Researchers seek fuller picture of first Africans in America

Posted in Africa, Articles, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United Kingdom, United States, Virginia on 2019-02-10 20:15Z by Steven

Researchers seek fuller picture of first Africans in America

The Associated Press
2019-02-07

Jesse J. Holland

Lee McBee
FILE – In this April 10, 2018, file photo, Historic Jamestowne staff archaeologist Lee McBee, right, shows artifacts to Carla Howe, of Gilmanton, N.H., left, and her children Caroline, second from left, and Grace, third from left, at the dig site of the Angelo slave house in Jamestown, Va. The first Africans to arrive in North America were so little noted by history that many are known today by only their first names. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The first Africans to arrive in English-controlled North America were so little noted by history that many are known today by only their first names: Antony and Isabella, Angelo, Frances and Peter.

Almost 400 years ago, they were kidnapped and forcibly sailed across the ocean aboard three slave ships — the San Juan Bautista, the White Lion and the Treasurer — and then sold into bondage in Virginia.

Now their descendants, along with historians and genealogists, are seeking recognition for a group of 20-some Africans they describe as critical to the survival of Jamestown, England’s first successful settlement in North America.

“We need to reclaim our history. We need to tell our story,” said Calvin Pearson, head of Project 1619 , which is named after the year those first Africans landed near what became Hampton, Virginia

A few historical markers and records mention these early slaves, but there’s been scant research on their lives. President Barack Obama made the area where they arrived a national monument in 2011 to ensure that its history was not lost, and Pearson and others are working to learn more.

Before the slaves arrived, Jamestown was starving. “Basically all of those people were right off of the streets in England,” said Kathryn Knight, who in May will release a book titled “Unveiled – The Twenty & Odd: Documenting the First Africans in England’s America 1619-1625 and Beyond.”…

…Although sold into servitude, many of those original Angolans fared better than the millions of African slaves who came to North America later, said John Thorton, a Boston University professor of African American studies and history.

“They had a better chance at a better future than almost anybody who followed them because they were the first,” Thorton said. “A lot of them ended up owning property, and they ended up owning slaves of their own.”

By intermingling with the English colonists, some had children who ended up passing for white and merging into early colonial society, Thorton said…

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Historic recognition: Washington’s family tree is biracial

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Virginia on 2016-09-18 18:36Z by Steven

Historic recognition: Washington’s family tree is biracial

U.S. News & World Report
2016-09-17

Matthew Barakat, Northern Virginia Correspondent
The Associated Press


ZSun-nee Miller-Matema poses for a portrait at Mount Vernon, the plantation home of former U.S. President George Washington, in Alexandria, Va., on Monday, July 18, 2016. Miller-Matema is a descendent of Caroline Branham, one of George Washington’s slaves who served as former first lady Martha Washington’s personal maid. The National Park Service and the nonprofit that runs the historic Mount Vernon estate are acknowledging an aspect of U.S. history that doesn’t show up in most textbooks: The family tree of America’s first family has been biracial from its earliest branches. (AP Photo/Zach Gibson) The Associated Press

The National Park Service and Mount Vernon are acknowledging history not included in most textbooks: America’s first family tree has been biracial from its early branches

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — George Washington’s adopted son was a bit of a ne’er-do-well by most accounts, including those of Washington himself, who wrote about his frustrations with the boy they called “Wash.”

“From his infancy, I have discovered an almost unconquerable disposition to indolence in everything that did not tend to his amusements,” the founding father wrote.

At the time, George Washington Parke Custis was 16 and attending Princeton, one of several schools he bounced in and out of. Before long, he was back home at Mount Vernon, where he would be accused of fathering children with slaves.

Two centuries later, the National Park Service and the nonprofit that runs Washington’s Mount Vernon estate are concluding that the rumors were true: In separate exhibits, they show that the first family’s family tree has been biracial from its earliest branches.

“There is no more pushing this history to the side,” said Matthew Penrod, a National Park Service ranger and programs manager at Arlington House, where the lives of the Washingtons, their slaves and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee all converged…


Matthew Barakat/Associated Press
Craig Syphax and Donna Kunkel portrayed their ancestors at a June reenactment of the 1821 wedding of slaves Charles Syphax and Maria Carter at Arlington House.

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Six-year-old taken from California foster family under Indian Child Welfare Act

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2016-03-23 22:37Z by Steven

Six-year-old taken from California foster family under Indian Child Welfare Act

The Guardian
2016-03-22

The Associated Press in Santa Clarita, California

Lexi, who has lived with the foster family for years, was removed by a court order which says her Native American heritage requires her to live with Utah relatives

A six-year-old girl who spent most of her life with California foster parents was removed from the home under a court order that says her Native American blood requires her to live with relatives in Utah.

Lexi, who is 1/64th Choctaw on her birth-father’s side, cried and clutched a stuffed bear as her foster father Rusty Page carried her out of his home north of Los Angeles to a waiting car on Monday. Los Angeles County social workers whisked her away…

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“A Hawaiian is a Hawaiian is a Hawaiian. Whether they have a drop or more than 50 percent.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2015-12-30 22:47Z by Steven

“A Hawaiian is a Hawaiian is a Hawaiian,” said Michelle Kauhane, president and CEO of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement. “Whether they have a drop or more than 50 percent.”

Jennifer Sinco Kelleher, “Rulemaking under way for DNA testing for Hawaiian homelands,” The Associated Press, December 28, 2015. http://bigstory.ap.org/article/d5481a15bd164d25ba02fc510473d046/rulemaking-under-way-dna-testing-hawaiian-homelands.

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Rulemaking under way for DNA testing for Hawaiian homelands

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2015-12-30 22:29Z by Steven

Rulemaking under way for DNA testing for Hawaiian homelands

The Associated Press
2015-12-28

Jennifer Sinco Kelleher


This Dec. 24, 2015 photo provided by Pat Kahawaiolaa shows Kahawaiolaa taking a selfie at Keaukaha Beach Park in Hilo, Hawaii. He is among those with at least 50 percent Native Hawaiian blood who are eligible for low-cost land leases from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. The department is proposing a rule that would allow use of DNA evidence as proof of an applicant’s Hawaiian blood quantum. (Pat Kahawaiolaa via AP)

HONOLULU (AP) — When the state deemed Leighton Pang Kee ineligible for one of the most valuable benefits available to Native Hawaiians — land at almost no cost — because he couldn’t show that he was at least 50 percent Hawaiian, he sued.

Pang Kee knew he was, and needed to figure out a way to prove it. According to his lawsuit, his mother was at least 81.25 percent Native Hawaiian, but his birth certificate didn’t list his biological father.

But he knew who his father was. Pang Kee, who was adopted, found his late father’s brother, got a DNA sample that showed there was a 96.35 percent probability that Pang Kee and the man were related, the lawsuit said.

While that initially wasn’t enough for the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, the agency eventually settled, and has proposed rules that would allow the use of DNA evidence to prove ancestry.

Hawaiians don’t typically fixate on how much Hawaiian blood they have when it comes to asserting ancestral identity.

“A Hawaiian is a Hawaiian is a Hawaiian,” said Michelle Kauhane, president and CEO of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement. “Whether they have a drop or more than 50 percent.”

One of the only times blood quantum is relevant is for applying for a homestead lease. Those with at least 50 percent Hawaiian blood quantum can apply for a 99-year lease for $1 a year…


This Thursday, Dec. 24, 2015 photo shows houses in the the Hawaiian homestead community of Papakolea in Honolulu.The state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands has proposed rules that would allow people applying for a homestead lease to use DNA evidence to prove ancestry. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)

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UNLV President Len Jessup says keep Rebel nickname; research concludes no roots in Confederacy

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Media Archive, United States on 2015-12-24 22:16Z by Steven

UNLV President Len Jessup says keep Rebel nickname; research concludes no roots in Confederacy

U.S. News & World Report
2015-11-30

Michelle Rindels, Politics Reporter
The Associated Press


FILE – In this Feb. 1, 2014, file photo, UNLV mascot Hey Reb warms up the crowd before an NCAA college basketball game in Las Vegas. UNLV President Len Jessup says the school needs to keep “Rebels” as its nickname after new research concluded it is not a reference to the Confederacy. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken, File)

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — UNLV is keeping its “Rebels” nickname and “Hey Reb!” mascot in spite of critics who said they should be changed because the imagery harkens to the Confederacy.

Citing newly released historical research that concluded the moniker was not intended as a reference to the Confederacy, the president of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas issued a statement Monday saying the school must keep the name and mascot. He said “Rebels” expresses UNLV’s entrepreneurial spirit, and he noted overwhelming support for the term.

“It was coined as our young institution was fighting to establish its own identity, and it has come to represent the very independence and spirit that embodies both UNLV and Southern Nevada,” President Len Jessup wrote in a message to the UNLV community. “It is clear that ‘Rebels’ is central to our shared identity and represents the broadest definition of the term.”…

…UNLV Chief Diversity Officer Rainier Spencer finalized a 60-page research paper on the topic earlier this month, concluding the Rebel name emerged from southern Nevada students’ frustrations in the 1950s that the Legislature wasn’t investing as much in the south as it was in the University of Nevada, Reno.

“The Rebels nickname is not a Confederate reference, as it predates the first appearance of Confederate symbols, which was April 20, 1955,” wrote Spencer, who is also a vice provost and founder of UNLV’s Afro-American Studies Program. “Nevada Southern students were already known as Rebels before the application of those symbols; indeed, the symbols were applied because those students already had a non-Confederate Rebels identity, and also because of the north-south geography of the state.”…

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Brown campus newspaper issues apology after racist columns

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2015-10-14 19:10Z by Steven

Brown campus newspaper issues apology after racist columns

The Associated Press
2015-10-07

Amy Anthony

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Brown University campus newspaper apologized Wednesday after publishing what it says were two “deeply hurtful” and racist columns.

The Brown Daily Herald’s editorial board published an editor’s note saying it regretted the hurt caused by the two opinion columns, both written by student M. Dzhali Maier.

One titled “The white privilege of cows,” which was published Monday, “invoked the notion of biological differences between races,” while “Columbian Exchange Day,” published Tuesday, argued that Native Americans should be thankful for colonialism, according to the editor’s note.

“The white privilege of cows” column was left on The Herald’s website “in an effort to be transparent,” according to an editor’s note later added to it. The “Columbian Exchange Day” column was removed and replaced by an editor’s note. That column was “unintentionally published due to an internal error,” according to the note. It was online for about an hour before it was taken down.

“We understand that these columns contained racist content that has no place in our paper or community,” the editor’s note said…

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In Puerto Rico, a push to revive indigenous culture

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, History, Media Archive, United States on 2015-04-22 19:18Z by Steven

In Puerto Rico, a push to revive indigenous culture

The Associated Press
2015-04-20

Anica Coto

SAN LORENZO, Puerto Rico (AP) — In Puerto Rico’s misty, bamboo-studded mountains, elementary school students are studying a nearly extinct language, beating on drums and growing native crops like cassava and sweet potato as they learn about the indigenous people who lived on the island before Christopher Columbus.

The children in four towns in the island’s southeast corner play a ceremonial ball game that was called batey by the native Tainos, who were all but wiped out during colonial times. The boys and girls also learn words from the local Arawak language, which was in part rebuilt with help from linguists, and still exists in varying forms among other native groups in the hemisphere.

Now, a group of academics and educators hope to expand the Taino education program to other public schools around the U.S. territory in an effort to teach children this little known part of the territory’s history.

“If you don’t know your roots, you don’t know yourself,” said anthropologist Carlalynne Yarey Melendez, director of the Taino cultural organization that runs the educational program. “There are so many communities and schools that want the classes, but I can’t keep up with the demand.”

Puerto Ricans’ interest in the territory’s indigenous past has grown in recent years, with 42,000 of the 3.7 million people then living on the island identifying themselves as at least partially Taino in the 2010 Census.

But even though that’s just a little more than 1 percent, Puerto Rico’s legislature is considering a proposal to declare Melendez’s Naguake organization to be the island’s first indigenous-based community. The designation would allow it to receive federal funds under a program that aids native groups, and expand the program to other towns…

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Wisconsin chief treading carefully after fatal shooting

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2015-03-10 01:10Z by Steven

Wisconsin chief treading carefully after fatal shooting

The Washington Post
2015-03-08

The Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. — Within hours of a white officer shooting an unarmed black man, the police chief of Wisconsin’s capital city was praying with the man’s grandmother, hoping to strike a conciliatory tone and avoid the riots that last year rocked Ferguson, Missouri.

Chief Mike Koval said he knows Madison is being watched across the nation since 19-year-old Tony Robinson’s death Friday evening, and he has gone out of his way to avoid what he once called Ferguson’s “missteps.”

“Folks are angry, resentful, mistrustful, disappointed, shocked, chagrined. I get that,” Koval said Saturday. “People need to tell me squarely how upset they are with the Madison Police Department.”

The contrasts with Ferguson are many…

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Census Bureau may count Arab-Americans for the first time in 2020

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, United States on 2015-02-04 21:17Z by Steven

Census Bureau may count Arab-Americans for the first time in 2020

PBS NewsHour
Public Broadcasting System
2015-01-30

Jeff Karoub, Reporter
The Associated Press

DETROIT — The federal government is considering allowing those of Middle Eastern and North African descent to identify as such on the next 10-year Census, which could give Arab-Americans and other affected groups greater political clout and access to public funding, among other things.

The U.S. Census Bureau will test the new Middle East-North Africa (MENA) classification for possible inclusion on the 2020 Census if it gets enough positive feedback about the proposed change by Sunday, when the public comment period ends.

Arab-Americans, who make up the majority of those who would be covered by the MENA classification, have previously been classified by default as white on the Census, which helps determine congressional district boundaries and how billions of dollars in federal funding are allocated, among other things.

Those pushing for the MENA classification say it would more fully and accurately count them, thus increasing their visibility and influence among policymakers.

The Census Bureau plans to test it later this year by holding focus group discussions with people who would be affected by the proposed change. Congress would still have to sign off on the proposal before the change could be added to the 2020 Census…

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