[PODCAST] In Konversation: Unpacking the myth of the “racial democracy” in Brazil – Part 1

Posted in Audio, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Slavery, Social Science on 2015-10-08 20:36Z by Steven

[PODCAST] In Konversation: Unpacking the myth of the “racial democracy” in Brazil – Part 1


Brian Kamanzi, Host
Cape Town, South Africa

Marcelo Rosa, Associate Professor of Sociology
University of Brasília, Brasília, Brazil

In Konversation: Unpacking the myth of the “racial democracy” in Brazil – Part 1 by Inkonversation on Mixcloud

Konversation meets with Marcelo Rosa, from the University of Brasilia.

We went on to engage on his perspectives on “race” in Brazilian society.

Listen to the interview (00:34:21) here.

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Something Old, Something New

Posted in Arts, Audio, Autobiography, Biography, History, Media Archive, Religion, Slavery, United Kingdom, United States on 2015-10-06 15:20Z by Steven

Something Old, Something New

BBC Radio 4

Johny Pitts, Host

Peter Meanwell, Producer

Recorded & mixed! Finished @BBCRadio4 (Engineer Steve Hellier with Johny Pitts) Source: Peter Meanwell

From Sheffield to South Carolina, Johny Pitts explores alternative Black British identity.

What happens when your Dad’s an African-American soul star [Richie Pitts] and your Mum’s a music-loving girl from working class Sheffield? Are your roots on the terraces at a Sheffield United match, or in the stylings of a Spike Lee film? For writer and photographer Johny Pitts, whose parents met in the heyday of Northern Soul, on the dance floor of the legendary King Mojo club, how he navigates his black roots has always been an issue. Not being directly connected to the Caribbean or West African diaspora culture, all he was told at school was that his ancestors were slaves, so for BBC Radio 4, he heads off to the USA, to trace his father’s musical migration, and tell an alternative story of Black British identity.

From Pitsmore in Sheffield, to Bedford Stuyvesant in New York, and all the way down to South Carolina, where his grandmother picked cotton, Johny Pitts heads off on a journey of self-discovery. On the way he meets author Caryl Phillips, Kadija, a half sister he never knew, and historian Bernard Powers. He visits the Concorde Baptist Church in Brooklyn, New York, and the Bush River Missionary Baptist Church, in Newberry, South Carolina. He tracks down a whole host of long-lost cousins, and talks to Pulitzer winning writer Isabel Wilkerson. On the way he shines a light on the shadows of his ancestry, and finds stories and culture that deliver him to a new understanding of his own mixed race identity and history.

Listen to the story here.

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The Mulatta Concubine: Terror, Intimacy, Freedom, and Desire in the Black Transatlantic

Posted in Africa, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs, Slavery, United States, Women on 2015-10-05 15:41Z by Steven

The Mulatta Concubine: Terror, Intimacy, Freedom, and Desire in the Black Transatlantic

University of Georgia Press
248 pages
8 b&w photos
Trim size: 6 x 9
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8203-4896-4
Ebook ISBN: 978-0-8203-4897-1

Lisa Ze Winters, Associate Professor of English and Africana Studies
Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan

Exploring the geographies, genealogies, and concepts of race and gender of the African diaspora produced by the Atlantic slave trade

Popular and academic representations of the free mulatta concubine repeatedly depict women of mixed black African and white racial descent as defined by their sexual attachment to white men, and thus they offer evidence of the means to and dimensions of their freedom within Atlantic slave societies. In The Mulatta Concubine, Lisa Ze Winters contends that the uniformity of these representations conceals the figure’s centrality to the practices and production of diaspora.

Beginning with a meditation on what captive black subjects may have seen and remembered when encountering free women of color living in slave ports, the book traces the echo of the free mulatta concubine across the physical and imaginative landscapes of three Atlantic sites: Gorée Island, New Orleans, and Saint Domingue (Haiti). Ze Winters mines an archive that includes a 1789 political petition by free men of color, a 1737 letter by a free black mother on behalf of her daughter, antebellum newspaper reports, travelers’ narratives, ethnographies, and Haitian Vodou iconography. Attentive to the tenuousness of freedom, Ze Winters argues that the concubine figure’s manifestation as both historical subject and African diasporic goddess indicates her centrality to understanding how free and enslaved black subjects performed gender, theorized race and freedom, and produced their own diasporic identities.

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Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery, United States, Women on 2015-10-01 01:54Z by Steven

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself

Thayer and Eldridge

Harriet Ann Jacobs (1813-1897)

Edited by Lydia Maria Child (1802-1880)

Read the entire book here or here.

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Sexual Relations Between Elite White Women and Enslaved Men in the Antebellum South: A Socio-Historical Analysis

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Women on 2015-10-01 01:49Z by Steven

Sexual Relations Between Elite White Women and Enslaved Men in the Antebellum South: A Socio-Historical Analysis

Student Pulse
Volume 5, Number 8 (2013)
pages 1-3
5ISSN: 2153-5760

Jacqueline M. Allain
University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

There is ample evidence of sexual relations, from rapes to what appear to be relatively symbiotic romantic partnerships, between white slave masters and black women in the Antebellum South. Much rarer were sexual relations between white women and black slave men, yet they too occurred. Using an intersectional socio-historical analysis, this paper explores the factors that contributed or may have contributed to the incidence of sexual encounters between elite white women and slave men, the power dynamics embedded in them, and their implications in terms of sexual consent. The paper demonstrates how upper-class white women who engaged in these relationships used sex as an instrument of power, simultaneously perpetuating both white supremacy and patriarchy.

According to former slave Harriet Jacobs, author of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861), “The slave girl is raised in an atmosphere of licentiousness and fear. The lash and the foul talk of her master and his sons are her teachers. When she is fourteen or fifteen, her owner, or his sons, or the overseer, or perhaps all of them, begin to bribe her with presents. If these fail to accomplish their purpose, she is whipped and starved into submission to their will.” Jacobs’ account of the sexual violence endured by slave women is merely one of many. Although it is impossible to know exactly how many black women were sexually assaulted under slavery, such abuse was widespread.

Not all sexual encounters between masters and female slaves would be considered rape according to most definitions of the term. Concubinage-type arrangements and even long-term romantic partnerships, perhaps most famously that of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings, were known to exist. Yet, many scholars would agree that “even presumably affectionate and long-term relationships must be reconsidered given the context of slavery” (Foster, 2011, p. 459). The enormous imbalance of gender and racial power between the two parties problematizes the notion of a truly consensual romantic relationship between a slave master and his female slave. These so-called consensual sexual partnerships can be seen, like rape, as an exercise in white patriarchal authority.

But what of sexual relations between planter-class white women and slave men?…

Read the entire article here.

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‘Remnants of Slavery’ column shows racial ignorance

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2015-09-21 02:07Z by Steven

‘Remnants of Slavery’ column shows racial ignorance

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Rebecca Keller
O’Hara Township, Pennsylvania

I’m greatly troubled by Jack Kelly’s historically flawed column “Remnants of Slavery” (Sept. 13) because it falsely enables an often unhearing percentage of the white majority to tell people of color that our modern-day experiences with racism are an illusion.

As a biracial woman who was adopted into a white family and has been raised in white-dominant environments, I have a unique perspective on both racism and white privilege: two things that undeniably exist…

Read the entire letter here.

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One Drop of Love at Smith College

Posted in Arts, Census/Demographics, History, Live Events, Media Archive, Slavery, Social Science, United States on 2015-09-19 03:05Z by Steven

One Drop of Love at Smith College

Smith College
Hallie Flanagan Theater, Theatre Green Room
122 Green Street
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063
Friday, 2015-09-18 and Saturday, 2015-09-19 (Two Performances!)
19:00-21:00 EDT (Local Time)

One Drop of Love is a multimedia solo performance by Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni, incorporating filmed images, photographs and animation to tell the story of how the notion of ‘race’ came to be in the United States and how it affects our most intimate relationships.

Performance followed by a Q & A.

Co-sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Smith College Theater Department, and the Wurtele Center for Work and Life.

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African Heritage and Memories of Slavery in Brazil and the South Atlantic World

Posted in Africa, Anthologies, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Religion, Slavery on 2015-09-13 20:34Z by Steven

African Heritage and Memories of Slavery in Brazil and the South Atlantic World

Cambria Press
428 pages
6 x 9 in or 229 x 152 mm Case Laminate
ISBN: 9781604978926

Edited by:

Ana Lucia Araujo, Professor of History
Howard University, Washington, D.C.

This book explores the history of African tangible and intangible heritages and its links with the public memory of slavery in Brazil and Angola. The two countries are deeply connected, given how most enslaved Africans, forcibly brought to Brazil during the era of the Atlantic slave trade, were from West Central Africa. Brazil imported the largest number of enslaved Africans during the Atlantic slave trade and was the last country in the western hemisphere to abolish slavery in 1888. Today, other than Nigeria, the largest population of African descent is in Brazil. Yet it was only in the last twenty years that Brazil’s African heritage and its slave past have gained greater visibility. Prior to this, Brazil’s African heritage and its slave past were completely neglected.

Even after the abolition of slavery in Brazil, African culture continued to be marginalized. Carnival, religious festivals, as well as Candomblé ceremonies, and capoeira (an Afro-Brazilian martial art) created important spaces of black assertion and insurgency. These cultural traditions were contested by white elites and public authorities, but starting in the 1930s, capoeira became a national symbol and Candomblé temples were gradually officially added to Brazil’s list of heritage sites.

In spite of these developments, the Atlantic slave past has remained absent from the public landscape of Brazilian and Angolan former slave ports, suggesting how difficult it is for these countries to address the painful legacies of slavery. African art and material culture also continued to be excluded from museums and other official institutions. In the rare instances that African artifacts were shown, they would be confined to only certain places dedicated to popular culture and associated with the religious sphere.

Even though public attention on slavery was growing internationally through national and international initiatives (e.g., The Slave Route Project by UNESCO), Brazil and Angola developed very few initiatives for the memorialization of slavery and the Atlantic slave trade. This has started to change slowly in the last decade as Brazil has begun engaging in more initiatives to memorialize slavery and underscore the importance of its African heritage.

Brazil’s slave past and African heritage are emerging gradually in urban and rural areas through different kinds of initiatives led not only by activists but also by scholars in association with black communities. Although in their early stages, most of these projects are permanent programs supported by official agencies. This new configuration suggests that––unlike the case in Angola––in Brazil, slavery and the Atlantic the slave trade are becoming recognized as foundational chapters of the country’s history.

This is the first book in English to focus on African heritage and public memory of slavery in Brazil and Angola. This interdisciplinary study examines visual images, dance, music, oral accounts, museum exhibitions, artifacts, monuments, festivals, and others forms of commemoration to illuminate the social and cultural dynamics that over the last twenty years have propelled––or prevented––the visibility of African heritage (and its Atlantic slave trade legacy) in the South Atlantic region.

The book makes a very important contribution to the understanding of the place of African heritage and slavery in the official history and public memory of Brazil and Angola, topics that remain understudied. The study’s focus on the South Atlantic world, a zone which is sparsely covered in the scholarly corpus on Atlantic history, will further research on other post-slave societies.

African Heritage and Memories of Slavery in Brazil and the South Atlantic World is an important book for African studies and Latin American studies. It is especially valuable for African Diaspora studies, African history, Atlantic history, history of Brazil, history of slavery, and Caribbean history.

Table of Contents

  • List of Figures
  • Introduction: Wounded Pasts: Memory of Slavery and African Heritage in Brazil (Ana Lucia Araujo)
  • Chapter 1: Collectionism and Colonialism: The Africana Collection at Brazil’s National Museum (Rio de Janeiro) (Mariza de Carvalho Soares)
  • Chapter 2: Race and Visual Representation: Louis Agassiz and Hermann Burmeister (Maria Helena Machado)
  • Chapter 3: Counter-Witnessing the Visual Culture of Brazilian Slavery (Matthew Francis Rarey)
  • Chapter 4: Angola in Brazil: The Formation of Angoleiro identity in Bahia (Matthias Röhrig Assunção)
  • Chapter 5: Memories of Captivity and Freedom in São José da Serra Jongo Festivals: Cultural Heritage and Black Identity (1888–2011) (Martha Abreu and Hebe Mattos)
  • Chapter 6: From Public Amnesia to Public Memory: Re-Discovering Slavery Heritage in Rio de Janeiro (André Cicalo)
  • Chapter 7: Uncomfortable Pasts: Talking About Slavery in Angola (Marcia C. Schenck and Mariana P. Candido)
  • Chapter 8: “Bahia is a Closer Africa”: Brazilian Slavery and Heritage in African American Roots Tourism (Patricia de Santana Pinho)
  • Chapter 9: Preserving African Art, History, and Memory: The AfroBrazil Museum (Kimberly Cleveland)
  • Chapter 10: The Legacy of Slavery in Contemporary Brazil (Myrian Sepúlveda dos Santos)
  • Bibliography
  • Index
  • About the Contributors
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The Lives of Frederick Douglass

Posted in Articles, Biography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery, United States on 2015-09-10 01:14Z by Steven

The Lives of Frederick Douglass

Harvard University Press
February 2016
350 pages
5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
9 halftones
Hardcover ISBN: 9780674055810

Robert S. Levine, Professor of English and a Distinguished University Professor
University of Maryland

Frederick Douglass’s fluid, changeable sense of his own life story is reflected in the many conflicting accounts he gave of key events and relationships during his journey from slavery to freedom. Nevertheless, when these differing self-presentations are put side by side and consideration is given individually to their rhetorical strategies and historical moment, what emerges is a fascinating collage of Robert S. Levine’s elusive subject. The Lives of Frederick Douglass is revisionist biography at its best, offering new perspectives on Douglass the social reformer, orator, and writer.

Out of print for a hundred years when it was reissued in 1960, The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845) has since become part of the canon of American literature and the primary lens through which scholars see Douglass’s life and work. Levine argues that the disproportionate attention paid to the Narrative has distorted Douglass’s larger autobiographical project. The Lives of Frederick Douglass focuses on a wide range of writings from the 1840s to the 1890s, particularly the neglected Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (1881, 1892), revised and expanded only three years before Douglass’s death. Levine provides fresh insights into Douglass’s relationships with John Brown, Abraham Lincoln, William Lloyd Garrison, and his former slave master Thomas Auld, and highlights Douglass’s evolving positions on race, violence, and nation. Levine’s portrait reveals that Douglass could be every bit as pragmatic as Lincoln—of whom he was sometimes fiercely critical—when it came to promoting his own work and goals.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: Lives after the Narrative
  • 1. The Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society Narrative
  • 2. Taking Back the Narrative: The Dublin Editions
  • 3. Heroic Slaves: Madison Washington and My Bondage and My Freedom
  • 4. Tales of Abraham Lincoln (and John Brown)
  • 5. Thomas Auld and the Reunion Narrative
  • Epilogue: Posthumous Douglass
  • Notes
  • Acknowledgments
  • Index
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On the use of “Slave Mistress”

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2015-08-23 01:39Z by Steven

On the use of “Slave Mistress”

AAIHS: African American Intellectual History Society

Emily Owens

The passing of the great civil-rights leader Julian Bond earlier this week ignited a firestorm of activity on Twitter. Historians of African American women’s history noticed and commented on something suspect in Bond’s obituary, a brief line embedded within: in the obituary, Julian Bond’s great grandmother, Jane Bond, was described as “the slave mistress of a Kentucky farmer.”

The conversation that followed this revelation offers a glimpse into some of the most challenging questions within the history of African Americans. The history of sex and slavery remains both difficult to approach and critical to our understanding of the full, complex, and violent lives of enslaved African American women. And around the phrase “slave mistress” converges some of the key issues that make that history difficult to tell.

What is particularly exciting about this confluence of historians of African American women’s history collectively riffing on the problematic of “slave mistress” is the extent to which their public conversation maps the contours of the historiographic debate on sex and slavery. (It is also a mark of the power of this conversation that the New York Times issued a statement of regret about their language yesterday). Rather than rehearse their conversation here, I have reproduced it in Storify form, and will spend the duration of these comments pulling out what I see as key moments that cite the wider debate…

Read the entire article here.

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