Surnames, by Counties and Cities, of Mixed Negroid Virginia Families Striving to Pass as “Indian” or White by Walter A. Plecker (ca. 1943)

Posted in Census/Demographics, Law, Letters, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing, United States, Virginia on 2022-01-20 22:18Z by Steven

Surnames, by Counties and Cities, of Mixed Negroid Virginia Families Striving to Pass as “Indian” or White by Walter A. Plecker (ca. 1943)

Commonwealth of Virginia
Department of Health
Bureau of Vital Statistics
Richmond, Virginia
(Source: Encyclopedia Virginia)

December 1943

To Local Registrars, Clerks, Legislators, and others responsible for, and interested in, the prevention of racial intermixtures:

In our January 1943 annual letter to local registrars and clerks of courts, with list of mixed surnames, we called attention to the greatly increased effort and arrogant demands now being made for classification as whites, or at least for recognition as Indians, as a preliminary step to admission into the white race by marriage, of groups of the descendants of the “free negroes,” so designated before 1865 to distinguish them from slaves.

According to Mendel’s law of heredity, one out of four of a family of mixed breeds, through the introduction of illegitimate white blood, is now so near white in appearance as to lead him to proclaim himself as such and to demand admission into white schools, forbidden by the State Constitution. The other three find it more difficult to make the grade. As a climax of their ambition, colored people of this type are applying for licenses to marry whites, or for white license when intermarrying amongst themselves. These they frequently secure with ease when they apply in a county or city not the home of the woman and are met by a clerk or deputy who justifies himself in accepting a casual affidavit as the truth and in issuing a license to any applicant regardless of the requirements of Section 5099a, Paragraph 4, of the Code. This Section places the proof upon the applicants, not upon the clerks. We have learned that affidavits cannot always be accepted as truth. This loose practice (to state it mildly) of a few clerks is now the greatest obstacle in the way of the proper registration by race required of the State Registrar of Vital Statistics in that Section. Local registrars, who are supposed to know the people of their registration areas, of course, have no excuse for not catching false registration of births and deaths.

In many cases negroids have white marriage certificates, while the Bureau demands correct Legal registration as to race when their children’s births are reported. Armed with the clerk’s marriage certificate, they leave home and easily pass as white, when a birth certificate with the pedigree on the back is not requires. They are even threatening legal action against the State Registrar but have difficulty in securing a lawyer if he first applies to the Bureau of Vital Statistics for the facts.

The Virginia Bureau of Vital Statistics, through the exceptional, painstaking, and laborious work of the highly trained genealogist whom it is fortunate in having, has made a study by groups and families of the principal borderline aspirants for racial change. The chief sources of information are the early birth and death records, made by tax assessors from 1853 to 1896; marriage records from 1853 to date; United States Census reports for 1830, 1850, and 1870, especially a printed list of free negroes by counties from the 1830 Census; county tapayer lists by races, now in the State Library, which have been studied back to 1808; and, not of least value, their own proclamation of race made by applicants for registration as voters, made soon after the War Between the States, to United States military authorities, now preserved in the State Library. The progenitors of the present would-be whites then marched up voluntarily and registered, for the first time in the life of their race in Virginia, as negro voters—not as Indians, not as whites.

Public records in the office of the Bureau of Vital Statistics, ana in the State Library, indicate that there, does not exist today a descendant of Virginia ancestors claiming to be an Indian who is unmixed with negro blood. Since our more complete investigation of all of these records and the statements (mostly signed) of numerous trustworthy old citizens, many now dead, all preserved in our “racial integrity” files, no one has attempted by early recorded evidence to disprove this finding. If such evidence exists, our research worker would have found it.

One weak point, which is giving us endless trouble, is the fact that many birth certificates since 1912 have, without realization of future danger, been accepted with false registration as “Indian.” Not a few, when we were off our guard, have slipped by as white. The General Assembly should empower us to state the recorded pedigree on the backs of such certificates and transcripts, to protect those desiring the truth now and in the future.

SURNAMES, BY COUNTIES AND CITIES, OF MIXED NEGROID VIRGINIA FAMILIES STRIVING TO PASS AS “INDIAN” OR WHITE.

Albemarle: Moon, Powell, Kidd, Pumphrey Amherst: (Migrants to Alleghany and Campbell) Adcock (Adcox), Beverly (this family is now trying to evade the situation by adopting the name of Burch or Birch, which was the name of the white mother of the present generation), Branham, Duff, Floyd, Hamilton, Hartless, Hicks, Johns, Lawless, Nuckles (Knuckles), Painter, Ramsey, Redcross, Roberts, Southards (Suthards, Southerds, Southers), Sorrells, Terry, Tyree, Fillis, Clark, Cash, Wood. Bedford: McVey, Maxey, Branham, Burley. (See Amherst County) Rockbridge: (Migrants to Augusta) Cash, Clark, Coleman, Duff, Floyd, Hartless, Hicks, Mason, Mayse (Mays), Painters, Pults, Ramsey, Southerds (Southers, Southards, Suthards), Sorrells, Terry, Tyree, Wood, Johns. Charles City: Collins, Dennis, Bradby, Howell, Langston, Stewart, Wynn, Adkins. King William: Collins, Dennis, Bradby, Howell, Langston, Stewart, Wynn, Custalow (Custaloe), Dungoe, Holmes, Miles, Page, Allmond, Adams, Hawkes, Spurlock, Doggett. New Kent: Collins, Bradby, Stewart, Wynn, Adkins, Langston. Henrico and Richmond City: See Charles City, New Kent, and King William. Caroline: Byrd, Fortune, Nelson. (See Essex) Essex and King and Queen: Nelson, Fortune, Byrd, Cooper, Tate, Hammond, Brooks, Boughton, Prince, Mitchell, Robinson. Elizabeth City & Newport News: Stewart (descendants of Charles City families). Halifax: Epps (Eppes), Stewart (Stuart), Coleman, Johnson, Martin, Talley, Sheppard (Shepard), Young. Norfolk County & Portsmouth: Sawyer, Bass, Weaver, Locklear (Locklair), King, Bright, Porter, Ingram. Westmoreland: Sorrells, Worlds (or Worrell), Atwells, Gutridge, Cliff. Greene: Shiflett, Shiflet. Prince William: Tyson, Segar. (See Fauquier) Fauquier: Hoffman (Huffman), Riley, Colvin, Phillips. (See Prince William) Lancaster: Dorsey (Dawson). Washington: Beverly, Barlow, Thomas, Hughes, Lethcoe, Worley. Roanoke County: Beverly. (See Washington) Lee and Smyth: Collins, Gibson (Gipson), Moore, Goins, Ramsey, Delph, Bunch, Freeman, Miso, Barlow, Bolden (Bolin), Mullins, Hawkins—Chiefly Tennessee Melungeons.” Scott: Dingus. (See Lee County.) Russell: Keith, Casell, Stillwell, Meade, Proffitt. (See Lee & Tazewell) Tazewell: Hammed, Duncan. (See Russell) Wise: See Lee, Smyth, Scott, and Russell Counties.

Very truly yours,

W. A. Plecker, M. D.
State Registrar of Vital Statistics

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Racial Passing off the Record: A Journey in Reconnection and Navigating Shifting Identities

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2022-01-20 21:06Z by Steven

Racial Passing off the Record: A Journey in Reconnection and Navigating Shifting Identities

Genealogy
Volume 6, Issue 1 (March 2022)
Published online 2022-01-18
8 pages
DOI: 10.3390/genealogy6010008

Gabby C. Womack, Reference/Access Services Associate, McQuade Library
Merrimack College, North Andover, Massachusetts

Anyone of African descent or with African ancestry who engages in a genealogy project soon learns that the U.S. Census is a helpful yet frustrating tool. In 2016, equipped with my history degree and an online ancestry search engine, I searched for my great-grandfather Leroy in census records after I saw a picture of him as a young man at work in Philadelphia. This image would have been unremarkable had it not been for the fact that my African American ancestor was so light skinned that he seemed to blend in with his co-workers at Kramer’s Fruit and Vegetables. I thought there had to be a story behind this. Classified as, “Mu”, for mulatto in most of his records, Leroy became “Black” on the census in 1930. My first thought was to question whether this categorization changed for other folks like him. My research led me to my master’s thesis “From ‘Mulatto’ to ‘Negro’: How Fears of ‘Passing’ Changed the 1930 United States Census”. Through this research, I also became closer to my father’s family. This piece will take you through this journey of discovery and my frustrations along the way.

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Americans Color Outside the Lines

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2022-01-19 02:36Z by Steven

Americans Color Outside the Lines

The Dispatch
2021-04-26

Chris Stirewalt, Contributing Editor

Photograph By Marlin Levison/Star Tribune via Getty Images)

Even today, bigots and the progressive proponents of race science hold fast to the idea of fixed race and ethnicity. Thankfully, Americans largely ignore them.

In his autobiography, Life on the Color Line, Gregory Williams tells the story of discovering at the age of 10 that he was black—or at least that the world saw him that way.

Williams, who would go on to serve as president of both City College of New York and the University of Cincinnati, was raised as a white boy when and where it really mattered: rural, central Virginia in the late 1940s and early 1950s. But when his parents’ marriage broke up and his mom ran off, his no-account, alcoholic father could not manage to care for his two sons. So, Williams’ dad moved them to his hometown of Muncie, Indiana. It was on the bus trip there that Williams’ dad told his boys that he was not the Italian-American called “Tony” who ran a roadhouse west of Richmond but a light-skinned black man from the wrong side of tracks in the industrial Midwest. “Miss Sallie,” the black woman who had worked at the family bar for a time, was really the boys’ grandmother.

Ultimately abandoned by both of his parents, Williams found himself brutally rejected by both cultures. And what a time to live on that line. In 1954, the year after he arrived in Muncie, the Supreme Court struck down school segregation laws. Segregationists had warned after Harry Truman integrated the military six years earlier that the federal government was intent on the mixing of the races—and ultimately making intermarriage appear to be normal, leading to the dilution of the white race. The blending of children in classrooms was to them just the next step in the demise of America’s dominant white culture by miscegenation. Williams remembered a Klansman on television saying the court was trying to encourage race mixing and the rise of the “bestial mongrel mulatto, the dreg of human society.”…

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Can You Be “White Passing” Even if You Aren’t Trying?

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Communications/Media Studies, History, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Passing, Social Science, United States on 2022-01-12 15:59Z by Steven

Can You Be “White Passing” Even if You Aren’t Trying?

Mother Jones
January-February 2022 Issue

Andrea Guzmán, Ben Bagdikian Editorial Fellow


Lisa Taniguchi

The phrase has become popular on social media. But there’s a lot left out of the conversation.

When pop star Olivia Rodrigo released her album Sour in May 2021, listeners took to TikTok to debate whether she was “white passing.” The question was not really about how Rodrigo perceives or publicly identifies herself. She is of both Filipino and white ancestry. Rather, it was about whether others see her as white. The Rodrigo discourse soon enflamed more general discussion about who deems one “white passing.” As one Iranian-born TikToker explained, she “did not grow up being white” when she came of age in post-9/11 America, but after others began to associate her appearance with whiteness—partially because of the rise of the Kardashians—she now recognizes the privilege of being “white passing.”

The conversation differed from how “passing” has traditionally been used in the United States. In the Jim Crow era—when “one drop” of Black ancestry subjected a person to segregation—“passing” was a deception to assume the privileges of whiteness. From 1880 to 1940, experts suspect about 20 percent of Black men passed for white at some point. It was commonly an attempt to “access things that wouldn’t have been available to them otherwise,” says Nikki Khanna, a sociology professor at the University of Vermont. But it was also a certain betrayal—leaving behind collective uplift for personal gain…

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We’re reporting Census data all wrong

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, United States on 2022-01-07 02:27Z by Steven

We’re reporting Census data all wrong

Boston Indicators
Cambridge, Massachusetts
2021-12-13

Luc Schuster, Director
Boston Indicators, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Traditional reporting of census data may be contributing to misleading findings about actual demographic change.

Census data on race and ethnicity are invaluable for understanding who we are as a region and how we’re changing over time. Invaluable, yes. But also imperfect. Headlines during the census count last year focused on challenges facing Census Bureau workers during a pandemic and on the Trump administration’s efforts to depress the count in certain areas. But the physical count isn’t the only problem. While back-end reporting changes for the 2020 Census in some ways help us see more clearly who we are as a multiracial, multiethnic nation, other changes have led to misleading findings about actual demographic change. These challenges are compounded by traditional reporting approaches used by researchers like us that have tended to not include all people who select a given race on their census form.

Fortunately, alternatives exist for painting a more accurate picture. These judgment calls make an especially large difference for Boston’s White, Black, and Native American populations, as shown in the graph below, but the traditional reporting approach skews other race totals as well. Traditional reporting of 2020 census data understates Boston’s Black population by almost 43,000 residents…

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Multiracial in Greater Boston: The Leading Edge of Demographic Change

Posted in Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Reports, Social Science, United States on 2022-01-06 20:28Z by Steven

Multiracial in Greater Boston: The Leading Edge of Demographic Change

Boston Indicators, Cambridge, Massachusetts
2021-11-17
30 pages

Trevor Mattos, Senior Research Manager

Luc Schuster, Senior Director

Peter Ciurczak, Research Associate

The United States is a nation of immigrants. And so is the region of Greater Boston. We’ve gone through waves of being more and less open to immigration, but the effect across recent generations has been a steadily diversifying population. Not only is racial diversity increasing in the aggregate, but a growing number of families are forming across racial and ethnic lines. Today, for instance, one in five babies born in Massachusetts is of mixed race or Latino ethnicity. The report provides detail on these shifting demographic patterns and engages with what they mean for our communities more broadly.

Read the entire report here.

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Who The Census Misses

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2022-01-04 18:27Z by Steven

Who The Census Misses

FiveThirtyEight
2021-12-13

Jasmine Mithani and Alex Samuels


Sibba Hartunian
Large groups of people have always fallen through the cracks of its racial categories — often by design.

For James Harmoush of Colorado, none of the census boxes quite fit.

In 2010 and 2020, when the census asked him to select a box regarding his race, he picked “white.” But there’s one major problem there: Harmoush doesn’t — and has never — seen himself that way.

“Nobody would ever look at me or talk to me and say, ‘You’re white,’” said the 30-year-old Arab American lawyer. The son of Lebanese immigrants, Harmoush sees himself as part of a minority group, but the U.S. Census Bureau legally classifies him as a white man.

Harmoush is not alone. Many Americans we spoke with felt the census classifications — both “white” specifically as well as the other available categories more generally — do not match the way they identify. In total, we heard from over 200 people with frustrations ranging from the naming of categories (like “Asian Indian” to represent people with ancestry from India) to confusion over why some racial groups, like Japanese or Samoan, were given their own boxes, while Middle Eastern, North African, Southwest Asian and others were lumped together under a catchall “white” racial group. We also heard from some Americans who were now completely rethinking how they personally identified due to the way they saw race and politics intermingle in society today…

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I thought I was White until I learned my mother’s secret. The census helped me tell my family story.

Posted in Articles, Biography, Census/Demographics, Louisiana, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2021-12-27 21:52Z by Steven

I thought I was White until I learned my mother’s secret. The census helped me tell my family story.

The Washington Post
2021-10-13

Gail Lukasik

Gail Lukasik’s mother, Alvera Frederic Kalina, in New Orleans circa 1942. Kalina was born into a Black family in New Orleans but spent her life passing as White. (Family photo)

The first time I was grilled about my racial identity, I’d just given a talk to an all-White audience at a suburban Chicago library.

“What are you, anyway?” a woman asked. Her blunt tone put me on edge.

I’d just related my mother’s story of racial passing. How she and her New Orleans family were designated as “Negro” during the Jim Crow era, how she moved north to Ohio, married my White, bigoted father, and hid her mixed race from him and eventually us. Looking back, there were small clues, like she always wore face makeup, even to bed.

I’d told the audience about my journey of finding my mother’s birth certificate and discovering her racial secret when I was 49, confronting her — and her swearing me to secrecy until her death. Then 18 years later, I found my mother’s lost family, thanks to my appearance on PBS’sGenealogy Roadshow.”…

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Mixed-race Brazilians increasingly embrace blackness

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2021-12-14 03:04Z by Steven

Mixed-race Brazilians increasingly embrace blackness

France 24
2021-11-19

Brazilian philosopher and writer Djamila Ribeiro holds her book “Small Anti-Racist Manual” during an interview with AFP in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on November 8, 2021 NELSON ALMEIDA AFP

Rio de Janeiro (AFP) – When Bianca Santana was little, her grandmother used to put her forearm alongside her mother’s and her own, proudly showing how the family’s skin had lightened across the generations.

Now 37, Santana, a Brazilian writer and activist, sees the long-loaded issue of race in her country through a different lens: she is proud to call herself black.

“When a child was born with lighter skin, that was cause for celebration,” says Santana, recalling the messages she received about race growing up.

She remembers how her black grandmother used to make her pull her hair into a tight bun, so she wouldn’t look like “‘those little blackies.'”

“She liked to talk about how my mother’s father had Italian blood, how his mother had blue eyes,” she says.

Today, Santana, author of the book “How I Discovered I Was Black,” proudly wears her hair in an afro, a style she only embraced at age 30.

Her shifting sense of identity is increasingly common in Brazil, the country with the largest black population outside Africa.

Brazil, which will celebrate Black Consciousness Day Saturday, struggles with structural racism and the legacy of slavery, which it only abolished in 1888 — the last country in the Americas to do so.

But for the large mixed-race population in this sprawling country of 213 million people, the stigma long attached to blackness is fading.

“Mixed-race people in Brazil increasingly identify as black,” Santana says.

“They’re straightening their hair less, they’re embracing black identity more and more.”…

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A condensed history of multiracial identification in the United States

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, History, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2021-12-08 16:33Z by Steven

A condensed history of multiracial identification in the United States

Source
2021-12-07

Caitlin Gilbert, Jasmine Mithani, Lakshmi Sarah, and Kaitlyn Wells


(Image by rawpixel.com / Freepik)

How to write about mixed and multiracial people, Part 1

Mixed-race identity is chic right now: Our fictionalized stories are bestsellers, and public figures such as Naomi Osaka and Kamala Harris are a regular part of the national conversation. Heck, we’ve even made the news as one of the fastest-growing populations in the 2020 United States Census. As our identities have become trendy and more journalists seek to write about our experiences, it’s important that they respect what we have to say and honor who we are.

We multiracial people reject many assumptions, generalizations and categories. We are not a monolith, and we may even disagree on the terms multiracial versus mixed. Yet this is who we are—we’re both and neither, and our identities can be fluid depending on context.

When it comes to writing about mixed-race and multiracial people, it is critical to understand the historical context behind the terms, learn how to speak to sources and write about them, and examine any bias throughout the journalistic process. To help journalists produce nuanced reporting about mixed-race and multiracial people we’ve compiled a two-part guide based on our SRCCON 2021 presentation, “When ‘Check One’ Does Not Apply: Covering and Being Mixed Race in Journalism.”

In this article, we are going to review an abbreviated history of mixed-race people in the United States. If you are looking for a reporting guide, please see our companion article: Guidelines for reporting on multiracial people

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