Turner Prize Goes to Lubaina Himid, Whose Work Depicts African Diaspora

Posted in Articles, Arts, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United Kingdom on 2017-12-06 02:39Z by Steven

Turner Prize Goes to Lubaina Himid, Whose Work Depicts African Diaspora

The New York Times
2017-12-05

Anna Codrea-Rado


Lubaina Himid won Britain’s leading contemporary art prize for “her uncompromising tackling of issues” including colonial history and racism, the jury chairman said.
Credit Edmund Blok for Modern Art Oxford

The visual artist Lubaina Himid, best known for her paintings, installations and drawings depicting the African diaspora, won the Turner Prize on Tuesday night, making her the first nonwhite woman to be given the leading British contemporary art award…

…Alex Farquharson, Tate Britain’s director and the chairman of the Turner Prize jury, said in a statement that the jury “praised the artist for her uncompromising tackling of issues including colonial history and how racism persists today.” Ms. Himid won for three of her shows this year, in Oxford, Bristol and Nottingham, he said.

Among the selection of Ms. Himid’s work on display at the Turner Prize exhibition in Hull was a collection of English ceramics painted with images of black slaves.

Ms. Himid, 63, is the oldest recipient in the prize’s history; a rule change made her eligible. This year’s award was the first since 1991 that was open to artists over 50…

…This year’s shortlist was also noted for being one of the most diverse. All of the nominees have connections abroad, either by birth or through parentage. Ms. Nashashibi, 44, was born in London to a Palestinian father and an Irish mother; Ms. Büttner, 46, is German-born; Mr. Anderson is the son of Jamaican immigrants; and Ms. Himid was born in Tanzania…

Read the entire article here.

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‘Always remember: You’re a Madison’

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Virginia on 2017-11-15 01:39Z by Steven

‘Always remember: You’re a Madison’

The Washington Post
2017-11-14

Krissah Thompson, Feature Writer


At Montpelier, four women with ties to the estate pose with the saliva vials they used to test their DNA. From left, Mary Alexander, descended from Madison’s slave Paul Jennings; Bettye Kearse; Conny Graft, descended from Madison’s sister; and Leontyne Peck. (Eduardo Montes-Bradley/Montpelier Foundation)

Oral history said she was descended from a president and an enslaved woman. But what would her DNA say?

ORANGE, Va. — In her mind’s eye, Bettye Kearse could see her ancestor walking the worn path that led from the big house to the slave quarters.

She thought of that path each time she pulled up the long, winding driveway leading to Montpelier, the rural Virginia plantation that was once home to President James Madison.

“The first time I came here was in 1992, and the moment I actually got on the grounds I felt I belonged,” said Kearse, a retired pediatrician who lives in the Boston area.

As an African American descendant of slaves, her feelings about the Founding Father, as a man and a historical figure, are decidedly ambivalent. But she has come to love his home. From the time she was a child, her mother had told her the family’s known history began on Madison’s property — and that they were, in fact, descendants of the president and an enslaved cook named Coreen. During each of her visits to Montpelier, Kearse felt the weight of her mother’s daunting request that she carry their story through oral history, following in the West African tradition of griots, or storytellers…


James Madison, 4th president of the United States created 1835. (Library of Congress)

…In 1834, two years before James Madison died, Betsey was purchased in Tennessee as a “companion” for Emanuel — the first documented reference to Kearse’s fore­father and foremother. In 1848, a slave owner named Jeptha Billingsley brought Emanuel and Betsey to Central Texas. They apparently had the last name Madison before emancipation.

All that Kearse’s generation knows about the couple comes from the bill of sale and details in Billingsley’s will. Betsey was a “light mulatto complexion Negro woman,” born around 1815. Emanuel was “a Negro man of dark complexion,” somewhere between six and 10 years Betsey’s senior. They had at least 11 children. Nine lived to adulthood…

Read the entire article here.

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The Afro-Turks: Turkey’s Little-known Black Minority Reclaims Its Past

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Europe, History, Media Archive, Slavery on 2017-11-13 02:33Z by Steven

The Afro-Turks: Turkey’s Little-known Black Minority Reclaims Its Past

Haaretz
2017-10-26

Davide Lerner and Esra Whitehouse


An Afro-Turk farmer, Gungor Delibas, whose family is originally from Sudan, with a picture of her and her Turkish husband, in Haskoy, Turkey, October 2017. Davide Lerner

IZMIR, Turkey – Dotted along Turkey’s Aegean coastline are a smattering of villages that the country’s Afro-Turks call home.

“The first generation suffers, the second generation denies and the third generation questions,” reads the opening line of Mustafa Olpak’s book, the first and the last autobiographical and introspective study of Turkey’s dwindling black minority. Olpak coined the term Afro-Turk and founded the movement to help resurrect their identity, but the history of the estimated 1.3 million people who were forced into slavery and shipped from Africa to the territories controlled by the Ottoman Empire remains little more than a footnote of Turkish history.

While “the library of the Congress of the United States of America has over 600 personal accounts of African-American slaves, none could be found in Ottoman archives,” notes Turkish historian Hakan Erdem in his commentary to Olpak’s book. Before his death last year, Olpak had dreamed of delivering a copy of his book to former U.S. President Barack Obama, and had even traveled to Istanbul’s airport in a hopeless attempt to meet him as he landed for a state visit.

Today the number of Afro-Turks is estimated at only a few tens of thousands. Many still live in the villages of Haskoy, Yenicifler and Yenikoy, near Izmir, while some reside in rural areas around Ayvalik, Antalya and Adana, as well as in Istanbul. Most were first brought to Turkey to work as domestic servants or in the tobacco and cotton fields along the Aegean Sea; they settled near Izmir once they were freed. Although the slave trade was officially made illegal in 1857 following pressure from Britain and other European powers, it took until the beginning of the 20th century to eliminate the practice altogether and to liberate those who were owned by Ottoman families since before the slave trade was outlawed.

In Izmir, the state provided safe houses for former slaves as well as assistance to integrate them into the labor market; whole villages and neighborhoods inhabited by the Afro-Turks were dubbed “Arap” areas – the Turkish word for Arab, which is still used as slang to refer to black people…

Read the entire article here.

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Slavery and Freedom in Texas: Stories from the Courtroom, 1821–1871

Posted in Books, History, Law, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery, Texas, United States on 2017-11-09 03:21Z by Steven

Slavery and Freedom in Texas: Stories from the Courtroom, 1821–1871

University of Georgia Press
2017-11-01
258 pages
2 b&w photos, 8 maps
Trim size: 6 x 9
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8203-5133-9
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8203-5163-6

Jason A. Gillmer, John J. Hemmingson Chair in Civil Liberties and Professor of Law
Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington

Riveting trials that exposed conflicting attitudes toward race and liberty

In these absorbing accounts of five court cases, Jason A. Gillmer offers intimate glimpses into Texas society in the time of slavery. Each story unfolds along boundaries—between men and women, slave and free, black and white, rich and poor, old and young—as rigid social orders are upset in ways that drive people into the courtroom.

One case involves a settler in a rural county along the Colorado River, his thirty-year relationship with an enslaved woman, and the claims of their children as heirs. A case in East Texas arose after an owner refused to pay an overseer who had shot one of her slaves. Another case details how a free family of color carved out a life in the sparsely populated marshland of Southeast Texas, only to lose it all as waves of new settlers “civilized” the county. An enslaved woman in Galveston who was set free in her owner’s will—and who got an uncommon level of support from her attorneys—is the subject of another case. In a Central Texas community, as another case recounts, citizens forced a Choctaw native into court in an effort to gain freedom for his slave, a woman who easily “passed” as white.

The cases considered here include Gaines v. Thomas, Clark v. Honey, Brady v. Price, State v. Ashworth, and Webster v. Heard. All of them pitted communal attitudes and values against the exigencies of daily life in an often harsh place. Here are real people in their own words, as gathered from trial records, various legal documents, and many other sources. People of many colors, from diverse backgrounds, weave their way in and out of the narratives. We come to know what mattered most to them—and where those personal concerns stood before the law.

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Why We Need To Know The Story Of Whiteness

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2017-10-31 20:18Z by Steven

Why We Need To Know The Story Of Whiteness

Blavity
2017-10-31

Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni


Photo: Shutterstock

Every year around our birthdays, our mom tells my brother and me the story of our births. This is the gift I look forward to most. Origin stories are important. They literally root us. Not everyone has full access to their origin story, however. Perhaps the most tragic end result of enslavement in the Americas is that many of our origin stories have been lost, manipulated and erased. Yet, we insist on learning about and from our past to direct our own futures, as seen by the new National Museum of African American History and Culture.

One origin story we have access to — but that has not been fully told — is the story of Whiteness. How did White people become White?

When I say the story of Whiteness, I do not mean a story about a person, hero or villain who happens to be White. We have plenty of those. I’m talking about the period between 1619 — with the arrival of the first Africans to Virginia — and some 60 years later when laws created hierarchies based on an invented concept called ‘White.’ There are a lot of enslavement narratives, but why don’t we have films and TV shows about who counted as White at the time, and, most importantly: why?…

Read the entire article here.

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I’m black. Robert E. Lee is my ancestor. His statues can’t come down soon enough.

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Slavery, Social Justice, United States on 2017-08-17 03:47Z by Steven

I’m black. Robert E. Lee is my ancestor. His statues can’t come down soon enough.

The Washington Post
2017-08-15

Karen Finney

Defenders of Confederate monuments are again trying to rewrite an ugly chapter in our nation’s history. If my family can move on, so can they.

As the biracial daughter of Jim Finney, a black civil rights lawyer descended from enslaved Virginians, and Mildred Lee, a white social worker and the great-great-great niece of Confederate General Robert E. Lee — of whom statues stand in many cities and towns, including, now infamously, Charlottesville — my American story is complicated.

About a year ago, I made a discovery that reminded me of just how complicated both my family’s and our nation’s painful journey on race and equality has been. I found two letters that my maternal grandmother, also named Mildred Lee, had written to my father. In the first, four-page, single-spaced typed letter, she laid out arguments why my dad should leave my mom and not marry her as they’d planned. Not only was marrying illegal in their respective home states of Virginia and North Carolina, in 1967, their forthcoming interracial marriage, she explained, was against the “natural order of things,” in which black and white have their place.”

Quoting the Bible, she argued that their marriage would bring permanent disrepute, shame and irreparable damage not only to my mother’s life but also the lives of the whole family. A month later, my parents were married in a simple ceremony in New York City. In a second letter, sent less than a week before I was born, my grandmother described miscegenation as a sin and a stain that would never be made clean, quoting the Bible and invoking “the way of things.”…

Read the entire article here

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Thomas and Sally

Posted in Arts, History, Live Events, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2017-08-12 22:09Z by Steven

Thomas and Sally

Marin Theater Company
Mill Valley, California
September 28-October 22 (2017) | World Premiere

By Thomas Bradshaw

An explosive world premiere by a 2017 PEN Award winner, Thomas and Sally gets up close and personal with founding father Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, the enslaved woman who mothered six of his children. Playwright Thomas Bradshaw takes us behind the scenes—and into the beds—of American history with the Hemings-Jeffersons and the rock stars of the Revolution: Ben Franklin, John & Abigail Adams & the Marquis de Lafayette!

Mr. Bradshaw’s writing has been influenced by the research of many historical experts on the Jefferson and Hemings families, but the world of this play is completely his own:

“Thomas and Sally is a work of historical fiction. You may recognize many of the names in this play, but others are pure invention. History is highly malleable and subject to interpretation. This is my attempt to explore the essence of these characters and the world they lived in. This is a play, and I am playing with history. I hope you enjoy.”

Thomas Bradshaw’s plays have been produced at regional theaters in NYC as well as in Europe. He is currently working on commissions from the Goodman Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, and the Foundry Theatre, as well as developing a TV series for HARPO and HBO. He is the recipient of a 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship, the 2010 Prince Charitable Trust Prize, the 2012 Award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and this year’s PEN award for an Emerging American playwright.

For more information, click here.

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An Octoroon

Posted in Arts, Live Events, Media Archive, Passing, Slavery, United States on 2017-08-05 21:28Z by Steven

An Octoroon

Woolly Mammoth Theater
641 D Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20004
Telephone: 202-393-3939

2017-07-17 through 2017-08-06

By Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
Directed by Nataki Garrett

Last year’s most talked-about, most unforgettable production is returning to Woolly for a limited three-week run: An Octoroon by new MacArthur “Genius Grant”-winner Branden Jacobs-Jenkins!

A plantation on the brink of foreclosure. A young gentleman falling for the part-black daughter of the estate’s owner. An evil swindler plotting to buy her for himself. Meanwhile, the slaves are trying to keep things drama-free, because everybody else is acting crazy.

An Octoroon, Jacobs-Jenkins’ Obie-winning riff on a 19th century melodrama that helped shape the debate around the abolition of slavery, is an incendiary adaptation. Part period satire, part meta-theatrical middle finger, it’s a provocative challenge to the racial pigeonholing of 1859—and of today.

Featuring company members Shannon Dorsey, Jon Hudson Odom, and Erika Rose

Two and a half hours, with one intermission

For more information, click here.

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Passing for White

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Novels, Passing, Slavery, United States on 2017-07-26 15:48Z by Steven

Passing for White

Barrington Stoke
2017-05-11
112 pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-78112-681-3

Tanya Landman

She must pose as a master to make herself free.

It’s 1848 in the Deep South of America. Rosa is a slave but her owner is also her father and her fair skin means she can ‘pass for white’. With the help of Benjamin, her husband, she disguises herself as a young white man – and Benjamin’s master. In this guise, the two of them must make their way out of the South, avoiding those they have encountered before and holding their nerve over a thousand miles to freedom.

Inspired by the amazing true story of Ellen and William Craft, this is a powerful tale of danger, injustice and unimaginable courage.

Information for Adults: This book has a dyslexia-friendly layout, typeface and paperstock so that even more readers can enjoy it. It has been edited to a reading age of 8.

It features a removable ‘super-readable’ sticker.

Read the first chapter here.

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Sally Hemings wasn’t Thomas Jefferson’s mistress. She was his property.

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Virginia on 2017-07-13 00:09Z by Steven

Sally Hemings wasn’t Thomas Jefferson’s mistress. She was his property.

The Washington Post
2017-07-07

Britni Danielle


The room at Monticello where Sally Hemings is believed to have lived. (Norm Shafer/For The Washington Post)

Archaeologists at Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia plantation, Monticello, are unearthing the room where Sally Hemings is believed to have lived, allowing for a new way to tell the story of the enslaved people who served our third president. The excavation has once again reminded us that 241 years after the United States was founded, many Americans still don’t know how to reconcile one of our nation’s original sins with the story of its Founding Fathers.

Just before the Fourth of July, NBC News ran a feature on the room, setting off a spate of coverage about the dig. Many of these stories described Hemings, the mother of six children with Jefferson, as the former president’s “mistress.” The Inquisitr, the Daily Mail, AOL and Cox Media Group all used the word (though Cox later updated its wording). So did an NBC News tweet that drew scathing criticism, though its story accurately called her “the enslaved woman who, historians believe, gave birth to six of Jefferson’s children.” The Washington Post also used “mistress” in a headline and a tweet about Hemings’s room in February.

Language like that elides the true nature of their relationship, which is believed to have begun when Hemings, then 14 years old, accompanied Jefferson’s daughter to live with Jefferson, then 44, in Paris. She wasn’t Jefferson’s mistress; she was his property. And he raped her…

Read the entire article here.

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