Black Journalist T. Thomas Fortune Prophetically Predicts Today’s Political Climate

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-09-26 01:14Z by Steven

Black Journalist T. Thomas Fortune Prophetically Predicts Today’s Political Climate

African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS)
2016-09-24

Shawn Leigh Alexander, Associate Professor of African and African American Studies and Director of the Langston Hughes Center
University of Kansas

Newspaper editor and former slave T. Thomas Fortune formed the National Afro-American League, heralded as the first major all-black civil rights organization.

Civil rights activist and journalist T. Thomas Fortune was one of the most eloquent and instrumental voices of black America from 1880 to 1928. In 1883 Fortune, who was born into slavery in Florida, relocated to New York and became the lead editor of the New York Globe (subsequently named the Freeman and the Age), which quickly became the most widely read black paper of the era.

Using the paper as his pulpit he became a prominent outspoken critic of southern racism, a promoter of racial solidarity and race pride, and an uncompromising advocate for civil and political rights of African Americans. He was also the mastermind behind the creation of the nation’s first national civil rights organization, the Afro-American League, which provided the framework for National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

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Real Native Genius: How an Ex-Slave and a White Mormon Became Famous Indians by Angela Pulley Hudson (review)

Posted in Articles, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing, Religion, United States on 2016-09-26 00:00Z by Steven

Real Native Genius: How an Ex-Slave and a White Mormon Became Famous Indians by Angela Pulley Hudson (review)

The Journal of the Civil War Era
Volume 6, Number 3, September 2016
pages 439-442
DOI: 10.1353/cwe.2016.0058

Adam Pratt, Assistant Professor of History
University of Scranton, Scranton, Pennsylvania

Real Native Genius: How an Ex-Slave and a White Mormon Became Famous Indians. By Angela Pulley Hudson. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2015. Pp. 270. Paper $29.95.)

Angela Pulley Hudson’s Real Native Genius traces the lives of two individuals who, in the 1840s, convinced thousands of Americans that they were Native Americans. Calling themselves Okah Tubbee and Laah Ceil, the couple toured the Northeast as musicians who performed for large audiences and, later, offered medical cures. Hudson argues that audiences took the couple’s Indianness seriously and offers a host of cultural factors, such as the market revolution and religious revivalism, that explain their success. What she finds is that the Indian portrayals by Warner McCary, a mixed-race former slave from Mississippi, and Lucy Stanton, a Mormon from New York, tapped into Americans’ perceptions of Native people. Their performances lacked authenticity, but they were readily believable to an eastern, white audience that shared the same misconceptions about Native beliefs and practices. When evangelicals or early Mormons spoke in tongues, they were thought to be “talking Injun” (49); likewise, remedies hocked by charlatans were called “Indian cures” (124). These widely held ideas about a singular Native culture and identity, one that was widely constructed by white popular culture, allowed the couple to don identities believable enough to American audiences desperate for Native authenticity.

Born a slave in Natchez, Mississippi, around 1810, Warner McCary had a sad childhood. His purported mother, a slave, and her other children were manumitted, while he was not. McCary long disputed the idea that his owner was his father and instead claimed a Choctaw father. Although McCary lacked a sense of belonging from his family, he found respite in the fact that, starting at a young age, he could please people by playing them music. By 1839, he had run away to New Orleans, where he became something of a renowned musician and fashioned a new identity for himself as a performer. Urged to travel to widen his audience, in 1843 he met Lucy Stanton, a divorcée with three children, whose life had been spent with the nascent Mormon Church. Because Native Americans “were seen as an essential part of the faith’s millenarian promise,” they played a vital role in Mormon theology (45). Mormonism, according to Hudson, was instrumental when it came to the couple’s adoption and perpetuation of ideas about Indians.

In early 1846, the couple married and soon thereafter moved to Cincinnati, where they attempted to convert followers. McCary claimed to be both an Indian and a resurrected Christ, which caused several raised eyebrows. The local press portrayed McCary as “a unique sort of pied piper, leading followers to ruin and relieving them of their dollars” (72). This was the couple’s first foray into being “professional Indians,” an antebellum phenomenon that capitalized on “audiences’ desires for trivia on the vanishing race” (74–75). However, by early 1847 they had joined the Mormons at Winter Quarters, where they soon found themselves in trouble. It appeared that McCary had been seducing Mormon women with the help of his wife. McCary’s behavior, combined with lingering questions about his race, led to his being forced out of town by angry neighbors. By the fall of 1847, McCary and Stanton had traveled east and become professional Indians.

Unlike so many Americans who chased their fortunes in the west, Okah Tubbee and Laah Ceil understood that their brand could succeed only in the East. Impersonating Indians could work only where Indians no longer existed and where misconceptions were widespread. In the East, Tubbee demonstrated his “native genius” when he performed renditions of “La Marseillaise,” a way to show that he was untaught and that he possessed natural gifts because of his heritage. After several years of touring, Tubbee became embroiled in controversy when he married another woman who was unaware of the fact that he already had a wife. As public opinion turned against him, he vanished, lost to the historical record.

Laah Ceil made a name for herself in Buffalo, where she sold medicines until the 1860s. Her…

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This Movie Was Nearly Lost. Now They’re Fighting to Save It.

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Communications/Media Studies, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2016-09-25 21:44Z by Steven

This Movie Was Nearly Lost. Now They’re Fighting to Save It.

The New York Times
2016-09-23

John Anderson


Richard Romain in the 1982 film “Cane River.”
Credit IndieCollect

When it debuted in 1982, “Cane River” was already a rarity: a drama by an independent black filmmaker, financed by wealthy black patrons and dealing with race issues untouched by mainstream cinema. Richard Pryor had even tried to take it to Hollywood.

But since a negative resurfaced two years ago, it has attained a certain mythic quality, connecting a disparate group of people across the country: New York preservationists dedicated to restoring it; a cultural historian in Louisiana devoting an academic paper to it; an archivist in Los Angeles fascinated with it. And the director’s son, the music journalist and filmmaker Sacha Jenkins, who knew about the film but has never seen it, and who has been left with a question no small number of sons have asked about their fathers.

“Who was this guy?”…

Cane River itself is a historically multicultural area in Natchitoches Parish in Louisiana, and the movie, in addition to being a Romeo-Juliet romance, deals with land swindles perpetrated against people of color, and “colorism”— that is, social hierarchy as dictated by skin tone.

“It’s a common issue, because there was a lot of intermarriage and, of course, slavery,” said Carol Balthazar, who was Horace Jenkins’s partner, and whose family history provided the movie’s historical backdrop…

…Ms. Spann watched a bootleg DVD of “Cane River.” “I can’t think of any film that dealt with colorism in such a serious way,” she said. She is writing a paper on “Cane River” for the Louisiana Historical Society, and said some of the scenes seemed too long. Debra I. Moore, who edited the film in 1980, said there’s a good reason for that…

Read the entire article here.

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A Single Migration From Africa Populated the World, Studies Find

Posted in Africa, Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive on 2016-09-25 14:38Z by Steven

A Single Migration From Africa Populated the World, Studies Find

The New York Times
2016-09-21

Carl Zimmer


The KhoiSan, hunter-gatherers living today in southern Africa, above, are among hundreds of indigenous people whose genetic makeup has provided new clues to human prehistory.
Credit: Eric Laforgue/Gamma-Rapho, via Getty Images

Modern humans evolved in Africa roughly 200,000 years ago. But how did our species go on to populate the rest of the globe?

The question, one of the biggest in studies of human evolution, has intrigued scientists for decades. In a series of extraordinary genetic analyses published on Wednesday, researchers believe they have found an answer.

In the journal Nature, three separate teams of geneticists survey DNA collected from cultures around the globe, many for the first time, and conclude that all non-Africans today trace their ancestry to a single population emerging from Africa between 50,000 and 80,000 years ago.

“I think all three studies are basically saying the same thing,” said Joshua M. Akey of the University of Washington, who wrote a commentary accompanying the new work. “We know there were multiple dispersals out of Africa, but we can trace our ancestry back to a single one.”…

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Obama: African-American museum helps tell fuller story of America

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Barack Obama, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-09-24 23:17Z by Steven

Obama: African-American museum helps tell fuller story of America

Cable News Network (CNN)
2016-09-24

Eugene Scott, Politics Reporter

Suzanne Malveaux, National correspondent

Kevin Bohn, Supervising Producer

Washington (CNN) President Barack Obama said Saturday that the new Smithsonian museum devoted to African-American history elevates the often-overlooked impact of black Americans and will help others better understand the breadth of the American story.

“This national museum helps to tell a richer and fuller story of who we are,” Obama, the first African-American president, said at the National Museum of African-American History and Culture.

“By knowing this other story we better understand ourselves and each other. It binds us together. It reaffirms that all of us are America, that African-American history is not somehow separate from our larger American story,” he added. “It is central to the American story.”

Saturday’s opening ceremony for the museum also was attended by civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton and Chief Justice John Roberts. Thousands are expected to have descended on the National Mall this weekend to celebrate the museum’s opening…

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The untold stories of Japanese war brides

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, History, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2016-09-23 19:59Z by Steven

The untold stories of Japanese war brides

The Washington Post
2016-09-22

Kathryn Tolbert, Deputy Editor


Hiroko and Bill with Kathy, left, Sam and Susan. The video is the trailer to a short documentary film, “Fall Seven Times, Get Up Eight: The Japanese War Brides,” which features Hiroko and two other war brides.

They married the enemy, then created uniquely American lives

I thought she was beautiful, although I never understood why she plucked her eyebrows off and penciled them on every morning an inch higher. She had been captain of her high school basketball team in Japan, and she ran circles around us kids on a dirt court in our small town in Upstate New York. I can still see this Japanese woman dribbling madly about, yelling “Kyash! Kyash!” That’s how she said Kath, or Kathy.

She married my American GI father barely knowing him. She moved from Tokyo to a small poultry farm just outside Elmira, N.Y., and from there she delivered eggs all over the county and into Pennsylvania. My sister describes her as having a “core of steel.” She raised us as determinedly as any mother could, and yet, looking back, I barely knew her.

Some people think the film I co-directed, “Fall Seven Times, Get Up Eight: The Japanese War Brides,” is a paean to loving Japanese mothers. When one interviewer suggested as much to me and fellow director Karen Kasmauski, we exchanged a look that said, “Shall we tell him the truth?” The film, titled after a Japanese proverb, is about strong women, for sure. Warm and loving mothers? No.

So who are these women and what do we, their children, know about them?…

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The Dominican Racial Imaginary: Surveying the Landscape of Race and Nation in Hispaniola

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs on 2016-09-21 12:33Z by Steven

The Dominican Racial Imaginary: Surveying the Landscape of Race and Nation in Hispaniola

Rutgers University Press
November 2016
200 pages
9 photographs, 2 figures, 2 maps, 8 tables
6 x 9
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8135-8448-5
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8135-8447-8
Web PDF ISBN: 978-0-8135-8450-8
epub ISBN: 978-0-8135-8449-2

Milagros Ricourt, Associate Professor of Latin American and Puerto Rican Studies
Lehman College, The City University of New York

This book begins with a simple question: why do so many Dominicans deny the African components of their DNA, culture, and history?

Seeking answers, Milagros Ricourt uncovers a complex and often contradictory Dominican racial imaginary. Observing how Dominicans have traditionally identified in opposition to their neighbors on the island of Hispaniola—Haitians of African descent—she finds that the Dominican Republic’s social elite has long propagated a national creation myth that conceives of the Dominican as a perfect hybrid of native islanders and Spanish settlers. Yet as she pores through rare historical documents, interviews contemporary Dominicans, and recalls her own childhood memories of life on the island, Ricourt encounters persistent challenges to this myth. Through fieldwork at the Dominican-Haitian border, she gives a firsthand look at how Dominicans are resisting the official account of their national identity and instead embracing the African influence that has always been part of their cultural heritage.

Building on the work of theorists ranging from Edward Said to Édouard Glissant, this book expands our understanding of how national and racial imaginaries develop, why they persist, and how they might be subverted. As it confronts Hispaniola’s dark legacies of slavery and colonial oppression, The Dominican Racial Imaginary also delivers an inspiring message on how multicultural communities might cooperate to disrupt the enduring power of white supremacy.

Table Of Contents

  • Preface
  • Chapter 1 Introduction
  • Chapter 2 Border at the Crossroad
  • Chapter 3 The Creolization of Race
  • Chapter 4 Cimarrones: The Seed of Subversion
  • Chapter 5 Criollismo Religioso
  • Chapter 6 Race, Identity, and Nation
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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A Luminous Brotherhood: Afro-Creole Spiritualism in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans

Posted in Books, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, Monographs, Religion, United States on 2016-09-19 00:06Z by Steven

A Luminous Brotherhood: Afro-Creole Spiritualism in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans

University of North Carolina Press
September 2016
280 pages
6.125 x 9.25, 6 halftones, notes, bibl., index
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4696-2878-3

Emily Suzanne Clark, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies
Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington

In the midst of a nineteenth-century boom in spiritual experimentation, the Cercle Harmonique, a remarkable group of African-descended men, practiced Spiritualism in heavily Catholic New Orleans from just before the Civil War to the end of Reconstruction. In this first comprehensive history of the Cercle, Emily Suzanne Clark illuminates how highly diverse religious practices wind in significant ways through American life, culture, and history. Clark shows that the beliefs and practices of Spiritualism helped Afro-Creoles mediate the political and social changes in New Orleans, as free blacks suffered increasingly restrictive laws and then met with violent resistance to suffrage and racial equality.

Drawing on fascinating records of actual séance practices, the lives of the mediums, and larger citywide and national contexts, Clark reveals how the messages that the Cercle received from the spirit world offered its members rich religious experiences as well as a forum for political activism inspired by republican ideals. Messages from departed souls including François Rabelais, Abraham Lincoln, John Brown, Robert E. Lee, Emanuel Swedenborg, and even Confucius discussed government structures, the moral progress of humanity, and equality. The Afro-Creole Spiritualists were encouraged to continue struggling for justice in a new world where “bright” spirits would replace raced bodies.

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CFP: Deadline approaching – Race, Sex, and Reproduction in the Global South, c.1800-2000 workshop

Posted in Forthcoming Media, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers on 2016-09-19 00:05Z by Steven

CFP: Deadline approaching – Race, Sex, and Reproduction in the Global South, c.1800-2000 workshop

Humanities and Social Sciences Online
2016-09-12

Chiara Beccalossi

Reminder – Proposals for the Race, Sex, and Reproduction in the Global South, c.1800-2000 workshop are due on 25 September 2016.

Call for papers: Workshop: Race and Ethnicity in the Global South and the Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science (The University of Sydney), 18 April 2017

Keynote speaker:

Alison Bashford, Vere Harmsworth Professor of Imperial and Naval History
University of Cambridge

Biomedical scientists grew preoccupied with the size of the population and patterns of reproduction at the beginning of the nineteenth century. By the end of the same century sexology, a science devoted to the study of human sexual behavior, emerged, and at the beginning of the twentieth century the eugenics movement advocated active social engineering and state intervention in citizens’ private lives and reproductive sexuality. Such medical attention on reproduction and control of human sexual behaviour has been closely intertwined with interest in evolutionary theories, the improvement of hereditary traits and racial differences. Scientific and pseudo-scientific inquiries into race and sexuality increasingly informed national policies in the modern period; for example they were used to support policies to restrict mixed-race unions, control immigration and to promote pronatalist campaigns among some ethnic groups.

This medical and scientific knowledge on race and sexuality has moved across countries and continents to become global through processes of translation, hybridisation and transculturation. However, historical accounts of how science and medicine have shaped modern ideas of race and sexuality in a global context quite often refer only to Western countries in the Global North. Recent innovative histories on the Global South have shown that debates on race and reproduction in the southern hemisphere have their own history; they neither uncritically reflect ideas from the Global North nor have they been simply influenced by theories popular in the northern hemisphere. For example, we can find biomedical scientists in the southern hemisphere who showed greater interest in racial plasticity, environmental adaptation, mixing or miscegenation, and blurring of racial boundaries. Likewise sexologists in the Global South were far more interdisciplinary than their northern counterparts and incorporated criminal anthropology, psychiatry, biology, endocrinology and psychoanalysis in their studies until well into the 1970s.

This workshop aims to explore medical and scientific understandings of race and reproduction in the Global South in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and to illustrate how these understandings have influenced government policies. We invite scholars working on the Global South to submit a proposal and possible topics include:

  • Reproduction, sexuality and race
  • Gender and race
  • Sexology
  • Evolutionary, hereditary and ecological theories
  • Medical and scientific ideas about racial plasticity, environmental adaptation, miscegenation and assimilation
  • Indigeneity and post/colonialism
  • Biopolitics, immigration and reproductive policies

We aim to publish the contributions in an international peer-reviewed journal.

Abstracts of proposals and a short CV (max. 2 pages) should be sent to: CBeccalossi@lincoln.ac.uk

Abstracts should be approx. 250 words in length, sent as an email attachment, and list name, organisation, and contact address. They should also include the title of the proposed paper.

The deadline for the submission of proposals is 25 September 2016. Proposers will be informed whether their paper has been accepted by 1 October 2016.

Enquiries about the workshop should be directed to the above email address.

Organisers:

Warwick Anderson (University of Sydney)
Chiara Beccalossi (University of Lincoln)
Hans Pols (University of Sydney)

For more information, click here.

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Historic recognition: Washington’s family tree is biracial

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Virginia on 2016-09-18 18:36Z by Steven

Historic recognition: Washington’s family tree is biracial

U.S. News & World Report
2016-09-17

Matthew Barakat, Northern Virginia Correspondent
The Associated Press


ZSun-nee Miller-Matema poses for a portrait at Mount Vernon, the plantation home of former U.S. President George Washington, in Alexandria, Va., on Monday, July 18, 2016. Miller-Matema is a descendent of Caroline Branham, one of George Washington’s slaves who served as former first lady Martha Washington’s personal maid. The National Park Service and the nonprofit that runs the historic Mount Vernon estate are acknowledging an aspect of U.S. history that doesn’t show up in most textbooks: The family tree of America’s first family has been biracial from its earliest branches. (AP Photo/Zach Gibson) The Associated Press

The National Park Service and Mount Vernon are acknowledging history not included in most textbooks: America’s first family tree has been biracial from its early branches

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — George Washington’s adopted son was a bit of a ne’er-do-well by most accounts, including those of Washington himself, who wrote about his frustrations with the boy they called “Wash.”

“From his infancy, I have discovered an almost unconquerable disposition to indolence in everything that did not tend to his amusements,” the founding father wrote.

At the time, George Washington Parke Custis was 16 and attending Princeton, one of several schools he bounced in and out of. Before long, he was back home at Mount Vernon, where he would be accused of fathering children with slaves.

Two centuries later, the National Park Service and the nonprofit that runs Washington’s Mount Vernon estate are concluding that the rumors were true: In separate exhibits, they show that the first family’s family tree has been biracial from its earliest branches.

“There is no more pushing this history to the side,” said Matthew Penrod, a National Park Service ranger and programs manager at Arlington House, where the lives of the Washingtons, their slaves and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee all converged…


Matthew Barakat/Associated Press
Craig Syphax and Donna Kunkel portrayed their ancestors at a June reenactment of the 1821 wedding of slaves Charles Syphax and Maria Carter at Arlington House.

Read the entire article here.

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