About Hatsumi… with Toronto Director Chris Hope: Part 1 of 3

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Biography, Canada, History, Media Archive on 2015-01-26 02:43Z by Steven

About Hatsumi… with Toronto Director Chris Hope: Part 1 of 3

Discover Nikkei

Norm Masaji Ibuki

An extraordinary and beautiful film…exhaustively and passionately researched, both at the level of the filmmaker’s personal history and as an investigation into our national consciousness”

—Academy Award® Nominated Director, Atom Egoyan

Thus far in 2012, the 70th anniversary of internment, there has been no greater artistic tribute to the generation of Nikkei that survived Canadian internment than Chris Hope’s moving tribute to his grandmother, Nancy Hatsumi Okura.

It has been a very long time since we’ve had the occasion to celebrate a new feature-length film that addresses the issue of how internment continues to affect our community. The Toronto-based filmmaker’s new film, Hatsumi, is a moving testament to how his grandmother as a girl survived and triumphed over the systemic racism and discrimination that was aimed at destroying British Columbia’s Japanese Canadian community.

As such, this film is as much for the generations born after internment as it is a tribute to those who survived it. It is also a timely reminder for younger generations of all ethnic backgrounds that the fight to be recognized as “Canadian” has been and continues to be an ongoing one for many immigrant groups.

For those of Japanese descent in particular, there is something deeply personal about this film as there has been at least one “Hatsumi” in every one of our families be that a sister, mother, grandmother, or great grandmother. By telling her story, Chris helps to give voice to all of the Nikkei women who endured the betrayal of their country, rising above it all with a grace and, above all, a sense of forgiveness that this yonsei’s film honours.

Born to Marion (nee Okura) and Michael Hope (deceased 1998), his dual ethnic heritage is representative of the Nikkei community as it is evolving today. He studied Radio and Television Arts at Ryerson University, during and following of which he worked as a producer at CBC for about four years. Afterwards, it was on to Osgoode Hall Law School – York University, he spent summers working on the film and one summer at the CRTC in Ottawa. Following law school, he articled with Heenan Blaikie LLP, then worked as director of business and legal affairs at Cookie Jar Entertainment for two years, then joined Alliance Films Inc., which is where he’s been ever since. He completed an Executive Masters of Business Administration at the University of Windsor while at Cookie Jar Entertainment “for the purpose of rounding out my skill set.”

“Father’s mom was born in County Cork, Ireland and father in Bristol, England. They both came to Toronto in the 1910s. I grew up referring to my parents as ‘John and Yoko’ as a result of my dad’s lineage. The generations in my family are so far spread out on my father’s side that my grandfather (as above) served as a medic during WWI. I have his medals as well as their wedding invitation and photos from, I believe, 1922. Thanks to an apparent family penchant for history, I also have original naval records on my father’s side dating back to the early 1800s, and the wooden “cubby box” my father’s great-great grandfather carried with him on sea voyages which was them full of his personal effects (many of which are still in the box!).”

“My mother’s grandfather also came in the early part of the 20th century, and her grandmother (both from Gobo City, Wakayama ken) was a picture bride. They settled in Steveston, where my great-grandfather worked as a fisherman. I have both of their citizenship photo cards from 1977, which, according to my grandmother, they prized. Kichijiro Hashimoto was my great grandfather’s name and Tami Mori, my great-grandmother’s.”…

Read part one of the entire interview here.

Tags: , , , ,

U.Va. Poetry Professor Rita Dove’s ‘Sonata Mulattica’ to be Adapted for Film

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Europe, Media Archive on 2015-01-25 02:44Z by Steven

U.Va. Poetry Professor Rita Dove’s ‘Sonata Mulattica’ to be Adapted for Film

UVA Today
Charlottesville, Virginia

Anne E. Bromley, Associate

Little did poet Rita Dove know when she published her book, “Sonata Mulattica,” that it would go beyond rescuing from obscurity a 19th-century, Afro-European violin virtuoso named George Augustus Polgreen Bridgetower.

Now that book of poems and a play-in-verse penned by Dove, Commonwealth Professor of English in the University of Virginia’s College of Arts & Sciences, is becoming the subject of a documentary not only about Dove writing about Bridgetower, but also featuring the contemporary story of African-American violin virtuoso and composer Joshua Coyne.

The National Endowment for the Arts recently awarded nonprofit Stone Soup Productions an Art Works grant to help the film company, Spark Media, produce the feature-length documentary, also to be named “Sonata Mulattica.”…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Cherokee Kid: Will Rogers, Tribal Identity, and the Making of an American Icon

Posted in Biography, Books, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2015-01-18 00:30Z by Steven

The Cherokee Kid: Will Rogers, Tribal Identity, and the Making of an American Icon

University Press of Kansas
June 2015
400 pages
7 illustrations, 6 x 9
Cloth ISBN 978-0-7006-2100-2
Ebook ISBN 978-0-7006-2101-9

Amy M. Ware

Early in the twentieth century, the political humorist Will Rogers was arguably the most famous cowboy in America. And though most in his vast audience didn’t know it, he was also the most famous Indian of his time. Those who know of Rogers’s Cherokee heritage and upbringing tend to minimize its importance, or to imagine that Rogers himself did so—notwithstanding his avowal in interviews: “I’m a Cherokee and they’re the finest Indians in the World.” The truth is, throughout his adult life and his work the Oklahoma cowboy made much of his American Indian background. And in doing so, as Amy Ware suggests in this book, he made Cherokee artistry a fundamental part of American popular culture.

Rogers, whose father was a prominent and wealthy Cherokee politician and former Confederate slaveholder, was born into the Paint Clan in the town of Oolagah in 1879 and raised in the Cooweescoowee District of the Cherokee Nation. Ware maps out this milieu, illuminating the familial and social networks, as well as the Cherokee ranching practices, educational institutions, popular publications and heated political debates that so firmly grounded Rogers in the culture of the Cherokees. Through his early career, from Wild West and vaudeville performer to Ziegfeld Follies headliner in the late 1910s, she reveals how Rogers embodied the seemingly conflicting roles of cowboy and Indian, in effect enacting the blending of these identities in his art. Rogers’s work in the film industry also reflected complex notions of American Indian identity and history, as Ware demonstrates in her reading of the clearest examples, including Laughing Billy Hyde, in which Rogers, an Indian, portrayed a white prospector married to an Indian woman—who was played by a white actress.

In his work as a columnist for the New York Times, and in his radio performances, Ware continues to trace the Cherokee influence on Rogers’s material—and in turn its impact on his audiences. It is in these largely uncensored performances that we see another side of Rogers’ Cherokee persona—a tribal elitism that elevated the Cherokee above other Indian nations. Ware’s exploration of this distinction exposes still-common assumptions regarding Native authenticity in the history of American culture, even as her in-depth look at Will Rogers’s heritage and legacy reshapes our perspective on the Native presence in that history, and in the life and work of a true American icon.

Tags: , , , ,

Love, Liberation, and Escaping Slavery: William and Ellen Craft in Cultural Memory

Posted in Biography, Books, Communications/Media Studies, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery, United States on 2015-01-15 02:11Z by Steven

Love, Liberation, and Escaping Slavery: William and Ellen Craft in Cultural Memory

University of Georgia Press
136 pages
8 b&w photos
Trim size: 6 x 9
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8203-3802-6
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8203-4724-0
Ebook ISBN: 978-0-8203-4832-2

Barbara McCaskill, Associate Professor of English and co-director of the Civil Rights Digital Library
University of Georgia

How William and Ellen Craft’s escape from slavery, their activism, and press accounts figured during the antislavery movement of the mid-1800s and Reconstruction

he spectacular 1848 escape of William and Ellen Craft (1824–1900; 1826–1891) from slavery in Macon, Georgia, is a dramatic story in the annals of American history. Ellen, who could pass for white, disguised herself as a gentleman slaveholder; William accompanied her as his “master’s” devoted slave valet; both traveled openly by train, steamship, and carriage to arrive in free Philadelphia on Christmas Day. In Love, Liberation, and Escaping Slavery, Barbara McCaskill revisits this dual escape and examines the collaborations and partnerships that characterized the Crafts’ activism for the next thirty years: in Boston, where they were on the run again after the passage of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law; in England; and in Reconstruction-era Georgia. McCaskill also provides a close reading of the Crafts’ only book, their memoir, Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom, published in 1860.

Yet as this study of key moments in the Crafts’ public lives argues, the early print archive—newspapers, periodicals, pamphlets, legal documents—fills gaps in their story by providing insight into how they navigated the challenges of freedom as reformers and educators, and it discloses the transatlantic British and American audiences’ changing reactions to them. By discussing such events as the 1878 court case that placed William’s character and reputation on trial, this book also invites readers to reconsider the Crafts’ triumphal story as one that is messy, unresolved, and bittersweet. An important episode in African American literature, history, and culture, this will be essential reading for teachers and students of the slave narrative genre and the transatlantic antislavery movement and for researchers investigating early American print culture.

Tags: , , , ,

Carl N. Degler, Scholarly Champion of the Oppressed in America, Dies at 93

Posted in Articles, Biography, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, United States on 2015-01-11 17:21Z by Steven

Carl N. Degler, Scholarly Champion of the Oppressed in America, Dies at 93

The New York Times

Sam Roberts, Urban Affairs Correspondent

For four decades, as a Stanford University scholar, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and a commentator who envisioned a future that did not repeat the mistakes of the past, Carl N. Degler endeavored to remedy American myopia.

“Virtually from the beginning,” Professor Degler once lamented, “Americans have seen themselves outside history, as a people constituting a nation of the future.”

Delving into overlooked corners of history, he illuminated the role of women, the poor and ethnic minorities in the nation’s evolution and was embraced as a feminist and defender of affirmative action. He explored the 19th century American South; compared race relations in the United States and Brazil; and traced a revival of biological Darwinism in debates over human behavior.

He died on Dec. 27 at 93 in Palo Alto, Calif., his wife, Therese, confirmed.

As an emeritus professor of American history at Stanford, Professor Degler encouraged his students to pursue less traveled intellectual paths, as he had with his book “Neither Black Nor White,” which was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for history in 1972. In it he compared the origins and legacy of slavery in the United States and Brazil…

Read the entire obituary here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Dreams of my mother…

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2015-01-04 18:43Z by Steven

Dreams of my mother…

One Love, One London

Tony Thomas

It’s October 1959; Paddington station is busy… Scanning the departures board for her train a nervous looking woman hurries towards the platform. In one hand she carries a suitcase and holding her other hand tightly is a pretty 2 year old; a mixed race child. The girls’s name was Rosemary Walter and the journey she was about to embark on would change her life forever. She could not have known it off course but she was being rejected; hidden. You see Rosie’s mother, a white woman married to a white man had had a black lover and Rosie was living proof of a relationship that was not just illicit but in those days deemed utterly shameful…

These are not my words but the word’s of George Alagiah narrating the three part series Mixed Britannia. The little girl in the story is my mother; this was the tale of the early years of my mothers life…

My mother was born in 1957 to a white mother and a Jamaican father; in 1959 at the age of two she was handed over to the National Children’s Home and transported from London to Wales; she would spend the next 16 years of her life in children’s homes across the country.

The world that my mother inhabited in her youth was not like today; there were not as many black people in the country; there was no noteable mixed race population and Wales was more or less a white’s only territory. Wherever my mother would go she would not fit in. Her hair was too frizzy, she had big lips and a big nose; there was no way that she could “pass“. She was clearly an object of curiosity to the people that she met who had never interacted with a “darkie” before. On holiday’s such as Christmas unlike the other children my mother did not have a family that would come and take her back to the family home; she would spend the holiday’s with kind Welsh and English families doing a good deed.

My mother spent most of her time in care in Wales; she was sent to London, Brixton at the age of 14 to be with her “own kind” as Brixton had become known as a place where the West Indian community congregated together and it was also where her mother lived who had become an honorary Jamaican. It was the thinking of the children’s home that as she was getting to the age of having boyfriends she should be around her own kind for mating purposes.

For my mother Brixton was as much a culture shock as Wales. My mother had a Welsh accent; she was mixed-race and had never met her Jamaican father. Although she had always sympathised with African-American struggles and her obvious “otherness” made her desire to understand that part of her she knew nothing about; she was not a part of the Jamaican community…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Edward Brooke, first black elected U.S. senator, dies at 95

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-01-04 01:02Z by Steven

Edward Brooke, first black elected U.S. senator, dies at 95

USA Today

Natalie DiBlasio

Former Massachusetts U.S. senator Edward Brooke, the first African American to be elected to the Senate by popular vote, has died at age 95.

Ralph Neas, a former aide, said Brooke died Saturday of natural causes at his home in Coral Gables, Fla.

“We lost a truly remarkable public servant,” says Massachusetts Gov.-elect Charlie Baker. “A war hero, a champion of equal rights for all and an example that barriers can be broken, Sen. Brooke accomplished more than most aspire to.”

The only blacks to serve in the Senate before Brooke were two men in the 1870s when senators were still chosen by state legislatures.

Brooke, a liberal Republican, was elected to the Senate in 1966 and served two terms. He earned his reputation as a liberal after becoming the first Republican senator to publicly urge President Nixon to resign…

…Historian Dennis Nordin has researched and written about African-American politicians and devoted a chapter to Brooke in his book, From Edward Brooke to Barack Obama: African American Political Success, 1966-2008.

Nordin told The Greenville News that Brooke’s political career shows independence from the GOP…

Read the entire obituary here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Edward Brooke, Pioneering U.S. Senator in Massachusetts, Dies at 95

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-01-04 00:50Z by Steven

Edward Brooke, Pioneering U.S. Senator in Massachusetts, Dies at 95

The New York Times

Douglas Martin

Edward W. Brooke III, who in 1966 became the first African-American elected to the United States Senate by popular vote, winning as a Republican in overwhelmingly Democratic Massachusetts, died on Saturday at his home in Coral Gables, Fla. He was 95.

His death was confirmed by Ralph Neas, a family spokesman, who said Mr. Brooke was surrounded by members of his family.

He won his Senate seat by nearly a half-million votes in 1966 and was re-elected in 1972. He remains the only black senator ever to have been returned to office.

A skilled coalition builder at a time when Congress was less partisan and ideologically divided than it is today, Mr. Brooke shunned labels, but he was seen as a centrist. His positions and votes were consistently more liberal than those of his increasingly conservative Republican colleagues.

He opposed the expansion of nuclear arsenals, pushed for improved relations with China and championed civil rights, the legalization of abortion and fair-housing policies. He urged Republicans to match the Democrats in coming up with programs to aid cities and the poor…

Read the entire obituary here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Ophelia DeVore-Mitchell (Born 1921): Teaching America that black was beautiful.

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2014-12-29 02:56Z by Steven

Ophelia DeVore-Mitchell (Born 1921): Teaching America that black was beautiful.

The Lives They Lived
The New York Times Magazine


DeVore-Mitchell during her modeling days. Photograph by Rupert Callender from the DeVore family archive

One day in 1946, a black woman showed up at the Vogue School of Modeling in New York, seeking to learn the trade. Her arrival caused a stir. The nascent modeling industry was as deeply segregated as America was then, and she was turned away. At the time, the Vogue School of Modeling did not accept black women. Or so it thought.

Unknown to the school, one was already enrolled: Ophelia DeVore-Mitchell. And she had no idea that Vogue was unaware. “I thought they knew what I was,” DeVore-Mitchell would tell Ebony magazine years later. She had not lied to get in; she was so light-skinned that no one thought to ask. She passed inadvertently…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Ophelia DeVore-Mitchell, 92, Dies; Redefined Beauty

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2014-12-28 18:28Z by Steven

Ophelia DeVore-Mitchell, 92, Dies; Redefined Beauty

The New York Times

Margalit Fox

Ophelia DeVore-Mitchell
Credit MARBL/Emory University, via Associated Press

Ophelia DeVore-Mitchell, a former model, agent, charm-school director and newspaper publisher who almost single-handedly opened the modeling profession to African-Americans, and in so doing expanded public understanding of what American beauty looks like, died on Feb. 28 in Manhattan. She was 92.

Her death was announced on March 6 on the floor of the House of Representatives by Sanford D. Bishop Jr., Democrat of Georgia. At her death, Mrs. DeVore-Mitchell was the publisher emeritus of The Columbus Times, a black newspaper in Columbus, Ga., which she ran from the 1970s until her retirement about five years ago.

Long before the phrase “Black is beautiful” gained currency in the 1960s, Mrs. DeVore-Mitchell was preaching that ethos by example.

In New York in the 1940s — an age when modeling schools, and modeling jobs, were overwhelmingly closed to blacks — she helped start the Grace del Marco Modeling Agency and later founded the Ophelia DeVore School of Self-Development and Modeling. The enterprises, which served minorities, endured for six decades…

…“Black has always been beautiful,” Mrs. DeVore-Mitchell once said. “But you had to hide it to be a model.”

In the late 1930s, when Mrs. DeVore-Mitchell began her career as one of the first black models in the United States, she found work partly by hiding her own heritage. But in her case, the hiding was done entirely through inadvertence.

Emma Ophelia DeVore was born on Aug. 12, 1921, in Edgefield, S.C., one of 10 children of John Walter DeVore, a building contractor, and the former Mary Emma Strother, a schoolteacher.

As a girl, Mrs. DeVore-Mitchell, whose family was of African, Cherokee, French and German descent, was educated in segregated Southern schools; she received additional instruction “in dancing, piano and all the other things in the arts that parents gave you to make you a lady,” as she told Ebony magazine in 2012

…A beauty with wide-set eyes, Ophelia DeVore had begun modeling casually as a teenager. A few years later, seeking professional training, she enrolled in the Vogue School of Modeling in New York.

It was only toward the end of her studies there, when the school refused admission to another black candidate, that she realized it had mistaken her, with her light skin, for white.

“I didn’t know that they didn’t know,” Mrs. DeVore-Mitchell said in the Ebony interview. “I thought they knew what I was.”…

Read the entire obituary here.

Tags: , , , ,