White Savior, Rape and Romance?

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, Mississippi, Slavery, United States on 2016-06-28 01:41Z by Steven

White Savior, Rape and Romance?

The New York Times
2016-06-27

Charles M. Blow

The movie “Free State of Jones” certainly doesn’t lack in ambition — it sprawls so that it feels like several films stitched together — but I still found it woefully lacking.

The story itself is quite interesting. It’s about Newton Knight, a white man in Mississippi during and after the Civil War, who organizes and mounts a somewhat successful rebellion against the Confederacy. He falls in love with a mixed-race slave named Rachel, and they establish a small community of racially ambiguous relatives that a book of the same title calls “white Negroes.”

It is easy to see why this story would appeal to Hollywood executives. It has a bit of everything, with eerie echoes of modern issues.

It comes in the wake of “12 Years a Slave,” at a time when slave narratives are en vogue, only this story emphasizes white heroism and centers on the ally instead of the enslaved.

It tries desperately to cast the Civil War, and specifically dissent within the Confederacy, as more a populism-versus-elitism class struggle in which poor white men were forced to fight a rich white man’s war and protect the cotton trade, rather than equally a conflict about the moral abhorrence of black slavery.

Throughout, there is the white liberal insistence that race is merely a subordinate construction of class, with Newt himself saying at the burial of poor white characters, “somehow, some way, sometime, everybody is just somebody else’s nigger.”

And, by extension, there is the lingering suggestion of post-racialism because, as the author Victoria E. Bynum writes in the book’s preface, the relationship between Newt and Rachel “added the specter of interracial intimacy to the story.”…

Read the entire review here.

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Anti-Miscegenation Laws and the Dilemma of Symmetry: The Understanding of Equality in the Civil Rights Act of 1875

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2016-06-27 00:03Z by Steven

Anti-Miscegenation Laws and the Dilemma of Symmetry: The Understanding of Equality in the Civil Rights Act of 1875

The University of Chicago Law School Roundtable: A Journal of Interdisciplinary Legal Studies
Volume 2: Issue 1, Article 12 (January 1995)
pages 303-344

Steven A. Bank, Paul Hastings Professor of Business Law
University of California, Los Angeles

The Civil Rights Act of 1875, which was introduced by two Republicans from Massachusetts, Charles Sumner in the Senate and Benjamin Butler in the House, sought to overturn many of the bars to interaction between the races after the end of slavery. In its final form, the Act provided that “all persons … shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges of inns, public conveyances on land or water, theaters, and other places of public amusement; subject only to the conditions and limitations established by law, and applicable alike to citizens of every race and color, regardless of any previous condition of servitude.” No provision of the Act, however, explicitly addressed state anti-miscegenation statutes, or laws that prohibit “intermarriage and all forms of illicit intercourse between the races.” Proponents of the Act confined their arguments largely to the issue of desegregating public places such as railroad cars, steamships, inns, cemeteries, churches, and public schools. Continued prejudice, distaste for miscegenation among both races, and a declining post-Civil War rate of miscegenation, combined to persuade supporters of the bill not to address these laws in the push to desegregate public institutions.

This decision, albeit a wise one politically, left Republicans open to attack. Republicans argued that symmetrical equality, where blacks are prohibited from doing what whites can do, but whites are equally prohibited from doing what blacks can do, was insufficient to satisfy the requirements of the Fourteenth Amendment. They contended that under the Equal Protection Clause, blacks should have the same right as whites to enter any public place. This argument, however, inescapably included anti-miscegenation statutes within the confines of its logic. While such statutes provided symmetrical equality, since they prohibited both blacks and whites from participation in interracial relationships, they denied blacks the same right to marry whites as whites enjoyed. If segregation of public places was unconstitutional, anti-miscegenation statutes must be as well. Opponents of Reconstruction seized upon this logical extension of the Republican principle of equality to suggest that the Civil Rights Act of 1875 would result in increased miscegenation. The charge became intertwined with the claim that Republicans sought to legislate “social” equality between the races. Thus, Republican treatment of miscegenation was watched closely. Accepting symmetrical equality in anti-miscegenation laws would weaken their argument against segregation. Conversely, arguing that anti-miscegenation laws were unconstitutional might arouse opposition to attempts to protect the civil rights of the freedmen…

Read the entire article here.

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Free State of Jones: The Incredible True Story of Newton Knight and His Private Rebellion Against the Confederacy

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, Mississippi, Slavery, United States on 2016-06-26 23:35Z by Steven

Free State of Jones: The Incredible True Story of Newton Knight and His Private Rebellion Against the Confederacy

People Magazine
2016-06-24

Michael Miller

Free State of Jones brings to life one of the Civil War’s most extraordinary and counterintuitive episodes, in which a Confederate deserter overthrew his former commanders and established a free “state” in his native corner of southeast Mississippi.

Newton Knight, played by a ragged, yellow-toothed Matthew McConaughey, was a poor farmer who, incensed by a new law that allowed landowners to swap 20 slaves for their military service, abandoned his company to lead his own rebellion.

“He looked around at all of his yeoman farmer buddies and said, ‘Do you own any slaves?’ They were like, ‘No.’ He goes, ‘Me neither. I’m not fighting this war. It’s a rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight. I’m out of here,’ ” McConaughey tells PEOPLE of his character…

Read the entire article here.

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Playing with Race in the Early Republic: Mr. Potter, the Ventriloquist

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, United States on 2016-06-26 22:00Z by Steven

Playing with Race in the Early Republic: Mr. Potter, the Ventriloquist

The New England Quarterly
June 2016, Volume 89, Number 2
pages 257-285
DOI: 10.1162/TNEQ_a_00530

Paul E. Johnson, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History
University of South Carolina

The first American-born stage magician and ventriloquist was an African American named Richard Potter. Potter’s stage career (1811–1835) coincided with the transition from an entertainment culture grounded in a metropolitan Atlantic world to an American show business that was nationalist and racist. This essay traces Potter’s strategies and experiences within that transformation.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Mixed-race in Oregon

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, History, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2016-06-26 19:18Z by Steven

Mixed-race in Oregon

The Asian Reporter
Portland, Oregon
Volume 26, Number 12 (2016-06-20)
ISSN: 1094-9453
page 6, columns 2-3

Dmae Roberts, Writer, Producer, Media and Theatre Artist

I received some exciting news this month. I was selected as one of the speakers for the Oregon Humanities Conversation Project, a program that brings people together to talk about current issues and ideas.

Participating in the program wasn’t something I was eager to do at first, since I’ve always seen myself as a bit shy. Although as an actor I’ve performed Shakespeare on Portland stages, typically I’m more of a wallflower. As I’ve gotten older, however, I found it wasn’t that I didn’t like talking to people. Instead, I realized I only enjoy talking when there’s an intriguing subject.

During the past decade, I’ve gravitated toward discussing the meaning of my mixed-race identity. While growing up in rural Oregon, there were few people of color. In my small school in the 1970s, I suspected I had mixed-race classmates, but it was a taboo subject, so it was not talked about. Students who could not pass as white, like my younger brother, endured racism. I, on the other hand, who appeared white to others, felt like a secret Asian girl. In my 40-plus years of adulthood, I’ve experienced shifts in the understanding of and attitude around multiracial identity and also witnessed the transformation in terminology for race and ethnicity from derogatory slurs to an expanding list of proud names…

Read the entire article here.

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Matthew McConaughey Can’t Stop Being a Badass White Savior in The Free State of Jones

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, Mississippi, Slavery, United States on 2016-06-26 17:48Z by Steven

Matthew McConaughey Can’t Stop Being a Badass White Savior in The Free State of Jones

The Stranger
2016-06-22

Ijeoma Oluo


Watch the magical negroes heal Matthew McConaughey from his wounds that he received while badassing his way into exile.

Ever since the end of the first season of True Detective I’ve really been wanting more Matthew McConaughey in my life. That charming half-smile. That creepy, hyper-intense stare. That unmistakable yet unplaceable southern drawl. I don’t care if it’s laid-back, bongo drumming alright-alright-alright McConaughey, or if it’s riddle-speaking, indecipherable, slightly creepy, brooding McConaughey. I need more Matthew McConaughey.

You know what else I need? Black pain and suffering. I need another movie focused on the brutalization of black bodies filtered through a Hollywood lens. I need the only faces on the screen that look like mine to be crying, screaming, or slack from the noose.

It used to be that I’d have to separate these much-needed experiences of McConaughey and black pain. Dazed and Confused on Monday, The Help on Tuesday. Ghosts of Girlfriend’s Past on Wednesday, 12 Years a Slave on Thursday.

But what if you could have it all? What if you could have slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, black pain, black murder, black suffering – and more Matthew McConaughey than you ever thought imaginable?

Dreams can come true. And they have come true in this 139 minute masterpiece of McConaughey-ness: The Free State of Jones

Read the entire review here.

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Review: Matthew McConaughey Rebels Against Rebels in ‘Free State of Jones’

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, Mississippi, Slavery, United States on 2016-06-24 14:57Z by Steven

Review: Matthew McConaughey Rebels Against Rebels in ‘Free State of Jones’

The New York Times
2016-06-23

A. O. Scott, Film Critic


Matthew McConaughey, left, and Jacob Lofland in “Free State of Jones.” Credit Murray Close/STX Entertainment

Free State of Jones” begins on the battlefield, with a flurry of the kind of immersive combat action that has long been a staple of American movies. The setting is familiar in other ways, too. As a line of Confederate troops marches across a field into Union rifle and artillery fire, a haze of myth starts to gather over the action, a mist of sentiment about the tragedy of the Civil War and the symmetrical valor of the soldiers on both sides of it. But this is a sly piece of misdirection: The rest of the movie will be devoted to blowing that fog away, using the tools of Hollywood spectacle to restore a measure of clarity to our understanding of the war and its aftermath.

Directed by Gary Ross (“Seabiscuit”) with blunt authority and unusual respect for historical truth, “Free State of Jones” explores a neglected and fascinating chapter in American history. Mr. Ross consulted some of the leading experts in the era — including Eric Foner of Columbia University, whose “Reconstruction” is the definitive study, and Martha Hodes of New York University, author of a prizewinning study of interracial sexuality in the 19th-century South — and has done a good job of balancing the factual record with the demands of dramatic storytelling. The result is a riveting visual history lesson, whose occasional didacticism is integral to its power.

The hero of this tale is Newton Knight, a poor farmer from Jones County, Miss., who led a guerrilla army of white deserters and escaped slaves against the Confederacy during the war. Afterward, he tried to hold this coalition together as a political force in the face of Ku Klux Klan terror. As played by Matthew McConaughey, Newton is an ordinary man radicalized by circumstances. His hollow cheeks and wild whiskers suggest a zealous temperament, but the kindness in his eyes conveys the decency and compassion that lie at the heart of his moral commitment…

…“Free State of Jones” is careful not to suggest that the conditions endured by disenfranchised white and enslaved black Mississippians were identical. The system may be rigged against both, but in different ways. Especially after the war, the alliance proves fragile, as white supremacy reasserts itself with renewed brutality. Its persistence is emphasized by a subplot that takes place 85 years after the war in a Mississippi courtroom, where Davis Knight (Brian Lee Franklin), a descendant of Newton’s, is on trial for breaking the state’s law against interracial marriage…

Read the entire review here.

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Legend of the Free State of Jones

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Mississippi, Monographs, United States on 2016-06-24 00:56Z by Steven

Legend of the Free State of Jones

University Press of Mississippi
2009-10-07
143 pages
3 maps, 7 b&w illustrations
5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches
Paper ISBN: 978-1-60473-571-0
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-60473-572-7

Rudy H. Leverett

The original, full accounting of a rebellion in the heart of Dixie

A maverick, unionist district in the heart of the Old South? A notorious county that seceded from the Confederacy? This is how Jones County, Mississippi, is known in myth and legend.

Since 1864 the legend has persisted. Differing versions give the name of this new nation as Republic of Jones, Jones County Confederacy, and Free State of Jones. Over the years this story has captured the imaginations of journalists, historians, essayists, novelists, short story writers, and Hollywood filmmakers, although serious scholars long ago questioned the accuracy of local history accounts about a secessionist county led by Newt Knight and a band of renegades.

Legend of the Free State of Jones was the first authoritative explanation of just what did happen in Jones County in 1864 to give rise to the legend. This book surveys the facts, the records, and the history of the “Free State of Jones” and well may provide the whole story.

Rudy H. Leverett was born in an unplumbed cabin in the woods outside of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He had a doctoral degree in education and spent his life writing extensively on the subjects of philosophy, the American South, and the McLemore family. He died on his birthday in 1999.

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Unreasonable Histories: Nativism, Multiracial Lives, and the Genealogical Imagination in British Africa

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs on 2016-06-22 20:25Z by Steven

Unreasonable Histories: Nativism, Multiracial Lives, and the Genealogical Imagination in British Africa

Duke University Press
2014
368 pages
51 illustrations
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5713-1
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8223-5725-4

Christopher J. Lee, Research Associate
WITS Institute for Social and Economic Research
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

In Unreasonable Histories, Christopher J. Lee unsettles the parameters and content of African studies as currently understood. At the book’s core are the experiences of multiracial Africans in British Central Africa—contemporary Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Zambia—from the 1910s to the 1960s. Drawing on a spectrum of evidence—including organizational documents, court records, personal letters, commission reports, popular periodicals, photographs, and oral testimony—Lee traces the emergence of Anglo-African, Euro-African, and Eurafrican subjectivities which constituted a grassroots Afro-Britishness that defied colonial categories of native and non-native. Discriminated against and often impoverished, these subaltern communities crafted a genealogical imagination that reconfigured kinship and racial descent to make political claims and generate affective meaning. But these critical histories equally confront a postcolonial reason that has occluded these experiences, highlighting uneven imperial legacies that still remain. Based on research in five countries, Unreasonable Histories ultimately revisits foundational questions in the field, to argue for the continent’s diverse heritage and to redefine the meanings of being African in the past and present—and for the future.

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Fanny Eaton: The Black Pre-Raphaelite Muse that Time Forgot

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2016-06-22 16:05Z by Steven

Fanny Eaton: The Black Pre-Raphaelite Muse that Time Forgot

AnOther
2016-03-07

Shola von Reynolds


Walter Fryer Stocks, British, 1842–1915: Mrs. Fanny Eaton, ca. 1859 / Black, red, and white chalk on cream wove paper / 43.2 × 34.9 cm (17 × 13 3/4 in.) / Museum purchase, Surdna Fund / 2016-1 / Princeton University Art Museum

The enigmatic model made her way to London from Jamaica in the early 19th century to sit for the Pre-Raphaelites, and her legacy lives on in their impactful work

Who? Lizzie Siddal has long reigned supreme in the minds of historians, artists and writers as the embodiment of the artist’s muse. Her fellow Pre-Raphaelite models, such as Marie Spartali, Jane Morris or Maria Zambaco are less well known, but renewed attention has given many of these women a rightful place in art history beyond the typically limited conception of “the muse”. If you haven’t heard of Fanny Eaton, however, there would be meagre cause for surprise, though surprise there should be: little exists in the way of information about her, and until recent years all that remained was the series of paintings and drawings she sat for.

Fanny Eaton was a black Victorian Londoner and, for some time, painter’s model. Born in Jamaica in 1835, Eaton was the daughter of an ex-slave and, it is suspected, a white slave owner. She came to London in the 1840s and began modelling in her twenties. It has been discovered that she was working as a regular portrait model at the Royal Academy, which is potentially where she caught the attention of the many renowned painters of the era she sat for…

Read the etnire article here.

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