The Complicated History Behind BeyoncĂ©’s Discovery About the ‘Love’ Between Her Slave-Owning and Enslaved Ancestors

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2018-08-13 23:30Z by Steven

The Complicated History Behind BeyoncĂ©’s Discovery About the ‘Love’ Between Her Slave-Owning and Enslaved Ancestors

TIME
2018-08-10

Arica L. Coleman

The Life of Sally Hemings exhibit at Monticello is pictured on June 16, 2018 in Charlottesville, Va. (Photo by /For The Washington Post via Getty Images)
The Life of Sally Hemings exhibit at Monticello is pictured on June 16, 2018 in Charlottesville, Va. (Photo by /For The Washington Post via Getty Images) Eze Amos—The Washington Post/Getty Images

With Beyoncé’s appearance on the cover of the September issue of Vogue, the magazine highlights three facets of the superstar’s character for particular focus: “Her Life, Her Body, Her Heritage.” The words she shares are deeply personal, and that last component also offers a window into a complicated and misunderstood dynamic that affects all of American history. While opening up about her family’s long history of dysfunctional marital relationships, she hints at an antebellum relationship that defies that trend: “I researched my ancestry recently,” she stated, “and learned that I come from a slave owner who fell in love with and married a slave.”

She doesn’t elaborate on how she made the discovery or what is known about those individuals, but fans will know that BeyoncĂ© Knowles-Carter is a native of Houston whose maternal and paternal forbears hailed from Louisiana and Alabama, respectively. Her characterization of her heritage stands out because those states, like others across the South, had stringent laws and penalties against interracial marriage. In fact, throughout the colonial and antebellum eras, interracial marriage would have been the exception — even though interracial sex was the rule…

Read the entire article here.

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The film “A United Kingdom” reminds us of the progress made with interracial marriage

Posted in Africa, Articles, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States on 2017-03-02 01:25Z by Steven

The film “A United Kingdom” reminds us of the progress made with interracial marriage

The State Press
Tempe, Arizona
2017-02-23

Guillermo Mijares, Political Reporter


Photo by Karen Ta | The State Press
“People shouldn’t be uncomfortable seeing an interracial couple.” Illustration published on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017.

I believe we are undoubtedly the most progressive generation so far. This past weekend I went to see a film that reminded me of that.

A United Kingdom” reminds us that it wasn’t too long ago that skin color was a barrier to overcome for some couples. In fact, it wasn’t until the year 2000 when the state of Alabama finally changed its decision and lifted the ban on the right to an interracial marriage in the state.

Just 55 years ago, Arizona repealed its ban on interracial marriages. Many of our parents lived to witness this repeal, yet we tend to forget this unfortunate part of history.

This film reminds us that a visual image today of an interracial couple is almost entirely a non-issue, certainly among millennials. As a college student at ASU, I witness many interracial couples daily, which is something past generations could not witness.

Despite the flaws our world has when it comes to race relations, I believe people, especially younger people and students, are leading the way to a more accepting society…

…Though the film addressed a racial issue, it wouldn’t address why people were so uncomfortable seeing an interracial couple.

Author and Time magazine contributor Arica L. Coleman Ph.D, said that this has been an on-going problem with the film industry.

She said she gives credit to the industry for highlighting important and progressive moments in historical films, but she also finds a problem in those same films for not presenting the full picture to the public when it comes down to race.

“They are problematic — they sell an illusion — and a problem I have with the topic of interracial marriage is the whole notion of using interracial marriage as a sign of progress with race, but it also can be used as an eraser,” she said. “Also, just like most of the time with Hollywood, it’s almost always the black man with the exotic white woman, which continues to show that the lack for black women is still present.”…

Read the entire article here.

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That the Blood Stay Pure: African Americans, Native Americans, and the Predicament of Race and Identity in Virginia [Smithers Review]

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States, Virginia on 2016-12-16 00:50Z by Steven

That the Blood Stay Pure: African Americans, Native Americans, and the Predicament of Race and Identity in Virginia [Smithers Review]

Journal of American History
Volume 103, Issue 3, December 2016
pages 742-743
DOI: 10.1093/jahist/jaw364

That the Blood Stay Pure: African Americans, Native Americans, and the Predicament of Race and Identity in Virginia By Arica L. Coleman. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2013. xxiv, 300 pp. $45.00.)

Gregory D. Smithers, Associate Professor of History
Virginia Commonwealth University

Few Virginians have negatively affected the Old Dominion more than Walter Ashby Plecker. In his role as registrar of Virginia’s Bureau of Vital Statistics, a position he held from 1912 to 1946, Plecker oversaw a campaign to preserve the racial “purity” of Virginia’s white population and divide African Americans, Native Americans, and Caucasians along a black-white binary. To that end, Plecker was not only evangelical in his calls for the separation of the races but was also one of the founding members of the Anglo-Saxon Clubs of America and, with John Powell and Earnest Sevier Cox, played a pivotal role…

Read or purchase the review here.

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The White and Black Worlds of Loving v. Virginia

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing, United States, Virginia on 2016-11-05 01:30Z by Steven

The White and Black Worlds of Loving v. Virginia

TIME
2016-11-04

Arica L. Coleman


AP Photo
Richard and Mildred Loving on this Jan. 26, 1965, prior to filing a suit at Federal Court in Richmond, Va.

Richard and Mildred Loving—the couple who inspired the new film Loving—lived in a world where race was not simply binary

Hollywood interpretations of true events always take some liberties with the truth, but the new film Loving—based on the intriguing story of Richard and Mildred Loving, the plaintiffs of the case Loving v. the Commonwealth of Virginia—adheres relatively closely to the historical account. Writer-director Jeff Nichols’ two-hour film chronicles the nine-year saga of the couple’s courtship, marriage, arrest, banishment and Supreme Court triumph in 1967, which declared state proscriptions against interracial marriage unconstitutional.

The film also, however, sticks close to popular myths that have dogged the case for decades, particularly by contextualizing the story within a black/white racial binary—when in fact Richard and Mildred Loving are prime examples of the way such lines have long been blurred…

Read the entire article here.

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What You Didn’t Know About Loving v. Virginia

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, United States, Virginia on 2016-06-12 23:40Z by Steven

What You Didn’t Know About Loving v. Virginia

TIME
2016-06-10

Arica L. Coleman

The landmark civil rights Supreme Court case—which made it illegal to ban interracial marriage—was about more than black and white

When the Supreme Court heard arguments in the case Loving v. the Commonwealth of Virginia, defendants Richard and Mildred Loving chose not to appear in person. In 1958, they had been convicted for the felony of miscegenation. As lawyers presented their arguments, 17 states remained steadfast in their refusal to repeal such laws banning interracial marriages. But, though he did not attend the arguments, Richard sent a message to the justices: “Tell the Court I love my wife and it is just not fair that I cannot live with her in Virginia.”

The justices unanimously agreed. On June 12, 1967, proscriptions against interracial marriage were declared unconstitutional.

In the years since, the couple’s victory has often been seen as a touchstone in the fight for black civil rights. The Lovings’ lawyer’s assertion before the court that anti-miscegenation statutes were “ the most odious of the segregation laws and the slavery laws” reinforced this assumption. As historian Peter Wallenstein aptly stated in his book Tell the Court I Love My Wife, “There was no doubt in anybody’s mind as to the racial identities, white and black, of the people who claimed to be Mr. and Mrs. Loving.”

But the Lovings’ public persona was more myth than reality. While researching my book That the Blood Stay Pure: African Americans, Native Americans and the Predicament of Race and Identity in Virginia, I spoke to Mildred Loving, who died in 2008. “I am not black,” she told me during a 2004 interview. “I have no black ancestry. I am Indian-Rappahannock. I told the people so when they came to arrest me.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Who is Black? Who is Indian? State/Federal Acknowledgment and the Politics of Racial Purity

Posted in Law, Live Events, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2016-03-16 20:46Z by Steven

Who is Black? Who is Indian? State/Federal Acknowledgment and the Politics of Racial Purity

Arizona State University
West Hall, Room 135
Tempe, Arizona
2016-03-21, 16:30-18:00 MST (Local Time)

Arica Coleman, adjunct lecturer, Center for African Studies, Johns Hopkins University African and African American History, Widener University, will discuss the politics of racial purity in state and federal acknowledgement policies for American Indian populations with known or perceived black ancestry. Racial purity, as first defined by whites and later adopted by many tribal nations, means the absence of blackness, and remains an implicit aspect of the state and federal acknowledgement processes. It has proven troublesome to many tribes in the East where extensive interracial intimacies among blacks, whites and Indians occurred. Using case studies, Coleman will focus on the questions, how do notions of racial purity affect state and federal acknowledgement processes? How has it influenced historical and contemporary views of the social phenomena of Black–Indian relations, Black–Indian familial ties, and “Black Indian” identity?

This lecture is part of the African and African American Speakers series and is also sponsored by the Center for Indian Education in the School of Social Transformation.

For more information, click here. View the flyer here.

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Exploring the Political Exploitation of Blood Quantum in the U.S.

Posted in Articles, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Slavery, United States, Virginia on 2014-05-14 22:19Z by Steven

Exploring the Political Exploitation of Blood Quantum in the U.S.

Indian Country Today Media Network
2013-05-17

Vincent Schilling, Executive Vice President
Schilling Media, Inc.

Arica L. Coleman is an assistant professor of Black American Studies at the University of Delaware. She is African American and Native American (Rappahannock), which may help explain why she has conducted research for the past 12 years on what she calls the “intersections between Native American, African American and European peoples in the southeastern United States with a focus on the etymology of race, the ideology of racial purity and its historical and contemporary effects on racial and identity formation.” In non-academic terms, that means she has done a lot of thinking about the relations and interactions of blacks, Indians and whites on the East Coast, primarily in Virginia.

Coleman has turned her Ph.D. dissertation into an upcoming book, That the Blood Stay Pure: African Americans, Native Americans and the Predicament of Race and Identity in Virginia, and agreed to talk with ICTMN about her experiences as an African American woman who gets a lot of grief for also being an American Indian.

Wouldn’t you say that back in the day, American Indians and African Americans all went to the same parties?

Yes, we went to the same parties and we also worked the slave plantations together. This is what a lot of people do not understand when you talk about slavery. My African American brothers and sisters will have a problem with this because they like to look at slavery only in terms of black and white. The truth is—and specifically in Virginia—there was Indian slavery. The first slaves in the Americas were Native American and this business that the Native Americans died off as a result of disease and war [is inaccurate]—those were not the only reasons for their demise, there was the Indian slave trade, which is something we do not discuss a lot.

When you had people of African descent being brought across the Atlantic to the Americas, you also had Native American people throughout the Americas being dispersed throughout the world, including portions of South Africa and Angola. When you look at the records of the South—and specifically in Virginia—they talk about Indian, Negro and mulatto slaves…. From the 16th century through the 19th century, you had Native American peoples identified as Negro and as mulatto.

When you look in those records and see these terms you cannot automatically assume that these folks were African, because they could have been a mix of Native American or European as well. Racial labels have never been constant or used with consistency…

Read the entire interview here.

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That the Blood Stay Pure: African Americans, Native Americans, and the Predicament of Race and Identity in Virginia

Posted in Anthropology, Books, History, Law, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States, Virginia on 2014-05-14 00:42Z by Steven

That the Blood Stay Pure: African Americans, Native Americans, and the Predicament of Race and Identity in Virginia

Indiana University Press
2013
328 pages
12 b&w illustrations
6 x 9
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-253-01043-8

Arica L. Coleman, Assistant Professor of Black American Studies
University of Delaware

A Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2014

That the Blood Stay Pure traces the history and legacy of the commonwealth of Virginia’s effort to maintain racial purity and its impact on the relations between African Americans and Native Americans. Arica L. Coleman tells the story of Virginia’s racial purity campaign from the perspective of those who were disavowed or expelled from tribal communities due to their affiliation with people of African descent or because their physical attributes linked them to those of African ancestry. Coleman also explores the social consequences of the racial purity ethos for tribal communities that have refused to define Indian identity based on a denial of blackness. This rich interdisciplinary history, which includes contemporary case studies, addresses a neglected aspect of America’s long struggle with race and identity.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Foreword
  • Author’s Note
  • Introduction
  • Part 1: Historicizing Black—Indian Relations in Virginia
    • Prologue: Lingering at the Crossroads: African-Native American History and Kinship Lineage in Armstrong Archer’s A Compendium on Slavery
    • 1. Notes on the State of Virginia: Jeffersonian Thought and the Rise of Racial Purity Ideology in the Eighteenth Century
    • 2. Redefining Race and Identity: The Indian-Negro Confusion and the Changing State of Black-Indian Relations in the Nineteenth Century
    • 3. Race Purity and the Law: The Racial Integrity Act and Policing Black/Indian Identity in the Twentieth Century
    • 4. Denying Blackness: Anthropological Advocacy and the Remaking of the Virginia Indians (The Other Twentieth Century Project)
  • Part 2: Black-Indian Relations in the Present State of Virginia
    • 5. Beyond Black and White: Afro-Indian Identity in the case of Loving V. Virginia
    • 6. The Racial Integrity Fight: Confrontations of Race and Identity In Charles City County, Virginia
    • 7. Nottoway Indians, Afro-Indian Identity, and the Contemporary Dilemma of State Recognition
  • Epilogue: Afro-Indian Peoples of Virginia: The Indelible Thread of Black and Red
  • Appendix: Racial Integrity Act Text
  • Notes
  • Selected Bibliography
  • Index
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Ancestry DNA and the Manipulation of Afro-Indian Identity

Posted in Books, Chapter, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2012-02-15 16:19Z by Steven

Ancestry DNA and the Manipulation of Afro-Indian Identity

Chapter in:
The First and the Forced: Essays on the Native American and African American Experience
2007
285 pages
University of Kansas, Hall Center for the Humanities

Edited by James N. Leiker, Kim Warren, and Barbara Watkins

Chapter pages: pages 141-155

Arica L. Coleman, Assistant Professor of Black American Studies
Unverisity of Delaware

Arica Coleman explains the rise in popularity of Ancestry DNA testing to determine more clearly an ancestral past for African Americans and Native Americans. In this essay, she shows that claims made by commercial companies promising to provide missing evidence for African and indigenous origins are more exaggerated than current genetic technology can deliver. Promises that a DNA test can provide a verification of Native American tribal relationships or define a link to an African tribe are misleading. Coleman argues that Ancestry DNA results are largely based on speculation and can vary from one company to the next. She also asserts that in developing identities, a shared history and ancestral consciousness, including knowledge transmitted through oral history, culture, and daily activities, should not be replaced by genetic technologies.

Read the entire chapter here.

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Notes on the state of Virginia: Africans, Indians and the paradox of racial integrity

Posted in Dissertations, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Law, Native Americans/First Nation, United States, Virginia on 2011-07-11 00:19Z by Steven

Notes on the state of Virginia: Africans, Indians and the paradox of racial integrity

Union Institute and University
June 2005
277 pages
AAT 3196614
Publication Number: AAT 3196614
ISBN: 9780542425899

Arica L. Coleman, Assistant Professor of Black American Studies
Unverisity of Delaware

Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Arts and Sciences a Concentration in African American – Native American Relations at the Union Institute and University, Cincinnati, Ohio

W. E. B. Du Bois’s famous statement, ‘The problem of the twentieth-century is the problem of the color line,’ invokes images of the century’s racial antagonisms between Blacks and whites. However, racial antagonism in Virginia also occurred between African Americans and Amerindians, as the question regarding who was an Indian and who was a Negro became paramount to Amerindian survival. Central to this problem was the enforcement of a law the Virginia General Assembly passed on March 20, 1924, entitled ‘An Act to Preserve Racial Integrity.’ This legislation, the first such law to be passed in the United States, was the culmination of Virginia’s three hundred year campaign to insure the ‘purity’ of the white race. Racial purity, in early twentieth-century Virginia, was defined by the absence of African ancestry. Therefore, one could be of Indian-white admixture and remain racially pure. But an Indian-Black admixture, even one drop of black ‘blood,’ and one was transformed from pure to impure, and in jeopardy of being ethnically reclassified. By denying the historical relationship between African and Indian peoples in the Commonwealth, this paradox informed the state recognition process and helped many to successfully maintain their aboriginal status. However, the problem of the color line continues in the twenty-first century because racial integrity remains the dividing factor in African-Indian relations. The following discourse examines the changing state of African-Indian relations in Virginia from the Colonial period to the present. Chapter 1 provides a historical overview of the United States racial formation project in relation to Africans and Indians; chapter 2 examines Thomas Jefferson’s racial theories concerning African-Indian admixture, racial identity, and their influence on Virginia’s twentieth-century racial purity campaign; chapter 3 examines the historical relationship between African and Indians by tracing the Indian presence in the slave and free ‘colored’ populations of colonial and antebellum Virginia; chapter 4 examines the Racial Integrity Act of 1924, its impact on African-Indian relations, and the debate it provoked among such figures as W. E. B. Du Bois and Marcus Garvey; chapter 5 provides a critical analysis of twentieth-century anthropological advocates Frank Speck and Helen Rountree, their activism on behalf of the Virginia Tribes, and the ways their advocacy contributed to the racial integrity cause; chapter 6 is a case study which examines Central Point, Virginia, the home of Richard and Mildred Loving (Loving v Virginia), to interrogate race and self identity, namely the self identity of Mildred Loving as an Indian woman; the Epilogue examines the contemporary activism of Virginia residents of mixed African-Indian heritage whose alternative historical consciousness defies racial politics and promotes decolonization, reclamation and empowerment.

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgments
  • Preface
  • Chapters
    • 1. Introduction
    • 2. Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia Revisited
    • 3. The Changing State of African and Indian Relations in Virginia
    • 4. Towards State [Un] Recognition: Native Identity and the One Drop
    • 5. The Present State of Virginia Indians: The Predicament of Of Race and Culture
    • 6. “Tell The Court I Love My [Indian] Wife:” Interrogating Race and Self Identity in Loving v. Virginia
  • Epilogue – Coming Together: Decolonization and Empowerment, Reclaiming Ourselves
  • Appendices
    • A. An Act to Preserve Racial Integrity
    • B. Loving Marriage license
    • C. Weyanoke Holiday Card
    • Works Cited

Purchase the dissertation here.

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