Joan Williams in Rose Parade after nearly 60 years, but some wonder why she wasn’t in broadcast

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2015-01-01 20:48Z by Steven

Joan Williams in Rose Parade after nearly 60 years, but some wonder why she wasn’t in broadcast

Pasadena Star-News
Pasadena, California
2015-01-01

Christina Gullickson, Reporter


Joan Williams, 82, right, rides the theme banner float Inspiring Stories, along Colorado Blvd. during the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California on January 1, 2015. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/ Pasadena Star-News)

Joan Williams, the 82-year-old Pasadena, Calif., woman who was named “Miss Crown City” in 1957 and didn’t get to ride in the 1958 Rose Parade after word spread of her African-American ancestry, finally had her chance and was on the lead float in the Rose Parade on Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015. Some viewers were left wondering why Williams didn’t make it onto their TVs…

Read the entire article here.

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Pasadena, Calif., Negro Queen Snubbed At Rose Bowl Festivities

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2015-01-01 00:27Z by Steven

Pasadena, Calif., Negro Queen Snubbed At Rose Bowl Festivities

Jet
1959-01-15
pages 50-51


Mayor J. Miller gifted Mrs. Williams at August ceremonies

For 26-year-old Mrs. Joan R. Williams, first Negro ever crowned queen in the Tournament of Roses’ 12-year history, Pasadena, California’s biggest event was anything but a bowl of roses. Although picked last August from a field of 15 to reign over Pasadena and ride on the city’s official float New Year’s Day, the petite mother of two was in fact a queen without a domain.

For when word spread that light-complexioned Mrs. Williams was a Negro, fellow employees in the municipal office where she works as an accountant-clerk suddenly stopped speaking to her. Mayor Jeth Miller, who crowned her at the city employees annual picnic, neither participated with her in later civic events nor rode with her in the Tournament of Roses parade.

And Mrs. Williams did not ride on a float, because the City of Pasadena neglected to include one in its own parade. Too many others were already entered, explained an official. She did not extend the city’s traditional welcome to the visiting Rose Bowl Queen because officials failed to introduce her. She did not occupy a special place of honor at the Rose Bowl football game, because there was none.

In fact, the only recognition Mrs. Williams received as queen were six free tickets—two for the reviewing stands along the parade route, two for the Coronation Ball and two for the game, where she and hubby, Robert, sat in the end zone as anonymously as other fans. Queenship had been an embarrassing affair both for her and her family, lamented Mrs. Williams. Said she at week’s end: “If I had to do it all over again, I would refuse the title.”

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“Love Letter to My Ancestors:” Representing Traumatic Memory in Jackie Kay’s The Lamplighter

Posted in Articles, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Slavery, Women on 2014-12-30 02:16Z by Steven

“Love Letter to My Ancestors:” Representing Traumatic Memory in Jackie Kay’s The Lamplighter

Atlantis: Journal of the Spanish Association for Anglo-American Studies
Volume 36, Number 2 (December 2014)
pages 161-182

Petra Tournay-Theodotou, Associate Professor of English
European University Cyprus, Engomi, Nicosia-Cyprus

Jackie Kay’s The Lamplighter, published in 2008, was first broadcast on BBC radio in 2007 to coincide with the commemoration of the bicentenary of the abolition of the African slave trade in Britain. Kay’s dramatised poem or play, as it has alternately been defi ned, focuses on the female experience of enslavement and the particular forms of dehumanization the female slave had to endure. Kay’s project can in fact be described in terms of Marianne Hirsch’s concept of “postmemory,” or more specifically of “feminist postmemory.” As such, literary devices are employed to emulate the traumatic events at the level of form such as intertextuality, repetition and a fragmented narrative voice. While commemorating the evils of the past, Kay simultaneously wishes to draw attention to contemporary forms of racism and exploitation in the pursuit of profit. Through re-telling the story of slavery, The Lamplighter can ultimately be regarded as Kay’s tribute to her African roots and the suffering endured by her African forebears and contemporaries.

Read the entire article here.

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Woman turned away from 1958 Rose Parade because of race to ride in 2015 parade

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United States, Videos, Women on 2014-12-29 03:27Z by Steven

Woman turned away from 1958 Rose Parade because of race to ride in 2015 parade

Eyewitness News, KABC 7
Los Angeles, California
2014-12-27

Leanne Suter, Reporter

PASADENA, Calif. (KABC) — A woman who was denied the honor of riding in the Rose Parade in 1958 because of her race will finally get her chance in 2015.

Joan Williams, 83, was named Miss Crown City in 1958, representing Pasadena. It was an honor she received after being nominated by her coworkers at city hall.

However, she was denied the honor after city officials discovered she is African American. She said it was devastating to be told she wasn’t worthy because of her race…


A woman who was denied the honor of riding in the Rose Parade in 1958 because of her race will finally get her chance in 2015.

Read the entire article here.

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Rose Parade 2015: Woman to ride float 60 years after she was denied because of African-American heritage

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2014-12-28 18:49Z by Steven

Rose Parade 2015: Woman to ride float 60 years after she was denied because of African-American heritage

Pasadena Star-News
Pasadena, California
2014-12-27

Sarah Favot, Pasadena Star-News


Joan Williams, 82, of Pasadena, holding a portrait of herself wearing a crown from when she was selected as “Miss Crown City” by her colleagues in City Hall in 1958 and was supposed to ride on the city-sponsored Rose Parade float. When city officials found out she was black, they took that honor away saying, the city couldn’t afford a float that year. Now nearly 60 years later, Williams will ride on the opening banner float during the 2015 Rose Parade. Walt Mancini/Staff Photographer

PASADENA >> Nearly 60 years after she was promised a seat on a Rose Parade float, only to have that honor taken away when city officials found out she was African-American, Joan Williams will be seated at the head of the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day as it cruises down Colorado Boulevard.

Williams, 82, was named “Miss Crown City” in 1957, an honor bestowed upon one City Hall employee who would ride on a city-sponsored float during the Rose Parade on Jan. 1, 1958. The honor was like the Rose Queen title — Miss Crown City would attend numerous events leading up to the parade, representing the city.

Williams, then 27 years old and a mother of two young children, was thrilled.

“I was young and it was exciting,” Williams said.

A couple of months later, however, she experienced a grave disappointment, according to Jet Magazine.


Source: Jet Magazine

“For when word spread that light-complexioned Mrs. Williams was a Negro, fellow employees in the municipal office where she works as an accountant-clerk suddenly stopped speaking to her,” the magazine reported in January 1959. “And Mrs. Williams did not ride on a float, because the City of Pasadena neglected to include one in its own parade. Too many others were already entered, explained an official,” the article continued.

Williams said she never bought that reasoning. If the city didn’t have enough money, it wouldn’t have named a Miss Crown City months before the parade, she said. The city had even paid for a portrait of Williams in a gown, corsage and tiara.

Williams attended a city employees picnic at Brookside Park where a photographer from Jet wanted to take her picture with the mayor at the time. The mayor refused, she said.

“It was one of the first times, as an adult, I began to grow up and realize what racism is,” she said…

Read the entire article here.

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Ophelia DeVore-Mitchell, 92, Dies; Redefined Beauty

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2014-12-28 18:28Z by Steven

Ophelia DeVore-Mitchell, 92, Dies; Redefined Beauty

The New York Times
2014-03-13

Margalit Fox


Ophelia DeVore-Mitchell
Credit MARBL/Emory University, via Associated Press

Ophelia DeVore-Mitchell, a former model, agent, charm-school director and newspaper publisher who almost single-handedly opened the modeling profession to African-Americans, and in so doing expanded public understanding of what American beauty looks like, died on Feb. 28 in Manhattan. She was 92.

Her death was announced on March 6 on the floor of the House of Representatives by Sanford D. Bishop Jr., Democrat of Georgia. At her death, Mrs. DeVore-Mitchell was the publisher emeritus of The Columbus Times, a black newspaper in Columbus, Ga., which she ran from the 1970s until her retirement about five years ago.

Long before the phrase “Black is beautiful” gained currency in the 1960s, Mrs. DeVore-Mitchell was preaching that ethos by example.

In New York in the 1940s — an age when modeling schools, and modeling jobs, were overwhelmingly closed to blacks — she helped start the Grace del Marco Modeling Agency and later founded the Ophelia DeVore School of Self-Development and Modeling. The enterprises, which served minorities, endured for six decades…

…“Black has always been beautiful,” Mrs. DeVore-Mitchell once said. “But you had to hide it to be a model.”

In the late 1930s, when Mrs. DeVore-Mitchell began her career as one of the first black models in the United States, she found work partly by hiding her own heritage. But in her case, the hiding was done entirely through inadvertence.

Emma Ophelia DeVore was born on Aug. 12, 1921, in Edgefield, S.C., one of 10 children of John Walter DeVore, a building contractor, and the former Mary Emma Strother, a schoolteacher.

As a girl, Mrs. DeVore-Mitchell, whose family was of African, Cherokee, French and German descent, was educated in segregated Southern schools; she received additional instruction “in dancing, piano and all the other things in the arts that parents gave you to make you a lady,” as she told Ebony magazine in 2012

…A beauty with wide-set eyes, Ophelia DeVore had begun modeling casually as a teenager. A few years later, seeking professional training, she enrolled in the Vogue School of Modeling in New York.

It was only toward the end of her studies there, when the school refused admission to another black candidate, that she realized it had mistaken her, with her light skin, for white.

“I didn’t know that they didn’t know,” Mrs. DeVore-Mitchell said in the Ebony interview. “I thought they knew what I was.”…

Read the entire obituary here.

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“The Double Curse of Sex and Color”: Robert Purvis and Human Rights

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2014-12-17 18:59Z by Steven

“The Double Curse of Sex and Color”: Robert Purvis and Human Rights

Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography
Volume 121 [CXXI], Number 1-2, January/April 1997
pages 53-76

Margaret Hope Bacon (1921-2011)

In 1869 A NATIONAL WOMAN’S SUFFRAGE convention was held for the first time in Washington, D.C. The Fourteenth Amendment had recently been ratified and the Fifteenth was about to be introduced into Congress. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and other women present used the opportunity to object to black men receiving the vote before women, both black and white, were enfranchised. Their arguments were countered by those of Frederick Douglass, Edward M. Davis, Dr. Charles Burleigh Purvis, and others, who maintained that the Southern black male needed the shield of suffrage to protect him from the reign of terror being visited upon him by former slave owners.

A tall slender man with fair skin and white hair rose at his seat and began to speak. Elizabeth Stanton invited him to come forward and address the convention from the platform. Robert Purvis of Philadelphia said that he was willing to wait for the vote for himself and his sons and his race until women were also permitted to enjoy it. It was important to him that his daughter be enfranchised, since she bore the double curse of sex and race. He chided his son, Dr. Charles Purvis, for holding a narrow position, and reminded him that his sister Hattie also deserved to be enfranchised.

Alone among the black men who had supported women’s rights in the antislavery movement, Robert Purvis remained an advocate of suffrage for women throughout the period of debate and schism over the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments. In 1888 he was honored by Susan B. Anthony at the International Council of Women, meeting in Washington, D.C., for his courageous stand in 1869 in opposition to his own son.

Purvis’s advocacy of women’s rights was rooted in his deeply held convictions on human rights. He believed strongly that the struggle for equality for blacks could not be separated from that of women, of American Indians, of Irish nationalists demanding home rule, of all minorities. He objected to all associations based on color alone and rejected the term “African-American.” ‘There is not a single African in the United States,” he told a Philadelphia audience in 1886. “We are to the manner born; we are native Americans.”

Purvis’s position on human rights undoubtedly stemmed in part from his own mixed-race background. His grandmother, Dido Badaracka, was born in Morocco. Purvis described her as a “full-blooded Moor of magnificent features and great beauty. She had crisp hair and a stately manner.” In approximately 1766, at the age of twelve, she was captured by a slave trader along with an Arab girl. The two had been enticed to go a mile or two out of the city where they lived to see a deer that had been caught. They were seized, loaded on the backs of camels, and carried to a slave market on the coast. Here they were loaded onto a slaver and transported to Charleston, South Carolina. At the slave market in Charleston, Dido was bought by a kind white woman, named Day or Deas, who educated her, treated her as a companion, and left instructions that she was to be freed when the woman died, nine years later, in 1775…

Read the entire article here.

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Female Slaves and the Law

Posted in History, Law, Slavery, United States, Videos, Women on 2014-12-08 21:16Z by Steven

Female Slaves and the Law

C-SPAN: Created by Cable
Lectures in History
2014-10-21

Martha S. Jones, Arthur F Thurnau Professor, Associate Professor of History and Afroamerican and African Studies
University of Michigan

Professor Martha Jones talked about the mid-19th century court case of Celia, a female slave who killed her master after repeated sexual assaults. Topics included what options Celia may have had, and the involvement of her fellow slaves and her master’s white neighbors in her court case.

View the lecture here (01:21:40). See also, “Celia, A Slave, Trial (1855): An Account” by Douglas O. Linder (2011).

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Dr. Rainbow Johnson: Tracee Ellis Ross and Mixed Race on Black-ish

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2014-11-18 20:13Z by Steven

Dr. Rainbow Johnson: Tracee Ellis Ross and Mixed Race on Black-ish

Kaleido[scopes]: Diaspora Re-imagined
Williams College Student Research Journal
2014-10-27

Michelle May-Curry, Contributing Writer

Mixed race women. The tragic mulatta, the jezebel, the code-switcher, the new millennium mulatta, and the exceptional multiracial are terms and ideas that audiences subconsciously pull from to index mixed race identity. Some of these tropes are centuries old – the tragic mulatta calls to mind a woman who cannot find a home in either of her identities and as such meets her downfall through racelessness. Other terms like the “new millenium mulatta” are new, and describe a woman who constantly seeks to transcend her blackness and climb the racial hierarchy. But these terms do not quite begin to describe who Dr. Rainbow Johnson is on ABC’s new show Black-ish. What role Rainbow plays within the black experience, however, is a question that Black-ish might not know the answer to just yet.

Tracee Ellis Ross, the mixed race actress of Girlfriends fame, plays Rainbow (Bow for short), a 21st century working mother of four. As the show might imply, Ross’ character is black…ish. Bow is a self identified mixed race woman and the matriarch to an upper class black family in the suburbs. The product of hippie parents, as her rather eccentric name might suggest, Bow’s upbringing was progressive and far less “traditionally” black compared to her husband’s, who grew up in Compton. As for Ross, the actress is a self-identified black woman who simultaneously acknowledges both her black and white identities. Ross’ identity is rather abnormal for a mixed woman of her generation- most mixed race people born before the 1980′s recount stories of how black was the natural and only identity choice they had to make. The most famous example we can look to today who shares this opinion is our president, Barack Obama

Read the entire article here.

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The Pose as Interventionist Gesture: Erica Lord and Decolonizing the Proper Subject of Memory

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2014-11-17 17:35Z by Steven

The Pose as Interventionist Gesture: Erica Lord and Decolonizing the Proper Subject of Memory

E-Misférica
Decolonial Gesture, Volume 11, Issue 1, 2014

Colleen Kim Daniher
School of Communication
Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

This article investigates the decolonial politics of the pose in the photographic and installation work of mixed-race Native Alaskan artist Erica Lord. Refiguring the pose as decolonial gesture, I argue that Lord’s poses can be understood as decolonial labor because of the ways in which they employ messy genealogies of colonial space and time in order to disrupt the linear unfolding of white settler colonial history. In the act of posing, Lord intervenes in a visual and historical archive that positions both Native and mixed race subjects—especially women—as particularly vulnerable subjects to the ongoing Western imperial project of assimilationist inclusion. Lord’s photographic poses enact a literal seizure of time that resists both the presumed past-ness of the Native American and the presumed futurity of the racially-ambiguous, mixed race woman. In so doing, she revises the temporal politics of both, critically calling into question “the proper” subject of memory.

And it is always exciting, then and now, to realize that you are not a person or a voice that stands alone […] There’s this quote that I repeat to myself all the time, I put it on the starter slide for just about every presentation I give, and I think about it often…

Erica Lord, in interview with Dasha Shleyeva

and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent we are still afraid
so it is better to speak
remembering
we were never
meant to survive

Audre Lorde from Litany for Survival

A woman, hair bleached blond and eyes rimmed with kohl, gazes directly into the camera. She is naked, save for a banana-lined skirt and piles of necklaces cascading down her bare breasts. Back arched, her hands wrapped around her exposed stomach, the woman’s feet are planted firmly on the ground, yet her long legged stance suggests the latent possibility of movement, of dance. We have seen this image, differently, before. Behind her, a double shadow, as if in flight, splays against the obvious studio backdrop. Moving between darkness and light, stillness and movement, presence and absence, the photograph conjures the ghost of Josephine Baker only to refract it, multiplying different trajectories of space and time both into the past and into the future.

The image is multimedia artist Erica Lord’s 2005 self-portrait, Danse Sauvage, and it features the artist in costume and in character as Baker. Lord is a self-identified mixed-race Native Alaskan of Athabascan (interior Alaska), Inupiat (North and Northwest Alaska), Finnish, Swedish, English, and Japanese descent. She has described the work as being “a direct response to the feeling of being seen as exotic,” explaining that she: “tried looking back in history, at other mixed women, or other Native women who sort of owned that power [of exoticism] […] The photograph sort of grew from this desire to emulate or embody that sort of force or power that she [Josephine Baker] had” (Shleyeva 2010). Although some might object to Lord’s proximate staging of North American Indigenous and Black diasporic histories, this essay seizes upon Lord’s identificatory “look back in history” in order to examine the ways in which such a gesture critically addresses the overlapping but sometimes fraught relationship between decolonizing and antiracist epistemological stances. Bonita Lawrence and Enakshi Dua have characterized this antagonism as an issue of historical memory: critical race and postcolonial theory systematically erases Aboriginal peoples and decolonization from the construction of knowledge about ‘race,’ racism, racial subjectivities, and antiracism…the exclusion of Aboriginal peoples from the project of antiracism erases them from history. (Lawrence and Dua 2005, 132)…

Read the entire article here.

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