Kaleidoscope: Redrawing an American Family Tree

Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Books, Forthcoming Media, Mississippi, Monographs, Passing, Slavery, United States on 2015-03-13 19:37Z by Steven

Kaleidoscope: Redrawing an American Family Tree

University of Arkansas Press
2015-06-01
140 pages
10 images
6″ x 9″
Paper ISBN: 978-1-55728-815-8

Margaret Jones Bolsterli, Emeritus Professor
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

In 2005 Margaret Jones Bolsterli learned that her great-great-grandfather was a free mulatto named Jordan Chavis, who owned an antebellum plantation near Vicksburg, Mississippi. The news was a shock; Bolsterli had heard about the plantation in family stories told during her Arkansas Delta childhood, but Chavis’s name and race had never been mentioned. With further exploration Bolsterli found that when Chavis’s children crossed the Mississippi River between 1859 and 1875 for exile in Arkansas, they passed into the white world, leaving the family’s racial history completely behind.

Kaleidoscope is the story of this discovery, and it is the story, too, of the rise and fall of the Chavis fortunes in Mississippi, from the family’s first appearance on a frontier farm in 1829 to ownership of over a thousand acres and the slaves to work them by 1860. Bolsterli learns that in the 1850s, when all free colored people were ordered to leave Mississippi or be enslaved, Jordan Chavis’s white neighbors successfully petitioned the legislature to allow him to remain, unmolested, even as three of his sons and a daughter moved to Arkansas and Illinois. She learns about the agility with which the old man balanced on a tightrope over chaos to survive the war and then take advantage of the opportunities of newly awarded citizenship during Reconstruction. The story ends with the family’s loss of everything in the 1870s, after one of the exiled sons returns to Mississippi to serve in the Reconstruction legislature and a grandson attempts unsuccessfully to retain possession of the land. In Kaleidoscope, long-silenced truths are revealed, inviting questions about how attitudes toward race might have been different in the family and in America if the truth about this situation and thousands of others like it could have been told before.

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Signifying without Specifying: Racial Discourse in the Age of Obama

Posted in Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-03-10 15:20Z by Steven

Signifying without Specifying: Racial Discourse in the Age of Obama

Rutgers University Press
November 2011
218 Pages
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8135-5143-2
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8135-5144-9
eBook ISBN: 978-0-8135-5210-1

Stephanie Li, Professor of English
Indiana University, Bloomington

On the campaign trail, Barack Obama faced a difficult task—rallying African American voters while resisting his opponents’ attempts to frame him as “too black” to govern the nation as a whole. Obama’s solution was to employ what Toni Morrison calls “race-specific, race-free language,” avoiding open discussions of racial issues while using terms and references that carried a specific cultural resonance for African American voters.

Stephanie Li argues that American politicians and writers are using a new kind of language to speak about race. Challenging the notion that we have moved into a “post-racial” era, she suggests that we are in an uneasy moment where American public discourse demands that race be seen, but not heard. Analyzing contemporary political speech with nuanced readings of works by such authors as Toni Morrison, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Colson Whitehead, Li investigates how Americans of color have negotiated these tensions, inventing new ways to signal racial affiliations without violating taboos against open discussions of race.

Table Of Contents

  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • 1. Violence and Toni Morrison’s Racist House
  • 2. Hiding the Invisble Hurt of Race
  • 3. The Unspeakable Language of Race and Fantasy in the Stories of Jhumpa Lahiri
  • 4. Performing Intimacy: “Race-Specific, Race-Free Language” in Political Discourse
  • Conclusion: The Demands of Precious
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Interracial Intimacies: An Examination of Powerful Men and Their Relationships across the Color Line

Posted in Books, History, Law, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2015-03-07 02:02Z by Steven

Interracial Intimacies: An Examination of Powerful Men and Their Relationships across the Color Line

Carolina Academic Press
2009
144 pages
Paper ISBN: 978-1-59460-496-6

Earl Smith, Professor Emeritus of Sociology
Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Angela J. Hattery, Professor and Director of Women and Gender Studies
George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia

Unique among books on interracial relationships, this book examines the lives of high profile men who have produced public discourses on race and interracial relationships and who themselves, often contradictory to their rhetoric, were or continue to be involved in love relationships across the color line. The book opens with a discussion of the history of interracial couplings in the United States, including an examination of the relationship of Richard and Mildren Loving which led to the landmark case Loving v. Virginia in which the U.S. Supreme Court, in 1967, rendered unconstitutional all state laws that prohibited interracial marriage. Each of the subsequent chapters is devoted to an individual man or couple; we explore the lives of men about whom their interracial relationships are relatively well known, including Thomas Jefferson, Strom Thurmond, Clarence Thomas, Frederick Douglass, and William Cohen. We also explore a few figures about whom less is known about their intimate lives including George Washington and Richard Mentor Johnson.

Rather than simply focusing on the relationships exclusively, this book examines specifically the role that power plays in shaping the negotiation of intimate relationships, family forms, racial identity, hegemonic ideology and public policy among public figures who not only contributed to the public discourses on race and interracial unions, but also contributed to the racial ideologies that gained hegemony and dominated Americans’ beliefs about race and the laws and public policies that established second class citizenship for those identified as “Black.”

This book offers the interested reader a glimpse into the personal lives of famous and not so famous American men who clandestinely or in open view loved women across the color line. In some cases, these loving relationships mirrored the men’s beliefs about race and interracial unions—Richard Mentor Johnson, William Cohen—and in others these relationships were in seeming contradiction to the beliefs these men held and in fact developed about racial purity and segregation—Thomas Jefferson, Clarence Thomas, Strom Thurmond. These contradictions between the public and private lives of our country’s public servants offers a rich arena for exploration of race in the United States. In light of the recent election of the first African American president, Barack Obama, this book could not be more timely.

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Because of Our Success: The Changing Racial and Ethnic Ancestry of Blacks on Affirmative Action

Posted in Books, Law, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-03-06 18:39Z by Steven

Because of Our Success: The Changing Racial and Ethnic Ancestry of Blacks on Affirmative Action

Carolina Academic Press
December 2014
404 pages
Paper ISBN: 978-1-61163-444-0

Kevin Brown, Richard S. Melvin Professor of Law
Maurer School of Law
Indiana University

When selective colleges, universities, and graduate programs instituted affirmative action policies in the 1960s, 99.4 percent of Americans were either black or white. Not only were interracial marriages between blacks and whites illegal in over twenty states, but very few blacks were involved in interracial sexual relationships. A person’s race was determined by the application of the one-drop rule. Thus, mixed-race blacks were not allowed to self-identify their race. Rather, they were socially ascribed as black and, therefore, the concept of Black Multiracials did not exist. Also, less than one percent of blacks were foreign-born.

As a result, one of the core assumptions upon which affirmative action was based was that the predominant ancestries of the beneficiaries would be children of two American-born black parents (“Ascendant Blacks”). However, Black Multiracials and foreign-born blacks and their children (“Black Immigrants”) now constitute a growing majority of the black students at many selective higher education programs. Further, the percentages of Black Multiracials and Black Immigrants among those blacks approaching college age are rapidly increasing. Thus, in an ironic twist of fate, America is ethnically cleansing from the campuses of its selective higher education institutions Ascendant Blacks. Not only were they the primary group that affirmative action policies were intended to benefit, but their ascendency out of slavery and segregation made possible the increases in mixed-race sexual relationships, Black Multiracials, foreign-born blacks, and Black Immigrants. This book discusses this ethnic cleansing of Ascendant Blacks and its implications for American society, and suggests possible ways to address the problem.

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Black Slaves, Indian Masters: Slavery, Emancipation, and Citizenship in the Native American South

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Slavery, United States on 2015-02-24 21:59Z by Steven

Black Slaves, Indian Masters: Slavery, Emancipation, and Citizenship in the Native American South

University of North Carolina Press
February 2015
232 pages
6.125 x 9.25
11 halftones, notes, bibl., index
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4696-2187-6

Barbara Krauthamer, Associate Professor of History
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

From the late eighteenth century through the end of the Civil War, Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians bought, sold, and owned Africans and African Americans as slaves, a fact that persisted after the tribes’ removal from the Deep South to Indian Territory. The tribes formulated racial and gender ideologies that justified this practice and marginalized free black people in the Indian nations well after the Civil War and slavery had ended. Through the end of the nineteenth century, ongoing conflicts among Choctaw, Chickasaw, and U.S. lawmakers left untold numbers of former slaves and their descendants in the two Indian nations without citizenship in either the Indian nations or the United States. In this groundbreaking study, Barbara Krauthamer rewrites the history of southern slavery, emancipation, race, and citizenship to reveal the centrality of Native American slaveholders and the black people they enslaved.

Krauthamer’s examination of slavery and emancipation highlights the ways Indian women’s gender roles changed with the arrival of slavery and changed again after emancipation and reveals complex dynamics of race that shaped the lives of black people and Indians both before and after removal.

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Mixed-Race Youth and Schooling: The Fifth Minority

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, Teaching Resources, United States on 2015-02-24 02:19Z by Steven

Mixed-Race Youth and Schooling: The Fifth Minority

Routledge
2015-10-31
224 pages
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-13-802191-4
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-13-802193-8

Sandra Winn Tutwiler, Professor of Education
Washburn University, Topeka, Kansas

This timely, in-depth examination of the educational experiences and needs of mixed-race children (“the fifth minority”) focuses on the four contexts that primarily influence learning and development: the family, school, community, and society-at-large.

The book provides foundational historical, social, political, and psychological information about mixed-race children and looks closely at their experiences in schools, their identity formation, and how schools can be made more supportive of their development and learning needs. Moving away from an essentialist discussion of mixed-race children, a wide variety of research is included. Life and schooling experiences of mixed-raced individuals are profiled throughout the text. Rather than pigeonholing children into a neat box of descriptions or providing ready made prescriptions for educators, Mixed-Race Youth and Schooling offers information and encourages teachers to critically reflect on how it is relevant to and helpful in their teaching/learning contexts.

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Physics of Blackness: Beyond the Middle Passage Epistemology

Posted in Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Philosophy on 2015-02-24 02:12Z by Steven

Physics of Blackness: Beyond the Middle Passage Epistemology

University of Minnesota Press
February 2015
240 pages
5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8166-8730-5
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8166-8726-8

Michelle M. Wright, Associate Professor of Black European and African Diaspora Studies
Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

What does it mean to be Black? If Blackness is not biological in origin but socially and discursively constructed, does the meaning of Blackness change over time and space? In Physics of Blackness: Beyond the Middle Passage Epistemology, Michelle M. Wright argues that although we often explicitly define Blackness as a “what,” it in fact always operates as a “when” and a “where.”

By putting lay discourses on spacetime from physics into conversation with works on identity from the African Diaspora, Physics of Blackness explores how Middle Passage epistemology subverts racist assumptions about Blackness, yet its linear structure inhibits the kind of inclusive epistemology of Blackness needed in the twenty-first century. Wright then engages with bodies frequently excluded from contemporary mainstream consideration: Black feminists, Black queers, recent Black African immigrants to the West, and Blacks whose histories may weave in and out of the Middle Passage epistemology but do not cohere to it.

Physics of Blackness takes the reader on a journey both known and unfamiliar—from Isaac Newton’s laws of motion and gravity to the contemporary politics of diasporic Blackness in the academy, from James Baldwin’s postwar trope of the Eiffel Tower as the site for diasporic encounters to theoretical particle physics’ theory of multiverses and superpositioning, to the almost erased lives of Black African women during World War II. Accessible in its style, global in its perspective, and rigorous in its logic, Physics of Blackness will change the way you look at Blackness.

Contents

  • Introduction. Many Thousands Still Coming: Theorizing Blackness in the Postwar Moment
  • 1. The Middle Passage Epistemology
  • 2. The Problem of Return in the African Diaspora
  • 3. Quantum Baldwin and the Multidimensionality of Blackness
  • 4. Axes of Asymmetry
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Black Like Me

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, United States on 2015-02-23 21:30Z by Steven

Black Like Me

Penguin Books
2003-05-06 (originally published in 1961)
208 pages
Paperback ISBN 9780451208644

John Howard Griffin (1920-1980)

In the Deep South of the 1950s, journalist John Howard Griffin decided to cross the color line. Using medication that darkened his skin to deep brown, he exchanged his privileged life as a Southern white man for the disenfranchised world of an unemployed black man. His audacious, still chillingly relevant eyewitness history is a work about race and humanity-that in this new millennium still has something important to say to every American.

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Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murieta: Celebrated California Bandit

Posted in Biography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2015-02-20 20:03Z by Steven

Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murieta: Celebrated California Bandit

University of Oklahoma Press
1977 (Originally published in 1854 by W. R. Cooke and Company)
210 pages
5″ x 7.5″
Paperback ISBN: 9780806114293

John Rollin Ridge (1827-1867)

In 1854, a Cherokee Indian called Yellow Bird (better known as John Rollin Ridge) launched in this book the myth of Joaquín Murieta, based on the California criminal career of a 19th century Mexican bandit. Today this folk hero has been written into state histories, sensationalized in books, poems, and articles throughout America, Spain, France, Chile, and Mexico, and made into a motion picture.

The Ridge account is here reproduced from the only known copy of the first edition, owned by Thomas W. Streeter, of Morristown, New Jersey. According to it, the passionate, wronged Murieta organized an outlaw company numbering over 2,000 men, who for two years terrorized gold-rush Californians by kidnapping, bank robberies, cattle thefts, and murders. So bloodthirsty as to be considered five men, Joaquin was aided by several hardy subordinates, including the sadistic cutthroat, “Three-Fingered Jack.” Finally, the state legislature authorized organization of the Mounted Rangers to capture the outlaws. The drama is fittingly climaxed by the ensuing chase, “good, gory” battle, and the shocking fate of the badmen.

Read the entire book (Courtesy of Three Rocks Researchhere.

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Metis and the Medicine Line: Creating a Border and Dividing a People

Posted in Books, Canada, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2015-02-18 03:37Z by Steven

Metis and the Medicine Line: Creating a Border and Dividing a People

University of North Carolina Press
April 2015
Approx. 352 pages
6.125 x 9.25
17 halftones, 3 maps, notes, bibl., index
Paper: ISBN 978-1-4696-2105-0

Michel Hogue, Assistant Professor of History
Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canadas

Born of encounters between Indigenous women and Euro-American men in the first decades of the nineteenth century, the Plains Metis people occupied contentious geographic and cultural spaces. Living in a disputed area of the northern Plains inhabited by various Indigenous nations and claimed by both the United States and Great Britain, the Metis emerged as a people with distinctive styles of speech, dress, and religious practice, and occupational identities forged in the intense rivalries of the fur and provisions trade. Michel Hogue explores how, as fur trade societies waned and as state officials looked to establish clear lines separating the United States from Canada and Indians from non-Indians, these communities of mixed Indigenous and European ancestry were profoundly affected by the efforts of nation-states to divide and absorb the North American West.

Grounded in extensive research in U.S. and Canadian archives, Hogue’s account recenters historical discussions that have typically been confined within national boundaries and illuminates how Plains Indigenous peoples like the Metis were at the center of both the unexpected accommodations and the hidden history of violence that made the “world’s longest undefended border.”

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