An Intellectual History of Black Women

Posted in Africa, Biography, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Live Events, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2015-08-02 20:06Z by Steven

An Intellectual History of Black Women

Katharine Cornell Theater
54 Spring Street
Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts 02568
Sunday, 2015-08-02, 19:00-20:30 EDT (Local Time)

Moderator:

Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, Victor S. Thomas Professor of History and of African and African American Studies
Harvard University

Discussants:

Farah J. Griffin, William B. Ransford Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African-American Studies
Columbia University

Mia Bay, Professor of History and Director of Center for Race and Ethnicity
Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey

Martha S. Jones, Arthur F Thurnau Professor, Associate Professor of History
University of Michigan School of Law

Barbara D. Savage, Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and Professor Africana Studies
University of Pennsylvania

The Vineyard Haven Public Library presents a panel discussion celebrating intellectuals previously neglected because of race and gender. Moderated by Evelyn Higginbotham, the Victor S. Thomas Professor of History and of African American Studies at Harvard. Featuring all 4 editors of the new book Toward and Intellectual History of Black Women.  Join us for what should be a lively and stimulating discussion.

For more information, click here.

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Moogega Cooper: The JPL’s Space Engineer

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Biography, Media Archive, United States on 2015-08-02 15:24Z by Steven

Moogega Cooper: The JPL’s Space Engineer

LA Weekly
Los Angeles, California
2014-05-14

Sophia Kercher

Somewhere on Mars, the initials of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, J-P-L, are written in Morse code spanning hundreds of meters across the red planet. It’s this kind of detail that thrills JPL scientist Moogega Cooper – especially since JPL, considered NASA’s little brother, accomplished this on the sly.

“Initially, for the robotics missions, we had JPL [stamped] on the wheels so that as it rolls along Mars it would tag Mars: JPL, JPL, JPL. And NASA stepped in and said, ‘No, you can’t do that,’?” Cooper explains. “So JPL said, ‘OK, sure, we’ll take that off.’ And instead they put it in Morse code.”

Cooper, named rainbow or “moo-jee-gae” by her Korean mother and raised by her African-American World War II veteran father, is a human comet of beauty, intelligence and creativity. The scientist graduated from high school at 16, and at 24 earned her Ph.D., then launched her NASA career.

Now 28, she is a planetary protection engineer at JPL. A big part of her job is making sure that NASA doesn’t contaminate other planets with terrestrial microorganisms or any other Earth life, and vice versa – bacteria from, say, Mars, that could potentially harm humans…

Read the entire article here.

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The Surprising Story of Walter White and the NAACP

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2015-08-01 01:54Z by Steven

The Surprising Story of Walter White and the NAACP

Time
2015-07-01

Jennifer Latson

July 1, 1893: Walter Francis White, head of the NAACP for more than 20 years, is born

In the last few weeks, Rachel Dolezal—the Spokane, Wash., NAACP leader who recently left her post after being outed as white though saying that she identified as black—led many to examine the relationship between skin color and racial-justice activism. Writing for TIME, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar noted that, despite her ethnic background, Dolezal “has proven herself a fierce and unrelenting champion for African-Americans politically and culturally.”

Regardless of what one thinks of Dolezal, whose story only grew increasingly complicated, there’s plenty of historical evidence that looks aren’t the most important thing when it comes to championing equality. For proof, look no further than Walter Francis White, who was born on this day, July 1, in 1893. White ushered the NAACP into the Civil Rights era, serving as its leader more than 20 years, from 1931 until his death in 1955

Read the entire article here.

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Walter White, 61, Dies in Home Here

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-07-31 20:36Z by Steven

Walter White, 61, Dies in Home Here

The New York Times
1955-03-22

Walter White, executive secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, died last night of a heart attack at his home at his home, 242 East Sixty-eighth Street. He was 61 years old.

Last October he twice entered the New York Hospital for treatment for a heart ailment that had caused him to take a leave of absence from his duties.

Recently he had returned from a month’s leisurely visit in Haiti and Puerto Rico. Yesterday he spent two hours at his office.

Mr. White, the nearest approach to a national leader of American Negroes since Booker T. Washington, was a Negro by choice.

Only five-thirty-seconds of his ancestry was Negro. His skin was fair, his hair blond, his eyes blue and his features Caucasian. He could easily have joined the 12,000 Negroes who pass the color-line and disappear into the white majority every year in this country.

But he deliberately sacrificed his comfort to publicize himself as a Negro and to devote his entire adult life to completing the emancipation of his people…

Read the entire obituary here.

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First African-American woman novelist revisited

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Biography, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2015-07-23 02:24Z by Steven

First African-American woman novelist revisited

Harvard University Gazette
Cambridge, Massachusetts
2005-03-24

Ken Gewertz, Harvard News Office

Harriet Wilson was a survivor. Now we have proof.

Wilson wrote “Our Nig; or Sketches From the Life of A Free Black,” the earliest known novel by an African-American woman. It tells the story of Frado, a young biracial girl born in freedom in New Hampshire who becomes an indentured servant to a tyrannical and abusive white woman. In 1859, when the book was published, the abolitionist movement had created a vogue among Northern readers for autobiographies of escaped slaves, but Wilson’s story of a free black abused by her Northern employer did not fit the established mold, and the novel soon fell into obscurity.

Henry Louis Gates Jr., the W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of the Humanities, found a copy of the novel in a used bookstore in the early 1980s and was intrigued by it. Among those specialists who were aware of the book, many doubted whether it was really the work of a black writer, but Gates wondered why anyone in 1859 would identify herself as black unless she were.

He started searching for evidence of Wilson’s existence and eventually succeeded in documenting her life up to 1863. The facts he uncovered closely resembled the events in the life of the novel’s protagonist. Gates, who published his findings in a 1983 edition of the novel, concluded that Wilson must have died around the time the historical trail went cold.

Now evidence has surfaced showing that Wilson survived almost another 40 years, demonstrating in other areas of endeavor the resilience and creativity that allowed her to try her hand at writing.

P. Gabrielle Foreman, associate professor of English and American Studies at Occidental College in California, and Reginald Pitts, a historical researcher and genealogical consultant, spoke Friday (March 18) about information they have uncovered about the latter half of Wilson’s life. The event was sponsored by the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research and the Department of African and African American Studies. Foreman and Pitts have incorporated their research into an introduction to a new edition of Wilson’s novel (Penguin Classics, 2005)…

Read the entire article here.

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Meet this year’s outstanding contributors at The Globies!

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Biography, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-07-20 01:51Z by Steven

Meet this year’s outstanding contributors at The Globies!

The Seattle Globalist
2015-07-17

Christina Twu, Editor/Contributor

The Seattle Globalist is proud to recognize three brilliant Globalist writers that have made outstanding contributions to our publication this year, helping to grow our coverage and make 2015 a phenomenal year for us.

Please join us in recognizing these dynamos at our Third Annual Globie Awards on Saturday, Sept. 26, along with Globalist of the Year Rita Meher:…

Sharon H. Chang

Social Justice Commentator of the Year

Sharon H. Chang, a mom, mixed-race parenting expert and activist, was the writer who really launched the Globalist into intentionally covering racial justice issues.

Sharon’s stories reflect deep reporting enriched by her personal experiences and analysis, further pushing our publication and city to engage in important dialogue.

She has sparked critical conversation on race, education, housing access and gentrification. In fact, her first published story with us went viral and started conversations on race across Seattle for months after it was published.

“Looking back over the past year I realized Sharon’s piece on Seattle’s ‘Progressive Mystique’ symbolized a turning point for The Seattle Globalist,” says Stuteville, “one where we completely embraced our role as a publication poised to explore some of the most critical social justice issues in our region.”

Read Sharon’s stories and more about her here. Read the entire Globalist profile here.

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Loren Miller: Civil Rights Attorney and Journalist

Posted in Biography, Books, Forthcoming Media, Law, Monographs, United States on 2015-07-13 17:45Z by Steven

Loren Miller: Civil Rights Attorney and Journalist

University of Oklahoma Press
September 2015
304 pages
6.125″ x 9.25″
Hardcover ISBN: 9780806149165

Amina Hassan, Consultant & Researcher
The Azara Group, New York, New York

Loren Miller was one of the nation’s most prominent civil rights attorneys from the 1940s through the early 1960s, particularly in the fields of housing and education. With co-counsel Thurgood Marshall, he argued two landmark civil rights cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, whose decisions effectively abolished racially restrictive housing covenants. One of these cases, Shelley v. Kraemer (1948), is taught in nearly every American law school today. Loren Miller: Civil Rights Attorney and Journalist recovers this remarkable figure from the margins of history and for the first time fully reveals his life for what it was: an extraordinary American story and a critical chapter in the annals of racial justice.

Born the son of a former slave and a white midwesterner in 1903, Loren Miller lived the quintessential American success story, both by rising from rural poverty to a position of power and influence and by blazing his own path. Author Amina Hassan reveals Miller as a fearless critic of the powerful and an ardent debater whose acid wit was known to burn “holes in the toughest skin and eat right through double-talk, hypocrisy, and posturing.”

As a freshly minted member of the bar who preferred political activism and writing to the law, Miller set out for Los Angeles from Kansas in 1929. Hassan describes his early career as a fiery radical journalist, as well as his ownership of the California Eagle, one of the longest-running African American newspapers in the West. In his work with the California branch of the ACLU, Miller sought to halt the internment of West Coast Japanese citizens, helped integrate the U.S. military and the L.A. Fire Department, and defended Black Muslims arrested in a deadly street battle with the LAPD. Hassan charts Miller’s ceaseless commitment to improving the lives of Americans regardless of their race or ethnicity. In 1964, Governor Edmund G. Brown appointed Miller as a Municipal Court justice for Los Angeles County.

The story told here in full for the first time is of a true American original who defied societal limitations to reshape the racial and political landscape of twentieth-century America.

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5 black Chicagoans who passed for white

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2015-07-06 01:59Z by Steven

5 black Chicagoans who passed for white

The Chicago Sun-Times
2015-06-16

Kim Janssen, Staff Reporter

A baseball player who broke baseball’s color line decades before Jackie Robinson was born.

A pioneering politician who has a West Side school named after him.

An Emmy-winning “blonde bombshell.”

A poet at the heart of the Harlem Renaissance.

And a brilliant novelist who wrote a noted novel on “passing.”

Unlike Rachel Dolezal — the white Spokane, Washington, NAACP head who has become the U.S.’s biggest viral news story after she was exposed for lying about her past to pose as a black woman — all five of these sometime Chicagoans were black. But just like Dolezal, they spent at least part of their lives pretending to be something they weren’t, historians now suspect.

Baseball player William Edward White, politician Oscar DePriest, bandleader Ina Ray Hutton, poet Jean Toomer and writer Nella Larsen all at times passed as white, it’s believed.

It’s part of the history that makes Dolezal’s masquerade so fascinating to many Americans: for centuries, African-Americans were far more likely to attempt to pass as white than the reverse. Writing in “Opportunity: The Journal of Negro Life” in 1927, one of Dolezal’s predecessors at the NAACP, William Pickens, vividly described how both the violent threat of racism and the lure of white privilege exacted a powerful pull toward passing for black Americans who were able:

“If passing for white will get a fellow better accommodations on the train, better seats in the theatre, immunity from insults in public places, and may even save his life from a mob, only idiots would fail to seize the advantage of passing, at least occasionally if not permanently.”

Passing, which had mostly died out by the latter part of the 20th century, also came with a series of heavy costs: families broken by one relative’s denial of their ties to another; the constant fear of exposure; and the psychological damage of denying one’s true identity. But for these five Chicagoans, it may have been a compromise they felt forced to make…

Read the entire article here.

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Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music

Posted in Arts, Biography, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Novels, Women on 2015-06-23 00:37Z by Steven

Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
2015-03-31
48 pages
Hardcover ISBN-13/ EAN: 9780544102293
eBook ISBN-13/ EAN: 9780544102286

Margarita Engle

Rafael López

In this picture book bursting with vibrance and rhythm, a girl dreams of playing the drums in 1930s Cuba, when the music-filled island had a taboo against female drummers.

Girls cannot be drummers. Long ago on an island filled with music, no one questioned that rule—until the drum dream girl. In her city of drumbeats, she dreamed of pounding tall congas and tapping small bongós. She had to keep quiet. She had to practice in secret. But when at last her dream-bright music was heard, everyone sang and danced and decided that both girls and boys should be free to drum and dream.

Inspired by the childhood of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who broke Cuba’s traditional taboo against female drummers, Drum Dream Girl tells an inspiring true story for dreamers everywhere.

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Joseph Emidy: From slave fiddler to classical violinist

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Media Archive, Slavery, United Kingdom on 2015-06-23 00:11Z by Steven

Joseph Emidy: From slave fiddler to classical violinist

BBC News
2015-06-21

Miles Davis, BBC News Online


Joseph Emidy led the Truro Philharmonic Orchestra

The remarkable life of a former slave who became a pioneer of classical music has been commemorated.

The “genius” violinist Joseph Emidy, from West Africa, was enslaved for two long periods of his eventful life.

But having finally gained his freedom in 1799, Emidy became “Britain’s first composer of the African diaspora”.

His achievements were marked at Truro Cathedral on Sunday with the erection of a ‘boss‘ – a painted wooden carving featuring a violin and a map of Africa.

On his death in 1835, The West Briton newspaper reported in Emidy’s obituary: “As an orchestral composer, his sinfonias may be mentioned as evincing not only deep musical research, but also those flights of genius.”…

…Emidy was finally discharged four years later in the port of Falmouth on 28 February 1799.

He married a local woman, Jenefer Hutchins, in 1802, started taking on music students and became involved with the the first of Truro’s biennial concerts in 1804.


Beverley Wilson (far right) the great, great, great, great grand-daughter of Joseph Emidy met kora player Sona Jobarteh (centre)

Silk Buckingham described him as “an exquisite violinist, a good composer, who led at all the concerts of the county, and who taught equally well the piano, violin, violoncello, clarionet and flute”…

Read the entire article here.

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