Black Journalist T. Thomas Fortune Prophetically Predicts Today’s Political Climate

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-09-26 01:14Z by Steven

Black Journalist T. Thomas Fortune Prophetically Predicts Today’s Political Climate

African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS)
2016-09-24

Shawn Leigh Alexander, Associate Professor of African and African American Studies and Director of the Langston Hughes Center
University of Kansas

Newspaper editor and former slave T. Thomas Fortune formed the National Afro-American League, heralded as the first major all-black civil rights organization.

Civil rights activist and journalist T. Thomas Fortune was one of the most eloquent and instrumental voices of black America from 1880 to 1928. In 1883 Fortune, who was born into slavery in Florida, relocated to New York and became the lead editor of the New York Globe (subsequently named the Freeman and the Age), which quickly became the most widely read black paper of the era.

Using the paper as his pulpit he became a prominent outspoken critic of southern racism, a promoter of racial solidarity and race pride, and an uncompromising advocate for civil and political rights of African Americans. He was also the mastermind behind the creation of the nation’s first national civil rights organization, the Afro-American League, which provided the framework for National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

Read the entire article here.

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Real Native Genius: How an Ex-Slave and a White Mormon Became Famous Indians by Angela Pulley Hudson (review)

Posted in Articles, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing, Religion, United States on 2016-09-26 00:00Z by Steven

Real Native Genius: How an Ex-Slave and a White Mormon Became Famous Indians by Angela Pulley Hudson (review)

The Journal of the Civil War Era
Volume 6, Number 3, September 2016
pages 439-442
DOI: 10.1353/cwe.2016.0058

Adam Pratt, Assistant Professor of History
University of Scranton, Scranton, Pennsylvania

Real Native Genius: How an Ex-Slave and a White Mormon Became Famous Indians. By Angela Pulley Hudson. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2015. Pp. 270. Paper $29.95.)

Angela Pulley Hudson’s Real Native Genius traces the lives of two individuals who, in the 1840s, convinced thousands of Americans that they were Native Americans. Calling themselves Okah Tubbee and Laah Ceil, the couple toured the Northeast as musicians who performed for large audiences and, later, offered medical cures. Hudson argues that audiences took the couple’s Indianness seriously and offers a host of cultural factors, such as the market revolution and religious revivalism, that explain their success. What she finds is that the Indian portrayals by Warner McCary, a mixed-race former slave from Mississippi, and Lucy Stanton, a Mormon from New York, tapped into Americans’ perceptions of Native people. Their performances lacked authenticity, but they were readily believable to an eastern, white audience that shared the same misconceptions about Native beliefs and practices. When evangelicals or early Mormons spoke in tongues, they were thought to be “talking Injun” (49); likewise, remedies hocked by charlatans were called “Indian cures” (124). These widely held ideas about a singular Native culture and identity, one that was widely constructed by white popular culture, allowed the couple to don identities believable enough to American audiences desperate for Native authenticity.

Born a slave in Natchez, Mississippi, around 1810, Warner McCary had a sad childhood. His purported mother, a slave, and her other children were manumitted, while he was not. McCary long disputed the idea that his owner was his father and instead claimed a Choctaw father. Although McCary lacked a sense of belonging from his family, he found respite in the fact that, starting at a young age, he could please people by playing them music. By 1839, he had run away to New Orleans, where he became something of a renowned musician and fashioned a new identity for himself as a performer. Urged to travel to widen his audience, in 1843 he met Lucy Stanton, a divorcée with three children, whose life had been spent with the nascent Mormon Church. Because Native Americans “were seen as an essential part of the faith’s millenarian promise,” they played a vital role in Mormon theology (45). Mormonism, according to Hudson, was instrumental when it came to the couple’s adoption and perpetuation of ideas about Indians.

In early 1846, the couple married and soon thereafter moved to Cincinnati, where they attempted to convert followers. McCary claimed to be both an Indian and a resurrected Christ, which caused several raised eyebrows. The local press portrayed McCary as “a unique sort of pied piper, leading followers to ruin and relieving them of their dollars” (72). This was the couple’s first foray into being “professional Indians,” an antebellum phenomenon that capitalized on “audiences’ desires for trivia on the vanishing race” (74–75). However, by early 1847 they had joined the Mormons at Winter Quarters, where they soon found themselves in trouble. It appeared that McCary had been seducing Mormon women with the help of his wife. McCary’s behavior, combined with lingering questions about his race, led to his being forced out of town by angry neighbors. By the fall of 1847, McCary and Stanton had traveled east and become professional Indians.

Unlike so many Americans who chased their fortunes in the west, Okah Tubbee and Laah Ceil understood that their brand could succeed only in the East. Impersonating Indians could work only where Indians no longer existed and where misconceptions were widespread. In the East, Tubbee demonstrated his “native genius” when he performed renditions of “La Marseillaise,” a way to show that he was untaught and that he possessed natural gifts because of his heritage. After several years of touring, Tubbee became embroiled in controversy when he married another woman who was unaware of the fact that he already had a wife. As public opinion turned against him, he vanished, lost to the historical record.

Laah Ceil made a name for herself in Buffalo, where she sold medicines until the 1860s. Her…

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A Qualitative Analysis of Multiracial Students’ Experiences With Prejudice and Discrimination in College

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2016-09-25 23:26Z by Steven

A Qualitative Analysis of Multiracial Students’ Experiences With Prejudice and Discrimination in College

Journal of College Student Development
Volume 57, Number 6, September 2016
pages 680-697
DOI: 10.1353/csd.2016.0068

Samuel D. Museus, Associate Professor of Higher Education and Student Affairs
Indiana University

Susan A. Lambe Sariñana, Clinical Psychologist
Cambridge, Massachusetts

April L. Yee
University of Pennsylvania

Thomas E. Robinson

Mixed-race persons constitute a substantial and growing population in the United States. We examined multiracial college students’ experiences with prejudice and discrimination in college with conducted focus group interviews with 12 mixed-race participants and individual interviews with 22 mixed-race undergraduates to understand how they experienced prejudice and discrimination during their college careers. Analysis revealed 8 types of multiracial prejudice and discrimination which were confirmed by individual interviews: (a) racial essentialization, (b) invalidation of racial identities, (c) external imposition of racial identities, (d) racial exclusion and marginalization, (e) challenges to racial authenticity, (f) suspicion of chameleons, (g) exoticization, and (h) pathologizing of multi-racial individuals. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

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Meta-Melodrama: Branden Jacobs-Jenkins Appropriates Dion Boucicault’s The Octoroon

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2016-09-25 23:16Z by Steven

Meta-Melodrama: Branden Jacobs-Jenkins Appropriates Dion Boucicault’s The Octoroon

Modern Drama
Volume 59, Number 3, Fall 2016
pages 285-305

Verna A. Foster, Professor of English
Loyola University Chicago

In adapting the nineteenth-century melodrama The Octoroon, Jacobs-Jenkins both satirizes Boucicault’s racial assumptions and emulates his aesthetic principles to produce a meta-melodrama, a play that at once celebrates and critiques its own form while providing a stinging indictment of racial attitudes in the twenty-first century. This essay draws on both the published script and audience responses to Soho Repertory Theatre’s two stagings of the play in 2014 and 2015 gleaned from reviews, blogs, and interviews. The contemporary context and cross-racial casting of An Octoroon ironize and adapt the meaning of Boucicault’s play, making it appropriate for the twenty-first century. Through his use of italicization, Brechtian quotation, the new contemporary dialogue he writes for the slave characters, and his shocking updated sensation scene, Jacobs-Jenkins induces his audience to question their own and each other’s racial reactions even as they are caught up in the play.

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This Movie Was Nearly Lost. Now They’re Fighting to Save It.

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Communications/Media Studies, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2016-09-25 21:44Z by Steven

This Movie Was Nearly Lost. Now They’re Fighting to Save It.

The New York Times
2016-09-23

John Anderson


Richard Romain in the 1982 film “Cane River.”
Credit IndieCollect

When it debuted in 1982, “Cane River” was already a rarity: a drama by an independent black filmmaker, financed by wealthy black patrons and dealing with race issues untouched by mainstream cinema. Richard Pryor had even tried to take it to Hollywood.

But since a negative resurfaced two years ago, it has attained a certain mythic quality, connecting a disparate group of people across the country: New York preservationists dedicated to restoring it; a cultural historian in Louisiana devoting an academic paper to it; an archivist in Los Angeles fascinated with it. And the director’s son, the music journalist and filmmaker Sacha Jenkins, who knew about the film but has never seen it, and who has been left with a question no small number of sons have asked about their fathers.

“Who was this guy?”…

Cane River itself is a historically multicultural area in Natchitoches Parish in Louisiana, and the movie, in addition to being a Romeo-Juliet romance, deals with land swindles perpetrated against people of color, and “colorism”— that is, social hierarchy as dictated by skin tone.

“It’s a common issue, because there was a lot of intermarriage and, of course, slavery,” said Carol Balthazar, who was Horace Jenkins’s partner, and whose family history provided the movie’s historical backdrop…

…Ms. Spann watched a bootleg DVD of “Cane River.” “I can’t think of any film that dealt with colorism in such a serious way,” she said. She is writing a paper on “Cane River” for the Louisiana Historical Society, and said some of the scenes seemed too long. Debra I. Moore, who edited the film in 1980, said there’s a good reason for that…

Read the entire article here.

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T. Thomas Fortune, the Afro-American Agitator: A Collection of Writings, 1880-1928

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2016-09-25 21:22Z by Steven

T. Thomas Fortune, the Afro-American Agitator: A Collection of Writings, 1880-1928

University Press of Florida
2008-06-15
342 pages
6 x 9
Hardcover ISBN 13: 978-0-8130-3232-0
Paper ISBN 13: 978-0-8130-3548-2

Shawn Leigh Alexander, Associate Professor of African-American Studies
University of Kansas

Born into slavery, T. Thomas Fortune was known as the dean of African American journalism by the time of his death in the early twentieth century. The editorship of three prominent black newspapers–the New York Globe, New York Freeman, and New York Age–provided Fortune with a platform to speak against racism and injustice.

For nearly five decades his was one of the most powerful voices in the press. Contemporaries such as Ida B. Wells, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Booker T. Washington considered him an equal, if not a superior, in social and political thought. Today’s histories often pass over his writings, in part because they are so voluminous and have rarely been reprinted. Shawn Leigh Alexander’s anthology will go a long way toward rectifying that situation, demonstrating the breadth of Fortune’s contribution to black political thought at a key period in American history.

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Not under my roof: Interracial relationships and black image in post-World War II film

Posted in Communications/Media Studies, Dissertations, Media Archive, United States on 2016-09-25 20:47Z by Steven

Not under my roof: Interracial relationships and black image in post-World War II film

Northern Illinois University
2015
56 pages
Publication Number: 10008811
ProQuest document ID: 1765648575
ISBN: 9781339455150

Andre Berchiolly

This thesis examines the historical implications of miscegenation and interracial interactions between minority males and white females in Post-World War II independent cinema. Elia Kazan’s studio film Pinky (1949) exemplifies the perceived acceptable studio representations of interracial coupling. My examination of Kazan’s film provides a starting point from which to evaluate other textual situations of interracial interaction, particularly in relation to casting. In contrast, Pierre Chenal’s adaptation of Richard Wright’s Native Son, Sangre Negra (1951) exhibits key differences in interracial depictions between studio productions and independent productions of that era. After a comparative analysis of Kazan’s and Chenal’s films, further exploration of George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968) as an unintentionally racialized film, allows for an investigation into the casting of Duane Jones and Judith O’Dea as the primary characters. An analysis of these three films permits an evaluation of depictions of miscegenation and interracial interactions through an independent lens, distinguishing between acceptable mainstream allowances (via institutionalize censorship) of such depictions, and the comparative freedoms allotted to independent productions. This thesis provides an overview of the limitations of studio productions and their failures to adhere to changing social conventions, broadening the current discourse of film analysis from more canonized Hollywood films to lesser known and lesser criticized independent films, as well as establishing an understanding of Western culture’s influence upon the censorship of racial depictions during this period.

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Renowned ballerina Misty Copeland sends an inspiring message to girls of Colorado

Posted in Articles, Arts, Interviews, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2016-09-25 16:47Z by Steven

Renowned ballerina Misty Copeland sends an inspiring message to girls of Colorado

The Denver Post
Denver, Colorado
2016-09-21

Molly Hughes

She overcame difficult childhood to become first African-American female principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre

American dancer Misty Copeland knows about overcoming the odds and pushing through adversity to achieve a dream.

As the first African American female to be appointed as Principal Dancer with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre, Copeland knows more than a little bit about breaking out of the life she was given, to create the life she wanted. With that story to tell, it’s no surprise the 34-year-old was invited to Denver as a special guest of the Colorado Women’s Foundation annual luncheon, an event sponsored by the Denver Post Community Foundation.

The foundation’s goal is to create systemic change for women and girls in Colorado, empowering them to overcome stereotypes, tackle math, science and technology in school, achieve financial independence and reach their full potential.

Copeland’s story seems to align with that message. Her seemingly fairy tale adult life in the spotlight bears little to no resemblance to her humble beginnings…

Hughes: Is there any part of you that is bothered by the fact that the title is first African-American principal dancer in the ballet company?

Copeland: No. I think that this is something that I’ve had to accept and own, and I’m so OK with that. You know, this is a huge deal and for people to kind of take away that title just because I’ve reached this point — like it doesn’t make any sense. It is a big deal, and it doesn’t erase the history of the lack of diversity in classical ballet just because me as an individual — one person — has reached this point. So whenever people say, “You know, you’re here. Like, why do you have to talk about race? Why is every article about you being African-American. It has to be said. That message has to continue and I hope it does. When I’m retired in that it will continue to spark change…

Read the entire interview here.

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A Single Migration From Africa Populated the World, Studies Find

Posted in Africa, Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive on 2016-09-25 14:38Z by Steven

A Single Migration From Africa Populated the World, Studies Find

The New York Times
2016-09-21

Carl Zimmer


The KhoiSan, hunter-gatherers living today in southern Africa, above, are among hundreds of indigenous people whose genetic makeup has provided new clues to human prehistory.
Credit: Eric Laforgue/Gamma-Rapho, via Getty Images

Modern humans evolved in Africa roughly 200,000 years ago. But how did our species go on to populate the rest of the globe?

The question, one of the biggest in studies of human evolution, has intrigued scientists for decades. In a series of extraordinary genetic analyses published on Wednesday, researchers believe they have found an answer.

In the journal Nature, three separate teams of geneticists survey DNA collected from cultures around the globe, many for the first time, and conclude that all non-Africans today trace their ancestry to a single population emerging from Africa between 50,000 and 80,000 years ago.

“I think all three studies are basically saying the same thing,” said Joshua M. Akey of the University of Washington, who wrote a commentary accompanying the new work. “We know there were multiple dispersals out of Africa, but we can trace our ancestry back to a single one.”…

Read the entire article here.

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The Ambiguous and the Mundane: Racial Performance and Asian Americans

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Asian Diaspora, Book/Video Reviews, Communications/Media Studies, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2016-09-25 02:23Z by Steven

The Ambiguous and the Mundane: Racial Performance and Asian Americans

Contemporary Literature
Volume 57, Number 2, Summer 2016
pages 292-300

Josephine D. Lee, Professor of English and Asian American
University of Minnesota

Jennifer Ann Ho, Racial Ambiguity in Asian American Culture. New Brunswick, NJ, and London: Rutgers University Press, 2015. xi + 215 pp. $90.00 cloth; $31.95 paper.

Ju Yon Kim, The Racial Mundane: Asian American Performance and the Embodied Everyday. New York: New York University Press, 2015. x + 286 pp. $90.00 cloth; $28.00 paper.

Asian American studies scholars such as Karen Shimakawa (National Abjection: The Asian American Body Onstage), Leslie Bow (Betrayal and Other Acts of Subversion: Feminism, Sexual Politics, Asian American Women’s Literature), Tina Chen (Double Agency: Acts of Impersonation in Asian American Literature and Culture), Joshua Chambers-Letson (A Race So Different: Performance and Law in Asian America), and myself have drawn attention to the theatrical nature of Asian American racialization—the assumed incompatibility between Asian bodies and American loyalties that undergirds racial stereotypes such as the perpetual foreigner or the wartime enemy. The Asian American is imagined as a potential traitor or an economic threat whose essential nature is inherently at odds with American identity and whose apparently successful cultural assimilation is inherently untrustworthy. Throughout their long history, Asian Americans have been subject to the material and psychological consequences of this endgame, whether in the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans or in outlandish expectations for the “model minority.”

Two recent books—Ju Yon Kim’s The Racial Mundane: Asian American Performance and the Embodied Everyday and Jennifer Ann Ho’s Racial Ambiguity in Asian American Culture—also envision Asian American racialization as a shifting and dynamic social performance, unpacking what “Asian American” does, rather than just assuming what it is. Both directly challenge fixed notions of racial epistemology as well as provide insightful, original commentary on historical and contemporary Asian American literature and culture.

Grounded in the theories of theatrical phenomenology and Asian American studies, Kim’s Racial Mundane specifically looks at the juxtaposition of Asian American culture (especially Asian American theater) and “everyday” life. Theater is often considered the realm of imaginative pretense as contrasted with the authentic world offstage. But as Kim points out, both theater and life are mainly constituted by repetitive habits and behaviors that define self and action. What Kim calls “the mundane” is the “fusion of the corporeal and the quotidian,” or as she eloquently puts it, “the slice of the everyday carried—and carried out—by the body” (3). For Asian Americans, these ordinary bodily practices are charged with racial significance. Asian exclusion and marginalization was founded on the premise that Asian immigrants and their descendants would never fully assimilate. Kim takes up different instances of this perceived gap between Asian body and American behavior; for instance, she reads the myth of the “model minority” in Justin Lin’s 2002 film Better Luck Tomorrow and Lauren Yee’s biting 2014 satire Ching Chong Chinaman as demonstrative of this racial slippage, whereby Asian American achievement is interpreted both as proof of a successful transition into Americanness and as accentuating a racial difference that belies assimilation.

Though Kim’s examples are largely contemporary, she opens with an analysis of a play that premiered in 1912. Now mostly forgotten, Harry Benrimo and George C. Hazelton Jr.’s The Yellow Jacket was praised in touring productions as well as Broadway revivals, drawing attention for its novel adaptation of the stage devices of Chinese opera as well as Chinese settings and characters. Kim juxtaposes the success of this play’s version of Chineseness with the uncertainty and suspicion with which Chinese immigrants were treated. If the “heathen Chinee” (as Bret Harte called the Chinese immigrant in his popular 1870 poem) was so reviled in early twentieth-century America, how do we explain the popularity of the Chinese characters (played by white actors) in The Yellow Jacket? Key to this contradiction was Benrimo and Hazelton’s inclusion of a “Property Man,” a character who manages the stage set and props while doing ordinary things such as eating, smoking, and reading a newspaper. This novel stage device may well have influenced Thornton Wilder’s creation of the Stage Manager for his…

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