This Week in Civil Rights History

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2015-11-26 04:01Z by Steven

This Week in Civil Rights History

New York State United Teachers

September 20th – Maryland Passes First Miscegenation Law

On this day in 1664, Maryland passed the first Miscegenation Law, banning inter-racial marriage in the United States. As African slavery became more widespread, both laws and customs became more restrictive. The impetus for the ban was their offspring. What legal status should a person of mixed race be afforded? Maryland also barred slaves from owning property. In the West, miscegenation laws applied to Mexicans and to American Indians. A sexual caste system was in place. During Reconstruction, Radical Republicans overturned some miscegenation laws. The Black Codes then emerged to limit all interaction between black and white. White supremacy held that non-whites where genetically inferior. In 1958, Richard Loving, a white man, and Mildred Jeter, a black woman, were married in Washington, D.C. When they returned to Virginia they were arrested. A nine-year legal battle ensued. In 1967, the Supreme Court declared miscegenation laws unconstitutional.

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Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism, and Racial Violence

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Communications/Media Studies, Forthcoming Media, History, Law, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Social Science, United States on 2015-11-26 01:35Z by Steven

Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism, and Racial Violence

University of Georgia Press
May 2016
336 pages
Trim size: 6 x 9
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8203-4956-5
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8203-4957-2

Edited by:

Chad Williams, Associate Professor of African & Afro-American Studies
Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts

Kidada E. Williams, Associate Professor of History
Wayne State University, Detroit, Michgan

Keisha N. Blain, Assistant Professor of History
University of Iowa

On June 17, 2015, a white supremacist entered Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and sat with some of its parishioners during a Wednesday night Bible study session. An hour later, he began expressing his hatred for African Americans, and soon after, he shot nine church members dead, the church’s pastor and South Carolina state senator, Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, among them. The ensuing manhunt for the shooter and investigation of his motives revealed his beliefs in white supremacy and reopened debates about racial conflict, southern identity, systemic racism, civil rights, and the African American church as an institution.

In the aftermath of the massacre, Professors Chad Williams, Kidada Williams, and Keisha N. Blain sought a way to put the murder—and the subsequent debates about it in the media—in the context of America’s tumultuous history of race relations and racial violence on a global scale. They created the Charleston Syllabus on June 19, starting it as a hashtag on Twitter linking to scholarly works on the myriad of issues related to the murder. The syllabus’s popularity exploded and is already being used as a key resource in discussions of the event.

Charleston Syllabus is a reader—a collection of new essays and columns published in the wake of the massacre, along with selected excerpts from key existing scholarly books and general-interest articles. The collection draws from a variety of disciplines—history, sociology, urban studies, law, critical race theory—and includes a selected and annotated bibliography for further reading, drawing from such texts as the Confederate constitution, South Carolina’s secession declaration, songs, poetry, slave narratives, and literacy texts. As timely as it is necessary, the book will be a valuable resource for understanding the roots of American systemic racism, white privilege, the uses and abuses of the Confederate flag and its ideals, the black church as a foundation for civil rights activity and state violence against such activity, and critical whiteness studies.

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First Look at Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton in ‘The Loving Story’ (Based on Anti-Miscegenation Case)

Posted in Articles, Arts, History, Law, Media Archive, United States, Virginia on 2015-11-23 19:16Z by Steven

First Look at Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton in ‘The Loving Story’ (Based on Anti-Miscegenation Case)

Shadow and Act: On Cinema Of The African Diaspora

Tambay A. Obenson

Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton as Mildred and Richard Loving, on the set of the movie “Loving,” being shot in Richmond, Va. (Ben Rothstein/Big Beach Films via AP)

Three years ago, director Nancy Buirski’s feature documentary, “The Loving Story,” was released. It follows the real-life story of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple living in the state of Virginia where interracial coupling was illegal, and their struggles, including the US Supreme Court case named after them – Loving vs Virginia (1967); the landmark civil rights case in which the United States Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, declared Virginia’s anti-miscegenation statute, unconstitutional, overturning existing laws and bringing an official end to all race-based restrictions on marriage in the United States.

Persecuted by a local sheriff, the Lovings were found guilty of violating Virginia’s law against interracial marriage and forced to leave the state. But Mildred Loving chose to fight. She wrote a letter to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy asking for help. He referred her to the ACLU and two young attorneys took the case.

Richard and Mildred Loving

In 1958, they went to Washington, D.C. – where interracial marriage was legal – to get married. But when they returned home, they were arrested, jailed and banished from the state for 25 years for violating the state’s so-called Racial Integrity Act

Read the entire article here.

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Martha S. Jones – “The Children of Loving v. Virginia”

Posted in History, Law, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2015-11-22 18:39Z by Steven

Martha S. Jones – “The Children of Loving v. Virginia

Organization of American Historians
September 2015

An OAH Lecture by Martha S. Jones, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor at the University of Michigan

This lecture was presented as part of the Created Equal initiative at Franklin College in Franklin, Indiana, in September 2015. Recorded by the college’s Pulliam Fellow Videographer, Ian Mullen ‘16.

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Interracial Intimacy: The Regulation of Race and Romance. By Rachel F. Moran [Bartholet Review]

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2015-11-18 21:06Z by Steven

Interracial Intimacy: The Regulation of Race and Romance. By Rachel F. Moran [Bartholet Review]

The Journal of Interdisciplinary History
Volume 33, Number 2 (Autumn 2002)
pages 320–322
DOI: 10.1162/00221950260209039

Elizabeth Bartholet, Morris Wasserstein Professor of Law
Harvard Law School

Interracial Intimacy: The Regulation of Race and Romance. By Rachel F. Moran (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 2oo) 271 pp. $3o.oo.

This thoughtful, provocative book treats an important topic that has received inadequate attention. Moran discusses the unfinished revolution that began with Brown v. Board of Education, in which the nation’s highest court ordered desegregation of the public schools, concluding “that racial boundaries could be broken down and racial hierarchy undone only through interracial contact”. She describes in powerful terms the central role played by the ban on interracial intimacy in the segregationist system of our past, and the myriad restrictions that operate to prevent such intimacy in our theoretically integrationist present. In the end, she makes a nuanced and persuasive case for the good that would come from liberating love and enabling interracial intimacy.

Moran uses history to shine a bright light on the present. She tells in horrifying detail the story of whites’ use of racial barriers to maintain their superior position, not only over blacks but also over Native Americans and successive immigrant groups seen as alien. She also shows how at each stage of historical development, from the days of slavery through abolition through Reconstruction, those in power have seen interracial intimacy as the ultimate threat to racial hierarchy. She describes those resisting change as obsessed with the importance of at least maintaining the color line in this arena, whether through laws preventing interracial marriage and adoption or through the lynching of black men suspected of consorting with white women. She describes those promoting change as feeling compelled to provide reassurance that their kind of racial progress would never mean breaching the all-important ban on interracial marriage. This history provides persuasive proof of the point that she makes explicit interracial intimacy is subversive of the racial order…

Read the entire review here.

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Brazil’s ‘Black Lives Matter’ struggle — even deadlier

Posted in Articles, Audio, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy on 2015-11-13 02:36Z by Steven

Brazil’s ‘Black Lives Matter’ struggle — even deadlier

Public Radio International

Will Carless

The police committed more than 1 in every 6 of Rio de Janeiro’s homicides between 2010 and 2013.

And 4 out of 5 of those who are slain overall were under 29 years old — and of African descent.

These startling figures come from an analysis of official homicide data by Amnesty International. The problem spans far beyond Rio, and more recent incidents have raised concern that it’s not going away.

Earlier this month, five police officers in Rio de Janeiro were arrested after a cellphone video showed them altering a crime scene by placing a gun in the hands of a black teen they had just shot dead.

Echoing United States movements like #BlackLivesMatter and #RiseUpOctober, activists in Brazil are fighting to draw attention to the problem of killings of young black Brazilian men, frequently by police. One of the leading local movements is Amnesty International’s “Jovem Negro Vivo,” meaning “Young Black Alive.”

It’s one of several awareness campaigns that are also aiming to dismantle a stricture that’s long existed in the country: a reluctance to talk about important social issues in terms of race.

“It’s difficult in Brazil to point out racism,” says Alexandre Ciconello, a human rights expert and adviser to Amnesty in Rio de Janeiro. “It’s a taboo for the elite of the country and for politicians and authorities. They always say ‘Brazil is a mixed country, we are not the US, we are not South Africa,’ and if you raise racial questions, you’re seen as trying to separate that.”…

Read the entire article and listen to the story here.

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Afro-Mexicans Are Pushing For Legal Recognition in Mexico’s National Constitution

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Law, Media Archive, Mexico on 2015-11-12 02:39Z by Steven

Afro-Mexicans Are Pushing For Legal Recognition in Mexico’s National Constitution


Walter Thompson-Hernández
Los Angeles, California

The myth of the Latin American racial democracy, scholars believe, began in Brazil following the abolishment of slavery in 1888, when government officials declared that high rates of racial mixing had officially absolved the nation of its racial problems. This thinking eventually transcended Brazil and spread to a host of other Latin America countries, including Mexico.

But Mexico had its own nuanced understanding of the Latin American racial democracy – one called mestizaje, that was created by government officials, intellectuals, and artists following the 1910 Mexican Revolution: the erroneous belief that Mexico’s ethnic and racial mixture was solely composed of indigenous and European ancestry. This was also a time period when Mexico’s citizenry began to believe that “Mexicanness” and blackness were mutually exclusive and could not co-exist. Mestizaje, however, did not only exclude blackness from its national patrimony, but also left out a host of other racial identities from Mexico’s conversation about race…

Read the entire article here.

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Fluid Identity Discrimination

Posted in Articles, Gay & Lesbian, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2015-11-02 01:13Z by Steven

Fluid Identity Discrimination

American Business Law Journal
Volume 52, Issue 4, Winter 2015
pages 789–857
DOI: 10.1111/ablj.12056

Leora F. Eisenstadt, Assistant Professor (Research)
Fox School of Business and Management
Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

According to the most recent Census, the multiracial population of children has increased dramatically in the last decade, and the number of people of any age who identify as both white and black more than doubled in that time. In addition, there is a growing number of increasingly vocal transgender individuals who cannot be defined by existing sexual categories. Nonetheless, most courts have retained a categorical approach to Title VII that demands membership in a protected class even as American society becomes increasingly mixed and less conducive to simple categorization. In light of this new reality, this article considers the jurisprudence and scholarship on multiracial and transgender plaintiffs and argues that scholars and courts in both areas are dealing with discrimination against these increasingly visible individuals in an overly narrow way, leading to incomplete or unsatisfactory solutions. Rather than approach issues of racial identity and sexual identity separately, this article contends that these issues are symptomatic of a larger problem with Title VII, namely, an enduring attempt to fit increasingly amorphous identities into a strict categorical structure that no longer matches the reality of American society. Fluid Identity Discrimination proposes a rethinking of the protected class paradigm in light of a changed American populace with the goal of providing clarity and better alignment between law and social reality.

Read the entire article here.

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Is There an Identity Beyond Race? Four Case Studies

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Book/Video Reviews, Law, Media Archive, Religion on 2015-10-30 00:47Z by Steven

Is There an Identity Beyond Race? Four Case Studies

Michigan Quarterly Review
Volume XLI, Issue 3, Summer 2002

Paula Marantz Cohen, Distinguished Professor of English
Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Love on Trial: An American Scandal in Black and White. By Earl Lewis and Heidi Ardizzone. New York: W.W. Norton, 2001. Pp. 301. $26.95.

Black, White and Jewish: Autobiography of a Shifting Self. By Rebecca Walker. New York: Riverhead Books, 2001. Pp. 336. $14.

Pearl’s Secret: A Black Man’s Search for his White Family. By Neil Henry. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001. Pp. 321. $24.95.

The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother. By James McBride. New York: Riverhead Books, 1996. Pp. 228. $23.95 (hb), $14 (pb).

All four books under review here are concerned with telling dramatic tales about singular, real lives. But they are also books about race. They are driven by the larger goal of making the individual story stand for more than itself.

To write something that is true to the distinctiveness of human experience while also being socially and politically illuminating is hard to achieve. Earl Lewis and Heidi Ardizzone’s Love on Trial: An American Scandal in Black and White seems the most successful, perhaps because it is the only book in the group that is not a memoir. Lewis explains in an Afterword that he first stumbled on the subject while working on his dissertation seventeen years earlier, then returned to it when, as a professor at the University of Michigan, he began directing Ardizzone’s doctoral research on interracial identity in the first half of the twentieth century. They eventually decided to collaborate. The long period of gestation as well as the collaborative approach help to account for the book’s judicious tone in telling a story at once private and public, full of subjective elements yet illuminating of its social moment.

Love on Trial takes as its point of departure a sensational news story from the 1920s. Pursuing the story through careful research into court transcripts and newspaper archives, the authors piece together a fascinating narrative in which the personal intersects the social with tragic consequences.

The story centers on the marriage of Alice Jones, a nanny from Westchester, to Leonard “Kip” Rhinelander, a young scion of one of New York’s oldest and richest society families. It seems that the couple met, courted, and married without apparent difficulty until their relationship became publicized by the New York press, probably through the instigation of Leonard’s disapproving father. A scandal erupted when it was alleged that Alice Jones was black—a fact that Leonard subsequently claimed he did not know and which he made the basis for an annulment suit against his wife…

Read the reviews here.

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White by Law 10th Anniversary Edition: The Legal Construction of Race

Posted in Books, Law, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2015-10-30 00:38Z by Steven

White by Law 10th Anniversary Edition: The Legal Construction of Race

New York University Press
October 2006
236 pages
Paper ISBN: 9780814736944

Ian Haney López, John H. Boalt Professor of Law
University of California, Berkeley

White by Law was published in 1996 to immense critical acclaim, and established Ian Haney López as one of the most exciting and talented young minds in the legal academy. The first book to fully explore the social and specifically legal construction of race, White by Law inspired a generation of critical race theorists and others interested in the intersection of race and law in American society. Today, it is used and cited widely by not only legal scholars but many others interested in race, ethnicity, culture, politics, gender, and similar socially fabricated facets of American society.

In the first edition of White by Law, Haney López traced the reasoning employed by the courts in their efforts to justify the whiteness of some and the non-whiteness of others, and revealed the criteria that were used, often arbitrarily, to determine whiteness, and thus citizenship: skin color, facial features, national origin, language, culture, ancestry, scientific opinion, and, most importantly, popular opinion.

Ten years later, Haney López revisits the legal construction of race, and argues that current race law has spawned a troubling racial ideology that perpetuates inequality under a new guise: colorblind white dominance. In a new, original essay written specifically for the 10th anniversary edition, he explores this racial paradigm and explains how it contributes to a system of white racial privilege socially and legally defended by restrictive definitions of what counts as race and as racism, and what doesn’t, in the eyes of the law. The book also includes a new preface, in which Haney López considers how his own personal experiences with white racial privilege helped engender White by Law.

Table of Contents

  • Preface to the Revised and Updated Edition
  • Acknowledgments
  • A Note on Whiteness
  • 1. White Lines
  • 2. Racial Restrictions in the Law of Citizenship
  • 3. The Prerequisite Cases
  • 4. Ozawa and Thind
  • 5. The Legal Construction of Race
  • 6. White Race-Consciousness
  • 7. The Value to Whites of Whiteness
  • 8. Colorblind White Dominance
  • Appendix A. The Racial Prerequisite Cases
  • Appendix B. Excerpts from Selected Prerequisite Cases
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Table of Legal Authorities
  • Index
  • About the Author
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