The Life of William Apess, Pequot

Posted in Biography, Books, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Religion, United States on 2015-04-16 22:53Z by Steven

The Life of William Apess, Pequot

University of North Carolina Press
March 2015
216 pages
1 halftone, notes, bibl., index
6.125 x 9.25
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4696-1998-9

Philip F. Gura, William S. Newman Distinguished Professor of American Literature and Culture
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

The Pequot Indian intellectual, author, and itinerant preacher William Apess (1798–1839) was one the most important voices of the nineteenth century. Here, Philip F. Gura offers the first book-length chronicle of Apess’s fascinating and consequential life. After an impoverished childhood marked by abuse, Apess soldiered with American troops during the War of 1812, converted to Methodism, and rose to fame as a lecturer who lifted a powerful voice of protest against the plight of Native Americans in New England and beyond. His 1829 autobiography, A Son of the Forest, stands as the first published by a Native American writer. Placing Apess’s activism on behalf of Native American people in the context of the era’s rising tide of abolitionism, Gura argues that this founding figure of Native intellectual history deserves greater recognition in the pantheon of antebellum reformers. Following Apess from his early life through the development of his political radicalism to his tragic early death and enduring legacy, this much-needed biography showcases the accomplishments of an extraordinary Native American.

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Being Black at Seattle Pacific University: 3 Things I Learned

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Campus Life, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2015-04-16 14:35Z by Steven

Being Black at Seattle Pacific University: 3 Things I Learned

Christena Cleveland: social psychology + faith + reconciliation
2013-08-30

Nikkita Oliver

NOTE: This is the fourth part in our 8-part Black to School series which highlights African-American voices and experiences at Christian colleges. Please read Part 1 for context.

Today’s post comes from Nikkita Oliver who graduated from Seattle Pacific University in 2008. A former chaplain and service provider at the King County Youth Detention Center, she’s currently working on a J.D. at the University of Washington Law School — on a full scholarship, no less. (Way to go, Nikkita!)

I’m so encouraged that Nikkita’s exploration into the depths of her experience at SPU has resulted in grace, hope and a greater commitment to reconciliation.

*************************

As a child I was acutely aware of the massive racial divide in the church. My father is Black American and my mother is White American. I would go to an all black Baptist church with my father one Sunday and to an all white Free Methodist church with my mother the next. There were so many differences between the two churches, but two things remained the same: we read the same scriptures and worshiped the same Lord and Savior.

When I arrived at Seattle Pacific University (SPU) in the fall of 2004, I did not realize that I would be the one black kid in all of my classes. I did not realize that racism existed among Jesus believers, despite being aware of the racial divide in the Church. I did not realize that I was angry with white people, and in particular, angry with white Christians. I also did not know that 5 years after graduating that I would be so thankful for every minute I spent at SPU…

Read the entire article here.

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The Family Secret in the Mirror

Posted in Audio, Autobiography, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, Religion, United States on 2015-04-16 14:01Z by Steven

The Family Secret in the Mirror

The Brian Lehrer Show
WNYC 93.9 FM
New York, New York
Monday, 2015-03-23

Brian Lehrer, Host


Lacey Schwartz wins the documentary section prize for her documentary work-in-progress, ‘Outside The Box’ at the TAA Awards during the 5th Annual Tribeca Film Festival. (Mat Szwajkos/Getty)

Raised as a white Jewish kid in Woodstock, New York, filmmaker Lacey Schwartz tells the story of her discovery that she is in fact bi-racial and doesn’t just take after her father’s Sicilian ancestor. In her documentary “Little White Lie,” she discusses the effect of the lies and the truth about her family and identity.

Download the episode here.

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Lacey Schwartz Unearths Family Secrets in ‘Little White Lie’

Posted in Audio, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, Religion, United States on 2015-04-14 16:52Z by Steven

Lacey Schwartz Unearths Family Secrets in ‘Little White Lie’

KCRW 89.9 MHz FM
Santa Monica, California
2015-04-13

Kim Masters, Host

Kaitlin Parker, Producer

Lacey Schwartz grew up thinking she was white. When her college labeled her a black student based on a photograph, she knew she had to get some explanations from her family. Those conversations formed the foundation of her new PBS documentary Little White Lie. She shares how she convinced her parents to talk about tough topics on camera and why documentaries like hers are in danger of being pushed out of primetime on some PBS stations.

Listen to the episode (00:29:07) here. Download the episode here.

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Black Blood Brothers: Confraternities and Social Mobility for Afro-Mexicans

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Monographs, Religion on 2015-04-12 01:30Z by Steven

Black Blood Brothers: Confraternities and Social Mobility for Afro-Mexicans

University Press of Florida
2006-05-30
304 pages
6 x 9
Hardback ISBN 13: 978-0-8130-2942-9

Nicole von Germeten, Associate Professor of History
Oregon State University

Celebrating the African contribution to Mexican culture, this book shows how religious brotherhoods in New Spain both preserved a distinctive African identity and helped facilitate Afro-Mexican integration into colonial society. Called confraternities, these groups provided social connections, charity, and status for Africans and their descendants for over two centuries.

Often organized by African women and dedicated to popular European and African saints, the confraternities enjoyed prestige in the Baroque religious milieu of 17th-century New Spain. One group, founded by Africans called Zapes, preserved their ethnic identity for decades even after they were enslaved and brought to the Americas. Despite ongoing legal divisions and racial hierarchies, by the end of the colonial era many descendants from African slaves had achieved a degree of status that enabled them to move up the social ladder in Hispanic society. Von Germeten reveals details of the organization and practices of more than 60 Afro-Mexican brotherhoods and examines changes in the social, family, and religious lives of their members. She presents the stories of individual Africans and their descendants—including many African women and the famous Baroque artist Juan Correa—almost entirely from evidence they themselves generated. Moving the historical focus away from negative stereotypes that have persisted for almost 500 years, this study is the first in English to deal with Afro-Mexican religious organizations.

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Little White Lie

Posted in Autobiography, Media Archive, Passing, Religion, United States, Videos on 2015-04-02 01:20Z by Steven

Little White Lie

Apple iTunes
2015-03-31
USA
01:06:00

Lacey Schwartz

Also available via Amazon.

Filmmaker Lacey Schwartz grew up in a typical upper middle class Jewish household in Woodstock, NY, with loving parents and a strong sense of her identity, despite occasional remarks from those around her who wondered how a white girl could have such dark skin. As a child she always believed her family’s explanation — that her appearance was inherited from her dark-skinned Sicilian grandfather — but as a teenager, after her parents abruptly split, her gut begins to tell her something else. Lacey’s suspicions intensify when she attends a more diverse high school, where she suddenly doesn’t quite fit any racial profile, and her classmates are vocal about noting it. At the urging of her boyfriend, who is of mixed race, she begins to question her true identity and the validity of her parents’ explanation. At 18, Lacey finally confronts her mother and learns the truth about her biological father. As Little White Lie shows, both the bonds and the lies told between family members can run deep. Lacey strives to reconcile her newfound African American heritage with her Jewish upbringing, and discovers that in order to define herself, she must first come to terms with her parents’ choices and how much she is willing to let their past affect her future. Piecing together her family history and the story of her dual identity using home videos, archival footage, interviews, and episodes from her own life, Lacey discovers that answering those questions means understanding her parents’ stories as well as her own.

For more information, click here.

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Race In The Jewish Community: A Mischling’s Perspective

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, Religion, United Kingdom on 2015-03-30 20:23Z by Steven

Race In The Jewish Community: A Mischling’s Perspective

The Jerusalem Post
2015-03-30

Ella Bennett

Introduction

As a person of mixed-race black and maternal Jewish heritage, I am a mischling and feel highly motivated to stand equally against racism and anti-Semitism.  When I go out and about in the Jewish community people naturally see my colour first, and depending on whether I’m wearing my hair as an afro or in the way Anne Frank wore her hair, some people in the Jewish community do not automatically assume that I’m Jewish.  Although some say I look Israeli, I’ve learned that there’s a belief in small sections of the community that you can’t be Jewish if you’re black, a subject I wrote about in an earlier blog called “How Can I Be Jewish When I Am Black?”  There is also a belief that the presence of Ethiopian Jews in Israel is incontrovertible proof that there is no racism in the Jewish community, either towards mischlinges and black Jews or anyone else of colour.

The concern I express in this blog is that when I want to talk to some of my favourite Jewish friends and associates about my life, my experiences of racism and my efforts to tackle it, I find myself isolated, slightly ostracised, and sadly in two extreme cases, cut off completely.  By reading between the lines I have learned that racism in the community or at large is neither admitted nor discussed openly as to do so is perceived as negative and liable to attract anti-Semitism…

Read the entire article here.

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How can I be Jewish when I am black?

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, Religion on 2015-03-30 19:45Z by Steven

How can I be Jewish when I am black?

The Jerusalem Post
2015-02-09

Ella Bennett

This is a hypothetical question that I’m always, almost asked by my many Jewish friends, associates and acquaintances. In my haste I’d assumed the answer to be obvious until I discovered the subtlety behind which the real dynamics of the question are hidden.  What follows is my hypothetical ‘answer’ to the question. There are many parts to be considered before this question can be answered fully.

There are enough parts to fill a book in fact, such is the volume and complexity of the rules that are visited on he or she born inter-racial black and Jewish who then approaches the gates of the shul in search of a refuge from a sometimes racially hostile and anti-Semitic world.  I am a mischlinge, and would have been murdered alongside the 6 million had I been alive in Germany in WW2, a war in which my Jamaican grandfather fought through his service in the Royal Air Force as a 15 year old boy where he helped defend the world from Hitler, and helped save the Jews, while stationed in Berlin.  A man with such courage, candor and grace, is it any wonder that my grandmother, a Jewess, should fall in love with him on his settling in 1950’s England?…

Read the entire article here.

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“I was living in a racial closet”: Black filmmaker Lacey Schwartz on growing up white

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, Passing, Religion, United States on 2015-03-26 18:47Z by Steven

“I was living in a racial closet”: Black filmmaker Lacey Schwartz on growing up white

Salon
Sunday, 2015-03-22

Marissa Charles


A photo of Lacey Schwartz and her mother, in “Little White Lie” (Credit: PBS)

Schwartz talks to Salon about race, privilege, family secrets and her new PBS documentary “Little White Lie”

For the first 18 years of her life Lacey Schwartz knew she was white. With her dark skin, curly hair and full lips, she was a nice Jewish girl from Woodstock, New York. And then — she wasn’t.

Twenty years ago, Schwartz applied to Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and — even though she didn’t tick a box giving her racial identity — she was admitted as a black student. “I know some people looked at that situation and they think, ‘Why weren’t you outraged? Why wouldn’t you protest it?’” Schwartz, 38, said. But for the filmmaker, it was an opportunity to open herself up to something that deep down had been niggling her for most of her life, a question that became the the heart of her documentary “Little White Lie,” which airs Monday on PBS.

Ever since she was 5 years old, when a classmate demanded that she show him her gums, Schwartz knew she looked a bit different from everyone else in her very white town. But her parents, Peggy and Robert Schwartz, had an answer for that — a photo in their family album of her paternal ancestor, a dark-skinned Sicilian Jew. The real answer was far less complicated, buried underneath a lifetime of secrets and lies that helped spell the end of her parents’ marriage. (Spoiler alert: Schwartz is the result of an affair her mom had with an African-American family friend. She demanded answers from her mother when she was 18, but didn’t talk to her father about it until her mid-30s when she made the film.)

In “Little White Lie,” Schwartz confronts her family, exposing the secret and revealing how she has spent her adult years straddling two racial identities. We talked to Schwartz about ditching law for filmmaking and what it’s like to be black and white in America.

What made you want to become a filmmaker?

When I was in law school I started thinking about the issues that I wanted to work on and how film was an effective way to speak about the issues I cared about…

…Your story is like “The Emperor’s New Clothes” because it seems so obvious that you’re black, and yet everyone was saying that you were white. Growing up, when you looked at yourself in the mirror, did you ever have an inkling?

Absolutely. I saw my difference. It’s so crazy for me to find a picture of me when I was a kid and remember that I was so insecure about my hair and my skin and all those things. I definitely felt self-conscious of not being like everybody else that was around me…

…For you, what does it mean to be black?

I think it’s twofold. Part of it is about my own consciousness about being a person of color and being of the world and seeing things. I lived so much of my life having the outlook and thinking that I was white and being somewhat oblivious to the rest of the world, and so I think for me, it’s about gaining that consciousness of difference and really actually recognizing how other people see me.

Part of it’s also being part of the community and the connection. It’s shared experiences on a variety of different levels. When I got to college, that connection, realizing that — even though I hadn’t grown up identifying as being black — there were ways in which I really felt connected to being part of a community…

Read the entire interview here.

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Growing Up White Until a Family Secret Revealed She Was Not

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2015-03-24 17:35Z by Steven

Growing Up White Until a Family Secret Revealed She Was Not

The Root
2015-03-22

Genetta M. Adams, Senior Editor

In the documentary Little White Lie, filmmaker Lacey Schwartz spins a compelling story about embracing her racial identity.

Lacey Schwartz grew up as a white, Jewish girl in the predominantly white community of Woodstock, N.Y., raised by Peggy and Robert Schwartz. But what she didn’t know at the time was that her biological father was black.

The idea of “passing” for white has long been a part of African-American culture. But Schwartz’s story isn’t one about passing. She truly believed that she was white.

How she came to embrace her biracial identity and confront her parents about the family secret is the subject of her documentary, Little White Lie, which airs Monday on PBS as part of its Independent Lens series.

Judging someone’s racial identity by appearance alone can be tricky—the recent story about Nancy Giles’ reaction to Jay Smooth makes that point fairly obvious. But when Schwartz was a child, her light-brown skin and curly hair elicited comments from people outside her immediate family circle: At her bat mitzvah, a woman from the synagogue mistook Lacey for an Ethiopian Jew.

When Schwartz questioned her parents, her father showed her a portrait of her Sicilian great-grandfather, whose darker skin seemingly provided an explanation for her own. Schwartz, like everyone around her, bought this story…

Read the entire article here.

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