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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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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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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Imagining the Mulatta: Blackness in U.S. and Brazilian Media

Posted in Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, United States, Women on 2020-03-10 15:06Z by Steven

Imagining the Mulatta: Blackness in U.S. and Brazilian Media

University of Illinois Press
May 2020
288 pages
9 color photographs
6 x 9 in.
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-252-04328-4
Paper ISBN: 978-0-252-08520-8

Jasmine Mitchell, Assistant Professor of American Studies and Media Studies
State University of New York, Old Westbury

Mixed-race women and popular culture in Brazil and the United States

Brazil markets itself as a racially mixed utopia. The United States prefers the term melting pot. Both nations have long used the image of the mulatta to push skewed cultural narratives. Highlighting the prevalence of mixed race women of African and European descent, the two countries claim to have perfected racial representation—all the while ignoring the racialization, hypersexualization, and white supremacy that the mulatta narrative creates.

Jasmine Mitchell investigates the development and exploitation of the mulatta figure in Brazilian and U.S. popular culture. Drawing on a wide range of case studies, she analyzes policy debates and reveals the use of mixed-Black female celebrities as subjects of racial and gendered discussions. Mitchell also unveils the ways the media moralizes about the mulatta figure and uses her as an example of an “acceptable” version of blackness that at once dreams of erasing undesirable blackness while maintaining the qualities that serve as outlets for interracial desire.

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Whiter: Asian American Women on Skin Color and Colorism

Posted in Anthologies, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2020-03-06 18:06Z by Steven

Whiter: Asian American Women on Skin Color and Colorism

New York University Press
March 2020
280 pages
6.00 x 9.00 in
Paperback ISBN: 9781479800292
Hardcover ISBN: 9781479881086

Edited by:

Nikki Khanna, Associate Professor of Sociology
University of Vermont

Whiter

Heartfelt personal accounts from Asian American women on their experiences with skin color bias, from being labeled “too dark” to becoming empowered to challenge beauty standards

“I have a vivid memory of standing in my grandmother’s kitchen, where, by the table, she closely watched me as I played. When I finally looked up to ask why she was staring, her expression changed from that of intent observer to one of guilt and shame. . . . ‘My anak (dear child),’ she began, ‘you are so beautiful. It is a shame that you are so dark. No Filipino man will ever want to marry you.’” —“Shade of Brown,” Noelle Marie Falcis

How does skin color impact the lives of Asian American women? In Whiter, thirty Asian American women provide first-hand accounts of their experiences with colorism in this collection of powerful, accessible, and brutally honest essays, edited by Nikki Khanna.

Featuring contributors of many ages, nationalities, and professions, this compelling collection covers a wide range of topics, including light-skin privilege, aspirational whiteness, and anti-blackness. From skin-whitening creams to cosmetic surgery, Whiter amplifies the diverse voices of Asian American women who continue to bravely challenge the power of skin color in their own lives.

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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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Jackie Kay International Conference

Posted in Family/Parenting, Forthcoming Media, Gay & Lesbian, Identity Development/Psychology, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Live Events, United Kingdom, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers, Women on 2020-02-13 18:57Z by Steven

Jackie Kay International Conference

Gylphi Contemporary Writers
February 2020

Liverpool, England, United Kingdom
2020-05-06
Contact: kay.conference@gylphi.co.uk

Organisers:

Natasha Alden, Senior Lecturer in Contemporary British Fiction
University of Aberystwyth, Aberystwyth, Wales, United Kingdom

Fiona Tolan, Senior Lecturer in English
Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, United Kingdom

Keynote speaker:

Deidre Osborne, Reader in English Literature and Drama
Goldsmiths, University of London

Jackie Kay is the author of some 30 works, including plays, poetry, prose (fiction and non-fiction), children’s literature, short stories and a ground-breaking novel. She has won or been shortlisted for over 20 literary awards and prizes, including the Guardian Fiction Prize, the inaugural Forward Prize for Poetry for a single poem, the Somerset Maugham Award and the Costa Poetry Award. She is the Scots Makar, professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University, Chancellor of the University of Salford and a CBE.

Kay’s work is remarkable for its range of genres, its consistent reinvention of forms, and its marriage of intimate, domestic depictions of individual lives with broad political and philosophical themes. In works such as her breakthrough poetry collection, The Adoption Papers (1991), the novel Trumpet (1998) – a path-breaking depiction of trans identity – and the autobiographical Red Dust Road (2010), her publications explore identity, individuality and belonging, and love between family members, lovers and friends. Amongst many other questions, her works asks what Britishness is, what race means, what it is to love, and what gender is, and can be.

This international conference, the first on Kay’s work, brings together scholars from a wide range of literary and cultural studies. The British Council describe Kay as having, over the past two decades, ‘moved from marginal voice to national treasure.’ This conference will examine the work that has marked Kay’s shift from the margins to the centre, addressing a writer whose work has expanded the scope of British literature. We welcome papers on any topic related to Kay’s writing, including, but not limited to:

  • Scottish national identity
  • Autobiography and life writing
  • Black British writing
  • Trans identities
  • Lesbian writing
  • The family
  • Adoption
  • Scottish Women’s writing
  • Black Scottish Writing
  • The impact / legacy of Trumpet
  • Intersections of form (such as music, poetry, fiction, music, dramatic voice)
  • Landscape and place
  • Love
  • Humour
  • The line between life and art

We welcome papers from any disciplines and theoretical perspectives, and from scholars at all career stages, especially ECRs. Please send a title and 300 word abstract for a 20-minute paper, as well as your name, any affiliation, and a 100-word professional biography, to kay.conference@gylphi.co.uk by 6 March 2020.

The conference is sponsored by Gylphi. Selected papers from the conference will be published as Jackie Kay: Critical Essays, with a foreword by Kay, as part of Gylphi’s Contemporary Writers: Critical Essays series (Series Editor: Dr Sarah Dillon).

For more information, click here.

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Ahamefule J. Oluo: Susan

Posted in Arts, Biography, Live Events, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2020-02-07 18:28Z by Steven

Ahamefule J. Oluo: Susan

The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
University of Maryland
8270 Alumni Drive
College Park, Maryland 20742-1625
2020-02-07 and 2020-02-08, 20:00 EST (Local Time)

After moving audiences at The Clarice in 2017, trumpeter, composer and comedian Ahamefule J. Oluo returns with “Susan,” a memoir delivered through wry comedic monologue and live, grand-scale big-band and jazz.

When Susan Hawley was a sophomore in college, she fell in love with a doctoral student from Nigeria. They got married, had two children, and just as their dream life seemed like it was coalescing, her husband went back to Nigeria to visit his family and never contacted her again—leaving her a Midwestern white lady with two African babies. They were desperately poor; Susan began gaining weight rapidly, soon reaching 400 pounds. These were the cards she was dealt. Ahamefule J. Oluo’s theatrical work, Susan, tells his mother’s story as a means to tell the story of millions of women. It is a tangible crystallization of how race, class and size affect people all over the world every day. Despite all that darkness, Susan will be funny. It’s a collection of wry, black, but humane monologues, interspersed with live, grand-scale orchestral music.

This vulnerable theatrical work about his childhood tells the story of how his Midwestern mother was left to raise two bi-racial babies after the sudden departure of her husband. There’s obvious chemistry between Oluo’s singular voice and the grand creation of the music; at times, when the story is too painful for him, the ensemble carries the show. “Susan” is a category-defying reflection on how race, class, and appearance impact everyone—and how we play the hand that we’re dealt.

In 2002, after being selected as Town Hall Seattle’s first-ever artist-in-residence, Oluo realized he wanted to do something different. After years of performing and recording with prominent musicians like John Zorn, Hey Marseilles, Wayne Horvitz and Macklemore, Oluo knew he had his own story to tell—and the diverse set of skills to do it. During his time in residency, he began experimenting with blending big-band, jazz, standup and memoir to formulate a new musical and theatrical identity.

For more information, click here.

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