Liana by Martha Gellhorn (1944)

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Women on 2019-04-18 19:30Z by Steven

Liana by Martha Gellhorn (1944)

Literary Ladies Guide: Inspiration for Readers and Writers from Classic Women Authors

Taylor Jasmine

Liana by Martha Gellhorn

Martha Gellhorn was married to Ernest Hemingway when Liana, her fifth novel, was published in 1944. She had already made quite a name for herself as a war correspondent by that point and it rankled her to be described as “Mrs. Ernest Hemingway” in reviews of her books.

Though her fiction varied in its quality and critical acclaim, her book of linked stories titled The Trouble I’ve Seen (1936), based on her actual observations as a journalist during the Depression, earned her a great deal of respect.

Her brief marriage to Hemingway was already in jeopardy the year that Liana appeared. In her capacity as a war correspondent, Gellhorn wanted to cover the action, wherever it happened to be…

…The story centers on Liana, who is described as a mulatto, or what we now call mixed-race. She marries Marc Royer, a wealthy white man on a fictional French Caribbean island called Saint Boniface.

For his part, he marries her mainly to spite another woman, and so, Liana is marked by a kind of tragedy in this sense, becoming a prisoner in his home, and a partner to a man who doesn’t fully love her…

Read the entire review here.

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I don’t need a DNA test to tell me that I come from everywhere. Creoles are the original American racial mélange of black and European — French and Spanish mostly — and frequently Native American.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-04-18 01:14Z by Steven

I don’t need a DNA test to tell me that I come from everywhere. Creoles are the original American racial mélange of black and European — French and Spanish mostly — and frequently Native American. But this mélange has hardly been celebrated. Instead, it was the measuring stick for the limits to which Jim Crow laws had to go to police racial lines in Louisiana and the wider South (see one-drop rule, tragic mulatto, Plessy v. Ferguson). Creole multiracialism has been viewed not as quintessentially American but as something that undermines what quintessentially American should mean. Both blacks and whites viewed Creoles with special contempt and more than a little suspicion, as if we were trying to join a club we could never belong to, because of our color.

Erin Aubry Kaplan, “I Don’t Need a DNA Test to Tell Me How Black I Am,” The New York Times, April 16, 2019.

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Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Novels on 2019-04-18 01:07Z by Steven


Charles Scribner’s Sons
285 pages

Martha Gellhorn (1908-1998)

Her Color Was No BarrierTo Men

A French-owned island of the Caribbean is the setting for a haunting story of the tragedy of a marriage between a lovely, untutored mulatto and a rich, lonely white man. He has married her to spite the woman he wants and lovesand has failed; he has reaped ridicule where he had had envy. Then comes on the scene a bitter young French refugee, in love with his last century, detached from the pitfulls and vices of a trepical island community. More hires him to teach Lianahe leaves then to their own devices—and then is startled into jealous suspicion when infidelity is whispered. The thought is fertile seedand emotional complications confuse the issues of young Pierra’s desire to serve his country. A tragic ending sounds the inevitable finals to an impasse. Simply told, with emotional undertones. —Kirkus Reviews

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Mixed Up: ‘Being white-passing has definitely entitled me to privileges’

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, Passing, United Kingdom on 2019-04-18 00:51Z by Steven

Mixed Up: ‘Being white-passing has definitely entitled me to privileges’

Natalie Morris, Senior lifestyle Writer

Siobhan Lawless
(Picture by Jerry Syder for

Siobhan Lawless is a writer. She is Jamaican and Irish, with east and south Asian elements thrown in for good measure.

‘My mum is second generation Jamaican and my dad second generation Irish – although my great grandparents on my mum’s side are also part Indian and Chinese,’ Siobhan tells

‘On dad’s side, nana is from Longford and grandpa was from County Galway in Ireland. On mum’s, grandma and grandad are from St Catherine’s and St Elizabeth, parish towns in Jamaica.

‘Both sides of my family came from large households and farming backgrounds. They came to England as immigrants in their teens and early twenties, hoping Britain would open up more opportunities for their children – even though this move came with its own challenges.’…

…For so many mixed-race people, where you fit in the world depends on how other people perceive you. For Siobhan, her lighter skin places her closer to whiteness, but there are complications alongside the privilege….

Read the entire article here.

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Passing, Identity and Race

Posted in Audio, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-04-18 00:32Z by Steven

Passing, Identity and Race

New York, New York

WNYC Newsroom

When Anita Florence Hemmings applied to attend Vassar College in upstate New York in 1893, she did not disclose her racial identity to the school. She passed as a white student for years before eventually being outed as a black woman shortly before graduation, after her white roommate’s family hired a private detective to investigate her background.

“Even though Vassar allows her to graduate after she’s been outed to the (college) president, she becomes the subject of a national scandal,” Vassar film professor Mia Mask told WNYC’s Jami Floyd. “And she’s worried that she will be unemployable after her time at Vassar.”

Now, Hemmings’s story is helping to launch a deeper conversation at the college. The conference, Quiet As It’s Kept; Passing Subjects, Contested Identities, runs from Friday Apr. 5 through Sunday Apr. 7.

For the professors coordinating the event, the topic spins off related discussions.

“Part of what happens when we start talking about passing and how we perform our identities is that we also get into a conversation about authenticity,” said English professor Hiram Perez. “It also brings us into this complex conversation about the different ways that we police one another.”

The conference is slated to include presentations about many forms of passing pertaining to race, sexuality, gender, ability, religion, and class.

Listen to the story (00:07:56) here.

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Belgium has apologised for its abuse of mixed race children – it’s time for Ireland to do the same

Posted in Articles, Europe, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Work on 2019-04-18 00:03Z by Steven

Belgium has apologised for its abuse of mixed race children – it’s time for Ireland to do the same


Charlie Brinkhurst Cuff

Image via Métis Association of Belgium / Facebook

The apology from Belgium’s prime minister, Charles Michel, for the segregation, kidnapping and trafficking of as many as 20,000 mixed-race children in the Congo, Burundi and Rwanda, is long overdue. Forcibly taken from Africa to Belgium between 1959 and 1962, métis children born in the 1940s and 50s were left stateless. If you’re not aware of the atrocities of colonialism (Belgium was responsible for the deaths of between 10 to 15 million Africans), this type of identity-destroying abuse might feel hard to comprehend – especially situated in such recent history. But in the UK, we have our own unresolved issues with the treatment of dual heritage children slightly closer to home: in Ireland.

The correlations between the cases are striking. In Belgian colonies, many métis were brought up in Catholic institutions or orphanages, away from family and sometimes removed from where they were born. “These children posed a problem. To minimise the problem they kidnapped these children starting at the age of two… The Belgian government and the missionaries believed that these children would be subjected to major problems,” Francois Milliex, the director of the Métis Association of Belgium, told RFI.

Similarly, in Ireland, it has been documented that mixed-race children were left to rot in mother and baby homes and industrial schools in the 1940s to 60s. The Catholic Church was involved – nuns and priests would often run the homes and schools. “To be Irish was to be Roman Catholic. To be Roman Catholic was to be Irish,” says Rosemary Adaser, who co-founded the Mixed Race Irish campaign and support group for victims of the homes and schools. “It wasn’t uncommon for the Roman Catholic Church to send over its priests to the Irish community in London and give them lessons in morality.”…

Read the entire article here.

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