Coast Guard: Wreck found in Atlantic is storied cutter Bear

Posted in Articles, History, Passing, Slavery, United States on 2021-10-17 03:10Z by Steven

Coast Guard: Wreck found in Atlantic is storied cutter Bear

The Washington Post
2021-10-14

Mark Pratt, Reporter/Editor
The Associated Press

In this July 1908 photograph provided by the U.S. Coast Guard Historian’s Office, the U.S. Revenue Cutter Bear sits at anchor while on Bering Sea Patrol off Alaska. The wreckage of the storied vessel, that served in two World Wars and patrolled frigid Arctic waters for decades, has been found, the Coast Guard said Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021. (U.S. Coast Guard Historian’s Office via AP) (Uncredited/U.S. Coast Guard Historian’s Office)

BOSTON — The wreck of a storied military ship that served in two World Wars, performed patrols in waters off Alaska for decades, and at one point was captained by the first Black man to command a U.S. government vessel has been found, the Coast Guard said Thursday.

A wreck thought to be the U.S. Revenue Cutter Bear, which sank in 1963 about 260 miles east of Boston as it was being towed to Philadelphia, where it was going to be converted into a floating restaurant, was located in 2019.

But it was only in August that a team of experts looking at the evidence came to the conclusion that they are “reasonably certain” that the wreck is indeed the Bear, officials of the Coast Guard and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said at a waterfront news conference in Boston.

“At the time of the loss of Bear, it was already recognized as a historic ship,” said Joe Hoyt, of the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries

…Thursday’s announcement coincided with the arrival in Boston of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy, named after the Bear’s captain from 1886 until 1895, Michael “Hell Roaring Mike” Healy.

The Healy, an icebreaker commissioned in 1999, recently completed a transit of the Arctic Northwest Passage.

Healy, born in 1839, was the son of a Georgia plantation owner and a slave. Healy’s father sent him to Massachusetts to escape enslavement, [William] Thiesen said.

He likened the Healy — commissioned by Abraham Lincoln a month before the president’s assassination — to an Old West sheriff, whose jurisdiction was an area the size of the lower 48 states.

“While he never, during his lifetime, self-identified as African American, perhaps to avoid the prejudice he would likely have encountered in his personal life and career, he was in reality the first person of African American descent to command a ship of the U.S. Government,” a NOAA news release said…

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Multiracial Americans could represent America’s future, some say

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing, Social Science, United States on 2021-10-08 21:27Z by Steven

Multiracial Americans could represent America’s future, some say

The Washington Post
2021-10-08

Silvia Foster-Frau, Multiculturalism reporter
Ted Mellnik
Adrián Blanco, Graphics reporter


Steve Majors, in Takoma Park, Md., who is half-Black and half-White, grew up in an all-Black household but is often perceived as White. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

While still a relatively small part of the population, more Americans than ever identify as multiracial, according to the census

Tony Luna was once again being asked to choose one of his racial identities over the other.

He firmly believed in the anti-racism training his workplace was offering. But the instructor told him he had to pick a group for the program — either the one for White people, or the one for people of color.

Luna is biracial, Filipino and White, a combination that defined his upbringing and sense of self. He has always felt he was either both identities, equally — or in some settings, not fully one or the other.


Multiracial populations increased faster than any single race across the U.S. in the last census. Gains were highest in major metro areas, but the number of people identifying as multiracial also tripled in non-metro areas. Source: 2020 Census

“I felt like it was a false choice, because you’re saying which one are you more comfortable with, your mom or your dad?” Luna, 49, said. “Identity can be based on how people see you, but that can be wrong for mixed people. It’s really based on how you identify, what your experiences are — so many variables go into that.”

More than 33 million Americans — about 1 in 10 — identify as being of two or more races, a number that grew by nearly 25 million people in the past decade, according to the 2020 Census. Multiracial people span all different combinations of races and ethnicities and make up the fastest-growing demographic in the country.

In some cities, the growth is stark. Almost 1.4 million more people each in Los Angeles and New York identified as multiracial in the 2020 Census compared with a decade ago, according to a Washington Post analysis. In Miami, nearly 1.6 million more did so…

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She became a park ranger at 85 to tell her story of segregation. Now 100, she’s the oldest active ranger.

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2021-09-27 19:21Z by Steven

She became a park ranger at 85 to tell her story of segregation. Now 100, she’s the oldest active ranger.

The Washington Post
2021-09-24

Sydney Page


Betty Reid Soskin at the Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, Calif. Soskin is the oldest active ranger in the National Park Service. (Luther Bailey/NPS photo)

When asked how it feels to be 100 years old, Betty Reid Soskin gave a subtle shrug, smiled and said: “The same way I felt at 99.”

But she’s not just any centenarian: Soskin is the oldest active ranger in the National Park Service, and after celebrating her birthday on Sept. 22, she’s still going strong.

Seated in the study of her apartment in Richmond, Calif., dressed proudly in her park ranger uniform, Soskin reflected on her life.

When it comes to sharing her story, Soskin is not shy. As a park ranger at the Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, she spends her days recounting her rich and complicated history, in the hope that her firsthand account will resonate with people, and encourage them to share their own stories.

“I think everyone’s story is very important. There is so much diversity,” Soskin said. “It’s in that mix that the great secret of a democracy exists.”…

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We have grown tired of the pressure to claim one side of our heritage over another.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2021-09-21 02:03Z by Steven

We have grown tired of the pressure to claim one side of our heritage over another. The antiquated social and legal principle that one drop of blood determines if we’re Black or that complexion, hair texture or facial features decides whether someone of mixed ancestry is more White, Asian or Latino has been harmful.

Steve Majors, “A birth certificate masked my multiracial truth. For me and 33 million others, the 2020 Census asserts it.The Washington Post, August 31, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/s/nation/2021/08/31/its-about-time-2020-census-caught-up-with-my-multiracial-life/.

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She was raped by the owner of a notorious slave jail. Later, she inherited it.

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Virginia, Women on 2021-09-12 23:02Z by Steven

She was raped by the owner of a notorious slave jail. Later, she inherited it.

The Washington Post
2020-02-01

Sydney Trent, Local enterprise reporter


An engraving print of the Lumpkin Slave Jail, from Corey’s “A History of the Richmond Theological Seminary.” (City of Richmond)

Robert Lumpkin was one of the South’s most prolific and brutal slave traders, presiding over a slave jail in Richmond so notorious that it was referred to as the “Devil’s Half Acre.”

Mary Lumpkin lived with him — and with the horror of who he was, bearing witness to the extreme punishments he meted out to enslaved people like her.

Under Robert Lumpkin’s ownership from 1844 until the end of the Civil War, the jail held thousands of enslaved men and women in its dim and cramped cells, permeated by the stench of human excrement. Many were destined for the auction block; others were captured runaways. Some had been delivered there by their masters to receive more expert punishment. The names of dead prisoners appeared on Robert Lumpkin’s insurance claims, their bodies buried in unmarked graves scattered about the property.

Described by an abolitionist minister who met her as “large, fair-faced . . . nearly white,” Mary was also Robert’s slave. She was raped and impregnated by him as a child, ultimately bearing at least seven of his children, five of whom survived. She kept house and raised their offspring within the fenced brick compound that included the jail…

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A birth certificate masked my multiracial truth. For me and 33 million others, the 2020 Census asserts it.

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Census/Demographics, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, United States on 2021-08-31 13:57Z by Steven

A birth certificate masked my multiracial truth. For me and 33 million others, the 2020 Census asserts it.

The Washington Post
2021-08-31

Steve Majors


More than 33 million people in the United States identify as being of two or more races, according to the 2020 Census, a 276 percent jump from the 2010 head count. (Paul Sancya/AP)

My face burned — whether with anger or shame, I wasn’t sure. In 1994, I stood outside human resources at the CBS offices in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Studio City and listened to my future boss over the phone. You want the job? You need to complete the paperwork and check just one box, he insisted. Hours earlier, my pencil had marked X’s in two boxes on the application form. One designated my race as White, the other Black. The HR representative had called him to intervene, and now she waited inside her office for my decision. In a split second, I decided. I wanted the job at CBS’s flagship TV station in Los Angeles; it would be career-changing. So, though no one had told me which box to check, I had a feeling what the HR rep wanted. The recruiter who had first connected me with the opportunity had explicitly told me CBS was looking to increase diversity among its producer ranks. So I grabbed the pencil and erased the mark that declared me half-White. After all, I thought, no one — not even my own family — had officially told me I was of mixed race. The only evidence I had otherwise was written all over my face.

Decades later, when the “23andMe” response jumped into my email inbox at work, I stopped talking to colleagues mid-meeting to read the results. After years of looking at my pale reflection in the mirror and questioning my identity, I already knew the truth. When I walked out into the world, people looked at my fair skin and perceived and treated me as White. I sensed that the birth certificate that claimed I had the same father as my all-Black siblings was a lie, as was the story of my birth that my mother held on to until her death. Even my family’s nickname for me, “High Yella,” has been a signal to me that I was different from them. Now the results I read confirmed it: 56 percent European, 42 percent sub-Saharan African, with a fraction of East Asian and Indigenous American and other thrown in. I felt a sense of recognition. Science had validated who I was.

This month, I felt a similar sense of validation. After filling out the 2020 Census and checking the box to declare myself as two or more races, I saw the final results. My multiracial identity counts, and I’m far from being alone. According to the data, I’m among 33.8 million people who identify as multiracial, a whopping 276 percent increase since the 2010 Census. It’s proof that the United States is truly a racial melting pot, with the most diverse population in its history…

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Opinion: ‘In the Heights’ is just more of the same whitewashed Hollywood

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Latino Studies, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2021-06-22 20:11Z by Steven

Opinion: ‘In the Heights’ is just more of the same whitewashed Hollywood

The Washington Post
2021-06-21

Julissa Contreras and Dash Harris Machado


Producer Lin-Manuel Miranda attends the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival opening-night premiere of “In the Heights” on June 9 in New York. (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Julissa Contreras is a Dominican writer, poet, actor and creator of the “Ladies Who Bronché” podcast. Dash Harris Machado is co-founder of AfroLatino Travel, producer and facilitator of the “Radio Caña Negra” podcast and producer of “NEGRO: A Docu-series About Latinx Identity.”

The recent controversy surrounding “In the Heights,” the big-budget film based on the musical created by Lin-Manuel Miranda, came as no surprise for Black Latin American and Caribbean people. With its White and light-skinned leading roles, the film became part of a long tradition in the Americas of Black erasure.

When moviegoers and journalists, including the Root’s Felice León, started highlighting the lack of Black leading cast members in the film, many prominent figures rushed to defend it. “We shouldn’t burden Lin-Manuel with the responsibility of representing every Latino,” commentator Ana Navarro said. “You can never do right, it seems,” actress Rita Moreno said in defense of Miranda. “This is the man who literally has brought Latino-ness and Puerto Rican-ness to America.” Both accounts are inaccurate.

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The Racism of the Great Outdoors

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2021-05-25 02:20Z by Steven

The Racism of the Great Outdoors

The Washington Post Magazine
2021-05-19

By Ikya Kandula
Photos by Bill O’Leary


Gabrielle Dickerson, a member of Brown Girls Climb, along the Northwest Branch Trail in Silver Spring.

Hikers and climbers of color face a host of obstacles, from bigoted route names to Confederate flags. This D.C.-based group is trying to change that.

Five years ago, Gabrielle Dickerson, then a sophomore at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, lay awake in her sleeping bag on her first overnight climbing trip, enveloped by the woods of the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve near Fayetteville, W.Va. Like many rock climbers in the D.C. area, she’d been drawn to the New, as outdoor enthusiasts call it — a five-hour road trip from Washington — because it offers 1,400 of the best climbing routes in the United States.

The rest of her group had swiftly fallen asleep after a day of projecting — the process of strategizing about, and eventually completing, a climb with no breaks — but apprehension took hold of Dickerson. “I was very aware of how uncomfortable I was in the backcountry of West Virginia,” Dickerson recalls. “Not only because I was a Black woman, but also because of the relationship and trauma my ancestors had with the woods.” Her grandfather had been born on a North Carolina cotton farm in 1930 and picked cotton until he escaped from the owner in his teens. On his way to Philadelphia and a new life, he witnessed his best friend get lynched in the woods…

Brown Girls Climb was launched in 2016 by Bethany Lebewitz, a biracial climber living in Austin. A year later, when Lebewitz moved to D.C., she met outdoor instructor Brittany Leavitt, and together with Monserrat Alvarez Matehuala, Laura Edmondson, Sasha McGhee, and Jael Berger, they built an infrastructure of meetups for Black and Brown women in climbing gyms and at outdoor spots in the Washington region. “I was just floored by the fact that there was this large group of people of color climbing,” Dickerson says of her first Brown Girls Climb meetup, “because that wasn’t like what I had seen when I went to my climbing sessions at the gym, and definitely not when I was climbing outside.”…

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He became the nation’s ninth vice president. She was his enslaved wife.

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Slavery, United States on 2021-02-09 18:19Z by Steven

He became the nation’s ninth vice president. She was his enslaved wife.

The Washington Post
2021-02-07

Ronald G. Shafer


Richard Mentor Johnson became vice president in 1837. (Library of Congress)

Her name was Julia Chinn

She was born enslaved and remained that way her entire life, even after she became Richard Mentor Johnson’s “bride.”

Johnson, a Kentucky congressman who eventually became the nation’s ninth vice president in 1837, couldn’t legally marry Julia Chinn. Instead the couple exchanged vows at a local church with a wedding celebration organized by the enslaved people at his family’s plantation in Great Crossing, according to Miriam Biskin, who wrote about Chinn decades ago.

Chinn died nearly four years before Johnson took office. But because of controversy over her, Johnson is the only vice president in American history who failed to receive enough electoral votes to be elected. The Senate voted him into office.

The couple’s story is complicated and fraught, historians say. As an enslaved woman, Chinn could not consent to a relationship, and there’s no record of how she regarded him. Though she wrote to Johnson during his lengthy absences from Kentucky, the letters didn’t survive.

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“One day after this election is over I am going to write a piece about how Latino is a contrived ethnic category that artificially lumps white Cubans with Black Puerto Ricans and Indigenous Guatemalans.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2020-11-04 16:47Z by Steven

The news media, in general, has not done a good job of covering the Latino vote. “One day after this election is over I am going to write a piece about how Latino is a contrived ethnic category that artificially lumps white Cubans with Black Puerto Ricans and Indigenous Guatemalans . . .” tweeted Nikole Hannah-Jones of the New York Times.

Margaret Sullivan, “We still don’t know much about this election — except that the media and pollsters blew it again,” The Washington Post, November 4, 2020. https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/media/we-still-dont-know-much-about-this-election–except-that-the-media-and-pollsters-blew-it-again/2020/11/04/40c0d416-1e4a-11eb-b532-05c751cd5dc2_story.html.

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