The untold stories of Japanese war brides

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, History, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2016-09-23 19:59Z by Steven

The untold stories of Japanese war brides

The Washington Post
2016-09-22

Kathryn Tolbert, Deputy Editor


Hiroko and Bill with Kathy, left, Sam and Susan. The video is the trailer to a short documentary film, “Fall Seven Times, Get Up Eight: The Japanese War Brides,” which features Hiroko and two other war brides.

They married the enemy, then created uniquely American lives

I thought she was beautiful, although I never understood why she plucked her eyebrows off and penciled them on every morning an inch higher. She had been captain of her high school basketball team in Japan, and she ran circles around us kids on a dirt court in our small town in Upstate New York. I can still see this Japanese woman dribbling madly about, yelling “Kyash! Kyash!” That’s how she said Kath, or Kathy.

She married my American GI father barely knowing him. She moved from Tokyo to a small poultry farm just outside Elmira, N.Y., and from there she delivered eggs all over the county and into Pennsylvania. My sister describes her as having a “core of steel.” She raised us as determinedly as any mother could, and yet, looking back, I barely knew her.

Some people think the film I co-directed, “Fall Seven Times, Get Up Eight: The Japanese War Brides,” is a paean to loving Japanese mothers. When one interviewer suggested as much to me and fellow director Karen Kasmauski, we exchanged a look that said, “Shall we tell him the truth?” The film, titled after a Japanese proverb, is about strong women, for sure. Warm and loving mothers? No.

So who are these women and what do we, their children, know about them?…

Read the entire article here.

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Becoming Creole, Becoming Black: Migration, Diasporic Self-Making, and the Many Lives of Madame Maymie Leona Turpeau de Mena

Posted in Articles, Biography, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Women on 2016-09-21 01:43Z by Steven

Becoming Creole, Becoming Black: Migration, Diasporic Self-Making, and the Many Lives of Madame Maymie Leona Turpeau de Mena

Women, Gender, and Families of Color
Volume 4, Number 2 (Fall 2016)
pages 171-195
DOI: 10.5406/womgenfamcol.4.2.0171

Courtney Desiree Morris, Assistant Professor of African American Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Pennsylvania State University

This article examines the complex life of one of the Universal Negro Improvement Association’s most charismatic but undertheorized figures, Madame Maymie Leona Turpeau de Mena. Relegated to the footnotes of UNIA history, the existing version of de Mena’s biography identifies her as an Afro-Nicaraguan immigrant who rose to the upper echelons of the UNIA. After years of serving as assistant international organizer and electrifying audiences throughout the hemisphere, she eventually assumed control of all the North American chapters of the UNIA, the editorship of the Negro World, and acted as Marcus Garvey’s representative in the United States and globally. Recently uncovered archival materials reveal that de Mena was actually born in St. Martinville, Louisiana, in 1879. How could such a prominent UNIA figure vanish from the historical record only to reappear and be so misunderstood? Part of the dilemma lies in the fact that de Mena appears to have intentionally altered the key elements of her biography to reflect her changing personal life and political commitments. This article maps de Mena’s shifting racial and political subjectivities as a transnational proto-feminist, moving through the landscapes of the U.S. Gulf South, Caribbean Central America, the U.S. Northeast, and preindependence Jamaica. It provides a critical corrective to de Mena’s existing biography and examines how black women moved through transnational political and cultural movements of the early twentieth century, authoring themselves into existence through intimate and public acts of diasporic self-making.

Read the entire article here.

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Elizabeth Warren and Tracee Ellis Ross on the Road to Activism

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Women on 2016-09-19 00:39Z by Steven

Elizabeth Warren and Tracee Ellis Ross on the Road to Activism

The New York Times
2016-09-17

Philip Galanes


Senator Elizabeth Warren, left, and the actress Tracee Ellis Ross having dinner at the Hay-Adams Hotel in Washington.
Credit Justin T. Gellerson for The New York Times

Tracee Ellis Ross may be working 14 hours a day in Los Angeles on her hit TV show, “black-ish.” “But when Elizabeth Warren says she’ll have dinner with you,” Ms. Ross said, walking into a suite at the Hay-Adams Hotel in Washington, “you get on a plane. I have a million questions for her.”

And from the moment Senator Warren entered the lobby, friendly to all but racewalking toward the elevator, she was happy to offer answers: breaking down complex problems into plain-spoken choices, engaging everyone in sight. When a woman on the elevator said, “You look familiar,” Ms. Warren introduced herself, shook her hand and asked how her evening was going.

Of course, Ms. Warren, 67, comes by teaching naturally. A law professor for over 30 years, most recently at Harvard, she specialized in bankruptcy and commercial law. A strong advocate of consumer protection, she conceived and fought for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010.

Two years later, the political novice was elected a United States senator from Massachusetts. Ms. Warren has since emerged as a very popular figure in the Democratic Party and a fierce advocate for the middle class. In June, she endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, and has gone toe-to-toe with Donald J. Trump in a series of fiery Twitter exchanges.

Ms. Ross, 43, has also established herself as a powerful advocate, particularly for self-esteem among black girls in a series of TV specials, “Black Girls Rock,” and through social media. For eight seasons, beginning in 2000, she starred in the sitcom “Girlfriends,” for which she won two NAACP Image Awards.

But her greatest exposure and acclaim have come with her starring role on “black-ish,” about an extended African-American family, whose third season begins on Wednesday. For her performance, Ms. Ross was nominated for an Emmy for lead actress in a comedy. She is the first African-American woman to be nominated in the category in 30 years, and only the fifth in Emmy history. (The Emmys will be televised Sunday.)…

Read the entire article here.

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The Strange and Ironic Fates of Jefferson’s Daughters

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Virginia, Women on 2016-09-18 18:14Z by Steven

The Strange and Ironic Fates of Jefferson’s Daughters

The Daily Beast
2016-09-17

Sally Cabot Gunning


Photo Illustration by Kelly Caminero/The Daily Beast

Martha Jefferson was Virginia elite. Her half-sister Harriet, though seven-eighths white, was deemed a slave at birth. No one could have predicted their fates.

Martha Jefferson was born in 1772, just as Monticello was rising above her, promising a life surrounded by beauty, luxury, and pampering. For the first ten years of her existence this promise held, but in 1782 Martha’s mother died, leaving a father incapacitated by grief, but still a father in pursuit of his daughter’s future happiness. He set out a stringent regimen of study which included reading, writing, literature, languages, music, art, and dance.

Two years later, Martha and her father traveled to France, joined later by Martha’s younger sister and her enslaved maid, Sally Hemings. In France Martha boarded at a convent school and received a formal education few other American women of the day would acquire in their lifetimes. At her father’s Paris residence, she received another kind of education, conversing with world leaders and learning, among other things, that there are countries where slavery was illegal. “I wish with all my soul that the poor Negroes were all freed,” she wrote her father from school. She listened eagerly as her father and his secretary, William Short, talked of plans to set up their slaves as free tenant farmers when they returned to Virginia. But the 17-year-old Martha listened eagerly to William Short for another reason—she had fallen in love and her father had taken note; he abruptly took Martha, her sister, and Sally Hemings—who was pregnant with Thomas Jefferson’s child—back to Virginia.

There the realities of the Virginia way of life and her father’s new preoccupations with Monticello, politics, and dare she imagine it—Sally—convinced Martha it was time to claim a life for herself.  After three short months at home, with her father’s whole-hearted blessing, Martha married her distant cousin, Thomas Randolph, a man determined to make his way in Virginia “without dependency” on the institution of slavery…

Read the entire article here.

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Persons of Color and Religious at the Same Time: The Oblate Sisters of Providence, 1828-1860

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Religion, United States, Women on 2016-09-13 21:20Z by Steven

Persons of Color and Religious at the Same Time: The Oblate Sisters of Providence, 1828-1860

University of North Carolina Press
2002
360 pages
6.125 x 9.25, 11 illus., notes, bibl., index
Cloth ISBN: 0-8078-2726-6
Paperback ISBN 0-8078-5401-8
eBook ISBN: 9780807862155

Diane Batts Morrow, Associate Professor of History and African American Studies
University of Georgia, Athens

Founded in Baltimore in 1828 by a French Sulpician priest and a mulatto Caribbean immigrant, the Oblate Sisters of Providence formed the first permanent African American Roman Catholic sisterhood in the United States. It still exists today. Exploring the antebellum history of this pioneering sisterhood, Diane Batts Morrow demonstrates the centrality of race in the Oblate experience.

By their very existence, the Oblate Sisters challenged prevailing social, political, and cultural attitudes on many levels. White society viewed women of color as lacking in moral standing and sexual virtue; at the same time, the sisters’ vows of celibacy flew in the face of conventional female roles as wives and mothers. But the Oblate Sisters’ religious commitment proved both liberating and empowering, says Morrow. They inculcated into their communal consciousness positive senses of themselves as black women and as women religious. Strengthened by their spiritual fervor, the sisters defied the inferior social status white society ascribed to them and the ambivalence the Catholic Church demonstrated toward them. They successfully persevered in dedicating themselves to spiritual practice in the Roman Catholic tradition and their mission to educate black children during the era of slavery.

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Racism faced by black nuns in America called ‘dangerous memory’

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Passing, Religion, United States, Women on 2016-09-13 21:04Z by Steven

Racism faced by black nuns in America called ‘dangerous memory’

Crux: Taking the Catholic Pulse
2016-08-18

Andrew Nelson, Catholic News Service

In early American history black women could be accepted into orders of nuns only if they could “pass for white,” and later they faced significant racial prejudice. Despite all that, they became role models for the black community in America and served as spiritual leaders.

ATLANTA – Black women desiring to serve a life devoted to the Catholic faith were not welcomed by religious communities with anti-black acceptance requirements from the early 19th century to the middle of the 20th century, said historian Shannen Dee Williams.

Those who could gain admittance faced discrimination from their fellow sisters, she added.

“Black sisters matter, but they constitute a dangerous memory for the church,” said Williams, assistant professor of history at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

She was joined by Sister Anita Baird, a Daughter of the Heart of Mary, and Sister Dawn Tomaszewski, general superior of the Sisters of Providence, on an Aug. 12 panel discussing racism in religious life at the assembly of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in Atlanta.

Williams’ upcoming book is called “Subversive Habits: Black Nuns and the Long Struggle to Desegregate Catholic America.” It was the subject of her doctoral dissertation at Rutgers University…

Read the entire article here.

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Black Intellectual History and STEM: A Conversation with Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

Posted in Articles, Interviews, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2016-08-29 18:00Z by Steven

Black Intellectual History and STEM: A Conversation with Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

AAIHS: African American Intellectual History Society
2016-08-29

Greg Childs, Assistant Professor
Departments of History and African and Afro-American Studies
Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts

This month, I interviewed Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein on the intersections of black intellectual history and STEM. Dr. Prescod-Weinstein is a theoretical astrophysicist specializing in early universe cosmology. She is the 63rd black woman in the United States to earn a PhD in Physics. She is currently a Research Associate in Physics at the University of Washington, Seattle and the editor-in-chief of The Offing, an online literary magazine.

Greg Childs (GC): What were some of the formative texts or life moments that helped you decide to pursue STEM research?

Chanda Prescod-Weinstein (CPW): When I was ten, my mom took me to see the Errol Morris documentary, “A Brief History of Time,” which was about the great theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and his ideas about the universe. I hadn’t wanted to see the film because I thought documentaries were stupid, but half way through, Hawking was talking about black hole singularities and how we don’t really understand the physics at that point in spacetime. My mind was blown by two things: there were things Einstein hadn’t figured out, and you could get paid to worry about things Einstein hadn’t figured out! I was sold. I came out of the theater begging my mom to buy Hawking’s book of the same title, but she was worried it would be too hard and discouraged me. Her brother, my Uncle Peter, bought it for me as an 11th birthday gift a few months later. After that, I looked Stephen Hawking up and emailed him to ask how to become a theoretical physicist. One of his grad students responded. Here I am 23 years later doing theoretical physics.

GC: You engage with a broad range of important black thinkers and creators in your writings, from Sojourner Truth to C.L.R. James to Prince. How has your engagement with African-American history and philosophy impacted the way you theorize about the universe or lecture on astrophysics?

CPW: Long before I even knew what physics was, the history of the African diaspora had been knitted into me through my family, my name, and conscious education. This necessarily means that I have never considered doing physics or being a physicist separately from the unfolding story of Blackness…

Read the entire interview here.

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Voices of Slavery: ‘They Were Saving Me For a Breeding Woman’

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Women on 2016-08-28 01:55Z by Steven

Voices of Slavery: ‘They Were Saving Me For a Breeding Woman’

This Cruel War: An Evidence-Based Exploration of the Civil War, its Causes and Repercussions
2016-08-25


Virginian Luxuries, artist unknown. c1825.

During 1929 and 1930, an Africa-American scholar named Ophelia Settle Egypt, conducted nearly 100 interviews with former slaves. Working then at Fisk University, she was the first person to ever conduct such a large scale endeavor. Accompanied by Charles Johnson, a black sociologist, she was able to get the former slaves to open up about the waning days of the institution. In 1945, she finally published her Unwritten History of Slavery, which collected thirty-eight transcripts of the interviews. Each account, published anonymously, painted a fuller picture of black slavery in Tennessee and Kentucky, where most of the interviewees had resided.

This first account, entitled “One of Dr. Gale’s ‘Free Niggers’,” is surprisingly candid about the rape of slave women by their owners, as well as other aspects of such relationships.

Just the other day we were talking about white people when they had slaves. You know when a man would marry, his father would give him a woman for a cook and she would have children right in the house by him, and his wife would have children, too. Sometimes the cook’s children favored him so much that the wife would be mean to them and make him sell them. If they had nice long hair she would cut it off and wouldn’t let them wear it long like the white children…

…Then there was old Sam Watkins, – he would ship their husbands (slaves) out of bed and get in with their wives. One man (a slave) said he stood it as long as he could and one morning he just stood out side, and when he (the master) got with his wife (the slave), he just choked him to death. He knew it was death, but it was death anyhow; so he just killed him. They hanged him. There has always been a law in Tennessee that if a Negro kill a white man it means death.

Now, mind you, all of the colored women didn’t have to have white men, some did it because they wanted to and some were forced. They had a horror of going to Mississippi and they would do anything to keep from it. A white woman would have a maid sometimes who was nice looking, and she would keep her and her son would have children by her. Of course the mixed blood, you couldn’t expect much from them…

Read the entire article here.

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Katherine Johnson, the NASA Mathematician Who Advanced Human Rights with a Slide Rule and Pencil

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2016-08-23 19:52Z by Steven

Katherine Johnson, the NASA Mathematician Who Advanced Human Rights with a Slide Rule and Pencil

Vanity Fair
September 2016

Charles Bolden, Administrator
National Aeronautics and Space Administration


Katherine Johnson, photographed at Fort Monroe, in Hampton, Virginia.
Photograph by Annie Leibovitz

NASA chief Charles Bolden recalls the historic trajectory of the “human computer” who played a key role in the Apollo 11 moon landing, and as a female African-American in the 1960s, shattered stereotypes in the process.

When I was growing up, in segregated South Carolina, African-American role models in national life were few and far between. Later, when my fellow flight students and I, in training at the Naval Air Station in Meridian, Mississippi, clustered around a small television watching the Apollo 11 moon landing, little did I know that one of the key figures responsible for its success was an unassuming black woman from West Virginia: Katherine Johnson. Hidden Figures is both an upcoming book and an upcoming movie about her incredible life, and, as the title suggests, Katherine worked behind the scenes but with incredible impact…

..“In math, you’re either right or you’re wrong,” she said. Her succinct words belie a deep curiosity about the world and dedication to her discipline, despite the prejudices of her time against both women and African-Americans. It was her duty to calculate orbital trajectories and flight times relative to the position of the moon—you know, simple things. In this day and age, when we increasingly rely on technology, it’s hard to believe that John Glenn himself tasked Katherine to double-check the results of the computer calculations before his historic orbital flight, the first by an American. The numbers of the human computer and the machine matched.

With a slide rule and a pencil, Katherine advanced the cause of human rights and the frontier of human achievement at the same time. Having graduated from high school at 14 and college at 18 at a time when African-Americans often did not go beyond the eighth grade, she used her amazing facility with geometry to calculate Alan Shepard’s flight path and took the Apollo 11 crew to the moon to orbit it, land on it, and return safely to Earth…

Read the entire article here.

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Michaela Angela Davis Strips Down For The “What’s Underneath Project,” Talks Racism, Insecurities

Posted in Arts, Autobiography, Interviews, Media Archive, United States, Videos, Women on 2016-08-22 23:28Z by Steven

Michaela Angela Davis Strips Down For The “What’s Underneath Project,” Talks Racism, Insecurities

Madame Noire
2016-08-22

Brande Victorian, Managing Editor

Michaela Angela Davis has long been everything and then some to us, and our opinion of the writer, culture critique, and activist has only skyrocketed after watching her strip down for StyleLikeU’s highly regarded “What’s Underneath Project.”…

…And we’re thankful for that. Here are the highlights from Davis’ interview:

On assumptions people make about her because of how she looks

“The first, sort of obvious assumption is that I’m mixed race– like one parent is white, one parent is Black — and it’s not so. Both of my parents are light-skinned and Black. Both of my parents are products of what I call the great horror story of America and the great love story of America. In order to survive, often families would marry other light-skinned Blacks to stay alive…

Read the entire article here.

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