Reaching for the Moon: The Autobiography of NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, United States, Women on 2019-02-21 02:24Z by Steven

Reaching for the Moon: The Autobiography of NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson

Atheneum Books for Young Readers (an imprint of Simon and Schuster)
September 2019
288 pages
Hardcover ISBN 13: 9781534440838
eBook ISBN 13: 9781534440852

Katherine Johnson

The inspiring autobiography of NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, who helped launch Apollo 11.

Throughout Katherine Johnson’s extraordinary career, there hasn’t been a boundary she hasn’t broken through or a ceiling she hasn’t shattered. In the early 1950s, she joined the organization that would one day become NASA, and which had only just begun to hire black mathematicians. Her job there was to analyze data and calculate the complex equations needed for successful space flights. As a black woman in an era of brutal racism and sexism, Katherine faced daily challenges and often wasn’t taken seriously by the scientists and engineers she worked with. But her colleagues couldn’t ignore her obvious gifts—or her persistence. Soon she was computing the trajectory for Alan Shepard’s first flight and working on the Apollo 11 mission that landed the first men on the moon. Katherine’s life has been a succession of achievements, each one greater than the last.

Katherine Johnson’s story was made famous in the bestselling book and Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures. Now in Reaching for the Moon she tells her own story for the first time, in a lively autobiography that will inspire young readers everywhere.

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Secrets of famous 1930s ‘blonde bombshell of rhythm’ revealed with help from UW library

Posted in Arts, Biography, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2019-02-20 21:01Z by Steven

Secrets of famous 1930s ‘blonde bombshell of rhythm’ revealed with help from UW library

UW News
University of Washington

Molly McElroy

We all have things in our past that we gloss over. Some secrets might just be embarrassing or unflattering. But others may be more serious, and people who conceal these truths may fear that revealing them would undermine their livelihoods.

Such was likely the case with an Emmy-winning female bandleader who rose to fame in the 1930s and led bands until the 1960s. Known as “the blonde bombshell of rhythm,” this sex symbol hailing from Chicago had security to protect her from the men who mobbed her performances.

See why they were so enchanted:

Ina Ray Hutton, who died in 1984 at age 67, also had a secret that could have damaged her stardom. A reporter from KUOW radio, with help from the UW libraries, recently revealed the secret. It turns out that the blonde bombshell had more than hair-dye to hide…

Read the entire article here.

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Obituary: Andrea Levy

Posted in Articles, Biography, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2019-02-15 16:29Z by Steven

Obituary: Andrea Levy

BBC News

Andrea Levy

Andrea Levy, who has died of cancer at the age of 62, told the stories of the Windrush generation with humour and compassion.

As Britain struggled to revive its post-war economy, invitations were extended to citizens of the Empire. “Come and make your lives in the Mother Country,” the advertisements said.

Levy’s books chart the experiences – and disappointments – of the first Caribbean immigrants and their children.

Her Jamaican father, Winston, was aboard the Empire Windrush, the first ship to dock at Tilbury in 1948.

The open arms which the 492 men expected were not forthcoming. Racism and rejection, small rooms and chilly receptions awaited instead.

Her writing could have been angry and preachy, but it wasn’t. It was witty, humane and often moving, and full of richly drawn characters.

She brought ignored and forgotten stories back to public consciousness. And she drew on her own mixed-race, working class experience to enrich her themes of family and displacement…

Read the entire article here.

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Overlooked No More: Mabel Grammer, Whose Brown Baby Plan Found Homes for Hundreds

Posted in Articles, Biography, Europe, History, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2019-02-09 02:33Z by Steven

Overlooked No More: Mabel Grammer, Whose Brown Baby Plan Found Homes for Hundreds

The New York Times

Alexis Clark, Adjunct Faculty
Columbia Journalism School, New York, New York

Mabel Grammer, who started the Brown Baby Plan to help mixed-race children in Germany. She adopted 12, and found homes for 500 others. Associated Press

Since 1851, many remarkable black men and women did not receive obituaries in The New York Times. This month, with Overlooked, we’re adding their stories to our archives.

Grammer’s self-run adoption agency made it possible for unwanted mixed-race children in Germany to find homes after World War II.

They were called “brown babies,” or “mischlingskinder,” a derogatory German term for mixed-race children. And sometimes they were just referred to as mutts.

They were born during the occupation years in Germany after World War II, the offspring of German women and African-American soldiers. Their fathers were usually transferred elsewhere and their mothers risked social repercussions by keeping them, so the babies were placed in orphanages.

But when Mabel Grammer, an African-American journalist, became aware of the orphaned children, she stepped in. She and her husband, an army chief warrant officer stationed in Mannheim, and later Karlsruhe, adopted 12 of them, and Grammer found homes for 500 others…

Read the entire article here.

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Girl, Woman, Other

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, Novels, United Kingdom, Women on 2019-02-07 02:18Z by Steven

Girl, Woman, Other

Hamish Hamilton (an imprint of Penguin UK)
464 pages
Hardback ISBN: 9780241364901
Ebook ISBN: 9780241985007

Bernardine Evaristo

Teeming with life and crackling with energy – a love song to modern Britain, to black womanhood, to the ever-changing heart of London

Girl, Woman, Other follows the lives and struggles of twelve very different characters. Mostly women, black and British, they tell the stories of their families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years.

Joyfully polyphonic and vibrantly contemporary, this is a gloriously new kind of history, a novel of our times: celebratory, ever-dynamic and utterly irresistible.

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Adrian Piper as African American Artist

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2019-02-05 02:49Z by Steven

Adrian Piper as African American Artist

American Art
Volume 20, Number 3 (Fall 2006)
DOI: 10.1086/511097

John P. Bowles, Associate Professor of African American Art History
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

African‐American artist Adrian Piper has repeatedly staged her own racial transformation in order to unsettle the racist attitudes of her artworks’ American viewers. Piper looks white but in her video installation Cornered, for example, she tells viewers, ”I’m black.” Over the course of the video the decision to call one’s self black or white becomes a moral issue rather than a simple matter of genetics or parentage. In the process, Piper casts the possibility of racial identity into doubt.

Piper’s self‐transformations figure the fears and fantasies that define the myth of American whiteness. Citing the unspoken “one drop” rule of racialized identity—according to which a person with only ”one drop” of African blood running through his or her veins is considered black—Piper challenges the viewer of Cornered: ”You are probably black. … What are you going to do?” Piper stages herself as an object for inspection, but in a way that ultimately reveals less about the artist than about the viewer’s own attitudes towards race. She identifies miscegenation and folkloric accounts of passing as the founding crisis for a pseudoscientific race consciousness in order to challenge Americans to take personal responsibility for the history of racism in the United States.

Adrian Piper once rebuked an an critic for declaring that it “is crucial to know” in approaching her work “that Piper is a black artist who can easily ‘pass’ for white.” In fact. Piper responded, “‘black’ and ‘white’ are among the terms my work critiques.” This statement would seem to preclude her an from being easily categorized as African American, yet that is exactly how most of it has been studied, largely because Piper has used herself and her own experiences with racism as the raw material for much of her artistic practice. In her 1988 video installation Cornered, for example, viewers watch as Piper tells them. “I’m black.” Over the course of the video, however, the decision to call one’s self black is reframed as a moral issue rather than a matter of genetics or parentage. In the process, Piper casts the possibility of racial identity into doubt. Why don’t most art critics notice?1

Since before 1972, when she first confronted matters of race directly in her Mythic Being Series, Piper has always marked the distinction between herself and the role she performs as artist in her theatricalized work. While she uses “personal content”—stories about her own experiences—in some of her work, these anecdotes are carefully chosen and presented tools used to make ideas concrete rather than to make her personal life and emotions the subject of her art. Nevertheless, art historians and critics frequently characterize Piper as an angry black woman whose work blames viewers for the lifetime of racist and sexist discrimination she has endured. Such accounts typically imply that Pipers work is divisive, because black audience members are expected to sympathize with the artist while white viewers may experience only guilt or outrage. Some of Piper’s critics respond by diagnosing her as the distraught victim, lashing out unfairly at liberal museumgoers who would otherwise take her side. Even writers more in tune with Piper’s project interpret her work as autobiography. In the 1970s, for example, feminist art critics Lucy Lippard and Cindy Nemser both explained Piper’s Mythic Being as the manifestation of the artist’s “male ego,” despite formal aspects that cast the series as a critical and self-conscious performance of race, gender, sexuality, and class.2

In The Mythic Being: I/You (Her) of 1974, Piper transforms her appearance over a series of ten photographs of herself, taken in junior high school, beside another young woman, a classmate and friend. As with most of the Mythic Being photographs. Piper has added comic-strip-style thought bubbles in the I/You (Her) sequence by drawing, painting, and writing directly on the surfaces of the photographs. In this sequence, her face is slowly darkened while her companions remains unchanged. Pipers features are altered and exaggerated; she acquires sunglasses and a mustache; her hair grows into what she…

Read or purchase the article here.

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‘I am who I am’: Kamala Harris, daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants, defines herself simply as ‘American’

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Women on 2019-02-03 04:47Z by Steven

‘I am who I am’: Kamala Harris, daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants, defines herself simply as ‘American’

The Washington Post

Kevin Sullivan, Senior Correspondent

Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), center, sings the Alpha Kappa Alpha hymn at the sorority’s annual “Pink Ice Gala” on Jan. 25 in Columbia, S.C. (Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg News)

SAN FRANCISCO — In early 2010, an Indian American couple hosted a fundraiser in their elegant Pacific Heights home for Kamala Harris, then a Democratic candidate for California attorney general.

Harris had been San Francisco’s high-profile district attorney for more than six years, but Deepak Puri and Shareen Punian had only recently learned that Harris was, as Punian said, “one of our peeps,” a woman whose mother was an Indian immigrant.

They had always assumed Harris was African American, and so did most of the 60 or 70 Indian American community leaders at the event, many of whom asked Puri and Punian why they had been invited.

“At least half of them didn’t know she was Indian,” said Punian, a business executive and political activist.

Harris, 54, now a U.S. senator and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, would be several firsts in the White House: the first woman, the first African American woman, the first Indian American and the first Asian American. The daughter of two immigrants — her father came from Jamaica — she would also be the second biracial president, after Barack Obama.

Obama’s soul-searching quest to explore his identity, as the son of a white mother from Kansas and a Kenyan father who was largely absent from his life, was well-documented in his autobiography.

But when asked, in an interview, if she had wrestled with similar introspection about race, ethnicity and identity, Harris didn’t hesitate:

“No,” she said flatly…

Read the entire article here.

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Jhené Aiko and the Problem of Multiracial Self-Representation

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Latino Studies, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2019-02-02 03:53Z by Steven

Jhené Aiko and the Problem of Multiracial Self-Representation

Hapa Music is Black and Brown
Discover Nikkei

Sonia C. Gomez, Postdoctoral Fellow
Mahindra Humanities Center
Harvard University

Jhené Aiko. Photo courtesy of The come Up Show.

At the 2018 VH1 Mother’s Day music tribute concert titled, Dear Mama: A Love Letter to Moms, Grammy nominated singer and songwriter Jhené Aiko recited this poem she wrote for her mother, Christina Yamamoto, a woman of African American and Japanese ancestry:

“I found another grey hair today but I was not bothered at all. I feel like I earned it. I’m better, I’m wiser, I’m leveling up overall. I am becoming my mother, my beautiful mother, who taught me with age, comes might. I’m becoming my mother, my beautiful mother, she is love in the flesh, what a sight.”

Afterwards, Aiko and her young daughter, Namiko Love, serenaded the audience with an original song Aiko wrote titled, Sing to Me. The performance was a touching display of affection between three generations of women, and as such, offers an opportunity to reflect on the role Aiko’s mother’s racial heritage has played in Aiko’s musical career. After all, she is her mother’s daughter.

Jhené Aiko Chilombo was born in 1988 in Los Angeles to Christina Yamamoto, a woman who is African American and Japanese, and Karamo Chilombo, a man of mixed-Black and Native American ancestry. Aiko is one of five siblings who grew up in a multiracial and tight-knit family from Ladera Heights, a Black middle-class enclave in south Los Angeles. Aiko’s sister, Mila J, is a singer, songwriter, and dancer herself…

Read the entire article here.

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Seeking biracial women for an online research study!

Posted in Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers, Women on 2019-01-31 18:12Z by Steven

Seeking biracial women for an online research study!

Kiarra King
Department of Psychology
The University of Akron
290 East Buchtel Avenue
Akron, Ohio 44325-4301


The University of Akron psychology school building.

The purpose of this study is to gain insight into biracial women’s experiences with their racial identity, relationships, and other difficult experiences.

In order to participate in this survey, you must have parents of two different racial backgrounds, identify as a woman or transwoman, currently be in an adult intimate relationship or have been in one within the last twelve months, and be age 18 years or older.

Survey responses are confidential and you will not be asked to provide your name. The estimated completion time is 30 minutes. Participants will be compensated electronically!

To begin the survey, click here.

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MAMP Podcast Ep #4: Revisiting the One-Drop Rule

Posted in Audio, Biography, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2019-01-25 15:42Z by Steven

MAMP Podcast Ep #4: Revisiting the One-Drop Rule

My American Melting Pot

Lori L. Tharps, Host, Head Chef and Chief Content Creator; Associate Professor of journalism
Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

On episode #4 of the MAMP podcast, we’re revisiting the one-drop rule with two women who both believed they were white, until they discovered by accident, that they weren’t.

My guests are Gail Lukasik and Shannon Wink. Gail is the author of the new book, White Like Her: My Family’s Story of Race and Racial Passing and Shannon is a Philadelphia-based journalist and writer. In her late 40s, Gail discovered that her mother had been passing as white for her entire adult life. Shannon learned her maternal grandfather wasn’t Native American as he’d claimed, he was actually Black.

In this riveting discussion, we hear about Gail and Shannon’s “family secrets,” but spend the majority of the time speaking about what it means to be Black or white. We revisit this flawed concept of the one-drop rule that stipulates a person is Black if they have just one drop of Black blood in them. If that were truly the case, then both Gail and Shannon would be certifiably Black. But they’re not.

What does it mean to be white or Black in this country? How does knowing you have Black ancestry change one’s sense of racial identity? What role do culture and community play in one’s identity formation? Listen in on the conversation to hear how we answer these questions and more.

“I’ve often wondered why more colored girls … never ‘passed’ over. It’s such a frightfully easy thing to do. If one’s the type, all that’s needed is a little nerve.”Nella Larsen, from the novel Passing

Listen to the episode (00:47:24) here download the episode here.

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