Emory professor translates 1922 novel about racial identity

Posted in Articles, Europe, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2019-01-27 03:06Z by Steven

Emory professor translates 1922 novel about racial identity

Emory News Center
Emory University
Atlanta, Georgia
2017-10-12

April Hunt, Communications Manager


In “The Blue Stain,” a man viewed as white in Europe struggles with identity after he comes to the U.S., where he is seen as black. Thanks to Peter Höyng, associate professor of German studies, the novel is now available in English.

Carletto is a man raised in privilege and wealth in Europe, where he is seen as white, if exotic. He struggles with the very question of identity after he loses his fortune and comes to the United States, where he is viewed as black.

What may sound like a contemporary debate about the complex questions of race and identity is actually the plot from the 1922 novel “The Blue Stain.”

Austrian author Hugo Bettauer’s novel might have been lost to the ages had Peter Höyng, an associate professor of German studies in Emory College, not stumbled across it in the Austrian National Library while doing scholarly research on the author in 2002.

He was struck that Carletto’s story starts, and ends, in Georgia. Along the way, it touches on the entrenched role that race has in American society, as seen by an outsider like Bettauer, a Jewish man from Austria.

Höyng became devoted to translating the story. His labor of love recently became the English-language version of “Blue Stain” — published with the subtitle, “A Novel of a Racial Outcast” —with him as editor and co-translator with Chauncey J. Mellor, a former colleague at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

“There is nothing else in German literature at the time that addresses racial issues in the United States, how racism worked not just in the South, but in New York and the North,” Höyng says. “The story itself, though, is a small but very effective way to discuss the deeply political ideas of standing up for equality and against injustice.”…

Read the entire article here.

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The Blue Stain: A Novel of a Racial Outcast

Posted in Books, Europe, Media Archive, Novels, Passing, United States on 2019-01-27 02:10Z by Steven

The Blue Stain: A Novel of a Racial Outcast

Camden House (an imprint of Boydell & Brewer)
May 2017 (Originally published in 1922)
182 pages
9×6 in
Paperback ISBN: 9781571139993
Hardback ISBN: 9781571139825
eBook for Handhelds ISBN: 9781782049975
eBook ISBN: 9781787440876

Hugo Bettauer (1872-1925)

Translated by:

Peter Höyng, Associate Professor of German Studies
Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

Chauncey J. Mellor, Emeritus Professor of German
University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Afterword by:

Kenneth R. Janken, Professor of African American and Diaspora Studies
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

A European novel of racial mixing and “passing” in early twentieth-century America that serves as a unique account of transnational and transcultural racial attitudes that continue to reverberate today.

Hugo Bettauer’s The Blue Stain, a novel of racial mixing and “passing,” starts and ends in Georgia but also takes the reader to Vienna and New York. First published in 1922, the novel tells the story of Carletto, son of a white European academic and an African American daughter of former slaves, who, having passed as white in Europe and fled to America after losing his fortune, resists being seen as “black” before ultimately accepting that identity and joining the early movement for civil rights. Never before translated into English, this is the first novel in which a German-speaking European author addresses early twentieth-century racial politics in the United States – not only in the South but also in the North. There is an irony, however: while Bettauer’s narrative aims to sanction a white/European egalitarianism with respect to race, it nevertheless exhibits its own brand of racism by asserting that African Americans need extensive enculturation before they are to be valued as human beings. The novel therefore serves as a unique historical account of transnational and transcultural racial attitudes of the period that continue to reverberate in our present globalized world.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction by Peter Höyng
  • Part One: Georgia
  • Part Two: Carletto
  • Part Three: The Colored Gentleman
  • Afterword by Kenneth R. Janken
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A young black girl tries to pass for white in 1960s rural Georgia in the short film ‘Across the Tracks’

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-09-05 16:59Z by Steven

A young black girl tries to pass for white in 1960s rural Georgia in the short film ‘Across the Tracks’

Afropunk
2017-08-30

Eye Candy

Two African American sisters grow up in racially charged 1960s Georgia, but one is born with fair skin. And when schools integrate in their small town, she decides to change her destiny—by passing for white.

Set in modern day and 1960s rural Georgia, “Across The Tracks” follows two black sisters—one dark skinned, the other light skinned—as they both navigate the desegregation of their school and make choices that will change them forever. Shot by director/cinematographer Mike Cooke in the small town of Arlington, GA. and co-written by Kimberly James, “Across the Tracks” is a story so resonate with and relevant to the black experience even now you’ll wonder why it hasn’t been done sooner…

Read the entire article here.

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A Conflict of Race and Religion

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Judaism, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2017-04-17 00:31Z by Steven

A Conflict of Race and Religion

Atlanta Jewish Times
2017-04-13

Patrice Worthy

As a Jew of color, your identity and loyalty are constantly questioned.

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was laid off from my job for poor work performance. Weeks before, I went to HR regarding a co-worker who attacked my Jewish identity by asking another co-worker, “What does she want to be Jewish?” followed by “She thinks she so cute” because I asked for the first day of Pesach off.

Her sister, who worked in the same department, questioned my Judaism in front of the entire office, and when the daily harassment was too much for my body to handle, I was hospitalized and forced to tell my diagnosis to my supervisor, who encouraged the discrimination, and the HR rep…

…Being black and Jewish, at least from my experiences in the South, is a precarious position. Especially in a socially segregated city like Atlanta, where you are forced to choose between being Jewish and being black, whatever that means…

Read the entire article here.

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Walter White and the Atlanta NAACP’s Fight for Equal Schools, 1916–1917

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2017-04-08 02:07Z by Steven

Walter White and the Atlanta NAACP’s Fight for Equal Schools, 1916–1917

History of Education Quarterly
Volume 7, Issue 1 (April 1967)
pages 3-21
DOI: 10.2307/367230

Edgar A. Toppin (1928-2004), Professor of History
Virginia State College

In 1917 a delegation of negroes went before the Board of Education in Atlanta, Georgia, to demand equal facilities for colored school children. This marked the beginning of the work in Atlanta of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The youthful branch secretary who sparked this drive, Walter Francis White, called this “our first fight and our first victory and … we have only begun to fight.” Despite his enthusiasm, Atlanta moved at a glacial pace toward parity in the dual school systems.

Read or purchase the article here or here.

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African Americans in Atlanta: Adrienne Herndon, an Uncommon Woman

Posted in Articles, Arts, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2017-02-08 16:53Z by Steven

African Americans in Atlanta: Adrienne Herndon, an Uncommon Woman

Southern Spaces: A Journal about Real and Imagined Spaces and Places of the US South and their Global Connections
2004-03-16
DOI: 10.18737/M7XP4B

Carole Merritt


Portrait of Adrienne Herndon, date unknown. (c) The Herndon Home.

Overview 

Ahead of her time and outside of her assigned place, Adrienne Herndon achieved acclaim in education, drama, and architecture in turn-of-the-century Atlanta. As head of the drama department at Atlanta University, as aspiring dramatic artist, as architect of what would be designated a National Historic Landmark, Adrienne Herndon set her own course in a society that rejected such independence in women. She was one of the most highly trained professional women in Atlanta, having graduated from Atlanta University normal school in preparation for teaching, and having received degrees from the Boston School of Expression and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York.

Adrienne Herndon (1869–1910)

“It is simply inevitable that I should end up on the stage,” Adrienne stated in 1904 just before her Boston debut as a dramatic reader. “The footlights have beckoned me since I was a little child and I simply must respond. It has always been my dream to portray all the heroic feminine characters of Shakespeare.” (Boston Traveler, January 25, 1904). From her childhood in Savannah, through her drama studies in Boston and New York, Adrienne held on to this dream of a career on the legitimate theater stage. The harsh realities of race and gender in America, however, doomed the realization of this dream. Except for vaudeville, minstrelsy, and all-Black dramatic productions, there was no place for Blacks on the American theater stage. As the daughter of light-skinned, slave-born house servants with considerable White ancestry, Adrienne’s skin was white. She identified herself as a Creole, a racially ambiguous term by which she was neither admitting nor denying her race.

Passing for White, she made her debut in Boston…

Read the entire article here.

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When Ancestry Search Led To Escaped Slave: ‘All I Could Do Was Weep’

Posted in Articles, Audio, Autobiography, Biography, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2016-01-19 02:13Z by Steven

When Ancestry Search Led To Escaped Slave: ‘All I Could Do Was Weep’

Fresh Air (From WHYY in Philadelphia)
National Public Radio
2016-01-18

Terry Gross, Host

When she was in fifth grade, Regina Mason received a school assignment that would change her life: to connect with her country of origin. That night, she went home and asked her mother where they were from.

“She told me about her grandfather who was a former slave,” Mason tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. “And that blew me away, because I’m thinking, ‘Slavery was like biblical times. It wasn’t just a few generations removed.’ ”

But for Mason, slavery was a few generations removed. She would later learn that her great-great-great-grandfather, a man named William Grimes, had been a runaway slave, and that he had authored what is now considered to be the first fugitive slave narrative.

“William Grimes’ narrative is precedent-setting,” Mason says. “[It] was published in 1825, and this was years before the abolitionist movement picked up slave narrative as a propaganda tool to end slavery. It sort of unwittingly paved the way for the American slave narrative to follow.”

Grimes’ original narrative tells the story of his 30 years spent in captivity, followed by his escape in 1814 from Savannah, Ga. He describes how his former owner discovered his whereabouts after the escape and forced him to give up his house in exchange for his freedom. (An updated version, published in 1855, includes a chapter about Grimes’ later life in poverty.)

Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave was again republished in 2008 by Oxford University Press. The latest edition was edited by Mason and William Andrews, a scholar of early African-American autobiography…

…Interview Highlights

On learning from her mother that her ancestors had been slaves

She talked about Grandpa Fuller, who was a mulatto slave. And I inquired about his parentage and she told me that his father, from what she knew, was a plantation owner, and his mother was an enslaved black woman. …

And I’m asking, “Well, that’s weird. Did his father own him?” … I mean, how do you explain … to children that slavery existed in freedom-loving America, No. 1; and No. 2, how do you explain to a child about an enslaved heritage shrouded in miscegenation? It’s not an easy thing to do…

Read the story highlights here. Listen to the interview (00:35:55) here. Download the interview here.

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Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave

Posted in Autobiography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery, United States on 2016-01-19 02:02Z by Steven

Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave

Oxford University Press
2008-07-28
192 pages
21 illus.
5 1/2 X 8 1/4 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 9780195343311
Paperback ISBN: 9780195343328

William L. Andrews, E. Maynard Adams Professor of English; Senior Associate Dean for Fine Arts and Humanities
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Regina E. Mason, Grimes’s great-great-great-granddaughter

  • The first fugitive slave narrative in American history
  • A candid, unfiltered, and fully authenticated account of both slavery and so-called freedom in the antebellum U.S. before the advent of the American antislavery movement
  • A unprecedented editorial partnership blending scholarship and family history to yield a unique modern edition of a neglected classic of antislavery literature
  • No other slave narrative has been recovered, researched, and annotated by a slave’s descendent until now

Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave is the first fugitive slave narrative in American history. Because Grimes wrote and published his narrative on his own, without deference to white editors, publishers, or sponsors, his Life has an immediacy, candor, and no-holds-barred realism unparalleled in the famous antebellum slave narratives of the period. This edition of Grimes’s autobiography represents a historic partnership between noted scholar of the African American slave narrative, William L. Andrews, and Regina Mason, Grimes’s great-great-great-granddaughter. Their extensive historical and genealogical research has produced an authoritative, copiously annotated text that features pages from an original Grimes family Bible, transcriptions of the 1824 correspondence that set the terms for the author’s self-purchase in Connecticut (nine years after his escape from Savannah, Georgia), and many other striking images that invoke the life and times of William Grimes.

Table of Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction by William L. Andrews
  • Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave
  • Chronology: the life and times of William Grimes
  • Afterword by Regina E. Mason
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Employee’s Change in Racial Self-Identification Cannot Support Discrimination Claim if Employer Unaware of Change

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2015-10-08 20:28Z by Steven

Employee’s Change in Racial Self-Identification Cannot Support Discrimination Claim if Employer Unaware of Change

JD Supra Business Advisor
2015-10-05

Jonathan Crotty
Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP, Charlotte, North Carolina

Michael Vanesse
Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP, Charlotte, North Carolina

In recent years, more Americans have begun identifying themselves as biracial or of mixed racial heritage. This shift has resulted in changes to census and other forms where people are asked to self-identify by race. In addition, some persons of mixed heritage may change their personal identification with one racial category over time. However, as recently pointed out by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, this change cannot form the basis for a race discrimination claim if unknown to the employer at the time the questioned decisions were made.

In Fagerstrom v. City of Savannah, the plaintiff was a police captain of Swedish and Japanese heritage. When filling out forms used for affirmative action purposes, the plaintiff had identified himself as white. When passed over for promotion to major, the plaintiff sued, alleging that he had been discriminated against based on his race in favor of two white captains. The plaintiff said that he changed his self-identification to Asian-American several years previously…

Read the entire article here.

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The Cherokee Rose: A Novel Of Gardens & Ghosts

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Novels, Slavery, United States, Women on 2015-03-22 18:31Z by Steven

The Cherokee Rose: A Novel Of Gardens & Ghosts

John F. Blair
2015-04-07
264 pages
6×9
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-89587-635-5

Tiya Miles, Elsa Barkley Brown Collegiate Professor of African American Women’s History
University of Michigan

Written by an award-winning historian and recipient of a recent MacArthur “Genius Grant,” The Cherokee Rose explores territory reminiscent of the bestselling and beloved works of Alice Walker, Octavia Butler, and Louise Erdrich. Now, Tiya Miles’s luminous but highly accessible novel examines a little-known aspect of America’s past—slaveholding by Southern Creeks and Cherokees—and its legacy in the lives of three young women who are drawn to the Georgia plantation where scenes of extreme cruelty and equally extraordinary compassion once played out.

Based on the author’s in-depth and award-winning research into archival sources at the Chief Vann House Historic Site in Chatsworth, Georgia, and the Moravian mission sponsored there in the early 1800s, Miles has blended this fascinating history with a contemporary cast of engaging and memorable characters, including Jinx, the free-spirited historian exploring her tribe’s complicated racial history; Ruth, whose mother sought refuge from a troubled marriage in her beloved garden and the cosmetic empire she built from its bounty; Cheyenne, the Southern black debutante seeking to connect with a meaningful personal history; and, hovering above them all, the spirit of long-gone Mary Ann Battis, a young woman suspected of burning a mission to the ground and then disappearing from tribal records. Together, the women’s discoveries about the secrets of the Cherokee plantation trace their attempts to connect with the strong spirits of the past and reconcile the conflicts in their own lives.

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