Genevieve Gaignard’s new exhibit ‘This is America’ on view at Atlanta Contemporary

Posted in Articles, Arts, Audio, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2022-03-17 19:49Z by Steven

Genevieve Gaignard’s new exhibit ‘This is America’ on view at Atlanta Contemporary

WABE (WABE 90.1 FM, WABE TV)
Atlanta, Georgia
2022-02-10

Adron McCann

Genevieve Gaignard’s print “I Wear A Thousand Faces, All To Hide My Own, 2018.” (Image courtesy of the artist and Vielmetter Gallery Los Angeles)

In 2018, Donald Glover, a.k.a. Childish Gambino, released the viral hit song “This is America,” a razor-sharp commentary on contemporary society. In a nod to his incisive work, artist Genevieve Gaignard presents a new exhibition, “This is America: The Unsettling Contradictions in American Identity,” at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center from Feb. 12 – May 15. It’s the first solo exhibition of the multidisciplinary artist’s photography and installation work, through which she unravels the ongoing issues complicating the identities and representations of Americans. Gaignard joined “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes via Zoom and curator Karen Comer Lowe to talk about the artist’s new contributions to Atlanta Contemporary.

How race informs the artwork of Gaignard, who is biracial:

“Once you look at it, I think it’s everything. I’m really interested in owning both sides of my story, and so I don’t really tiptoe around those things,” said Gaignard…

Read the entire article here.

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21. Fredi’s Migration: Washington’s Forgotten War on Hollywood

Posted in Articles, Biography, Books, Chapter, Communications/Media Studies, History, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States, Women on 2022-02-22 21:07Z by Steven

21. Fredi’s Migration: Washington’s Forgotten War on Hollywood

Chapter in the anthology: Women and Migration: Responses in Art and History
Deborah Willis, Ellyn Toscano and Kalia Brooks Nelson (ed.)
(2019-09-12, Open Book Publishers)
Printed ISBN: 9781783745654
eBook ISBN: 9791036538070

Pamela Newkirk, Professor of Journalism
New York University

Fig. 21.1. Portrait of Fredi Washington. Courtesy of Schomburg Center, New York Public Library.

Nearly eight decades before #OscarsSoWhite focused attention on the dearth of roles for Blacks and other people of color in Hollywood, actress Fredi Washington became one of the most vocal critics of the industry’s racial bias. But despite her trailblazing work on stage and screen beginning in the 1920s, Washington has largely been forgotten as one of the pioneering African-American leading ladies, and for her noteworthy civil rights activism.

The eldest of five children, Washington was born in Savannah, Georgia in 1903 and relocated to Philadelphia aged eleven following the death of her mother, a former dancer. In 1919 Washington launched her own career as a chorus girl in Harlem’s Alabam Club, and, in 1926, landed a coveted role in the landmark Broadway play Shuffle Along. When the show closed she sailed to Europe to tour with her dance partner Al Moiret. Two years later she returned to the United States and starred in a string of successful films and plays including the short film Black and Tan Fantasy with Duke Ellington (1929); Black Boy starring Paul Robeson (1930); Emperor Jones with Robeson again (1933); and Drum in the Night (1933); with an equal number of plays, including Singing the Blues (1930), Sweet Chariot (1930) and Run Lil’ Chillun (1933).

Washington’s stardom was secured with her performance as Peola, the tortured bi-racial daughter who passes for white in Imitation of Life, the 1934 feature film starring Claudette Corbert and Louise Beavers. However, after achieving critical acclaim for her performance Washington was routinely passed over for lead roles. This was in part due to Hollywood’s Hays Codes, which, beginning that year, explicitly prohibited the depiction of miscegenation in film. The Hays Codes made life especially challenging for Washington, whose green eyes and pale complexion rendered her too light to be cast in films with all-Black casts. In 1937 her skin was darkened for her co-starring role in One Mile from Heaven with Bill Robinson

Read the entire chapter here.

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Moses Roper: the fugitive from slavery cast aside by British abolitionists

Posted in Articles, Biography, Europe, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States on 2022-02-17 02:24Z by Steven

Moses Roper: the fugitive from slavery cast aside by British abolitionists

The Guardian
2022-02-16

Mark Brown, North of England correspondent

Moses Roper, painted in 1839, was the first fugitive enslaved person to lecture in the cause of abolition in Britain and Ireland.

Historians argue Roper’s story could have helped end US slavery earlier but supporters turned on him

In his day, the 19th-century fugitive from slavery Moses Roper was a well-known public figure who toured Britain and Ireland telling gripped and shocked audiences about his horrific experiences in Florida.

Today he is largely overlooked but, two Newcastle University academics argue, the important story of this fascinating man represents a “lost opportunity” for the British abolition movement to have helped end slavery in the US earlier.

Bruce Baker, a reader in American history, said it was surprising how little attention had been paid to Roper, given he was a pioneer. “Historians haven’t really paid a lot of attention to Roper, even though he was the first fugitive slave to lecture in the cause of abolition in Britain and Ireland.”

Baker and his colleague Fionnghuala Sweeney, a reader in American and Black Atlantic Literatures, have now published a paper in an academic journal and are working on a full biography of Roper. They aim to rescue him from obscurity, painting a picture of a radical, driven man ruined by the British abolition movement that turned against him.

Roper fled enslavement in Florida in 1834 and, fearing for his safety, made his way to Britain, where he was supported by churchmen and abolitionists. They helped fund his education and in 1837 he published the first edition of his Narrative of the Adventures and Escape of Moses Roper from American Slavery

Read the entire article here.

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A Narrative of the Adventures and Escape of Moses Roper, from American Slavery

Posted in Autobiography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery, United Kingdom, United States on 2022-02-17 02:01Z by Steven

A Narrative of the Adventures and Escape of Moses Roper, from American Slavery

University of North Carolina Press
September 2011 (originally published in 1840)
50 pages
6 x 9, 4 illustrations
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-6965-9
eBook ISBN: 978-0-8078-6966-6

Moses Roper (c1815-1891)

 

The Narrative of the Adventures and Escape of Moses Roper can be read as an extended autobiographical meditation on the meaning of race in antebellum America. First published in England, the text documents the life of Moses Roper, beginning with his birth in North Carolina and chronicling his travels through South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Roper was able to obtain employment on a schooner named The Fox, and in 1834 he made his way to freedom aboard the vessel. Once in Boston, he was quickly recruited as a signatory to the constitution of the American Anti-Slavery Society (AASS), but he sailed to England the next year. Roper’s narrative is especially interesting because although it was published after Frederick Douglass’s much-heralded 1845 Narrative, Roper actually preceded Douglass in his involvement in AASS as well as in his travel to the United Kingdom. This text is often cited by literary scholars because of its length, its extensive detail, and its unforgiving portrayal of enslaved life in the “land of the free.”

Also, available to read via Documenting the American South (DocSouth) here.

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‘Fredi’ Washington: Savannah’s Civil Rights Starlet

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Social Justice on 2022-02-15 18:50Z by Steven

‘Fredi’ Washington: Savannah’s Civil Rights Starlet

Freeman’s Rag
2018-06-16

Michael Freeman
Savannah, Georgia


Fredi Washington

Savannah has been home to many celebrities. Whether it be Academy Award winner Charles Coburn, Stacey Keach of Mike Hammer fame, Johnny Mercer, the Lady Chablis, or Paula Dean, Savannah has never been without a dash of the famous. But Fredricka Washington (Fredi) was probably the celebrity known most for her groundbreaking ways. She was born in 1903 here in Savannah. She lived here until she was thirteen when her mother died. At that time she was sent to live with her grandmother in Pennsylvania.

At the age of 16 she went to New York where she was discovered by Josephine Baker. Baker hired Fredi for a cabaret show called the Happy Honeysuckles. Fredi was a talented entertainer and quickly created a dancing career. She danced with her partner Al Moiret throughout the world. Her film career did not start until she was in her thirties. In 1926, Washington was recommended for a co-starring role on the Broadway stage with Paul Robeson in Black Boy. This was a big break in her acting career. In 1934 she appeared in the film ‘Imitation of Life’. She played the part of a black woman who passed for white. The film would earn an Academy Award Nomination for best picture. Time magazine would rank the film one of “The 25 Most Important Films on Race”. Because of her light colored skin many people thought she would actually want to ‘pass’ and was ashamed of her black heritage. In 1945 in response to a question on the subject she said:

“You see I’m a mighty proud gal, and I can’t for the life of me find any valid reason why anyone should lie about their origin, or anything else for that matter. Frankly, I do not ascribe to the stupid theory of white supremacy and to try to hide the fact that I am a Negro for economic or any other reasons. If I do, I would be agreeing to be a Negro makes me inferior and that I have swallowed whole hog all of the propaganda dished out by our fascist-minded white citizens.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Mirror Girls

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Novels, Passing, United States, Women on 2022-02-09 02:55Z by Steven

Mirror Girls

Little, Brown Young Readers
2022-02-08
304 pages
Hardcover ISBN-13: 9780759553859
eBook ISBN-13: 9780759553859
Audiobook ISBN-13: 9781549165962

Kelly McWilliams

A thrilling gothic horror novel about biracial twin sisters separated at birth, perfect for fans of Lovecraft Country and The Vanishing Half

As infants, twin sisters Charlie Yates and Magnolia Heathwood were secretly separated after the brutal lynching of their parents, who died for loving across the color line. Now, at the dawn of the Civil Rights Movement, Charlie is a young Black organizer in Harlem, while white-passing Magnolia is the heiress to a cotton plantation in rural Georgia.

Magnolia knows nothing of her racial heritage, but secrets are hard to keep in a town haunted by the ghosts of its slave-holding past. When Magnolia finally learns the truth, her reflection mysteriously disappears from mirrors—the sign of a terrible curse. Meanwhile, in Harlem, Charlie’s beloved grandmother falls ill. Her final wish is to be buried back home in Georgia—and, unbeknownst to Charlie, to see her long-lost granddaughter, Magnolia Heathwood, one last time. So Charlie travels into the Deep South, confronting the land of her worst nightmares—and Jim Crow segregation.

The sisters reunite as teenagers in the deeply haunted town of Eureka, Georgia, where ghosts linger centuries after their time and dangers lurk behind every mirror. They couldn’t be more different, but they will need each other to put the hauntings of the past to rest, to break the mirrors’ deadly curse—and to discover the meaning of sisterhood in a racially divided land.

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The Recovered Life of Isaac Anderson

Posted in Biography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Religion, Slavery, United States on 2022-01-04 18:11Z by Steven

The Recovered Life of Isaac Anderson

University Press of Mississippi
2021-12-15
256 pages
16 b&w illustrations
Hardcover ISBN: 9781496835147
Paperback ISBN: 9781496835130

Alicia K. Jackson, Associate Professor of History
Covenant College, Lookout Mountain, Georgia

The story of an enslaved man who became a Georgia state senator, helped found a church, and led his people to promise and hope

Owned by his father, Isaac Harold Anderson (1835–1906) was born a slave but went on to become a wealthy businessman, grocer, politician, publisher, and religious leader in the African American community in the state of Georgia. Elected to the state senate, Anderson replaced his white father there, and later shepherded his people as a founding member and leader of the Colored Methodist Episcopal church. He helped support the establishment of Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee, where he subsequently served as vice president.

Anderson was instrumental in helping freed people leave Georgia for the security of progressive safe havens with significantly large Black communities in northern Mississippi and Arkansas. Eventually under threat to his life, Anderson made his own exodus to Arkansas, and then later still, to Holly Springs, Mississippi, where a vibrant Black community thrived.

Much of Anderson’s unique story has been lost to history—until now. In The Recovered Life of Isaac Anderson, author Alicia K. Jackson presents a biography of Anderson and in it a microhistory of Black religious life and politics after emancipation. A work of recovery, the volume captures the life of a shepherd to his journeying people, and of a college pioneer, a CME minister, a politician, and a former slave. Gathering together threads from salvaged details of his life, Jackson sheds light on the varied perspectives and strategies adopted by Black leaders dealing with a society that was antithetical to them and to their success.

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Fifth of Blacks are Mulattoes

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, United States on 2021-11-01 15:14Z by Steven

Fifth of Blacks are Mulattoes

The Atlanta Georgian
1912-08-29 (Extra)
page 3, column 1
Source: Georgia Historic Newspapers

United States Census Shows Great Increase in Percentage of Mixed Element.

WASHINGTON, Aug. 29.—A preliminary statement showing by states and geographic divisions the number and proportion of mulattoes among the negroes enumerated at the thirteenth decennial census of the United States, taken as of April 15, 1910, was issued today by Director [Edward Dana] Durand. of the bureau of the census.

The statement gives comparative figures for 1870 and 1890, no data being available for 1880 or 1900.

The term “mulatto,” as used in the census of 1910, includes all person, not full-blooded negroes, who have some proportion or perceptible trace of negro blood. The bureau of census does not regard the returns as being beyond question, since the classification of negroes as full-bloods or mulattoes was necessarily to a considerable degree dependent upon the personal opinion and conscientiousness of the enumerators. The results, however, are believed to approximate the facts for the country as a whole and for large aggregates.

How Percentage Grows.

In 1910 there were in continental United States, as a whole, 9,827,763 negroes, of whom 2,050,686, or 20.9 percent, were reported as mulattoes. In 1890 there were 1,132,060 mulattoes reported, or 15.2 per cent of all the negroes, and in 1870 a total of 584,049, or 12 per cent. Thus the figures, taken at their face value, show that about one-fifth of all the negroes in 1910 had some admixture of white blood, as against about one-eighth in 1870. It may be noted, however, that an increase in the mulatto element does not necessarily imply increasing intermixture with the whites, since the children born of marriages between blacks and mulattoes would be mulattoes, according to the census definition.

The percentage of mulattoes reported varies widely in different states and different sections of the country. In New England and in the East, North Central and Pacific divisions, about one-third of the negro population were reported as mulattoes, while in each of the three Southern divisions the proportion is only about one-fifth. In the Middle Atlantic division, for some reason, the percentage is not higher than it is in the Southern divisions. This may possibly bs due to the rapid growth of the negro population in that division through immigration from the South.

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Exploring the Afro-Indigenous experience

Posted in Articles, Interviews, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2021-10-08 22:26Z by Steven

Exploring the Afro-Indigenous experience

Indian Country Today
2021-09-28

Nancy Spears
Gaylord News

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers. (Photo courtesy of Honorée Fanonne Jeffers)
Honorée Fanonne Jeffers. (Photo courtesy of Honorée Fanonne Jeffers)

The author’s new novel looks at the history of a Black family in central Georgia

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers is a full-tenure professor who’s been teaching nearly two decades in the English department at the University of Oklahoma. The first African American full professor in the history of the department, who is also Afro-Indigenous.

Her new novel explores the Afro-Indigenous experience, an area of literature Jeffers said has been long underrepresented and under-discussed.

The 790-page novel titled “The Love Songs of W.E.B Du Bois” released earlier this year in July explores the two centuries-old history of a Black family in central Georgia who is descended from Afro-Indigenous origin.

She discussed the book at the virtual National Book Festival event with Karen Grigsby Bates, senior correspondent for NPR’s Code Switch on Sept. 23.

Jeffers sat down with Gaylord News to discuss the themes of her book and reflects on how the narrative can translate to social justice issues across minority groups in the US

Read the entire interview here.

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The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois, A Novel

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Novels, Slavery, United States on 2021-10-07 19:28Z by Steven

The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois, A Novel

HarperCollins
2021-08-24
816 pages
6x9in
Hardcover ISBN: 9780062942937
eBook ISBN: 9780062942968
Audiobook ISBN: 9780062942975

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, Professor of English
University of Oklahoma, Norman

The 2020 National Book Award–nominated poet makes her fiction debut with this magisterial epic—an intimate yet sweeping novel with all the luminescence and force of Homegoing; Sing, Unburied, Sing; and The Water Dancer—that chronicles the journey of one American family, from the centuries of the colonial slave trade through the Civil War to our own tumultuous era.

The great scholar, W. E. B. Du Bois, once wrote about the Problem of race in America, and what he called “Double Consciousness,” a sensitivity that every African American possesses in order to survive. Since childhood, Ailey Pearl Garfield has understood Du Bois’s words all too well. Bearing the names of two formidable Black Americans—the revered choreographer Alvin Ailey and her great grandmother Pearl, the descendant of enslaved Georgians and tenant farmers—Ailey carries Du Bois’s Problem on her shoulders.

Ailey is reared in the north in the City but spends summers in the small Georgia town of Chicasetta, where her mother’s family has lived since their ancestors arrived from Africa in bondage. From an early age, Ailey fights a battle for belonging that’s made all the more difficult by a hovering trauma, as well as the whispers of women—her mother, Belle, her sister, Lydia, and a maternal line reaching back two centuries—that urge Ailey to succeed in their stead.

To come to terms with her own identity, Ailey embarks on a journey through her family’s past, uncovering the shocking tales of generations of ancestors—Indigenous, Black, and white—in the deep South. In doing so Ailey must learn to embrace her full heritage, a legacy of oppression and resistance, bondage and independence, cruelty and resilience that is the story—and the song—of America itself.

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