I Am a Descendant of James Madison and His Slave

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Virginia on 2020-03-22 02:26Z by Steven

I Am a Descendant of James Madison and His Slave

Zora
Medium
2020-03-17

Bettye Kearse


Illustration: Sophia Zarders

My whole life, my mother told me, ‘Always remember — you’re a Madison. You come from African slaves and a president.’

President Madison did not have children with his wife, Dolley. Leading scholars believe he was impotent, infertile, or both. But the stories I have heard since my childhood say that James Madison, a Founding Father of our nation, was also a founding father of my African American family.

In my childhood, whenever I whined or squirmed or got into trouble, my mother repeated the refrain: “Always remember — you’re a Madison. You come from African slaves and a president.” This is my family’s credo, the statement that has guided us for 200 years.

Though many in our family have heard we descend from President Madison and his slaves, only the griots — the one-in-a-generation oral historians in the family — know the full account of our ancestors, White and Black, in America. Gramps had told me many stories, but the detailed family history was Mom’s responsibility to convey to me when I became the next griotte.

The night my mother passed those stories on to me, I understood for the first time why some of the details of our family history were passed only from the griot of one generation to that of the next. Not only were some of the stories intimate, but this tradition safeguarded their accuracy, truth, and longevity. I sank into the sofa with my mother and listened with a new awareness of the significance of her words and what they meant to me. She began…

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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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The Other Madisons: The Lost History of a President’s Black Family

Posted in Biography, Books, History, Monographs, Slavery, United States, Virginia on 2020-03-22 02:03Z by Steven

The Other Madisons: The Lost History of a President’s Black Family

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
2020-03-24
272 pages
Hardcover ISBN-13/EAN: 9781328604392
Hardcover ISBN-10: 132860439X

Bettye Kearse

In The Other Madisons, Bettye Kearse—a descendant of an enslaved cook and, according to oral tradition, President James Madison—shares her family story and explores the issues of legacy, race, and the powerful consequences of telling the whole truth.

For thousands of years, West African griots (men) and griottes (women) have recited the stories of their people. Without this tradition Bettye Kearse would not have known that she is a descendant of President James Madison and his slave, and half-sister, Coreen. In 1990, Bettye became the eighth-generation griotte for her family. Their credo—“Always remember—you’re a Madison. You come from African slaves and a president”—was intended to be a source of pride, but for her, it echoed with abuses of slavery, including rape and incest.

Confronting those abuses, Bettye embarked on a journey of discovery—of her ancestors, the nation, and herself. She learned that wherever African slaves walked, recorded history silenced their voices and buried their footsteps: beside a slave-holding fortress in Ghana; below a federal building in New York City; and under a brick walkway at James Madison’s Virginia plantation. When Bettye tried to confirm the information her ancestors had passed down, she encountered obstacles at every turn.

Part personal quest, part testimony, part historical correction, The Other Madisons is the saga of an extraordinary American family told by a griotte in search of the whole story.

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Palmer Patton recognized as earliest identified African American graduate, faculty member at Oregon State

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2020-03-07 03:06Z by Steven

Palmer Patton recognized as earliest identified African American graduate, faculty member at Oregon State

OSU Today
Oregon State University
2020-02-20

Theresa Hogue, Public Info Representative


Palmer Patton

Oregon State University archivist Larry Landis was leafing through a 1919 Beaver Yearbook in 2018 as he did research on representations of blackface in old university publications. As he looked for examples, he came across a yearbook photo of a student who appeared to be African American.

As the director of the Special Collections & Archives Research Center, Landis knew that officially, Carrie Halsell was considered the earliest identified African American graduate of Oregon State (at that time Oregon Agricultural College) in 1926. But the man in the photos, Palmer Patton, graduated from OAC with his bachelor’s degree in 1918 and a master’s degree in 1920. Landis investigated further.. He combed the university archives, online historic newspapers, and even accessed information through his personal Ancestry.com account. He also made inquiries with archives at other universities – Montana State University, UC Davis and the University of Chicago – all of which provided or confirmed information on Patton. He spent part of an afternoon in the archives at Montana State while in Bozeman for a conference.

“Over the course of several months I pieced together Palmer Patton’s story,” Landis said. “The end result is a story of someone who was most likely bi-racial, who identified as white at times, and who was able to navigate through places and spaces that were predominantly white.”…

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‘Passing’ led to new lives and safety

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2020-03-07 00:46Z by Steven

‘Passing’ led to new lives and safety

The Daily Progress
Charlottesville, Virginia
2020-02-08

Bryan McKenzie, News Reporter


Bryan McKenzie/The Daily Progress File
Catherine Kerrison explains to moderator Clarence Page and participant Lisa Page the mystery of what happened to Thomas Jefferson’s daughter Harriet after she ‘passed’ into white society. The three participated in a Monticello program on ‘passing’ on Saturday.

For more than two centuries, many African Americans left their families and identities behind, crossing into white society as a way of securing freedom, self-preservation and economic advancement, two university professors who have researched the phenomenon told a Monticello audience on Saturday.

Known as “passing,” many African Americans and Americans of mixed race chose to present themselves as white in order to attain privileges, freedoms and security. Passing often meant turning their backs on family, friends and hometowns, sometimes for the rest of their lives.

Lisa Page, co-editor of “We Wear The Mask: 15 True Stories of Passing in America,” joined Catherine Kerrison, author of “Jefferson’s Daughters: Three Sisters, White and Black, in a Young America” in the program. The panel is part of a slate of events and exhibitions by Monticello during Black History Month

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American Founders: How People of African Descent Established Freedom in the New World

Posted in Books, Canada, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Monographs, United States on 2020-03-06 15:55Z by Steven

American Founders: How People of African Descent Established Freedom in the New World

NewSouth Books
2019-03-15
384 pages
6.2 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-1588383310

Christina Proenza-Coles, Lecturer, American Studies
University of Virginia

How People of African Descent Established Freedom in the New World

American Founders reveals men and women of African descent as key protagonists in the story of American democracy. It chronicles how black people developed and defended New World settlements, undermined slavery, and championed freedom throughout the Americas from the 16th through the 20th century.

American Founders explores how Afro-Americans shaped every facet of American history as explorers, conquistadores, settlers, soldiers, sailors, servants, slaves, rebels, leaders, lawyers, litigants, laborers, artisans, artists, activists, translators, teachers, doctors, nurses, inventors, investors, merchants, mathematicians, scientists, scholars, engineers, entrepreneurs, generals, cowboys, pirates, professors, politicians, priests, poets, and presidents.

The multitude of events and mixed-race individuals included underscore the fact that black and white Americans share the same history, and in many cases, the same ancestry. American Founders is meant to celebrate this shared heritage and strengthen these bonds.

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City of Alexandria unveils marker to Louisiana’s first African-American governor

Posted in Articles, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2020-02-27 03:09Z by Steven

City of Alexandria unveils marker to Louisiana’s first African-American governor

KALB-TV News Channel 5
Alexandria, Louisiana
2020-02-25

ALEXANDRIA, La. (City of Alexandria) – Alexandria Mayor Jeffrey W. Hall joined local historic preservation supporters Tuesday afternoon in the Alexander Fulton Mini Park downtown to unveil a historical marker in honor of P.B.S. Pinchback, Louisiana’s first African-American governor.

“It is fitting that we honor P.B.S. Pinchback, the first African-American Governor of Louisiana, during Black History Month,” Hall said. “Gov. Pinchback was a significant force in Louisiana politics during Reconstruction following the Civil War. And he traveled to Alexandria for meetings during his brief time as governor.”


Alexandria Mayor Jeffrey W. Hall (left) and local historian Michael Wynne unveil a historical marker in honor of P.B.S. Pinchback, Louisiana’s first African-American governor Tuesday afternoon. The marker, located in the Alexander Fulton Mini Park in downtown Alexandria, is the first one erected as part of the City of Alexandria’s new historical marker program designed to recognize historical events and people associated with Alexandria.

Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback was born in 1837 in Georgia to a white father, who was a planter, and a black mother who was a former slave. While he could have tried to pass for white, Pinchback embraced his African-American roots. During the Civil War and after the fall of New Orleans, Pinchback recruited the first set of African-American volunteer soldiers for the Union Army in Louisiana known as the 1st Louisiana Native Guards, and he served as its first Captain…

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The changing categories the U.S. census has used to measure race

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2020-02-27 02:48Z by Steven

The changing categories the U.S. census has used to measure race

Fact Tank: News in the Number
Pew Research Center
2020-02-25

Anna Brown, Research Associate

The varying ways in which the U.S. government has counted Americans over time offer a glimpse into the country’s past, from the days of slavery to recent waves of immigration. Racial categories, which have been included on every U.S. census since the first one in 1790, have changed from decade to decade, reflecting the politics and science of the times.

It was not until 1960 that people could select their own race. Prior to that, an individual’s race was determined by census takers, known as enumerators. And it was not until 2000 that Americans could choose more than one race to describe themselves, allowing for an estimate of the nation’s multiracial population. In 2020, for the first time, the form asks respondents who choose white or black for their race to give more information about their origins – for example, German, Lebanese, African American or Somali…

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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

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Penn Medicine and the Afterlives of Slavery (PMAS) presents: Christianity, Race, and Haunting of the Biomedical Sciences

Posted in Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Live Events, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2020-02-18 19:13Z by Steven

Penn Medicine and the Afterlives of Slavery (PMAS) presents: Christianity, Race, and Haunting of the Biomedical Sciences

University of Pennsylvania
Max Kade Center
3401 Walnut Street
Suite 329-A
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Wednesday, 2020-02-19, 16:00-17:30 EST (Local Time)

Terence Keel, Associate, Associate Professor, Department of African American Studies and the UCLA Institute for Society & Genetics
University of California, Los Angeles

The idea that so-called races reflect inherent biological differences between social groups has been a prominent aspect of Western thought since at least the Enlightenment. While there have been moments of refuting this way of thinking—most notably, the social constructionist thesis emerging as a dominant framework in the aftermath of WWII—fixed biological conceptions of race haunt new genetic technologies, where race is thought to be measurable at the molecular level. Keel argues that the resilience of this naturalized understanding of race may stem less from overtly political motives on the part of scientists and more from our inherited theological traditions that predate the Enlightenment and continue to shape and limit the intellectual horizon of scientific reasoning.

For more information, click here.

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