Researchers seek fuller picture of first Africans in America

Posted in Africa, Articles, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United Kingdom, United States, Virginia on 2019-02-10 20:15Z by Steven

Researchers seek fuller picture of first Africans in America

The Associated Press
2019-02-07

Jesse J. Holland

Lee McBee
FILE – In this April 10, 2018, file photo, Historic Jamestowne staff archaeologist Lee McBee, right, shows artifacts to Carla Howe, of Gilmanton, N.H., left, and her children Caroline, second from left, and Grace, third from left, at the dig site of the Angelo slave house in Jamestown, Va. The first Africans to arrive in North America were so little noted by history that many are known today by only their first names. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The first Africans to arrive in English-controlled North America were so little noted by history that many are known today by only their first names: Antony and Isabella, Angelo, Frances and Peter.

Almost 400 years ago, they were kidnapped and forcibly sailed across the ocean aboard three slave ships — the San Juan Bautista, the White Lion and the Treasurer — and then sold into bondage in Virginia.

Now their descendants, along with historians and genealogists, are seeking recognition for a group of 20-some Africans they describe as critical to the survival of Jamestown, England’s first successful settlement in North America.

“We need to reclaim our history. We need to tell our story,” said Calvin Pearson, head of Project 1619 , which is named after the year those first Africans landed near what became Hampton, Virginia

A few historical markers and records mention these early slaves, but there’s been scant research on their lives. President Barack Obama made the area where they arrived a national monument in 2011 to ensure that its history was not lost, and Pearson and others are working to learn more.

Before the slaves arrived, Jamestown was starving. “Basically all of those people were right off of the streets in England,” said Kathryn Knight, who in May will release a book titled “Unveiled – The Twenty & Odd: Documenting the First Africans in England’s America 1619-1625 and Beyond.”…

…Although sold into servitude, many of those original Angolans fared better than the millions of African slaves who came to North America later, said John Thorton, a Boston University professor of African American studies and history.

“They had a better chance at a better future than almost anybody who followed them because they were the first,” Thorton said. “A lot of them ended up owning property, and they ended up owning slaves of their own.”

By intermingling with the English colonists, some had children who ended up passing for white and merging into early colonial society, Thorton said…

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Afro-Palestinians’ forge a unique identity in Israel

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Religion on 2017-01-13 19:13Z by Steven

Afro-Palestinians’ forge a unique identity in Israel

The Associated Press
2017-01-12

Isma’il Kushkush


In this Dec. 31, 2016 photo, Arab families of African descent attend a wedding in the West Bank city of Ramallah. In the shadow of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City lies the “African Quarter” — home to a little-known community of nearly 50 Arab families of African descent, who call themselves, “Afro-Palestinians.” Descended from Muslim pilgrims from a variety of African countries, they now consider themselves proud Palestinians, despite widespread poverty and occasional discrimination from both Palestinians and Israelis. Several have even participated in violent attacks against Israel. (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi).

JERUSALEM (AP) — In the shadow of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City lies the “African Quarter” — home to a little-known community of nearly 50 Arab families of African descent.

Descended from Muslim pilgrims from a variety of African countries, they now consider themselves proud Palestinians, despite widespread poverty and occasional discrimination from both Palestinians and Israelis. Several have even participated in violent attacks against Israel.

Afro-Palestinian“We regard ourselves to be Afro-Palestinian,” said community leader Ali Jiddah…

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Historic recognition: Washington’s family tree is biracial

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Virginia on 2016-09-18 18:36Z by Steven

Historic recognition: Washington’s family tree is biracial

U.S. News & World Report
2016-09-17

Matthew Barakat, Northern Virginia Correspondent
The Associated Press


ZSun-nee Miller-Matema poses for a portrait at Mount Vernon, the plantation home of former U.S. President George Washington, in Alexandria, Va., on Monday, July 18, 2016. Miller-Matema is a descendent of Caroline Branham, one of George Washington’s slaves who served as former first lady Martha Washington’s personal maid. The National Park Service and the nonprofit that runs the historic Mount Vernon estate are acknowledging an aspect of U.S. history that doesn’t show up in most textbooks: The family tree of America’s first family has been biracial from its earliest branches. (AP Photo/Zach Gibson) The Associated Press

The National Park Service and Mount Vernon are acknowledging history not included in most textbooks: America’s first family tree has been biracial from its early branches

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — George Washington’s adopted son was a bit of a ne’er-do-well by most accounts, including those of Washington himself, who wrote about his frustrations with the boy they called “Wash.”

“From his infancy, I have discovered an almost unconquerable disposition to indolence in everything that did not tend to his amusements,” the founding father wrote.

At the time, George Washington Parke Custis was 16 and attending Princeton, one of several schools he bounced in and out of. Before long, he was back home at Mount Vernon, where he would be accused of fathering children with slaves.

Two centuries later, the National Park Service and the nonprofit that runs Washington’s Mount Vernon estate are concluding that the rumors were true: In separate exhibits, they show that the first family’s family tree has been biracial from its earliest branches.

“There is no more pushing this history to the side,” said Matthew Penrod, a National Park Service ranger and programs manager at Arlington House, where the lives of the Washingtons, their slaves and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee all converged…


Matthew Barakat/Associated Press
Craig Syphax and Donna Kunkel portrayed their ancestors at a June reenactment of the 1821 wedding of slaves Charles Syphax and Maria Carter at Arlington House.

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Six-year-old taken from California foster family under Indian Child Welfare Act

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2016-03-23 22:37Z by Steven

Six-year-old taken from California foster family under Indian Child Welfare Act

The Guardian
2016-03-22

The Associated Press in Santa Clarita, California

Lexi, who has lived with the foster family for years, was removed by a court order which says her Native American heritage requires her to live with Utah relatives

A six-year-old girl who spent most of her life with California foster parents was removed from the home under a court order that says her Native American blood requires her to live with relatives in Utah.

Lexi, who is 1/64th Choctaw on her birth-father’s side, cried and clutched a stuffed bear as her foster father Rusty Page carried her out of his home north of Los Angeles to a waiting car on Monday. Los Angeles County social workers whisked her away…

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“A Hawaiian is a Hawaiian is a Hawaiian. Whether they have a drop or more than 50 percent.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2015-12-30 22:47Z by Steven

“A Hawaiian is a Hawaiian is a Hawaiian,” said Michelle Kauhane, president and CEO of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement. “Whether they have a drop or more than 50 percent.”

Jennifer Sinco Kelleher, “Rulemaking under way for DNA testing for Hawaiian homelands,” The Associated Press, December 28, 2015. http://bigstory.ap.org/article/d5481a15bd164d25ba02fc510473d046/rulemaking-under-way-dna-testing-hawaiian-homelands.

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Rulemaking under way for DNA testing for Hawaiian homelands

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2015-12-30 22:29Z by Steven

Rulemaking under way for DNA testing for Hawaiian homelands

The Associated Press
2015-12-28

Jennifer Sinco Kelleher


This Dec. 24, 2015 photo provided by Pat Kahawaiolaa shows Kahawaiolaa taking a selfie at Keaukaha Beach Park in Hilo, Hawaii. He is among those with at least 50 percent Native Hawaiian blood who are eligible for low-cost land leases from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. The department is proposing a rule that would allow use of DNA evidence as proof of an applicant’s Hawaiian blood quantum. (Pat Kahawaiolaa via AP)

HONOLULU (AP) — When the state deemed Leighton Pang Kee ineligible for one of the most valuable benefits available to Native Hawaiians — land at almost no cost — because he couldn’t show that he was at least 50 percent Hawaiian, he sued.

Pang Kee knew he was, and needed to figure out a way to prove it. According to his lawsuit, his mother was at least 81.25 percent Native Hawaiian, but his birth certificate didn’t list his biological father.

But he knew who his father was. Pang Kee, who was adopted, found his late father’s brother, got a DNA sample that showed there was a 96.35 percent probability that Pang Kee and the man were related, the lawsuit said.

While that initially wasn’t enough for the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, the agency eventually settled, and has proposed rules that would allow the use of DNA evidence to prove ancestry.

Hawaiians don’t typically fixate on how much Hawaiian blood they have when it comes to asserting ancestral identity.

“A Hawaiian is a Hawaiian is a Hawaiian,” said Michelle Kauhane, president and CEO of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement. “Whether they have a drop or more than 50 percent.”

One of the only times blood quantum is relevant is for applying for a homestead lease. Those with at least 50 percent Hawaiian blood quantum can apply for a 99-year lease for $1 a year…


This Thursday, Dec. 24, 2015 photo shows houses in the the Hawaiian homestead community of Papakolea in Honolulu.The state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands has proposed rules that would allow people applying for a homestead lease to use DNA evidence to prove ancestry. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)

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“A columnist examining Obama’s background summed up his racial identity into one equation: ‘white + black = black.’ For me, that said it all.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2015-12-26 21:09Z by Steven

The media’s metadiscussion explicitly endorsed a definition of Obama’s race that was essentially intersubjective, basing its racial descriptor on a combination of self-identification and ascription by others. Their reasoning, while not to be taken as gospel, explicitly endorsed the use of racial descriptors which were intersubjectively agreed upon. For instance, the Associated Press, whose articles and analysis dominate newspaper discussions of politics and race through both reputation and sheer numbers, endorsed such a view. As Karen Hunter, the Reader Representative at the Hartford Courant, explained in 2008, “Because The Courant relies on the Associated Press for much of its national coverage of the presidential race, the AP plays a key role in how the newspaper presents the candidates.” In accounting for the AP’s decision to use of “black” and “African American” as the proper – and essentially interchangeable – descriptors for Obama, AP Senior Managing Editor Mike Silverman explained, “I would say the answer has to do partly with the way Sen. Obama has defined himself and partly with the way American society defines someone who is biracial.” While Silverman implied a static public definition of black and biracial individuals, and ignored his organization’s own role in creating and shifting these definitions, the AP relied on what it perceived to be the intersubjective consensus in order to determine Obama’s race, rather than any set of facts related to American rules regarding blackness. Nowhere in Silverman’s recapitulation of the AP’s behind-the-scenes discussions does he mention Obama’s parentage, hypodescent, biology, or other American rules of race, although they perhaps form the background of “the way American society defines someone.”

The Washington Post, Hartford Courant, and New York Times editorial boards were among the media to take similar stances. While endorsing and explaining the AP’s use of an intersubjective standard in deciding how to describe Obama, the Hartford Courant stated that,“Obama’s candidacy is a rare and riveting opportunity exactly because it is forcing conversations about issues that have been easier to ignore for centuries.” And in CNN’s “Behind the Scenes” look at it’s coverage of Obama’s race, Jay Carrol somewhat retrospectively summed up the media’s predominate position, writing, “A columnist examining Obama’s background summed up his racial identity into one equation: ‘white + black = black.’ For me, that said it all.” While the piece is entitled “Obama: Black or Biracial?” and Carrol continues with a discussion that claims the answer is complicated, the “accuracy” of the description is treated as an academic exercise attendant to the obvious conclusion based on an assumed social ascription.

Peter Geller, “Making Blackness, Making Policy,” PhD diss., Harvard University, 2012. 42-43. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:9548618.

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UNLV President Len Jessup says keep Rebel nickname; research concludes no roots in Confederacy

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Media Archive, United States on 2015-12-24 22:16Z by Steven

UNLV President Len Jessup says keep Rebel nickname; research concludes no roots in Confederacy

U.S. News & World Report
2015-11-30

Michelle Rindels, Politics Reporter
The Associated Press


FILE – In this Feb. 1, 2014, file photo, UNLV mascot Hey Reb warms up the crowd before an NCAA college basketball game in Las Vegas. UNLV President Len Jessup says the school needs to keep “Rebels” as its nickname after new research concluded it is not a reference to the Confederacy. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken, File)

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — UNLV is keeping its “Rebels” nickname and “Hey Reb!” mascot in spite of critics who said they should be changed because the imagery harkens to the Confederacy.

Citing newly released historical research that concluded the moniker was not intended as a reference to the Confederacy, the president of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas issued a statement Monday saying the school must keep the name and mascot. He said “Rebels” expresses UNLV’s entrepreneurial spirit, and he noted overwhelming support for the term.

“It was coined as our young institution was fighting to establish its own identity, and it has come to represent the very independence and spirit that embodies both UNLV and Southern Nevada,” President Len Jessup wrote in a message to the UNLV community. “It is clear that ‘Rebels’ is central to our shared identity and represents the broadest definition of the term.”…

…UNLV Chief Diversity Officer Rainier Spencer finalized a 60-page research paper on the topic earlier this month, concluding the Rebel name emerged from southern Nevada students’ frustrations in the 1950s that the Legislature wasn’t investing as much in the south as it was in the University of Nevada, Reno.

“The Rebels nickname is not a Confederate reference, as it predates the first appearance of Confederate symbols, which was April 20, 1955,” wrote Spencer, who is also a vice provost and founder of UNLV’s Afro-American Studies Program. “Nevada Southern students were already known as Rebels before the application of those symbols; indeed, the symbols were applied because those students already had a non-Confederate Rebels identity, and also because of the north-south geography of the state.”…

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“If you are going to classify me as white, then treat [me] as white,” Khalaf said. “Especially when I go to the airport…”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2015-11-23 20:17Z by Steven

In the past, “white” was the only racial option available to Arab American respondents, a classification that didn’t truly reflect their social standing and hurt efforts for their political empowerment in post-Sept. 11 America, said Samer Khalaf, president of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

“If you are going to classify me as white, then treat [me] as white,” Khalaf said. “Especially when I go to the airport. So, yeah, it’s inaccurate.”

Associated Press, “Census change may result in fewer ‘white’ Americans,” The Los Angeles Times, November 22, 2015. http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-census-changes-20151122-story.html.

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Census change may result in fewer ‘white’ Americans

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, United States on 2015-11-22 22:15Z by Steven

Census change may result in fewer ‘white’ Americans

The Los Angeles Times
2015-11-22

Associated Press

The Census Bureau is considering changes to its race and ethnicity questions that would reclassify some minorities who were considered “white” in the past, a move that may speed up the date when America’s white population falls below 50%.

Census Director John Thompson told the Associated Press that the bureau is testing a number of new questions and may combine its race and ethnicity questions into one category for the 2020 census. That would allow respondents to choose multiple races.

The possible changes include allowing Latinos to give more details about their ethnic backgrounds and creating a distinct category for people of Middle Eastern and North African descent…

William Frey, a demographer for the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, says the proposed changes would grant residents more freedom to define their races and ethnicities.

“I don’t know if this will make a huge difference in the 2020 census on whites becoming the minority, but it could later,” said Frey, author of “Diversity Explosion: How New Racial Demographics Are Remaking America.”

In the past, “white” was the only racial option available to Arab American respondents, a classification that didn’t truly reflect their social standing and hurt efforts for their political empowerment in post-Sept. 11 America, said Samer Khalaf, president of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

“If you are going to classify me as white, then treat [me] as white,” Khalaf said. “Especially when I go to the airport. So, yeah, it’s inaccurate.”…

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