Black Mexico: Unearthing the ‘Third Root’

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico on 2015-08-25 14:20Z by Steven

Black Mexico: Unearthing the ‘Third Root’

The Compton Herald
Compton, California

Jarrette Fellows, Jr.

Spaniards, African slaves, and indigenous Indians in Colonial Mexico forged a unique ethnic blend known as ‘Black Mexicans

This multiple-part series will unravel the little-known history of how Mexico’s 15th-century assimilation of Spaniards, indigenous Indians, and African slaves into “Black Mexico,” eventually led to the founding of Los Angeles by Black Mexicans and Mestizos in the 17th century when California was still under the rule of Mexico. Even though the Black imprint in Mexico is unraveling more and more as time moves on, the reality of the truth is still largely mired in a Shadow History because the masses do not frequent libraries and this truth has never been taught as a history lesson in Mexico, much less as historic text in the U.S. To now, this invaluable historic truth has largely been available as scholarly works. The Compton Herald sought out this history, scaled down its volume from multiple scholarly sources, and now present it in nine parts for public consumption — Jarrette

THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE of ancient Spanish America were the Aztecs, Mayans, Olmecs, Toltecs, Zapotecs and the Mixtecs, who inhabited a geographical area encompassing present-day Florida and much of what is now the Western U.S., Mexico, and parts of the Caribbean. These ancient peoples comprised the pre-Columbian indigenous civilizations before the arrival of all-conquering Spain as a colonizer of the region prior to the 16th century.  These indigenous natives constituted modern-day Mexico’s “First Root.”…

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Call for Papers: Negotiating Identities: Mixed-Race Individuals in China, Japan, and Korea

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Forthcoming Media, History, Identity Development/Psychology, United States, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers on 2015-08-25 13:40Z by Steven

Call for Papers: Negotiating Identities: Mixed-Race Individuals in China, Japan, and Korea

University of San Francisco Center for Asia Pacific Studies
2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, California

Negotiating Identities: Mixed-Race Individuals in China, Japan, and Korea, April 14-15, 2016

The University of San Francisco Center for Asia Pacific Studies is pleased to announce the call for papers for “Negotiating Identities: Mixed-Race Individuals in China, Japan, and Korea” a conference to be held at the University of San Francisco on Thursday and Friday, April 14-15, 2016.

The highlight of the conference will be a keynote address by Emma Teng, Professor of History and Asian Civilizations, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

With this conference, the Center plans to provide a forum for academic discussions and the sharing of the latest research on the history and life experiences of mixed-race individuals in China, Japan, and Korea. The conference is designed to promote greater understanding of the cross-cultural encounters that led to the creation of interracial families and encourage research that examines how mixed-race individuals living in East Asia have negotiated their identities. Scholars working on the contemporary period are also welcome to apply.

All participants will be expected to provide a draft of their paper approximately 4 weeks before the conference to allow discussants adequate time to prepare their comments before the conference.

Participants will be invited to submit their original research for consideration in the Center’s peer-reviewed journal, Asia Pacific Perspectives.

Interested applicants should e-mail the following to, subject line, “Multiracial Identities in Asia”:

  • 300 word (maximum) abstract
  • Curriculum Vitae

Please share this call with any scholars that may be interested.

Contact for Questions:

Melissa S. Dale, Ph.D.
Executive Director & Assistant Professor
University of San Francisco Center for Asia Pacific Studies

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Tony Gleaton: Photographing The African Story Across The Americas

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico on 2015-08-24 01:05Z by Steven

Tony Gleaton: Photographing The African Story Across The Americas

Code Switch: Frontiers of Race, Culture and Ethnicity
National Public Radio

Karen Grigsby Bates

Photographer Tony Gleaton died last Friday after struggling with a particularly aggressive cancer for 18 months. He was working, signing prints, talking to museums (several have his work in their collections, including the Brooklyn Museum, the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem) and checking in with his friends right up to the last day. I admired his work, but also treasured his friendship.

For many years, Tony often showed up on my Los Angeles doorstep with a huge sack of dirty laundry slung over his shoulder and a box of contact sheets under one arm.

“Here,” he’d say, placing the box in my hands, and walking through the door. “Look at these. I’m gonna do some laundry, okay?”…

…In the beginning, he got a lot of pushback. “Why do you want to take our picture?” the villagers would ask, warily. “We have no money to pay you.”

When Tony would explain that he was documenting the African Diaspora around the world, and that they and he were both part of it, the conversation often became even harder.

“You want to take pictures of black people?” they’d ask.

“Yes, like you and me … ” he’d begin

“Well,” they’d respond, looking at his fair skin, light hair and blue-green eyes. “You’re not black. And we’re certainly not black. So you need to do that somewhere else.”

Eventually he learned to refine his approach and tell the villagers he wanted people in the States to see how beautiful people in the villages were. “I just gave up on the black connection. It was important to me, but not to them. They see race differently than we do. And it’s only a social construct anyway.”

There is still stigma to acknowledging blackness in many parts of Mexico, and Tony’s work raised the profile of Latinos with what is sometimes called “the Third Root” — Spanish, Indian, African — in Latino culture. His work eventually expanded across the Americas to form an exhibit called Tengo Casi 500 Anos (I Have Almost 500 Years) — Africa’s Legacy in Mexico that explores the African presence in the Americas. He’s also chronicled black, Indian and Mexican cowboy culture, as well as life in American Samoa and the Mississippi Delta

Read the entire article here.

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Times Regrets ‘Slave Mistress’ in Julian Bond’s Obituary

Posted in Arts, Biography, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Women on 2015-08-23 01:33Z by Steven

Times Regrets ‘Slave Mistress’ in Julian Bond’s Obituary

The New York Times

Margaret Sullivan, Public Editor

After Julian Bond’s death on Saturday, The Times published a lengthy and well-written obituary summing up the life and work of the civil rights champion. But many readers were bothered by a single sentence in the front-page article:

“Julian Bond’s great-grandmother Jane Bond was the slave mistress of a Kentucky farmer.”

Many readers wrote to me to protest the phrase, on the grounds that a slave, by definition, can’t be in the kind of consensual or romantic relationship that the word “mistress” suggests. One of them noted it wasn’t the first time the phrase had appeared in a Times obituary…

Read the entire article here.

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ETHS 306 : Politics of Mixed Racial Identity

Posted in Course Offerings, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2015-08-22 01:38Z by Steven

ETHS 306 : Politics of Mixed Racial Identity

Metropolitan State University, Saint Paul, Minnesota
2002-08-24 to Present

This course focuses on the phenomenon of mixed race descent in the United States. For comparative purposes, the course also explores the topic in relation to other nations. Included in the course are historical perspectives, and exploration of the psychology, sociology and literature associated with mixed race descent.

For more information, click here. For the Library Guide, click here.


‘It’s no disgrace to a colored girl to placer’: Sexual Commodification and Negotiation among Louisiana’s “Quadroons,” 1805-1860

Posted in Dissertations, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2015-08-22 01:13Z by Steven

‘It’s no disgrace to a colored girl to placer’: Sexual Commodification and Negotiation among Louisiana’s “Quadroons,” 1805-1860

Ohio State University
284 pages

Noel Mellick Voltz

Doctor of Philosophy in History

In 1805, a New Orleans newspaper advertisement formally defined a new social institution, the infamous Quadroon Ball, in which prostitution and plaçage – a system of concubinage – converged. These balls, limited to white men and light-skinned, free “Quadroon” women, became an interracial rendezvous that provided evening entertainment and the possibility of forming sexual liaisons in exchange for financial “sponsorship.” At these balls, money and other forms of payment were exchanged for the connubial placement of free women of color with wealthy white men.

My dissertation entitled, “‘It’s no disgrace to a colored girl to placer’: Sexual Commodification and Negotiation Among Louisiana’s “Quadroons,” 1805-1860” seeks to understand how free women of color used sex across the colorline as a tool of negotiation in various spaces, like the Quadroon Ballroom, in antebellum Louisiana. More specifically, utilizing contemporary travelers’ journals, newspapers, poems, songs, letters, notarial and ecclesiastical records, court cases and other legal documents, my dissertation examines the sexual agency exerted by Louisiana’s free women of color in four sites of contestation – the body, the ballroom, the courtroom and the sanctuary.

Free women of color occupied a precarious position in antebellum Louisiana, often subjugated because of their race, gender and class; yet, this very positioning also afforded them a space in which to maneuver socially and economically. I contend that in these literal and figurative spaces, these women drew upon their sexuality to make strategic claims to their freedom advancing themselves socially and economically. This work pushes the boundaries of current scholarship engaging questions of sexual agency and trauma, race and identity, hegemonic myth and cultural reappropriation. In so doing, I build upon and push beyond historiographic discussions of the fetishizing and fanticizing gaze of white men and the overly simplistic dichotomous images of the hypersexualized jezebel and the totally victimized yet “respectable” free woman of color. Ultimately, this research illuminates a more nuanced understanding of black female agency in the antebellum era.

For more information, click here.

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DNA Shows Warren Harding Wasn’t America’s First Black President

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-08-20 01:47Z by Steven

DNA Shows Warren Harding Wasn’t America’s First Black President

The New York Times

Peter Baker, Chief White House Correspondent

WASHINGTON — Bill Clinton was called the first black president because he crossed racial lines so easily, a distinction he lost when Barack Obama became the first actual black president. But for decades, some Americans claimed that the nation’s first black president was really Warren G. Harding.

It turns out that he wasn’t, really. At least that is the result of new DNA testing that according to scientists showed for the first time that Harding almost certainly had no recent ancestors with African blood, despite assertions that were spread far and wide a century ago in efforts to sabotage everything from his marriage to his political career.

The finding was overshadowed last week by the determination through the same testing that Harding did father a child with a mistress, Nan Britton. But the conclusion about Harding’s racial ancestry likewise addresses a mystery that had puzzled historians for many years and provides a seemingly definitive resolution of a subplot that played out during his lifetime…

Read the entire article here.

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Holocaust Art By A Jew Who Was Black Josef Nassy’s Vision Of Nazi Camps Has Its First U.s. Show Here.

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, History, Media Archive, Religion on 2015-08-18 01:11Z by Steven

Holocaust Art By A Jew Who Was Black Josef Nassy’s Vision Of Nazi Camps Has Its First U.s. Show Here.

The Philadelphia Inquirer

Leonard W. Boasberg, Inquirer Staff Writer

There are strength and pathos in the drawings. There are loneliness and community, a sense of the desperation of the individual – the prisoner, the victim – who, in the grasp of malevolent brutality, nevertheless maintains his will to survive.

There are watchtowers and barbed wire and closed gates and prison bars and armed guards, and there are portraits of pensive men who might be anywhere but are, in fact, confined for no crime but their existence.

The works are by Josef Nassy, a black artist of Jewish ancestry, who survived three years of Nazi prison camps during World War II and, in his art, left a lasting record of what he saw and felt.

A collection of Nassy’s works – about 115 paintings, drawings and ink washes – is now on exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Judaica, located in the synagogue of Congregation Rodeph Shalom, 615 N. Broad St. The exhibit, titled In the Shadow of the Tower, is the first U.S. public showing of Nassy’s works, which are on a three-year international tour that will take them to Jerusalem; Hamburg, West Germany; Brussels, Belgium; Chicago, and New York…

Read the entire article here.

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The Japanese women who married the enemy

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, History, Media Archive, United States on 2015-08-18 00:52Z by Steven

The Japanese women who married the enemy

BBC News Magazine

Vanessa Barford

Seventy years ago many Japanese people in occupied Tokyo after World War Two saw US troops as the enemy. But tens of thousands of young Japanese women married GIs nonetheless – and then faced a big struggle to find their place in the US.

For 21-year-old Hiroko Tolbert, meeting her husband’s parents for the first time after she had travelled to America in 1951 was a chance to make a good impression.

She picked her favourite kimono for the train journey to upstate New York, where she had heard everyone had beautiful clothes and beautiful homes.

But rather than being impressed, the family was horrified.

“My in-laws wanted me to change. They wanted me in Western clothes. So did my husband. So I went upstairs and put on something else, and the kimono was put away for many years,” she says.

It was the first of many lessons that American life was not what she had imagined it to be…

…”The war had been a war without mercy, with incredible hatred and fear on both sides. The discourse was also heavily racialised – and America was a pretty racist place at that time, with a lot of prejudice against inter-race relationships,” says Prof Paul Spickard, an expert in history and Asian-American studies at the University of California…

…The War Brides Act of 1945 allowed American servicemen who married abroad to bring their wives home, but it took the Immigration Act of 1952 to enable Asians to come to America in large numbers.

When the women did move to the US, some attended Japanese bride schools at military bases to learn how to do things like bake cakes the American way, or walk in heels rather than the flat shoes to which they were accustomed.

But many were totally unprepared.

Generally speaking, the Japanese women that married black Americans settled more easily, Spickard says…

Read the entire article here.

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Crossing the Color Line: Race, Sex, and the Contested Politics of Colonialism in Ghana

Posted in Africa, Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs, United Kingdom on 2015-08-13 18:59Z by Steven

Crossing the Color Line: Race, Sex, and the Contested Politics of Colonialism in Ghana

Ohio University Press
October 2015
364 pages
11 illus., 3 maps
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8214-2179-6
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8214-2180-2
Electronic ISBN: 978-0-8214-4539-6

Carina E. Ray, Associate Professor of African and Afro- American Studies
Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts

Interracial sex mattered to the British colonial state in West Africa. In Crossing the Color Line, Carina E. Ray goes beyond this fact to reveal how Gold Coasters—their social practices, interests, and anxieties—shaped and defined these powerfully charged relations across racial lines. The interplay between African and European perspectives and practices, argues Ray, transformed these relationships into key sites for consolidating colonial rule and for contesting its racial and gendered hierarchies of power.

With rigorous methodology and innovative analyses, Ray brings Ghana and Britain into a single analytic frame by examining cases in both locales. Intimate relations between black men and white women in Britain’s port cities emerge as an influential part of the history of interracial sex and empire in ways that are connected to rather than eclipsed by relations between European men and African women in the colony.

Based on rich archival evidence and original interviews, the book moves across different registers, shifting from the micropolitics of individual disciplinary cases against colonial officers who “kept” local women to transatlantic networks of family, empire, and anticolonial resistance. In this way, Ray cuts to the heart of how interracial sex became a source of colonial anxiety and nationalist agitation during the first half of the twentieth century.

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