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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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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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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Impact of the forgotten black Europeans

Posted in Articles, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, Europe, History, Media Archive, Religion, Slavery on 2022-05-13 15:39Z by Steven

Impact of the forgotten black Europeans

Islington Tribune
London, United Kingdom
2022-05-12

Angela Cobbinah

The Chevalier de St George

Scholars, poets, writers, composers… a new book focuses on the wide influence of Africa abroad, writes Angela Cobbinah

ALESSANDRO de Medici, Duke of Florence, virtuoso 18th-century French violinist and composer Joseph Bologne and 1922 world light heavyweight boxing champion Battling Siki from France via Senegal are probably people we know little about, if at all.

They are part of a forgotten European past explored by Olivette Otele in her scholarly book, African Europeans, which travels through time to reveal how trade, war, slavery and colonialism resulted in a black presence in Europe from as far back as the third century.

This is where Otele, professor of the history and memory of slavery at Bristol University, kicks off, telling the story of St Maurice, Egyptian leader of a Roman legion who was famously executed for refusing to crush a Christian revolt in Gaul.

Celebrated as a martyr across Germany, he is clearly represented as an African in a statue at Magdeburg Cathedral and other church iconography.

Black saints and Madonnas appeared across Europe in the 12th and 13th centuries, perhaps Otele speculates, to symbolise the transformative power of the Catholic Church in converting those it considered heathen…

Read the entire review here.

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African Europeans: An Untold History

Posted in Biography, Books, Europe, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Religion, Slavery on 2022-05-13 14:57Z by Steven

African Europeans: An Untold History

Basic Books
2021-05-04
304 pages
Hardcover ISBN-13: 9781541619678
eBook ISBN-13: 9781541619937
Audiobook Downloadable ISBN-13: 9781549136627

Olivette Otele, Professor of History of Slavery and Memory of Enslavement
University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom

Conventional wisdom holds that Africans are only a recent presence in Europe. But in African Europeans, renowned historian Olivette Otele debunks this and uncovers a long history of Europeans of African descent. From the third century, when the Egyptian Saint Maurice became the leader of a Roman legion, all the way up to the present, Otele explores encounters between those defined as “Africans” and those called “Europeans.” She gives equal attention to the most prominent figures—like Alessandro de Medici, the first duke of Florence thought to have been born to a free African woman in a Roman village—and the untold stories—like the lives of dual-heritage families in Europe’s coastal trading towns.

African Europeans is a landmark celebration of this integral, vibrantly complex slice of European history, and will redefine the field for years to come.

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The untold story of Britain’s first black school teacher

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United Kingdom on 2022-05-12 19:38Z by Steven

The untold story of Britain’s first black school teacher

BBC News
2022-04-28

Giancarlo Rinaldi, South Scotland Reporter
BBC Scotland News Website

A small plaque commemorates the role Tom Jenkins played in education in the Borders

A small plaque marks the spot where the man believed to be Britain’s first black school teacher educated children in a Scottish village.

Now the story of Tom Jenkins‘ life is being explored as part of the area’s Alchemy Festival, and there are calls for him to receive greater recognition.

Jenkins educated dozens of children between 1814 and 1818 at Teviothead, near Hawick, in the Scottish Borders.

Artist Dr Jade Montserrat has been investigating the links between Hawick and both Jenkins and anti-slavery campaigner Frederick Douglass, who visited the town in 1846.

“I focused in on the significant black presence in Hawick and, more loosely, Hawick’s liberal abolitionist identity as a town,” she said…

…When he was six years old his father, a slave trading chief, handed him to Capt James Swanson.

The son of a waiter from Hawick, Capt Swanson was in command of the slave ship Prudence.

The intention was that Tom Jenkins would be educated in Britain before returning to West Africa

Read the entire article here.

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How a slave’s daughter became an 1800s New Orleans entrepreneur: A Marigny cottage helps tell the tale

Posted in Articles, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Women on 2022-05-12 17:43Z by Steven

How a slave’s daughter became an 1800s New Orleans entrepreneur: A Marigny cottage helps tell the tale

NOLA.com
2022-05-09

Mike Scott, Contributing Writer

The house at 1515-17 Pauger St. in New Orleans sold in 2016 for $600,000.
(Photo by David Grunfeld, NOLA.com |The Times-Picayune)

The little Creole cottage at 1515-17 Pauger St. in the Marigny Triangle is a humble one. Small and tidy, there would have been little to distinguish it from the countless other homes like it in New Orleans when it was built 200 years ago.

But sometimes a house is more than a house. Sometimes, the story it has to tell adds a little flavor to what it has to offer.

That’s precisely the case with the Pauger Street house, which stands out today as a beautifully preserved example of the bricks-between-posts construction — or briquette-entre-poteaux — so common during the city’s French colonial era.

Much more than that, although, the little home represents the indomitable spirit of the lady of shade who, in opposition to all odds, constructed it — presumably as a rental property, no much less — at a time wherein being White and male had been two of an important {qualifications} for such endeavors…

Read the entire article here.

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Latinx Files: When Mexicans became ‘White’-ish

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, History, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Mexico, Slavery, Texas, United States on 2022-05-12 16:41Z by Steven

Latinx Files: When Mexicans became ‘White’-ish

The Los Angeles Times
2022-05-12

Fidel Martinez

“We didn’t receive the rights of white people, only the illusion.” (Martina Ibáñez-Baldor / Los Angeles Times; Getty Images)

Hi folks, Fidel here. Every once in a while, I’ll ask a guest writer to take over the main story. We’ve experimented with formats here and there — we recently ran an illustration — and this week it’s no different. Below is an excerpt from Julissa Arce’s memoir, “You Sound Like a White Girl: The Case for Rejecting Assimilation.”

The first colonizers to arrive in what is now the United States were not the pilgrims in 1620. It was the Spanish, who came to New Mexico in 1598. The oldest capital in the country, Santa Fe, was founded in 1610 by a Spaniard who was born in Mexico. This is not a point of pride but a part of our complicated story. Along with Spanish colonizers looking for riches, priests looking for souls to save, many Indigenous people came as well — some as servants, others forcibly to quench the lust of men, some as wives, and many more for endless other reasons.

After gaining its independence from Spain, Mexican authorities attempted to increase the population in its northern territory — a land that stretched all the way up the west coast of California and across to the Rocky Mountains — and so welcomed Anglo immigrants. By 1834, more than 30,000 of them lived in Texas, heavily outnumbering the Mexican population of 7,800.*

Mexico abolished African slavery in 1829, before the U.S. Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, but those Anglo immigrants had brought with them more than 5,000 enslaved people in violation of Mexican law. This is where the story needs some revision. Texas’ independence from Mexico and eventual annexation into the United States is often told as a freedom fight. But Anglo Texans wanted to be “free” in order to keep Black people enslaved. They became legends while stealing Black bodies, stealing Mexican land, and terrorizing native Tejanos. The Mexicans who stayed in Texas were treated as second-class citizens, an attitude that still pollinates along with the bluebonnets, their stories lost to white historians. The horrors that Mexicans suffered in Texas at the hands of Anglos have been buried in forgotten graves, in cemeteries that no longer exist. However, in Texas history classes, Davy Crockett, William B. Travis, and Jim Bowie die heroes at the Alamo, killed by the vicious Mexican army — a story still retold in museums and textbooks. They were visitors, undocumented immigrants even, and by proclaiming self-rule, they forced Mexico into war….

Read the entire article here.

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Blurring the Lines of Race & Freedom: Mulattoes & Mixed Bloods in English Colonial America by A.B. Wilkinson (review)

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2022-05-09 02:53Z by Steven

Blurring the Lines of Race & Freedom: Mulattoes & Mixed Bloods in English Colonial America by A.B. Wilkinson (review)

Journal of Social History
Volume 55, Number 3, Spring 2022
pages 801-803

Max Speare
Saddleback College, Mission Viejo, California

Blurring the Lines of Race & Freedom: Mulattoes & Mixed Bloods in English Colonial America. By A.B. Wilkinson. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. 2020. x plus 336 pp. $26.99).

In Blurring the Lines of Race & Freedom, A.B. Wilkinson adds to a growing field of scholarship questioning the genesis of ideas and production of race and social differences in the trans-Atlantic world. Wilkinson’s detailed examination looks at the ways mixed-heritage people—or individuals with at least two ancestors from predominantly African, European, and Indigenous backgrounds—shaped legal and cultural understandings of interracial mixture in British North America. He focuses on the meeting of communities around the Tidewater Chesapeake, the Carolina Lowcountry, and the English sugar and coffee plantations in the Caribbean. Despite legislators in these regions governing monoracial categories of colonial subjects as “white,” “Indian,” or “Negro,” Wilkinson convincingly argues that people from these blended ancestries and their families complicated racially bound labor systems of enslavement and indentured servitude. In so doing, they slowed down elites’ establishment of a solid racial hierarchy from the seventeenth century until the eve of the American Revolution.

Wilkinson’s sources range across multiple genres that reveal Anglo-Americans’ increasing hostility towards people of blended ancestries and interracial relationships. His interrogation of hundreds of fugitive slave and servant advertisements shows some of mixed-heritage people’s strategies for performing freedom and racial passing. Wilkinson uses many court cases showing that mixed-heritage people could successfully challenge the conditions of their labor arrangements through freedom petitions, particularly when Anglo-Americans’ racial thought was in its infancy and when colonial authorities held more lenient notions of hypodescent, a concept that served as a forerunner for the United States’s one-drop rule and miscegenation laws. Whether someone achieved manumission or lessened indentured service contracts was often based on perceptions about an individual’s proximity to European heritage, and most likely passed on through their mother’s lineage…

Read or purchase the review here.

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Our Unspoken Discomfort with Interracial Relationships

Posted in Articles, Canada, History, Media Archive, Slavery, Social Science on 2022-05-07 22:17Z by Steven

Our Unspoken Discomfort with Interracial Relationships

The Walrus
2020-10-01

Charmaine A. Nelson, Professor of Art History and a Tier I Canada Research Chair in Transatlantic Black Diasporic Art and Community Engagement
Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD University), Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Illustration by Stephanie Singleton

Canada’s history of slavery has had a profound impact on how we view cross-racial couples

ON A SATURDAY MORNING in April 2018, Tayana Jacques, a Black woman, and Brian Mann, her white boyfriend, were walking together in Montreal’s trendy Plateau-Mont-Royal neighbourhood when police stopped and questioned them over what the two officers called “making excessive noise.” Jacques and Mann were later fined $444 each. The charges were particularly suspicious since this was not a Saturday-night encounter—not a time when people would have been carousing drunkenly home from a nightclub. In fact, the couple had been on their way to get coffee. According to media reports, Jacques says she was restrained and handcuffed after she turned to walk away from the confrontation. She was also questioned without cause about drug use while Mann, who protested, was allegedly kicked in the knee, punched in the face, and pepper-sprayed. By the end of the encounter, two more police cruisers had arrived.

Mann and Jacques have said in media interviews that they were violently mistreated by Montreal police not because of what they were doing but because of who they were: a white man and a Black woman in an obviously romantic relationship. (The Montreal Police Service has declined to comment on the case.) The couple’s story may seem unimportant—an outlier in an otherwise racially harmonious society—but the apparent overreach of the Montreal Police Service, particularly within our current context of global Black Lives Matter protests, is cause for grave concern.

Following the incident, Fo Niemi, executive director of the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRAAR), issued a statement saying the alleged police mistreatment of Jacques and Mann is part of a pattern of police misbehaviour, especially involving Black citizens. (The City of Montreal is now facing a class-action lawsuit for racial profiling brought by the Black Coalition of Quebec on behalf of people who were unjustly arrested by police.) Last October, a report commissioned by the Montreal Police Service confirmed that its officers are far more likely to stop Black, Indigenous, or Arab people than they are white people. This past July, the police service introduced a policy meant to reduce the risk of profiling; among other provisions, the new policy requires officers to complete paperwork clearly stating their reasons for conducting street checks.

But Jacques and Mann’s violent encounter caught my attention because their experience points to an unsettling reality that extends beyond police discrimination: Canadians have a bigger problem with race, and specifically with cross-racial couples, than many would like to admit. As a professor of art history specializing in transatlantic slavery, I find our society’s unspoken discomfort painfully ironic. I study a period when the nonconsensual sexual pairing of white men and Black women, and the sight of their mixed-race children, was entrenched across the Americas; when Black women were routinely dehumanized; and when consensual cross-racial couples—like Jacques and Mann—were considered threatening to colonial hierarchies. That history has been all but erased from our national memory. And it’s had a chronic, undeniable influence on how we perceive cross-racial relationships today.

Relationships between people of different races, ethnic origins, religions, languages, and birthplaces are still relatively rare. In the 2011 national household census, 360,045 couples, or about 5 percent of all unions, identified as being mixed. When the figure was first released, in 2014, media coverage framed it as a sign of social progress: the percentage was double that of twenty years prior. Yet, for a nation that claims to celebrate its racial diversity and inclusiveness, living together in a multicultural society seems not to have resulted in the deepest levels of profound social connection signalled by intimate unions…

Read the entire article here.

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