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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New People, A Novel

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, Novels, United States on 2017-07-21 19:07Z by Steven

New People, A Novel

Riverhead (an imprint of Penguin)
2017-08-01
240 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1594487095
Paperback ISBN: 978-0735219410

Danzy Senna


From the bestselling author of Caucasia, a subversive and engrossing novel of race, class and manners in contemporary America.

As the twentieth century draws to a close, Maria is at the start of a life she never thought possible. She and Khalil, her college sweetheart, are planning their wedding. They are the perfect couple, “King and Queen of the Racially Nebulous Prom.” Their skin is the same shade of beige. They live together in a black bohemian enclave in Brooklyn, where Khalil is riding the wave of the first dot-com boom and Maria is plugging away at her dissertation, on the Jonestown massacre. They’ve even landed a starring role in a documentary about “new people” like them, who are blurring the old boundaries as a brave new era dawns. Everything Maria knows she should want lies before her–yet she can’t stop daydreaming about another man, a poet she barely knows. As fantasy escalates to fixation, it dredges up secrets from the past and threatens to unravel not only Maria’s perfect new life but her very persona.

Heartbreaking and darkly comic, New People is a bold and unfettered page-turner that challenges our every assumption about how we define one another, and ourselves.

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New Perspectives on James Weldon Johnson’s The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-07-21 19:05Z by Steven

New Perspectives on James Weldon Johnson’s The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man

University of Georgia Press
2017-07-15
272 pages
Trim size: 6 x 9
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8203-5097-4
Ebook ISBN: 978-0-8203-5096-7

Edited by

Noelle Morrissette, Associate Professor of English
University of North Carolina, Greensboro

James Weldon Johnson (1871–1938) exemplified the ideal of the American public intellectual as a writer, educator, songwriter, diplomat, key figure of the Harlem Renaissance, and first African American executive of the NAACP. Originally published anonymously in 1912, Johnson’s novel The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man is considered one of the foundational works of twentieth-century African American literature, and its themes and forms have been taken up by other writers, from Ralph Ellison to Teju Cole.

Johnson’s novel provocatively engages with political and cultural strains still prevalent in American discourse today, and it remains in print over a century after its initial publication. New Perspectives contains fresh essays that analyze the book’s reverberations, the contexts within which it was created and received, the aesthetic and intellectual developments of its author, and its continuing influence on American literature and global culture.

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Call for Essays: Shades of Prejudice: Asian American Women on Colorism in America from NYU Press, Edited by Nikki Khanna (Forthcoming 2018)

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Forthcoming Media, United States, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers, Women on 2017-07-21 18:57Z by Steven

Call for Essays: Shades of Prejudice: Asian American Women on Colorism in America from NYU Press, Edited by Nikki Khanna (Forthcoming 2018)

Nikki Khanna, Associate Professor of Sociology
University of Vermont
Department of Sociology
31 South Prospect Street
Burlington, Vermont 05405
Telephone: (802) 656-2162

2017-07-06

DEADLINE: Manuscripts will be accepted on a rolling basis, though the final deadline is OCTOBER 31, 2017.

I am pleased to announce an open submission call for my forthcoming anthology from New York University Press, SHADES OF PREJUDICE, a collection of essays written by Asian American women about their personal experiences with colorism.

Colorism is the practice of discrimination whereby light skin is privileged over dark, and is a global issue affecting racial groups worldwide. Colorism exists is just about every part of Asia and affects Asian diasporas, including most Asian American communities—including those descended from Southeast Asia (e.g., India, Pakistan, Cambodia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia), but also those from Japan, China, and other parts of Eastern Asia.

I am looking for Asian American women (including multiracial American women with Asian ancestry) to share their personal experiences with colorismhow has your skin shade (and other “racialized” physical features like eye color, eye shape, and other facial features) influenced your life?

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES:

  • Submissions should be sent to: nkhanna@uvm.edu (in the subject heading, please type in all-caps: SHADES OF PREJUDICE SUBMISSION)
  • Please send your personal narrative as a Microsoft® Word document and label your document: “LASTNAME_FIRSTNAME.doc.”
  • Essays should be approximately 1,000-2,500 words, double-spaced, and Times New Roman font.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Nikki Khanna is an associate professor of Sociology at the University of Vermont and has written extensively on issues regarding race. You can read more about the author here: www.nikkikhanna.com and http://www.uvm.edu/sociology/faculty/faculty_bios/Khanna/.

HERE ARE SOME IDEAS OF QUESTIONS THAT YOU MAY WANT TO ADDRESS:

  • What do you consider (physically) beautiful and why? Where does your image of beauty come from? (family, friends, media, or somewhere else?)
  • What is the importance of skin shade in your Asian ethnic community and how has this affected your life? For example, has it had an effect on dating or finding a mate? Has it influenced your interactions or relationships with family members or others? Has it affected any of your life opportunities? (job, education, etc.?).
  • How did you learn that light skin was preferred over dark skin in your Asian ethnic community? Can you provide specific examples?
  • Have you personally benefitted from having light skin? If so, how so? Is there a particular experience that you can share?
  • How have your family, community, peers, friends, media or others reinforced the stereotype that light skin is somehow more desirable than dark skin?
  • Have you felt pressure to use products designed to lighten or whiten your skin? If yes, why and what types of products? What has your experiences been with these products? How do you feel about whitening products?
  • Have you tried any other means to lighten or change the shade of your skin?
  • Have you felt pressure from your ethnic community or larger American society to conform to particular beauty standards? How so? Explain.
  • Have you struggled with, resisted, or actively challenged the “light is beautiful” message? How so?
  • Have other physical/facial characteristics (those that are often related to race) had an influence on your life (e.g., your eye color, eye shape, nose shape)?
  • Have you felt pressure to surgically alter any of your physical features to conform to a particular beauty standard in your Asian ethnic community or in larger American society (e.g., eyelid surgery)? Explain.
  • Do you think light skin is seen as desirable because some people desire to look/be white, because light skin is related to social class or caste, or to something else? Why? What in your personal life has informed the way you explain why light skin is considered more desirable than dark?
  • Do you think the impact of your skin color on your life is influenced by other factors – such as your gender, social class/caste, ethnic group, generation, or other factors? For example, do you think skin color more so affects women than men? Why or why not? Do you think that your experiences are similar or different to male family members or men in your Asian ethnic community? Do you think your generation (whether you are 1st, 2nd, 3rd or later generation Asian American) has influenced the importance of skin color in your life?
  • Did growing up in America challenge or reinforce the idea that light skin is better than dark? How so? Could you share a particular example? Relatedly, how have American beauty standards affected your vision of what is considered beautiful and how does this related to beauty standards in your ethnic community? Are those standards complementary or contradictory?

For more information, click here.

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Twitter and Rashida Jones helped me embrace my Blackness as a biracial person — no, really

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2017-07-21 18:54Z by Steven

Twitter and Rashida Jones helped me embrace my Blackness as a biracial person — no, really

HelloGiggles
2017-07-18

Jessica Tholmer


Jessica Tholmer

I don’t look like my mother. My mother is short, blonde, and very, very Irish. I am much taller and have a bigger frame, even from a young age. My hair is soft and curly and mousy brown. My hands are big, my feet are big, and my skin is not very Irish. Though I was raised single-handedly by my white mother, I have never considered myself white.

This is being biracial.

My father is a Black man — Black and Sicilian, if we’re getting specific. He is quite a bit older than my mom and was an afro-sporting, bell-bottom jean-wearing Black Panther in the ’70s. I knew him when I was young, but not for much of my life. Between 8 and 24, we didn’t speak to one another at all, not once. But even though he didn’t raise me, his lineage, his blood, our story was always there.

I have always identified as biracial, though it took me until recently to admit that I identify more with my “Black side.” In many different social situations growing up, I had to announce my Blackness. I have been in rooms with people who did not know I was Black, and I have heard how white people will talk to one another about things they do not know in the presence of someone with an ambiguous background. (No, not all white people.) I have always been uncomfortable in certain situations — around people who grew up conservatively or without knowing any people of color. At a very young age, I learned to ask, “Is it racist?” when someone asked me if I wanted to hear a joke. I do not look Black, but I have no problem prefacing a potentially upsetting situation with the fact of my Blackness…

Read the entire article here.

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Clyde Ensslin Explores Thomas Jefferson’s Secret, Unflattering History in his Fringe Debut

Posted in Articles, Arts, History, Media Archive, United States on 2017-07-21 18:09Z by Steven

Clyde Ensslin Explores Thomas Jefferson’s Secret, Unflattering History in his Fringe Debut

Washington City Paper
2017-07-06

Caroline Jones, City Lights Editor


Clyde Ensslin (Darrow Montgomery)

Clyde Ensslin’s journey to the Capital Fringe Festival began, of all places, in an Uber. Ensslin has driven for the rideshare company since 2014, and one night in the fall of that year he received a message to pick up a passenger at the bar Showtime in Bloomingdale. That passenger turned out to be Capital Fringe CEO Julianne Brienza.

As they rode, she told him she’d just closed on Fringe’s new headquarters on Florida Avenue NE. When Ensslin revealed he had never heard of the arts festival, Brienza gave him a crash course in the world of Fringe, from its roots in Edinburgh to her plans to build Trinidad into an arts district. “She just kind of blew me away,” he says of his first impression. She encouraged him to see shows when the festival returned in the summer. He bought an eight-pack of tickets.

“At the time, I did not think this was anything I’d want to do,” he says now. But after seeing pieces he loved, like Cara Gabriel’s I Am the Gentry, he bought another eight-pack the following year. By the end of the 2016 festival, he was hooked. At the same time, Ensslin’s passengers were regularly telling him how much he sounds like former president Bill Clinton, so he started thinking about constructing a play that would coincide with the 20th anniversary of the 42nd president’s impropriety and subsequent impeachment

…Early on in the process, he discussed his plans with Ibe Crawley, the operator of IBe’ Arts, a small gallery in Historic Anacostia, who pushed him to not focus directly on Bill and Monica and instead tell the story of another lecherous commander-in-chief: Thomas Jefferson. The resulting play, a monologue called Thomas Jefferson: Hoochie-Coochie Man, is presented as a college lecture, taught by professor William Jefferson Clinton, that breaks down the relationship between Jefferson and Sally Hemings and the ways that story has evolved over time.

To begin his research, Ensslin consulted the authoritative text on the subject, historian Annette Gordon-Reed’s The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family. Gordon-Reed tells the stories of multiple generations of the Hemings family, who became Jefferson’s property when he inherited them from his father-in-law. She chronicles the hard labor they did on his plantation and follows members of the family after they were freed upon Jefferson’s death. After hearing her speak at the 2016 National Book Festival, Ensslin dove deeper into the historiographical archives, reading Christopher Hitchens’ Thomas Jefferson: Author of America and titles by Michelle Alexander, Michael Eric Dyson, and Eddie S. Glaude Jr. as he tried to understand the paradox that Jefferson occupies in American history.

Ensslin’s show arrives at a time of renewed interest in Jeffersonian scholarship. After DNA evidence conclusively proved Jefferson fathered a child with Sally Hemings, historians and curators were forced to deal with that aspect of Jefferson’s life for the first time. A large donation from philanthropist David Rubenstein in 2013 allowed curators at Monticello, Jefferson’s home in Charlottesville, Virginia, to build replicas of the cabins slaves lived in on the plantation. Visitors can now go on tours that specifically highlight the experiences of slaves and the Hemings family. But even Hamilton, every woke theater nerd’s guide to early American history, paints Jefferson as a politically savvy bon vivant, only mentioning Sally in a winking reference for history buffs…

Read the entire article here.

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NBCBLK Summer Book Club: ‘New People’ by Danzy Senna

Posted in Articles, Interviews, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2017-07-19 22:37Z by Steven

NBCBLK Summer Book Club: ‘New People’ by Danzy Senna

NBCBLK
NBC News
2017-07-14

Donna Owens


Danzy Senna (Mara Casey)

NEW PEOPLE
By Danzy Senna
229 pp. Riverhead Books, $26

The literati have always loved Danzy Senna.

In 1998, the biracial Boston native dazzled literary circles with her debut novel, `Caucasia.’ The coming of age tale—which tackled race, class and gender before terms like `intersectionality’ entered the mainstream lexicon—nabbed awards, and was hailed an instant classic.

Senna’s follow-up novel, `Symptomatic,’ (2001) further explored mixed-race characters. Her memoir, `Where Did You Sleep Last Night?: A Personal History,’ (2009) and story collection, `You Are Free,’ (2011) continued probing identity politics.

Now the scribe is back with her anticipated third novel,`New People.’ As with Senna’s previous work, it mines the complex themes of race, sex, and class. The tale unfolds through the adventures of Maria, a hip Brooklynite whose enviable lifestyle unravels behind her obsession with a man she barely knows…

You’re biracial—White mom and African American father — and your writing delves frequently into race. Is it a painful topic for you?

So for me, I’m not so much writing about race as I am writing about America. And to me, the American story is one of race, money and class. We do live in a racialized world, and I’ve spent my whole life in this space. I find it strange when writers don’t address it. I’m almost always assumed to be white. I’ve been privy to a lot of racism and conversations in rooms where I unintentionally disappeared into whiteness. I think there were periods when it was a struggle. But I’m at a place in my life when I’m very clear on who I am, my own story and who I come from…

Read the entire interview and book excerpt here.

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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 2017-07-19 03:49Z 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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Dr. Zebulon Miletsky talks about the mixed race / mixed culture experience to BWTM

Posted in Barack Obama, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, United States, Videos on 2017-07-19 03:31Z by Steven

Dr. Zebulon Miletsky talks about the mixed race / mixed culture experience to BWTM

Bayloric Worldwide Television & Media
2017-07-18

Ingram Jones, Host

Dr Zebulon Miletsky assistant professor of Africana Studies at Stony University, New York talks to BWTM  about his experiences and shares a wealth of knowledge on the topic of race.

Dr. Zebulon Vance Miletsky teaches African-American History at Stony Brook University where he is an Assistant Professor in both the Departments of Africana Studies and History. He is the author of numerous articles, essays and most recently a book chapter that appeared in the anthology “Obama and the Biracial Factor: The Battle for a New American Majority” which traces the contested meanings throughout history of terminology for multiracial people and the role that this historical legacy of “naming” plays into how President Obama is read as African American, but still asserts a strategic biracial identity through the use of language, symbols, and interactions with the media. Miletsky who is half-Jewish (white) and African-American/Afro-Caribbean, received his Ph.D. in African-American Studies with a concentration in History at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 2008 . There, he was trained as a historian by some of the best thinkers in the field of Black Studies, many of whom are veterans from the Civil Rights and Black Power movements of the 1960s and 70s. His research interests include: Racial passing; interracial marriage; African-Americans in Boston; Northern freedom movements; and Mixed race history. Miletsky has given a Ted Talk and at Stony Brook University entitled “Tracing Your ‘Routes’” and has have been interviewed on Huffington Post Live, various radio shows including the WBAI NYC 99.5 FM Pacifica radio show “Behind the News-Long Island” and the “Multiracial Family Man” Podcast.

Watch the interview (01:26:47) here.

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Slavery and Freedom in Texas: Stories from the Courtroom, 1821–1871

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Law, Monographs, Slavery, Texas, United States on 2017-07-19 03:22Z by Steven

Slavery and Freedom in Texas: Stories from the Courtroom, 1821–1871

University of Georgia Press
2017-11-01
258 pages
2 b&w photos, 8 maps
Trim size: 6 x 9
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8203-5133-9
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8203-5163-6

Jason A. Gillmer, John J. Hemmingson Chair in Civil Liberties and Professor of Law
Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington

Riveting trials that exposed conflicting attitudes toward race and liberty

In these absorbing accounts of five court cases, Jason A. Gillmer offers intimate glimpses into Texas society in the time of slavery. Each story unfolds along boundaries—between men and women, slave and free, black and white, rich and poor, old and young—as rigid social orders are upset in ways that drive people into the courtroom.

One case involves a settler in a rural county along the Colorado River, his thirty-year relationship with an enslaved woman, and the claims of their children as heirs. A case in East Texas arose after an owner refused to pay an overseer who had shot one of her slaves. Another case details how a free family of color carved out a life in the sparsely populated marshland of Southeast Texas, only to lose it all as waves of new settlers “civilized” the county. An enslaved woman in Galveston who was set free in her owner’s will—and who got an uncommon level of support from her attorneys—is the subject of another case. In a Central Texas community, as another case recounts, citizens forced a Choctaw native into court in an effort to gain freedom for his slave, a woman who easily “passed” as white.

The cases considered here include Gaines v. Thomas, Clark v. Honey, Brady v. Price, State v. Ashworth, and Webster v. Heard. All of them pitted communal attitudes and values against the exigencies of daily life in an often harsh place. Here are real people in their own words, as gathered from trial records, various legal documents, and many other sources. People of many colors, from diverse backgrounds, weave their way in and out of the narratives. We come to know what mattered most to them—and where those personal concerns stood before the law.

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