The Harlem Renaissance’s Hidden Figure

Posted in Biography, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, Passing, United States on 2017-08-16 21:57Z by Steven

The Harlem Renaissance’s Hidden Figure

Ursinus College
English Summer Fellows Student Research
2017-07-21
23 pages

Jada A. Grice
Ursinus College, Collegeville, Pennsylvania

This project will seek to look at the Harlem Renaissance’s hidden figure, Jessie Fauset. Jessie Fauset was born to an A.M.E. minister and his wife as one of ten children in Camden County, New Jersey and raised in Philadelphia. From there she got her college degree and began teaching all over the country. She has written four novels, There is Confusion, Plum Bun, The Chinaberry Tree, and Comedy: American Style, all of which I have read this summer. Each novel focuses on the early twentieth century black family. I will be analyzing these novels under the four themes of passing, acceptance, romance, and Paris/escape. I will also be mapping the characters in the novel on a QGIS system in order to indicate where the majority of the novel takes place and to see if certain characters have more movement than others. I will finally map Jessie Fauset’s life in order to see if her life parallels with the lives of her characters. Mapping consists of a close reading of the novel, identifying locations in the book, creating an [Microsoft] Excel spreadsheet, and plotting the spreadsheet onto an online map on QGIS.

Read the entire paper here.

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White Like Her: My Family’s Story of Race and Racial Passing

Posted in Biography, Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Louisiana, Monographs, Passing, United States on 2017-08-07 03:02Z by Steven

White Like Her: My Family’s Story of Race and Racial Passing

Skyhorse Publishing
2017-10-03
304 pages
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-1510724129

Gail Lukasik, Ph.D.

Kenyatta D. Berry (foreword)

White Like Her: My Family’s Story of Race and Racial Passing is the story of Gail Lukasik’s mother’s “passing,” Gail’s struggle with the shame of her mother’s choice, and her subsequent journey of self-discovery and redemption.

In the historical context of the Jim Crow South, Gail explores her mother’s decision to pass, how she hid her secret even from her own husband, and the price she paid for choosing whiteness. Haunted by her mother’s fear and shame, Gail embarks on a quest to uncover her mother’s racial lineage, tracing her family back to eighteenth-century colonial Louisiana. In coming to terms with her decision to publicly out her mother, Gail changed how she looks at race and heritage.

With a foreword written by Kenyatta Berry, host of PBS’s Genealogy Roadshow, this unique and fascinating story of coming to terms with oneself breaks down barriers.

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Uncompromising Activist: Richard Greener, First Black Graduate of Harvard College

Posted in Biography, Books, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, Passing, United States on 2017-08-05 21:29Z by Steven

Uncompromising Activist: Richard Greener, First Black Graduate of Harvard College

Johns Hopkins University Press
September 2017
216 pages
7 b&w photos
Hardback ISBN: 9781421423296
E-book ISBN: 9781421423302

Katherine Reynolds Chaddock, Distinguished Professor Emerita of Education
University of South Carolina

Richard Theodore Greener (1844–1922) was a renowned black activist and scholar. In 1870, he was the first black graduate of Harvard College. During Reconstruction, he was the first black faculty member at a southern white college, the University of South Carolina. He was even the first black US diplomat to a white country, serving in Vladivostok, Russia. A notable speaker and writer for racial equality, he also served as a dean of the Howard University School of Law and as the administrative head of the Ulysses S. Grant Monument Association. Yet he died in obscurity, his name barely remembered.

His black friends and colleagues often looked askance at the light-skinned Greener’s ease among whites and sometimes wrongfully accused him of trying to “pass.” While he was overseas on a diplomatic mission, Greener’s wife and five children stayed in New York City, changed their names, and vanished into white society. Greener never saw them again. At a time when Americans viewed themselves simply as either white or not, Greener lost not only his family but also his sense of clarity about race.

Richard Greener’s story demonstrates the human realities of racial politics throughout the fight for abolition, the struggle for equal rights, and the backslide into legal segregation. Katherine Reynolds Chaddock has written a long overdue narrative biography about a man, fascinating in his own right, who also exemplified America’s discomfiting perspectives on race and skin color. Uncompromising Activist is a lively tale that will interest anyone curious about the human elements of the equal rights struggle.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: A Search for Identity
  • 1. Boyhood Interrupted
  • 2. Being Prepared
  • 3. Experiment at Harvard
  • 4. An Accidental Academic
  • 5. Professing in a Small and Angry Place
  • 6. The Brutal Retreat
  • 7. Unsettled Advocate
  • 8. A Violent Attack and Hopeless Case
  • 9. Monumental Plans
  • 10. Off White
  • 11. Our Man in Vladivostok
  • 12. Closure in Black and White
  • Epilogue: The Passing of Richard Greener
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Author Danzy Senna on Finding Inspiration After Leaving Brooklyn

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Media Archive, United States on 2017-08-05 21:19Z by Steven

Author Danzy Senna on Finding Inspiration After Leaving Brooklyn

Vulture
2017-07-27

Joy Press


Photo: Lauren Tamaki

“When you are writing a novel, you are always trying to submerge yourself in a dream state, and New York was constantly waking me up from that state,” says Danzy Senna. She’s sitting outdoors at a shady café in South Pasadena, California, roughly 2,400 miles from Brooklyn, where she once lived and from which she drew inspiration for her propulsive new novel, New People.

South Pasadena, the sweet and sleepy town where we both currently reside, is not Brooklyn — it’s more like a Southern California hallucination of Mayberry. Its leafy streets and Craftsman houses regularly stand in for a middle-American idyll in movies, TV shows, and commercials. (The swaying palm trees reliably get cropped out of the frame.) Suburban L.A.’s low-stimulus environment has proved far more conducive to Senna’s writing than the boho hyperactivity of New York. Senna is the 46-year-old author of five books, including her celebrated 1998 debut novel, Caucasia, and all of her work explores the nuances of being mixed race in America with stinging humor and acuity. But, in some ways, “the central identity conflict in my life has been New York versus L.A.,” she says. “I became an author in New York, but it was like a book party that never ended. I became someone who had written something once. In Brooklyn, I’d walk out my door and bump into someone at seven in the morning at the dog park who would tell me about their six-figure book advance.” Los Angeles, by comparison, she jokes, is “so boring that your imagination becomes your life.”…

Read the entire article here.

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USC to erect statue of first African-American professor

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, United States on 2017-07-23 16:01Z by Steven

USC to erect statue of first African-American professor

The State
2017-01-29

Avery G. Wilks, Reporter


A portrait of Richard T. Greener on display at USC. Larry Lebby Larry Lebby

COLUMBIARichard T. Greener was little remembered in Columbia for almost 150 years.

Then, in 2012, Greener’s law degree and law license were found in a Chicago house that was being demolished. And Greener and the University of South Carolina were reunited.

Monday, USC will celebrate Greener, its first African-American professor.

And, next fall, Greener, who taught classics, math and constitutional history at USC from 1873-77, will become the first historical figure to be immortalized with a statue on USC’s downtown Columbia campus…

Read the entire article here.

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‘Krazy Kat,’ and all that jazz

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-07-19 02:50Z by Steven

‘Krazy Kat,’ and all that jazz

The Boston Globe
2017-06-23

Matthew Guerrieri, Globe Correspondent

This Sunday is the anniversary of the end of one of the greatest comic strips of all time. On June 25, 1944, the final installment of “Krazy Kat” was published, two months after the death of its creator, George Herriman. In various forms since 1910, the strip’s essential paradox — Ignatz, a mouse, forever beans Krazy with bricks, who nevertheless loves him back — yielded seemingly inexhaustible variations.

In its day, “Krazy Kat” was more a critical than a popular favorite, though publisher William Randolph Hearst, a fan, continued to give Herriman carte blanche despite the strip’s sometimes meager readership. But its dreamlike artwork, linguistic fantasy, and self-referential tinkering with comic-strip form influenced numerous other art forms — music included.

The dense, idiosyncratic argot of Herriman’s dialogue and his precisely-dashed linework and zig-zagging scenery (a stylization of Herriman’s beloved southwestern landscapes) found its musical counterpart in syncopation. As early as 1911 — only a year after Krazy and Ignatz first appeared in the margins of Herriman’s strip “The Dingbat Family” — a New York composer-pianist named Ben Ritchie published “Krazy Kat Rag,” with a Herriman illustration on the cover. In later years, saxophonist Frankie Trumbauer’s Orchestra (which included such jazz luminaries as Bix Beiderbecke, Eddie Lang, and Joe Venuti), expatriate bandleader Sam Wooding, and clarinetist Artie Shaw all recorded “Krazy Kat” tributes.

Most ambitious was composer John Alden Carpenter’s “Krazy Kat” ballet, subtitled “A Jazz Pantomime.” First performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1921, and first staged in 1922 — choreographed by Russian-born Adolph Bolm, with scenery designed by Herriman himself (he also illustrated the sheet music) — the ballet was well-received, but Carpenter’s score (possibly the first concert work to include the word “jazz” in the title) was soon overshadowed by more overt rapprochements between jazz and classical music. Carpenter’s version of jazz was tame, owing more to the “sweet” jazz of white dance bands than the “hot” jazz of their African-American counterparts. But the composer effectively mined jazz’s capacity for charm and whimsy…

Read the entire article here.

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Mike Tirico Would Like to Talk About Anything but Mike Tirico

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, United States on 2017-07-18 20:36Z by Steven

Mike Tirico Would Like to Talk About Anything but Mike Tirico

The New York Times
2017-07-15

Juliet Macur


Mike Tirico in the NBC booth before calling the Belmont Stakes. Tirico will take over for Bob Costas as the host of the Winter Olympics next year but prefers to avoid talking about himself and his background.
Credit Uli Seit for The New York Times

BALTIMORE — Don’t pay any attention to Mike Tirico, even if you’ll be seeing much more of him, and soon.

Tirico has been a fixture in sports broadcasting for nearly three decades, his voice a prominent and familiar soundtrack for football and basketball and soccer and tennis and — actually, you name the sport, and he has probably worked it.

This week, he’ll host his 21st British Open. In the fall, he will take over Al Michaels’s spot on “Thursday Night Football.” Next February, he will replace Bob Costas as the host of NBC’s Olympics coverage, a not-so-subtle hint that he also is the network’s choice as the new face of NBC Sports.

Yet don’t mind Tirico. He insists. When he was in Baltimore in May to call the Preakness Stakes for NBC, he explained why he wants it that way.

In contrast to the yelling, preening and debating in vogue on sports shows, Tirico said, he strives to be an invisible narrator. It is an old-school notion, but Tirico’s shtick is that he doesn’t have a shtick — and that might just be why he appeals to such a broad audience…

…Those questions stem from a 1991 profile of him in The Post-Standard of Syracuse, N.Y., when he was just starting his career. In that article, Tirico said he wasn’t sure if he was black.

Ever since, perhaps regretting offering even that small peek into his private life, he has preferred to avoid the subject. Though he once described his relatives as “as white as the refrigerator I’m standing in front of right now,” a Washington Post article in 1997 described Tirico as “the first black play-by-play man (with a little Italian heritage in the family tree) to handle a golf telecast.”

But these days, at a time when the nation is transfixed by a discussion of race relations, Tirico just doesn’t want to go there. He told me to say he was mixed race, and that was that…

Read the entire article here.

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Through an Indian’s Looking-Glass: A Cultural Biography of William Apess, Pequot

Posted in Biography, Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Religion, United Kingdom on 2017-07-16 01:50Z by Steven

Through an Indian’s Looking-Glass: A Cultural Biography of William Apess, Pequot

University of Massachusetts Press
January 2017
310 pages
16 b&w illustrations
6.125 x 9.25
Paper ISBN: 978-1-62534-259-1
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-62534-258-4

Drew Lopenzina, Associate Professor of English
Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia

New insights on an important Native American writer

The life of William Apess (1798–1839), a Pequot Indian, Methodist preacher, and widely celebrated writer, provides a lens through which to comprehend the complex dynamics of indigenous survival and resistance in the era of America’s early nationhood. Apess’s life intersects with multiple aspects of indigenous identity and existence in this period, including indentured servitude, slavery, service in the armed forces, syncretic engagements with Christian spirituality, and Native struggles for political and cultural autonomy. Even more, Apess offers a powerful and provocative voice for the persistence of Native presence in a time and place that was long supposed to have settled its “Indian question” in favor of extinction.

Through meticulous archival research, close readings of Apess’s key works, and informed and imaginative speculation about his largely enigmatic life, Drew Lopenzina provides a vivid portrait of this singular Native American figure. This new biography will sit alongside Apess’s own writing as vital reading for those interested in early America and indigeneity.

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‘A Woman of Strange, Unfathomable Presence’: Ida Platt’s Lived Experience of Race, Gender, and Law, 1863-1939

Posted in Biography, Law, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, Passing, United Kingdom, United States, Women on 2017-07-06 02:16Z by Steven

‘A Woman of Strange, Unfathomable Presence’: Ida Platt’s Lived Experience of Race, Gender, and Law, 1863-1939

Gwen Jordan
University of Illinois, Springfield

2017-05-08
52 pages

In 1894, Ida Platt became the first African-American woman lawyer in Illinois. She was one of only five black women lawyers in the country and the only one able to maintain a law practice. Throughout her thirty-three year career, Platt served as head of her household, providing for her mother and sisters, without marrying or having children. She accomplished these feats by employing a fluid racial identity, passing as white in her professional life, and by avoiding the dominant gender roles that excluded women from the masculine legal profession. In 1927, at the age of sixty-four, Ida Platt retired, married Walter Burke, a white man, and moved to England. Twelve years later, Ida Burke died. As is the practice in England, there was no race designation on her death certificate.

Platt’s choice to employ a fluid racial identity allowed her to pursue her career as a lawyer amidst a racist and sexist society that particularly discriminated against black women. She entered the law when Jim Crow was taking root, race lines were hardening, and elite, white, male lawyers were intensifying their opposition to women’s rise within the profession. Platt’s life and career offer insights into how law and the legal profession responded to the complexities of race and tender a new story of the lived experience of race as it intersects with gender. It suggests that Platt’s pragmatic strategy of changing her racial identity both contested and shaped the ways in which race, gender, and identity were constructed and represented in American society, as it exposed both the rigidity and permeability of these constructions.

Read the entire paper here.

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The ‘Father of Black History’ Was Afro-Puerto Rican

Posted in Articles, Audio, Biography, History, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2017-07-05 22:54Z by Steven

The ‘Father of Black History’ Was Afro-Puerto Rican

Latino USA
National Public Radio
2017-06-30

Janice Llamoca, Digital Media Editor
Futuro Media Group

There’s a building in Harlem that houses, some say, the largest collection of Black history in the world. At the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, you can see and touch original documents like the Malcolm X papers and the Nate King Cole papers. The center also holds specialized exhibits, film screenings, and panel discussions.

The center is named after Arturo Schomburg, also known as the “Father of Black History,” who sold his personal collection of books, pamphlets, manuscripts, and data to the New York Public Library in 1926…


Listen to the story (00:09:28) here.

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