Othello’s Daughter

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Europe, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States, Women on 2015-08-19 01:52Z by Steven

Othello’s Daughter

The New Yorker

Alex Ross, Music Critic

Aldridge, circa 1865, and his daughter Luranah, a singer, in an undated image.
Credit Photographs by Billy Rose Theatre Division / The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts; Mccormick Library of Special Collections / Northwestern University Library

The rich legacy of Ira Aldridge, the pioneering black Shakespearean.

In 1896, a thirty-six-year-old opera singer named Luranah Aldridge travelled to Germany to prepare for performances of Wagner’sRing of the Nibelung,” at the Bayreuth Festival. Dozens of young singers had made such a journey before her: thirteen years after Wagner’s death, Bayreuth had become a summit of the operatic world. Aldridge, though, was of mixed race: an English native, she was the daughter of an African-American and a Swede. The casting of a nonwhite performer in Wagner’s Nordic-Teutonic saga might have been expected to arouse opposition, given the notorious racism of the composer and many of his followers, yet an advance guide to the 1896 festival treats Aldridge simply as a promising novelty:

A name that may well ring strangely in the ears of even the most observant art lovers is that of Luranah Aldridge, who will sing one of the eight Valkyries. Of Luranah Aldridge one cannot say that she did not come from far off, as she hails—from Africa. She is the daughter of the African tragedian Ira Aldridge and studied singing in Germany, England and France, and has appeared with great success in operas and concerts outside of Germany. She is praised as the possessor of a true contralto voice with a wide range. In the course of the festival there will be an opportunity to put these statements to the test.

The singer fell sick during rehearsals and did not perform that summer. Despite encouragement from Cosima Wagner, the composer’s widow, Aldridge faded from view. A few reference works mention her; otherwise, she has vanished from the historical record…

Read the entire article here.

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Amanda Aldridge, Teacher and Composer: A Life in Music

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Europe, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2015-08-18 19:20Z by Steven

Amanda Aldridge, Teacher and Composer: A Life in Music

Journal of Singing
January 2010
ISSN: 10867732

Joyce Andrews, Adjunct Instructor of Music
Ripon College, Ripon, Wisconsin

Aldridge was a remarkable person who devoted her lifetime to music, enriching the musical culture of Great Britain through her multi-talents as composer (published under the nom de plume “Montague Ring”) and as teacher, singer, and pianist. She mentored and inspired many young musicians and became a central figure in the black community in London.

ALTHOUGH THE NAME OF MONTAGUE RING is not familiar to most musicians today, this London composer wrote music that was extremely popular in Europe in the early twentieth century. Major music publishing firms published numerous songs in London by Ring between the years 1907 and 1925. Written predominantly in a romantic parlor song style fashionable in that day, Montague Ring’s songs for voice and piano numbered almost thirty, although the composer’s output included various compositions for other instruments that also gained considerable recognition.

A bit of investigation into this little known composer with the distinguished-sounding British high society name reveals a surprise – that Montague Ring was merely the pseudonym adopted by Afro-British female composer Amanda Ira Aldridge, born Amanda Christina Elizabeth Aldridge (1866-1956). Although reasons vary as to why composers opt to publish under a name other than their own, in Amanda Aldridge’s case, it may well be that her chosen pseudonym allowed her a degree of separation between her varied career pursuits. Amanda Aldridge was an active, accomplished musician during her long career and gained public attention through the various “hats” she wore as concert singer, piano accompanist, and voice teacher, as well as the composer Montague Ring. Particularly impressive is the musical circle in which she traveled in London as well as her vocal pedigree – she was an early pupil of Jenny Lind (famously known as the “Swedish Nightingale”) at the Royal College of Music in London. Aldridge is also attributed with providing voice instruction to some of the most acclaimed artists of the twentieth century, including African American singers Roland Hayes, Marian Anderson, and Paul Robeson. The accomplishment of so many careers was certainly inspired, and reinforced, by an additional significant detail about Amanda Aldridge she was the daughter of one of the most acclaimed tragedians of his time in Europe, the African American actor Ira Aldridge

Read the entire article here.

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Cedric Dover, the Anglo-Indian Who Sought Worldwide Solidarity With Racial Minorities

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, Europe, Media Archive, United States on 2015-08-18 15:27Z by Steven

Cedric Dover, the Anglo-Indian Who Sought Worldwide Solidarity With Racial Minorities

The Wire

Elisabeth Engel, Research Fellow
German Historical Institute, Washington, D.C.

Slate, Nico, The Prism of Race: W.E.B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, Paul Robeson, and the Colored World of Cedric Dover (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014)

The scholarship that takes up W.E.B. Du Bois’s thesis that “the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the colour line – the relation of the darker to the lighter races of men in Asia and Africa, in America and the islands of the sea” fills libraries around the globe.

Ever since the African-American leader defined the concept in Souls of Black Folk in 1903, it figured prominently in research on the United States and the transnational contexts of Western imperialism. Nico Slate, a historian at Carnegie Mellon University, is no exception. His research on social movements in the United States and India has long explored how black Americans and colonial subjects advanced their struggles against white supremacy. His most recent book, The Prism of Race: W.E.B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, Paul Robeson, and the Colored World of Cedric Dover, makes the case that this struggle did not just pose the problem of race, but also that of colour.

The story of the 20th century that unfolds from the perspective of people defined as coloured is the subject of Slate’s account. He traces it through the lens of Cedric Dover (1904–1961), an Anglo-Indian biologist, who dedicated his work to the study of race and his political ambition to the movement toward Afro-Asian solidarity. Dover was born in colonial Calcutta, one year after Du Bois’s historic prediction. Slate shows that Dover was one of those “men in Asia and Africa,” whose libraries were filled with Du Bois’s and other African Americans’ writings. Precisely, Dover’s personal library, comprising his writings and reading, is Slate’s main primary source…

Read the entire review here.

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Half-white, half-Asian, but no less Irish

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Europe, Media Archive on 2015-08-17 01:48Z by Steven

Half-white, half-Asian, but no less Irish

The Irish Examiner
Dublin, Ireland

Dean Van Nguyen

Half white, half Asian Dubliner Dean Van Nguyen speaks to other mixed-race Irish people in their twenties and thirties about growing up in a primarily white culture, being subjected to racist taunts, and coming to terms with their own sense of self.

Who am I? It’s a simple question, but one we as human beings frequently ask ourselves – it defines our sense of self identity, from childhood right throughout our lives, and can play a major role in shaping the people we become.

When it comes to self-concept, there are some obvious factors that we know from an early age just by examining our circumstances.

For generations of people born in Ireland, many of the key questions seemed pre-answered: You were Irish. You were white. You were Christian.

As African-American comedian Reginald D. Hunter joked at a Vicar Street gig in 2011, Ireland is “where they make white people”.

While the country is becoming ever more pluralist as we get deeper into the 21st century, for those of mixed-race now in their twenties and thirties, the answers to these questions of self-identity have been less simple…

Read the entire article here.

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Notable Black and Mixed Race men in Renaissance Europe

Posted in Articles, Europe, History, Media Archive on 2015-07-28 14:27Z by Steven

Notable Black and Mixed Race men in Renaissance Europe

Bino & Fino: Embracing My Child’s Black African Identity

Maria Tumolo

We are thrilled to bring you our very first guest post from children’s author Maria Tumolo. She is also writes a blog called Tiger Tales which explores parenting as an expat mixed heritage family.

During my time at university many moons ago, I was intrigued by the ‘cross-pollution’ of cultures between Europe and Africa during the Renaissance age. It seemed to me that Europe gained more from the encounter than some historians would readily admit. It’s known that scholars travelled to Egypt to study. (Yes, Egypt is on the African continent.) For example it recorded that the Greek Astronomer and Mathematician, Sosigenes of Alexandria, advised Julius Caesar to adopt ‘the modification of the 365-day Egyptian solar calendar but with an extra day every fourth year (leap year). This came into effect in 45 BC.’ Other notable Greek Scholars who travelled and studied in Egypt were Plato and Pythagoras. However, I was curious to know more about the African presence in Europe during the Renaissance. It’s known that not all the black people in Europe during this time were not slaves. While searching the internet, I came across a review of an art exhibition that was run back in 2012, at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. It was entitled Revealing the African Presence in Renaissance Europe. I was fascinated by lives and stories of the individuals it featured. I didn’t want too long a blog post. Therefore, I’ll focus on three male historical figures, Black and Mixed Race. I present to you: Alessandro de’ Medici, Antonio Nsaku Manuel Vunda, and St. Benedict of Palermo

Read the entire article here.

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How to Unlearn History | Ella Achola | TEDxCoventGardenWomen

Posted in Autobiography, Europe, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2015-07-25 00:16Z by Steven

How to Unlearn History | Ella Achola | TEDxCoventGardenWomen

TEDx Talks

Ella Achola, Founder
Ain’t I A Woman Collective

From awkward school encounters to groan-inducingly offensive questions, Ella finds herself at the intersections of identity, and shares her big idea for bringing ourselves into the stories we tell.

Ella Achola is a writer and founder of the Ain’t I A Woman Collective. Born in Berlin, Ella founded the Collective as an opportunity to engage with her Afro-German heritage and extend the conversation about Europe’s black diaspora beyond the UK.

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Mixed Race Irish: ‘We were the dust to be swept away’

Posted in Articles, Europe, History, Media Archive, Religion, Social Work on 2015-07-19 16:56Z by Steven

Mixed Race Irish: ‘We were the dust to be swept away’

The Irish Times

Kitty Holland, Staff Reporter

‘I lived in a state of pure terror’: Rosemary Adaser, co-founder of the group Mixed Race Irish. Photograph: Joanne O’Brien

Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation urged to confront the racism endured by children taken into care and abused because they had a non-white parent

In October 1958, when Rosemary Adaser was admitted, as an 18-month-old, to a mother-and-baby home in Dublin, her admission notes described her as “illegitimate and coloured”. Fifteen years later, when she was pregnant and sent to a mother-and-baby home in Co Meath, they described her as “rather mature for her age; accepts her colour well”.

“My file is peppered with references to my colour,” she says. “The racism was relentless and brutalising. My formative years were devastated by it.”

Adaser is one of about 70 mixed-race people who have come together in the past few years as Mixed Race Irish, a campaign and support group. They believe they were taken into care because they were mixed race, that there was a different unspoken “policy” for them and that they suffered an “extra layer of abuse” because of their racial identity. They say racism was endemic, systemic and systematic, in the care system and in Irish society, and that their experiences were particular to them…

…Like other mixed-race Irish children in the mother-and-baby homes, she was never offered for adoption. She believes this was policy, based on a presumption that nobody would want to adopt a mixed-race baby. Instead she was fostered, or boarded out. “When I was four I was sent to a couple in their 60s. No, they weren’t vetted. They were invited to select a child. People were paid by the State to take in children. This couple had no pension, and I was an income source.

“The woman was vicious. I have a clear memory of fearing the gardening gloves, because she would go and cut branches from the rose bushes and cut the flowers off. She called me filthy and nasty and would strip me naked. I was four, remember, and she would whip me with the thorns. Years later I still had scars on my back, buttocks, stomach, legs, arms and soles of my feet, but not my face,” Adaser says. “The whippings were so bad I was hospitalised. After 18 months I was returned to St Patrick’s.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Being ‘Mixed Race’: Kira Lea Dargin and Annina Chirade

Posted in Audio, Autobiography, Europe, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Media Archive, Oceania, United Kingdom on 2015-05-13 15:58Z by Steven

Being ‘Mixed Race’: Kira Lea Dargin and Annina Chirade

BBC World Service
The Conversation

Kim Chakanetsa, Presenter

Left: Kira Lea Dargin. Credit: Claire Mahjoub, SSH. Right: Annina Chirade. Credit: Adu Lalouschek

Kira Lea Dargin’s parents met at church. Her mother is white from a Russian family who emigrated to Australia in the 1950s, and her father is Aboriginal Australian. Being “mixed” Kira says, means constantly having to explain how you came about or how your family manages to blend. Having come through some difficult times as a teenager Kira now happily identifies with both of her cultural backgrounds. As the director of ‘Aboriginal Model Management Australia‘, her mission is to help broaden how Australian beauty is defined.

Annina Chirade describes herself as Ghanaian Austrian. She is the founder and editor of Rooted In magazine. When she was growing up, between London and Vienna, people would often question whether she was related to her fair, straight-haired mother. After many years obsessively straightening her own “kinky, curly, Afro-” hair as a teenager, she found her own style – inspired by the confident styles of black female singers like Erykah Badu. Annina says that when you are ‘mixed-race’ people make assumptions about your identity and consider it to be “up for debate”, but she is clear that “whiteness is not something I’m a part of.”

Listen to the interview here.

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What it’s like to grow up biracial in small-town Ireland

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Europe, Media Archive on 2015-05-04 18:28Z by Steven

What it’s like to grow up biracial in small-town Ireland

The Journal.ie
Dublin, Ireland

Angela Fichter

The other children from Donegal were all curious about my ginger hair and brown face – to understand me as ‘biracial’ was inconceivable.

JUST LIKE IN the US, in Ireland I’m considered black or mixed-race – but as an old family friend describes it, Ireland has always been my “spiritual home” and I’ve spent more time in this tiny island nation than most full-blooded Irish Americans. The same friend was also there at the beginning of my close connection to this country – spotting two-year-old me on the grass outside our home, curious about the bright red ginger hair on a brown face.

Though my father is Irish on his grandmother’s side from Cork, all his family immigrated to the US decades ago, and we are the only ones in the family to have any ties with the country.

Before I was born, my dad visited the country on a break from work in London and, in total wonderment of the hospitality and peace he felt there, decided to purchase a home on the northwest coast in Donegal. He fell in love with the breathtaking natural beauty, considering it a refuge from the fast-paced life he led in the States.

In retrospect, though I would’ve preferred to spend part of my childhood in Dublin – for the burgeoning diversity, work opportunities, and all the facets of a major city – Donegal is home in so many ways.

However, that’s not to say that I haven’t struggled as an outsider…

Read the entire article here.

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Lines of Descent: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Emergence of Identity

Posted in Biography, Books, Europe, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Philosophy on 2015-04-16 19:29Z by Steven

Lines of Descent: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Emergence of Identity

Harvard University Press
February 2014
240 pages
4-3/8 x 7-1/8 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 9780674724914

Kwame Anthony Appiah, Professor of Law and Philosophy
New York University

W. E. B. Du Bois never felt so at home as when he was a student at the University of Berlin. But Du Bois was also American to his core, scarred but not crippled by the racial humiliations of his homeland. In Lines of Descent, Kwame Anthony Appiah traces the twin lineages of Du Bois’ American experience and German apprenticeship, showing how they shaped the great African-American scholar’s ideas of race and social identity.

At Harvard, Du Bois studied with such luminaries as William James and George Santayana, scholars whose contributions were largely intellectual. But arriving in Berlin in 1892, Du Bois came under the tutelage of academics who were also public men. The economist Adolf Wagner had been an advisor to Otto von Bismarck. Heinrich von Treitschke, the historian, served in the Reichstag, and the economist Gustav von Schmoller was a member of the Prussian state council. These scholars united the rigorous study of history with political activism and represented a model of real-world engagement that would strongly influence Du Bois in the years to come.

With its romantic notions of human brotherhood and self-realization, German culture held a potent allure for Du Bois. Germany, he said, was the first place white people had treated him as an equal. But the prevalence of anti-Semitism allowed Du Bois no illusions that the Kaiserreich was free of racism. His challenge, says Appiah, was to take the best of German intellectual life without its parochialism—to steal the fire without getting burned.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • 1. The Awakening
  • 2. Culture and Cosmopolitanism
  • 3. The Concept of the Negro
  • 4. The Mystic Spell
  • 5. The One and the Many
  • Notes
  • Acknowledgments
  • Index
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