The Story Of J.P. Morgan’s ‘Personal Librarian’ — And Why She Chose To Pass As White

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2021-09-14 14:38Z by Steven

The Story Of J.P. Morgan’s ‘Personal Librarian’ — And Why She Chose To Pass As White

Code Switch
National Public Radio
2021-08-31

Karen Grigsby Bates, Senior Correspondent


Marie Benedict (left) and Victoria Christopher Murray
Phil Atkins

This summer on Code Switch, we’re talking to some of our favorite authors about books that taught us about the different dimensions of freedom. In our last installment, we talked to author Julia Alvarez about her poetry collection The Woman I Kept to Myself and how difficult it can be to share your many selves with the world. Next up, a conversation with authors Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray on their book The Personal Librarian.

At the turn of the 20th century, financier J.P. Morgan amassed a rich collection of antique objects related to the power of the written word: manuscripts, books, artwork. He did it all with the idea of enjoying his collection privately. But shortly after his death, Morgan’s personal librarian, a woman named Belle da Costa Greene, convinced J.P. Morgan’s son, Jack Morgan, to make the library a gift to New York City.

The Morgan, as it is now known, welcomes thousands of visitors each year — scholars, researchers, tourists and art lovers — to enjoy the collection. What most don’t know is this: For more than four decades, the library’s collections were acquired and curated by a Black woman. Belle da Costa Greene was quietly passing as white in order to work for one of the most powerful men in the United States

Read the story here.

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Work Of First African American Painter With International Reputation Explored

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Europe, History, Media Archive on 2021-09-12 22:16Z by Steven

Work Of First African American Painter With International Reputation Explored

Art Where You’re At
National Public Radio
2021-09-07

Susan Stamberg, Special Correspondent


Photograph of Henry Ossawa Tanner in 1907.
Frederick Gutekunst (1831–1917)/National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

I just met Henry Ossawa Tanner. Nice trick, since he died in 1937. Tanner was the first African American artist with an international reputation. His paintings are in many museums, but I’ve walked past them countless times. Now, preparing for this column, I got to know a bit about his life and times (as well as new revelations about his artistic thinking) and thought I’d make the introductions.

Quite the gentleman. Born in Pittsburgh, 1859. Grew up in Philadelphia. Died an expatriate in Paris. “He saw right away that he could do better in France,” says Dallas Museum of Art curator Sue Canterbury.

He was having trouble getting into the art classes he wanted — and finding teachers who’d take him on. In France, skin color didn’t matter as much. He told a magazine writer, “in Paris no one regards me curiously. I am simply M[onsieur] Tanner, an American artist. Nobody knows or cares what was the complexion of my forebears.”

The French liked his work. In 1897, the government bought one of his pieces for the state collections. With that rare honor his reputation soared. Museums started buying Tanners. By 1900, when mass reproductions of Christ’s portrait and books on his life were circulating, curator Canterbury says, “Tanner was considered the leading European painter of religious scenes…

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What The New Census Data Shows About Race Depends On How You Look At It

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, United States on 2021-09-01 00:29Z by Steven

What The New Census Data Shows About Race Depends On How You Look At It

National Public Radio
2021-08-13

Connie Hanzhang Jin

Ruth Talbot

Hansi Lo Wang, Correspondent, National Desk

Over the past decade, the United States continued to grow more racially and ethnically diverse, according to the results of last year’s national head count that the U.S. Census Bureau released this week.

There are many ways to slice the data and change how the demographic snapshot looks.

Since the 2000 count, participants have been able to check off more than one box when answering the race question on census forms. But breakdowns of the country’s racial and ethnic makeup often don’t reflect a multiracial population that has increased by 276% since the 2010 census. They focus instead on racial groups that are made up of people who marked only one box, with multiracial people sometimes lumped together in a catchall group.

Using the new 2020 census results, here’s what a breakdown with a catchall group for multiracial people looks like:

The 2020 U.S. Racial And Ethnic Makeup By Residents With One Race Reported

This breakdown puts residents who said they identified with two or more racial categories into an independent group. It also groups together people who identified as Hispanic or Latino, which federal standards do not consider a racial category. How that group should be represented is a subject of much debate.

One ▢ = 150,000 people

Read the entire article here.

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This Is How The White Population Is Actually Changing Based On New Census Data

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2021-08-23 02:37Z by Steven

This Is How The White Population Is Actually Changing Based On New Census Data

National Public Radio
2021-08-22

Hansi Lo Wang, Correspondent, National Desk

Ruth Talbot

Some news coverage of the latest 2020 census results may have led you to think the white population in the U.S. is shrinking or in decline.

The actual story about the country’s biggest racial group is more complicated than that.

And it’s largely the result of a major shift in how the U.S. census asks about people’s racial identities. Since 2000, the forms for the national, once-a-decade head count have allowed participants to check off more than one box when answering the race question.

While the 2020 census results show fewer people checking off only the “White” box compared with in 2010, there was an almost 316% jump in the number of U.S. residents who identified with the “White” category and one or more of the other racial groups. Their responses boosted the size of a white population that includes anyone who marked “White.”…

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What Does It Mean To Be Latino? The ‘Light-Skinned Privilege’ Edition

Posted in Audio, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2021-08-21 03:46Z by Steven

What Does It Mean To Be Latino? The ‘Light-Skinned Privilege’ Edition

Code Switch
National Public Radio
2021-07-14

Shereen Marisol Meraji, Co-host/ Senior Producer

Kumari Devarajan, Producer

Leah Donnella, Editor


Maria Hinojosa (left) and Maria Garcia.
Krystal Quiles for NPR

Maria Garcia and Maria Hinojosa are both Mexican American, both mestiza, and both relatively light-skinned. But Maria Hinojosa strongly identifies as a woman of color, whereas Maria Garcia has stopped doing so. So in this episode, we’re asking: How did they arrive at such different places? To find out, listen to our latest installment in this series about what it means to be Latino.

Listen to the story (00:37:15) here.

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Radio Diaries: Harry Pace And The Rise And Fall Of Black Swan Records

Posted in Articles, Arts, Audio, Biography, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2021-07-16 18:20Z by Steven

Radio Diaries: Harry Pace And The Rise And Fall Of Black Swan Records

All Things Considered
National Public Radio
2021-07-01

Nellie Gilles, Managing Producer at Radio Diaries at Radio Diaries

Mycah Hazel, Radio Diaries Fellow


Harry Pace started the first major Black-owned record label in the U.S., but his achievements went mostly unnoticed until recently, when his descendants uncovered his secret history.
Courtesy of Peter Pace

A century ago, around the dawn of the Harlem Renaissance, New York City was brimming with music. Black artists like Eubie Blake, Florence Mills and Fats Waller were performing in dance halls and nightclubs including Edmond’s Cellar and The Lincoln Theatre.

“Every block between 110th Street and 155th Street buzzed with creative energy,” says journalist Paul Slade, author of Black Swan Blues: the hard rise and brutal fall of America’s first black-owned record label.

Despite that energy, when it came to recording and selling music by Black artists, the opportunities were limited. White-owned record labels — Columbia, Victor, Aeolian, Edison, Paramount — recorded few Black artists at the time, and when they did, it was often limited to novelty songs and minstrelsy.

“They were making a fortune off these negative portrayals of Black people,” says Bill Doggett, a specialist in early recorded sound.

Okeh Records was one of the first labels to break the mold. Perry “Mule” Bradford, a Black composer, pushed Okeh to record Mamie Smith and her song “Crazy Blues” in 1920. The record was a hit and entrepreneur Harry Pace took notice…

Read the entire story here.

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Cherokee Nation Strikes Down Language That Limits Citizenship Rights ‘By Blood’

Posted in Articles, Audio, History, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Slavery, United States on 2021-02-27 03:58Z by Steven

Cherokee Nation Strikes Down Language That Limits Citizenship Rights ‘By Blood’

National Public Radio
2021-02-25

Mary Louise Kelly, Host
All Things Considered


Rena Logan, a member of a Cherokee Freedmen family, shows her identification card as a member of the Cherokee tribe at her home in Muskogee, Okla., in this photo from October 2011. She is among the some 8,500 people whose ancestors were enslaved by the Cherokee Nation in the 1800s.David Crenshaw/Associated Press

The Cherokee Nation’s Supreme Court ruled this week to remove the words “by blood” from its constitution and other legal doctrines.

The words, added to the constitution in 2007, have been used to exclude Black people whose ancestors were enslaved by the tribe from obtaining full Cherokee Nation citizenship rights.

There are currently some 8,500 enrolled Cherokee Nation members descended from these Freedmen, thousands of whom were removed on the Trail of Tears along with tribal citizens.

“The Freedmen, until this Cherokee Nation Supreme Court ruling, they couldn’t hold office, they couldn’t run for tribal council and they couldn’t run for chief,” says Graham Lee Brewer, an editor for Indigenous affairs at High Country News and KOSU in Oklahoma. “And I would argue that that made them second-class citizens.”…

Read the entire story here. Download the story (00:04:10) here.

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The Afro-Latinx Experience Is Essential To Our International Reckoning On Race

Posted in Articles, Arts, Audio, Latino Studies, Media Archive on 2020-12-12 02:38Z by Steven

The Afro-Latinx Experience Is Essential To Our International Reckoning On Race

National Public Radio
ALT.LATINO
2020-07-03

Felix Contreras
Anaïs Laurent
Marisa Arbona-Ruiz
Jasmine Garsd


In Tijuana, raised fists show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Guillermo Arias/AFP via Getty Images

Let’s pause the music for a bit and talk through some things.

In three segments, we’re going to have a conversation about how Afro-Latinx folks often get left out of national discussions about Blackness and, in particular, the Black Lives Matter movement. Petra Rivera-Rideua, of Wellesley College, and Omaris Z. Zamora, of Rutgers, help us wade through layers of complexities. Our newest contributor to the Alt.Latino family, NPR publicist Anaïs Laurent, lends her considerable knowledge of Afro-Latinx culture and reggaeton to the conversation.

“I don’t think that the media, on a national level, is doing the work to understand that Blackness is heterogeneous,” Zamora says.

“There are Black Latinos, there are Afro Latinos who very much a part of Black Lives Matter and the experiences we’re talking about,” Laurent adds.

Read the entire story here.

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“I have two handicaps, I am a woman and I have some Negro blood in my veins.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2020-06-18 00:31Z by Steven

[Florence] Price and her music were well received in Chicago. The great contralto Marian Anderson closed her legendary 1939 Lincoln Memorial concert with a piece arranged by Price. Still, she scraped to make ends meet, writing pop tunes and accompanying silent films. In 1943, she sent a letter to Serge Koussevitzky, conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, acknowledging what she was up against. “I have two handicaps,” she wrote: “I am a woman and I have some Negro blood in my veins.”

Tom Huizenga, “Revisiting The Pioneering Composer Florence Price,” All Things Considered, National Public Radio, January 21, 2019. https://www.npr.org/2019/01/21/686622572/revisiting-the-pioneering-composer-florence-price.

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Revisiting The Pioneering Composer Florence Price

Posted in Articles, Arts, Audio, Biography, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2020-06-18 00:10Z by Steven

Revisiting The Pioneering Composer Florence Price

All Things Considered
National Public Radio
2019-01-21

Tom Huizenga, Music Producer


Florence Price was the first African-American woman to have her music performed by a major symphony orchestra.
Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries

In 1933, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra gave the world premiere of Symphony No. 1 by a then little-known composer named Florence Price. The performance marked the first time a major orchestra played music by an African-American woman.

Price’s First Symphony, along with her Fourth, has just been released on an album featuring the Fort Smith Symphony, conducted by John Jeter.

Fans of Price, especially in the African-American community, may argue that her music has never really been forgotten. But some of it has been lost. Not long ago, a couple bought a fixer-upper, south of Chicago, and discovered nearly 30 boxes of manuscripts and papers. Among the discoveries in what turned out to be Price’s abandoned summer home was her Fourth Symphony, composed in 1945. This world-premiere recording is another new piece of the puzzle to understanding the life and music of Price, and a particular time in America’s cultural history.

Read the story here. Listen to the story (00:04:00) here.

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