A Drop of Midnight: A Memoir

Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Books, Europe, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery on 2022-02-26 21:15Z by Steven

A Drop of Midnight: A Memoir

Amazon Crossing
2020-03-01
304 pages
5.5 x 1 x 8.25 inches
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-1542017077
Paperback ISBN-13: 978-1542016704
Audio CD ISBN: 978-1799726296

Jason Diakité

Rachel Willson-Broyles (Translator)

World-renowned hip-hop artist Jason “Timbuktu” Diakité’s vivid and intimate journey through his own and his family’s history―from South Carolina slavery to twenty-first-century Sweden.

Born to interracial American parents in Sweden, Jason Diakité grew up between worlds―part Swedish, American, black, white, Cherokee, Slovak, and German, riding a delicate cultural and racial divide. It was a no-man’s-land that left him in constant search of self. Even after his hip-hop career took off, Jason fought to unify a complex system of family roots that branched across continents, ethnicities, classes, colors, and eras to find a sense of belonging.

In A Drop of Midnight, Jason draws on conversations with his parents, personal experiences, long-lost letters, and pilgrimages to South Carolina and New York to paint a vivid picture of race, discrimination, family, and ambition. His ancestors’ origins as slaves in the antebellum South, his parents’ struggles as an interracial couple, and his own world-expanding connection to hip-hop helped him fashion a strong black identity in Sweden.

What unfolds in Jason’s remarkable voyage of discovery is a complex and unflinching look at not only his own history but also that of generations affected by the trauma of the African diaspora, then and now.

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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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SC senator’s ‘reply all’ disrupts unveiling of Black Reconstruction lawmaker’s portrait

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2021-10-21 15:07Z by Steven

SC senator’s ‘reply all’ disrupts unveiling of Black Reconstruction lawmaker’s portrait

The State
Columbia, South Carolina
2021-10-16

Caitlin Byrd

This image shows the portrait of Stephen Swails, which now hangs in the state Senate chambers. This image was attached to the email sent to state lawmakers on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2021.

CHARLESTON, S.C.—In South Carolina, a state with a painful legacy of racism, a white lawmaker on Thursday fired off an email that casually challenged the complexion of a Black Reconstruction-era lawmaker, whose portrait now hangs in a place of honor inside the State House.

And, thanks to the modern-day perils of the reply-all email, now all 46 of South Carolina’s state senators, their staff and the senate clerk, know what Charleston Republican Sandy Senn thought when she saw the portrait of Stephen Atkins Swails.

“That sure is the whitest looking black guy I’ve ever seen,” the senator from Charleston wrote in a message that included an emoji symbol [🤷‍♂️] of a person shrugging…

…Swails was born in Pennsylvania to a Black father and a white mother in 1832, and made his way to South Carolina first as a military man.

He stormed Fort Wagner on Morris Island as a member of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, one of the nation’s first Black fighting units whose story would later be immortalized in the film “Glory.”

In 1865, he became the first commissioned African American officer in the Union Army. After his military service, Swails stayed in the Palmetto State, where he worked for the Freedmen’s Bureau to help newly freed slaves in the South

Read the entire article here.

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Gibbes Museum’s Film Series to Focus on Racial Passing

Posted in Articles, Arts, Live Events, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2021-09-30 03:19Z by Steven

Gibbes Museum’s Film Series to Focus on Racial Passing

Holy City Sinner
Charleston, South Carolina
2021-09-23


Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson appear in “Passing” by Rebecca Hall, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Edu Grau

The Gibbes Museum of Art has announced the second installment of its film series, titled “Gibbes Films in Focus: Passing Strange,” which will feature the Lowcountry’s first screening of the 2021 Sundance Film Festival selection, “Passing,” by Rebecca Hall, starring Tessa Thompson, Ruth Negga, Andre Holland, and Alexander Skarsgård and adapted from the groundbreaking novel by Nella Larsen.

In this series, the Gibbes will explore the tradition of race-passing narratives as represented on the silver screen. From Kate Chopin’s 1893 short story “Désirée’s Baby,” to the 1936 and 1951 adaptations of the musical “Showboat,” America has been enthralled by passing narratives, whereby a person of Black descent, but of ambiguous or white features, slips into white society, destabilizing the strict racial codes that have governed so much of American life. This three-part series will be held at the museum this fall…

Read the entire article here.

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Rediscovered Ancestry: a Family Learns the Story of Their Remarkable Ancestor, Senator Lawrence Cain

Posted in Audio, Biography, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2021-06-22 21:21Z by Steven

Rediscovered Ancestry: a Family Learns the Story of Their Remarkable Ancestor, Senator Lawrence Cain

Walter Edgar’s Journal
South Carolina Public Radio
2021-04-12

Walter Edgar, Host


“Radical members of the first legislature after the war, South Carolina” – Photomontage of members of the first South Carolina legislature following the Civil War, mounted on card with each member identified. (Lawrence Cain, center, third from left)

In his book, The Virtue of Cain: From Slave to Senator (2021, Rocky Pond Press), Kevin Cherry focuses on the short but extraordinary life of Reconstruction era Senator Lawrence Cain of Edgefield, South Carolina. Cherry, Cain’s great great-grandson, also tells the contemporaty story of a family with Southern roots, long identified as having some American indian ancestry, re-discovering their true heritage.

Kevin Cherry’s book, The Virtue of Cain: From Slave to Senator (2021, Rocky Pond Press) focuses on the short but extraordinary life of Reconstruction era Senator Lawrence Cain of Edgefield, South Carolina. He was considered an honorable and virtuous man and helped shape South Carolina politics between 1865 and 1877 as one of the leaders of the Radical Republican movement. He rose above numerous obstacles to go from slave to state senator

The facts of his life had been forgotten by his descendants, like much of African American history during Reconstruction. But they were re-discovered Lawrence Cain’s great great-grandson, Kevin M. Cherry, with the help of family, genealogy research, archived papers and genetic DNA results. Cherry is joined in conversation with Walter Edgar and Dr. Vernon Burton, professor emeritus of history at Clemson University, recounting Lawrence Cain’s remarkable life and the social and political upheaval of Reconstruction in South Carolina.

Listen to the story (00:51:59) here.

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The Accident of Color: A Story of Race in Reconstruction

Posted in Books, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2020-06-23 17:36Z by Steven

The Accident of Color: A Story of Race in Reconstruction

W. W. Norton
2020-06-18
336 pages
6.4 x 9.6 in
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-393-24744-2
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-393-53172-5

Daniel Brook

A technicolor history of the first civil rights movement and its collapse into black and white.

In The Accident of Color, Daniel Brook journeys to nineteenth-century New Orleans and Charleston and introduces us to cosmopolitan residents who elude the racial categories the rest of America takes for granted. Before the Civil War, these free, openly mixed-race urbanites enjoyed some rights of citizenship and the privileges of wealth and social status. But after Emancipation, as former slaves move to assert their rights, the black-white binary that rules the rest of the nation begins to intrude. During Reconstruction, a movement arises as mixed-race elites make common cause with the formerly enslaved and allies at the fringes of whiteness in a bid to achieve political and social equality for all.

In some areas, this coalition proved remarkably successful. Activists peacefully integrated the streetcars of Charleston and New Orleans for decades and, for a time, even the New Orleans public schools and the University of South Carolina were educating students of all backgrounds side by side. Tragically, the achievements of this movement were ultimately swept away by a violent political backlash and expunged from the history books, culminating in the Jim Crow laws that would legalize segregation for a half century and usher in the binary racial regime that rules us to this day.

The Accident of Color revisits a crucial inflection point in American history. By returning to the birth of our nation’s singularly narrow racial system, which was forged in the crucible of opposition to civil rights, Brook illuminates the origins of the racial lies we live by.

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How High The Moon

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Novels, United States on 2019-03-14 17:46Z by Steven

How High The Moon

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
2019-03-05
320 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 9780316484008
Ebook ISBN: 9780316484022

Karyn Parsons

How High the Moon

To Kill a Mockingbird meets One Crazy Summer in this powerful, bittersweet debut about one girl’s journey to reconnect with her mother and learn the truth about her father in the tumultuous times of the Jim Crow South.

In the small town of Alcolu, South Carolina, in 1944, 12-year-old Ella spends her days fishing and running around with her best friend Henry and cousin Myrna. But life is not always so sunny for Ella, who gets bullied for her light skin tone, and whose mother is away pursuing a jazz singer dream in Boston.

So Ella is ecstatic when her mother invites her to visit for Christmas. Little does she expect the truths she will discover about her mother, the father she never knew and her family’s most unlikely history.

And after a life-changing month, she returns South and is shocked by the news that her schoolmate George has been arrested for the murder of two local white girls.

Bittersweet and eye-opening, How High the Moon is a timeless novel about a girl finding herself in a world all but determined to hold her down.

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Was Interracial Love Possible in the Days of Slavery? Descendants of One Couple Think So

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2018-10-21 14:45Z by Steven

Was Interracial Love Possible in the Days of Slavery? Descendants of One Couple Think So

The New York Times
2018-10-21

Adeel Hassan


Paula Wright, a seventh-generation descendant of an interracial couple, has documented over 500 images that chronicle her family’s history.
Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

He was buried in a white cemetery. She was buried in a black cemetery. Their marriage was unheard-of at the time.

Both William Ramey and his wife, Kittie Simkins, were born and raised in Edgefield, S.C., or “Bloody Edgefield,” a town known for its grisly murder rate in the antebellum South. Their relationship defied convention, and yet it survived war and bitter family resentment.

Mr. Ramey, born in 1840, came from a prominent white family. Ms. Simkins was born a slave in 1845, most likely on a property called Edgewood owned by Francis Pickens, who would become a Confederate governor.

The love affair could have been lost if not for Paula Wright, a seventh-generation descendant of the couple who inherited vintage photographs documenting eight generations of her family, dating to 1805. Ms. Wright, a New York Times reader, shared her family’s story with Race/Related earlier this year…

Read the entire article here.

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“The law recognizes racial instinct”: Tucker v. Blease and the Black–White Paradigm in the Jim Crow South

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2018-05-29 00:26Z by Steven

“The law recognizes racial instinct”: Tucker v. Blease and the Black–White Paradigm in the Jim Crow South

Law and History Review
Volume 29, Issue 2 (May 2011)
pages 471-495
DOI: 10.1017/S0738248011000058

John W. Wertheimer, Jessica Bradshaw, Allyson Cobb, Harper Addison, E. Dudley Colhoun, Samuel Diamant, Andrew Gilbert, Jeffrey Higgs, Nicholas Skipper

On January 24, 1913, the trustees of the Dalcho School, a segregated, all-white public school in Dillon County, South Carolina, summarily dismissed Dudley, Eugene, and Herbert Kirby, ages ten, twelve, and fourteen, respectively. According to testimony offered in a subsequent hearing, the boys had “always properly behaved,” were “good pupils,” and “never …exercise[d] any bad influence in school.” Moreover, the boys’ overwhelmingly white ancestry, in the words of the South Carolina Supreme Court, technically “entitled [them] to be classified as white,” according to state law. Nevertheless, because local whites believed that the Kirbys were “not of pure Caucasian blood,” and that therefore their removal was in the segregated school’s best interest, the court, in Tucker v. Blease (1914), upheld their expulsion.

Read or purchase the article here.

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