Dream of the Water Children: Memory and Mourning in the Black Pacific

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Biography, Books, Forthcoming Media, Monographs on 2015-08-31 17:43Z by Steven

Dream of the Water Children: Memory and Mourning in the Black Pacific

2Leaf Press
Spring 2016
300 pages
Paperback ISBN-13: 978-1-940939-28-5
ePub ISBN-13: 978-1-940939-29-2

Fredrick D. Kakinami Cloyd

Dream of the Water Children, at once a haunting collective memory and a genre-bending critical account of dominance and survival, interweaves intimate multi-family details with global politics spanning generations and continents. Fredrick D. Kakinami Cloyd’s debut work defies categorization as histories and families are intimately connected through sociological ghosts alive in the present. It is a one-of-a-kind ‘non-fiction’ inter-disciplinary evocation that will appeal to not only those interested in Black and Asian relations and mixed-race Amerasian histories, but also a wide general audience including those interested in Asian, Asian-American, Nikkei, African-American, and mixed-race identities as well as multicultural literature, history and post-colonial memoir. Those focused on academic studies such as women and gender studies, ethnic and critical mixed-race studies, social justice curriculum, political histories, memory, feminism, and militarization, etc. will appreciate the profound questions for thought that rise up from the pages. Cloyd’s book not only challenges readers to explore technologies of violence, identity, difference, and our responsibilities to the world, it will also move readers through emotional depths.

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Rewriting the History of American Sociology

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-08-31 01:14Z by Steven

Rewriting the History of American Sociology

Northwestern University News
Evanston, Illinois

Hilary Hurd Anyaso, Law and Social Sciences Editor

Groundbreaking book argues W.E.B. Du Bois is primary founder of modern sociology

EVANSTON, Ill. — In his groundbreaking new book, Northwestern University’s Aldon Morris has done no less than rewrite the history of sociology by making a compelling case that black sociologist and activist W.E.B. Du Bois was the primary founder of modern sociology in America at the turn of the 20th century. It is a sociology that bases its theoretical claims on rigorous empirical research.

Pulling from over a decade of research in primary sources such as personal letters, conference proceedings and scholarly writings, “The Scholar Denied: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Birth of Modern Sociology” (University of California Press, August 2015) argues that power, money, politics and the ideology of white supremacy led to W.E.B. Du Bois being “written out” of the founding of sociology. Moreover his intellectual breakthroughs were marginalized in the field for the last century.

Morris, the Leon Forrest Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, argues that Du Bois’ pioneering work was often characterized in the academy as unscientific and politically motivated while systemic racial biases colored the intellectual work of leading white sociologists, even those with liberal bents throughout the 20th century.

In Morris’ gripping narrative, Robert E. Park, the white University of Chicago scholar considered to be one of the major architects of modern-day sociology, and Booker T. Washington, the most famous and powerful black man in America between 1895 and 1915, play a central role in marginalizing the pioneering work that Du Bois and other black scholars produced at Atlanta University, a historically black institution.

The Du Bois-Atlanta School profoundly influenced the discipline by laying the intellectual foundations of scientific sociology, Morris argues, noting that Max Weber, the famous German sociologist and philosopher, was significantly influenced by Du Bois’ work…

Read the entire article here.

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The Scholar Denied: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Birth of Modern Sociology

Posted in Biography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2015-08-31 01:08Z by Steven

The Scholar Denied: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Birth of Modern Sociology

University of California Press
August 2015
320 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 9780520276352
Adobe PDF E-Book ISBN: 9780520960480
ePUB Format ISBN: 9780520960480

Aldon D. Morris, Leon Forrest Professor of Sociology and African American Studies
Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

In this groundbreaking book, Aldon D. Morris’s ambition is truly monumental: to help rewrite the history of sociology and to acknowledge the primacy of W. E. B. Du Bois’s work in the founding of the discipline. Calling into question the prevailing narrative of how sociology developed, Morris, a major scholar of social movements, probes the way in which the history of the discipline has traditionally given credit to Robert E. Park at the University of Chicago, who worked with the conservative black leader Booker T. Washington to render Du Bois invisible. Morris uncovers the seminal theoretical work of Du Bois in developing a “scientific” sociology through a variety of methodologies and examines how the leading scholars of the day disparaged and ignored Du Bois’s work.

The Scholar Denied is based on extensive, rigorous primary source research; the book is the result of a decade of research, writing, and revision. In exposing the economic and political factors that marginalized the contributions of Du Bois and enabled Park and his colleagues to be recognized as the “fathers” of the discipline, Morris delivers a wholly new narrative of American intellectual and social history that places one of America’s key intellectuals, W. E. B. Du Bois, at its center.

The Scholar Denied is a must-read for anyone interested in American history, racial inequality, and the academy. In challenging our understanding of the past, the book promises to engender debate and discussion.


  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: Race and the Birth of American Sociology
  • 1. The Rise of Scientific Sociology in America
  • 2. Du Bois, Scientific Sociology, and Race
  • 3. The Du Bois–Atlanta School of Sociology
  • 4. The Conservative Alliance of Washington and Park
  • 5. The Sociology of Black America: Park versus Du Bois
  • 6. Max Weber Meets Du Bois
  • 7. Intellectual Schools and the Atlanta School
  • 8. Legacies and Conclusions
  • Notes
  • References
  • Illustration Credits
  • Index
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One woman’s quest to uncover her heritage

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Videos on 2015-08-29 02:23Z by Steven

One woman’s quest to uncover her heritage

The Today Show

Bliss Broyard writes about her journey to discover her hidden black roots

Bliss Broyard grew up a “Wasp” in Connecticut with her mother, father and brother. For 23 years she was white, but it wasn’t until her father was on his deathbed that she found out he was “part-black.” After her father died, Broyard began a quest to learn more about her hidden heritage and adopt it in her life. She wrote about it in “One Drop: My Father’s Hidden Life.” Here’s an excerpt:..

Read the excerpt here.

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Tony Gleaton: Photographing The African Story Across The Americas

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico on 2015-08-24 01:05Z by Steven

Tony Gleaton: Photographing The African Story Across The Americas

Code Switch: Frontiers of Race, Culture and Ethnicity
National Public Radio

Karen Grigsby Bates

Photographer Tony Gleaton died last Friday after struggling with a particularly aggressive cancer for 18 months. He was working, signing prints, talking to museums (several have his work in their collections, including the Brooklyn Museum, the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem) and checking in with his friends right up to the last day. I admired his work, but also treasured his friendship.

For many years, Tony often showed up on my Los Angeles doorstep with a huge sack of dirty laundry slung over his shoulder and a box of contact sheets under one arm.

“Here,” he’d say, placing the box in my hands, and walking through the door. “Look at these. I’m gonna do some laundry, okay?”…

…In the beginning, he got a lot of pushback. “Why do you want to take our picture?” the villagers would ask, warily. “We have no money to pay you.”

When Tony would explain that he was documenting the African Diaspora around the world, and that they and he were both part of it, the conversation often became even harder.

“You want to take pictures of black people?” they’d ask.

“Yes, like you and me … ” he’d begin

“Well,” they’d respond, looking at his fair skin, light hair and blue-green eyes. “You’re not black. And we’re certainly not black. So you need to do that somewhere else.”

Eventually he learned to refine his approach and tell the villagers he wanted people in the States to see how beautiful people in the villages were. “I just gave up on the black connection. It was important to me, but not to them. They see race differently than we do. And it’s only a social construct anyway.”

There is still stigma to acknowledging blackness in many parts of Mexico, and Tony’s work raised the profile of Latinos with what is sometimes called “the Third Root” — Spanish, Indian, African — in Latino culture. His work eventually expanded across the Americas to form an exhibit called Tengo Casi 500 Anos (I Have Almost 500 Years) — Africa’s Legacy in Mexico that explores the African presence in the Americas. He’s also chronicled black, Indian and Mexican cowboy culture, as well as life in American Samoa and the Mississippi Delta

Read the entire article here.

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Times Regrets ‘Slave Mistress’ in Julian Bond’s Obituary

Posted in Arts, Biography, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Women on 2015-08-23 01:33Z by Steven

Times Regrets ‘Slave Mistress’ in Julian Bond’s Obituary

The New York Times

Margaret Sullivan, Public Editor

After Julian Bond’s death on Saturday, The Times published a lengthy and well-written obituary summing up the life and work of the civil rights champion. But many readers were bothered by a single sentence in the front-page article:

“Julian Bond’s great-grandmother Jane Bond was the slave mistress of a Kentucky farmer.”

Many readers wrote to me to protest the phrase, on the grounds that a slave, by definition, can’t be in the kind of consensual or romantic relationship that the word “mistress” suggests. One of them noted it wasn’t the first time the phrase had appeared in a Times obituary…

Read the entire article here.

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Tony Gleaton, 67, Dies, Leaving Legacy in Pictures of Africans in the Americas

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Mexico, United States on 2015-08-20 15:42Z by Steven

Tony Gleaton, 67, Dies, Leaving Legacy in Pictures of Africans in the Americas

The New York Times

Bruce Weber

Tony Gleaton, a photographer who turned his back on a career in New York fashion and embarked on an itinerant artistic quest, documenting the lives of black cowboys and creating images of the African diaspora in Latin America, died on Friday in Palo Alto, Calif. He was 67.

The cause was oral cancer, his wife, Lisa, said.

Mr. Gleaton made his photographs in the American West and Southwest, and then, most prominently, in Mexico, where he lived among little-acknowledged communities of blacks — descendants of African slaves brought to the New World centuries earlier by the Spanish — in villages on the coastal plains of Oaxaca, south of Acapulco.

An exhibition of those photos, “Africa’s Legacy in Mexico,” which appeared in galleries around the country for more than a decade beginning in the 1990s, was sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution.

Mr. Gleaton specialized in black-and-white portraits, their subjects — children and adults, alone or in groups — almost always in direct engagement with the camera and usually in tight frames that suggest but do not explore a specific setting, like a workplace or a barroom. In an interview with The Los Angeles Times in 2007, he called his pictures “abstractions from daily life,” saying “they may look natural but they are extremely crafted, very calculated.”…

Read the entire obituary here.

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Othello’s Daughter

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Europe, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States, Women on 2015-08-19 01:52Z by Steven

Othello’s Daughter

The New Yorker

Alex Ross, Music Critic

Aldridge, circa 1865, and his daughter Luranah, a singer, in an undated image.
Credit Photographs by Billy Rose Theatre Division / The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts; Mccormick Library of Special Collections / Northwestern University Library

The rich legacy of Ira Aldridge, the pioneering black Shakespearean.

In 1896, a thirty-six-year-old opera singer named Luranah Aldridge travelled to Germany to prepare for performances of Wagner’sRing of the Nibelung,” at the Bayreuth Festival. Dozens of young singers had made such a journey before her: thirteen years after Wagner’s death, Bayreuth had become a summit of the operatic world. Aldridge, though, was of mixed race: an English native, she was the daughter of an African-American and a Swede. The casting of a nonwhite performer in Wagner’s Nordic-Teutonic saga might have been expected to arouse opposition, given the notorious racism of the composer and many of his followers, yet an advance guide to the 1896 festival treats Aldridge simply as a promising novelty:

A name that may well ring strangely in the ears of even the most observant art lovers is that of Luranah Aldridge, who will sing one of the eight Valkyries. Of Luranah Aldridge one cannot say that she did not come from far off, as she hails—from Africa. She is the daughter of the African tragedian Ira Aldridge and studied singing in Germany, England and France, and has appeared with great success in operas and concerts outside of Germany. She is praised as the possessor of a true contralto voice with a wide range. In the course of the festival there will be an opportunity to put these statements to the test.

The singer fell sick during rehearsals and did not perform that summer. Despite encouragement from Cosima Wagner, the composer’s widow, Aldridge faded from view. A few reference works mention her; otherwise, she has vanished from the historical record…

Read the entire article here.

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Amanda Aldridge, Teacher and Composer: A Life in Music

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Europe, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2015-08-18 19:20Z by Steven

Amanda Aldridge, Teacher and Composer: A Life in Music

Journal of Singing
January 2010
ISSN: 10867732

Joyce Andrews, Adjunct Instructor of Music
Ripon College, Ripon, Wisconsin

Aldridge was a remarkable person who devoted her lifetime to music, enriching the musical culture of Great Britain through her multi-talents as composer (published under the nom de plume “Montague Ring”) and as teacher, singer, and pianist. She mentored and inspired many young musicians and became a central figure in the black community in London.

ALTHOUGH THE NAME OF MONTAGUE RING is not familiar to most musicians today, this London composer wrote music that was extremely popular in Europe in the early twentieth century. Major music publishing firms published numerous songs in London by Ring between the years 1907 and 1925. Written predominantly in a romantic parlor song style fashionable in that day, Montague Ring’s songs for voice and piano numbered almost thirty, although the composer’s output included various compositions for other instruments that also gained considerable recognition.

A bit of investigation into this little known composer with the distinguished-sounding British high society name reveals a surprise – that Montague Ring was merely the pseudonym adopted by Afro-British female composer Amanda Ira Aldridge, born Amanda Christina Elizabeth Aldridge (1866-1956). Although reasons vary as to why composers opt to publish under a name other than their own, in Amanda Aldridge’s case, it may well be that her chosen pseudonym allowed her a degree of separation between her varied career pursuits. Amanda Aldridge was an active, accomplished musician during her long career and gained public attention through the various “hats” she wore as concert singer, piano accompanist, and voice teacher, as well as the composer Montague Ring. Particularly impressive is the musical circle in which she traveled in London as well as her vocal pedigree – she was an early pupil of Jenny Lind (famously known as the “Swedish Nightingale”) at the Royal College of Music in London. Aldridge is also attributed with providing voice instruction to some of the most acclaimed artists of the twentieth century, including African American singers Roland Hayes, Marian Anderson, and Paul Robeson. The accomplishment of so many careers was certainly inspired, and reinforced, by an additional significant detail about Amanda Aldridge she was the daughter of one of the most acclaimed tragedians of his time in Europe, the African American actor Ira Aldridge

Read the entire article here.

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“Red Velvet” spins a fascinating true story

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States on 2015-08-18 18:52Z by Steven

“Red Velvet” spins a fascinating true story

The Berkshire Eagle
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Jeffrey Borak, Entertainment Editor and Theater Critic

LENOX — Actor Ira Aldridge isn’t in the American Theater Hall of Fame; his name is barely a whisper in the annals of American theater. That shouldn’t be, say director Daniela Varon and actor John Douglas Thompson, who is playing Aldridge in “Red Velvet,” a new play by Lolita Chakrabarti that had its world premiere in October 2012 at the Tricycle Theatre in London and its American premiere in March 2014 at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Born a few years after the start of the French Revolution, Aldridge died a few years after the end of our Civil War — a megastar in Europe, but virtually unknown here.

“I was 17 when I first heard about Aldridge,” Varon said during a joint interview with Thompson in the lobby of Shakespeare & Company’s Tina Packer Playhouse, where the production officially opens at 7:30 tonight after a week of previews. It is scheduled to run in rotating repertory through Sept. 13.

“He gave up everything to go to England to become an actor,” Varon said.

Aldridge fashioned a career performing throughout through Europe and the UK. While he was known primarily as a tragedian, he also had a reputation as a good comedic actor.

He outraged London critics but awed audiences when, one night in 1833, he replaced the ailing Edmund Kean as Othello, at the Theatre Royal in Covent Garden.

…Born in New York in 1807, Aldridge emigrated to Liverpool, England in 1824, where he met and married Margaret Gill, a Yorkshire woman.

“He was 26 when he married her, She was 18,” Thompson said. “He already had had a lifetime of experience. He was not a young 26.” Despite a solid marriage, he was a notorious womanizer and fathered several children, in and out of wedlock.

Between 1825 and 1833, he played theaters throughout the United Kingdom. He made his first tour of Europe in 1852, playing not only Othello but also Lear, Richard III, Shylock, Macbeth. He died in Lodz in 1867, where he was given a state funeral…

Read the entire article here.

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