Black woman rises to leadership in Daughters of the American Revolution

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, United States on 2013-05-31 03:25Z by Steven

Black woman rises to leadership in Daughters of the American Revolution

theGrio
2013-05-26

Donovan X. Ramsey

This month, Autier Allen-Craft was elected to the position of regent in the Norwalk–Village Green chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) in Connecticut. Allen-Craft, a black woman, says the organization has come a long way since its years of controversy related to racial exclusion.

Allen-Craft rose up the ranks in the organization, serving as vice regent of her Connecticut chapter two years ago before being elected to her current, high-level position. Just a few decades prior, she began the search into her family tree that would eventually lead her to membership in DAR.

“I attended Benedict College in South Carolina and I while I was there I lived with my maternal grandmother,” Allen-Craft told theGrio. “I was always interested in why my older ancestors looked they way they did. They were very fair. So I began to ask her questions about who her parents were, and who her grandparents were, and she would tell me as far back as she could remember.”

Before long, Allen-Craft’s curiosity led her to the South Carolina archives in Columbia.

An amazing ancestral discovery

After years of research, in about 1990, she stumbled upon records of her great-great grandfather — a white plantation owner, who was her third-great grandfather. She says after getting over the initial shock, she looked deeper into his ancestry and found that his grandfather, her fifth-great grandfather, had fought in the American Revolution. “He was one of the few plantation owners that would claim his offspring with a black woman,” she said of her great-great grandfather. “Because of that, I’ve been able to trace back as far as I have.”

According to historical record, blacks played a significant role the American Revolution. One of the first “martyrs” of the American Revolution was Crispus Attucks, a man of African Descent who was killed in the Boston Massacre. Black Minutemen fought at the battles of Lexington and Concord as early as April 1775. And when Rhode Island needed soldiers, the state legislature passed a law in 1778 that said “every able-bodied Negro, mulatto, or Indian man-slave” could fight. An estimated 200 men enlisted with the promise of freedom as a reward…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Biracial versus black: Thought leaders weigh in on the meaning of President Obama’s biracial heritage

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, My Articles/Point of View/Activities, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2013-03-16 16:46Z by Steven

Biracial versus black: Thought leaders weigh in on the meaning of President Obama’s biracial heritage

theGrio
NBC News
2012-11-19

Patrice Peck

“If I’m lucky enough to have children, I won’t tell them that Barack Obama was America’s first black president.”

Thus began columnist Clinton Yates’ piece, “Barack Obama: Let’s not forget that he’s America’s first bi-racial president”. Published on The Washington Post website two days after the 2012 election, Yates’ piece explores the notion that singling out President Obama’s African heritage alone has resulted in an incomplete narrative of his identity.

“As a black man who plans to eventually start a family with my white girlfriend, I’m going to tell [my future children] that Obama was the first man of color in the White House and that America’s 44th president was biracial,” writes Yates. “What would I look like telling my kids that a man with a black father and a white mother is ‘black’ just because society wants him to be?” Yates’ stance on President Obama’s racial identity points to an on-going, complicated debate surrounding the president’s race and how he chooses to identify himself.

Since Obama’s second presidential election win, countless media outlets have analyzed the major support in voter turnout exhibited by African-Americans and Latinos for the president. At the same time, an overwhelming amount of racist backlash surged on Twitter for several days, signaling the fact that, for better or for worse, race will likely always be a predominant element to consider during Obama’s term as president.

Yet, most reports on and reactions to President Obama have failed to mention his biracial heritage. It is rarely addressed in discussions concerning how the public identifies Obama, or critiques of how the president identifies himself. Yates’ consideration of Obama as the “first bi-racial president” is rare in its vociferous proclamation to define the man by both lineages.

To widen this limited discourse, we asked some of the nation’s leading authorities on biracial and multi-racial issues to share their thoughts on the president’s self-identification as black, and the possible stakes of not addressing his bi-racial identity more directly. These leaders offer interesting and at times surprising perspectives on what it means to have not only a black man, but also a biracial man in the White House.

Here is what they told theGrio about this historic first. How do you think President Obama’s bi-racial ancestry influences the nature of his presidency?

Steven F. Riley, founder of MixedRacesStudies.org

In the paper “Barack, Blackness, Borders and Beyond: Exploring Obama’s Racial Identity Today as a Means of Transcending Race Tomorrow,” I explained that the president is black for three different reasons. I used a sociological framework, an ethnological framework, and a psychological framework. Number one, I say he’s black because he says he is. Number two, his heterogeneity, or his mixed background, is no different from people who are black. And then lastly, I say he’s black because he looks black, from a sociological viewpoint…

Yaba Blay, author of (1)ne Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race and artistic director of the multiplatform (1)ne Drop project

Everyone seems to be negating President Barack Obama’s own story. The man himself has said publicly in print that, yes, his mother is white; yes, he is technically bi-racial, mixed race, whatever the language is people choose to use, but in this racialized society he is seen as a black man. And for that reason he identifies as black

Andrew Jolivétte, Associate Professor at San Francisco State University and editor of Obama and the Biracial Factor: The Battle for the New American Majority

For mixed people, being mixed you identify differently at different times and in different situations. I think the president is no different, so [a bi-racial] child still can take pride in [the fact] that President Obama is a bi-racial president. But he’s also a black president. I don’t think that they’re mutually exclusive. And that’s what happens often in politics when it comes to policy, that it has to be one or the other, not some sort of combination of policies that can be good. Because he’s bi-racial and always compromising and trying to find the balance between two different identities, I think he tries to do the same things in terms of his policy…

Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu, Professor of Ethnic Studies at Stanford University and author of When Half is Whole: Multiethnic Asian American Identities

I think his identifying [as African-American] is very positive. On the other hand, I think there’s nothing creative or innovative or groundbreaking or revolutionary about [his identifying as black.] It’s very much following the status quo of the way that a majority of people expect him to identify… I personally didn’t have a lot of expectations about his ability to really go beyond what would be the mainstream position in terms of how he labeled and located himself. I have hopes that he might help us to go beyond these kinds of rigid racial classifications and categories. I think he could do that if he was able to identify himself more openly with all the different parts of his heritage…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,