Andrea Levy: In her own words

Posted in Audio, Autobiography, Interviews, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2020-02-10 15:56Z by Steven

Andrea Levy: In her own words

BBC Radio 4
2020-02-08, 20:00Z
57 minutes

Produced by Melissa FitzGerald & Sarah O’Reilly

Andrea Levy, alongside friends and family, speaks candidly about her writing life and her impending death.

Profiling the life and work of Andrea Levy, the best-selling author of Small Island, who died in February 2019.

Speaking on condition that the recording would only be released after her death, Andrea Levy gave an in-depth interview to oral historian Sarah O’Reilly for the British Library’s Authors’ Lives project in 2014. Drawing on this recording, along with comments from friends, family and collaborators, this programme explores Levy’s changing attitude towards her history and her heritage and how it is intimately bound up with her writing.

Andrea Levy grew up in North London in the 1960s, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants. Her father Winston came to Britain in 1948 on the Empire Windrush, and her mother Amy arrived six months later. At home, Jamaica was never discussed. Levy recalls how her parents believed that, in order to get on in this country they should live quietly and not make a fuss, and the silence around race in the family home haunted her throughout her life: “I have dreams now where I sit down with my parents and we talk about the difficulty of being a black person in a white country. But at the time? No help whatsoever.”

A significant day arrived when she attended a racism awareness course in her workplace in the 1980s. Staff were asked to split into two groups. “I walked over to the white side of the room. But my fellow workers had other ideas and I found myself being beckoned over by people on the black side. I crossed the floor. It was a rude awakening. It sent me to bed for a week.”…

For more information, click here. Listen to the interview (00:56:42) here.

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Aaron McDuffie Moore: An African American Physician, Educator, and Founder of Durham’s Black Wall Street

Posted in Biography, Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs, United States on 2020-02-10 15:54Z by Steven

Aaron McDuffie Moore: An African American Physician, Educator, and Founder of Durham’s Black Wall Street

University of North Carolina Press
May 2020
280 pages
6.125 x 9.25
45 halftones, 1 figure, notes, bibl., index
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-5585-7

Blake Hill-Saya, Classical Musician and Creative Writer
Los Angeles, California

Foreword by:

G. K. Butterfield, United States Representative
North Carolina, 1st District

Afterword by:

C. Eileen Watts Welch, President and CEO
Durham Colored Library, Inc., Durham, North Carolina

Aaron McDuffie Moore (1863–1923) was born in rural Columbus County in eastern North Carolina at the close of the Civil War. Defying the odds stacked against an African American of this era, he pursued an education, alternating between work on the family farm and attending school. Moore originally dreamed of becoming an educator and attended notable teacher training schools in the state. But later, while at Shaw University, he followed another passion and entered Leonard Medical School. Dr. Moore graduated with honors in 1888 and became the first practicing African American physician in the city of Durham, North Carolina. He went on to establish the Durham Drug Company and the Durham Colored Library; spearhead and run Lincoln Hospital, the city’s first secular, freestanding African American hospital; cofound North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company; help launch Rosenwald schools for African American children statewide; and foster the development of Durham’s Hayti community.

Dr. Moore was one-third of the mighty “Triumvirate” alongside John Merrick and C. C. Spaulding, credited with establishing Durham as the capital of the African American middle class in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and founding Durham’s famed Black Wall Street. His legacy can still be seen on the city streets and country backroads today, and an examination of his life provides key insights into the history of Durham, the state, and the nation during Reconstruction and the beginning of the Jim Crow Era.

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When Stuart Hall was White

Posted in Articles, Biography, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2020-02-10 15:22Z by Steven

When Stuart Hall was White

Public Books
2017-01-23

James Vernon, Professor of History
University of California, Berkeley


Dawoud Bey, Stuart Hall (1998)

I do not recall when I discovered that Stuart Hall was black. Growing up in Britain as neoliberalism first began to take shape under the rule of Margaret Thatcher, I found that Hall’s work helped me comprehend what was happening to the world around me. I think I began reading him with “The Great Moving Right Show,” an article published in Marxism Today, the ecumenical and “reform”-minded journal of the Communist Party of Great Britain, in January 1979. It is the piece now celebrated as having named “Thatcherism” as a new political formation. Thatcherism, he argued, represented a new type of politics, one that had mobilized a populist revolt to Make Britain Great Again by running it like a business and stopping immigration. It is strangely unnerving to read it again now. Later that year Hall became a professor of sociology at the Open University and began to appear regularly on its television programs designed (in the era before profit-seeking online classes) for their distance learning, nontraditional, students. It was probably on one of those superb programs, no doubt several years later, that I first saw and heard Stuart Hall.

In retrospect, it is not surprising that I had once assumed Hall was white. Growing up in the countryside as a white middle-class boy, people of color were almost completely absent from my life. I suspect that I was not the only person to imagine he was white. There has long been a way of narrating Hall’s life and work that erases his formation in Jamaica as a colonial subject and a black man. It is a narrative that claims him as part of the British canon, as probably the country’s most influential social and cultural theorist of the late 20th century. It is a narrative that was rehearsed in many of the obituaries that followed his death in 2014.

In this telling, Hall’s life begins when he arrives on the shores of Albion dressed like an English gentleman and goes up to Oxford University to study English literature. It continues with Hall, while writing a PhD on Henry James, beginning to forge, alongside other students there like Raphael Samuel and Charles Taylor, a New Left attuned to the changed social and cultural conditions of Britain in the 1950s. The big question for Britain’s New Left was if or how culture mattered in shaping the working class. For Hall and many of his comrades, the urtexts for thinking through this question were Richard Hoggart’s The Uses of Literacy (1957), Raymond Williams’s Culture and Society (1958), and E. P. Thompson’s The Making of the English Working Class (1963)…

Read the entire article here.

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Why Some Black Puerto Ricans Choose ‘White’ on the Census

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, United States on 2020-02-10 01:58Z by Steven

Why Some Black Puerto Ricans Choose ‘White’ on the Census

The New York Times
2020-02-09

Natasha S. Alford


A bomba dance class at the Corporación Piñones Se Integra community center in Loíza, P.R.
Erika P. Rodriguez for The New York Times

The island has a long history of encouraging residents to identify as white, but there are growing efforts to raise awareness about racism.

LOÍZA, P.R. — A dozen dancers wearing bright, colorful ankle-length skirts gathered around five wooden drums. Their shoulders and hips pulsed with the percussion, an upbeat, African-inspired rhythm.

Loíza, a township founded by formerly enslaved Africans, is one of the many places in Puerto Rico where African-inspired traditions like the bomba dance workshop at the Corporación Piñones se Integra community center thrive.

But that doesn’t mean all of the people who live there would necessarily call themselves black.

More than three-quarters of Puerto Ricans identified as white on the last census, even though much of the population on the island has roots in Africa. That number is down from 80 percent 20 years ago, but activists and demographers say it is still inaccurate and they are working to get more Puerto Ricans of African descent to identify as black on the next census in an effort to draw attention to the island’s racial disparities…

Read the entire article here.

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The importance of learning to style my multiracial son’s hair

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2020-02-10 01:38Z by Steven

The importance of learning to style my multiracial son’s hair

The Washington Post
2020-02-05

Nevin Martell


Nevin Martell and his son, Zephyr. (Indira Martell)

When I look at my son, Zephyr, I see a blend of his mother and me. His golden caramel skin is made with her browned butter and my heavy cream and white sugar. Both of us lent him elements for his face — her smile, my eyes. When he makes jokes, I hear echoes of myself, but when he laughs, it reminds me of my wife. He got her speed and my endurance.

Despite my paternal desire to see a piece of me in every part of him, soon after his birth I became convinced that somehow my genes played no role in the creation of his hair. He got that solely from his mother, whose tightly coiled curls require patient care and attention. All her diligent work pays off. From buns to braids to an Afro — whatever style she chooses elicits compliments. I have a head of straight strands, requiring little maintenance and styled in a fashion my barber calls a disconnected cut, which is appropriate given how little thought I give it.

As it began to grow into its curl pattern, Zephyr’s hair became less and less like my own. Though I tried, I never seemed to be able to dress or style it in the way he preferred. So, for the first few years of his life, it became solely his mother’s purview. Whenever it needed to be done, I would throw up my hands like a sitcom father from another era and exasperatedly declare to my wife, “You take care of it, because I can’t do it!”

“You’re perfectly capable,” she would always admonish me as she deftly coaxed his curls into place. “It’s not rocket science.”…

Read the entire article here.

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