The pioneer black manager who became Don Revie’s ‘superspy’

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2016-10-27 18:24Z by Steven

The pioneer black manager who became Don Revie’s ‘superspy’

The Telegraph
2016-10-20

Jim White


Tony Collins became England’s first black manager at Rochdale in 1960 Credit: Jon Super for The Telegraph

When he managed Rochdale back in the early Sixties, Tony Collins earned £1,500 a year. Fifty-four years on, as he sits reminiscing in a care home in Manchester, there are two managers in the very city where he is speaking who each earn £10 million a year. But he is not remotely resentful.

“I don’t begrudge them getting good money,” he says. “Because we were exploited. Oh dear, were we exploited. When I was a player, if Stan Matthews was in town, you could guarantee the gates would be locked. The crowds flocked to see him. Or Tom Finney, or Wilfy Mannion. What players they were. Artists, entertainers. But they never got the money.”

Things might have changed financially from his day, but one thing has not: ethnic minority managers remain a scandalous rarity. In that respect, Collins was a pioneer. The assumption has long been that Keith Alexander was the first black or mixed-race manager in the Football League when he took charge of Lincoln City in 1993…

…Collins’s story, told in a new book co-authored by his daughter Sarita, is an extraordinary one. He was born in Kensington during the general strike in 1926, his 17-year-old mother refusing to identify his father on his birth certificate. One thing was immediately obvious, however: his dad was black. Mixed-race children were an unusual sight in London in the 1920s. But his mother’s parents adopted him and brought him up in the then tough environs of the Portobello Road

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Dido Belle: Britain’s first black aristocrat

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United Kingdom on 2016-07-23 23:58Z by Steven

Dido Belle: Britain’s first black aristocrat

The Telegraph
2016-07-06

Nisha Lilia Diu

Amma Asante’s award-winning film Belle arrives on Netflix today. In this feature, first published in June 2014, Nisha Lilia Diu reveals the true story that inspired it

The amazing thing about Dido Elizabeth Belle is not that she was mixed-race. Who knows how many white men’s children were born to black slave women in the 18th century? It’s not even that her father was a wealthy English aristocrat – there were plenty of titled captains tearing around the Caribbean at that time, capturing French and Dutch schooners during the Seven Years’ War and making off with their sugar, coffee and other (often human) cargo. The extraordinary thing about Dido Belle is that her father, a 24-year-old Navy officer called John Lindsay, took her home to England and asked his extended family to raise her. And they did. They did it in some style, too.

Belle grew up in Kenwood House in north London. It was the palatial weekend retreat of Lindsay’s uncle, the first Earl of Mansfield, set in landscaped gardens with a view of St Paul’s Cathedral six miles away. Mansfield was Lord Chief Justice, and he made a number of landmark rulings on slavery that were among Britain’s first steps towards abolition. Did Belle’s presence in his home have anything to do with it? Plenty of his contemporaries thought so, and they didn’t admire him for it.

“Dido was very, very privileged,” says William Murray, a descendant of the earl and the son of the heir apparent. “She was in the top 5 per cent, perhaps the top 1 per cent, in terms of how she lived, her allowance, her dress, her education.” But Belle’s position was far from clear-cut…

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Why Zoe Saldana was the wrong black woman to play Nina Simone

Posted in Articles, Arts, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2016-03-09 01:50Z by Steven

Why Zoe Saldana was the wrong black woman to play Nina Simone

The Telegraph
2016-03-04

Emma Dabiri

With her long silky hair and brown tan skin, Zoe Saldana may well be black. But is she “black enough” to play Nina Simone?

Some people seem to think not. Ms Simone’s surviving family have asked Saldana, who darkened her skin with make-up to star in the upcoming biopic Nina, to “take [her] name out of your mouth for the rest of your life.” Many Americans agree.

To some it may seem strange that a woman with parents from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic – where 85 per cent of people have African ancestry – should be regarded as not being “black”. But to understand this, we need to consider the way race has been constructed by our society.

As a mixed women with a white mother and black father, I should logically be regarded as “half-white” as often as I am “half-black”. Yet this doesn’t happen, because race is not logical. Instead, whiteness is a social construct which depends on a myth of racial purity and exclusivity, with no room for anyone with visibly African ancestry, no matter how light our skin. In the USA, this was typified by the “one drop rule” – a legal principle which decreed that anyone with a single African ancestor was “black” for the purposes of segregation. For many people, black is simply black.

This can be a powerful concept: I identify as black, not mixed-race, precisely because it is an inclusive category which allows unity between a very wide range of people. But that plurality can also obscure things. I am always sensitive to the advantages I might have in comparison with darker skinned black women, because the truth is that there is a huge difference in how society treats us…

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DNA ancestry tests branded ‘meaningless’

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2016-02-22 02:00Z by Steven

DNA ancestry tests branded ‘meaningless’

The Telegraph
2013-03-07

Nick Collins, Science Correspondent

Customers are being charged up to £300 to learn whether they have links to famous people or societies despite the fact many of the tests are not backed up by scientific evidence, experts said.

The amount of DNA any individual inherits from relatives just a few steps up their family tree is negligible compared with the vast amount we all share from common ancestors.

It means any ancestral “history” identified by a simple genetic test is just one of dozens of possible interpretations, and to try to trace our lineage directly through our genes is “absurd”, they claimed…

… The warning was backed by a number of leading genetics experts. Steve Jones, Emeritus Professor of Human Genetics at UCL said: “On a long trudge through history – two parents, four great-grandparents, and so on – very soon everyone runs out of ancestors and has to share them.

“As a result, almost every Briton is a descendant of Viking hordes, Roman legions, African migrants, Indian Brahmins, or anyone else they fancy.”…

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Revealed: How Britons welcomed black soldiers during WWII, and fought alongside them against racist GIs

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States on 2015-12-07 02:12Z by Steven

Revealed: How Britons welcomed black soldiers during WWII, and fought alongside them against racist GIs

The Telegraph
2015-12-06

Patrick Sawer, Senior Reporter

This was no ordinary Saturday night punch-up outside a pub.

At the height of World War Two, with the country gripped in a life or death fight for freedom against fascism and dictatorship, dozens of local drinkers fought alongside black soldiers against white Military Police officers harassing them outside a Lancashire pub.

It was just one extraordinary example of the active support shown by ordinary Britons for the thousands of black American troops stationed amongst them during the war – in stark contrast to the vicious racist abuse they received from their fellow countrymen.

The Lancashire riot was just one of hundreds of cases of simple humanity displayed by ordinary Britons towards black soldiers.

Details of the riot are revealed in a new book exploring the experience of black GIs stationed in Britain during the war.

While white GIs sought to have them banned from pubs, clubs and cinemas and frequently subjected them to physical and verbal assault, many ordinary Britons welcomed the black troops into their homes – and on several occasions physically stood up to their tormentors.

The book, Forgotten: The Untold Story of D-Day’s Black Heroes, at Home and at War, also reveals how in June 1943 there was a public outcry when four black servicemen were refused service in a bar in Bath, for no reason other than the colour of their skin…

…While most people have heard of the GI babies the US troops left behind, few have considered that many of these children were of mixed-race, the offspring of affairs between local white women and the black soldiers they encountered.

Many of those “brown babies” only came to know their fathers in later years, with some of their descendants now embarking on a search for their American grandfathers.

Miss Hervieux said: “Given the racial tensions that exist in Britain today, as in other countries, it is hard to believe that the UK was once a relative racial paradise for African Americans. Britons were willing to open their hearts and minds to fellow human beings who were there to help them…

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Meet the black woman raised to believe she was white

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Judaism, Media Archive, Passing, Religion, United States on 2015-07-27 00:28Z by Steven

Meet the black woman raised to believe she was white

The Telegraph
2015-07-12

Jane Mulkerrins


Schwartz believes that racial identity is “fluid and contextual” Photo: Nicholas Calcott

Growing up, Lacey Schwartz always felt different. It wasn’t until her late teens that she discovered the truth about her parentage – and her race

“Throughout my life, people have asked me why I look the way I do,” says Lacey Schwartz. “I would tell them that my parents were white, which was true. I wasn’t pretending to be something I wasn’t. I grew up being told, and believing, that I was the nice, white, Jewish daughter of two nice, white, Jewish parents.”

But Schwartz, a 38-year-old film-maker, has brown skin, curly hair and full lips. It was only when she was 18 that her mother admitted the truth: that she had had an affair with a friend and former colleague who was black. And that, in all likelihood, he was Lacey’s biological father.

The revelation not only shook her relationship with her mother to the core, but also led Schwartz to question everything she had believed about who she was, and eventually inspired her to make a documentary about the experience, called Little White Lie.

“I started out wanting to make a film about being black and Jewish, because I was really struggling with my dual identity,” she says. “But I was living in a racial closet at the time that was all about my family secret. So I decided to use the film as a way to fully uncover the secret.”…

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Misty Copeland: meet the ballerina who rewrote the rules of colour, class and curves

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2015-06-22 01:01Z by Steven

Misty Copeland: meet the ballerina who rewrote the rules of colour, class and curves

The Telegraph
2015-06-21

Jane Mulkerrins

Facing opposition about her race, shape, even her hair, the ballet dancer Misty Copeland battled the establishment – and her own mother – to make it to the top

Misty Copeland can pinpoint the precise moment when she realised her success in ballet held a broader significance. “It was the night I danced The Firebird at the Metropolitan Opera House in June 2012. I had never seen an audience that was 50 per cent African-American. It was overwhelming to know that so many of them were there to support what I stood for.”

As only the third black soloist (one rung down from a principal dancer, or prima ballerina) in the history of New York’s prestigious American Ballet Theatre (ABT) – and the first in two decades – Copeland, 32, is elegantly dismantling the barriers of race and class that have long surrounded the art form. “When I talk to [black] families, they tell me, ‘We never went to the ballet before. Why would we bring our children when they can’t see themselves reflected on the stage?’ ” she says.

Her profile reaches beyond the rarefied realms of ballet: she has performed with Prince on stage, her recent advert for the sportswear brand Under Armour has had eight million views, and she has been namechecked as an inspiration by both Barack Obama and Beyoncé.

In April, she was named as one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world and was one of the five cover stars for the issue, along with Bradley Cooper, Kanye West, the US news anchor Jorge Ramos and the supreme court justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. That month, she sparked huge media coverage – and a frenzied rush on the box office – when she and Brooklyn Mack became the first black duo to dance the leading roles of Odil/Odette and Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake for a major ballet company.

But Copeland’s prominence and influence is all the more incredible given her wholly untraditional path to the top. As she recounts in her bestselling autobiography, Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina, which is now being developed into a Hollywood film, she did not begin lessons until the age of 13 – positively geriatric in the dance world…

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DNA survey finds all humans are 99.9pc the same

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive on 2015-05-11 15:36Z by Steven

DNA survey finds all humans are 99.9pc the same

The Telegraph
2002-12-20

Roger Highfield, Science Editor

Whether you hail from Surbiton, Ulan Bator or Nairobi, your genetic make-up is strikingly similar to that of every other person on Earth, an analysis concludes today.

Although scientists have long recognised that, despite physical differences, all human populations are genetically similar, the new work concludes that populations from different parts of the world share even more genetic similarities than previously assumed.

All humans are 99.9 per cent identical and, of that tiny 0.1 per cent difference, 94 per cent of the variation is among individuals from the same populations and only six per cent between individuals from different populations….

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The white man who pretended to be black

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2015-02-23 21:45Z by Steven

The white man who pretended to be black

The Telegraph
2015-02-05

Tim Stanley

With the release of the movie Selma, a lot of Americans are asking how far race relations have really come in the United States. On the one hand, the movie depicts the success of the Sixties civil rights crusade – its victory confirmed by Barack Obama’s election in 2008.

On the other hand, the recent deaths of young black men at the hands of white cops and vigilantes, and the resulting race riots, suggest that a lot of things haven’t changed at all. Whites may ask, “Why are working-class blacks angry? They have the right to vote and an African-American president – everything Martin Luther King Jr fought for.”

But some of the apparent triumph of black civil rights is a veneer. Racism isn’t just about law but about attitudes. Attitudes that are hard to change because of the gulf of understanding between different communities.

Can a white person ever really understand how a black person sees the world? Back in 1959, six years before Martin Luther King marched for civil rights in Selma, one man tried. A white Texan writer called John Howard Griffin walked into a doctor’s office in New Orleans and asked him to turn his skin colour black. Griffin took oral medication and was bombarded with ultraviolet rays; he cut off his hair to hide an absence of curls and shaved the back of his hands. Then he went on a tour of the Deep South.

The result was a bestselling book called Black Like Me, which is still regarded as an American classic. Griffin wanted to test the claim that although the southern United States was segregated it was essentially peaceful and just – that the two races were separate but equal…

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Gillian Wearing redefines Birmingham for the 21st century

Posted in Articles, Arts, Census/Demographics, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2014-11-15 12:49Z by Steven

Gillian Wearing redefines Birmingham for the 21st century

The Telegraph
London, United Kingdom
2014-10-31

Bernadette McNulty, Music Editor and Arts Writer


Gillian Wearing’s A Real Birmingham Family Photo: Courtesy of Birmingham City Council, Arts Council England and Ikon

With her statue of a mixed-race, single-parent family, Gillian Wearing has transformed Birmingham’s city centre, says Bernadette McNulty

Birmingham has had an uneasy relationship with public sculpture over the last few decades. In 1991, the council unveiled a work by the city-born artist Raymond Mason in the newly created Centenary Square. Called Forward, it depicted a throng of the city’s great and good at key moments in the area’s history – including Joseph Chamberlain and Josiah Mason. Made out of butter-coloured polyester resin, the monument was comically dubbed the Lurpak statue by locals and in 2003 destroyed by arsonists.

In nearby Victoria Square, Antony Gormley’s ominous Iron Man looms over a corner, while Dhruva Mistry’s 1994 River Goddess – known as the Floozie in the Jacuzzi – is currently trussed up in a neon pink bikini for a breast cancer campaign. To her left, a towering column props up a magisterial Queen Victoria, who looks away disapprovingly.

But the latest statue in Centenary Square, while no less controversial than Mason’s, stands a better chance of connecting with the feelings of the city’s residents. Gillian Wearing’s A Real Birmingham Family was unveiled on Thursday outside the new Library of Birmingham. This flagship building, thronged with people, has transformed the square, now unrecognisable from its Mason days. Before it was revealed to a small, excited crowd (including local dignitaries and the artist), the piece looked dwarfed by the monumental proportions of the library behind it…

…It wasn’t until plans for the new library were finalised in 2010, with a site in front of it designated for a statue, that the project was set in motion. The Ikon set about a painstaking two-year search for entries of what people nominated as their “real” family, including groups of friends or even single people. In the end a committee whittled down hundreds of entrants to the two mixed-race, single parent Jones sisters: “They were passionate about knowing their identity as a family and the bond between them. They also spoke of how proud they were to be from Birmingham and how Birmingham was such an accepting place, and how they can be a family here more than anywhere else.”…

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