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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The Twelve-Mile Straight, A Novel

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Novels, United States on 2021-09-21 14:33Z by Steven

The Twelve-Mile Straight, A Novel

Ecco (an imprint of HarperCollins)
2017-09-12
560 pages
6x9in
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0062422088
Paperback ISBN: 978-0008158705
Ebook ISBN: 9780062422101
Digital Audio, MP3 ISBN: 9780062694874

Eleanor Henderson

From New York Times bestselling author Eleanor Henderson, an audacious American epic set in rural Georgia during the years of the Depression and Prohibition.

Cotton County, Georgia, 1930: in a house full of secrets, two babies-one light-skinned, the other dark-are born to Elma Jesup, a white sharecropper’s daughter. Accused of her rape, field hand Genus Jackson is lynched and dragged behind a truck down the Twelve-Mile Straight, the road to the nearby town. In the aftermath, the farm’s inhabitants are forced to contend with their complicity in a series of events that left a man dead and a family irrevocably fractured.

Despite the prying eyes and curious whispers of the townspeople, Elma begins to raise her babies as best as she can, under the roof of her mercurial father, Juke, and with the help of Nan, the young black housekeeper who is as close to Elma as a sister. But soon it becomes clear that the ties that bind all of them together are more intricate than any could have ever imagined. As startling revelations mount, a web of lies begins to collapse around the family, destabilizing their precarious world and forcing all to reckon with the painful truth.

Acclaimed author Eleanor Henderson has returned with a novel that combines the intimacy of a family drama with the staggering presence of a great Southern saga. Tackling themes of racialized violence, social division, and financial crisis, The Twelve-Mile Straight is a startlingly timely, emotionally resonant, and magnificent tour de force.

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The Recovered Life of Isaac Anderson

Posted in Biography, Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs, Religion, Slavery, United States on 2021-08-31 02:04Z 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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Permanent marker: Augusta plaque honors 19th century Black female millionaire

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Women on 2021-05-27 15:00Z by Steven

Permanent marker: Augusta plaque honors 19th century Black female millionaire

The Augusta Chronicle
Augusta, Georgia
2021-05-21

Joe Hotchkiss


Corey Rogers (center), historian at the Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History, and Elyse Butler (second from left), marker manager for the Georgia Historical Society, unveil the marker at 448 Telfair St. in Augusta commemorating the former home of Black millionaire Amanda America Dickson Toomer. At far left is building owner John Hock, who funded and supervised the home’s exterior renovations. Rogers (center), historian at the Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History, and Elyse Butler (second from left), marker manager for the Georgia Historical Society, unveil the marker at 448 Telfair St. in Augusta commemorating the former home of Black millionaire Amanda America Dickson Toomer. At far left is building owner John Hock, who funded and supervised the home’s exterior renovations. JOE HOTCHKISS/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE

Harrell Lawson grew up in Hancock County in the 1960s, listening to tales about the old plantation across the road.

“I used to hear stories about how a Black woman used to own it, but I didn’t know my relation to her at the time,” he said.

More people know now. On Friday, a Georgia historical marker was unveiled in downtown Augusta to mark the home at 448 Telfair St. where Amanda America Dickson Toomer – perhaps the richest Black woman of the 19th century – spent the last seven years of her life.

Lawson, who maintains homes in Stone Mountain and Sparta, joined about a dozen other Toomer descendants at the marker ceremony in front of a renovated exterior that took months for John Hock, the house’s owner, to complete with a team of subcontractors.

While the outside has been repainted, refitted and repaired to match its original appearance, the inside has more modern features and will continue to be used as an attorney’s office.

“This whole project was to commemorate the life of Amanda, and I think we did it,” Hock said…

Who was Amanda America Dickson Toomer?

Dickson was born in 1849 to prominent Hancock County plantation owner David Dickson and a 12-year-old slave. Legally a slave owned by her white grandmother, the biracial child was reared in her father’s household. She learned to read and write, and assumed the social graces of white Southern affluence.

When David Dickson died in 1885, he willed to Amanda 15,000 acres of land and about $500,000, which Amanda’s biographer Dr. Kent Anderson Leslie said equals more than $3 million today. Other modern estimates place the amount even higher.

Scores of Dickson’s white relatives emerged to contest the will, outraged at the prospect of a biracial, legally illegitimate woman inheriting such immense wealth in the post-Civil War South. But Leslie said at the ceremony Friday that the young heiress had a plan…

Read the entire article here.

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Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir

Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, United States, Women on 2020-08-12 01:11Z by Steven

Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir

Ecco (an imprint of HarperCollins)
2020-07-28
224 pages
6x8in
Hardcover ISBN: 9780062248572
Large Print ISBN: 9780063076709
E-book ISBN: 9780062248596
Digital Audio, MP3 ISBN: 9780063005860

Natasha Trethewey, Board of Trustees Professor of English
Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

An Instant New York Times Bestseller

A chillingly personal and exquisitely wrought memoir of a daughter reckoning with the brutal murder of her mother at the hands of her former stepfather, and the moving, intimate story of a poet coming into her own in the wake of a tragedy

At age nineteen, Natasha Trethewey had her world turned upside down when her former stepfather shot and killed her mother. Grieving and still new to adulthood, she confronted the twin pulls of life and death in the aftermath of unimaginable trauma and now explores the way this experience lastingly shaped the artist she became.

With penetrating insight and a searing voice that moves from the wrenching to the elegiac, Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Natasha Trethewey explores this profound experience of pain, loss, and grief as an entry point into understanding the tragic course of her mother’s life and the way her own life has been shaped by a legacy of fierce love and resilience. Moving through her mother’s history in the deeply segregated South and through her own girlhood as a “child of miscegenation” in Mississippi, Trethewey plumbs her sense of dislocation and displacement in the lead-up to the harrowing crime that took place on Memorial Drive in Atlanta in 1985.

Memorial Drive is a compelling and searching look at a shared human experience of sudden loss and absence but also a piercing glimpse at the enduring ripple effects of white racism and domestic abuse. Animated by unforgettable prose and inflected by a poet’s attention to language, this is a luminous, urgent, and visceral memoir from one of our most important contemporary writers and thinkers.

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The Secret Trust of Aspasia Cruvellier Mirault: The Life and Trials of a Free Woman of Color in Antebellum Georgia

Posted in Biography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2019-09-23 17:20Z by Steven

The Secret Trust of Aspasia Cruvellier Mirault: The Life and Trials of a Free Woman of Color in Antebellum Georgia

University of Arkansas Press
August 2008
180 pages
6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-1557288806

Janice L. Sumler-Edmond, Professor Emerita of History
Huston-Tillotson University, Austin, Texas

In this fascinating biography set in nineteenth-century Savannah, Georgia, Janice L. Sumler-Edmond resurrects the life and times of Aspasia Cruvellier Mirault, a free woman of color whose story was until now lost to historical memory. It’s a story that informs our understanding of the antebellum South as we watch this widowed matriarch navigate the social, economic, and political complexities to create a legacy for her family.

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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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