Q&A: Sophomore creates group to discuss mixed-race issues

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Campus Life, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2016-08-25 13:08Z by Steven

Q&A: Sophomore creates group to discuss mixed-race issues

The Ithican
Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York

Celisa Calacal, Opinion Editor

Sophomore Walt Martzen created the group IC Mixed, where students can discuss mixed-race issues, a topic Martzen believes is often missing from conversations on race and identity.
Jade Cardichon/The Ithacan

This semester, sophomore Walt Martzen plans to expand the conversation on mixed-race identities through a new student discussion group, IC Mixed. As a biracial student himself, Martzen created this group over the summer to bring students of mixed race together and educate other students about what it means to be biracial or multiracial.

Though the group is not an official student organization recognized by the Office of Student Engagement and Multicultural Affairs, Martzen hopes the group will inspire an organic discussion about mixed-race identities beginning this semester.

Opinion Editor Celisa Calacal spoke with Martzen about his inspiration behind creating the group, why it’s important to talk about mixed-race identities and his personal experiences as a biracial student.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Celisa Calacal: What inspired you to start this group?

Walt Martzen: I think one of the things that really got me thinking about how mixed people define themselves is when I went to ECAASU [East Coast Asian-American Student Union] last year with Asian-American Alliance. … There was a lot of good discussion that happened around talking about what it means to be Asian in that context and also what it means to be mixed. … It’s something that I struggled with at first and I didn’t realize, but I would call myself half-Chinese or half-white and that kind of language, I didn’t realize how it kind of isolated me. And so, I think from those conversations I kind of realized how important it is that, even while as mixed people, we are allies for different people, especially when maybe you look more white and people can’t tell you’re Asian or you look more like a certain race, and it’s important that we also take care of ourselves and that we look after our own health, and I think that’s one of the things that we want to do…

Read the entire interview here.

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The National Bureau of Economic Research

Posted in Campus Life, Economics, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-08-22 19:44Z by Steven

The Effects of School Desegregation on Mixed-Race Births

The National Bureau of Economic Research
NBER Working Paper No. 22480
Issued in August 2016
47 pages
DOI: 10.3386/w22480

Nora Gordon, Associate Professor
McCourt School of Public Policy
Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

Sarah Reber, Associate Professor of Public Policy
Luskin School of Public Affairs
University of California, Los Angeles

We find a strong positive correlation between black exposure to whites in their school district and the prevalence of later mixed-race (black-white) births, consistent with the literature on residential segregation and endogamy. However, that relationship is significantly attenuated by the addition of a few control variables, suggesting that individuals with higher propensities to have mixed-race births are more likely to live in desegregated school districts. We exploit quasi-random variation to estimate causal effects of school desegregation on mixed-race childbearing, finding small to moderate statistically insignificant effects. Because the upward trend across cohorts in mixed-race childbearing was substantial, separating the effects of desegregation plans from secular cohort trends is difficult; results are sensitive to how we specify the cohort trends and to the inclusion of Chicago/Cook County in the sample. Taken together, the analyses suggest that while lower levels of school segregation are associated with higher rates of mixed-race childbearing, a substantial portion of that relationship is likely due to who chooses to live in places with desegregated schools. This suggests that researchers should be cautious about interpreting the relationship between segregation—whether residential or school—and other outcomes as causal.

Purchase the paper here.

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Where Hip Hop Fits in Cuba’s Anti-Racist Curriculum

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Arts, Campus Life, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2016-08-02 20:13Z by Steven

Where Hip Hop Fits in Cuba’s Anti-Racist Curriculum

The Atlantic

Erik Gleibermann

The country’s education leaders confront deep-seated discrimination in the classroom through rap.

I was sitting with the Afrocentric rapstress Magia López Cabrera in her modest Havana walk-up in June when Cuba’s prominent black-history scholar Tomás Fernández Robaina showed up for a café con leche. Her tiny living room was filled with African folk art and images of women with 1970s-style Afros. It felt like the Cuban equivalent of Cornel West dropping in on Queen Latifah. Two nights later at an anniversary celebration for López’s rap-duo Obsesión, Fernández Robaina sat discussing racial profiling in the U.S. with Roberto Zurbano Torres, widely known in the U.S. for his writing on Cuban racial issues.

Since arriving in Havana several weeks before to investigate Cuba’s work to eliminate racism, I had discovered a collaborative, tight-knit movement that’s gone largely unpublicized in the U.S., including in its six-time-zone, decentralized academic world. In Havana, community artists like Lopez, academics like Fernández, and members of the National Ministry of Education are collectively exploring how to integrate Afro-Cuban history and related gender concerns into the primary-through-university school system. It’s hard to imagine a U.S. parallel, such as Secretary of Education John King officially asking teachers to teach students a song like “Le Llaman Puta” (They Call Her Whore)—López’s critique of how Afro-Cuban women are driven into prostitution—to fulfill the Common Core standards.

Efforts to combat racism in Cuba—which is widely believed to be majority nonwhite—through education have emerged quietly over the last several years. The National Ministry of Education officially leads the way through the Aponte Commission, where Fernández has served, exploring how to remove traces of racially denigrating language and imagery from, and include more Afro-Cuban history in, school textbooks. But the bold efforts are coming from below. A few semi-independent universities in Havana, and regional centers like Matanzas, Santiago de Cuba, and Camagüey, are taking the initiative, along with grassroots educators and activists involved in a hip-hop movement spearheaded by Obsesión…

Read the entire article here.

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The Evolution of My Mixed Race Identity

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Campus Life, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2016-07-24 00:08Z by Steven

The Evolution of My Mixed Race Identity

NASPA Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education

Jeanette Snider, Assistant Director in the Undergraduate Program
Robert H. Smith School of Business
University of Maryland

I recently took an intergroup dialogue-training course for administrators and graduate students interested in leading a related course offered at my university. We were ushered through a number of activities to explore our own life experiences and interrogate any biases we might bring to our class as facilitators. One of the exercises that particularly stood out to me during the training was the “Racialized Life Map” worksheet. We were asked to record the first 5 experiences we can recall in which we encountered or recognized ourselves as racialized beings.

As a Black biracial (African American and German American) woman several moments came to mind. I can remember in kindergarten, being asked if I was adopted by my classmates after my father came in for career day. I recall getting strange stares from my father’s coworkers on take-your-daughter-to-work-day or even being called the “N word” by a white classmate in 6th grade after school.

The memories continue…my first recollection of being tokenized by my middle school history teacher occurred when she asked me to speak on behalf of African Americans in class when the topics of slavery and the Civil Rights movement arose. As a high school senior, I vividly recall my guidance counselor telling me I had a strong chance of getting admitted to my top college choice, an elite, small public university in southern Virginia, because I am black. I was constantly socialized and treated as an African American woman. You see, in my mind, I didn’t have a choice to be biracial. Based on the aforementioned interactions along with a lifetime of experiences, I have identified as Black for most of my life. This, often conscious decision is based on people’s perceptions of my racial identity…

Read the entire article here.

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Multiraciality Enters the University: Mixed Race Identity and Knowledge Production in Higher Education

Posted in Campus Life, Dissertations, Media Archive, United States on 2016-07-11 17:07Z by Steven

Multiraciality Enters the University: Mixed Race Identity and Knowledge Production in Higher Education

University of Maryland
DOI: 10.13016/M2QB78

Aaron Allen

“Multiraciality Enters the University: Mixed Race Identity and Knowledge Production in Higher Education,” explores how the category of “mixed race” has underpinned university politics in California, through student organizing, admissions debates, and the development of a new field of study. By treating the concept of privatization as central to both multiraciality and the neoliberal university, this project asks how and in what capacity has the discourses of multiracialism and the growing recognition of mixed race student populations shaped administrative, social, and academic debates at the state’s flagship universities—the University of California at Berkeley and Los Angeles. This project argues that the mixed race population symbolizing so-called “post-racial societies” is fundamentally attached to the concept of self-authorship, which can work to challenge the rights and resources for college students of color. Through a close reading of texts, including archival materials, policy and media debates, and interviews, I assert that the contemporary deployment of mixed race within the US academy represents a particularly post-civil rights development, undergirded by a genealogy of U.S. liberal individualism. This project ultimately reveals the pressing need to rethink ways to disrupt institutionalized racism in the new millennium.

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New Yale award to honor high school juniors for community engagement

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2016-06-20 19:32Z by Steven

New Yale award to honor high school juniors for community engagement

Yale News
New Haven, Connecticut

This photograph of Ebenezer Bassett is part of the collection in the Yale Library’s Department of Manuscripts and Archives.

Select high school juniors across the nation will be honored for their public service through the Yale Bassett Award for Community Engagement, established by Yale’s Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration (RITM). The first awards will be presented in the spring of 2017 to high school students in the Class of 2018.

The new award honors the legacy of influential educator, abolitionist, and public servant Ebenezer Bassett (1833-1908), the United States’ first African American diplomat.

“Ebenezer Bassett is an exemplar of so many qualities we seek to foster in all Yale students,” said Yale President Peter Salovey. “He was a superb intellectual who used the fruits of his education to serve his fellow global citizens and contribute to a more unified world. We are proud to bring heightened awareness of his name and legacy to those who follow in his footsteps today — and particularly to do so by recognizing outstanding young people who are tomorrow’s college students.”.

Professor Stephen Pitti, director of the RITM Center, added: “The faculty in the Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration established this award to honor emerging leaders who, like Ebenezer Bassett in the 19th century, bring under-recognized perspectives to the public sphere, think hard about our collective futures, work on behalf of others, and exemplify intelligence and courage.”

Born into a Native American (Schaghticoke) and African American family nearly 200 years ago, Bassett was the first black student admitted to the Connecticut Normal School (now Central Connecticut State University). He excelled there and at Yale, where he pursued courses in mathematics and classics in the 1850s. Bassett was a friend and supporter of abolitionist Frederick Douglass and served as principal of the Philadelphia Institute for Colored Youth (now Cheney University). He was named consul general to Haiti (becoming the first African American ambassador) and as chargé d’affaires to the Dominican Republic, gaining a hemispheric understanding of racial politics. He also served as Haiti’s consul in New York City

Read the entire article here.

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News Alert | Four new theses in Europe explore Louisiana history

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, United States on 2016-06-17 17:40Z by Steven

News Alert | Four new theses in Europe explore Louisiana history

Louisiana Historic and Cultural Vistas

Christophe Landry

For immediate release

European theses explore Louisiana history

In 2015 and 2016, students in England and the Netherlands finalized research on Louisiana history, culminating in dissertations (called theses in the United Kingdom and Holland). It probably will sound far-fetched, but there’s good reason behind it. The University of Sussex in Brighton, England, has a scholar named Richard Follett. Richard conducted his doctoral research at LSU in Bâton Rouge and has written and spoken extensively on the sugarcane industry in Louisiana, especially on race and emancipation in Louisiana’s sugarcane-growing parishes. The University of Leiden, in Leiden, Holland, has Adam Fairclough. Adam’s career also hinges on US history, specifically on race, racism and the African American experiences in the US South.

Richard supervised 3 theses on Louisiana. Carin Peller-Semmens’s thesis discusses issues preventing Reconstruction from materializing its intended goals on a longterm basis in Louisiana’s Anglo Red River valley (northwest Louisiana). Darryl Barthé and I both wrote on 20th century transformations in the Creole community of New Orleans and southwest Louisiana.

Mark Leon de Vries, like Carin, explored Reconstruction in Louisiana’s Red River valley.

Below is a summary of each of those theses, as well as a URL where they can be downloaded free of charge. I’ve grouped them in Creole and Red River, since they present different periods, cultural milieux, ethnic groups, realities and experiences in Louisiana’s Latin and Anglo communities…

Read about the four theses here.

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Talking Race: Space and Body

Posted in Arts, Autobiography, Campus Life, Media Archive, United States on 2016-06-17 01:31Z by Steven

Talking Race: Space and Body

The Bennington Free Press
Bennington College, Bennington College, Vermont

Samantha Barnett ‘19

I constantly think about how I move through space, how I claim space, how being mixed race means not knowing how my body will be identified. I think about how the first thing that I do when I walk into a classroom is count how many people of color are in the room. I think about whether or not they will identify me as a person of color; I think about how the professor already has. I think about being in an anthropology class, the discussion for the day being on race, the class divided into groups– there is one person of color per group. We’re here to “explain race.” I think about walking through my common room one day and listening to two white students saying, “Why do we call people of color ‘people of color’? It’s stupid, what can we call them instead?”

One of the first things that I’ve learned as a student of color at Bennington is how to hear what I’m really being asked…

Read the entire article here.

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Posted in Articles, Biography, Campus Life, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2016-06-17 00:49Z by Steven


The Sacramento Daily Record-Union
Friday, 1897-09-24
page 6, columns 1-4
Source: Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress.


She Kept the Secret of Her Birth for Years From Her Roommate.

This is the story of Anita Hemming of Vassar, ’97. In all the news of the past week there has been nothing more dramatic than the story of this woman and the sudden revelation of the secret she had kept so well, says the New York “World.” The public was told that one of the most beautiful, the most brilliant, and the most charming graduates of this year’s class at Vassar was a negro girl. The public was intensely interested, but to no one did the revelation come with such over whelming surprise as to the classmates with whom Miss Hemming had been so closely associated for four years. In no mind, until very recently, had there been the slightest suspicion of the truth.

The story of Miss Hemming’s college life and of the influences and characteristics that made her what she is will be told here. There is interest in it, as well as a moral lesson. There is inspiration, too, in the splendid triumph of this young woman who came into life so heavily handicapped for the career she has achieved. These are the things that she has done. How she has accomplished them and the manner in which she has surmounted all obstacles will be told in detail later on.

In 1888 she was graduated from the Prince Grammar School, Boston, at the head of her class.

In 1890 she completed, with the highest honors, the full course of the Girls’ English High School in Boston.

Subsequently she attended Dwight L. Moody’s School, at Northfield, Mass., and there prepared for the entrance examination of Vassar, astonishing her teachers and associates by her brilliant work.

In 1893 she entered Vassar, from which she has this year been graduated with high honors.

During her four years at college she was a prominent and brilliant figure in the life of the great institution. She became a leader among the girls, a member of the most exclusive college societies, a guest in the best Poughkeepsie families, and the idol of a large following of enthusiastic freshmen. She was lovingly called “the beautiful brunette.” It was supposed that she had Spanish or possibly Indian blood in her veins. No one dreamed that in a little, modest Boston home there lived an honest mulatto who was the father and a prepossessing mulatto woman who was her mother. Both of these were light in color, with the mixed blood of their race, regular features and a clear olive complexion which many a white woman would give much to possess.

To these parents Anita was born twenty-five years ago. Her father was a clever and industrious man. He worked hard, and almost from the beginning he was able to give his family the advantages offered by the average white husband and father of the middle class. Anita had a happy childhood. She was sent to school, where she associated with the white children of her age. At this time there was no effort made by her parents to conceal the negro strain in her blood. It was probably the unconscious shrinking away from her of some playmate that first taught the colored child her own aloofness and showed her that she must make much of life’s journey alone. The thought did not discourage the ambitious little girl, who quietly laid out the plan of life which she has so consistently followed. In her wish for an education she had her father’s affectionate support and aid. She entered the Prince Grammar School in Boston, where she is still remembered as one of its brightest pupils. At the end of two years, during which she easily distanced all of her associates, she graduated at the head of her class. This honor secured her entrance to the Girls’ English High School, for four years she gained new laurels and wore them modestly.

Just at this time she met the woman who has probably had most Influence in the young girl’s life. The woman was a philanthropist. She had broad sympathies and keen observation. She met Anita at Trinity Church, Boston, where the girl had been a communicant since childhood. The clear-headed and sympathetic woman of the world be came deeply Interested in the beautiful colored girl who was making such a steady, brave, up-hill fight against environment and tradition. She suggested college, and in the contemplation of this vista, of delight Anita almost forgot her peculiar relations to the world of ideas, achievements, and white skins. She entered Moody’s preparatory school at Northfield, and it is at this point that her career may be said to have really begun. She was at this time a girl of twenty, with a beautiful face, a splendid intellect, and a habit of retrospection. Her parents mingled wholly with their colored friends, and her home life had brought her into contact with the people of her own race. The line between her and the life she wished to lead seemed very sharply drawn. There was nothing about her, however, to suggest her negro blood. Her skin was a clear olive, her eyes soft and dark, and her hair straight as an Indian’s, her figure and carriage perfect. She looked like a Spanish or Italian girl.

At Northfield Miss Hemming first had the experience of associating intimately with girls not of her own race. Her roommate there, however, was a Miss Bessie Baker, a mulatto like her self. Miss Baker has since become the wife of W. H. Lewis, a well known negro citizen of Boston, who was known in his college days as Harvard’s great center rush. Miss Hemming was bridesmaid at the wedding, which occurred last autumn. She is now the guest of Mrs. Lewis in the latter’s home on Columbus Avenue, Boston.

During the year at Northfield the two colored girls were closely associated with the social as well as the educational life at Mr. Moody’s school. Strangers looking at either of them had no suspicion of the presence of a strain of negro blood. Their classmates seemed to have forgotten it. The happy life there and the temporary absence of the cloud that had hung over her may have aided Miss Hemming in her resolve to enter Vassar without the great handicap which she had carried so long. She determined to conceal the fact of her negro origin. This implied no false statements. She had merely to let it be assumed that she was as the others were.

Miss Hemming entered Vassar. No one asked her whether she was negro or New Englander, Indian or Spanish. She was young, brilliant and beautiful. That was enough. She had passed an excellent entrance examination. She had met the necessary requirements as to “good moral character.” She promptly and quietly took her place at the head of her classes, friends flocked around her, professors praised her, she was initiated into the mysteries of secret societies and midnight “fudge” parties. Her college career had begun.

For almost a year she kept her secret well. Then she suddenly disclosed it. Perhaps it weighed upon her mind, and she told it to obtain relief. Perhaps the disclosure was accidental. No one knows. But the girl chose her confidant wisely. She told her story to a member of the faculty–one of the most popular professors in the college. This woman’s attitude toward her brilliant pupil may be assumed from the fact that she subsequently visited Anita at her Boston home during the holidays. The Hemming’s were humble people, and they made no effort to conceal the fact from the college professor who was their guest. Their friends and associates were colored people. There was no pretense of being white.

With the exception of this friend Miss Hemming entertained no guests from Vassar in her Boston home. The professor, like Anita, kept the secret well. Anita’s roommate was a beautiful and popular student, whose family held a high social position. Not even this girl suspected the truth for years. When she did Anita’s first great trouble came. Miss Hemming’s progress through Vassar was a triumphal one. She had a beautiful voice, hence she joined the glee club. She was also taken into the choir and became a leader in the musical set of the college. She joined the choral club. As the months passed she was made a member of other college associations. Among these were the Contemporary Club, the ’97 Federal Debating Society, a Greek club, and the Marshall Club. But these were not all her triumphs.

There are dances and festival days at Vassar. in which Harvard, Yale and Princeton men are allowed to participate. In large numbers these young men bowed at Anita’s shrine. It was a their bows with an agonized fear. She sobriquet by which she became renowned–“the beautiful brunette.”

It was her roommate who finally caused the temporary downfall of this striking figure from its fine college eminence. In some manner this girl had discovered that Anita was of negro parentage. She immediately changed her room and discontinued the acquaintanceship. It was the first blow in the colored girl’s college course–and it was a bitter one. Anita awaited further blows with an agonized fear. She knew that the story would spread like wildfire through the college, and she felt that the upbuilding of the structure she had raised was but a waste of time. To what end was all her work and study, if the friends she loved turned from her and the college she loved closed its doors to her. No one knows what the girl suffered, for she never told”. She kept to herself, withdrew from her associates, and became absorbed in her work. But they would not have it so. For some reason the roommate, too, kept the secret. A few rumors started, but were immediately scoffed down. As the weeks passed, and her friends still rallied around her. Anita breathed again. She had had a narrow and a most dramatic escape.

During the last year of her college career Miss Hemming held one of the most prominent positions in the institution. It was admitted that she would graduate among the first. Without effort she held her supremacy as student and leader in the college set. She had never been a solitary or a “dig“–two unpopular types at college. During her last year it was natural that she should cling fondly to the friends she had made and the social environment of which she knew she could never be sure again. She was a fascinating woman and professors and students and strangers alike fell under these charms she exercised during these last months. In the midst of all this the revelation came.

Once more the little rumors began to circulate–this time more loudly and persistently than ever before. The girls began to eye her curiously, wondering ly. She knew that they were commenting, discussing. There was bitterness beyond words in this to the proud, sensitive woman. To her these girls had become to seem like sisters. To them she was merely a creature to be discussed as a problem, a phenomenon. In grief and humiliation she went to a member of the college faculty and in plain words told her story. There was nothing more for her to do but await the result.

A faculty council followed. Some of the professors had surmised the truth. Every one knew it now. President Taylor himself advised that at so late a day no official action should be taken to prevent the girl from graduating with her classmates. And so Miss Hemming’s fate was decided. But she had worked harder than two-thirds of her class and was graciously permitted, as a favor, to take equal rank with the members of that class.

Miss Hemming carried off the honors of commencement day. In the circumstances it was not as happy an occasion as her splendid record deserved, but she made the best of it.

Having graduated she went at once to Boston. Within a month her story was given to the whole world. It will be a pleasant surprise to her, perhaps, to discover how much broader the point of view is, sometimes, outside of college walls. She has secured a position in the catalogue department of the Boston Public Library, and here she has begun her post-college career. She has already won the interest of wise men and women broad enough to appreciate her struggle with a “problem” larger than she is, and to glory in the way she has solved it.

In the many conversations with her since her story has been made public Miss Hemming has attempted no defense of her position other than to say no one asked her while she was in college if she were white or colored. She takes the ground that she was not under moral obligations to announce her origin. She says she entered college as any student would enter, purely on her merits and ability to pay the tuition demanded. Since she has become so conspicuous she has had much difficulty in avoiding persons who wish to see and talk with her. She has been asked by at least a dozen publications to write her impressions of college life, and she has had generous offers for manuscript from many large newspapers. Her work in the catalogue department of the Boston Public Library occupies her from “8 o’clock in the morning until 5 in the afternoon.”

During her office hours nobody is permitted to see her, and when her work is finished she goes to the home of J. H. Lewis, a colored tailor, with whose wife, as before mentioned, she is living during the absence of her family at College City. In contrast to her college career, her life is a lonely one. She denies herself to all callers, except her most intimate friends.

Miss Hemming’s own home is at No. 9 Sussex Street. She has two brothers and a sister. One of her brothers–Frederic–was graduated from the Institute of Technology–last spring as a chemist. He is a dark and handsome youth, much like his sister in appearance. He visited her at Vassar on several occasions during her life there. The other children are still very young, but will be given educational advantages equal to those of their brilliant sister and brother.

Miss Hemming’s parents, as has been said, are both light in color. The father is five feet six inches tall, has gray eyes, good features, and wears side whiskers cut after the English fashion. His eyebrows are heavy and arching, and his hair straight. Mrs. Hemming, though darker than her husband, is a fine-looking woman. Her straight black hair is lightly streaked with gray. Both parents are quiet, refined and exceedingly ambitious in behalf of their children. In speaking of his beautiful daughter last week Mr. Hemming admitted that she had gone to Vassar as a white girl and had remained there as such.

“As long as she conducted herself in a manner becoming a lady,” he said, “she did not think it necessary to proclaim the fact that her parents were mulattoes. She was always a quiet, studious girl, and from the time she first went to school books were her chief pleasure. She did not care to associate with other children. She preferred to spend her time reading her favorite authors.”

“Vassar was her ideal college. From the time she decided to go to college there was never any doubt in her mind as to the institution she preferred. Vassar it was, first, last and always.” Miss Hemming’s hostess, Mrs. Lewis, also valiantly upholds the young woman’s attitude in college. A mulatto herself, and a woman who has experienced much that Miss Hemming has had to suffer, she can appreciate, perhaps, better than any one else, the point of view of her much-discussed friend.

“Miss Hemming,” said Mrs. Lewis, “has not reflected an atom of discredit on Vassar or upon any other pupil. She is good and true and refined. She is a gentlewoman by nature and education. Because her face did not tell her secret should she have gone about placarded ‘I am colored?'”

“At first, I know, she thought of telling her associates at Vassar what she was. She was told by an excellent authority that it was not necessary for her to do this. So she kept her own counsel, and in doing so she did wisely. She could ornament any society. She proved this at Vassar, and I have faith enough in her to believe that she will prove it in the future as well as she has done in the past. Her record at Vassar is in fact the best answer that can be given to all the questions asked about her since her story has been made public. She was admired and loved there, and put forward in all things. No one could know Miss Hemming well and not love her.”

That all Vassar has not turned from Miss Hemming was shown last week by the visit of several Vassar girls, who called on her at her home and bore her off to the hotel to dine. The revelations concerning her negro blood and the notoriety to which she has been subjected did not count with these loyal friends against the charm of the woman and the bonds of college life.

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Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2016-06-15 21:58Z by Steven


The Saint Paul Globe
Sunday, 1897-09-05
page 21, column 7

People at Poughkeepsie Thought Miss Hemmings Was a Spaniard.

Anita Florence Hemmings, the Boston girl who has stirred up such a sensation by daring to complete a course at exclusive Vassar when she new that there was negro blood in her veins, is a handsome, modest and refined young woman. Both her mother and father are mulattoes, the father of each being white. Miss Hemmings herself shows few traces of her black ancestors. She is a decided brunette, but her black hair is as straight as that of an Indian’s, and it was supposed by most of her college mates that she was a Spaniard.

The Hemmings have lived in Boston for twenty-five years. Anita was always a studious girl. She attended the Boston grammar school and was afterward graduated from the girls high school. Then she expressed a desire to go to college. Vassar was her choice, and there she went. Mr. Hemmings denies the report that a wealthy lady who had taken an interest in Anita paid the bills. He says he paid them himself, as he was amply able to do. Anita did not think it necessary to announce that her parents were mulattoes, and no one suspected that she was not of pure Caucasian blood.

Miss Hemmings’ friends say that the report that she waa a reigning social favorite at Vassar is an exaggeration. She was modest and retiring, making few friends and not seeking to take a prominent part in social life. Her pure, sweet soprano voice won for her a place in the college glee club, but she did not belong to any other of the various college societies. Miss Hemmings spent her summers at Cottage City, where she was received in the best of society. The fact that there is a trace of Ethiopian blood in her veins was discovered after she left college by the publication, in a Boston paper, of an item concerning her brother, who was recently graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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