors:

  • Genevieve Stewart, Host
  • Sister Barbara Marie, Interviewee
  • Leslie Williams, Interviewee
  • Michelle Diaz, Interviewee

This episode of the series “North Star” from 1985 focuses on two intertwined stories related to the history of New Orleans in the 19th century: the quadroon balls held at the Orleans Ballroom, clandestine events where white men met free women of color, who would become their mistresses; the founding of the Sisters of the Holy Family, an African American congregation of Catholic nuns, by Henriette DeLille; and a visit to St. Mary’s Academy, the school run by the Sisters of the Holy Family, which was once located at the Orleans Ballroom. Host: Genevieve Stewart

Watch the video (00:14:20) here.

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Overlooked No More: Elizabeth A. Gloucester, ‘Richest’ Black Woman and Ally of John Brown

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2022-01-11 18:12Z by Steven

Overlooked No More: Elizabeth A. Gloucester, ‘Richest’ Black Woman and Ally of John Brown

The New York Times
2019-09-18

Steve Bell, Senior Staff Editor

Elizabeth Gloucester amassed a fortune from running more than 15 boardinghouses, including the Remsen House in Brooklyn, which drew an elite clientele.

Overlooked is a series of obituaries about remarkable people whose deaths, beginning in 1851, went unreported in The Times.

She ran boardinghouses whose lodgers included members of New York’s elite, raised money for an orphan asylum and was active in the abolitionists’ cause.

With a fortune built largely from operating boarding homes in Brooklyn and beyond, Elizabeth A. Gloucester was considered by many to be the richest black woman in America at her death at age 66 on Aug. 9, 1883.

Attending her funeral was “a congregation of people such as has seldom come together,” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, made up of “richly dressed white ladies, fashionably attired gentlemen and a number of well-known colored people.”

Whether her fortune of about $300,000 (the equivalent of about $7 million today) actually made her the nation’s wealthiest black woman may be impossible to prove. Some white women were much richer; the financial whiz Hetty Green was then building a net worth that might rival or exceed that held by President Trump today.

But Gloucester was notable for more than just her money. She was linked — for a time dangerously so — to the antislavery firebrand John Brown, whom some blamed for leading the nation into the Civil War. She also led efforts to raise money for New York’s Colored Orphan Asylum, which would be set afire in the deadly draft riots of 1863. In her final year she even managed to land a cameo role in a high-society scandal that made headlines across the country…

Read the entire article here.

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Overlooked No More: Si-lan Chen, Whose Dances Encompassed Worlds

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Biography, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2022-01-11 15:56Z by Steven

Overlooked No More: Si-lan Chen, Whose Dances Encompassed Worlds

The New York Times
2021-05-27

Jennifer Wilson, Contributing Writer
The Nation

Si-lan Chen in 1944. A socialist, she approached dance as a way to build international solidarity.
Man Ray 2015 Trust/Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY, ADAGP, Paris 2021; Telimage

This article is part of Overlooked, a series of obituaries about remarkable people whose deaths, beginning in 1851, went unreported in The Times.

As a dancer and choreographer, she sought to represent a broad range of ethnic groups, but audiences often sexualized and exoticized her by focusing on her mixed race.

In 1945, the dancer Si-lan Chen sent a draft of her memoir to the writer Pearl S. Buck, with a letter asking for her thoughts on why she was struggling to get the attention of a publisher.

The problem, Buck explained, was that while Chen had dined with the Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek in revolutionary China, had been romanced by the poet Langston Hughes in Soviet Moscow, and had worked in Hollywood for the producer Joseph Mankiewicz, no one actually knew who she was.

The autobiography, Buck said, of a mixed-race girl growing up in Trinidad, studying ballet at the Bolshoi and choreographing films like “Anna and the King of Siam” (1946), was too focused on, well, her…

Read the entire article here.

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Lani Guinier drew on her Black and Jewish roots in a life of outspoken activism

Posted in Articles, Biography, Judaism, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Religion, Social Justice, United States, Women on 2022-01-11 15:30Z by Steven

Lani Guinier drew on her Black and Jewish roots in a life of outspoken activism

Forward
2022-01-07

TaRessa Stovall

This undated file photo shows Lani Guinier(C), President Clinton’s nominee to head the U.S. Civil Rights office of the U.S.
LUKE FRAZZA/AFP via Getty Images

Lani Guinier, the daughter of a white Jewish mother and Black Panamanian father whose nomination by President Clinton to head the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice was opposed by mainstream Jewish organizations, died on Friday.

Guinier, who went on to become the first Black woman on the Harvard Law School faculty as well as its first woman of color given a tenured post, succumbed to complications from Alzheimer’s disease, according to The Boston Globe.

Carrie Johnson, who covers the Justice Department for National Public Radio, tweeted a message from Harvard Law School Dean John Manning confirming Guinier’s death and praising her.

“Her scholarship changed our understanding of democracy – of why and how the voices of the historically underrepresented must be heard and what it takes to have a meaningful right to vote,” Manning’s message said. The dean’s letter to the school community said she died surrounded by friends and family…

Read the entire article here.

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Maria Ewing, opera singer and ex-wife of Sir Peter Hall, dies aged 71

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2022-01-11 15:02Z by Steven

Maria Ewing, opera singer and ex-wife of Sir Peter Hall, dies aged 71

The Guardian
Associated Press

Maria Ewing and Sir Peter Hall in 1984. Photograph: Homer Sykes/Alamy

Ewing, also the mother of actor-director Rebecca Hall, died Sunday at her home in Detroit

Maria Ewing, a soprano and mezzo-soprano noted for intense performances who became the wife of director Sir Peter Hall and the mother of actor-director Rebecca Hall, has died at age 71.

Ewing died Sunday at her home in Detroit, spokeswoman Bryna Rifkin said Monday.

Born in Detroit to a Dutch mother and an African American father, Ewing was the youngest of four daughters.

“She was an extraordinarily gifted artist who by the sheer force of her talent and will catapulted herself to the most rarefied heights of the international opera world,” her family said in a statement…

Read the entire article here.

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Hidden in the Genes

Posted in Biography, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Videos on 2022-01-07 02:14Z by Steven

Hidden in the Genes

Finding Your Roots
Season 8, Episode 1
Aired: 2022-01-04

Henry Louis Gates Jr., Host and Alfonse Fletcher Jr. University Professor; Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. helps Rebecca Hall and Lee Daniels solve family mysteries through DNA detective work, illuminating both history and their own identities.

Watch the episode (00:52:11) here.

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