New Book Explores Role of Race for First Lady Michelle Obama

Posted in Articles, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2015-04-01 01:23Z by Steven

New Book Explores Role of Race for First Lady Michelle Obama


Maya Rhodan, Reporter

Author paints the First Lady as the President’s rock, notes the impact her background would have on her future as the nation’s first black First Lady

During her senior year at Princeton University, First Lady Michelle Obama couldn’t imagine she would live to see the election of the nation’s first African American, let alone be married to him. “To say that during her Princeton years she could not envision an African American president is like saying that the sun rises and sets every day,” writes Northwestern University Professor Peter Slevin in his upcoming biography, Michelle Obama: A Life

…Even in a short blurb about the Obamas’ budding romance, the author notes that Michelle’s mother Marian at one point worried that Barack’s biracial background would make navigating society’s prejudices difficult. In the end, though, she accepted the future President who she said “shared the values of [their] family.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Michelle Obama: A Life

Posted in Barack Obama, Biography, Books, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, United States, Women on 2015-03-31 17:44Z by Steven

Michelle Obama: A Life

432 pages
6.5 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-307-95882-2

Peter Slevin, Associate Professor of Journalism
Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications
Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

An inspiring story, richly detailed and written with élan, here is the first comprehensive account of the life and times of Michelle Obama, a woman of achievement and purpose—and the most unlikely first lady in modern American history. With disciplined reporting and a storyteller’s eye for revealing detail, Peter Slevin follows Michelle to the White House from her working-class childhood on Chicago’s largely segregated South Side.

The journey winds from the intricacies of her upbringing as the highly focused daughter of a gregarious city water-plant worker afflicted with multiple sclerosis to the tribulations she faces at Princeton University and Harvard Law School during the racially charged 1980s. And then returning to Chicago, where she works in an elite law firm and meets a law student from Hawaii named Barack Obama. Unsatisfied by corporate law, Michelle embarks on a search for meaningful work that takes her back to the community of her South Side youth, even as she struggles to find balance as a mother and a professional—while married to a man who wants to be president.

Slevin deftly explores the drama of Barack’s historic campaigns and the harsh glare faced by Michelle in a role both relentlessly public and not entirely of her choosing. He offers a fresh and compelling view of the White House years when Michelle Obama casts herself as mentor, teacher, champion of nutrition, supporter of military families, and fervent opponent of inequality.

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Homestory Deutschland: Black Biographies in Historical and Present Times

Posted in Arts, Biography, Europe, Forthcoming Media, History, United States on 2015-03-30 00:11Z by Steven

Homestory Deutschland: Black Biographies in Historical and Present Times

Canisius College, Buffalo, New York

Buffalo, NY – Canisius College will exhibit “Homestory Deutschland: Black Biographies in Historical and Present Times” from Tuesday, March 24 – Sunday, April 12. The exhibit will be on display in Alumni Hall, located between the Andrew L. Bouwhuis Library and Old Main. It is free and open to the public.

Founded by the Initiative of Black People in Germany, “Homeland Deutschland” is a collective self-portrait that gives voice to the complex and varied histories of Afro-German women and men from the past three centuries of German history. The exhibit features not only the biographies of prominent black figures but also those of unknown “ordinary” people who found themselves characterized by stereotypical racist perceptions and struggled to be acknowledged and respected in German society. The individuals represented in the exhibit come from diverse paths of German society and from distinguished backgrounds.

The “Homestory Deutschland” exhibit originated in Berlin, Germany. In February, the exhibit was acquired by Canisius College from where it will tour the United States…

For more information, click here.

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EXCLUSIVE: Michelle Obama’s mother was worried about her daughter marrying a biracial man

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Biography, Media Archive, United States on 2015-03-23 00:36Z by Steven

EXCLUSIVE: Michelle Obama’s mother was worried about her daughter marrying a biracial man

The New York Daily News

Celeste Katz

Long before Michelle Obama became First Lady, her mother had misgivings about her marrying a young man named Barack Obama — because he was biracial.

In a Chicago TV interview that aired during Obama’s 2004 U.S. Senate campaign — and newly resurrected by Michelle Obama biographer Peter Slevin in a book due out next monthMarion [Marian] Robinson confessed to being “a little bit” wary about her future son-in-law being the product of a white mom and black dad.

But it could’ve been worse, according to Robinson…

Read the entire article here.

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Scholar’s debut novel ties black, Native-American history

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Slavery, United States, Women on 2015-03-22 18:43Z by Steven

Scholar’s debut novel ties black, Native-American history

The Detroit Free Press

Cassandra Spratling

Tiya Miles got it honest.

Straight from her grandmother’s garden. That knack for telling stories that pull at your heartstrings.

“I’m one of those people who had a storytelling grandma,” says Miles. “We’d be in the garden or snapping peas on the porch and my grandma would be telling stories, about life in Mississippi, about how the family lost their farm to a white man, about how they came up North on a train. Those stories riveted me and they shaped me.

“If my grandmother had had my life, she would have won three MacArthur Fellowships,” Miles says of her grandmother, the late Alice King.

But it was Miles, 45, who was granted a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in 2011, and it was that award that gave her the shot of confidence she needed to up her game and write her first novel, which will be released next month.

Friends and coworkers at the University of Michigan are hosting a book launch party for “the Cherokee Rose” (John F. Blair, $26.95) Tuesday…

…Not that she doesn’t greatly appreciate the fellowship that annually doles out a ton of money to selected people in a variety of areas so that they can pursue their areas of interest, unencumbered by money woes.

Without it, she doubts she would have completed “the Cherokee Rose,” a novel that uses three modern day women to take readers on a haunting, sometimes horrific, but redemptive journey to a little-known past on a Southern plantation where Native-American and African-American lives were intertwined. In the process, the women make unexpected connections to one another and others…

Read the entire article here.

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Old Glory: The Symbol of One America

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, United States, Virginia on 2015-03-18 16:19Z by Steven

Old Glory: The Symbol of One America

1696 Heritage Group

Keith Stokes, Vice President

Richard Gill Forrester, c. 1850

The photograph taken in 1850 during the earliest years of a new-fangled technology called photography, captures a well-dressed, handsome five year old boy named Richard Gill Forrester, of antebellum Richmond, Virginia. Just as the photograph represented a new era in the technology of imagery, young Forrester, and others like him, represented a new-fangled generation of what it meant to be an American. Our national motto, “E Pluribus UnumOut of Many, One, whose meaning some have come to suggest that out of many ethnicities, races, and religions would emerge a single people and America, seems to be embodied by the little boy pictured. And Forrester, who was my great, grandfather, with blended Jewish and Christian religion; black, Indian and white race; and northern and southern political persuasion, would grow and defend his right to be called an American.

After four long years of war, Union Troops on the morning of April 3, 1865 entered the city of Richmond, Virginia then capital of the Confederate States of America. Richmond had become the single-minded focus of the Union war effort, in a civil war between Americans of Northern and Southern persuasions that would claim an estimated three quarter of a million combatants…

Read the entire article here.

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Daughter Discovers Father’s Black Lineage

Posted in Articles, Audio, Biography, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2015-03-16 01:39Z by Steven

Daughter Discovers Father’s Black Lineage

National Public Radio

Farai Chideya, Host

Famed literary critic Anatole Broyard carried a big secret most of his life. He was a black man passing as white. His daughter, Bliss Broyard, writes about how she learned of her father’s hidden life and explored her black ancestry in the memoir One Drop.

Anatole Broyard was one of the most respected literary critics. The late editor and columnist for the New York Times book review provided a lavish life for his family in New England, but he carried a secret so deep that he couldn’t tell his own children.

Now, his daughter Bliss Broyard has written the memoir “One Drop” about his life and her search for her family.

Bliss, welcome to the show.

Ms. BLISS BROYARD (Daughter of Anatole Broyard; Author, “One Drop”): Thanks, Farai, for having me.

CHIDEYA: So when your father was dying, you find out the big family secret: That your father is part-black. Your brother says, that’s all? What was your reaction?

Ms. BROYARD: Pretty much along the same lines. The afternoon that we found out, we had just witnessed my father suffering terrible pain. He was in the last stages of prostate cancer. So my mom took it upon herself to tell us because it seemed clear that my father wasn’t going to live very much longer.

So it seems, frankly, like not a big deal. And we had known about a secret for a couple of months, and I imagined that it was, you know, my dad had witnessed some horrible crime or incest or something. So the fact that it was just that he was part-black and we didn’t even realize or understand exactly why had it been a secret at all…

Listen to the interview here. Read the transcript here. Download the interview here.

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We are Afro-Mexican|”I am Blaxican”

Posted in Articles, Biography, Caribbean/Latin America, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Mexico, United States on 2015-03-16 01:04Z by Steven

We are Afro-Mexican|”I am Blaxican”

Life as Karen: Just setting my soul free.

Karen Salinas

This week I decided to interview my dad; my inspiration for this project. The interview was conducted in Spanish, the English version is translated!

Esta semana decidi entrevistar a mi papa; la inspiracion para este proyecto.

K: ¿De donde eres? Where are you from?

M: Soy de Santo Domingo Armenta, Oaxaca, pero me fui a Acapulco, Guerrero a la edad de 4 años

I am from Santo Domingo Armenta, Oaxaca, but I moved to Acapulco, Guerrero  when I was 4 years old.

K: ¿En que año te venistes a E.U? Y por que? What year did you migrate to the U.S, and why?

M: Vine a Estados Unidos en 1999, a lo que todos venimos, buscando una vida mejor para nuestras familias

I came to the U.S in the year 1999, for the same reason that we all come here for; a better way of life for our families.

K:  ¿Cuando la gente te pregunta sobre tu origen, que les dices? When people ask about your nationality, how do you respond?

M: Que soy Black-xican.

That I am Black-xican.

K: ¿Te identificas como “negro”? Do you identify yourself as “Black”?

M: Si, me identifico como negro Mexicano

Yes, I identify myself as a black- Mexican…

Read the entire interview here.

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Kaleidoscope: Redrawing an American Family Tree

Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Books, Forthcoming Media, Mississippi, Monographs, Passing, Slavery, United States on 2015-03-13 19:37Z by Steven

Kaleidoscope: Redrawing an American Family Tree

University of Arkansas Press
140 pages
10 images
6″ x 9″
Paper ISBN: 978-1-55728-815-8

Margaret Jones Bolsterli, Emeritus Professor
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

In 2005 Margaret Jones Bolsterli learned that her great-great-grandfather was a free mulatto named Jordan Chavis, who owned an antebellum plantation near Vicksburg, Mississippi. The news was a shock; Bolsterli had heard about the plantation in family stories told during her Arkansas Delta childhood, but Chavis’s name and race had never been mentioned. With further exploration Bolsterli found that when Chavis’s children crossed the Mississippi River between 1859 and 1875 for exile in Arkansas, they passed into the white world, leaving the family’s racial history completely behind.

Kaleidoscope is the story of this discovery, and it is the story, too, of the rise and fall of the Chavis fortunes in Mississippi, from the family’s first appearance on a frontier farm in 1829 to ownership of over a thousand acres and the slaves to work them by 1860. Bolsterli learns that in the 1850s, when all free colored people were ordered to leave Mississippi or be enslaved, Jordan Chavis’s white neighbors successfully petitioned the legislature to allow him to remain, unmolested, even as three of his sons and a daughter moved to Arkansas and Illinois. She learns about the agility with which the old man balanced on a tightrope over chaos to survive the war and then take advantage of the opportunities of newly awarded citizenship during Reconstruction. The story ends with the family’s loss of everything in the 1870s, after one of the exiled sons returns to Mississippi to serve in the Reconstruction legislature and a grandson attempts unsuccessfully to retain possession of the land. In Kaleidoscope, long-silenced truths are revealed, inviting questions about how attitudes toward race might have been different in the family and in America if the truth about this situation and thousands of others like it could have been told before.

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San Francisco Lithographer: African American Artist Grafton Tyler Brown

Posted in Biography, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, United States on 2015-03-12 20:39Z by Steven

San Francisco Lithographer: African American Artist Grafton Tyler Brown

Arts Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA)
July 2014

Amy De Simone, Research Consultant
Kansas State University

by Robert J. Chandler. University of Oklahoma Press, February 2014. 264 p. ill. ISBN 9780806144108 (cl.), $36.95.

More than just a book about one man, San Francisco Lithographer: African American Artist Grafton Tyler Brown is about the emerging lithography scene in nineteenth-century San Francisco and Brown’s role in it as a mixed race artist and businessman. Author Robert J. Chandler, previously the senior research historian for Wells Fargo Bank, has done extensive research on the life and times of Brown. Though other scholars have written about Brown, Chandler’s work is the first comprehensive biography, which seamlessly references appropriate field literature to piece together Brown’s life from his birth in Pennsylvania to his death in Minnesota

Read the entire review here.

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