Retrospection: Agassiz’s Expeditions in Brazil

Posted in Articles, Biography, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive on 2021-09-23 02:12Z by Steven

Retrospection: Agassiz’s Expeditions in Brazil

The Harvard Crimson
2016-04-21

Michelle Y. Raji


Louis Rodolphe Agassiz

But for Agassiz, the trip to Brazil was about more than science. Not only was evolution—a process not immediately observable to the human eye—deeply antithetical to Agassiz’s staunch empiricism, evolution was profoundly at odds with his perceived world order.

Three decades after the then-obscure scientist Charles Darwin quietly sketched his now-famous finches aboard the HMS Beagle in the Galapagos, influential Harvard professor Louis Rodolphe Agassiz set out with much greater fanfare on a lesser-known expedition. In 1865, Agassiz and his wife, accompanied by a small group of Harvard scientists and students, set sail from New York to Rio de Janeiro on The Colorado.

In a lecture en route to Brazil, Agassiz challenged Darwin’s revolutionary theory of evolution on the grounds that the theory relied too much on argument and too little on fact. Agassiz posited that evolution was not plausible according to the geologic record. The trip to Brazil was an attempt to disprove Darwin once and for all. Agassiz saw in the unique biodiversity of Brazil a perfect laboratory to test his counter-theories of phylogenetic embryology and glacial catastrophe in the tropics.

But for Agassiz, the trip to Brazil was about more than science. Not only was evolution—a process not immediately observable to the human eye—deeply antithetical to Agassiz’s staunch empiricism, evolution was profoundly at odds with his perceived world order. Though only moderately religious, Agassiz believed in the existence of a creator in all his work. Fortunately for Agassiz, this belief fit well with comparative zoology, which at the time focused heavily on hierarchal classification…

Read the entire article here.

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‘America’s Oldest Park Ranger’ Is Only Her Latest Chapter

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2021-09-21 00:50Z by Steven

‘America’s Oldest Park Ranger’ Is Only Her Latest Chapter

The New York Times
2021-09-20

Jennifer Schuessler


Chanell Stone for The New York Times

Betty Reid Soskin has fought to ensure that American history includes the stories that get overlooked. As she turns 100, few stories have been more remarkable than hers.

The Rosie the Riveter / World War II Home Front National Historical Park, which sprawls across the former shipyards in Richmond, Calif., on the northeast edge of San Francisco Bay, tells the enormous story of the largest wartime mobilization in American history and the sweeping social changes it sparked.

Visitors can climb aboard an enormous Victory ship, one of more than 700 vessels produced in Richmond — and, in the gift shop, pick up swag emblazoned with the iconic image of the red-kerchiefed Rosie herself, arm flexed up with “We Can Do It!” bravado.

But for many, the park is synonymous with another woman: Betty.

Betty Reid Soskin, who turns 100 on Sept. 22, is the oldest active ranger in the National Park Service. Over the past decade and a half, she has become both an icon of the service and an unlikely celebrity, drawing overflow crowds to talks and a steady stream of media interviewers eager for the eloquent words of an indomitable 5 feet 3 inch great-grandmother once described by a colleague as “sort of like Bette Davis, Angela Davis and Yoda all rolled into one.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Sexuality and Slavery: Reclaiming Intimate Histories in the Americas

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Women on 2021-09-20 13:57Z by Steven

Sexuality and Slavery: Reclaiming Intimate Histories in the Americas

University of Georgia Press
2018-10-01
240 pages
5 b&w images
6.000in x 9.000in
Hardcover ISBN: 9-780-8203-5403-3
Paperback ISBN: 9-780-8203-5404-0

Edited by:

Daina Ramey Berry, Oliver H. Radkey Regents Professor of History
University of Texas, Austin

Leslie M. Harris, Professor of History
Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

Foreword by:

Catherine Clinton, Denman Endowed Professor in American History
University of Texas, San Antonio

An examination of the many facets of sexuality within slave communities

In this groundbreaking collection, editors Daina Ramey Berry and Leslie M. Harris place sexuality at the center of slavery studies in the Americas (the United States, the Caribbean, and South America). While scholars have marginalized or simply overlooked the importance of sexual practices in most mainstream studies of slavery, Berry and Harris argue here that sexual intimacy constituted a core terrain of struggle between slaveholders and the enslaved. These essays explore consensual sexual intimacy and expression within slave communities, as well as sexual relationships across lines of race, status, and power. Contributors explore sexuality as a tool of control, exploitation, and repression and as an expression of autonomy, resistance, and defiance.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword / Catherine Clinton
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction / Daina Ramey Berry and Leslie M. Harris
  • Chapter 1 : Early European Views of African Bodies: Beauty / Stephanie M. H. Camp
  • Chapter 2: Toiling in the Fields: Valuing Female Slaves in Jamaica, 1674-1788 / Trevor Barnard
  • Chapter 3: Reading the Specter of Racialized Gender in Eighteenth-Century Bridgetown, Barbados / Marisa J. Fuentes
  • Chapter 4: As if She Were My Own: Love and Law in the Slave Society of Eighteenth-Century Peru /Bianca Premo
  • Chapter 5: Wombs of Liberation: Petitions, Law, and the Black Woman’s Body in Maryland, 1780-1858 / Jessica Millward
  • Chapter 6: Rethinking Sexual Violence and the Marketplace of Slavery: White Women, the Slave Market, and Enslaved Peoples Sexualized Bodies in the Nineteenth-Century South / Stephanie Jones-Rogers
  • Chapter 7: The Sexual Abuse of Black Men under American Slavery Thomas A. Foster
  • Chapter 8: Manhood, Sex, and Power in Antebellum Slave Communities / David Doddington
  • Chapter 9: What’s Love Got to Do with It? Concubinage and Enslaved Women and Girls in the Antebellum South / Brenda E. Stevenson
  • Chapter 10: When the Present Is Past: Writing the History of Sexuality and Slavery / Jim Downs
  • Contributors
  • Index
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Historian of Race in America Gets an Unusual Four-Book Deal

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2021-09-19 02:51Z by Steven

Historian of Race in America Gets an Unusual Four-Book Deal

The New York Times
2021-09-16

Jennifer Schuessler


Martha S. Jones said she was already working on the first book, which she said will have an element of family history as well. Johns Hopkins University

Martha S. Jones, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, will write four books for Basic Books, starting with an exploration of the history and legacy of slavery’s sexual violence.

The historian Martha S. Jones has a nose for writing deeply researched histories that land in the middle of the rough and tumble of our national politics — sometimes deliberately, sometimes not.

Birthright Citizens,” her 2018 scholarly study of the history of 19th-century debates about Black citizenship in America, arrived at a moment when some conservatives had floated the idea of ending the 14th Amendment’s guarantee that all people born in America are automatically citizens.

Vanguard,” a political history of Black women that challenged popular narratives of the suffrage movement, was timed to coincide with the centennial of the 19th Amendment last August — but also happened to coincide with the election of Kamala Harris as America’s first female vice president.

Now, Jones, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, has signed an unusual four-book deal with Basic Books for a series of works that will address the tangled history of race, slavery and identity. And among them will be a “manifesto” on the role of history in the current racial reckoning…

Read the entire article here.

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A family story as complex as American history, tracing to 1820s Berlin Crossroads in Ohio: Michael A. Chaney

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, United States on 2021-09-19 01:55Z by Steven

A family story as complex as American history, tracing to 1820s Berlin Crossroads in Ohio: Michael A. Chaney

Cleveland.com: Covering Northeast Ohio
2020-07-03

Michael A. Chaney, Professor of English
Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire


Michael A. Chaney, an author and professor of English at Dartmouth, traces some of his roots to a storied African American community in Berlin Crossroads in Ohio’s Appalachia.

HANOVER, New Hampshire — As the celebration of this country’s revolutionary independence looms, I cannot help but reflect on my own ancestry and what it says about place and race, politics and perspective. A mixed-race Ohioan, I was born in Cuyahoga Falls and raised in the Akron/Cleveland area. Like most Ohioans, I am proud of our wooded forests, our first-rate colleges, our winning sports teams. I want to believe that if more people knew about Ohio’s Black and mixed-race histories, we would be cautiously optimistic to note those times when Black lives have mattered in Ohio — in the solemn presence of mourning those times when Black lives should have mattered more.

This won’t be a linear story. As with all history, including complicated family histories, and, particularly, family trees made more complicated by the intersection of different races, it moves from Akron to Germany and back to Ohio, with some side branches that go back 200 years to a once-storied and now largely forgotten African American community in Ohio’s Appalachia

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Making Mixed Race Matter

Posted in Family/Parenting, Forthcoming Media, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Live Events, Social Science, Teaching Resources, United Kingdom on 2021-09-19 01:19Z by Steven

Making Mixed Race Matter

People In Harmony
2021-08-31

People in Harmony, PIH, is hosting the first event of the Mixed Race Research Network via Zoom with a workshop and studies.
With an increasing interest and the need for Research of Mixed Race Experiences PIH is establishing a network of researchers to share information and findings.

The first event is online at 1:00pm – 4:00pm (12:00-15:00Z, 13:00-16:00 BST, 08:00-11:00 EDT) Saturday 16th October 2021 with –

  • An exploration of Black and Minority Ethnic Inter Racial Couples experiences of Race and Ethnicity constructs: their lived experiences as a Multi Ethnic Family by Mala McFarlane.
  • The mixed race war babies of black GIs and British women by Dr Lucy Bland, Professor of Cultural History at Anglia Ruskin University.
  • Opportunities to share, hear and discuss your experiences and data, of studying our field of work…

For more information, click here.

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Plessy v. Ferguson: An Excerpt from Firsthand Louisiana

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Louisiana, Media Archive, United States on 2021-09-15 02:06Z by Steven

Plessy v. Ferguson: An Excerpt from Firsthand Louisiana

University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press
2020-08-13

Devon Lord, Editor In Chief

Discover the history of the Pelican State through the eyes of the people who lived it and shaped its course. In Firsthand Louisiana: Primary Sources in the History of the State, historians Janet Allured, John Keeling, and Michael Martin have compiled dozens of important, interesting, devastating, and even entertaining firsthand accounts cover Louisiana’s history along with questions for further analysis and discussion. Below is an excerpt concerning the Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court decision and its impact on Louisiana and the nation as a whole.

1896:PLESSY V. FERGUSON

The most important United States Supreme Court case to originate in Louisiana is Plessy v. Ferguson, which in 1896 affirmed the constitutionality of southern segregation laws. In 1890 the Louisiana legislature passed the state’s first segregation bill, the Separate Car Act, which required that railroads provide separate cars for white and black passengers. As a state senator from St. John the Baptist Parish, Henry Demas was one of four remaining African American Republicans in that chamber. In response to the act, leading members of the Afro-Creole community in New Orleans formed the Comité des Citoyens (Citizens Committee) to challenge the legality of the act. On June 7, 1892, Homer Plessy bought a first-class train ticket from New Orleans to Covington and boarded the white passenger car. A private detective hired by the committee ensured that the conductor had him arrested for violating the Separate Car Act, and the test case began. After losing both in a local court and the Louisiana Supreme Court, the case was appealed to the US Supreme Court. In a 7–1 decision, the Court upheld the constitutionality of the Separate Car Act, asserting, among other points, that it was a reasonable exercise of the state’s police power to maintain the health, safety, and morals of its citizens. Associate Justice John Marshall Harlan, however, saw through the reasoning behind the law and the majority opinion, and declared in the most famous dissenting opinion in the history of the Court that the decision established second-class citizenship for African Americans in the South. Through the “separate but equal” rule, that accommodations for each race had to be roughly the same in quality, Jim Crow laws came to dominate southern race relations until overturned fifty-eight years later by Brown v. Board of Education

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The Story Of J.P. Morgan’s ‘Personal Librarian’ — And Why She Chose To Pass As White

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2021-09-14 14:38Z by Steven

The Story Of J.P. Morgan’s ‘Personal Librarian’ — And Why She Chose To Pass As White

Code Switch
National Public Radio
2021-08-31

Karen Grigsby Bates, Senior Correspondent


Marie Benedict (left) and Victoria Christopher Murray
Phil Atkins

This summer on Code Switch, we’re talking to some of our favorite authors about books that taught us about the different dimensions of freedom. In our last installment, we talked to author Julia Alvarez about her poetry collection The Woman I Kept to Myself and how difficult it can be to share your many selves with the world. Next up, a conversation with authors Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray on their book The Personal Librarian.

At the turn of the 20th century, financier J.P. Morgan amassed a rich collection of antique objects related to the power of the written word: manuscripts, books, artwork. He did it all with the idea of enjoying his collection privately. But shortly after his death, Morgan’s personal librarian, a woman named Belle da Costa Greene, convinced J.P. Morgan’s son, Jack Morgan, to make the library a gift to New York City.

The Morgan, as it is now known, welcomes thousands of visitors each year — scholars, researchers, tourists and art lovers — to enjoy the collection. What most don’t know is this: For more than four decades, the library’s collections were acquired and curated by a Black woman. Belle da Costa Greene was quietly passing as white in order to work for one of the most powerful men in the United States

Read the story here.

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Finding Afro-Mexico: Race and Nation after the Revolution

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Monographs, Slavery on 2021-09-14 02:15Z by Steven

Finding Afro-Mexico: Race and Nation after the Revolution

Cambridge University Press
June 2020
348 pages
Hardback ISBN: 9781108493017
Paperback ISBN: 9781108730310
eBook ISBN: 9781108639521

Theodore W. Cohen, Associate Professor of Africana Studies and History
Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois

Highlights

  • Bridges the rich historical literature on slavery and race in the colonial period with scholarship on the contemporary politics of Blackness
  • Traces the long history of African-American intellectual engagements with Mexico
  • Contributes to the expanding literature on the politics of racial comparison and connection along sub-national, national, and transnational lines

In 2015, the Mexican state counted how many of its citizens identified as Afro-Mexican for the first time since independence. Finding Afro-Mexico reveals the transnational interdisciplinary histories that led to this celebrated reformulation of Mexican national identity. It traces the Mexican, African American, and Cuban writers, poets, anthropologists, artists, composers, historians, and archaeologists who integrated Mexican history, culture, and society into the African Diaspora after the Revolution of 1910. Theodore W. Cohen persuasively shows how these intellectuals rejected the nineteenth-century racial paradigms that heralded black disappearance when they made blackness visible first in Mexican culture and then in post-revolutionary society. Drawing from more than twenty different archives across the Americas, this cultural and intellectual history of black visibility, invisibility, and community-formation questions the racial, cultural, and political dimensions of Mexican history and Afro-diasporic thought.

Awards

  • Co-winner, 2021 Howard F. Cline Book Prize in Mexican History, Latin American Studies Association
  • Honorable Mention, 2021 Best Book Award in the Social Sciences, Mexico Section, Latin American Studies Association

Table of Contents

  • List of Figures and Maps
  • Acknowledgements
  • List of Abbreviations
  • Part I. Making Blackness Mexican, 1810-1940s
    • Introduction
    • 1. Black Disappearance
    • 2. Marxism and Colonial Blackness
    • 3. Making Blackness Transational
  • Part II. Finding Afro-Mexico, 1940s-2015
    • 4. Looking Back to Africa
    • 5. Africanizing “La bamba”
    • 6. Caribbean Blackness
    • 7. The Black Body in Mexico
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Black Identity and the Power of Self-Naming

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, Social Science, United States on 2021-09-13 02:16Z by Steven

Black Identity and the Power of Self-Naming

Black Perspectives
2021-09-10

M. Keith Claybrook, Jr., Assistant Professor of Africana Studies
California State University, Long Beach


Kill the Bill IV Protest in London, England, UK on May 29, 2021 (Loredana Sangiuliano, Shutterstock)

Black identity is the most political social identity used to identify people of African descent in the United States. The 1960s constitute a linchpin moment that recreated what it meant to be Black in the United States, tethering pre-1960s derogatory perceptions of blackness as an adjective and post-1960s use of Black to denote peoplehood, pride, and power. Black activists in the 1960s and 70s redefined and recreated what it meant to be Black in the United States. Their efforts demanded dignity and human respect for people of African descent. Being Black was about the right to be self-naming, self-defining, self-determining, and exercising individual and collective agency. This is consistent with current uses of Black in organizations such as in Black Lives Matter, Black Youth Project 100, Afrikan Black Coalition, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, and Institute of the Black World 21st Century to name a few. And yet, many still use a lowercase “b” when referring to Black people.

Being Black is more than a descriptor which is denoted with the lowercase “b.” A Black identity is a self and collectively conscious effort for people of African descent to be self-naming and self-defining in route to increasing the human respect and dignity of African people and their descendants. The racialized identifier has its origins in the scientific racism of the 18th and 19th centuries, but the ever-changing socio-historical and political context of the 60s redefined and recreated what it meant to be Black in America. Ultimately, when referring to people of African descent as a collective racialized cultural group, like other proper nouns, give them their respect and dignity by capitalizing the “B”…

…Contemporary scholars and writers have continued to engage the question of identity and terminology. Yaba Blay’s, (1)ne Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race, continues this discourse when she states that, “capitalization is a matter of reality and respect – respect not only for other people but for myself.”…

Read the entire article here.

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