Rutgers Takes a Yearlong Look at Race, Place and Space in the Americas

Rutgers Takes a Yearlong Look at Race, Place and Space in the Americas

Rutgers Today
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Carrie Stetler

History professors Ann Fabian, left, and Mia Bay have been awarded a $175,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to explore how place has impacted the role of race in the Americas.

Mia Bay’s mother always thought it was odd that on a plane trip in the 1950s, she just happened to be seated next to the only other black person on the flight.

Bay, director of the Rutgers Center for Race and Ethnicity, didn’t think much of her mother’s story, until she began researching her upcoming book about segregated transportation in the United States.

“No one ever talks about segregation on planes, but I found there was a secret code used to make sure that all black people sat in the same row,” she says.

For Bay, the little known history of airline segregation illustrates the ways in which  definitions of race, and the experiences of racial minorities, have differed from place to place—whether it’s a city block, a railroad car, or an airplane.

“America’s racial maps have always been complex and contradictory, subject to changing laws and shifting borders.” —Ann Fabian

“Who is black and who is white is decided by different calculations, in different places; as is who is Indian and who is not,” says Bay, a professor of history in the School of Arts and Sciences (SAS)  “The racial classification of many ethnic groups changes over time; and some societies adopt multiracial categories, while others do not.”…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , ,