Born Enslaved, Patrick Francis Healy ‘Passed’ His Way to Lead Georgetown University

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Passing, Religion, Slavery, United States on 2020-09-11 02:22Z by Steven

Born Enslaved, Patrick Francis Healy ‘Passed’ His Way to Lead Georgetown University

Smithsonian Magazine
2020-09-08

Bryan Greene
Washington, D.C.


Because the 19th-century college president appeared white, he was able to climb the ladder of the Jesuit community

This back-to-school season, as the coronavirus pandemic demands continued social distancing, many college students are logging onto their classes remotely. While the country fights this public health crisis on one front, it fights the ongoing effects of systemic racism on another, and the battle is joined on America’s college campuses, where skyrocketing tuition costs, debates over academic freedom, and reckonings with the legacies of institutional racism come together.

The University of North Carolina, for instance, has had to tackle both crises this summer, as it shuttered dorms and sent students home after Covid-19 cases spiked soon after opening. In July, administrators approved guidelines for renaming buildings that currently honor North Carolinians who promoted the murderous 1898 overthrow of Wilmington’s elected multiracial government. In June, meanwhile, Princeton acceded to longstanding demands to strip Woodrow Wilson’s name from its public policy school, since his most notorious public policy as President of the United States was to segregate the federal workforce. Following the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd, an ever-widening circle of students on campuses nationwide are re-examining their institutions’ unquestioned genuflection to their white-supremacist heritage.

But at Georgetown University, students, faculty, alumni, and administration have been re-appraising the school’s racist past for years. In 1838, when the Jesuit school was deep in debt, its president, Reverend Thomas F. Mulledy, on behalf of the Maryland Jesuits, sold 272 black men, women and children to Louisiana plantations to keep the school afloat. Three years ago, Georgetown pulled Mulledy’s name off a dormitory, replacing it with the name of enslaved laborer Isaac Hawkins. Georgetown will now consider applicants who are descendants of these enslaved persons in the same light as the children of faculty, staff and alumni for purposes of admission.

What makes Georgetown’s reflective moment most remarkable, however, and complicated, is that 35 years after Mulledy salvaged the school’s finances by selling human property, the school would be led by a man who, himself, was born enslaved. The story of Georgetown president Reverend Patrick Francis Healy reveals how a university built by enslaved persons, and rescued from collapse by the sale of enslaved persons, saw its “second founding” in the late 19th century under the guidance of a man whom the Jesuits knew had been born black but helped “pass” as white

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No Future in This Country: The Prophetic Pessimism of Bishop Henry McNeal Turner

Posted in Biography, Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs, Religion, United States on 2020-08-12 00:40Z by Steven

No Future in This Country: The Prophetic Pessimism of Bishop Henry McNeal Turner

University Press of Mississippi
November 2020
208 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 9781496830708
Paperback ISBN: 9781496830692

Andre E. Johnson, Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Media Studies
University of Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee

A critical study of the career of the nineteenth-century bishop

No Future in This Country: The Prophetic Pessimism of Bishop Henry McNeal Turner is a history of the career of Bishop Henry McNeal Turner (1834–1915), specifically focusing on his work from 1896 to 1915. Drawing on the copious amount of material from Turner’s speeches, editorial, and open and private letters, Andre E. Johnson tells a story of how Turner provided rhetorical leadership during a period in which America defaulted on many of the rights and privileges gained for African Americans during Reconstruction. Unlike many of his contemporaries during this period, Turner did not opt to proclaim an optimistic view of race relations. Instead, Johnson argues that Turner adopted a prophetic persona of a pessimistic prophet who not only spoke truth to power but, in so doing, also challenged and pushed African Americans to believe in themselves.

At this time in his life, Turner had no confidence in American institutions or that the American people would live up to the promises outlined in their sacred documents. While he argued that emigration was the only way for African Americans to retain their “personhood” status, he also would come to believe that African Americans would never emigrate to Africa. He argued that many African Americans were so oppressed and so stripped of agency because they were surrounded by continued negative assessments of their personhood that belief in emigration was not possible. Turner’s position limited his rhetorical options, but by adopting a pessimistic prophetic voice that bore witness to the atrocities African Americans faced, Turner found space for his oratory, which reflected itself within the lament tradition of prophecy.

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Between Two Worlds

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Biography, Canada, Judaism, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2020-07-06 21:01Z by Steven

Between Two Worlds

Toronto Life
2018-05-22

Anais Granofsky

I grew up in ​subsidized housing​ with my mom, ​and spent weekends with my wealthy grandparents at their Bridle Path mansion. If I wanted to be loved, I’d have to learn to live two lives

My mother, Jean Walker, was the 13th of 15 children, born in 1949 to a church-going black family on a farm in Ohio. The house had only two bedrooms, so her parents slept on a pull-out bed on the porch in the summer and in the living room in winter. Her seven brothers slept in one bedroom, while the eight sisters shared the other. They attended a small school where the white kids sat up front and the black students at the back, separated by a row of empty desks. When she wasn’t studying, she did chores around the farm. The girls planted the vegetable gardens with corn and green beans, churned butter, did laundry, and took care of the younger children. The boys helped with the heavy work and looked after the animals. “With 14 siblings,” my mother used to say, “you’d better get to the table quick, or you weren’t going to eat that day.” There was never enough food or money to go around, but the family didn’t feel poor. Everyone around them was in the same situation.

Jean was a sensitive girl who used to lie in the fields and watch the clouds scuttle by. Her parents were always quick with a whipping, and the casual violence wore on her soul. She found a cubbyhole in the back of a closet, where she’d hide out and devour books by the light of a bare bulb. Desperate to get away from her chaotic, rural home life, she worked tirelessly in high school to earn a scholarship to Antioch in Yellow Springs, Ohio, a liberal arts college and one of the first post-secondary schools to integrate. As a nascent feminist, she was drawn to Antioch’s progressive vibe. In 1971, she enrolled in women’s studies and journalism…

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‘Believe us’: Black Jews respond to the George Floyd protests, in their own words

Posted in Articles, Judaism, Media Archive, Religion, Social Justice, Social Work, United States on 2020-06-14 00:18Z by Steven

‘Believe us’: Black Jews respond to the George Floyd protests, in their own words

Jewish Telegraphic Agency
2020-05-31

Josefin Dolsten, Staff Writer


Top left, clockwise, April Baskin, Anthony Russell, Yitz Jordan and Tema Smith. (Baskin: Jill Peltzman; Russell: Courtesy of Russell; Jordan: Courtesy of Jordan; Smith: Courtesy of Smith)

(JTA) — As Enzi Tanner participated in an online havdalah ceremony marking the end of Shabbat Saturday night, his city — Minneapolis — was being torn apart during a fifth night of unrest following the death of George Floyd, a black man, in police custody there last week.

Tanner, a social worker who supports LGBT families experiencing homelessness, said the ceremony — hosted by Jewish Community Action, a local social justice group, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, a national organization and Edot Midwest Regional Jewish Diversity Collaborative — conveyed a powerful message for black Jews like him.

“As the Jewish community reaches in and says how do we support their cause and how do we support the black community, it’s really important that people reach in to black Jews and other Jews of color and realize that we’re here,” Tanner said. “And we need our community.”

We reached out to black Jews like Tanner to understand their feelings at this wrenching moment and what their message is for the broader Jewish community. Here’s what they told us…

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I’m a Black and Jewish Woman. My Identity Matters.

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Judaism, Media Archive, Religion on 2020-06-06 02:21Z by Steven

I’m a Black and Jewish Woman. My Identity Matters.

Kveller
2020-06-04

Faith Gabbay-Kalson

What are you?”

I have been asked this question on way too many occasions: in private, in public, by strangers, by people I was acquainted with, and by many who should have known better. Singled out, put on the spot.

What am I? Hmm… I’m a woman, a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a friend, a lover of beautiful things, a designer, the list goes on. I’m human — at least that’s what I so naively assumed. Our single race has been divided up into category upon subcategory, and this world forces you into just a single, specific, and limiting box.

But what does one do when you sit on the fence between two vast divides?

I’m the daughter of a Jewish (white) mother and a Guyanese (Black) father. My story was split from the very start. However, it really is so much more complex than that. I was raised Jewish, running the gamut from Reform/Conservative all the way through to sectors of ultra-Orthodoxy. My story has evolved along the way. One thing remained constant, though: more boxes, more labels, not all of them choices…

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Archives of Conjure: Stories of the Dead in Afrolatinx Cultures

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Gay & Lesbian, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Religion on 2020-03-06 18:05Z by Steven

Archives of Conjure: Stories of the Dead in Afrolatinx Cultures

Columbia University Press
March 2020
272 pages
Paperback ISBN: 9780231194334
Hardcover ISBN: 9780231194327
E-book ISBN: 9780231550765

Solimar Otero, Professor of Folklore
Indiana University, Bloomington

Archives of Conjure

In Afrolatinx religious practices such as Cuban Espiritismo, Puerto Rican Santería, and Brazilian Candomblé, the dead tell stories. Communicating with and through mediums’ bodies, they give advice, make requests, and propose future rituals, creating a living archive that is coproduced by the dead. In this book, Solimar Otero explores how Afrolatinx spirits guide collaborative spiritual-scholarly activist work through rituals and the creation of material culture. By examining spirit mediumship through a Caribbean cross-cultural poetics, she shows how divinities and ancestors serve as active agents in shaping the experiences of gender, sexuality, and race.

Otero argues that what she calls archives of conjure are produced through residual transcriptions or reverberations of the stories of the dead whose archives are stitched, beaded, smoked, and washed into official and unofficial repositories. She investigates how sites like the ocean, rivers, and institutional archives create connected contexts for unlocking the spatial activation of residual transcriptions. Drawing on over ten years of archival research and fieldwork in Cuba, Otero centers the storytelling practices of Afrolatinx women and LGBTQ spiritual practitioners alongside Caribbean literature and performance. Archives of Conjure offers vital new perspectives on ephemerality, temporality, and material culture, unraveling undertheorized questions about how spirits shape communities of practice, ethnography, literature, and history and revealing the deeply connected nature of art, scholarship, and worship.

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The Gospel according to Meghan

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Religion, United Kingdom on 2020-03-03 14:23Z by Steven

The Gospel according to Meghan

The Christian Recorder: The Official Organ of the African Methodist Episcopal Church
2020-02-28

Jennifer P. Sims, Ph.D., Columnist; Assistant Professor of Sociology
University of Alabama, Huntsville


Jennifer P. Sims, Ph.D.

A few weeks ago, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry shocked their family and the world by announcing that they would step back from their roles as senior members of the British Royal Family. Contributing to their decision was the intense media attention and its accompanying salacious criticism of their family. Meghan, who is mixed-race (Black/White) and American, has been receiving the brunt of the media abuse. From newspaper stories disdaining her every behavior, despite having lauded some of the same actions when White British Royals like Kate Middleton did them, to a reporter literally comparing her newborn son to a monkey, the British media has been unconscionable toward the Duchess of Sussex.

Social media dubbed the family’s departure from the UKMegxit,” a word play on “Brexit” which refers to Britain’s recent exit from the European Union, and leading news sources reached out to social scientists for comments. In an interview with The Washington Post, for example, I discussed the role of anti-black racism and classism in the Sussex family’s experiences. My colleague, who is a psychologist, explained to PBS News Hour how the experiences of mixed-race Blacks such as Meghan and [Barack] Obama reiterate that a few minorities gaining positions of power does not signal the end of prejudiced thinking. A historian penned an essay that situated Megxit within the Black feminist tradition of resilience…

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Penn Medicine and the Afterlives of Slavery (PMAS) presents: Christianity, Race, and Haunting of the Biomedical Sciences

Posted in Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Live Events, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2020-02-18 19:13Z by Steven

Penn Medicine and the Afterlives of Slavery (PMAS) presents: Christianity, Race, and Haunting of the Biomedical Sciences

University of Pennsylvania
Max Kade Center
3401 Walnut Street
Suite 329-A
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Wednesday, 2020-02-19, 16:00-17:30 EST (Local Time)

Terence Keel, Associate, Associate Professor, Department of African American Studies and the UCLA Institute for Society & Genetics
University of California, Los Angeles

The idea that so-called races reflect inherent biological differences between social groups has been a prominent aspect of Western thought since at least the Enlightenment. While there have been moments of refuting this way of thinking—most notably, the social constructionist thesis emerging as a dominant framework in the aftermath of WWII—fixed biological conceptions of race haunt new genetic technologies, where race is thought to be measurable at the molecular level. Keel argues that the resilience of this naturalized understanding of race may stem less from overtly political motives on the part of scientists and more from our inherited theological traditions that predate the Enlightenment and continue to shape and limit the intellectual horizon of scientific reasoning.

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Divine Variations: How Christian Thought Became Racial Science

Posted in Books, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Religion on 2020-01-27 18:11Z by Steven

Divine Variations: How Christian Thought Became Racial Science

Stanford University Press
January 2018
200 pages
Cloth ISBN: 9780804795401
Paper ISBN: 9781503610095
Digital ISBN: 9781503604377

Terence Keel, Associate, Associate Professor, Department of African American Studies and the UCLA Institute for Society & Genetics
University of California, Los Angeles

Winner of the 2018 Choice Award for Outstanding Academic Title, sponsored by the American Library Association.

Divine Variations offers a new account of the development of scientific ideas about race. Focusing on the production of scientific knowledge over the last three centuries, Terence Keel uncovers the persistent links between pre-modern Christian thought and contemporary scientific perceptions of human difference. He argues that, instead of a rupture between religion and modern biology on the question of human origins, modern scientific theories of race are, in fact, an extension of Christian intellectual history.

Keel’s study draws on ancient and early modern theological texts and biblical commentaries, works in Christian natural philosophy, seminal studies in ethnology and early social science, debates within twentieth-century public health research, and recent genetic analysis of population differences and ancient human DNA. From these sources, Keel demonstrates that Christian ideas about creation, ancestry, and universalism helped form the basis of modern scientific accounts of human diversity—despite the ostensible shift in modern biology towards scientific naturalism, objectivity, and value neutrality. By showing the connections between Christian thought and scientific racial thinking, this book calls into question the notion that science and religion are mutually exclusive intellectual domains and proposes that the advance of modern science did not follow a linear process of secularization.

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We European Jews never passed as white

Posted in Articles, Europe, History, Media Archive, Passing, Religion on 2020-01-12 02:54Z by Steven

We European Jews never passed as white

The Times of Israel
2020-01-09

Rivka Hellendall, Graduate Student of English Literature and Jewish Studies
University of Amsterdam

Rivka Hellendall
Rivka Hellendall

In the last two decades, American Ashkenazi Jews have returned to the question of their Otherness, or, put more crudely, to the question of whether Ashkenazi Jews are White, “white-passing”, or something else entirely. A quick Google search entry of “are Jews white” yields roughly 89 million results, including news articles, op-eds, and even academic tomes. The fact that Karen Brodkin named her 243-page 1998 study on the topic “How Jews Became White Folks and what that Says about Race in America” speaks volumes. Apparently, there was a large enough body of Jews at the time who never suffered anti-Semitism in person for Brodkin to make this title a viable one. A large enough number of American Jews who had never, for example, been denied housing or religious rights, equal opportunity employment (i.e. suffered job discrimination), or experienced insults, social exclusion, threats, and physical violence because of their Jewishness. Sadly, those times have changed since…

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