One Drop of Love is Headed to Broadway!

Posted in Arts, Autobiography, Census/Demographics, Forthcoming Media, History, Live Events, United States on 2016-07-30 01:49Z by Steven

One Drop of Love is Headed to Broadway!

Theater Row
410 West 42nd Street (between 9th and 10th Avenues)
New York, New York 10036
Thursday, 2016-10-13, 19:30 EDT (Local Time)

How does our belief in ‘race’ affect our most intimate relationships? One Drop of Love travels near and far, in the past and present to explore family, race, love and pain – and a path towards reconciliation. It is produced by Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.

One Drop of Love is headed to Broadway as part of the 7th Annual United Solo Theatre Festival on Thursday, October 13th. Show starts promptly at 7:30 pm. No late seating. General admission $23.25.

When purchasing tickets from the Telecharge website, be certain you’ve chosen Thursday, October 13th at 7:30PM. See you there – bring friends!

Ticketholders are invited to a celebration and discussion with Fanshen at nearby Chez Josephine following the performance.

Purchase tickets here.

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Free State of Jones Capsizes Lost Cause Myths

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Mississippi, Slavery, United States on 2016-07-29 00:30Z by Steven

Free State of Jones Capsizes Lost Cause Myths

Process: A Blog For American History
2016-07-12

Matthew E. Stanley, Assistant Professor of History
Albany State University, Albany, Georgia

Reconstruction is perhaps the least understood period in American history, a distinction that has been both perpetuated by and reflected in popular culture since the late nineteenth century. Films in particular have gone from presenting the era through the Dunning lens of rank white supremacy (The Birth of a Nation, Gone with the Wind, Tennessee Johnson) to skipping straight to white reunion (Abraham Lincoln, Ken Burns’s The Civil War) to addressing its social achievements and betrayals through either subtle foreshadowing (Lincoln, Glory) or highbrowed metaphor (The Hateful Eight). Director Gary Ross’s Free State of Jones, however, which depicts the origins and aftermath of Newton Knight’s bigender and biracial anti-Confederate insurgency in Jones County, Mississippi, might be the first to properly and historically situate Reconstruction in full relation to the war itself, serving as a vigorous repudiation of Lost Cause mythology.

Consulted by and employing source material from historians including Eric Foner, David Blight, and Victoria Bynum, Free State of Jones presents a wartime regional counternarrrative that becomes a postwar national standard narrative. In other words, the events depicted both are and are not historically representative. Led by farmer-turned-renegade Knight, ably portrayed by a suitably angular Matthew McConaughey, white members of the “Knight Company” are deserters and poor farmers who have rejected the Confederate “Twenty Negro Law” and regressive property confiscation; its black constituents are self-emancipated slaves and intrepid spies with even greater interest in overthrowing the callous Southern plantocracy. Through a series of competently shot skirmishes and ambushes, this militant underclass slowly drives Confederate forces from a large swath of southeast Mississippi. Persecuted by the Confederacy and ignored by the Union, Knight’s militia declares a “Free State of Jones” committed to principles of social and economic egalitarianism. His white wife and child having absconded, Knight falls for a mixed race slave, Rachel (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), and together they create a biracial community that still exists…

Read the entire article here.

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Alabama’s Anti-Miscegenation Statutes

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2016-07-27 02:09Z by Steven

Alabama’s Anti-Miscegenation Statutes

Alabama Review
Volume 68, Number 4, October 2015
pages 345-365
DOI: 10.1353/ala.2015.0033

Jeremy W. Richter, Associate
Webster, Henry, Lyons, Bradwell, Cohan & Speagle, P.C., Attorneys and Counselors at Law, Birmingham, Alabama

In the immediate aftermath of the civil war and, more specifically, the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, various southern states began passing laws to preserve a now-fragile social structure. Beginning with President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863, which liberated all slaves residing in rebel states or territories, the southern states’ social ecology had begun to unravel, and southern whites faced a situation in which the black Americans once deemed property were now citizens—equal in the eyes of the law.

Nevertheless, white citizens sought to maintain control over their black counterparts. In an effort to preserve their society, southern states in 1865 began to pass a series of laws, which varied by state and collectively became known as Black Codes. These laws were designed to exploit and control former slaves. For example, freedmen (as freed black citizens became known) who were arrested for vagrancy could be contracted out for labor; freedmen were, in some states, not allowed to raise their own crops and were precluded from entering towns without permission. Most significantly perhaps, the Black Codes enacted offenses containing differing penalties for black versus white citizens. These racially-discriminatory penalties were later outlawed upon the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment and the enactment of the Reconstruction Acts.

Two centuries of slavery had, prior to 1865, created a caste system which maintained, at least officially, the distinction between white and black. With that barrier removed and the federal government attempting to institute legal racial equality, of primary concern to many was the preservation of the purity of the white race. In response, many states throughout the United States, largely regardless of geography, passed laws prohibiting the intermarriage of white and black citizens. In 1967, the Supreme Court of the United States held in Loving v. Virginia that laws prohibiting interracial marriage were unconstitutional, and as such any such existing laws were overturned. At the time of the Loving v. Virginia decision, sixteen states still had anti-miscegenation laws in effect: Delaware, Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Florida, West Virginia, and Oklahoma.

The State of Alabama enacted its first anti-miscegenation law in the Penal Code of 1866:

If any white person and any negro, or the descendant of any negro, to the third generation inclusive, though one ancestor of each generation was a white person, intermarry, or live in adultery or fornication with each other, each of them must, on conviction, be imprisoned in the penitentiary, or sentenced to hard labor for the county, for not less than two, nor more than seven years.

The Alabama legislature reinforced this statute in new penal codes that were enacted in 1867 (§ 3602), 1876 (§ 4189), 1886 (§ 4018), and 1896 (§ 5096). In 1901, Alabama drafted a new state constitution, wherein the anti-miscegenation statute was made a part of the state constitution: “The legislature shall never pass any law to authorize or legalize any marriage between any white person and a negro, or descendant of a negro.” The final revisions to Alabama’s anti-miscegenation law were adopted in the Code of Alabama of 1940, which stated: “If any white person and any negro, or the descendant of any negro intermarry, or live in adultery or fornication with each other, each of them shall, on conviction, be imprisoned in the penitentiary for not less than two nor more than seven years.”

Judicial Application of Anti-Miscegenation Laws in Alabama: Setting Precedent, 1868–1881

In addition to a law disallowing marriage between whites and blacks, the Alabama Penal Code of 1866 adopted laws governing adultery. Where Alabama Code § 3598 outlined the repercussions of adultery offenses generally, Alabama Code § 3602 specifically addressed the penalties for adultery between white and black persons:

If any white person or negro, or the descendant of any negro, to the third generation inclusive, though one ancestor of each generation was a white person, intermarry or live in adultery with each other, each of them must, on conviction, be imprisoned in the penitentiary, or sentenced to hard labor for the…

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Meet Edith Cumbo, Nation Builder

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, United States, Virginia on 2016-07-26 15:57Z by Steven

Meet Edith Cumbo, Nation Builder

Cumbo Family Website: Exploring Cumbo Family Roots and Branches across Generations
2016-07-24

Andre Kearns
Washington, D.C.

We celebrated our 2016 Cumbo Family Reunion last weekend July 15-17 in Williamsburg, Virginia. One of the reasons we chose Williamsburg was because Colonial Williamsburg features a historical figure – Edith Cumbo – who is an ancestral family member.

Edith Cumbo, as far as I can tell, is my first cousin 9 times removed. Continuing to trace back from my 5th great grandfather Britton Cumbo Sr. of Northampton, North Carolina to our original ancestor Emanuell Cambow, the focus of my current research, will help me to confirm this.

Edith Cumbo was a mixed race, free woman of color born around 1735 to Richard Cumbo Jr., the grandson of Emanuell Cambow, and an Irish woman. According to 18th-century Virginia law, the status of your mother determined whether you were born enslaved or free. Both of her parents were free and so was Edith…

Read the entire article here.

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A Mixed-Race, Mixed-Marriage

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2016-07-26 15:40Z by Steven

A Mixed-Race, Mixed-Marriage

Cumbo Family Website: Exploring Cumbo Family Roots and Branches across Generations
2016-05-06

Andre Kearns
Washington, D.C.

My great-great grandparents Edward Biggs and Florence Cumbo were both listed as Colored on their 1890 marriage license.

So why am I classifying their union as a mixed marriage?

It is because Edward Biggs was born to an enslaved family and Florence Cumbo was born to a free family of color.

Both were born mixed race people but due to different circumstances. Based on a family photo, Edward Biggs appears white. Based on research he was likely a quarter black, a product of successive generations of offspring between white men and enslaved women. Edward Bigg’s father, based on his death certificate was a man named Kader Biggs, one of the larger slave owners in Bertie County, North Carolina. His mother Sarah Peele was a bi racial woman born into slavery around 1848 in Bertie…

Read the entire article here.

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Secrets of Nation

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Oceania, United States, Women on 2016-07-26 01:20Z by Steven

Secrets of Nation

Inside Story
2016-07-15

Ann McGrath, Professor of History, Director of the Australian Centre for Indigenous History
Australian National University, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory


Middle ground: detail from Bartering for a Bride, or The Trappers Bride, by Alfred Jacob Miller, c. 1845. Wikipedia Commons

The buried secrets of Australia’s frontier share features with encounters in the United States, writes Ann McGrath

By the 1960s, when I was growing up there, Queensland had become skilled at burying the Aboriginal past, and Queenslanders spoke about its traces in hushed tones. As a child, I wondered why. I recall a particular day when my grandfather Joe whispered that some of his neighbours had a “touch of the tarbrush.” “What does that mean?” I had no clue. He told me that it meant Aboriginal ancestry. I was flummoxed by these comments, which seemed out of character. A tram driver for most of his working life, Joe had refused promotion because the new job would have involved punishing people who could not afford to pay. A son of the Great Depression, he respected hardworking men and women. I had never before heard him say anything that sounded discriminatory or racist.

Only after years of archival research into Australian history did I realise why it was necessary to speak about such topics in a whisper. Unions between Aboriginal women and white men were against the law. You did not want the police to hear. You did not want your neighbours to suffer the shame and the punishment of fines or incarceration. Where Joe grew up in north Queensland, white men went to jail for cohabiting with Aboriginal women. Worse, with marriage prohibited and Aboriginal marriage law not recognised, their children were classed as “illegitimate.” Aboriginal wives and children were taken away.

Keeping these “secrets of nation” as family secrets became common sense, and hence a deeply ingrained practice. Not only had Aboriginal people supposedly just “gone” from the urban and rural landscape with no heroic battles, but according to what we were taught in primary school, it was as if they had never even shared the same spaces. Let alone fallen in love, married, and loved their children.

When I became a historian, I started to investigate the history of race and colonialism, and eventually came to the topic of intermarriage across colonising boundaries. The history of love, above and beyond other themes, seemed to promise gendered clues that might help people understand what lay beneath the surface of history, clues to buried, intimate secrets – the private stuff that makes our nations tick…

Read the entire article here.

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Going Against History?

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Religion, United States on 2016-07-26 00:56Z by Steven

Going Against History?

Institute for Advanced Study
2016

Ann McGrath, Professor of History, Director of the Australian Centre for Indigenous History
Australian National University, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory


Locket images of Elias and Harriett, ca. 1826 (Courtesy of the Boudinot Family)

Illicit love and intermarriage

When leading church elders posted the wedding banns on the church doors in Cornwall, Connecticut, in the summer of 1825, all hell broke loose. The banns proclaimed that Harriett Gold, a nineteen-year-old white woman, was to marry Elias Boudinot, a young Cherokee man and a recent graduate of the town’s Foreign Mission School.

Born Gallegina Uwatie, or Buck Watie, Elias had already crossed the boundaries of nations. He took his new name out of respect for Elias Boudinot (1740–1821), the School patron and congressional statesman of New Jersey, whom he had met on the journey from his native Georgia to Cornwall. The original Boudinot had married Hannah Stockton, whose Princeton family had bought their land from William Penn and whose brother was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. A trustee of the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University), Boudinot founded the American Bible Society, a nationalistic effort that included James Fenimore Cooper, author of The Last of the Mohicans. His religious tracts expounded theories that the Indians were from the lost tribes of Israel. He also wrote sentimental poems about his beloved wife and the happiness brought by their marriage…

Read the entire article here.

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Call for Proposals: Colors of Blood, Semantics of Race: Racial Categories and Social Representations: A Global Perspective (From the late Middle Ages to the 21st Century)

Posted in Europe, History, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers on 2016-07-24 02:47Z by Steven

Call for Proposals: Colors of Blood, Semantics of Race: Racial Categories and Social Representations: A Global Perspective (From the late Middle Ages to the 21st Century)

Casa de Velázquez
Madrid, Spain
2016-12-15 through 2016-12-16

Toward the end of the Middle Ages, the outset of the European expansion considerably increased the contacts between culturally different peoples. Beginning in southern Europe, this process rapidly reached more distant regions of the globe which were increasingly falling under the Western sphere of influence. This phenomenon transformed the communities affected by that expansion, and even led to the formation of new ‘fractal’ societies. These were not only multi-ethnic communities in which “Old Christians” lived together with “New Christians” (as in the Iberian Peninsula), or European colonizers associating with indigenous colonized peoples (beyond the boundaries of the Old Continent), or elites of European descent with subaltern masses, but frequently also extremely miscegenated societies.

During the early modernity, the socio-racial relations were very much influenced by the medieval notion of “blood”, according to which the “quality” of individuals was strongly associated with their “honor”. Those relations were, in addition, influenced by a perception of “otherness” marked by religious intolerance, as well as by a racial perspective associated with the ethnic profile and the place of origin, or “nation”, of the individuals. These criteria rapidly adapted to the new realities, aiming to establish a hierarchic order following the ancient regimen’s model of society; a complex task considering the elevated levels of ethnic diversity, of illegitimate children, and of cultural and biological miscegenation.

The combination of all these elements, adapted to the particular socio-ethnic background of the local populations concerned and placed in relation to the local forms of production, generated a whole myriad of socio-racial categories, most of which were unprecedented. Severely regulated by the legislation of the time, and internalized from an identitary point of view by social actors, these categories gave specificity, both unique and common, to the societies that made use of them. Those categories mainly defined the racialized status of individuals, often adding linguistic complements in order to provide more specific definitions. Their sources of inspiration were very diverse: the color or the tonalities of the skin, the type or degree of biological miscegenation, the level of transculturation, the stereotyped appearance of other peoples, the features of certain animals, and words borrowed from non-Latin languages.

As the social transformations consolidated, other complements and semantic variations begin to appear. Following a simultaneous process of classification and creolisation, those linguistic aggregates mainly aimed to further underline the differences of status among individuals belonging to the same sectors and, at times, to give meaning to the “oddest” mixtures. There were also efforts to define the individuals who lived in the borderlands, as well as to categorize the workforce according to the “new” forms of servitude, the introduction of the ‘plantation complex’, the modernization of the slave and indentured systems, and the development of the transnational slave trade.

Since the 18th Century, and especially over the course of the 19th and much of the 20th, the democratic revolutions, the abolitions of slavery, the process of decolonization, the impact of scientific racism, the consolidation of skin color as a racial catalyser, the massive migrations, the expansion of U.S. popular culture, and the racialization of poverty and of criminality, among other phenomena, had an enormous impact on the systems of representation and, consequently, on the semantics of socio-racial categorization. Nowadays, in spite of the collapse of apartheids, of the seeming consecration of democracy as the dominant model of government worldwide, and of the fortunate downfall of the scientific paradigm of race, certain categories (mainly pejorative) have continued to be evoked in the former colonial and metropolitan territories, and even beyond, in other parts of the world. This amazing longevity seems to put in evidence the continuity over time of the socio-racial representations that began to take form more than five-hundred years ago, when Europe began expanding its perceptions of “otherness” throughout the world.

Taking as a starting point the Mediterranean and the Atlantic World in the late Middle Ages, and continuing with the colonial regions of the wider world during the modern age, and those territories in which socio-racial categories continue to be used in the contemporary period, the present colloquium aims to shed new light on the construction of these categories by studying them from a ‘longue durée’ perspective. Accordingly, we propose to focus on the perceptions developed by social actors within the different ‘spaces of experience’ in order to explain, on the one hand, the semantics that gave form to the categories that constitute our object of study and, on the other hand, the different sociocultural, socioeconomic and socio-cognitive dynamics that over time have contributed to the emergence, perpetuation and even to the disappearance of the representations that those same categories reflected. We will also be interested in studying the links of these variables with the different racialized notions of ‘self-identification’, as well as the appropriations, transmissions and semantic redefinitions between societies structured differently and/or culturally different. Attention will also be paid to ‘from below’ analytical approaches, in particular if they cover the perceptions of autochthonous and other marginalized populations, as well as those of the subaltern sectors, including slaves, in terms of identitary appropriation, of linguistic resistance and of their own categories/representations.

These lines of reflection are not exhaustive, as we will also consider proposals regarding other geo-historical contexts, or offering theoretical formulations that could enrich discussions from a trans-disciplinary perspective.

Those interested in attending should send their proposals in .doc or .pdf format to the following email address: couleursdesang@gmail.com. Proposals should include name, contact details, institutional affiliation, a short CV, title, and an abstract not exceeding one page in length (about 350 words). The deadline for consideration is September 10th, 2016. Successful proposals will be announced in mid-September. There will be no inscription fees and the organizing committee will cover travel costs and accommodation for invited participants. Presentations of papers should not exceed 30 minutes. The languages of the workshop are English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. A selection of papers presented at the workshop will be published in a peer-reviewed edited volume.

For more information, click here.

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The Real Rebels: A Review of Free State of Jones with Reflections on Lost Causes

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Mississippi, Slavery, United States on 2016-07-24 02:03Z by Steven

The Real Rebels: A Review of Free State of Jones with Reflections on Lost Causes

The Labor And Working-Class History Association (LAWCHA)
2016-07-12

Mark Lause, Professor of History
University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio

I can feel a certain sympathy for people who get hoodwinked into fighting for a Lost Cause that could never be worthy of the blood and treasure spent on its behalf. After all, as a child of the Cold War, my own closest brush with toting a gun to war came during Vietnam. In that conflict, the government, both political parties, the military, the media, the universities, the corporations, and the entire power structure insisted that the triumph of a Vietnamese effort to control of their own country would start toppling dominoes that would end in Anytown, U.S.A. By the end, most Americans actually doubted this. In hindsight, there’s no real issue as to whether the power structure of the people were correct, though some feel obligated to pretend otherwise.

Responses to the Free State of Jones by Gary Ross, and starring Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Mahershala Ali demonstrate that such denials of experience can last a long time. The movie offers a fictionalized version of the revolt of poor Southerners against the Confederacy in Jones County, Mississippi. Newton Knight worked on medical duties at the front until his disgust with the war inspired his desertion and return home. “Captain” Knight held that title for his role as the leader of guerilla forces that successfully made parts of southern Mississippi a no-go zone for Confederate tax gatherers and conscript officers. It is based on Victoria E. Bynum’s superb historical account The Free State of Jones: Mississippi’s Longest Civil War (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002), and aims to be much more truthful than Hollywood’s first attempt at the subject in 1948, Tap Roots.

Free State of Jones directly confronts the issues of class and race that Tap Roots downplayed or avoided. This fact, in part, explains the mixed reviews.

A movie is not a documentary, of course. The page dedicated to Free State of Jones at “History vs. Hollywood” provides a useful corrective, and I would urge everybody who liked the movie to read Bynum’s book…

Read the entire article here.

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‘Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings’ reimagines difficult history

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2016-07-24 00:23Z by Steven

‘Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings’ reimagines difficult history

The Chicago Tribune
2016-07-23

Meredith Maran

“Until the lions have their own historians,” says an African proverb, “the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.” The proverb offers one answer to a question that has long plagued writers, activists and historians. Who gets to tell the stories of those who have been denied the right to tell their own?

Given that heterosexual white men still get the, um, lion’s share of book contracts, should straight people write books about the gay rights movement? Should men write about the struggle for women’s equality? And — as with Harriet Beecher Stowe’sUncle Tom’s Cabin,” Mark Twain’sAdventures of Huckleberry Finn,” William Styron’s Pulitzer-winning “Confessions of Nat Turner” and now Stephen O’Connor’s Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings” —should a white person write a book whose central dilemma is slavery?

“Anyone has the right to write about any subject available to be written about,” historian Henry Louis Gates Jr. has said. But the white person who writes a 624-page novel about the 37-year love affair between a white slave owner — who happens to be the third president of the United States and author of the phrase “All men are created equal” — and a mixed-race slave — whom he happens to own and who happens to give birth to six of his children — had better have the politics, the courage and, most importantly, the storytelling skills to get it right.

Fortunately, O’Connor manifests an abundance of these qualities in “Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings,” his debut novel. Ambitious doesn’t begin to describe the scope of the project O’Connor undertook. And successful doesn’t begin to describe the wildly imaginative techniques he used to realize his authorial goal, which is clearly to humanize — equalize, you might say — the two members of this passionate, conflicted couple: the lionized, hypocritical Jefferson, who railed against slavery while owning slaves, and the powerful yet complicit Hemings, who loved and loathed her owner…

Read the entire review here.

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