‘Loving’ and Virginia: a timeline of mixed-race marriage

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Virginia on 2017-02-22 02:40Z by Steven

‘Loving’ and Virginia: a timeline of mixed-race marriage

The Richmond Times-Dispatch
2017-02-19

The movie “Loving” tells the story of a mixed-race Caroline County couple – and an important story about Virginia itself. We asked the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities for some insight into Richard and Mildred Loving, as well as state history. Here is a timeline from the foundation’s Encyclopedia Virginia.

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April 3, 1691: The General Assembly passes “An act for suppressing outlying slaves,” which grants county sheriffs, their deputies and any other “lawfull authority” the ability to kill any slaves resisting, running away or refusing to surrender when so ordered. The act seeks to prevent “abominable mixture and spurious issue” by prohibiting mixed-race marriages.

October 1705: The assembly passes “An Act Concerning Servants and Slaves,” which summarizes previous laws defining bound labor in Virginia. It makes distinctions between the treatment of white “christian” indentured servants and nonwhite, non-Christians, allowing for the killing of slaves in various situations without penalty.

1848: The assembly increases the penalty for the white partner in an interracial marriage from six months to a maximum of 12 months in prison…

Read the entire article here.

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The fourth Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference celebrates the 50th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Forthcoming Media, Gay & Lesbian, Identity Development/Psychology, Latino Studies, Live Events, Native Americans/First Nation, Social Justice, Social Science, United States on 2017-02-22 00:20Z by Steven

The fourth Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference celebrates the 50th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia

Critical Mixed Race Studies Association
2016-12-08

Laura Kina
Telephone: 773-325-4048; E-Mail: cmrsmixedrace@gmail.com

LOS ANGELES, CA – The fourth Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference, “Explorations in Trans (gender, gressions, migrations, racial) Fifty Years After Loving v. Virginia,” will bring together academics, activists, and artists from across the US and abroad to explore the latest developments in critical mixed race studies. The Conference will be held at The University of Southern California from February 24-26, 2017 at the USC Ronald Tutor Campus Center, 3607 Trousdale Parkway, Los Angeles, CA 90089 and is hosted by the Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture.

The conference will include over 50 panels, roundtables, and caucus sessions organized by the Critical Mixed Race Studies Association as well as feature film screenings and live performances organized by the non-profit Mixed Roots Stories. The conference is pleased to run concurrently with the Hapa Japan Festival February 22- 26, 2017.

The year 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Supreme Court decision in Loving v. Virginia, which declared interracial marriage legal. With a focus on the root word “Trans” this conference explores interracial encounters such as transpacific Asian migration, transnational migration from Latin America, transracial adoption, transracial/ethnic identity, the intersections of trans (gendered) and mixed race identity, and mixed race transgressions of race, citizenship, and nation…

Read the entire press release here. View the program guide here.

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Why are some black Africans considered white Americans?

Posted in Africa, Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Religion, Social Science, United States on 2017-02-20 02:07Z by Steven

Why are some black Africans considered white Americans?

Al Jazeera
2017-02-16

Hind Makki, second-generation Sudanese American who works as an interfaith and anti-racism educator


Sudanese Americans, like all African American and Black Muslims in the US, suffer from invisible intersectionality, writes Makki [Stephanie Keith/Reuters]

Sudanese Americans do not fit neatly into the existing racial classifications of the American society.

I always knew I was black. My childhood was the scent of coconut oil hair cream and the taste of bean pie after Friday prayers in a Bilalian mosque on Chicago’s south side. I knew the words to Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika and called Harold Washington my mayor, even though I lived in the suburbs.

My parents had immigrated to the United States from Sudan in the late 1970s and raised my sister and me to be comfortable in our skin. I spoke Arabic at home and English at school where it seemed no one else agreed that I am black…

Read the entire article here.

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The Forgotten Work of Jessie Redmon Fauset

Posted in Articles, Biography, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2017-02-20 01:52Z by Steven

The Forgotten Work of Jessie Redmon Fauset

The New Yorker
2017-02-18

Morgan Jerkins

Among the events that helped to crystallize what would come to be known as the Harlem Renaissance was a dinner, in March, 1924, at the Civic Club, on West 12th Street. The idea for the dinner was initially hatched by Charles Spurgeon Johnson, the editor of Opportunity, a journal published by the National Urban League and, under Johnson, one of the leading outlets for young black writers. Johnson planned to invite twenty guests—a mix of white editors and publishers as well as black intellectuals and literary critics—to honor Jessie Redmon Fauset and the publication of “There Is Confusion,” her début novel, about a black middle-class family’s struggle for social equality. But when Johnson ran the idea by the writer and philosopher Alain Locke, who he hoped would serve as master of ceremonies, Locke said that the dinner should celebrate black writers in general, rather than just one in particular. So the purpose of the event changed, and the list of invitees grew; among those who ultimately attended were Countee Cullen, Gwendolyn Bennett, Langston Hughes, and W. E. B. Du Bois. That evening, attendees listened to a series of salutations, an address by Locke, and presentations by several black men. At the end of the dinner, Locke—who had praised “There Is Confusion” as what “the Negro intelligentsia has been clamoring for”—introduced Fauset. But though she was a guest of honor, she evidently felt like an afterthought. Years later, in 1933, she would write a scathing letter to Locke (who had just reviewed her most recent novel, about which he had some misgivings), declaring that he, with “consummate cleverness,” had managed, on that evening in 1924, to “keep speech and comment away from the person for whom the occasion was meant”—that is to say, her…

…“Initially, Fauset’s work was dismissed as sentimental and Victorian, primarily because she dealt with ‘women’s issues,’ centering on the marriage plot,” Cherene Sherrard-Johnson, a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin, said. Fauset’s second novel, “Plum Bun,” is probably her best, and it received the most attention when it was published, with reviews in The New Republic, the New York Times, and Saturday Review. Like “There Is Confusion,” it is a story about middle-class respectability. It centers on a mixed-race young woman named Angela Murray, who grows up in a posh black neighborhood in Philadelphia where each house looks just the same. All the residents know their neighbors’ names, and everyone goes to church on Sundays. Young women train to be teachers and young men do the same or strive to become post-office workers. Angela, tired of this bourgeois world, wants to become a famous painter, and believes that the only way to do so is to abandon her family, move to New York City, and pass for white. In New York, she meets a poor artist who falls in love with her and a wealthy white man she hopes to marry. At one point, she sees her sister at the train station in New York and pretends not to recognize her, so that she can keep up the charade that she is white. Later, however, in order to support a fellow art student, a black woman, she reveals her true identity. In a conversation with her sister, Angela says, “When I begin to delve into it, the matter of blood seems nothing compared with individuality, character, living. The truth of the matter is, the whole business was just making me fagged to death . . . You can’t fight and create at the same time.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Thomas Jefferson, Sally Hemings, and the Question of Race: An Ongoing Debate

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2017-02-19 20:04Z by Steven

Thomas Jefferson, Sally Hemings, and the Question of Race: An Ongoing Debate

Journal of American Studies
Volume 37, Number 1 (April, 2003)
pages 99-118
DOI: 10.1017/S0021875803007023

Peter Nicolaisen (1936-2013), Professor of English Emeritus
University of Flensburg, Germany

Not many private relationships in history have received as much press attention in recent years as that between Thomas Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemings. First alleged in 1802 by the journalist James Callender, who based his account on stories that had been current in Virginia for some years, the affair has since then been debated both in the scholarly community and by the general public to an unparalleled degree. The results of the DNA tests on male descendants of the Jefferson and Hemings families that were published in 1998 have added fuel to the debate. Meanwhile, its focus has shifted. The majority of those who have publicly expressed an opinion on the case, including the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation which owns and administers Monticello, now seem to agree that a sexual relationship between Jefferson and Sally Hemings did exist, and that it resulted in a number of children. The questions addressed today primarily concern the implications of the affair. What does the liaison between Jefferson and Sally Hemings mean for our understanding of the man Thomas Jefferson, and how does it affect the accomplishments he has generally been credited with? Given the little we know about her, how do we view Sally Hemings’s role in the relationship, and how do we come to understand her as an individual living out her life in bondage? What, if any, are the consequences the affair has for an evaluation of interracial relationships as they existed in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries?…

Read the entire article here.

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A president’s past yields a modern parable

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Passing, Slavery, United States on 2017-02-19 03:56Z by Steven

A president’s past yields a modern parable

The Berkshire Eagle
Pittsfield, Massachusetts
2017-01-24

Jenn Smith


A tree is planted and dedicated to the descendants of Thomas Jefferson and his slave, Sally Hemings, at Monticello’s Mulberry Row. Mulberry Row was the center of activity of Jefferson’s 5,000-acre agricultural enterprise. According to the Monticello website, it was populated by more than 20 dwellings, workshops, and storehouses between 1770 and the sale of Monticello in 1831.
PHOTO PROVIDED BY JANE FELDMAN

Students learn about black history in Thomas Jefferson’s family

PITTSFIELD — History can play a crucial role in our futures, if we listen to it.

In 2002, photographer, Jane Feldman, who shares her time between the Berkshires and New York City, and Shannon Lanier, the sixth great-grandson of U.S. President Thomas Jefferson, worked together to publish through Random House, “Jefferson’s Children: The Story of One American Family.”

The book details, in family album and portrait style, Lanier’s trip across the country to retrace the footsteps of his maternal ancestor, Madison Hemings, the son of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings. Hemings was Jefferson’s African-American slave.

With increasing discussions and divides developing across the nation regarding race and rights, Lanier and Feldman have decided to revive a series of tours and talks — originally conducted after the book’s release — about the book and its themes of identity, family and the varying perspectives of American history and culture.

“We believe that one of the things that will help us all navigate through this complicated time in our history is the ability to understand where we’ve come from and where we are going as individuals and as a nation,” Feldman said…

…The co-authors also noted how people aren’t always as they seem; for example how many light-skinned members of the Jefferson-Hemings lineage would go on to “pass” in society, that is, take advantage of the social statuses that came with looking like a white person, including freedom from slavery.

But the side effect of passing, is some future generations grew unaware of their black heritage, some even becoming racist, without knowing their own black blood lines…

Read the entire article here.

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Passing Beauty

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-02-19 02:22Z by Steven

Passing Beauty

Public Books
2014-07-01

Anne Anlin Cheng, Professor of English; Professor of African American Studies
Princeton University

How do you break a spell? How do you get over the grief of racial, gendered, and childhood injuries? Helen Oyeyemi’s novel Boy, Snow, Bird is not a black-and-white parable but a black-and-blue story. A bruising tale about miscegenation, passing, and beauty, this novel brings to life the idealization and wounding that haunt the American racial psyche, and suggests that the price we pay for this history is nothing less than our own reflection.

Imagine a collision (or a collusion) between Anne Sexton’s Transformations, Nella Larsen’s Passing, and Elizabeth Taylor’s striking and stricken face in the 1957 film Raintree County. The tortured hybrid that would result might resemble Helen Oyeyemi’s new novel Boy, Snow, Bird. What brings these three unlikely predecessors to mind is not simply Oyeyemi’s haunting fusion of passing narratives and fairy tales but also the way this Nigerian-born British novelist harnesses the sonic, the textual, and the cinematic to produce an uncanny world in which the quotidian tips effortlessly into the surreal and vice versa.

In Oyeyemi’s version, Snow is the beloved, glowing, blonde girl-child of a jewelry maker named Arturo Whitman, and Bird is her dark-skinned half sister, whose birth exposes the Whitmans as light-skinned African Americans who have been passing as white. The wicked queen is the young bride and new mother named Boy who marries into the Whitman family without knowing their secret and who herself is the victim of a horrendously abusive childhood. The narrative voice shifts between Boy, whose first-person narration opens and closes the book, and her biological daughter Bird, who offers us her point of view in the middle section of the book and who in a sense speaks for her missing sibling, as Snow’s voice comes to us through a series of letters between the half sisters recorded by Bird…

Read the entire review here.

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@X: Making America White 200 Years Ago

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Religion, Slavery, United States on 2017-02-19 02:06Z by Steven

@X: Making America White 200 Years Ago

Public Books
2017-02-17

Brandon R. Byrd, Assistant Professor of History
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee

In the latest edition of our anniversaries series, Brandon Byrd examines resistance to the American Colonization Society’s attempts to remove free blacks from the US.

In January 1817, more than three thousand African Americans gathered in Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Philadelphia, PA. Skilled artisans, domestic workers, and underpaid manual laborers filled the pews. So did black elites including Richard Allen, the founder and first bishop of the AME Church; Absalom Jones, Allen’s friend and cofounder of the Free African Society, the leading black mutual aid society in Philadelphia; and James Forten, a wealthy sailmaker and outspoken abolitionist. As historian Benjamin Quarles noted, there was only one cause that could bring together a gathering of that size and diversity. Weeks earlier, some of the most influential white men in the United States had formed the American Colonization Society (ACS), an organization whose official title—the Society for the Colonization of Free People of Color of America—made clearer its goal of removing free blacks from the United States. Now, as the ACS began its work, black Philadelphians gathered to respond as one to the proposition that their futures lay not in what was for many their country of birth but in Africa.

Standing behind a platform at the front of the church, Forten brought the meeting to order. The well-to-do businessman, born free in Philadelphia, first called for all in favor of colonization to respond with an “aye.” Nobody said a word. He then asked for those who opposed colonization to respond with a “no.” The response was thunderous. Unambiguous. Unanimous. In fact, Forten later wrote that it seemed as if the outcry “would bring down the walls of the building.”1

One year later, the ACS gathered in the chamber of the US House of Representatives for its first annual meeting. Participating members included Francis Scott Key, the slaveholding author of what became known as “The Star-Spangled Banner” and a prominent Washington, DC–based attorney who later demanded in court that his fellow white men not “abandon your country; to permit it to be taken from you by the Abolitionist, according to whose taste it is to associate and amalgamate with the Negro.”2 Henry Clay was there too. The US congressman who would bring about the Missouri Compromise was also a Kentucky slaveowner who believed that “amalgamation”—interracial socializing or sex—was “impossible” because the “God of nature by the difference of color & of physical constitution, has decreed against it.”3 He was, put simply, a man who admired the racial thought of Thomas Jefferson, the exalted Founding Father whose antislavery views coexisted with his slaveholding and his “suspicion . . . that the blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time and circumstances, are inferior to the whites in the endowments both of body and mind.” He, too, wanted them removed from his country.4

Read the entire article here.

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The True Story of Pocahontas: Historical Myths Versus Sad Reality

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States, Virginia on 2017-02-19 01:12Z by Steven

The True Story of Pocahontas: Historical Myths Versus Sad Reality

Indian Country Media Network
2017-02-16

Vincent Schilling


AP Images
A portrait of Pocahontas saving the life of John Smith with Father Wahunsenaca. Oral history from the descendants of Pocahontas dictate such a thing could never have happened.

Pocahontas had a Native Husband and Native Child; Never Married John Smith

Despite what many people believe due to longstanding and inaccurate accounts in history books and movies such as Disney’s Pocahontas, the true story of Pocahontas is not one of a young Native Powhatan woman with a raccoon friend who dove off of mountain-like cliffs off the coasts of Virginia. (Note: there are no cliffs on the coast of Virginia.)

The true story of Pocahontas is a tale of tragedy and heartbreak.

It is time to bust up the misconceptions perpetuated over 400 years regarding the young daughter of Powhatan chief Wahunsenaca. The truth—gathered from years of extensive research of the historical record, books, and oral histories from self-identified descendants of Pocahontas and tribal peoples of Virginia —is not for the faint of heart…

Read the entire article here.

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Mixed Like Obama

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Barack Obama, Gay & Lesbian, Media Archive, United States on 2017-02-19 00:44Z by Steven

Mixed Like Obama

Philadelphia Printworks
2017-01-30

Brianna Suslovic

I remember turning on the morning news in eighth grade, shoveling cereal into my mouth as my mother poured herself the second cup of coffee that morning. A man who looked like me was on-screen, announcing his candidacy for the presidency, answering questions from the nice white lady interviewer in the Rockefeller Center studio. When I got home from school that day, I googled that man, someone I’d never seen or heard of before. His name was Barack Obama.

Like Obama, I’m a half-black, half-white kid who was raised by a single white mother. Reading through his Wikipedia page that afternoon had me sold—I was ready to see myself represented in the Oval Office, ready to watch a man like me take the presidential oath of office. My fourteen-year-old hopes were suddenly bound up in this man’s trajectory toward the presidency. That fall, as a high school freshman, I campaigned my heart out for this man, holding Obama signs at the busiest intersection in my small upstate New York hometown on weekends leading up to the election.

After winning the election, Obama became America’s first black president, which left me in a strange sort of predicament…

Read the entire article here.

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