In Search of Julien Hudson: Free Artist of Color in Pre–Civil War New Orleans

Posted in Arts, Biography, Books, Economics, Louisiana, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2019-06-10 23:55Z by Steven

In Search of Julien Hudson: Free Artist of Color in Pre–Civil War New Orleans

Historic New Orleans Collection
2010
128 pages
70 color images, 7 b/w images
8″ × 9½”
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-917860-57-7

Edited and with an introduction by Erin M. Greenwald, with essays by William Keyse Rudolph and Patricia Brady

Julien Hudson, born in 1811 in New Orleans, was the son of a property-owning free woman of color and a white English merchant, ironmonger, and ship chandler. Hudson began painting in the mid-1820s, training first in New Orleans and later in Paris. Little is known about his personal life, outside of scattered details found in a handful of public documents and a pair of early-twentieth-century reminiscences by former student George Coulon and prominent Creole of color Rodolphe Desdunes. This carefully researched volume is the most thorough examination to date of Julien Hudson and his world.

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The Other Room

Posted in Books, Louisiana, Media Archive, Novels, United States on 2019-06-07 01:46Z by Steven

The Other Room

Crown Publishers
1947
274 pages
ISBN 13: 9780000100184

Worth Tuttle Hedden (1896-1985)

Winner of the Southern Authors Award

A Southern White Girl Gets The Shock Of Her Life

The iron grillwork of the gate stood between them…..and so did years of tradition and social custom. It was a barrier, built by hate and fear, between one color and another. He might have crossed that line, and lived on her side–but he was too proud to pass for white.

This prize-winning novel is about a young woman who unknowingly signs up to teach classes at an all-black college in New Orleans in 1920. It is one of the best—and earliest—views of breaking the color line as well as a touching love story of a man and woman of different races.

In the evening she was on a train, rushing towards New Orleans. Her first job waited for her; she was counting off the miles to adventure, romance, and independence. In the morning, shamed and horrified, she was fighting the necessity to quit, to go home to a scornful family and admit failure.

Nina Latham was a southern girl, trained in a rigid code of black and white. She wanted to get away from home, but when she signed for her new job she didn’t know she would be working with Negroes, eating with them, living among them. And certainly she didn’t know that she would meet handsome young Leon who could have passed for white—but wouldn’t.

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Coloring Locals: Racial Formation in Kate Chopin’s “Youth’s Companion” Stories

Posted in Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Louisiana, Monographs, United States on 2019-06-03 17:58Z by Steven

Coloring Locals: Racial Formation in Kate Chopin’s “Youth’s Companion” Stories

University of Iowa Press
2003
168 pages
7 drawings, references, index
Cloth ISBN: 9780877458289
eBook ISBN: 9781587294280

Bonnie James Shaker, Assistant Professor of English
Kent State University Geauga, Burton, Ohio

Coloring Locals examines how the late nineteenth-century politics of gender, class, race, and ethnicity influenced Kate Chopin’s writing for the major family periodical of her time.

Chopin’s canonical status as a feminist rebel and reformer conflicts with the fact that one of her most supportive publishers throughout her life was the Youth’s Companion, a juvenile periodical whose thoroughly orthodox “family values” contributed to its success as the longest-running and, at one time, most widely circulating periodical in nineteenth-century America. Not surprisingly, Chopin’s Youth’s Companion stories differ from her canonical texts in that they embrace and advance ideals of orthodox white femininity and masculinity. Rather than viewing these two representations as being at odds with each other, Bonnie Shaker asserts that Chopin’s endorsement of conventional gender norms is done in the service of a second political agenda beyond her feminism, one that can help the reader appreciate nuances of identity construction previously misunderstood or overlooked in the body of her work.

Shaker articulates this second agenda as “the discursive act of coloring locals,” the narrative construction of racial difference for Louisiana peoples of African American, Native American, and French American ancestry. For Chopin, “coloring locals” meant transforming non-Louisianans’ general understanding of the Creole and Cajun as mixed-race people into “purely” white folks, this designation of whiteness being one that conferred not only social preferment but also political protections and enfranchisement in one of the most racially violent decades of U.S. history. Thus, when Chopin is concerned with coloring her beloved Louisiana Creoles and Cajuns “white,” she strategically deploys conventional femininity for the benefits it affords as a sign of middle-class respectability and belonging.

Making significant contributions both to the scholarship on Kate Chopin and on race and gender construction, this sophisticated study will be of great interest to scholars and students of nineteenth-century ethnic and cultural studies as well as Chopin scholars.

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Novels That Reach for the Stars : DECORATIONS IN A RUINED CEMETERY, By John Gregory Brown (Houghton Mifflin: $19.95; 244 pp.)

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Louisiana, Media Archive, United States on 2019-05-29 00:09Z by Steven

Novels That Reach for the Stars : DECORATIONS IN A RUINED CEMETERY, By John Gregory Brown (Houghton Mifflin: $19.95; 244 pp.)

The Los Angeles Times
1994-01-23

Margaret Langstaff

I wish more people today would attempt books like this one, novels that take on the big questions, the eternal verities, and, without pretense and a whole lot of claptrap, address the difficulty of finding meaning and significance in life. For this is the stuff of which classics are made and what literature, certainly, is all about. That John Gregory Brown had the nerve to square off before such issues in his first novel is by itself laudable. The fact that he wrote a fine story with believable, memorable characters in the process is reason for applause.

Brown, not yet 40, writes out of the Southern tradition in fiction, and is midway, in terms of depth and accessibility, between Faulkner and Walker Percy, (sort of a Lite-Faulkner or a Percy au jus.) Race, family, heritage, faith, good and evil are the obsessions in question, and the plot turns on critical choices having to do with one’s understanding of the difference between virtuous behavior and cowardice, and one’s courage to do the right thing. More readable than Faulkner, less comedic than Percy, Brown is nonetheless in their direct line of descent, their natural heir, without any obvious imitation.

Decorations in a Ruined Cemetery” concerns the Eagen family of New Orleans and its immediate vicinity, Irish Catholics whose lineage is made more colorful, if not more difficult, by containing within it a black matriarch who mysteriously, in midlife, disappears, leaving her husband and small son to continue their lives without her. The legacy of this racial intermarriage and the mystery of Molly Moore Eagen’s disappearance–unsolved until the book’s final pages–haunt and twist the lives of three generations of Eagens…

Read the entire review here.

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Decorations in a Ruined Cemetery, A Novel

Posted in Books, Louisiana, Media Archive, Novels, United States on 2019-05-28 00:10Z by Steven

Decorations in a Ruined Cemetery, A Novel

University of South Carolina Press
May 2019 (originally published in 1994)
256 pages
5.5 x 8
Paperback ISBN 978-1-64336-018-8

John Gregory Brown

A luminous and heartbreaking tale of identity, devotion, and regret

John Gregory Brown’s debut novel examines family, race, and faith in a heartbreaking tale of identity, devotion, and regret. The story centers on the Eagen family of New Orleans, Irish Catholics of “mixed blood” in a city where race defines destiny. In 1965 Thomas Eagen and his twelve-years-old twins, Meredith and Lowell, abruptly drive off, leaving his second wife, Catherine, and their home. As they cross Lake Pontchartrain, a section of the bridge collapses, injuring Murphy Warrington, an African American man who once worked for Thomas’s father. Murphy becomes the catalyst for a series of revelations about Thomas’s light-skinned black mother and the reasons she abandoned her husband and son when Thomas was an infant.

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Black Sheep Boy

Posted in Books, Gay & Lesbian, Louisiana, Media Archive, Novels, United States on 2019-05-25 19:44Z by Steven

Black Sheep Boy

Rare Bird Books
2016
208 pages
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-1942600374
Paperback ISBN-13: 978-1947856066

Martin Pousson

Black Sheep Boy

  • PEN Center USA Fiction Award Winner
  • National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Winner
  • Simpson Family Literary Prize Finalist
  • Los Angeles Times Literary Pick
  • NPR: The Reading Life Featured Book
  • The Millions Best Summer Horror Selection
  • Book Riot Must-Read Indie Press Book
  • On Top Down Under Book of the Year Finalist
  • Best Gay Fiction Selection
  • Best Gay Speculative Fiction Selection

Meet Boo, a wild-hearted boy from the bayou land of Louisiana. Misfit, outcast, loner. Call him anything but a victim. Sissy, fairy, Jenny Woman. Son of a mixed-race Holy Ghost mother and a Cajun French phantom father. In a series of tough and tender stories, he encounters gender outlaws, drag queen renegades, and a rogues gallery of sex-starved priests, perverted teachers, and murderous bar owners. To escape his haunted history, Boo must shed his old skin and make a new self. As he does, his story rises from dark and murk, from moss and mud, to reach a new light and a new brand of fairy tale. Cajun legends, queer fantasies, and universal myths converge into a powerful work of counter-realism. Black Sheep Boy is a song of passion and a novel of defiance.

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The Secret Album reveals how a powerful truth changed a family forever

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Videos on 2019-05-22 21:03Z by Steven

The Secret Album reveals how a powerful truth changed a family forever

The Garage
HP (Hewlett-Packard)
2019-05-02

Patrick Rodgers

A novelist learns about her mother’s long-held secret by search for what’s missing from her family photo albums.

The Secret Album is part of HP’s original documentary project, History of Memory, which celebrates the power of printed photos.

We treasure family photos not only because they illuminate the past, but also because they can offer up an alternative narrative to the stories we tell — and retell — about our identities.

This is true for author Gail Lukasik, who was just as captivated by what was left out of her parents’ snapshots as by the faces and stories they portrayed. Growing up in suburban Ohio, Lukasik puzzled over why there were so few pictures of her mother’s side of the family. In the stack of family photo albums, there were only a handful of black-and-white prints of relatives from New Orleans, where her mother, Alvera (Frederic) Kalina, had lived in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. “I felt very close to my mother, but she had a certain mystery,” she says. “When I used to ask her about that she’d say, ‘Oh I just don’t have any,’ which I thought was strange.” Her mother’s guardedness about her own family’s origins were yet another layer to their already complex relationship…

…It took Lukasik two years to confront her mother, and the encounter didn’t go well. “I had never seen her so afraid,” says Lukasik, who tells the story in her memoir, White Like Her: My Family’s Story of Race and Racial Passing. “She said, ‘Promise me you won’t tell anyone until after I die.’”…

Read the entire article and watch the video here.

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Separate: The Story of Plessy v. Ferguson, and America’s Journey from Slavery to Segregation

Posted in Books, History, Law, Louisiana, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2019-05-20 14:38Z by Steven

Separate: The Story of Plessy v. Ferguson, and America’s Journey from Slavery to Segregation

W. W. Norton
February 2019
624 pages
6.6 × 9.6 in
Hardcover ISBN 978-0-393-23937-9

Steve Luxenberg

A myth-shattering narrative of how a nation embraced “separation” and its pernicious consequences.

Plessy v. Ferguson, the Supreme Court case synonymous with “separate but equal,” created remarkably little stir when the justices announced their near-unanimous decision on May 18, 1896. Yet it is one of the most compelling and dramatic stories of the nineteenth century, whose outcome embraced and protected segregation, and whose reverberations are still felt into the twenty-first.

Separate spans a striking range of characters and landscapes, bound together by the defining issue of their time and ours—race and equality. Wending its way through a half-century of American history, the narrative begins at the dawn of the railroad age, in the North, home to the nation’s first separate railroad car, then moves briskly through slavery and the Civil War to Reconstruction and its aftermath, as separation took root in nearly every aspect of American life.

Award-winning author Steve Luxenberg draws from letters, diaries, and archival collections to tell the story of Plessy v. Ferguson through the eyes of the people caught up in the case. Separate depicts indelible figures such as the resisters from the mixed-race community of French New Orleans, led by Louis Martinet, a lawyer and crusading newspaper editor; Homer Plessy’s lawyer, Albion Tourgée, a best-selling author and the country’s best-known white advocate for civil rights; Justice Henry Billings Brown, from antislavery New England, whose majority ruling endorsed separation; and Justice John Harlan, the Southerner from a slaveholding family whose singular dissent cemented his reputation as a steadfast voice for justice.

Sweeping, swiftly paced, and richly detailed, Separate provides a fresh and urgently-needed exploration of our nation’s most devastating divide.

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Red Bone Woman, A Novel

Posted in Books, Louisiana, Media Archive, Novels, Women on 2019-05-13 22:31Z by Steven

Red Bone Woman, A Novel

John Day Company
1950
314 pages

Carlyle Tillery (1904-1988)

The Stark Novel Of A Swamp Girl And A Lonely White Man — Carries The Wallop Of Faulkner And The Skills Of Caldwell

Literary Guidepost

Corsicana Daily Sun
Corsicana, Texas
page 18, column 2
Thursday, 1950-04-06

W. G. Rogers

Red Bone Woman, by Carlyle Tillery (John Day; $3.)

Son George packs up and goes off to a city job: daughter Molly is already married to Bill; wife Rose has died. That leaves Mr. Randall all by himself on the big Randall place in Louisiana, with a lot of his land exhausted, too much stock for one fellow to tend to and too many acres to plant.

A man can go from lonesome to shiftless to worse, or he can figure, as Mr. Randall does, that he isn’t finished just because he’s abandoned, and that if the first family he raised has left him, there’s time to raise a second.

For he isn’t so old, and he gets to thinking about the barefoot Red Bone girl down the road a piece. She is Temple Hamper, who stands day after day fishing in the creek near where he hoes. White women would rather live in the city, he has discovered; anyway, he isn’t young enough nor well enough off for a white woman. So though he knows how some folks in his neighborhood feel about the Red Bones, or Spanish white as they call themselves, he ups and asks Temple how she’d like to live in the big house with him.

She would, she says. After they settle down to the daily chores in the fields together, after he becomes used to her ways about his home, ho decides, though it seems unnecessary to her, to marry her. That’s pretty hard for George to take, and Molly won’t take it at all. These Red Bones, with skin darker than whites’ and lighter than negroes’, are almost illiterate. Temple, and Randall, too, are not educated enough to philosophize about race relations: they just solve them, for after all, they are intelligent. A determined couple, they make a happy life for themselves, a life so happy it is worth fighting for when a white-sheeted gang threatens it.

They are a rare couple, too, simple and honest, trying doggedly to master their personal and social problems. Sharing in their delights and appalled at their tragedy, the reader will remember them with a lasting affection. Tillery is a name to add to the large list of distinguished southern writers.

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I Don’t Need a DNA Test to Tell Me How Black I Am

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, United States on 2019-04-17 14:08Z by Steven

I Don’t Need a DNA Test to Tell Me How Black I Am

The New York Times
2019-04-16

Erin Aubry Kaplan, Contributing Opinion Writer


Simone Noronha

Tests like 23andMe are a fad that distracts us from the reality of race in America.

When my sister called me a few months ago to say, a little breathlessly, that she had gotten back her results from 23andMe, I snapped at her, “I don’t want to know!” She kept trying to share, but I kept shutting her down, before saying I had to go and hanging up. Afterward I felt a little shaky, as if I’d narrowly escaped disaster.

I’ve never been interested in DNA tests. I have nothing against people discovering they’re 18 percent German or 79 percent Irish, but I think the tests are a fad that distracts us from the harsh realities of race and identity in America. They encourage us to pretend that in terms of shaping who we really are, individual narratives matter more than the narrative of the country as a whole. There is no test for separation and tribalism, and yet they are baked into our cultural DNA.

But that didn’t explain the panic I felt during that phone call. I was a little embarrassed that I couldn’t take the news, whatever that news turned out to be. And then I realized that was it: I didn’t want to “turn out to be” anything more than what I was. I didn’t want my blackness divvied up or deconstructed any more than it has already been, not just in my lifetime but in the history of the Creole people of Louisiana I descend from…

Read the entire article here.

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