From Mississippi to Chicago to Belarus, ancestors guide her way

Posted in Articles, Biography, Europe, Media Archive, United States on 2019-10-07 01:56Z by Steven

From Mississippi to Chicago to Belarus, ancestors guide her way

Berkeley News
Berekeley, California
2019-10-03

Gretchen Kell, Director of Special Projects and Outreach
Office of Communications and Public Affairs
University of California, Berkeley

Tina Sacks, assistant professor of social welfare
“My ancestors give me a sense of profound empathy and also a sense that humans have dealt with racism, xenophobia, for so long. … It makes me both deeply sad and activated to try and do whatever I can to interrupt that,” says Tina Sacks, assistant professor of social welfare. (Photo by Carlos Javier Ortiz)

During the 400th anniversary of the arrival of enslaved Africans to the English colonies, we’re highlighting members of the campus community whose personal stories, often marked by racism and discrimination, inform their life’s work. We begin with Tina Sacks, UC Berkeley assistant professor of social welfare, who tells of the struggles, self-determination and achievements of her African American and Jewish ancestors.

“Like many young people, when I was growing up I didn’t think much about my mother’s origins. I knew she was from Mississippi, and she had a strong Southern accent, but it washed over me. Most of the black people I knew in Chicago sounded like her, because the vast majority of them were Southerners who were part of the Great Migration.

My mom, Bette Parks Sacks, was born in 1939 and came of age at a difficult time. She was the middle child of 10 kids; one was stillborn, and her brother died when he was only 7 years old. When she was 13, her mother, Lucille, died. My grandfather, J.B. Parks, and his family were sharecroppers in the town of Walnut, about an hour south of the Mississippi/Tennessee border. My mom talked all the time about their deep, deep poverty, the hunger, the cold. She talked all the time about being hungry and cold. She didn’t have shoes — she may have had one pair of shoes a year, but often walked barefoot. By the time she was 6, she was picking cotton and could drag 100 pounds of it behind her. She described having a long burlap bag that she put cotton in. It hooked around her arm and trailed behind her. Sometimes, in the fields, it was so hot that she said she’d literally vomit, and then just keep going…

…The story of my dad, Stanley, is also one of movement. His people were Jewish and came from a different part of the world. They’re less known to me, because my father doesn’t know much about them. But I was very close to my dad’s mother, Dora. She did not read or write in English. Yiddish was her first language. Once I learned to drive, I would take her to the grocery store, and she had her list written in Yiddish. I heard bits and pieces about her life in the Old Country, now probably Belarus, in a shtetl outside of Minsk. As a teenager, she survived many programs [pogroms?]  before World War II that essentially were ethnic cleansing, and she once hid in a barn under hay for a week while soldiers looted and burned. She was 19 when she came to the U.S. on a ship with my paternal grandfather. They had met in Belarus, but got married here. Many of my grandmother’s relatives died in the camps during World War II. She never saw her parents again. But she would never talk about it. Only once she spoke about one of her cousins, whose infant was shot by an SS guard in front of her, and she is said to have died of a heart attack, right there…

Read the entire article here.

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Archive Fever

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2019-10-07 01:23Z by Steven

Archive Fever

Bookforum
2019-10-03

Tiana Reid, Ph.D. Candidate
Department of English and Comparative Literature
Columbia University, New York, New York

Autobiography and archival research collide in Hazel Carby’s memoir

Imperial Intimacies: A Tale of Two Islands by Hazel V. Carby. Verso. 416 pages. $29.

“Are we going to burn it?” A question about the fate of the future concludes Hazel Carby’s Race Men (1998), a powerful academic book about suffocating representations of black American masculinities based on a lecture the author delivered at Harvard. In her newest book, Carby is already burnt, the result of a smoldered past. “Imperial Intimacies is a very British story,” she writes in the preface. It is also her story: about growing up after World War II, about her childhood in the area now known as South London, about the family histories of her white Welsh mother and black Jamaican father, about, in all, the public and private agonies of imperialism and colonialism.

Probing the auto-historical, Carby studies her parents’ experiences in Jamaica and the United Kingdom, the “two islands” of the book’s subtitle. Her parents’ islands are connected not only by biological reproduction or a chance romance but also by the entanglement of ideologies. Her familial research at the National Archives of Jamaica and the United Kingdom offers at the same time a glimpse into the machinery of colonialism: the vexing racial iconography of postwar Britain, the psychic drains of poverty, the endlessness of wartime…

Read the entire review here.

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There Will Be No More Daughters, Poems

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Forthcoming Media, Latino Studies, Poetry, United States, Women on 2019-10-07 01:03Z by Steven

There Will Be No More Daughters, Poems

Northwestern University Press
2019-10-15
120 pages
Trim size 6 x 9
Trade Paper ISBN: 978-1-941423-03-5

Christine Larusso

At once sharp and tender, this debut collection from Christine Larusso (winner of the Madeleine P. Plonsker Emerging Writers Residency Prize) overflows with all the sorrows and ecstasies, the violations and acts of revenge, of girlhood and women’s coming-of-age. Set against the landscape of Southern California, where wide, wild expanses mingle with segregated sprawl, written from the viewpoint of a woman in a multiracial family, There Will Be No More Daughters has one foot planted in the firm realities of patriarchal domination, racial unbelonging, sex, death, and intergenerational alcoholism—and another in vivid flights of dream and dissociation.

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A Death in Harlem, A Novel

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Novels, Passing, United States on 2019-10-07 00:44Z by Steven

A Death in Harlem, A Novel

TriQuarterly Books (an imprint of Northwestern University Press)
2019-09-15
248 pages
Trim size 6 x 9
Trade Paper ISBN: 978-0-8101-4081-3
E-Book ISBN: 978-0-8101-4082-0

Karla FC Holloway, James. B. Duke Professor Emerita of English and Law
Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

In A Death in Harlem, famed scholar Karla FC Holloway weaves a mystery in the bon vivant world of the Harlem Renaissance. Taking as her point of departure the tantalizingly ambiguous “death by misadventure” at the climax of Nella Larsen’s Passing, Holloway accompanies readers to the sunlit boulevards and shaded sidestreets of Jazz Age New York. A murder there will test the mettle, resourcefulness, and intuition of Harlem’s first “colored” policeman, Weldon Haynie Thomas.

Clear glass towers rising in Manhattan belie a city where people are often not what they seem. For some here, identity is a performance of passing—passing for another race, for another class, for someone safe to trust. Thomas’s investigation illuminates the societies and secret societies, the intricate code of manners, the world of letters, and the broad social currents of 1920s Harlem.

A Death in Harlem is an exquisitely crafted, briskly paced, and impeccably stylish journey back to a time still remembered as a peak of American glamour. It introduces Holloway as a fresh voice in storytelling, and Weldon Haynie Thomas as an endearing and unforgettable detective.

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Coloring Racial Fluidity: How Skin Tone Shapes Multiracial Adolescents’ Racial Identity Changes

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing, Social Science, United States on 2019-10-07 00:13Z by Steven

Coloring Racial Fluidity: How Skin Tone Shapes Multiracial Adolescents’ Racial Identity Changes

Race and Social Problems
First Online: 2019-09-30
9 pages
DOI: 10.1007/s12552-019-09269-w

Robert L. Reece, Assistant Professor of Sociology
The University of Texas, Austin

Research on racial fluidity has become increasingly common as researchers seek to understand the ways and reasons people change their racial identifications and/or are perceived differently over time and across contexts. Concurrently, researchers have deepened their investigations of the attitudinal and identity aspects of “color,” that is the ways that people’s racial and political attitudes vary based on skin tone among members of the same racial group, particularly black Americans. This paper attempts to blend research on racial fluidity and color into an exploration of adolescent racial identity formation. I examine the effect skin tone on the likelihood and type of racial identity change among multiracial black adolescents as they transition into adulthood. My results reveal that lighter skinned adolescents are more likely to change their identification to a non-black single race, while darker skinned adolescents are more likely to change their identification to black only.

Read the entire article here.

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