Audiology freshman talks finding cultural identity on campus

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Texas, United States on 2016-09-04 00:48Z by Steven

Audiology freshman talks finding cultural identity on campus

The Daily Texan: Serving the University of Texas at Austin community since 1900
2016-08-31

Henry Youtt


Audiology freshman Karis Paul is the daughter of an Indian father and a half-Irish, half-Austrian mother. Mixed-race students make up only 3 percent of the students on campus.
Photo Credit: Juan Figueroa | Daily Texan Staff

“What race are you?” the questionnaire reads above a set of yet unmarked boxes.

White. Black. Hispanic.

For many people, this requires just another stroke of the pen, but for audiology freshman Karis Paul, there’s a little more to it than that.

Growing up in El Paso — where the population is approximately 80 percent Hispanic — Karis, the daughter of an Indian father and a half-Irish, half-Austrian mother, found acceptance in a town that exudes racial diversity. However, Karis was seen as white, leaving her uncertain of her identity in a nation that didn’t allow people to check multiple boxes in the census’ race category until 2000.

“My situation was nothing that I was very aware of until I got a little older,” Karis said. “I would tell people I’m Indian, and they’d be like, ‘What? Are you serious? Show me a picture of your dad.’ They would say, ‘You’re so not Indian.’”

Only about 3 percent of students on campus identify as mixed race. Karis said this underrepresentation often leads to misunderstandings in conversations about racial identity or, in her case, a sheer lack of such conversations…

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Biography: ‘The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire,’ by Karl Jacoby

Posted in Articles, Biography, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Passing, Texas, United States on 2016-07-22 18:41Z by Steven

Biography: ‘The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire,’ by Karl Jacoby

The Dallas Morning News
2016-06-24

Karen M. Thomas, Professor of Journalism
Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas

From all accounts, Guillermo Enrique Eliseo commanded attention. The elegantly dressed Mexican-born Wall Street baron in Gilded Age Manhattan was known for his gold watch, fine taste and ability to strike business deals on both sides of the border. He also had a huge secret.

Eliseo began life not on a Mexican hacienda but across the border on a Texas plantation where he was born into slavery as William Henry Ellis. How he transformed himself into Eliseo is the topic of The Strange Career of William Ellis.

Karl Jacoby is a stellar researcher, and the topic is fascinating. He ferrets out Ellis’ tale of reinvention from historical documents, news accounts and Ellis’ personal material, including letters to his family. Where records are scarce, such as for the years Ellis was a slave on a Victoria plantation, Jacoby instead turns to what is known about American slavery itself. He describes Texas’ role in trying to keep cotton as king and what life was like in Victoria, a town close to the U.S. and Mexican borders, in the 1800s. By doing so, Jacoby is able to extrapolate Ellis’ experience, motivation and preparation for ultimately redefining his personal racial boundaries

Read the entire review here.

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Across the Border

Posted in Articles, Biography, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Passing, Texas, United States on 2016-07-22 14:40Z by Steven

Across the Border

The Nation
2016-07-21

Michael A. Elliott, Professor of English
Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia


William Henry Ellis, (Photo courtesy of Fanny Johnson-Griffin)

A new biography of William Henry Ellis reminds us how much we still don’t know about the elusive history of racial subterfuge in America.

When, in 1912, James Weldon Johnson published his sly and searching novel of racial passing, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, he did so anonymously, leaving readers to assume it was a factual account of a light-skinned African American crossing the color line to travel in the world of whiteness. In the aftermath of its publication, Johnson took pleasure in listening to others puzzle over its authorship. He even had “the rarer experience,” as he later described it, of being introduced to someone else claiming to have written the book. The story, it seems, was too good not to be true.

In the long era of Jim Crow, fact could be as strange, if not stranger, than fiction. At precisely the same moment that Johnson was enjoying his literary ruse, a fellow New Yorker calling himself Guillermo Enrique Eliseo was frantically trying to keep his financial interests in Mexico afloat as that country convulsed under wave after wave of political revolt. With each new regime, the businessman sought to curry favor and press for new investment opportunities, but the changes were so rapid that he struggled to find the proper currency in which to pay his taxes. Many of those who knew Eliseo presumed him to be a Mexican from near the US border (though others thought he was Cuban, or even Hawaiian), a well-traveled gentleman active in Latin America’s quest for modernization.

Had Johnson known Eliseo, he might have nodded in recognition. Eliseo had been born as an African-American slave on a South Texas cotton plantation in 1864, just as the entire social order of the region was being transformed by the conclusion of the Civil War. Over the course of a lifetime, Eliseo—or, as he was more commonly known, William Henry Ellis—built both elaborate fictions and an impressive network of business interests that spanned North America and beyond. His biography is the subject of a new book by historian Karl Jacoby, with a title that gives away its story: The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire. Ellis’s life and Jacoby’s reconstruction of it remind us how much we still don’t know about the elusive history of racial subterfuge in America…

Read the entire article here.

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A Tale of Racial Passing and the U.S.-Mexico Border

Posted in Articles, Biography, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Passing, Texas, United States on 2016-07-20 21:18Z by Steven

A Tale of Racial Passing and the U.S.-Mexico Border

The New Yorker
2016-07-20

Jonathan Blitzer


The African-American businessman William Ellis, pictured here around the year 1900, frequently passed as Mexican.
COURTESY FANNY JOHNSON-GRIFFIN

Some people knew him as William Ellis, and others as Guillermo Eliseo. He could be Mexican, Cuban, or even Hawaiian, depending on whom you asked. Everyone seemed to agree that he was spectacularly wealthy and successful. In the dime-store Who’s Who books that were popular at the turn of the twentieth century, his name, in one form or another, appeared regularly. He was a “Banker, Broker, and Miner,” who came to New York from the “Mexican frontier,” an exemplar of the self-made man.

It was one of his life’s many ironies that the pedigreed gatekeepers of American high commerce celebrated his origin story without knowing a thing about his actual origins. William Ellis was born a slave, in Texas, in the eighteen-sixties. Like at least some of his siblings, he was light-skinned, but with a key difference: on the city census that recorded blackness with a “c” (for “colored”), Ellis was somehow spared the label. In his early twenties, he got into the cotton trade after a brief apprenticeship with a white local businessman, shuttling back and forth to the cities in northern Mexico. He started telling people that he was Mexican, and that he had anglicized his name for their convenience, as Karl Jacoby recounts in his fascinating new book, “The Strange Career of William Ellis.” Having grown up just south of San Antonio, along the border, Ellis came to speak fluent Spanish. He quickly grasped the possibilities of bilingualism in the race-riven landscape of the Reconstruction-era South…

Read the entire article here.

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How Reggie Yates went from kids’ TV to confronting neo-Nazis

Posted in Articles, Arts, Europe, Media Archive, Texas, United Kingdom, United States on 2016-07-10 19:57Z by Steven

How Reggie Yates went from kids’ TV to confronting neo-Nazis

The Guardian
2016-06-28

Hannah J. Davies


Louis Theroux 2.0: Reggie Yates in a cell at Bexar County Detention Center.

He braves Russian far-right rallies and Texas prison cells for his job. Meet the man helping to reinvent the documentary for Generation Y

While filming in South Africa in 2013, Reggie Yates experienced the two scariest moments of his TV career to date. “The director, sound man and I got caught up in a fight between two gangs,” he explains. “One of the guys pulled out a gun and I thought: ‘All bets are off.’ We got out of there, but we met up with one of the gangs again later on in this little hut and they all had their machetes out. I thought: ‘This could go wrong at any minute,’ but it didn’t. I think a lot of that came down to the respect we showed them; I don’t wear a bulletproof [vest] in these places, because [that would be] saying that I don’t trust someone or I think I’m better.” He laughs before adding: “It could’ve been worse!”

Spend any time with Yates and it’s clear he’s very much a “could’ve been worse” sort of guy. He’s relaxed, likable and – unsurprisingly for someone who has presented innumerable hours of live TV – an effortless talker. From modest beginnings growing up with his Ghana-born mother and two siblings on a north London council estate, the 33-year-old has packed more guises into his three decades than many TV personalities manage in double the time.

Starting out as a child actor in 90s barbershop sitcom Desmond’s, he went on to work as a kids’ TV presenter alongside pal Fearne Cotton on shows including CBBC’s Smile. Then came a move into radio DJing on 1Xtra, before a gig as the anchor of Radio 1’s Official Chart Show. Somehow he’s also found time to voice cartoon rodent Rastamouse and appear in Doctor Who, as well as writing and directing his own short films (his latest, Shelter, stars W1A’s Jessica Hynes). It even transpires during our conversation that he’s a “massive interiors nerd”, who teases that he might one day open a furniture store…

Read the entire article here.

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Texas slave passes as Mexican millionaire

Posted in Articles, Biography, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Passing, Texas, United States on 2016-06-12 01:25Z by Steven

Texas slave passes as Mexican millionaire

San Antonio Express-News
San Antonio, Texas
2016-06-11

Joe O’Connell

Former slave passes as Mexican millionaire

Historian Karl Jacoby was driving near the Texas-Mexico border when he was stopped by the U.S. Border Patrol, the agency charged with keeping Mexicans out of the United States.

He explained, to their dismay, that he was writing a book about a Texan who had tried desperately to cross into Mexico.

In the completed book, “The Strange Career of William Ellis,” Jacoby has pieced together of the life a former slave who transformed himself into a wealthy Mexican.

Ellis was born to a mixed-race mother on a cotton plantation in Victoria one year before slavery ended, but found transformation in San Antonio, then the hub of commerce between the United States and Mexico.

“He was born ‘in between’ in multiple ways,” Jacoby said. “There was this fault line between slavery and freedom and what that might mean. There was also a fault line between the United States and Mexico.”

Both nations were courting immigrants as business boomed in the Gilded Age at the end of the 19th century…

Read the entire article here.

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Mystery still surrounds ‘Yellow Rose of Texas’

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Texas, United States, Women on 2016-04-11 17:19Z by Steven

Mystery still surrounds ‘Yellow Rose of Texas’

The Houston Chronicle
Houston, Texas
2016-04-01

Joe Holley, Native Texan


A statue of “Emily Morgan” by Veryl Goodnight stands amidst a garden of yellow roses in an office complex across the street from Memorial City Mall in Houston.
Photo: Joe Holley, Joe Holley/Houston Chronicle

So, what was happening in that red-and-white striped tent at about 4:30 on the afternoon of April 21, 1836? Santa Anna’s field tent at San Jacinto, that is.

Was the exhausted Mexican general in a deep daytime slumber, even as Gen. Sam Houston and his Texian army were massing for an attack just three-quarters of a mile away? That’s what Santa Anna said he was doing in a long report he presented to the Mexican government about that fateful spring day. (Actually, he said he was sleeping under a shade tree.)

Or, as Texas myth and the movies have it, was he entwined in the arms of a beautiful, young “mulatto” woman named Emily Morgan, the fabled “Yellow Rose of Texas,” and thus oblivious to the looming danger?

Of course, the latter is the spicy tale most of us would like to believe, although the intricate swirl of legend, lore and shrouded history makes it very difficult to tease out the truth. As Dallas attorney Jeff Dunn reminded me earlier this week, the Emily tale isn’t totally implausible, but with the evidence that’s been uncovered to date, there’s no way to prove it one way or the other. (Neither party took a selfie.)

Dunn, an amateur historian long interested in the Battle of San Jacinto, has researched the Emily story for 25 years. He’s as interested in how the story evolved and how it got entangled more than a century later with a popular minstrel song as he is in establishing the truth of the matter. He’ll be exploring both those issues at the annual San Jacinto Symposium next weekend here in Houston. The symposium topic is “African-Americans in Texas History from Spanish-Colonial Times to Annexation.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Fr. Virgilio Elizondo Takes His Own Life

Posted in Articles, Biography, Law, Media Archive, Religion, Texas, United States on 2016-03-16 15:25Z by Steven

Fr. Virgilio Elizondo Takes His Own Life

The Rivard Report: Urban. Independent. All About San Antonio.
San Antonio, Texas
2016-03-14

Robert Rivard, Director

Fr. Virgilio Elizondo, one of San Antonio’s most accomplished and beloved Catholic priests whose work brought him recognition in Latin America and Europe and an esteemed faculty position at the University of Notre Dame, died of a self-inflicted gunshot at his home Monday afternoon, according to sources in the Catholic community.

The Bexar County Medical Examiner ruled Elizondo’s death a suicide on Tuesday.

Friends spoke of being devastated and in disbelief as the news made its way through Elizondo’s large circle in the city. Elizondo, 80, a Westside native and the son of Mexican immigrants, became a beacon for Catholics and non-Catholics inspired by his deep appreciation of mestizo history, culture and spirituality. His own roots gave him a grounded understanding as a theologian of what the poor and oppressed throughout Latin America were experiencing under the rule and repression of military dictatorships in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. For Elizondo, liberation theology that swept the continent in those decades was one and the same with his mestizo-rooted theology…

…He served as rector of San Fernando Cathedral in the late 1980s and early 1990s and was credited with resurrecting the parish community there. His understanding of the power of media led him to do extensive work with the archdiocese’s television station, and his Spanish-language Mass at San Fernando was broadcast each Sunday to more than one million people throughout Latin America. He was a co-founder with then-Archbishop Patrick Flores of the Mexican American Cultural Center in San Antonio and a strong advocate for the city and region’s working poor. He was fond of telling stories about his own happy childhood and close-knit family, poor in material goods, rich in spirit and faith.

Elizondo was named secondarily in a May 2015 lawsuit filed by a John Doe in Bexar County that accused Jesus Armando Dominguez, then a student at Assumption Seminary here, of sexually molesting him from 1980-83 while the boy lived at a local orphanage and was mentored by Dominguez. In the lawsuit, the John Doe claims he approached Elizondo to report the molestation, only to be kissed and fondled by him while the two were in a vehicle together. Elizondo vigorously denied the charges in a public statement and in conversations with friends, and said he was prepared to fight the allegation legally…

…Woodward, a Notre dame graduate, was a friend of Elizondo and Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, who served as president of Notre Dame from 1952-1987. He said it was a world that welcomed Elizondo. Despite his own humble beginnings, Elizondo learned to speak multiple languages and lectured widely on three continents. He authored numerous books, including “The Future is Mestizo” in 1992; “Guadalupe: Mother of the New Creation” in 1997; and “Galilean Journey: The Mexican American Promise” in 2000. His books remain in print, often assigned by theology professors at other major universities…

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Unpublished Black Asian History

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, History, Media Archive, Texas, United States on 2016-03-11 01:36Z by Steven

Unpublished Black Asian History

Grits and Sushi: my musings on okinawa, race, militarization, and blackness
2016-03-08

Mitzi Uehara Carter

This photo captures a quiet story of a multicultural South, black philanthropy, transpacific militarism and its hauntings, the organizing strength of of Black women, and the power of Black journalism and photography. How does this one photo tell me about all these things?

First, I have to explain what inspired me to dig this picture out of an old album…

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When Louisiana Creoles Arrived in Texas, Were They Black or White?

Posted in Articles, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, Texas, United States on 2015-12-21 02:05Z by Steven

When Louisiana Creoles Arrived in Texas, Were They Black or White?

Zócalo Public Square
2015-12-15

Tyina Steptoe, Assistant Professor of History
University of Arizona

Tyina Steptoe’s book, Houston Bound: Culture and Color in a Jim Crow City, was published by the University of California Press in 2015.

Mixed-Race Migrants Came to Houston for Jobs and Ended Up Challenging Definitions of Race

Actor Taye Diggs recently raised eyebrows by declaring that he hopes his young son—who has a white mother of Portuguese descent—identifies as “mixed” instead of black. Diggs, who is African-American, also included President Barack Obama in his statement. “Everybody refers to him as the first black president. I’m not saying it’s wrong. I’m just saying that it’s interesting. It would be great if it didn’t matter and that people could call him mixed. We’re still choosing to make that decision, and that’s when I think you get into some dangerous waters.”

So, who is “black” in America? To answer this question, I think it helps to look at the history of Houston, the city where I grew up and a place that has grappled with the black-white color line in a different way than we’ve conventionally come to understand race in America. A sizable population of people in Houston through the 20th century has identified as “Creole”—and many never really identified as black or white.

The Creoles who came to live in Houston were descendants of a free, mixed-race population that appeared in colonial Louisiana in the 18th century. The first generation typically had French or Spanish fathers and African mothers. Coerced sexual relationships, complex negotiations, and outright rape led to the creation of this population. Some white men freed their mixed-race offspring, who became known as gens de couleur libre (free people of color). Free people of color formed a separate racial group in colonial Louisiana. Since they were free, they were not lumped into the same category as black slaves. But they also did not have the same legal status as white people. Free people of color, then, were neither white nor black. Following the end of slavery in 1865, they called themselves Creoles of color, a name that future generations continued to use to identify themselves as a group…

Read the entire article here.

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