Mother of Orphans: The True and Curious Story of Irish Alice, A Colored Man’s Widow

Posted in Biography, Books, Family/Parenting, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United States, Women on 2019-07-30 16:57Z by Steven

Mother of Orphans: The True and Curious Story of Irish Alice, A Colored Man’s Widow

2Leaf Press
July 2019
250 pages
6 x 9
Print ISBN: 978-1-940939-78-0
eBook ISBN: 978-1-940939-87-2

Dedria Humphries Barker

Introduction by:

Cathy J. Schlund-Vials, Professor of English; Professor of Asian/Asian American Studies
University of Connecticut

Mother of Orphans is the compelling true story of Alice, an Irish-American woman who defied rigid social structures to form a family with a black man in Ohio in 1899. Alice and her husband had three children together, but after his death in 1912, Alice mysteriously surrendered her children to an orphanage. One hundred years later, her great-grand daughter, Dedria Humphries Barker, went in search of the reasons behind this mysterious abandonment, hoping in the process to resolve aspects of her own conflicts with American racial segregation and conflict.

This book is the fruit of Barker’s quest. In it, she turns to memoir, biography, historical research, and photographs to unearth the fascinating history of a multiracial community in the Ohio River Valley during the early twentieth century. Barker tells this story from multiple vantage points, frequently switching among points of view to construct a fragmented and comprehensive perspective of the past intercut with glimpses of the present. The result is a haunting, introspective meditation on race and family ties. Part personal journey, part cultural biography, Mother of Orphans examines a little-known piece of this country’s past: interracial families that survived and prevailed despite Jim Crow laws, including those prohibiting mixed-race marriage. In lyrical, evocative prose, this extraordinary book ultimately leaves us hopeful about the world as our children might see it.

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The Beiging of America, Personal Narratives about Being Mixed Race in the Twenty-First Century

Posted in Anthologies, Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, United States on 2017-07-05 13:23Z by Steven

The Beiging of America, Personal Narratives about Being Mixed Race in the Twenty-First Century

2Leaf Press
June 2017
eBook ISBN: 978-1-940939-55-1

Edited by:

Cathy J. Schlund-Vials, Professor of English and Asian and Asian American Studies
University of Connecticut

Sean Frederick Forbes, Poet and Professor

Tara Betts, Author and Professor

The Beiging of America, Personal Narratives about Being Mixed Race in the Twenty-First Century, takes on “race matters” and considers them through the firsthand accounts of mixed race people in the United States. Edited by mixed race scholars Cathy J. Schlund-Vials, Sean Frederick Forbes and Tara Betts, this collection consists of 39 poets, writers, teachers, professors, artists and activists, whose personal narratives articulate the complexities of interracial life. Discrimination, instilling pride in family settings, sorting out the terms and names that people call themselves and their relatives, tackling colorism within communities of color, and childhood recollections fill these pages with compelling stories that speak to lived experiences, mapping a new ethnic terrain that transcends racial and cultural division.The Beiging of America was prompted by cultural critic/scholar Hua Hsu, who contemplated the changing face and race of U.S. demographics in his 2009 The Atlantic article provocatively titled “The End of White America.” In it, Hsu acknowledged “steadily ascending rates of interracial marriage” that undergirded assertions about the “beiging of America.”

As one flips through the pages of The Beiging of America, one discovers contributors’ shared exasperation with the inevitable and preposterous question – “What are you?” – simply because they do not fit neatly into any one racial category. This in itself is a reflection of how the black-white paradigm in America continues to obfuscate and distort rigid constructs and systemic racism, reminding readers that race – even in a post-racial imaginary – still matters. The Beiging of America is an absorbing and thought-provoking collection of stories that explore racial identity, alienation, with people often forced to choose between races and cultures in their search for self-identity. While underscoring the complexity of the mixed race experience, these unadorned voices offer a genuine, poignant, enlightening and empowering message to all readers.

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