Skin pigmentation, biogeographical ancestry and admixture mapping

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States on 2013-09-13 01:01Z by Steven

Skin pigmentation, biogeographical ancestry and admixture mapping

Human Genetics
Volume 112, Issue 4 (April 2003)
pages 387-399

Mark D. Shriver, Professor of Anthropology
Pennsylvania State University

Esteban J. Parra
Department of Anthropology
University of Toronto at Mississauga

Sonia Dios
Department of Anthropology
Pennsylvania State University

Carolina Bonilla
Department of Anthropology
Pennsylvania State University

Heather Norton
Department of Anthropology
Pennsylvania State University

Celina Jovel
Department of Anthropology
Pennsylvania State University

Carrie Pfaff
Department of Anthropology
Pennsylvania State University

Cecily Jones
National Human Genome Center
Howard University, Washington, D.C.

Aisha Massac
National Human Genome Center
Howard University, Washington, D.C.

Neil Cameron
Takeway Media, London

Archie Baron
Takeway Media, London

Tabitha Jackson
Takeway Media, London

George Argyropoulos
Pennington Center for Biomedical Research, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Li Jin
Department of Environmental Health
University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio

Clive J. Hoggart
Department of Epidemiology and Population Health
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Paul M. McKeigue
Department of Epidemiology and Population Health
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Rick A. Kittles
National Human Genome Center
Howard University, Washington, D.C.

Ancestry informative markers (AIMs) are genetic loci showing alleles with large frequency differences between populations. AIMs can be used to estimate biogeographical ancestry at the level of the population, subgroup (e.g. cases and controls) and individual. Ancestry estimates at both the subgroup and individual level can be directly instructive regarding the genetics of the phenotypes that differ qualitatively or in frequency between populations. These estimates can provide a compelling foundation for the use of admixture mapping (AM) methods to identify the genes underlying these traits. We present details of a panel of 34 AIMs and demonstrate how such studies can proceed, by using skin pigmentation as a model phenotype. We have genotyped these markers in two population samples with primarily African ancestry, viz. African Americans from Washington D.C. and an African Caribbean sample from Britain, and in a sample of European Americans from Pennsylvania. In the two African population samples, we observed significant correlations between estimates of individual ancestry and skin pigmentation as measured by reflectometry (R2=0.21, P<0.0001 for the African-American sample and R2=0.16, P<0.0001 for the British African-Caribbean sample). These correlations confirm the validity of the ancestry estimates and also indicate the high level of population structure related to admixture, a level that characterizes these populations and that is detectable by using other tests to identify genetic structure. We have also applied two methods of admixture mapping to test for the effects of three candidate genes (TYR, OCA2, MC1R) on pigmentation. We show that TYR and OCA2 have measurable effects on skin pigmentation differences between the west African and west European parental populations. This work indicates that it is possible to estimate the individual ancestry of a person based on DNA analysis with a reasonable number of well-defined genetic markers. The implications and applications of ancestry estimates in biomedical research are discussed.

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Social Washington: the “Colored” Aristocracy

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, United States on 2012-11-11 01:32Z by Steven

Social Washington: the “Colored” Aristocracy

Edwardian Promenade

Evangeline Holland

From the end of Reconstruction until the Great War, Washington was the center of the black aristocracy. Nowhere else in the United States possessed such a concentration of “old families,” not merely from the District and nearby Maryland and Virginia, but from throughout the country, whose emphasis on family background, good breeding, occupation, respectability, and color bound them into an exclusive, elite group. Upper-class blacks from Philadelphia, Boston, New Orleans and other places gravitated to Washington D.C. in sizable numbers due to its educational and cultural opportunities, the availability of jobs on par with their education, and the presence of a black social group that shared their values, tastes and self-perceptions.
The “black 400” of Washington consisted of fewer than a hundred families out of a black population of 75,000 in 1900, and centered around the family of Blanche K. Bruce, an ex-slave and former Mississippi Senator who served in Congress from 1875 to 1881, who was also the first Black American to serve a full term in the U.S. Senate. Bruce was born in Virginia to a black woman and a white man, who may have been their master. Fortunately, his slave master took an interest in Bruce and he was permitted to share lessons with the master’s son. In later years, Bruce shared that his life as a slave in Virginia, and later in Mississippi and Missouri, was in fact no different from that of his white peers. In 1850, Bruce moved to Missouri after becoming a printer’s apprentice and from there he escaped to Kansas and declared his freedom. After the Union Army rejected his application to fight in the Civil War, Bruce taught school and attended Oberlin College in Ohio for two years and from there, he went to work as a steamboat porter on the Mississippi River. In 1864, he moved to Hannibal, Missouri, where he established a school for blacks…

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The Negro in Washington: A Study in Race Amalgamation

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2012-08-04 04:25Z by Steven

The Negro in Washington: A Study in Race Amalgamation

Walter Neale, Publisher, New York
332 pages
Original Classification ID: E185.93.D695
Source: University of California via The Hathi Trust Digital Library

A. H. Shannon, B. D., M. A.
Former Chaplain of the Mississippi State Penetentiary
Member, American Anthropological Association


  • A. A Personal Word to the Reader.
  • B. Introduction.
  • I. Statement of the Case.
  • II. The Mulatto
  • III. Illegitimacy
  • IV. Isabella and Jamestown
  • V. The Near-White.
  • VI. The Poor-White
  • VIII. Politics and the Race Problem
  • III. Race and Religion
  • IX. Colonization as a Solution of the American Race Problem
  • X. Some Conclusions and a Forward Look


The author of this book has been, for some years, a  close observer of race relations and a student of those  problems growing out of racial contacts. As Chaplain of the Mississippi State Penitentiary, he was called  upon to minister to several hundred Negro prisoners,  thus gaining a measure of intimate knowledge of the Negro criminal. As a teacher in the employ of the  Imperial Government of Japan, he was privileged to  make a brief study of an Oriental civilization. Here  was gained some knowledge of the Eurasian problem, so acute in some of the Asiatic countries and in evidence  wherever contact of East and West has occurred.

The chief interest of the author in the Negro problem has centered about the matter of racial intermixture—the Mulatto problem—and most of his writings have had to do with this evil. The present study, while endeavoring to ascertain and to state fact impartially, necessarily gives a large measure of personal reaction  to certain of the problems involved in present-day contacts of the two races, the black and the white, in the United States. Whoever really understands conditions now obtaining in North America is prepared to understand the situation wherever two dissimilar races occupy the same territory, or wherever casual racial contacts occur—as they now do throughout the greater part of the world.

There is a conscious and an intentional limiting of this study largely to those features of the situation which may well tend toward discouragement, if not toward hopeless pessimism. Since it now appears fashionable to approach the Negro problem from the standpoint of the invincible optimist, resolutely ignoring or consciously discarding those facts which, fairly faced, would shatter so many pleasing theories, it is well that some one should present the darker side of the picture, for there is a terribly dark side. The reader, once the situation is clearly analyzed and its elements indicated, may be trusted to interpret aright the issues unquestionably involved. Americans, white and black alike, are not awake to the real situation confronting them, a fact clearly evidenced by more than half century of silence and indifference touching the vital issue of race amalgamation and the conditions under which this is now occurring.

As an answer to the ever-ready charge of ministering to, if not creating, racial antagonisms and hates—a charge behind which there sometimes lurks more of moral and of intellectual inertia than some good people are aware of—there is to be noted the difference between a clear statement of fact, a clear-cut challenge to the self-respect of each of two groups, and a maligning of one group by the other. If it has come to the pass that a calm facing of fact, a thorough analysis of a given situation, must be opposed because it reveals the destructiveness of an inherited unreasonable and unreasoned program, there should, at least, be a clear understanding of the attitudes displayed and a close scrutiny of the motives behind these attitudes.

Both races in America, especially in the United States, are confronted by facts demanding careful consideration; by problems the solution of which depends primarily upon thorough analysis as the basis for a full understanding of what is really involved. Various organizations, secular and religious, are in the field, voluntarily endeavoring to carry out programs which they are free to make what they will. Most of these would resent the charge that they are contributing directly to moral confusion and to racial degradation. Most of them would resent the charge that their work and the attitudes upon which it rests constitute the most destructive influence against which the full-blood Negro must contend at the present time. Can it be shown that such charge is untrue? If only there could be a general and an honest, dispassionate inquiry, bringing these matters into the realm of conscious thought and purposive program, there would be hope of constructive action. If this volume assists the reader to break with traditional lines of thought and the attitudes and the programs based upon these lines of thought, thus promoting independent analysis and rationally constructive programs, it will serve a useful and a timely purpose.

The author is forced into a position which is es sentially unpleasant. It becomes necessary to point out the grounds of criticism, the delinquencies, of those who, holding positions of leadership—political, educational, religious—have failed to see, or seeing have failed to meet, or have met with utter indifference, the problems here discussed. Upon the part of the leaders of both races there has been, at best, a light estimate of the trust reposed in their leadership. No further evidence is necessary to establish this fact than to call attention to present conditions and to the manner in which these conditions have grown up, without effective protest or warning, and that they are now generally accepted, without analysis, and without intelligent evaluation of their logical, their inevitable, results.

The thanks of the author are due to both Authors  and Publishers permitting the use of quotations appear ing in this volume. Credit is given in each case. Professor E. B. Reuter has been especially generous, permitting the unrestricted use of material the collection of which necessarily cost him much expense, in addition, to time and labor involved. His book, The Mulatto in the United States, is a very valuable statement of ultimate fact.

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The Paper Bag Principle: Class, Colorism, and Rumor and the Case of Black Washington, D.C.

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, Social Science, United States on 2012-07-10 02:24Z by Steven

The Paper Bag Principle: Class, Colorism, and Rumor and the Case of Black Washington, D.C.

University of Tennessee Press
136 pages
9.2 x 6.3 x 0.7 inches
Cloth ISBN: 1-57233-462-2
Cloth ISBN-13: 978-1572334625

Audrey Elisa Kerr, Associate Professor of English and Women Studies
Southern Connecticut State University

The Paper Bag Principle: Class, Colorism, and Rumor in the Case of Black Washington, D.C. considers the function of oral history in shaping community dynamics among African American residents of the nation’s capitol. The only attempt to document rumor and legends relating to complexion in black communities, The Paper Bag Principle looks at the divide that has existed between the black elite and the black “folk.”

While a few studies have dealt with complexion consciousness in black communities, there has, to date, been no study that has catalogued how the belief systems of members of a black community have influenced the shaping of its institutions, organizations, and neighborhoods. Audrey Kerr examines how these folk beliefs—exemplified by the infamous “paper bag tests”—inform color discrimination intraracially.

Kerr argues that proximity to whiteness (in hue) and wealth have helped create two black Washingtons and that the black community, at various times in history, replicated “Jim Crowism” internally to create some standard of exceptionalism in education and social organization. Kerr further contends that within the nomenclature of African Americans, folklore represents a complex negotiation of racism written in ritual, legend, myth, folk poetry, and folk song that captures “boundary building” within African American communities.

The Paper Bag Principle focuses on three objectives: to record lore related to the “paper bag principle” (the set of attitudes that granted blacks with light skin higher status in black communities); to investigate the impact that this “principle” has had on the development of black community consciousness; and to link this material to power that results from proximity to whiteness. The Paper Bag Principle is sure to appeal to scholars and historians interested in African American studies, cultural studies, oral history, folklore, and ethnic and urban studies.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • 1. Traditions and Complexion Lore
  • 2. A National Perspective on Complextion Lore
  • 3. Washington Society
  • 4. Social Organization in Washington
  • 5. School Lore: Beliefe and Practice in the Education of Black Washington
  • 6. Complexion and Worship
  • 7. One Drop of Black Blood, a Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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