Even today, being biracial in America is not always easy

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2016-12-18 23:31Z by Steven

Even today, being biracial in America is not always easy

Washington County News
Washington, Pennsylvania

Karen Mansfield, Staff Writer

Celeste Van Kirk/Observer-Reporter
Dontae Monday, a student at Washington & Jefferson College, stands in front of Old Main recently.

Koron Harris is used to strangers sneaking glances at her, and she knows why.

“They’re trying to figure out if I’m black or I’m white.”

The daughter of a black father and white mother, Harris has encountered curiosity and fascination about her biracial heritage since she was in elementary school.

“I don’t really think about it at this point, but everybody else does. I’ve had people ask me whether I think I’m black or I’m white, and I honestly don’t see it that way,” said Harris, 19, of Washington. “I just think of me as being Koron.”…

Read the entire article here.

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While Trump Won York County, Pa., Republican Cal Weary Backed Clinton

Posted in Audio, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-12-15 13:45Z by Steven

While Trump Won York County, Pa., Republican Cal Weary Backed Clinton

Morning Edition
National Public Radio

Steve Inskeep catches up with Cal Weary, an ex-art teacher from York, who spoke about race and politics as part of the York Project in 2008. Weary, an African-American, is a registered Republican.

Download the story (00:05:34) here.

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The natural separation of the races is therefore an undeniable fact, and all social organizations which lead to their amalgamation are repugnant to the law of nature.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2016-07-03 17:04Z by Steven

In this connection the language of Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in the case of Philadelphia & West Chester Railway Company vs. Miles, 93 American Dec., 747, is well worth considering. It is as applicable to the Chinese and the Japanese as it is to the negro:

“The danger to the peace engendered by the feeling of aversion between individuals of the different races cannot be denied. If a negro takes his seat beside a white man or his wife or daughter, the law cannot repress the anger or conquer the feeling of aversion which some will feel. However unwise it may be to indulge the feeling, human infirmity is not always proof against it. It is much wiser to avert the consequences of this repulsion of race by separation than to punish afterwards the breach of the peace it may have caused. * * *

The question is one of difference, not of superiority, or inferiority. Why the Creator made one black and the other white, we know not; but the fact is apparent, and the races distinct, each producing its own kind, and following the peculiar law of its constitution. Conceding equality, with natures as perfect and rights as sacred, yet God has made them dissimilar, with those natural instincts and feelings which He always imparts to His creatures when He intends that they shall not overstep the natural boundaries He has assigned to them. The natural law which forbids their intermarriage, and that social amalgamation which leads to a corruption of the races, is as clearly divine as that which imparted to them different natures. The tendency of intimate social intermixture is to amalgamation, contrary to the law of races. The separation of the white and black races upon the surface of the globe is a fact equally apparent. Why this is so, it is not necessary to speculate; but the fact of a distribution of men by race and color is as visible in the providential arrangement of the earth as that of heat and cold. The natural separation of the races is therefore an undeniable fact, and all social organizations which lead to their amalgamation are repugnant to the law of nature. From social amalgamation it is but a step to illicit intercourse, and but another to intermarriage. But to assert separateness is not to declare inferiority in either; it is not to declare one a slave and the other a freeman,—that would be to draw the illogical sequence of inferiority from difference only. It is simply to say that following the order of Divine Providence, human authority ought not to compel these widely separate races to intermix. The right of such to be free from social contact is as clear as to be free from intermarriage. The former may be less repulsive as a condition, but not less entitled to protection as a right. When, therefore, we declare a right to maintain separate relations, so far as is reasonably practicable, but in a spirit of kindness and charity, and with due regard to equality of rights, it is not prejudice, nor caste, nor injustice of any kind, but simply to suffer men to follow the law of races established by the Creator himself, and not to compel them to intermix contrary to their instincts.”

The American Law Register, Volume 54, (From January to December 1906), (Philadelphia: 1906), 702. https://books.google.com/books?id=RzLBgPFFjGMC&pg=PA702.

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Former Duquesne, Penn State athlete Cumberland Posey elected to Basketball Hall of Fame

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, United States on 2016-06-16 20:08Z by Steven

Former Duquesne, Penn State athlete Cumberland Posey elected to Basketball Hall of Fame

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Stephen J. Nesbitt, Beat Writer

Courtesy of the Baseball Hall of Fame Library, Cooperstown, N.Y.

Will become only person inducted into both professional basketball, baseball halls of fame

The grass-roots campaign to get Cumberland “Cum” Posey enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame began one day in 2002 when two men met at a Starbucks in Pittsburgh and drafted a plan to unearth the story of one of the best athletes the area has seen.

On Monday, 14 years later, Claude Johnson and Rob Ruck were together again to celebrate the campaign’s joyous conclusion. Mr. Posey will be inducted in September, the hall announced.

Mr. Posey, who was born in Homestead in 1890 and died in 1946, was the first black athlete at Penn State and Duquesne and was a player, manager and owner of the Homestead Grays baseball team. He will be the first to be voted into both the professional basketball and baseball halls of fame.

“Today, we honor a man who could be called Pittsburgh’s forgotten champion,” said Duquesne president Charles Dougherty at a ceremony Monday night on Duquesne’s campus, with a number of Mr. Posey’s descendants in attendance.

Mr. Posey is best known for helping build the Grays into a national power, and his basketball prowess seemed lost to history until Mr. Ruck, a history professor at Pitt, wrote the book “Sandlot Seasons,” which told of prominent people and places in Pittsburgh’s black sports history…

…While leading Duquesne in scoring every season from 1916-18, Mr. Posey played under the alias “Charles Cumbert.” There are a few theories as to why — eligibility concerns is one — but Mr. Johnson said Mr. Posey tried passing as white because opponents would refuse to play a black person…

Read the entire article here.

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What an 1887 murder and dismemberment tells us about race relations today

Posted in Arts, History, Law, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2016-03-24 00:24Z by Steven

What an 1887 murder and dismemberment tells us about race relations today

The Philadelphia Inquirer

Samantha Melamed, Staff Writer

On the freezing-cold morning of Feb. 17, 1887, a Bensalem carpenter walking by an ice pond noticed a parcel wrapped in brown paper and marked “handle with care.” Inside, he found a male torso of indeterminate race. The limbs and head were nowhere in sight.

So begins Hannah Mary Tabbs and the Disembodied Torso, the new book by historian and African studies scholar Kali Nicole Gross.

It’s the type of tale you don’t often hear during Black History Month: the biography of an antiheroine who made her way in the world through violence, deception, and adultery. It’s also a true-crime story told nearly 130 years after the fact—culminating in the century-late exoneration of a man who, Gross argues, was framed for murder.

Most of all, the story of Tabbs, the Philadelphia woman who left the torso by the pond in the first place—and of Wakefield Gaines, her victim and much-younger lover, and George Wilson, the “weak-minded” 18-year-old she accused of the crime – is an encapsulation of issues that resonate today, of racial bias in policing, coerced confessions, and unreliable eyewitnesses.

“Tabbs’ story sheds this unprecedented light,” Gross said, “into just how long these issues around urban crime and police brutality have been around in our society.”

Gross, 43, a professor at the University of Texas-Austin, began the work eight years ago, while she was living in Philadelphia. (She attended graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania and taught at Drexel University.)…

…In uncovering the story, she shed light on the tense race relations of the time: Tabbs’ vulnerable place under the law as a black woman, and Wilson’s still-more-tenuous status as a light-skinned interracial man.

“People were very concerned about black people infiltrating white society. Wilson is really the sum of all fears,” Gross said. “Police home in on him despite the fact he had no real motive.”

Wilson, known to be “dim” and impressionable, was beaten in custody—until, Gross concludes, he made a false confession. (He was sentenced to 12 years in solitary confinement.)…

Read the entire article here.

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Ordinary Yet Infamous: Hannah Mary Tabbs and the Disembodied Torso

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2016-02-16 00:59Z by Steven

Ordinary Yet Infamous: Hannah Mary Tabbs and the Disembodied Torso

Not Even Past: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” William Faulkner

Kali Nicole Gross, Associate Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies
University of Texas, Austin

Adapted from Kali Nicole Gross’s new book: Hannah Mary Tabbs and the Disembodied Torso: A Tale of Race, Sex, and Violence in America (Oxford University Press, 2016).

Rogues’ Gallery Books (1887) Courtesy of the Philadelphia City Archives.

The discovery of a headless, limbless, racially ambiguous human torso near a pond outside of Philadelphia in 1887, horrified area residents and confounded local authorities. From what they could tell, a brutal homicide had taken place. At a minimum, the victim had been viciously dismembered. Based on the circumstances, it also seemed like the kind of case to go unsolved. Yet in an era lacking sophisticated forensic methods, the investigators from Bucks County and those from Philadelphia managed to identify two suspects: Hannah Mary Tabbs, a black southern migrant, and George Wilson, a young mulatto that Tabbs implicated shortly after her arrest. The ensuing trial would last months, itself something of a record given that most criminal hearings wrapped up in a week or so. The crime and its adjudication also took center stage in presses from Pennsylvania to Illinois to Missouri

Read the entire article here.

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Hannah Mary Tabbs and the Disembodied Torso: A Tale of Race, Sex, and Violence in America

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2016-02-15 22:07Z by Steven

Hannah Mary Tabbs and the Disembodied Torso: A Tale of Race, Sex, and Violence in America

Oxford University Press
232 pages
10 illustrations
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 9780190241216

Kali Nicole Gross, Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor of History
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

  • A true crime account that offers a glimpse of the racially volatile world of post-Reconstruction Philadelphia
  • Unearths historical experiences of traditionally marginalized, taboo subjects
  • Combines narrative prose with rigorous historical research

Shortly after a dismembered torso was discovered by a pond outside Philadelphia in 1887, investigators homed in on two suspects: Hannah Mary Tabbs, a married, working-class, black woman, and George Wilson, a former neighbor whom Tabbs implicated after her arrest.

As details surrounding the shocking case emerged, both the crime and ensuing trial-which spanned several months-were featured in the national press. The trial brought otherwise taboo subjects such as illicit sex, adultery, and domestic violence in the black community to public attention. At the same time, the mixed race of the victim and one of his assailants exacerbated anxieties over the purity of whiteness in the post-Reconstruction era.

In Hannah Mary Tabbs and the Disembodied Torso, historian Kali Nicole Gross uses detectives’ notes, trial and prison records, local newspapers, and other archival documents to reconstruct this ghastly whodunit crime in all its scandalous detail. In doing so, she gives the crime context by analyzing it against broader evidence of police treatment of black suspects and violence within the black community.

A fascinating work of historical recreation, Hannah Mary Tabbs and the Disembodied Torso is sure to captivate anyone interested in true crime, adulterous love triangles gone wrong, and the racially volatile world of post-Reconstruction Philadelphia.

Table of Contents

  • Prologue
  • Chapter 1: “Handle With Care”
  • Chapter 2: “The Woman Found”
  • Chapter 3: “To Do Him Bodily Harm”
  • Chapter 4: “Wavy Hair and Nearly White Skin”
  • Chapter 5: “Held for Trial”
  • Chapter 6: “The Defense Opens”
  • Epilogue
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

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Exhibit by Penn cultural anthropologist showcases Afro-Latinos in Philadelphia

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Arts, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2016-01-02 21:04Z by Steven

Exhibit by Penn cultural anthropologist showcases Afro-Latinos in Philadelphia

Penn Current: News, ideas and conversations from the University of Pennsylvania

Jacquie Posey

Free and enslaved Africans shaped and built Latin America and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean. Their descendants, known as Afro-Latinos, are featured in a new photo exhibition by cultural anthropologist Sandra Andino, associate director of the Latin American and Latino Studies Program at Penn.

Afro-Latino in Philadelphia: Stories from El Barrio,” which opened on Dec. 4 at Taller Puertorriqueño, a community-based multidisciplinary arts organization in North Philadelphia, explores the intersection of African heritage and Latino identity.

Visitors can view the photographs and listen to an audio tour of the exhibit on their smartphone by scanning a designated QR code or going to the artist’s website and clicking the audio tour link

Read the entire article here.

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“The Double Curse of Sex and Color”: Robert Purvis and Human Rights

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2014-12-17 18:59Z by Steven

“The Double Curse of Sex and Color”: Robert Purvis and Human Rights

Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography
Volume 121 [CXXI], Number 1-2, January/April 1997
pages 53-76

Margaret Hope Bacon (1921-2011)

In 1869 A NATIONAL WOMAN’S SUFFRAGE convention was held for the first time in Washington, D.C. The Fourteenth Amendment had recently been ratified and the Fifteenth was about to be introduced into Congress. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and other women present used the opportunity to object to black men receiving the vote before women, both black and white, were enfranchised. Their arguments were countered by those of Frederick Douglass, Edward M. Davis, Dr. Charles Burleigh Purvis, and others, who maintained that the Southern black male needed the shield of suffrage to protect him from the reign of terror being visited upon him by former slave owners.

A tall slender man with fair skin and white hair rose at his seat and began to speak. Elizabeth Stanton invited him to come forward and address the convention from the platform. Robert Purvis of Philadelphia said that he was willing to wait for the vote for himself and his sons and his race until women were also permitted to enjoy it. It was important to him that his daughter be enfranchised, since she bore the double curse of sex and race. He chided his son, Dr. Charles Purvis, for holding a narrow position, and reminded him that his sister Hattie also deserved to be enfranchised.

Alone among the black men who had supported women’s rights in the antislavery movement, Robert Purvis remained an advocate of suffrage for women throughout the period of debate and schism over the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments. In 1888 he was honored by Susan B. Anthony at the International Council of Women, meeting in Washington, D.C., for his courageous stand in 1869 in opposition to his own son.

Purvis’s advocacy of women’s rights was rooted in his deeply held convictions on human rights. He believed strongly that the struggle for equality for blacks could not be separated from that of women, of American Indians, of Irish nationalists demanding home rule, of all minorities. He objected to all associations based on color alone and rejected the term “African-American.” ‘There is not a single African in the United States,” he told a Philadelphia audience in 1886. “We are to the manner born; we are native Americans.”

Purvis’s position on human rights undoubtedly stemmed in part from his own mixed-race background. His grandmother, Dido Badaracka, was born in Morocco. Purvis described her as a “full-blooded Moor of magnificent features and great beauty. She had crisp hair and a stately manner.” In approximately 1766, at the age of twelve, she was captured by a slave trader along with an Arab girl. The two had been enticed to go a mile or two out of the city where they lived to see a deer that had been caught. They were seized, loaded on the backs of camels, and carried to a slave market on the coast. Here they were loaded onto a slaver and transported to Charleston, South Carolina. At the slave market in Charleston, Dido was bought by a kind white woman, named Day or Deas, who educated her, treated her as a companion, and left instructions that she was to be freed when the woman died, nine years later, in 1775…

Read the entire article here.

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Notes from a Colored Girl: The Civil War Pocket Diaries of Emilie Frances Davis

Posted in Autobiography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United States, Women on 2014-11-09 17:42Z by Steven

Notes from a Colored Girl: The Civil War Pocket Diaries of Emilie Frances Davis

University of South Carolina Press
May 2014
280 pages
9 b&w illus.
6 x 9
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-61117-352-9
eBook ISBN: 978-1-61117-353-6

Karsonya Wise Whitehead, Assistant Professor of Communication and African and African American Studies
Loyola University Maryland, Baltimore

A rare glimpse into the thoughts and experiences of a free black American woman in the nineteenth century

In Notes from a Colored Girl, Karsonya Wise Whitehead examines the life and experiences of Emilie Frances Davis, a freeborn twenty-one-year-old mulatto woman, through a close reading of three pocket diaries she kept from 1863 to 1865. Whitehead explores Davis’s worldviews and politics, her perceptions of both public and private events, her personal relationships, and her place in Philadelphia’s free black community in the nineteenth century.

Although Davis’s daily entries are sparse, brief snapshots of her life, Whitehead interprets them in ways that situate Davis in historical and literary contexts that illuminate nineteenth-century black American women’s experiences. Whitehead’s contribution of edited text and original narrative fills a void in scholarly documentation of women who dwelled in spaces between white elites, black entrepreneurs, and urban dwellers of every race and class.

Notes from a Colored Girl is a unique offering to the fields of history and documentary editing as the book includes both a six-chapter historical reconstruction of Davis’s life and a full, heavily annotated edition of her Civil War–era pocket diaries. Drawing on scholarly traditions from history, literature, feminist studies, and sociolinguistics, Whitehead investigates Davis’s diary both as a complete literary artifact and in terms of her specific daily entries.

From a historical perspective, Whitehead re-creates the narrative of Davis’s life for those three years and analyzes the black community where she lived and worked. From a literary perspective, Whitehead examines Davis’s diary as a socially, racially, and gendered nonfiction text. From a feminist studies perspective, she examines Davis’s agency and identity, grounded in theories elaborated by black feminist scholars. And, from linguistic and rhetorical perspectives, she studies Davis’s discourse about her interpersonal relationships, her work, and external events in her life in an effort to understand how she used language to construct her social, racial, and gendered identities.

Since there are few primary sources written by black women during this time in history, Davis’s diary—though ordinary in its content—is rendered extraordinary simply because it has survived to be included in this very small class of resources. Whitehead’s extensive analysis illuminates the lives of many through the simple words of one.

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