A Historical Study of Women in Jamaica, 1655–1844

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Slavery, Women on 2012-05-01 21:29Z by Steven

A Historical Study of Women in Jamaica, 1655–1844

University of The West Indies Press
400 pages
6 x 9
Paper ISBN: 978-976-640-178-8


Lucille Mathurin Mair (1925-2009)

Edited by:

Hilary McD. Beckles, Principal
University of The West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados

Verene A. Shepherd, University Director
Centre for Gender & Dev Std-RC: Centre Research/Teaching
University of The West Indies, Mona


  • List of Tables
  • Editors’ Introduction: Hilary McD. Beckles and Verene A. Shepherd
  • Author’s Preface
  • Part 1: The Female Arrivants, 1655-1770
    • Chapter 1: The Arrivals ofWhite Women
    • Chapter 2: The Arrivals of Black Women
    • Chapter 3: The Growth of the Mulatto Group
  • Part 2: Creole Slave Society, 1770-1834
    • Chapter 4: The White Woman in Jamaican Slave Society
    • Chapter 5: The White Woman: Legal Status, Family, Philanthropy and Gender Constraints
    • Chapter 6: The Black Woman: Demographic Profile, Occupation and Violent Abuse
    • Chapter 7: The Black Woman: Agency, Identity and Voice
    • Chapter 8: The Mulatto Woman in Jamaican Slave Society
  • Part 3: Postscript, 1834-1844
    • Chapter 9: The Beginnings of a Free Society, 1834-1844
    • Afterword: Recollections into a Journey of a Rebel Past
    • Appendix: Population: St James Parish
  • Notes
  • Author’s Bibliography
  • Editors’ Selected Bibliography
  • Index
  • About the Author
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Authors Probe Roots of U.S. Far Right

Posted in Articles, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2012-05-01 19:58Z by Steven

Authors Probe Roots of U.S. Far Right

Southern Poverty Law Center
Intelligence Report
Winter 2009, Issue Number: 136

Heidi Beirich

Defending the Master Race: Conservation, Eugenics, and the Legacy of Madison Grant
By Jonathan Peter Spiro
Burlington, Vt.: University of Vermont Press, 2009
$39.95 (hardback)

The Color of Fascism: Lawrence Dennis, Racial Passing, and the Rise of Right-Wing Extremism in the United States
By Gerald Horne
New York: New York University Press, 2009
$22.00 (hardback)

A bumper crop of works on influential early 20th century American racists, fascists and eugenicists has been hitting the bookshelves in 2009. Two of the most interesting are on Madison Grant (1865-1937), perhaps the most important conservationist of his time and so pernicious a racist and anti-Semite that he helped inspire Hitler’s policies, and Lawrence Dennis (1893-1977), the biggest defender of fascism in the 1930s, who was, surprisingly, a black man passing for white.

Jonathan Peter Spiro’s biography of Grant, a very rich member of the American WASP elite, is eye opening. It is astonishing to realize how many major American figures of the early 1900s were so rabidly racist and anti-Semitic — and perfectly willing to use the power of the state to sterilize those they saw as lesser beings. Spiro’s book is fundamental to understanding how profoundly our nation has been shaped by racist and anti-Semitic ideas…

…Grant’s most important work, The Passing of the Great Race, was first published in 1916 by the elite Charles Scribner’s Sons. Its basic thesis, still popular among American white supremacists today, is that miscegenation and immigration were destroying America’s superior “Nordic” race. In their time, Grant’s beliefs were popular, even meriting a mention in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (the celebrated author and Grant shared the same Scribner editor).

Presaging Hitler’s infamous words, Grant called Nordics “the Master Race.” To protect that race, Grant was quite clear that restrictions curtailing Jewish and Southern European immigration were necessary. Eugenics, too, were required. He wrote that the effort should begin by sterilizing the “criminals,” the “insane” and the “diseased,” followed by the “weaklings” and, ultimately, all “worthless race types.”…

…American Fascist

Gerald Horne’s The Color of Fascism is a much slimmer volume on the unlikely career as an American fascist of Lawrence Dennis, a far-right thinker who passed as white and whose ideas are still prized today by radical right activists, including veteran anti-Semite Willis Carto.

Dennis was an interesting character. He was born in Atlanta of a black mother and white father in 1893 and was a child prodigy. Before the age of 10, Dennis wrote a book on his Christian beliefs and preached his religion to massive crowds in the U.S. and Europe—never hiding his black mother, who shepherded him around the world. But as he grew older, the light-skinned Dennis made a decision to leave his far darker-skinned mother behind and to begin to pass for white. By the 1920s, he had achieved the unthinkable for a black man of the time, graduating from Exeter and then Harvard and going on to make careers for himself in the State Department and on Wall Street, where he was one of the few who predicted the 1929 stock market crash. That prediction led to a profitable run of speaking engagements for Dennis in the 1930s and vaulted him into the upper-class social circles of the far right, where he became particularly close to Charles and Anne Lindbergh.

By the 1930s, Dennis had evolved into the public face of American fascism, making connections with American extremists and traveling to Europe to meet with Mussolini, whom he later said he was “less impressed with” than Hitler. In 1941, Dennis was named “America’s No. 1 Intellectual Fascist” by Life.

So what made Dennis an adherent of an ideology that most certainly would have oppressed him and other African Americans? Horne theorizes that Dennis may well have been attracted to fascism simply because it stood starkly opposed to American “democracy,” which then so openly oppressed blacks living under Jim Crow. He wrote often and eloquently of the impending ascendancy of the fascist model, and regularly ascribed America’s decay to its racist policies — a point that oddly seemed missed by his many racist allies…

Read the entire review here.

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Brazil’s top court backs racial quotas in universities

Posted in Articles, Brazil, Campus Life, Caribbean/Latin America, Law, New Media, Politics/Public Policy on 2012-05-01 18:10Z by Steven

Brazil’s top court backs racial quotas in universities

The Australian

BRAZIL’s Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that racial quotas used in universities are constitutional and are meant to redress inequalities stemming from centuries of slavery.

The ruling issued by the 10-member court concerned the case of the University of Brasilia which in 2004 set up quotes to reserve 20 per cent of admissions to black, mixed-race and indigenous students…

…The court ruling followed an appeal lodged in 2009 by the right-wing DEM party which argued that the University of Brasilia quota policy ran counter to the principle of equality and fostered racism by creating privileges based on racial criteria.

But the judges countered that quotas were a legitimate method to redress slavery-derived inequalities and discrimination that still continues to affect Afro-Brazilians…

Read the entire article here.

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“Which box am I?”: Towards a Culturally Grounded, Contextually Meaningful Method of Racial and Ethnic Categorization in Puerto Rico

Posted in Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Reports, Social Science, United States on 2012-05-01 04:30Z by Steven

“Which box am I?”: Towards a Culturally Grounded, Contextually Meaningful Method of Racial and Ethnic Categorization in Puerto Rico

Institute of Interdisciplinary Research
University of Puerto Rico, Cayey
August 2009
59 pages

Isar P. Godreau
Institute of Interdisciplinary Research
University of Puerto Rico, Cayey

Carlos Vargas-Ramos, Research Associate
Center for Puerto Rican Studies
Hunter College, City University of New York

This report represents a first step in attempting to ascertain a culturally valid and efficient method of racial and ethnic categorization for Puerto Rico, which may be used to document and track discrimination on the basis of race and ethnicity in employment. Research conducted for this study was developed in close collaboration with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), in support of their efforts to ascertain the extent of race and ethnic discrimination in the workplace in Puerto Rico. Results outlined herein summarize the views of 33 experts on the subject on race and racial discrimination in Puerto Rico who were interviewed for these purposes. Findings are preliminary and draw on the analysis of 33 individual questionnaires and 3 focus groups coordinated by Dr. Godreau at the Institute of Interdisciplinary Research of the University of Puerto Rico at Cayey in March 2009.

Read the entire report here.

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The lessons of slavery: Discourses of slavery, mestizaje, and blanqueamiento in an elementary school in Puerto Rico

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Slavery, Teaching Resources, United States on 2012-05-01 03:01Z by Steven

The lessons of slavery: Discourses of slavery, mestizaje, and blanqueamiento in an elementary school in Puerto Rico

American Ethnologist
Volume 35 Number 1 (February 2008)
pages 115-135
DOI: 10.1111/j.1548-1425.2008.00009.x

Isar P. Godreau
Institute of Interdisciplinary Research
University of Puerto Rico, Cayey

Mariolga Reyes Cruz
Institute of Interdisciplinary Research
University of Puerto Rico, Cayey

Mariluz Franco-Ortiz
University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras

Sherry Cuadrado
Institute of Interdisciplinary Research
University of Puerto Rico, Cayey

On the basis of ethnographic research conducted in an elementary public school in Puerto Rico, we maintain in this article that subduing and narrowing the history of slavery is instrumental in the reproduction of national ideologies of mestizaje in Afro-Latin America. We explore how school texts and practices silence, trivialize, and simplify the history of slavery and conclude that these maneuvers distance blackness from Puerto Rican identity and silence racism while upholding racial democracy and blanqueamiento as a social value.

Shortly after 2:00 p.m. on an average school day, one of us (Isar) walked into the small air-conditioned social worker’s office at the Luisa Rodrıíguez Elementary School in Cayey, Puerto Rico. A young, uniform-clad teenage girl sat at the desk, talking in flirtatious tones on the school’s phone. Isar greeted the social worker as she stood next to her commandeered desk, and they began to discuss an upcoming conference about the history of slavery in Cayey. “There were slaves in Cayey?” the social worker asked, “Really!?” Before Isar could answer, she heard the young girl telling her phone interlocutor in a high-pitched voice: “I am not prieta!” (prieta is a popular synonym for black) “I am not prieta!” The social worker turned to Isar and said, “You see? That is related to what you study.” The girl looked up to ask what theywere talking about. Isar explained she was conducting a study about racism in schools. “I am not racist,” she said, “but this guy is calling me prieta and I am not prieta!”

These two events—a young girl’s rejection of a black identity and a school official’s unawareness of the history of slavery in her community—might seem apparently unrelated. However, this article maintains that the silencing of slavery and the distancing of individuals from blackness are, in fact, key interdependent manifestations of the ideology of race mixture (mestizaje) in Afro-Latin America.

Researchers of national ideologies of mestizaje in Latin America and the Caribbean have underscored how notions of race mixture operate within very specific structures of power that often exclude blacks, deny racism, and invalidate demands for social justice against discrimination (cf. Burdick 1992; Hale 1999; Helg 1995; Price 1999; Whitten and Torres 1998; Wright 1990). Scholars have pointed out, for example, that the celebration of racial mixture through an ideology of mestizaje serves to distance Afro-Latinos from blackness through the process of blanqueamiento, or “whitening.” They have also highlighted the ways in which the idea of mestizaje is mobilized as evidence for national ideologies of racial democracy that claim that because the majority of the population is mixed, “race” and racism are almost nonexistent in these societies (cf. Betances 1972; Hanchard 1994; Sawyer 2006; Telles 2004; Wade 1997). This article contributes to this literature by arguing that one important, albeit underexplored, area of inquiry for understanding the social reproduction of such national ideologies in Afro-Latin America is the “containment” or “taming” of the history of slavery. Specifically,we maintain that national ideologies of mestizaje in Latin America, and particularly in the Hispanic Caribbean, are sustained by dominant politics of public representation that silence, trivialize, and simplify the history of slavery and its contemporary effects.

Slavery is a thorny, problematic topic for nation building projects. Although ideas of slavery, “race,” modernity, colonialism, capitalism, and nationalism are historically and conceptually bound (see Anibal Quijano in Santiago-Valles  2003:218), Western narratives about the past produce their legitimacy precisely by silencing those connections (Trouillot 1995). National discourses of mestizaje in Afro-LatinAmerica are no exception. Thus,we argue that one important mechanism through which discourses of mestizaje deny legitimacy to experiences of racism and to the affirmation of black identities is by silencing the historical connections between slavery and contemporary racial disparities.

Depending on how the history of this period is told, slavery can destabilize nationalist representations that celebrate mixture and the so-called whitening of the nation from various standpoints. To evoke slavery is to recognize that one racial segment of the population used “race” to exploit and dehumanize another sector of the population for more than 300 years in the Americas. Racial mixture did take place during this time, but mostly through violent means, such as rape, which provide little motive for celebrating mestizaje. Furthermore, the history—not just of men and women in bondage but also of the large and vibrant communities that were formed by free people of color during the slave period—challenges nationalist renditions of history that belittle the impact of African heritage in Puerto Rico and elsewhere. Finally, an awareness of the socioeconomic legacies of the system of slavery on contemporary society can serve to challenge “colorblind” arguments that characterize black people’s failures in the socioeconomic order as the result of a lack of individual achievement, and not as the product of historical–structural inequalities.Understanding the history of slavery, its long-termeconomic and ideological repercussions repercussions, elucidates the roots of contemporary racial inequalities and related racial identities. Addressing the ideological effects of slavery can thus challenge nationalist premises of celebrated mixture, desired blanqueamiento, and declared colorblindness by bringing to the fore the tensions, cracks, and dissonances of nations that are not as harmonious, whitened, or democratic as discourses of mestizaje would suggest…

Read or purchase the article here.

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“A Class of People Neither Freemen nor Slaves”: From Spanish to American Race Relations in Florida, 1821-1861

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2012-05-01 01:27Z by Steven

“A Class of People Neither Freemen nor Slaves”: From Spanish to American Race Relations in Florida, 1821-1861

Journal of Social History
Volume 26, Number 3 (Spring, 1993)
pages 587-609

Daniel L. Schafer, Professor of History emeritus
University of North Florida

This essay examines the status of free blacks in Florida, focusing on the transition from mild and flexible three-caste race policies under the Spanish prior to their departure in 1821 to the harsh and rigid two-caste policies brought by the Americans. Comparison of Cuba and East Florida shows that Spain followed parallel policies in these two colonies, yet the status of free blacks in Cuba plummeted after 1800 while their counterparts in East Florida retained their places in a seignorial caste system. Local conditions rather than metropolitan laws, institutions, and religions explain these divergences. Free blacks who remained in Florida after 1821 saw their rights decline sharply. By 1829 a rigidly discriminatory two-caste policy was in place that severely restricted future manumissions. Implementation of the new laws was effectively circumvented until the 1850s, however, as the local plantation elites, mostly holdovers from the Spanish era and fathers of free mulatto children, monopolized political offices and ignored two-caste race policies in favor of their older traditions. Case studies drawn from local records explore the fate of free blacks caught in this transition. In the 1850s cotton and lumber prices escalated along with political controversies; white supremacist attitudes and policies became the general will. Were elderly women in the past by definition dependent on their family and on charity, or was it possible for these women to build up an independent living to some extent? Research into the place of women within the household is one of the methods to gain insight into the degree of independence of elderly women. Research has shown that the elderly (women and men) did not necessarily have a dependent position within the household. A large proportion of the elderly headed their own households. This article deals with the composition of households of elderly women in the Dutch capital Amsterdam in the second half of the nineteenth century. It analyses whether elderly women could retain their independence within the household to some extent. The degree of independence is related to the position within the household, i.e. whether these women were members or heads of a household. The main source used to reconstitute the households of elderly women is the population register of Amsterdam of the period 1851-1892.

Read the entire article here.

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Frau Doktor Nancy Stafford of Georgia: From Slave to Physician

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Women on 2012-05-01 00:05Z by Steven

Frau Doktor Nancy Stafford of Georgia: From Slave to Physician

The African Diaspora Archaeology Newsletter
March 2009
ISSN: 1933-8651
95 pages

Mary R. Bullard

Tracy Moxhay Castle

Chapter 1

In 1850 a cotton planter named Robert Stafford fathered a daughter (later named Cornelia) by a woman named “Juda.” Three years later Juda bore him a second daughter (later named Nancy). On an inventory made for Stafford’s tax records they were simply young females, listed only by age, not by name or family. One was six years old, the other was nine years old. They were the only female mulattos in their age group. All the others in their age group were black. “Mulatto” indicated to the county tax assessor that, in this case, their father was a white man.

Their first appearance in the historical record was in an 1860 inventory in Camden County, Georgia. It was a slave inventory. They were slaves because Juda was a slave.

These events were not so unusual on the southern plantations of the United States, but ensuing developments were remarkable. This paper focuses upon Nancy’s life, for she grew up to follow a career. It was an unusual one for an African-American girl born before the Civil War. Considering that she was born of a slave mother, her choice of career was downright incredible. The child grew up to became a physician, to practice in Europe. She died in 1933. The location of her grave is unknown. Although her descendants told us she was buried in London, no confirming evidence has appeared.

The story is also one of Robert Stafford, an independent thinker, who did not follow the usual pattern of slave master. Nonetheless, he was a southerner and a Georgian. The location of his plantation is important for it throws some light upon the special circumstances of Nancy Stafford’s life. The people with whom Robert Stafford grew up were unenthusiastic about slave ownership, although its usefulness for them was absolute…

Read the entire article here.

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