A call for end of the “Globeleza Mulata”: A Manifesto

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, History, Media Archive, Slavery, Women on 2016-02-13 03:34Z by Steven

A call for end of the “Globeleza Mulata”: A Manifesto

Black Women of Brazil: The site dedicated to Brazilian women of African descent
2016-02-08

Stephanie Ribeiro and Djamila Ribeiro

Originally, “A Mulata Globeleza: Um Manifesto” from Agora é que são elas (2016-01-29).

The Globeleza Mulata is not a natural cultural event, but a performance that invades the imaginary and the Brazilian televisions during Carnival. A spectacular created by art director Hans Donner to be the symbol of the popular party, which exhibited for 13 years his companion Valéria Valenssa in the super-expositional function of “mulata”. We’re talking about a character that appeared in the nineties and still strictly follows the same script: it is always a black woman that dances the samba as a passista (Carnaval dancer), naked with her body painted with glitter, to the sound of the vignette displayed throughout the daily programming of Rede Globo (TV).

To start the debate on this character, we need to identify the problem contained in the term “mulata”. Besides being a word naturalized by Brazilian society, it is a captive presence in the vocabulary of the hosts, journalists and reporters from the Globo broadcasting. The word of is of Spanish origin comes from “mula” or “mulo” (the masculine and feminine of ‘mule’): that that is a hybrid originating from a cross between species. Mules are animals born crossing donkeys with mares or horses with donkeys. In another sense, they are the result of the mating of the animal considered noble (equus caballus) with the animal deemed second class (donkey). Therefore, it is a derogatory word indicating mestiçagem (racial mixture or crossbreeding), impurity; an improper mixing that should not exist.

Employed since the colonial period, the term was used to designate lighter skinned blacks, fruits of the rape of slaves by masters. Such a nomenclature has sexist and racist nature and was transferred to the Globeleza character, naturalized. The adjective “mulata” is a sad memory of the 354 years (1534-1888) of escravidão negra (black slavery) in Brazil…

Read the entire article here.

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

Posted in Africa, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery, United States, Women on 2016-02-03 03:32Z by Steven

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

University of Georgia Press
2016-01-15
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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Atlantic Africa and the Spanish Caribbean, 1570-1640

Posted in Articles, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs, Slavery on 2016-02-03 03:30Z by Steven

Atlantic Africa and the Spanish Caribbean, 1570-1640

University of North Carolina Press
May 2016
Approx. 352 pages
6.125 x 9.25, 15 halftones
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4696-2341-2

David Wheat, Assistant Professor of History
Michigan State University

This work resituates the Spanish Caribbean as an extension of the Luso-African Atlantic world from the late sixteenth to the mid-seventeenth century, when the union of the Spanish and Portuguese crowns facilitated a surge in the transatlantic slave trade. After the catastrophic decline of Amerindian populations on the islands, two major African provenance zones, first Upper Guinea and then Angola, contributed forced migrant populations with distinct experiences to the Caribbean. They played a dynamic role in the social formation of early Spanish colonial society in the fortified port cities of Cartagena de Indias, Havana, Santo Domingo, and Panama City and their semirural hinterlands.

David Wheat is the first scholar to establish this early phase of the “Africanization” of the Spanish Caribbean two centuries before the rise of large-scale sugar plantations. With African migrants and their descendants comprising demographic majorities in core areas of Spanish settlement, Luso-Africans, Afro-Iberians, Latinized Africans, and free people of color acted more as colonists or settlers than as plantation slaves. These ethnically mixed and economically diversified societies constituted a region of overlapping Iberian and African worlds, while they made possible Spain’s colonization of the Caribbean.

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Trauma and Race: A Lacanian Study of African American Racial Identity

Posted in Books, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Monographs, Philosophy, Slavery, Social Science, United States on 2016-02-03 03:26Z by Steven

Trauma and Race: A Lacanian Study of African American Racial Identity

Baylor University Press
February 2016
190 pages
9in x 6in
Hardback ISBN: 9781602587342

Sheldon George, Professor of English
Simmons College, Boston, Massachusetts

African American identity is racialized. And this racialized identity has animated and shaped political resistance to racism. Hidden, though, are the psychological implications of rooting identity in race, especially because American history is inseparable from the trauma of slavery.

In Trauma and Race author Sheldon George begins with the fact that African American racial identity is shaped by factors both historical and psychical. Employing the work of Jacques Lacan, George demonstrates how slavery is a psychic event repeated through the agencies of racism and inscribed in racial identity itself. The trauma of this past confronts the psychic lack that African American racial identity both conceals and traumatically unveils for the African American subject.

Trauma and Race investigates the vexed, ambivalent attachment of African Americans to their racial identity, exploring the ways in which such attachment is driven by traumatic, psychical urgencies that often compound or even exceed the political exigencies called forth by racism.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: Race Today, or Alterity and Jouissance
  • 1. Race and Slavery: Theorizing Agencies beyond the Symbolic
  • 2. Conserving Race, Conserving Trauma: The Legacy of W. E. B. Du Bois
  • 3. Approaching the Thing of Slavery: Toni Morrison’s Beloved
  • 4. The Oedipal Complex and the Mythic Structure of Race: Ellison’s Juneteenth and Invisible Man
  • Conclusion: Beyond Race, or The Exaltation of Personality
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Father Healy’s Imprint: Past, Present and Future

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Passing, Religion, Slavery, United States on 2016-01-31 02:45Z by Steven

Father Healy’s Imprint: Past, Present and Future

The Hoya
Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
2004-11-09

Moises Mendoza

Every day thousands of students pass by Healy Hall and marvel at its towering steeples and complex intricacies. Few of them realize that the man responsible for this Georgetown trademark was every bit as complex and dynamic as the building bearing his name today.

As the first black president of a predominantly white university, Fr. Patrick Healy, S.J., revolutionized Georgetown and helped build firm foundations for a young university.

Yet Healy’s trek to greatness began not in the hallowed halls of academia, but on the Georgia cotton plantation where he was born on Feb. 27, 1834. The son of an Irish Catholic and a biracial domestic slave, Healy had great obstacles to overcome. Healy’s father Michael immigrated to the United States from Ireland through Canada around 1815. Experiencing great success in a series of land lotteries, he moved to Macon, Ga., where he built his own cotton plantation with the help of 49 slaves. Michael Healy became relatively prosperous and became a prominent businessman in the Macon community…

Read the entire article here.

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QUALLEN: Healy’s Inner Turmoil, Our Current Conflict

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, History, Media Archive, Passing, Religion, Slavery, United States on 2016-01-31 02:31Z by Steven

QUALLEN: Healy’s Inner Turmoil, Our Current Conflict

The Hoya
Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
2015-11-20

Matthew Quallen, “Hoya Historian”
School of Foreign Service

Last week, President DeGioia accepted a recommendation to scrub the names Mulledy and McSherry from university buildings. The names Freedom and Remembrance took their places. Mulledy and McSherry symbolized what was most odious about Georgetown and the Maryland Jesuits’ history — the conclusion of a century of contest and deliberation about slavery, manumission and race with a mad dash towards a propitious sale.

By contrast, Healy Hall and its namesake, Fr. Patrick Healy, stand as foils in our memory. Healy, after all, was the first black president of a predominantly white institution, as the accolade goes. But for Healy, who desperately toed the opposite side of the color line the situation, was more complicated.

Fr. Patrick Healy was born in 1834 to Mary Eliza — a biracial former slave who had been purchased out of captivity by her soon-to-be husband, Michael. Michael Healy owned 49 slaves on a plantation in Macon, Ga. It was from his mother Mary Eliza that Patrick Healy inherited his vital if contrived one drop rule, which legally classified an individual as black if they possessed even “one drop” of black blood for the purposes of racially discriminating statutes. In his home state, the law considered Patrick Healy to be a slave (such status was usually maternal). So his selection as president of Georgetown in 1873 was nothing short of remarkable. It encapsulates a story of a rise to prominence unexpected for a black American in the mid-19th century. It also mistakenly post-dates Georgetown’s racial progress to 1873, although that transformation came much later…

Read the entire article here.

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A Tale of Two Plantations: Slave Life and Labor in Jamaica and Virginia, by Richard Dunn

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Virginia on 2016-01-25 17:47Z by Steven

A Tale of Two Plantations: Slave Life and Labor in Jamaica and Virginia, by Richard Dunn

The English Historical Review
Volume 130, Issue 547, December 2015
pages 1575-1577
DOI: 10.1093/ehr/cev299

Trevor Burnard, Professor of History
University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia

A Tale of Two Plantations: Slave Life and Labor in Jamaica and Virginia, by Richard Dunn (Cambridge, MA: Harvard U.P., 2014; pp. 540. £29.95).

When Richard Dunn wrote a preliminary essay, published in a major journal, comparing the lives of enslaved people working on a large sugar plantation called Mesopotamia in western Jamaica between 1762 and 1834 with the lives of slaves on a large tidewater grain-producing estate in Virginia between 1808 and 1865, he concluded that the experience of slaves in Virginia was better than that of slaves in Jamaica. To his chagrin, a local newspaper summarised his article as if the competition somehow validated Virginian slavery as being not that bad, considering how it was in Jamaica.

That was nearly forty years ago. Since then Dunn has moderated those early opinions so that he now has a much more nuanced view of slave life in the English-speaking Americas. As he says, with characteristic dry humour, taking forty years to write a book is ‘not a recommended modus operandi for historians’ (p. 1). The result, however, is a magnificent and deeply humane evocation of two deeply disturbing worlds of slavery, neither of which exceeded the other in dreadfulness, and in both of which man’s inhumanity to man is ever present. One great advantage of the length of time taken..

Read or purchase the review here.

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When Ancestry Search Led To Escaped Slave: ‘All I Could Do Was Weep’

Posted in Articles, Audio, Autobiography, Biography, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2016-01-19 02:13Z by Steven

When Ancestry Search Led To Escaped Slave: ‘All I Could Do Was Weep’

Fresh Air (From WHYY in Philadelphia)
National Public Radio
2016-01-18

Terry Gross, Host

When she was in fifth grade, Regina Mason received a school assignment that would change her life: to connect with her country of origin. That night, she went home and asked her mother where they were from.

“She told me about her grandfather who was a former slave,” Mason tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. “And that blew me away, because I’m thinking, ‘Slavery was like biblical times. It wasn’t just a few generations removed.’ ”

But for Mason, slavery was a few generations removed. She would later learn that her great-great-great-grandfather, a man named William Grimes, had been a runaway slave, and that he had authored what is now considered to be the first fugitive slave narrative.

“William Grimes’ narrative is precedent-setting,” Mason says. “[It] was published in 1825, and this was years before the abolitionist movement picked up slave narrative as a propaganda tool to end slavery. It sort of unwittingly paved the way for the American slave narrative to follow.”

Grimes’ original narrative tells the story of his 30 years spent in captivity, followed by his escape in 1814 from Savannah, Ga. He describes how his former owner discovered his whereabouts after the escape and forced him to give up his house in exchange for his freedom. (An updated version, published in 1855, includes a chapter about Grimes’ later life in poverty.)

Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave was again republished in 2008 by Oxford University Press. The latest edition was edited by Mason and William Andrews, a scholar of early African-American autobiography…

…Interview Highlights

On learning from her mother that her ancestors had been slaves

She talked about Grandpa Fuller, who was a mulatto slave. And I inquired about his parentage and she told me that his father, from what she knew, was a plantation owner, and his mother was an enslaved black woman. …

And I’m asking, “Well, that’s weird. Did his father own him?” … I mean, how do you explain … to children that slavery existed in freedom-loving America, No. 1; and No. 2, how do you explain to a child about an enslaved heritage shrouded in miscegenation? It’s not an easy thing to do…

Read the story highlights here. Listen to the interview (00:35:55) here. Download the interview here.

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Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave

Posted in Autobiography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery, United States on 2016-01-19 02:02Z by Steven

Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave

Oxford University Press
2008-07-28
192 pages
21 illus.
5 1/2 X 8 1/4 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 9780195343311
Paperback ISBN: 9780195343328

William L. Andrews, E. Maynard Adams Professor of English; Senior Associate Dean for Fine Arts and Humanities
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Regina E. Mason, Grimes’s great-great-great-granddaughter

  • The first fugitive slave narrative in American history
  • A candid, unfiltered, and fully authenticated account of both slavery and so-called freedom in the antebellum U.S. before the advent of the American antislavery movement
  • A unprecedented editorial partnership blending scholarship and family history to yield a unique modern edition of a neglected classic of antislavery literature
  • No other slave narrative has been recovered, researched, and annotated by a slave’s descendent until now

Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave is the first fugitive slave narrative in American history. Because Grimes wrote and published his narrative on his own, without deference to white editors, publishers, or sponsors, his Life has an immediacy, candor, and no-holds-barred realism unparalleled in the famous antebellum slave narratives of the period. This edition of Grimes’s autobiography represents a historic partnership between noted scholar of the African American slave narrative, William L. Andrews, and Regina Mason, Grimes’s great-great-great-granddaughter. Their extensive historical and genealogical research has produced an authoritative, copiously annotated text that features pages from an original Grimes family Bible, transcriptions of the 1824 correspondence that set the terms for the author’s self-purchase in Connecticut (nine years after his escape from Savannah, Georgia), and many other striking images that invoke the life and times of William Grimes.

Table of Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction by William L. Andrews
  • Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave
  • Chronology: the life and times of William Grimes
  • Afterword by Regina E. Mason
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The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation After the Genome

Posted in Books, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery, Social Science on 2016-01-10 17:12Z by Steven

The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation After the Genome

Beacon Press
2016-01-12
216pages
6 x 9 Inches
Cloth ISBN: 978-080703301-2

Alondra Nelson, Dean of Social Science; Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies
Columbia University, New York, New York

The unexpected story of how genetic testing is affecting race in America

We know DNA is a master key that unlocks medical and forensic secrets, but its genealogical life is both revelatory and endlessly fascinating. Tracing genealogy is now the second-most popular hobby amongst Americans, as well as the second-most visited online category. This billion-dollar industry has spawned popular television shows, websites, and Internet communities, and a booming heritage tourism circuit.

The tsunami of interest in genetic ancestry tracing from the African American community has been especially overwhelming. In The Social Life of DNA, Alondra Nelson takes us on an unprecedented journey into how the double helix has wound its way into the heart of the most urgent contemporary social issues around race.

For over a decade, Nelson has deeply studied this phenomenon. Artfully weaving together keenly observed interactions with root-seekers alongside illuminating historical details and revealing personal narrative, she shows that genetic genealogy is a new tool for addressing old and enduring issues. In The Social Life of DNA, she explains how these cutting-edge DNA-based techniques are being used in myriad ways, including grappling with the unfinished business of slavery: to foster reconciliation, to establish ties with African ancestral homelands, to rethink and sometimes alter citizenship, and to make legal claims for slavery reparations specifically based on ancestry.

Nelson incisively shows that DNA is a portal to the past that yields insight for the present and future, shining a light on social traumas and historical injustices that still resonate today. Science can be a crucial ally to activism to spur social change and transform twenty-first-century racial politics. But Nelson warns her readers to be discerning: for the social repair we seek can’t be found in even the most sophisticated science. Engrossing and highly original, The Social Life of DNA is a must-read for anyone interested in race, science, history and how our reckoning with the past may help us to chart a more just course for tomorrow.

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