It’s time to recognize Sally Hemings as a first lady of the United States

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Virginia, Women on 2019-01-05 01:31Z by Steven

It’s time to recognize Sally Hemings as a first lady of the United States

The Los Angeles Times
2019-01-04

Evelia Jones

It’s time to recognize Sally Hemings as a first lady of the United States
A man reads a plaque about Sally Hemings at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s estate in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday, June 16, 2018. (Steve Ruark / Associated Press)

It is now widely understood that my ancestor Sally Hemings, an enslaved black woman, was the intimate companion of Thomas Jefferson for nearly four decades.

Monticello, the Virginia plantation operated as a museum by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, acknowledged as much with a new exhibit last year: Hemings’ living quarters. The exhibit presents as fact that Hemings gave birth to at least six of Jefferson’s children.

Much about their relationship remains lost to history. We know that Hemings was Jefferson’s property, and that in America she did not have the right to refuse sexual advances from her owner. We also know that Hemings was able to negotiate freedom for her children and “extraordinary privileges” for herself, and that she occupied a central place in Jefferson’s life…

Read the entire article here.

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What Makes Me Black? What Makes You White?

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2019-01-04 20:49Z by Steven

What Makes Me Black? What Makes You White?

The Hedgehog Review: Critical Reflections on Contemporary Culture
Volume 20, Number 2 (Summer 2018)

W. Ralph Eubanks, Visiting professor of English and Southern Studies
University of Mississippi

The obelisk bearing the chiseled gray-granite face of a Confederate soldier enters my field of vision each morning as I stroll across campus. After forty years away from Mississippi, I returned last year to teach at my alma mater, Ole Miss. Having entered the University of Mississippi in 1974, only twelve years after James Meredith shattered the color barrier, I was one of about fifty black students in a freshman class of more than 800, African Americans then making up less than 5 percent of the entire student body.

During my time as a student at Ole Miss, the culture, heritage, and traditions of the university stood as obdurate barriers to a black person attempting to feel part of the university, much less at home in it. And though Ole Miss and the state of Mississippi more broadly have since made certain commendable strides in reckoning with the past, the statue is a reminder of how the forces of race and history remain in constant collision, and of how the misinterpretation of the past can sometimes overshadow historical reality.

“Most white Americans are obviously and often all too unconsciously committed to White Anglo-Saxon Protestant supremacy,” wrote the essayist and critic Albert Murray more than forty years ago in his enduring reflections on our nation’s “mulatto” culture, The Omni-Americans.1 What we are witnessing today, however, is quite conscious. I don’t mean here simply ugly and even violent displays, such as the now infamous Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville last summer, but something more insidious. This new iteration of racialized politics is one that dares not say its name. It even pretends that race-based discrimination and white supremacy are things of the past, issues well behind us. More brazenly—one might even say cynically—this new politics appropriates the language of the civil rights movement, and does so precisely to undercut some of the movement’s signal accomplishments (including voting rights), or at least to prevent some its goals (including equal as well as integrated schools) from being fully achieved…

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The Illusion and Elusiveness of Whiteness: Between Politics and Polemics

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, History, Judaism, Media Archive, Passing, Politics/Public Policy, Religion, United States on 2018-12-27 05:08Z by Steven

The Illusion and Elusiveness of Whiteness: Between Politics and Polemics

ISGAP: Flashpoint
Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy
2018-12-04, Flashpoint 52

Katya Gibel Mevorach, Professor in the Anthropology Department; Chair of the American Studies Concentration
Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa


Katya Gibel Mevorach is a Professor in the Anthropology Department and the Chair of the American Studies Concentration at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa. She earned her PhD in Cultural Anthropology from Duke University. Prof. Gibel Mevorach received her BA and MA in African Studies from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel.

The tenor of “identity politics and polemics” has lost listeners even as the tone of debates has intensified: there is a dialectic of tuning in and out of conversations about whether Jews who look white are, in fact, White? The argument, which gained media traction over the last twenty years – a relatively short period of time for some, but a lifetime for millennials – latched on to the phrase “white Jews” set in juxtaposition to “Jews of color” and “Black Jews.” These expressions may have insinuated themselves into the Jewish forum, but they foolishly ignore Jewish and general history. Too many Jews overlook the significance of scientific racism in Nazi ideology and among white supremacists as well as the simple fact that in all racist societies, ancestry always trumps appearance. This is a central lesson from places where domestic genocide (e.g., Belfast, Kigali and Sarajevo) confounds “outsiders” who do not “see” physical distinctions that locals presume to be obvious.

“Whiteness” in America is not and has never been self-evident – and that is the point of passing: of not revealing information that would reposition someone from “being white” to “not quite white” or “not white” at all.[1] This difference between looking white (appearance) and being white (an existential registry of racial purity) inspired the subtitle of my book “…not the color of your skin but the race of your kin.”[2] It is this difference that was forcefully communicated by white supremacists in Charlottesville and reiterated in Pittsburgh to the consternation of some Jews who feel entitled to whiteness and cry mea culpa while enjoying its privilege.

The desire to identify as white remains astounding to a few people, like me, who were born in the United States only because one of their Jewish parents was among the lucky few to escape Nazi Europe on a passport listing “Jew” as his or her Race. Once upon a time, not long ago, there was a simple question: are you a Jew or are you white? And the answer might have been: I am a Jew and I am perceived as a white person to the extent that I am not too visibly Jewish [i.e. assimilated]

Read the entire article here.

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I dig through archives to unearth hidden stories from African-American history

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Religion, Slavery, United States on 2018-12-27 02:48Z by Steven

I dig through archives to unearth hidden stories from African-American history

The Conversation
2018-12-04

Jane Landers, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of History
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee


An archivist works with a document from Paraiba, Brazil. David Lafevor, CC BY-SA

Many years ago, as a graduate student searching in the archives of Spanish Florida, I discovered the first “underground railroad” of enslaved Africans escaping from Protestant Carolina to find religious sanctuary in Catholic Florida. In 1738, these runaways formed Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose, the first free black settlement in what became the U.S.

The excitement of that discovery encouraged me to keep digging. After doing additional research in Spain, I followed the trail of the Mose villagers to Cuba, where they had emigrated when Great Britain acquired Florida. I found many of them in 18th-century church records in Havana, Matanzas, Regla, Guanabacoa and San Miguel del Padrón.

Today, those records and others live on in the Slave Societies Digital Archive. This archive, which I launched in 2003, now holds approximately 600,000 images dating from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Since its creation, the archive has led to new insights into African populations in the Americas

…Previously unknown church records for Havana’s black Brotherhood of St. Joseph the Carpenter document the membership of Jose Antonio Aponte, executed by Spanish officials in 1812 for leading an alleged slave conspiracy. Our records similarly document the marriage and death of another famed “conspirator” – the mulatto poet Gabriel de la Concepcion Valdes, better known as Placido

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Call for Papers: Representations of Afrolatinidad in Global Perspective Conference

Posted in Anthropology, Arts, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, Forthcoming Media, History, Latino Studies, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers on 2018-12-27 01:17Z by Steven

Call for Papers: Representations of Afrolatinidad in Global Perspective Conference

Representations of Afrolatinidad in Global Perspective
University of Pittsburgh
2019-04-11 through 2019-11-13

Conference Convened by the Afro-Latin American and Afro-Latinx Studies Initiative

Contact: Dr. Michele Reid-Vazquez, University of Pittsburgh

Keynote Speakers:

Dr. Juliet Hooker, Professor of Political Science,
Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island

Dr. Nancy Mirabal, Associate Professor of American Studies; Director of the US Latina/o Studies Program
University of Maryland, College Park

The intersections of race, ethnicity, and representation have shaped historical and contemporary articulations of Afrolatinidad. As an expression of multivalent identity, both shared and unique, Afrolatinidad informs the experiences of over 150 million Afro-Latin Americans and millions more within diasporic communities in the United States, Canada, Europe, and beyond. The conference seeks to foster an international dialogue that addresses regional, national, and transnational links among the ways Afro-Latin Americans and Afro-Latinxs create, sustain, and transform meanings surrounding blackness in political, social, and cultural contexts.

This two-day symposium aims to engage multiple depictions of Afro-Latin Americans and Afro-Latinxs – whether self-fashioned or imposed. The varied portrayals in the past and present reflect the ongoing global realities, struggles, vibrancy, and resiliency of Afro-Latin diasporas throughout the Americas and elsewhere. The symposium will feature keynote addresses by Dr. Juliet Hooker, Professor of Political Science at Brown University, and Dr. Nancy Mirabal, Associate Professor of American Studies and Director of the U.S. Latina/o Studies Program at the University of Maryland-College Park. Their work on Afro-descendant politics in Latin America and Afro-Latinx discourses of race, gender, and territoriality, respectively, will spark broader exchanges around Afrolatinidad and representation among presenters and attendees.

We invite submissions that address aspects of Afrolatinidad, particularly through ethnicity/race, gender, history, technology, and expressive culture, such as music, dance and art. We are especially interested in papers that analyze these themes across a variety of conceptual frameworks, including Africana Studies, Anthropology, Caribbean Studies, Cultural Studies, History, Latin American Studies, Latinx Studies, Media Studies, Political Science, and Sociology.

Submissions need not be confined to these topics, but, if possible, please indicate at least two themes that correspond to your proposal.

Themes:

  • Slavery and Its Legacies in Latin America
  • Politics of Culture/Cultural Expression
  • Visibility and Invisibility
  • Theorizing Afro-Latinidad
  • Race, Gender, and Migration
  • Diaspora, Community, and Technology/Social Media…

For more information, click here.

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Color Struck: How Race and Complexion Matter in the “Color-Blind” Era

Posted in Anthologies, Anthropology, Books, Campus Life, Economics, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, Social Work, United States, Women on 2018-12-03 03:34Z by Steven

Color Struck: How Race and Complexion Matter in the “Color-Blind” Era

Sense Publishers
2017
218 pages
ISBN Paperback: 9789463511087
ISBN Hardcover: 9789463511094
ISBN E-Book: 9789463511100

Edited by:

Lori Latrice Martin, Associate Professor of Sociology
Louisiana State University

Hayward Derrick Horton, Professor of Sociology
State University of New York, Albany

Cedric Herring, Professor and Director of the Language, Literacy, and Culture (LLC)
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Verna M. Keith, Professor of Sociology
Texas A&M University

Melvin Thomas, Associate Professor of Sociology
North Carolina State University

Skin color and skin tone has historically played a significant role in determining the life chances of African Americans and other people of color. It has also been important to our understanding of race and the processes of racialization. But what does the relationship between skin tone and stratification outcomes mean? Is skin tone correlated with stratification outcomes because people with darker complexions experience more discrimination than those of the same race with lighter complexions? Is skin tone differentiation a process that operates external to communities of color and is then imposed on people of color? Or, is skin tone discrimination an internally driven process that is actively aided and abetted by members of communities of color themselves? Color Struck provides answers to these questions. In addition, it addresses issues such as the relationship between skin tone and wealth inequality, anti-black sentiment and whiteness, Twitter culture, marriage outcomes and attitudes, gender, racial identity, civic engagement and politics at predominately White Institutions. Color Struck can be used as required reading for courses on race, ethnicity, religious studies, history, political science, education, mass communications, African and African American Studies, social work, and sociology.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction / Lori Latrice Martin
  • 1. Race, Skin Tone, and Wealth Inequality in America / Cedric Herring and Anthony Hynes
  • 2. Mentions and Melanin: Exploring the Colorism Discourse and Twitter Culture / Sarah L. Webb and Petra A. Robinson
  • 3. Beyond Black and White but Still in Color: Preliminary Findings of Skin Tone and Marriage Attitudes and Outcomes among African American Young Adults / Antoinette M. Landor
  • 4. Connections or Color? Predicting Colorblindness among Blacks / Vanessa Gonlin
  • 5. Black Body Politics in College: Deconstructing Colorism and Hairism toward Black Women’s Healing / Latasha N. Eley
  • 6. Biracial Butterflies: 21st Century Racial Identity in Popular Culture / Paul Easterling
  • 7. Confronting Colorism: An Examination into the Social and Psychological Aspects of Colorism / Jahaan Chandler
  • 8. How Skin Tone Shapes Civic Engagement among Black Americans / Robert L. Reece and Aisha A. Upton
  • 9. The Complexity of Color and the Religion of Whiteness / Stephen C. Finley and Lori Latrice Martin
  • About the Contributors
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A Family Tree With Roots Deep In Slavery

Posted in Autobiography, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2018-12-03 01:03Z by Steven

A Family Tree With Roots Deep In Slavery

Code Switch: Race and identity, remixed
National Public Radio
2018-11-21

Nabil Ayers

All families have histories.
Man_Half-tube/Getty Images

“Well hello there Nabil!

“I welcome your letter.

“So in the little bit of information you shared with me, I am intrigued.

“I have worked for a number of years, 26 in fact, on my genealogy. It has been a passion and at times an obsession.”

In her initial email to me, Karen surprised me with her excitement and candor — neither of which I was expecting from the woman whom I had gently accused of being the descendant of the man who owned my ancestors…

…My mother, who is white, chose to have me and raise me on her own. My father is black, but because he has never been part of my life, I’ve never held a strong black identity or felt I belonged to any single race. I grew up in very diverse and liberal surroundings where, if anyone asked, I was racially mixed, and that was fine.

I’m often asked the question, “What are you?” Or the less invasive, but still pointed, “Where are you from?” I’ve always described myself as “half black and half white.” It’s a phrase I still use for simplicity…

Read the entire article here.

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Ways of Grace: Stories of Activism, Adversity, and How Sports Can Bring Us Together

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Justice on 2018-11-27 02:33Z by Steven

Ways of Grace: Stories of Activism, Adversity, and How Sports Can Bring Us Together

Amistad (an imprint of HarperCollins)
2017-06-27
256 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 9780062354525
Paperback ISBN: 9780062354532
EPUB ISBN: 9780062354549

James Blake, with Carol Taylor

Inspired by Arthur Ashe’s bestselling memoir Days of Grace, a collection of positive, uplifting stories of seemingly small acts of grace from across the sports world that have helped to bridge cultural and racial divides.

Like many people of color, James Blake has experienced the effects of racism firsthand—publicly—first at the U.S. Open, and then in front of his hotel on a busy Manhattan street, where he was tackled and handcuffed by a police officer in a case of “mistaken identity.” Though rage would have been justified, Blake faced both incidents with dignity and aplomb.

In Ways of Grace he reflects on his experiences and explores those of other sports stars and public figures who have not only overcome adversity, but have used them to unite rather than divide, including:

  • Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi, a Pakistani Muslim and Amir Hadad, an Israeli Jew, who despite the conflicts of their countries, paired together in the 2002 Wimbledon men’s doubles draw.
  • Muhammad Ali, who transcended racism with a magnetic personality and a breathtaking mastery of boxing that was unparalleled.
  • Nelson Mandela, who spent twenty-seven years in prison for his commitment to social reform, peace, and equality yet never gave up his battle to end apartheid—a struggle that led to his eventual freedom and his nation’s transition to black majority rule.
  • Groundbreaking tennis legend Arthur Ashe, who was a model of courage, elegance, and poise on the court and off; a gifted player who triumphed in the all-white world of professional tennis, and became one of his generation’s greatest players.

Weaving together these and other poignant and unforgettable stories, Blake reveals how, through seemingly small acts of grace, we can confront hatred, bigotry, and injustice with virtue—and use it to propel ourselves to greater heights.

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Belize’s thriving Afro-Caribbean community

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Slavery on 2018-11-21 22:42Z by Steven

Belize’s thriving Afro-Caribbean community

BBC News
2018-11-19

Heide Brandes

When West Africans on their way to the New World’s slave markets escaped in 1635, they intermarried with Caribbean islanders to create a new and distinct culture.

The boats came at dawn along the shores of the town of Dangriga on the coast of Belize.

Onboard, vibrantly dressed men, women and children carried homemade flags and waved bright green fronds of coconut palm branches as they approached the shore. On land, a crowd waited, ready to cheer as feet stepped out of the boats to touch sand.

On a similar morning in 1832, the Garifuna people – descendants of Carib, Arawak and West African people – made the same journey from St Vincent Island in the Caribbean, finally able to call Belize home after being turned away by the British government three times. Every year on 19 November, the Garifuna celebrate Garifuna Settlement Day, marking their arrival in Belize (which was then a British colony) and their many contributions to the Belizean landscape.

With this re-enactment of the boat landing, as well as oral history intoned by village elders and music, dancing and food, the national holiday attracts visitors from throughout Belize and the world. It immerses them in why the culture is so unique – and why its people are fighting to keep their heritage alive in an increasingly modern world…

Read the entire article here.

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The 97-Year-Old Park Ranger Who Doesn’t Have Time for Foolishness

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2018-11-21 19:34Z by Steven

The 97-Year-Old Park Ranger Who Doesn’t Have Time for Foolishness

Glamour
2011-11-02

Farai Chideya
Photographs by Shaniqwa Jarvis


Photo: Shaniqwa Jarvis 

“History has been written by people who got it wrong. But the people who are always trying to get it right have prevailed,” says Reid Soskin, photographed at Rosie the Riveter Park. “If that were not true, I would still be a slave like my great-grandmother.”

As the oldest career National Park Service ranger, Betty Soskin is unabashed about revealing all of America’s history—and her optimism about our future.

What gets remembered is determined by who is in the room doing the remembering,” Betty Reid Soskin likes to say. So she’s made it her singular purpose to always be in the room.

Today that room is the auditorium at the Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, California, where—at 97—she’s the oldest person now serving as a permanent National Park Service ranger. She packs the theater three times a week with talks about the Rosies and the typically white narrative about the women who served the war effort, but interweaves her experience as a young black woman in segregated America.

There are a few things you should know about my friend Betty. Barely five feet three inches tall, she is sylphlike and strong. When she walks, she leans slightly forward, as if facing a headwind, and strides with speed and purpose. Betty never planned to be a ranger. She got the job at the young age of 85, after working as a field representative for her California assemblywoman, Dion Aroner. Aroner asked her to sit in on planning meetings for what would become the park, and Betty quickly saw that, if she didn’t speak up, the park would portray a whitewashed version of history. “There was no conspiracy to leave my history out,” she says. “There was simply no one in that room with any reason to know it.” So she sparked additions to the formal narratives: the 120,000 people of Japanese descent placed in internment camps by the government; the 320 sailors and workers, 202 of them black men, who died in the explosions at nearby Port Chicago. “So many stories,” Betty muses, “all but forgotten.”

Working at an all-black union hall during World War II and then briefly in an all-white branch of the Air Force (they didn’t realize she was black when they hired her), Betty saw stories like these firsthand, becoming, as she puts it, “a primary source” from the time. Tom Leatherman, the park’s superintendent, says Betty motivated organizers to bring more people to the table: “Because of Betty, we made sure we had African American scholars review our films and exhibits, but we also made sure we were looking out for other, often forgotten stories—Japanese American, Latino American, American Indian, and LGBTQ narratives—that were equally important.”…

Read the entire article here.

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