New Orleans II: the Halloween Ghost Post

Posted in Articles, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2016-05-29 21:53Z by Steven

New Orleans II: the Halloween Ghost Post

The History Tourist

Susan Kalasunas

My first chance to encounter a ghost at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel in New Orleans came not long after check-in.

“Can we see the ballroom?” I asked the receptionist.

“Yes. We don’t have an event tonight, but the doors should be open. It’s right up those stairs.” That would be the grand one with the double staircase that swept up to the second floor.

The doors were unlocked but the only light in the room was from street lights peeking through large, heavily draped windows. We wandered in the dark. There’s a ghost associated with the ballroom: a woman who dances, alone, or who hides behind the curtains. I searched for the woman while Mr. History Tourist searched for the light switches. Mr. HT found the switches first and set the chandeliers alight.

This was once the Orleans Ballroom. Says the Bourbon Orleans website: “In 1817, entrepreneur John David…built the Orleans Ballroom: the oldest, most historic ballroom in New Orleans. When it opened, the ballroom became the setting for…the forever famous Quadroon Balls.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Staking Claim: Settler Colonialism and Racialization in Hawai’i

Posted in Books, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Oceania, United States on 2016-05-29 21:25Z by Steven

Staking Claim: Settler Colonialism and Racialization in Hawai’i

University of Arizona Press
232 pages
6.00 x 9.00
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8165-0251-6

Judy Rohrer, Director of the Institute for Citizenship and Social Responsibility (ICSR); Assistant Professor in Diversity and Community Studies
University of Western Kentucky, Bowling Green, Kentucky

Exploring how racialization is employed to further colonialism

In the heart of the Pacific Ocean, Hawai’i exists at a global crosscurrent of indigeneity and race, homeland and diaspora, nation and globalization, sovereignty and imperialism. In order to better understand how settler colonialism works and thus move decolonization efforts forward, Staking Claim analyzes competing claims of identity, belonging, and political status in Hawai’i.

Author Judy Rohrer brings together an analysis of racial formation and colonization in the islands through a study of legal cases, contemporary public discourse (local media and literature), and Hawai’i scholarship. Her analysis exposes how racialization works to obscure—with the ultimate goal of eliminating—native Hawaiian indigeneity, homeland, nation, and sovereignty.

Staking Claim argues that the dual settler colonial processes of racializing native Hawaiians (erasing their indigeneity), and indigenizing non-Hawaiians, enable the staking of non-Hawaiian claims to Hawai’i. It encourages us to think beyond a settler-native binary by analyzing the ways racializations of Hawaiians and various non-Hawaiian settlers and arrivants bolster settler colonial claims, structures, and white supremacist ideologies.

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The First Strange Place: The Alchemy of Race and Sex in World War II Hawaii

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Oceania, United States on 2016-05-29 21:25Z by Steven

The First Strange Place: The Alchemy of Race and Sex in World War II Hawaii

Free Press an (imprint of Simon and Schuster)
272 pages
Paperback ISBN: 9781476727523

Beth Bailey, Professor of History
Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

David Farber, Roy A. Roberts Distinguished Professor of History
University of Kansas

Just as World War I introduced Americans to Europe, making an indelible impression on thousands of farmboys who were changed forever “after they saw Paree,” so World War II was the beginning of America’s encounter with the East – an encounter whose effects are still being felt and absorbed. No single place was more symbolic of this initial encounter than Hawaii, the target of the first unforgettable Japanese attack on American forces, and, as the forward base and staging area for all military operations in the Pacific, the “first strange place” for close to a million soldiers, sailors, and marines on their way to the horrors of war.

But as Beth Bailey and David Farber show in this evocative and timely book, Hawaii was also the first strange place on another kind of journey, toward the new American society that began to emerge in the postwar era. Unlike the largely rigid and static social order of prewar America, this was to be a highly mobile and volatile society of mixed racial and cultural influences, one above all in which women and minorities would increasingly demand and receive equal status. With consummate skill and sensitivity, Bailey and Farber show how these unprecedented changes were tested and explored in the highly charged environment of wartime Hawaii.

Most of the hundreds of thousands of men and women whom war brought to Hawaii were expecting a Hollywood image of “paradise.” What they found instead was vastly different: a complex crucible in which radically diverse elements – social, racial, sexual – were mingled and transmuted in the heat and strain of war. Drawing on the rich and largely untapped reservoir of documents, diaries, memoirs, and interviews with men and women who were there, the authors vividly recreate the dense, lush, atmosphere of wartime Hawaii – an atmosphere that combined the familiar and exotic in a mixture that prefigured the special strangeness of American society today.

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Tales of African-American History Found in DNA

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2016-05-29 21:06Z by Steven

Tales of African-American History Found in DNA

The New York Times

Carl Zimmer

The history of African-Americans has been shaped in part by two great journeys.

The first brought hundreds of thousands of Africans to the southern United States as slaves. The second, the Great Migration, began around 1910 and sent six million African-Americans from the South to New York, Chicago and other cities across the country.

In a study published on Friday, a team of geneticists sought evidence for this history in the DNA of living African-Americans. The findings, published in PLOS Genetics, provide a map of African-American genetic diversity, shedding light on both their history and their health.

Buried in DNA, the researchers found the marks of slavery’s cruelties, including further evidence that white slave owners routinely fathered children with women held as slaves.

And there are signs of the migration that led their descendants away from such oppression: Genetically related African-Americans are distributed closely along the routes they took to leave the South, the scientists discovered…

…The history of African-Americans poses special challenges for geneticists. During the slave trade, their ancestors were captured from genetically diverse populations across a portion of West Africa. Adding to the complexity is the fact that living African-Americans also may trace some of their ancestry to Europeans and Native Americans…

…Most of the Native American DNA identified by Dr. Gravel and his colleagues in African-Americans occurs now in tiny chunks. The scientists concluded that most of the mingling between Africans and Native Americans took place soon after the first slaves arrived in the American colonies in the early 1600s.

The European DNA in African-Americans, on the other hand, occurs in slightly longer chunks, indicating a more recent origin. Dr. Gravel and his colleagues estimate that its introduction dates to the decades before the Civil War

Read the entire article here.

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The Story in My DNA

Posted in Articles, Europe, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2016-05-29 17:32Z by Steven

The Story in My DNA

The Huffington Post

Hope Ferguson

Like many African Americans, I grew up not knowing where I came from. There was no “old country” for us. Obviously, I knew that most slaves were brought from Central and West Africa. I heard family stories about being part Native American – that the Seminole Indians had helped slaves escape from their masters by sheltering them within their tribe. That my grandfather’s mother was half Cherokee, part Scotch-Irish, as well as African. Her long black hair and high cheekbones in the one photo I saw of her bore this out.

For a while, these stories were enough. I believed that I would only really find out, if ever, in the afterlife.

When I was 29, I moved from New York City to Argyle, N.Y., a small upstate farming town that had been settled by Scots. Since Fergusons were on the original patent, I was often asked, while interviewing people by phone as a local reporter, if I was one of the Argyle Fergusons, and I would laugh, and say no, and explain that I was African American, not Scottish.

A few years ago, at a National Association for Black Journalists conference, the company African Ancestry was doing free DNA analyses for some of the attendees as a promotion. I sat transfixed as the African ancestry of various people was teased out; and listened with amazement at how the person displayed some similar traits as their ancestral land … for example, a gift with textiles.

After that, I became more curious about my ancestry…

Read the entire article here.

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Race, revolution and interracial relations: Revisiting rapper Emicida’s video ‘Boa Esperança’, the most courageous video of 2015

Posted in Articles, Arts, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Slavery, Videos on 2016-05-29 17:09Z by Steven

Race, revolution and interracial relations: Revisiting rapper Emicida’s video ‘Boa Esperança’, the most courageous video of 2015

Black Women of Brazil

Note from BW of Brazil: Get ready! Today’s piece is one of those long articles in which you must read every word in order to get the full significance. The rapper known as Emicida is perhaps the most popular rapper in Brazil right now and his star continues to rise. Last year, the rapper released the video for his song “Boa Esperança”, one of the most discussed music videos of last year and for good reason and you will no doubt agree.

The video takes on the realities of race and class in modern day Brazilian society that date back all the way to the colonial era; a colonial era in which masses of Brazilian Indians were massacred and millions of imported Africans were forced to endure unthinkable conditions of cruelty, exploitation and death. As we have seen in numerous posts in the past, many black Brazilians still make references to the Casa Grande (big house/slave master’s home) to describe race relations in modern day Brazil, even as the institution of slavery officially ended in 1888, making Brazil the last country in the Western world to abolish this practice…

Read the entire article here.

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The Great Migration and African-American Genomic Diversity

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2016-05-29 14:29Z by Steven

The Great Migration and African-American Genomic Diversity

PLOS Genetics
27 pages
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1006059

Soheil Baharian
Department of Human Genetics
McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Genome Quebec Innovation Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Maxime Barakatt
McGill University and Genome Quebec Innovation Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Christopher R. Gignoux
Department of Genetics
Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California

Suyash Shringarpure
Department of Genetics
Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California

Jacob Errington
Department of Human Genetics
McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Genome Quebec Innovation Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

William J. Blot
Division of Epidemiology
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee
International Epidemiology Institute, Rockville, Maryland

Carlos D. Bustamante
Department of Genetics
Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California

Eimear E. Kenny
Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences
The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York

Scott M. Williams
Department of Genetics
Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Sciences, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire

Melinda C. Aldrich
Division of Epidemiology, Department of Thoracic Surgery
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee

Simon Gravel
Department of Human Genetics
McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Genome Quebec Innovation Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Fig 3. Pairwise genetic relatedness across US census regions among (A) African-Americans, (B) European-Americans, and (C) African-Americans and European-Americans. (D) Census-based prediction for African-Americans (see Materials and Methods). On each map, the line connecting two regions shows the average relatedness between individuals in those regions, and the thickness and opacity of the lines are on a linear scale between the minimum and maximum values shown above the map. Relatedness between regions with fewer than 10,000 possible pairs of individuals is not shown (see Materials and Methods for details). All numbers are in units of cM. (E) Decay of average IBD (shown in logarithmic scale) as a function of distance using IBD segments of length 18cM or longer from HRS (dots), compared to the analytical model (lines).


We present a comprehensive assessment of genomic diversity in the African-American population by studying three genotyped cohorts comprising 3,726 African-Americans from across the United States that provide a representative description of the population across all US states and socioeconomic status. An estimated 82.1% of ancestors to African-Americans lived in Africa prior to the advent of transatlantic travel, 16.7% in Europe, and 1.2% in the Americas, with increased African ancestry in the southern United States compared to the North and West. Combining demographic models of ancestry and those of relatedness suggests that admixture occurred predominantly in the South prior to the Civil War and that ancestry-biased migration is responsible for regional differences in ancestry. We find that recent migrations also caused a strong increase in genetic relatedness among geographically distant African-Americans. Long-range relatedness among African-Americans and between African-Americans and European-Americans thus track north- and west-bound migration routes followed during the Great Migration of the twentieth century. By contrast, short-range relatedness patterns suggest comparable mobility of ∼15–16km per generation for African-Americans and European-Americans, as estimated using a novel analytical model of isolation-by-distance.

Author Summary

Genetic studies of African-Americans identify functional variants, elucidate historical and genealogical mysteries, and reveal basic biology. However, African-Americans have been under-represented in genetic studies, and relatively little is known about nation-wide patterns of genomic diversity in the population. Here, we study African-American genomic diversity using genotype data from nationally and regionally representative cohorts. Access to these unique cohorts allows us to clarify the role of population structure, admixture, and recent massive migrations in shaping African-American genomic diversity and sheds new light on the genetic history of this population.

Read the entire article here.

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The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire

Posted in Biography, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, History, Mexico, Monographs, Passing, Slavery, United States on 2016-05-29 00:56Z by Steven

The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire

W. W. Norton & Company
368 pages
6.1 × 9.3 in
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-393-23925-6

Karl Jacoby, Professor of History
Columbia University, New York, New York

A prize-winning historian tells a new story of the black experience in America through the life of a mysterious entrepreneur.

A black child born in the twilight of slavery, William Henry Ellis inhabited a world of fraught, ambiguous racial categories on the anarchic border between the United States and Mexico. He adopted the name Guillermo Enrique Eliseo and passed as a Mexican: traveling as Hispanic in first-class train berths, staying in the finest hotels, and eating in leading restaurants. A shrewd businessman, he became fabulously wealthy and found himself involved in scandalous trials, unexpected disappearances, and diplomatic controversies. Constantly switching identities, Eliseo was a genius at identifying and exploiting the porousness of the color line and the border line.

Through Ellis’s picaresque biography, Karl Jacoby presents an intriguing narrative set in a secret and ever-changing world. The Strange Career of William Ellis reinterprets the borderlands, showing how U.S. and Mexican histories intertwined during Reconstruction, and he offers new insight into the arbitrary and evolving definitions of race in America.

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When Black Is Brown: The African Diaspora in Mexico

Posted in Arts, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, History, Live Events, Mexico, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2016-05-28 02:47Z by Steven

When Black Is Brown: The African Diaspora in Mexico

The Museum of African American Art
Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza
Macy’s 3rd Floor
4005 Crenshaw Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90008
2016-06-05 through 2016-09-18
Opening Reception: 2016-06-05, 14:00-17:00 PDT (Local Time)

WHERE BLACK IS BROWN: The African Diaspora In Mexico opens Sunday, June 5, 2016, with a public reception from 2:00 to 5:00 pm at The Museum of African American Art. The opening will feature a drumming procession of African and Azteca dancers and musicians, a dramatic performance, and a talk and tour by the exhibit’s curator, Dr. Toni-Mokjaetji Humber, Professor Emeritus, Ethnic and Women’s Studies Department, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

WHERE BLACK IS BROWN is an innovative, multidimensional project that includes photographs, artifacts, and installations that document the African presence in Mexico from the Ancient Olmecs — Mother Culture of the Americas — through the colonial enslavement period, to contemporary Mexico. In addition to the visual components, Dr. Humber has incorporated educational programs and activities to compliment the exhibit. She will conduct middle and high school tours of the exhibit with activities for students to better understand the culture and historical contributions of African Mexicans.

“Recognition of an African root in the Mexican heritage, both ancient and modern, has been rendered invisible in the ideological consciousness of what it means to be Mexican,” Dr. Humber states. “This research will present a face of Mexico that has been hidden, denied, and disparaged, yet one that is vital to Mexican history and culture.”

The exhibit is designed to further the understanding of African influence and contributions in the Americas and to foster greater understanding among African American, Chicano/Latino, and Indigenous communities about their historical connections and their intermingled sangre (blood) that has produced beautiful and dynamic peoples of the Americas.

For more information, click here.

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Recovering the Afro-Metropolis Before Windrush

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2016-05-26 00:19Z by Steven

Recovering the Afro-Metropolis Before Windrush

Christian John Høgsbjerg
University of Leeds

Anthurium: A Caribbean Studies Journal
Volume 13, Issue 1 (The Caribbean Radical Tradition)
May 2016

Marc Matera, Black London: The Imperial Metropolis and Decolonization in the Twentieth Century (Oakland, California: University of California Press, 2015), 410 pp.

In Black London, Marc Matera’s wide-ranging historical overview of the small but significant African and Afro-Caribbean presence in London from the 1920s to the 1940s, we have an important work which can take its place proudly alongside classic works such as Peter Fryer’s Staying Power and complementing more recent works such as John Belchem’s study of “black Liverpool,” Before the Windrush. Synthesizing scholarship both old and new in a sophisticated manner with an impressive level of archival research undertaken over a decade, Matera provides a powerful, indeed unanswerable, rebuttal to all those who would persist in seeing the arrival of the Empire Windrush in 1948 as the critical watershed marking the birth of “black British history”. The range of themes explored in Black London – political anticolonial agitation, social questions around interracial sex, imperial metropolitan cultural themes around British film-making and portrayals of Africa on the big screen, and the counter-cultures of resistance forged by black women and a host of musicians from across the African diaspora – mean that the work will appeal and be appreciated by not only historical specialists but also a wider public and popular audience…

…Matera registers in passing how the interracial relationships and marriages often resulting in such working class communities transgressed racial boundaries and upset imperialist sensibilities, noting for example that John Harris, who headed up the Committee for the Welfare of Africans in Europe, proposed to the Home Office in 1936 the gradual repatriation of black seafarers in Britain and suggested “steps might be found for raising the standard” of their mixed offspring “to that of the white races rather than leave them to drift down to that of the black” (210). Yet Matera’s work tells us little for example about the more general institutional racism suffered by this group of workers at the hands of the British state and the ship-owners (sometimes in collusion with the official National Union of Seamen), and perhaps more needed to be said about the “colour bar” that operated more widely across London (and Britain generally), for example in housing. Incidentally, it is noted that black actors such as Orlando Martins and Robert Adams survived by part-time work as wrestlers, but the role of black wrestlers as an aspect of wider inter-war multiracial working class culture might have been usefully developed (though I only am able to write this after recently hearing Gemma Romain give a fascinating paper on this very subject). Speaking of actors, though Matera does briefly discuss black theatre in Britain, I felt he could have pushed a little further in this direction, for example, building on the recent excellent work Black and Asian Theatre in Britain by Colin Chambers…

Read the entire review here.

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