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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Nina Li Coomes

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Interviews, Media Archive on 2019-02-06 01:35Z by Steven

Nina Li Coomes

Speaking of Marvels: interviews about chapbooks, novellas, and books of assorted lengths
2018-03-26

William Woolfitt, Editor

nina

“how does one carry oneself in the between?”

haircut poems (dancing girl press, 2017)

Could you tell us a bit about your growing up and your path to becoming a writer?

I was born in Nagoya, Japan and moved with my family to the United States on January 1, 2000. Most of my writing is informed by the “between” of existing as both Japanese and American, existing in both of these places, even the literal travel it takes to get from one place to the next. I’m not sure what led me to start writing exactly. Perhaps it’s genetic. My mother has told me before that she wanted to be a writer as a child, and my father told my sister and I what he would call “verbal stories” for much of our time growing up. There’s something about growing up shuttling from one country to another though that impresses upon you just how temporary or fleeting something might be. In many ways, I think my writing comes from a place of urgency, of wanting to note everything in case it fades…

Which poem in your chapbook has the most meaningful back story to you? What’s the back story?

Perhaps not a backstory, but the poem “yesterday” draws from a couple snapshots. The preoccupation with red and red lips in particular comes from something I once heard at a Mixed Race Studies Conference about how after the war, in US occupied Japan, comfort women wore red lipsticks to signal their availability to American GIs. As you may know, comfort women were employed by the Japanese government in Korea, the Philippines, and even in Japan where certain women were designated a sexual buffer for soldiers, whether they were Japanese soldiers or American ones. I think this is a very shameful, condemnable part of history that needs to be better acknowledged. I also think a lot about how mixed-race children after the war were primarily borne of this violence, and what it means to come from violent histories, and how one might reconcile ore reclaim them…

Read the entire interview here.

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What Miyazaki’s Heroines Taught Me About My Mixed-Race Identity

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2019-02-06 01:17Z by Steven

What Miyazaki’s Heroines Taught Me About My Mixed-Race Identity

Catapult
2017-10-16

Nina Coomes

Miyazaki tells us something about bodies in flux: There is no easy answer; only the conflict, the question.”

One summer day when I was nine, I climbed into a hair stylist’s chair and asked them to cut my hair to my ears. Until that point, I’d always had a head of long hair tumbling over my shoulder, useful for coquettish tossing when I imagined myself as Snow White or Cinderella. I had never worn short hair, had never wanted it; I’d always thrived on girliness that fed into my obsession with imitating what I perceived to be the ultra-feminine Disney princess archetype. But that summer, sitting in a chair too tall for me, I asked the friendly lady with the scissors to take it all. After a moment of thought, I told her, “Short—like a princess raised by wolves.”

I was referencing San, from Hayao Miyazaki’s Mononoke-hime or Princess Mononoke. In the film, San is a human girl left as a sacrifice to the gods of the mountain by her human parents, raised by the very god to whom she was sacrificed—Moro, a wolf-like Inu gami—and convinced, as a result, that she too is a wolf. When the viewer meets San for the first time, her small face is pressed to an open wound in her wolf-mother’s flesh. She turns her head toward the viewer, momentarily breaking the fourth wall, her face smeared in bright red. She spits a jet of blackening blood and rubs her fist along the edge of her chin, as if to wipe the stain of blood from her face. The utter humanness of this gesture, paired with her clear physical intimacy with the wolf-god, immediately casts her identity into conflict—a theme to be played over and over throughout the movie. Is San a wolf? Is she a girl? Is she neither, or both, or something in between?…

Read the entire article here.

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Q&A with Natasha Díaz, Author of Color Me In

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-01-27 23:55Z by Steven

Q&A with Natasha Díaz, Author of Color Me In

Underlined
2018-12-21

We love hearing from new voices in YA!

In Color Me In, debut Author Natasha Díaz pulls from her personal experience to create a powerful, relatable, coming-of-age novel. We can’t wait for this beauty to hit shelves on 8/20/19. Get to know Natasha Díaz in the Q&A below!

Color Me In is based on your personal experiences. What inspired you to tell this story? Can you tell us a little bit about your background?

I’m the only person on my mom’s side of the family who looks the way that I do, and as a result, I have witnessed blatant racism since I was a child; it just was never directed at me. So often I find that narratives about biracial/multiracial, white-passing characters delve deeply into their internal struggle but rarely touch on the privileges and colorism that are inherently tied to those of us who are mixed and also pass as white. What has been directed at me is an unending amount of microaggression, which led to debilitating self-doubt that I don’t have the right to claim myself entirely. Color Me In was my chance to write the book I never had growing up: a story that acknowledges the privileges of being white-passing without in any way detracting from the right that we as mixed-race people have to own our identities…

Read the entire interview here.

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A letter to my racist in-laws

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Family/Parenting, Media Archive on 2019-01-27 03:23Z by Steven

A letter to my racist in-laws

gal-dem
2018-12-22

Audrey Augustin


image by soofiya.com

“It’s because you have foreign blood in you, that’s why you live 350 miles from home,” my uncle says to me. Noah* is sat next to me. Embarrassed, I look down into my dinner and mumble “well, what about my brother? He’s always lived close by.” I try and disrupt his logic. “Well he’s different, isn’t he?” My uncle carries on talking. I stop listening. I’m angry. Why has no one interrupted him? Why is no one sticking up for me?

It’s Easter Sunday, 2018. I’m at my parents’ house for a family gathering with both sides of my family. My uncle is white. My dad is white. My mum is brown. I’m mixed race. My mum was born in Mauritius, she moved to the UK when she was a baby in the ‘50s. My parents, who have been together since the ‘80s have never addressed the issue of race. I think they just wanted to keep their heads down in the hope that things would get better. Racist comments like those from my uncle are commonplace at my family gatherings.

Noah is my partner. He’s white. His family are racist too…

Read the entire article here.

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How a work project uncovered my true family roots [NewsWorks]

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Biography, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-01-25 21:30Z by Steven

How a work project uncovered my true family roots [NewsWorks]

Shannon Wink: Communications, content and digital strategy
2012-06-25

Shannon Wink

Back in March, my boss at NewsWorks/WHYY came to me and offered what I then considered to be just a fun opportunity to spread my wings at work.

Months later, I’m still working on the project that’s basically changed the things about my life I’ve always accepted as truth.

Through a grant from WNET and the Henry Louis Gates “Finding Your Roots” initiative, I worked with DNA analysts and genealogical researches to confirm what I’d always been taught about my roots: I’m Native American, but not Irish. Turns out neither is likely true.

The full story is below. It originally ran on NewsWorks as a two-video package.

What do you get when you mix the genes of an Irish guy who was chased away from his family at the barrel of a shotgun with the genes of a gifted jazz musician who spent his life struggling with his own confused racial identity?

Me…

Read the entire article here.

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The passing of David Matthews

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-01-23 22:39Z by Steven

The passing of David Matthews

Savannah Now (Savannah Morning News)
Savannah, Georgia
2007-01-13

John Stoehr


David Matthews

In Harlem Renaissance author Claude McKay’s 1931 short story “Near-White,” Angelina Dove, a pale African American hoping to move up in the world, asks her mother “if some people are light enough to live like whites, why should there be such a fuss? Why should they live colored when they can be happier living white?”

Apparently many did. According to “The White African American Body,” by Charles D. Martin, a professor of literature at Florida State University, Ebony magazine published an article in 1948 titled “5 million U.S. white Negroes.”

The story, Martin wrote, proudly reported an upsurge in the number of African Americans who crossed the color line undetected by Jim Crow America. The article’s centerpiece was a series of photographs. The reader was invited to guess which person was black and which was white. Of the 14 portraits, three were white.

One of these “millions” of “white Negroes” was Anatole Broyard, the New York Times literary critic who, for decades, protected the Ivory Tower of European high culture from the unwashed proletariat while also “passing” for white, to the extent that even his wife and children didn’t know of his African ancestry until after his death in 1990.

Broyard’s hidden identity was revealed by Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. in a piece titled “The Passing of Anatole Broyard” for the New Yorker in 1996. The practice of racial passing, and the serious questions the social phenomena raises about the metaphysics of race and the paradox of racial identity, received wider attention four years later thanks to Philip Roth’s novel “The Human Stain” and its eventual movie adaptation.

In the decades since Martin Luther King Jr.’sI Have a Dream” speech, which have witnessed the rise of black nationalism, hip-hop, political correctness and influential black figures like Tiger Woods and Barack Obama, one might think passing for another race an archaic endeavor – discouraged by proud enfranchised blacks, dismissed by guilt-ridden whites.

As David Matthews demonstrates in his new memoir, “Ace of Spades,” however, passing continues. Like Angelina Dove, Matthews passed for white for the first 20 years of his life – throughout the 1970s, ’80s and into the ’90s – as a means of living more happily in an America still in thrall to the oppressive requirement of identification according to race…

Read the entire review here.

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‘I’m mixed-race, is Cambridge University right for me?’

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Campus Life, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2019-01-22 16:17Z by Steven

‘I’m mixed-race, is Cambridge University right for me?’

BBC News
2019-01-22

Anoushka looking round Cambridge University

Anoushka Mutanda Dougherty has been offered a place at Cambridge University, but she’s mixed-race and from a state school – and only 3% of students who started at Cambridge in 2017 were black, or mixed-race with black heritage. So is it the best place for her? At this point, she’s not sure.

Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world. Cambridge is the fourth-oldest surviving university in the world. Cambridge has produced, so far, 90 Nobel prize winners – and Cambridge, this educational powerhouse, just might not be where I want to go. At least, that’s how I feel right now, a week after finding out that I got a place…

Read the entire article here.

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This edition: Moiya McTier, Mekita Rivas and Tanya Hernandez

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Law, Media Archive, United States, Videos, Women on 2019-01-19 05:29Z by Steven

This edition: Moiya McTier, Mekita Rivas and Tanya Hernandez

Shades of U.S.
CUNY TV
The City University of New York
Original tape date: 2018-10-19
First aired: 2019-01-17

From a cabin in the woods without running water to astronomy Ph.D. candidate, Moiya McTier uses her platform to advocate for women of color in the sciences. Then, growing up Filipina and Mexican in Nebraska could be confusing, but Mekita Rivas finds her style as a fashion journalist. And last, Hell’s Kitchen-bred Tanya Hernández knows discrimination first hand, so she builds a legal career fighting it.

Guest List

Watch the entire episode (00:26:46) here.

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Mixed Race, Half Enough?

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2019-01-19 00:08Z by Steven

Mixed Race, Half Enough?

Medium
2019-01-15

Kristen Simmons


Photo by Thomas Hafeneth on Unsplash

Hi.

I’m Kristen. I’m a mixed-race author who writes books with mixed-race characters. Yes, I know my last name is Simmons and doesn’t sound very Japanese. Yes, I know Kristen doesn’t either. Yes, I even know that while many people have called me everything from “tan” to “exotic,” I don’t look “very Japanese.”

But guess what? I am.

All my life, this has been something I’ve encountered. People would ask my father when I was alone with him in public if I was really his daughter because we didn’t look alike. (For the record, he’s Caucasian.) Then, when I first started telling people I was Japanese, the questions turned to, “But not completely Japanese, right?” Because to them, I wasn’t…

Read the entire article here.

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