Understanding Juneteenth’s History

Posted in History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Videos on 2022-06-23 15:29Z by Steven

Understanding Juneteenth’s History

NBC 4
New York, New York
2022-06-19

Here to help us understand Juneteenth’s history is Zebulon Miletsky, an Associate Professor of Africana Studies and History at Stony Brook University.

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The Proud Portrait of Richard T. Greener

Posted in Articles, Biography, Campus Life, History, Media Archive, United States on 2022-06-19 23:27Z by Steven

The Proud Portrait of Richard T. Greener

The Crimson
2020-09-17

Sophia S. Liang, Staff Writer

A new portrait of Richard T. Greener was unveiled at a ceremony in Annenberg Hall in 2016. By Thomas W. Franck

Greener’s rosy recollection of Harvard reflects a series of contradictions that characterized his life, both during and after college. Greener was a light-skinned Black man straddling racial divides in a segregated world. He received life-changing opportunities at a university where he struggled with loneliness and lacked faculty support. And despite his tremendous contributions in activism and public service, he remains relatively unknown to historians today.

In an 1881 speech at the Harvard Club of New York, Richard T. Greener, Class of 1870, lavished his alma mater with praise: “[Harvard] answered the rising spirit of independence and liberty by abolishing all distinctions founded upon color, blood, and rank,” he told an applauding audience. “There has been but one test for all. Ability, character, and merit — these are the sole passports to her favor.”

Such sentimental remarks may come as something of a surprise coming from the first Black graduate of Harvard College. The University, after all, had not been a friendly place to most who came before him and many who came after — nor, at times, to Greener. Indeed, the Harvard Club of Washington, D.C. would reject his own application four years later for no reason other than his race.

Greener’s rosy recollection of Harvard reflects a series of contradictions that characterized his life, both during and after college. Greener was a light-skinned Black man straddling racial divides in a segregated world. He received life-changing opportunities at a university where he struggled with loneliness and lacked faculty support. And despite his tremendous contributions in activism and public service, he remains relatively unknown to historians today…

Read the entire article here.

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Afro-Sweden: Becoming Black in a Color-Blind Country

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Europe, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs on 2022-06-19 22:35Z by Steven

Afro-Sweden: Becoming Black in a Color-Blind Country

University of Minnesota Press
August 2022
304 pages
5½ x 8½
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-5179-1230-7
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-5179-1231-4

Ryan Thomas Skinner, Associate Professor of Music and African American and African Studies
Ohio State University

Foreword by Jason Timbuktu Diakité

A compelling examination of Sweden’s African and Black diaspora

Contemporary Sweden is a country with a worldwide progressive reputation, despite an undeniable tradition of racism within its borders. In the face of this contradiction of culture and history, Afro-Swedes have emerged as a vibrant demographic presence, from generations of diasporic movement, migration, and homemaking. In Afro-Sweden, Ryan Thomas Skinner uses oral histories, archival research, ethnography, and textual analysis to explore the history and culture of this diverse and growing Afro-European community.

Skinner employs the conceptual themes of “remembering” and “renaissance” to illuminate the history and culture of the Afro-Swedish community, drawing on the rich theoretical traditions of the African and Black diaspora. Remembering fosters a sustained meditation on Afro-Swedish social history, while Renaissance indexes a thriving Afro-Swedish public culture. Together, these concepts illuminate significant existential modes of Afro-Swedish being and becoming, invested in and contributing to the work of global Black studies.

The first scholarly monograph in English to focus specifically on the African and Black diaspora in Sweden, Afro-Sweden emphasizes the voices, experiences, practices, knowledge, and ideas of these communities. Its rigorously interdisciplinary approach to understanding diasporic communities is essential to contemporary conversations around such issues as the status and identity of racialized populations in Europe and the international impact of Black Lives Matter.

Contents

  • Foreword
  • Jason Timbuktu Diakité
  • A Note on Orthography
  • Introduction: Race, Culture, and Diaspora in Afro-Sweden
  • Part I. Remembering
    • 1. Invisible People
    • 2. A Colder Congo
    • 3. Walking While Black
  • Part II. Renaissance
    • 4. Articulating Afro-Sweden
    • 5. The Politics of Race and Diaspora
    • 6. The Art of Renaissance
  • Epilogue
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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A Fable of Agency

Posted in Articles, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Virginia, Women on 2022-05-21 21:45Z by Steven

A Fable of Agency

The New York Review of Books
2022-05-26

Brenda Wineapple

Special Collections, University of Virginia Library

Lumpkin’s Jail; engraving from A History of the Richmond Theological Seminary, 1895

The Devil’s Half Acre: The Untold Story of How One Woman Liberated the South’s Most Notorious Slave Jail by Kristen Green. Seal, 332 pp., $30.00

Kristen Green’s The Devil’s Half Acre recounts the story of a fugitive slave jail, and the enslaved woman, Mary Lumpkin, who came to own it.

In The Allure of the Archives (1989), a gem of a book, the French historian Arlette Farge talks about unearthing, insofar as it’s possible, a past that’s not quite past—particularly in relation to the lives of women, whose histories have often been hidden, forgotten, or written over, women spoken about but whom we seldom hear speaking. Combing through the judicial archives at the Préfecture of Paris, Farge reads the sullen or angry answers that ordinary eighteenth-century Parisian women, some of the city’s poorest and most vulnerable, give to the police who have arrested them. And she knows that to understand what they say, or don’t say, we need to care and not to care: to distance ourselves with empathy while we set aside expectations and assumptions. Deciphering what’s left in the archives, Farge writes, “entails a roaming voyage through the words of others, and a search for a language that can rescue their relevance.”

Piecing together stories about women who managed the uncertainties and privations of their situations is even more difficult when the women in question have been enslaved and thus forbidden even the basic rights that an eighteenth-century Parisian laundress enjoyed. That is Kristen Green’s task in her impassioned The Devil’s Half Acre, which she calls “the untold story of how one woman liberated the South’s most notorious slave jail.”

Green is a journalist and also the author of Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County (2015), a personal account of how that Virginia county defied Brown v. Board of Education and shut down its schools for almost five years rather than integrate them. In The Devil’s Half Acre, she recovers the life of Mary Lumpkin, an enslaved woman of mixed race born in 1832 who, likely by 1840, was held in bondage at Lumpkin’s Jail, a chamber of horrors located between Franklin and Broad Streets in Shockoe Bottom, the central slave-trading quarter in Richmond, Virginia

Read the entire review here.

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Podcast Season 2 Episode 8: Centering Garifuna in the African Diaspora

Posted in Anthropology, Audio, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2022-05-16 22:28Z by Steven

Podcast Season 2 Episode 8: Centering Garifuna in the African Diaspora

Dialogues in Afrolatinidad
2022-05-04

Michele Reid-Vazquez, Host and Associate Professor
Department of Africana Studies
University of Pittsburgh

In this episode of Dialogues in Afrolatinidad, Dr. Paul Joseph López Oro, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies at Smith College talks with our host Dr. Michele Reid-Vazquez about his research on Garifuna migration and different meanings of Black identity. The conversation also touches upon Afro-Latinx communities in the United States, their relations with African-Americans, and issues of queer identity in these communities.

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Sovereign Joy: Afro-Mexican Kings and Queens, 1539-1640

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Mexico, Monographs, Religion on 2022-05-16 22:13Z by Steven

Sovereign Joy: Afro-Mexican Kings and Queens, 1539-1640

Cambridge University Press
August 2022
Hardback ISBN: 9781316514382
eBook ISBN: 9781009086905

Miguel A. Valerio, Assistant Professor of Spanish
Washington University, St Louis, Missouri

Sovereign Joy explores the performance of festive black kings and queens among Afro-Mexicans between 1539 and 1640. This fascinating study illustrates how the first African and Afro-creole people in colonial Mexico transformed their ancestral culture into a shared identity among Afro-Mexicans, with particular focus on how public festival participation expressed their culture and subjectivities, as well as redefined their colonial condition and social standing. By analyzing this hitherto understudied aspect of Afro-Mexican Catholic confraternities in both literary texts and visual culture, Miguel A. Valerio teases out the deeply ambivalent and contradictory meanings behind these public processions and festivities that often re-inscribed structures of race and hierarchy. Were they markers of Catholic subjecthood, and what sort of corporate structures did they create to project standing and respectability? Sovereign Joy examines many of these possibilities, and in the process highlights the central place occupied by Africans and their descendants in colonial culture. Through performance, Afro-Mexicans affirmed their being: the sovereignty of joy, and the joy of sovereignty.

Table of Contents

  • List of Figures
  • List of Tables
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Abbreviations
  • Introduction: Sovereign Joy
  • 1. ‘With their king and queen’: Early Colonial Mexico, the Origins of Festive Black Kings and Queens, and the Birth of the Black Atlantic
  • 2. ‘Rebel Black Kings (and Queens)’?: Race, Colonial Psychosis, and Afro-Mexican Kings and Queens
  • 3. ‘Savage Kings’ and Baroque Festival Culture: Afro-Mexicans in the Celebration of the Beatification of Ignatius of Loyola
  • 4. ‘Black and Beautiful’: Afro-Mexican Women Performing Creole Identity
  • Conclusion: Where did the black court go?
  • Appendix
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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The Burdened Virtue of Racial Passing

Posted in Articles, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, Philosophy, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2022-05-16 19:38Z by Steven

The Burdened Virtue of Racial Passing

The Boston Review
2022-05-13

Meena Krishnamurthy, Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

A still from Rebecca Hall’s film Passing, based on the 1929 novel by Nella Larsen. Image: Netflix

Though a means of escaping and undermining racial injustice, the practice comes with own set of costs and sacrifices.

In Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel Passing, adapted by Rebecca Hall and distributed on Netfli­x last fall, Clare Kendry—a light-skinned Black woman—decides to pass as white. Clare grows up poor in Chicago; after her alcoholic father dies, she is taken in by her racist white aunts. When she turns eighteen she marries a rich white man who assumes she is white. Clare makes a clean escape until, some years later, she runs into her childhood friend, Irene Redfield, at a whites-only hotel; Irene, it turns out, sometimes passes herself, in this case to escape the summer heat. The storyline traces their complex relationship after this reunion and ends in tragedy for Clare.

Hall’s film adaptation joins several other recent representations that dramatize the lived experience of passing. The protagonist of Brit Bennett’s best-selling novel The Vanishing Half (2020), for example, decides to start passing as white in the 1950s at age sixteen after responding to a listing in the newspaper for secretarial work in a New Orleans department store. Much to her surprise, after excelling at the typing test, Stella is offered the position; her boss assumes she is white. Initially Stella keeps up the ruse just to support her and her sister, but passing also becomes a way for her to escape the trauma of her father’s lynching and the prospect of her own…

Read the entire article here.

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Blackness in Mestizo America: The Cases of Mexico and Peru

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Social Science on 2022-05-16 18:54Z by Steven

Blackness in Mestizo America: The Cases of Mexico and Peru

Latino(a) Research Review
Volume 7, Number 1 (2008)
pages 30-58

Tanya Golash-Boza, Professor of Sociology
University of California, Merced

Christina A. Sue, Associate Professor of Sociology
University of Colorado, Boulder

In the PBS film series, Black in Latin America, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. takes on the ambitious task of depicting blackness in six countries – the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, Brazil, Mexico, and Peru – to a primarily “American” audience. Given that Latin America and the Caribbean have the largest concentration of persons of African descent outside of Africa, the documentary is an important one. Gates’ coverage of “blackness”1 in these countries is comprehensive, spanning from the time of slavery to the present, with a primary focus on the cultural contributions, social experiences, and identities of individuals of African descent in these regions. However, Gates’ research traditionally has not focused on race in Latin America and, as scholars positioned more centrally in this field, we found some of his characterizations and treatment of the topic to be problematic. In this and the following commentary articles, scholars of race in the featured countries engage in a critical analysis of the documentary.

We begin with an examination of Gates’ presentation of blackness in Mexico and Peru. In contrast to the other countries featured in the series, Mexico and Peru fall within mestizo America; their populations are mainly comprised of mestizos2 and Indigenous peoples and they have relatively small populations of African descent. Moreover, blackness is marginalized in the historical narratives and national ideologies (state-sponsored belief systems) of these countries. Consequently, many people are unaware of the nations’ African heritage. The film endeavors to expose this hidden history…

Read the entire article here.

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Intermarriage and the Friendship of Peoples: Ethnic Mixing in Soviet Central Asia

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Communications/Media Studies, Europe, Family/Parenting, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs on 2022-05-16 18:28Z by Steven

Intermarriage and the Friendship of Peoples: Ethnic Mixing in Soviet Central Asia

Cornell University Press
2022-05-15
300 pages
6 x 9
Hardcover ISBN13: 9781501762949
Hardcover ISBN10: 150176294X

Adrienne Edgar, Professor of History
University of California, Santa Barbara

Intermarriage and the Friendship of Peoples examines the racialization of identities and its impact on mixed couples and families in Soviet Central Asia. In marked contrast to its Cold War rivals, the Soviet Union celebrated mixed marriages among its diverse ethnic groups as a sign of the unbreakable friendship of peoples and the imminent emergence of a single “Soviet people.” Yet the official Soviet view of ethnic nationality became increasingly primordial and even racialized in the USSR’s final decades. In this context, Adrienne Edgar argues, mixed families and individuals found it impossible to transcend ethnicity, fully embrace their complex identities, and become simply “Soviet.”

Looking back on their lives in the Soviet Union, ethnically mixed people often reported that the “official” nationality in their identity documents did not match their subjective feelings of identity, that they were unable to speak “their own” native language, and that their ambiguous physical appearance prevented them from claiming the nationality with which they most identified. In all these ways, mixed couples and families were acutely and painfully affected by the growth of ethnic primordialism and by the tensions between the national and supranational projects in the Soviet Union.

Intermarriage and the Friendship of Peoples is based on more than eighty in-depth oral history interviews with members of mixed families in Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, along with published and unpublished Soviet documents, scholarly and popular articles from the Soviet press, memoirs and films, and interviews with Soviet-era sociologists and ethnographers.

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Reclamation: Sally Hemings, Thomas Jefferson, and a Descendant’s Search for Her Family’s Lasting Legacy

Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery, United States, Virginia on 2022-05-15 18:49Z by Steven

Reclamation: Sally Hemings, Thomas Jefferson, and a Descendant’s Search for Her Family’s Lasting Legacy

Amistad (an imprint of HarperCollins)
2021-11-16
288 pages
6x9in
Hardcover ISBN: 9780063028654
E-book ISBN: 9780063028678
Paperback ISBN: 9780063028661
Digital Audio, MP3 ISBN: 9780063028685

Gayle Jessup White

A Black descendant of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings’ family explores America’s racial reckoning through the prism of her ancestors—both the enslaver and the enslaved.

Gayle Jessup White had long heard the stories passed down from her father’s family, that they were direct descendants of Thomas Jefferson—lore she firmly believed, though others did not. For four decades the acclaimed journalist and genealogy enthusiast researched her connection to Thomas Jefferson, to confirm its truth once and for all.

After she was named a Jefferson Studies Fellow, Jessup White discovered her family lore was correct. Poring through photos and documents and pursuing DNA evidence, she learned that not only was she a descendant of Jefferson on his father’s side; she was also the great-great-great-granddaughter of Peter Hemings, Sally Hemings’s brother.

In Reclamation she chronicles her remarkable journey to definitively understand her heritage and reclaim it, and offers a compelling portrait of what it means to be a black woman in America, to pursue the American dream, to reconcile the legacy of racism, and to ensure the nation lives up to the ideals advocated by her legendary ancestor.

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