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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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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Persons of Color and Religious at the Same Time: The Oblate Sisters of Providence, 1828-1860

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Religion, United States, Women on 2016-09-13 21:20Z by Steven

Persons of Color and Religious at the Same Time: The Oblate Sisters of Providence, 1828-1860

University of North Carolina Press
2002
360 pages
6.125 x 9.25, 11 illus., notes, bibl., index
Cloth ISBN: 0-8078-2726-6
Paperback ISBN 0-8078-5401-8
eBook ISBN: 9780807862155

Diane Batts Morrow, Associate Professor of History and African American Studies
University of Georgia, Athens

Founded in Baltimore in 1828 by a French Sulpician priest and a mulatto Caribbean immigrant, the Oblate Sisters of Providence formed the first permanent African American Roman Catholic sisterhood in the United States. It still exists today. Exploring the antebellum history of this pioneering sisterhood, Diane Batts Morrow demonstrates the centrality of race in the Oblate experience.

By their very existence, the Oblate Sisters challenged prevailing social, political, and cultural attitudes on many levels. White society viewed women of color as lacking in moral standing and sexual virtue; at the same time, the sisters’ vows of celibacy flew in the face of conventional female roles as wives and mothers. But the Oblate Sisters’ religious commitment proved both liberating and empowering, says Morrow. They inculcated into their communal consciousness positive senses of themselves as black women and as women religious. Strengthened by their spiritual fervor, the sisters defied the inferior social status white society ascribed to them and the ambivalence the Catholic Church demonstrated toward them. They successfully persevered in dedicating themselves to spiritual practice in the Roman Catholic tradition and their mission to educate black children during the era of slavery.

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Racism faced by black nuns in America called ‘dangerous memory’

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Passing, Religion, United States, Women on 2016-09-13 21:04Z by Steven

Racism faced by black nuns in America called ‘dangerous memory’

Crux: Taking the Catholic Pulse
2016-08-18

Andrew Nelson, Catholic News Service

In early American history black women could be accepted into orders of nuns only if they could “pass for white,” and later they faced significant racial prejudice. Despite all that, they became role models for the black community in America and served as spiritual leaders.

ATLANTA – Black women desiring to serve a life devoted to the Catholic faith were not welcomed by religious communities with anti-black acceptance requirements from the early 19th century to the middle of the 20th century, said historian Shannen Dee Williams.

Those who could gain admittance faced discrimination from their fellow sisters, she added.

“Black sisters matter, but they constitute a dangerous memory for the church,” said Williams, assistant professor of history at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

She was joined by Sister Anita Baird, a Daughter of the Heart of Mary, and Sister Dawn Tomaszewski, general superior of the Sisters of Providence, on an Aug. 12 panel discussing racism in religious life at the assembly of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in Atlanta.

Williams’ upcoming book is called “Subversive Habits: Black Nuns and the Long Struggle to Desegregate Catholic America.” It was the subject of her doctoral dissertation at Rutgers University…

Read the entire article here.

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Spiritualism in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans: The Life and Times of Henry Louis Rey

Posted in Biography, Books, Family/Parenting, History, Louisiana, Monographs, Religion, United States on 2016-09-07 21:12Z by Steven

Spiritualism in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans: The Life and Times of Henry Louis Rey

University Press of Mississippi
January 2017
208 pages
25 b&w illustrations, 1 map, chronology, bibliography, index
6 x 9 inches
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-1496810083

Melissa Daggett

Modern American Spiritualism blossomed in the 1850s and continued as a viable faith into the 1870s. Because of its diversity and openness to new cultures and religions, New Orleans provided fertile ground to nurture Spiritualism, and many séance circles flourished in the Creole Faubourgs of Tremé and Marigny as well as the American sector of the city. Melissa Daggett focuses on Le Cercle Harmonique, the francophone séance circle of Henry Louis Rey (1831–1894), a Creole of color who was a key civil rights activist, author, and Civil War and Reconstruction leader. His life has so far remained largely in the shadows of New Orleans history, partly due to a language barrier.

Spiritualism in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans focuses on the turbulent years between the late antebellum period and the end of Reconstruction. Translating and interpreting numerous primary sources and one of the only surviving registers of séance proceedings, Daggett has opened a window into a fascinating life as well as a period of tumult and change. She provides unparalleled insights into the history of the Creoles of color and renders a better understanding of New Orleans’s complex history. The author weaves an intriguing tale of the supernatural, of chaotic post-bellum politics, of transatlantic linkages, and of the personal triumphs and tragedies of Rey as a notable citizen and medium. Wonderful illustrations, reproductions of the original spiritual communications, and photographs, many of which have never before appeared in published form, accompany this study of Rey and his world.

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Passing in Boston: The Story of the Healy Family

Posted in History, Media Archive, Passing, Religion, United States, Videos on 2016-09-01 01:15Z by Steven

Passing in Boston: The Story of the Healy Family

WGBHForum
2014-03-26

Boston College history professor, James O’Toole discusses his newest book Passing for White: Race, Religion, and the Healy Family, 1820-1920, which documents the extraordinary life of the Healy brothers of Boston.

In the mid-1800’s, the Healy brothers of Boston, James, Patrick, and Sherwood, looked like the picture of Catholic success. James was bishop of Portland, Maine; Patrick, president of Georgetown University; and Sherwood, chief supervisor of the building of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. The Healy’s were not typical members of the Boston Catholic elite, but the children of a multiracial slave couple from Georgia.

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Raciolinguistics: How Language Shapes Our Ideas About Race

Posted in Africa, Anthologies, Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, Latino Studies, Religion on 2016-09-01 00:56Z by Steven

Raciolinguistics: How Language Shapes Our Ideas About Race

Oxford University Press
2016-10-31
376 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 9780190625696

Edited by:

H. Samy Alim, Professor of Education; Professor of Anthropology and Linguistics (by courtesy)
Stanford University

John R. Rickford, J.E. Wallace Sterling Professor of Linguistics and the Humanities
Stanford University

Arnetha F. Ball, Professor
Stanford Graduate School of Education
Stanford University

  • Brings together a critical mass of scholars to form a new field dedicated to theorizing and analyzing language and race together-raciolinguistics.
  • Breaks new ground by integrating the deep theoretical knowledge gained from race and ethnic studies, and the ethnographic rigor and sensibility of anthropology, with the fine-grained, detailed analyses that are the hallmark of linguistic studies
  • Takes a comparative, international look across a wide variety of sites that comprise some of the most contested racial and ethnic contexts in the world, from rapidly changing communities in the U.S. and Europe to locations in South Africa, Brazil, and Israel
  • Builds upon and expands Alim and Smitherman’s ground-breaking analysis to form a new field dedicated to racing language and languaging race.

Raciolinguistics reveals the central role that language plays in shaping our ideas about race. The book brings together a team of leading scholars-working both within and beyond the United States-to share powerful, much-needed research that helps us understand the increasingly vexed relationships between race, ethnicity, and language in our rapidly changing world. Combining the innovative, cutting-edge approaches of race and ethnic studies with fine-grained linguistic analyses, chapters cover a wide range of topics including the language use of African American Jews and the struggle over the very term “African American,” the racialized language education debates within the increasing number of “majority-minority” immigrant communities as well as Indigenous communities in the U.S., the dangers of multicultural education in a Europe that is struggling to meet the needs of new migrants, and the sociopolitical and cultural meanings of linguistic styles used in Brazilian favelas, South African townships, Mexican and Puerto Rican barrios in Chicago, and Korean American “cram schools,” among other sites.

With rapidly changing demographics in the U.S.-population resegregation, shifting Asian and Latino patterns of immigration, new African American (im)migration patterns, etc.-and changing global cultural and media trends (from global Hip Hop cultures, to transnational Mexican popular and street cultures, to Israeli reality TV, to new immigration trends across Africa and Europe, for example)-Raciolinguistics shapes the future of studies on race, ethnicity, and language. By taking a comparative look across a diverse range of language and literacy contexts, the volume seeks not only to set the research agenda in this burgeoning area of study, but also to help resolve pressing educational and political problems in some of the most contested racial, ethnic, and linguistic contexts in the world.

Contents

  • Introducting Raciolinguistics: Theorizing Language and Race in Hyperracial Times / H. Samy Alim, Stanford University
  • Part I. Languaging Race
    • 1. Who’s Afraid of the Transracial Subject?: Transracialization as a Dynamic Process of Translation and Transgression / H. Samy Alim, Stanford University
    • 2. From Upstanding Citizen to North American Rapper and Back Again: The Racial Malleability of Poor Male Brazilian Youth / Jennifer Roth-Gordon, University of Arizona
    • 3. From Mock Spanish to Inverted Spanglish: Language Ideologies and the Racialization of Mexican and Puerto Rican Youth in the U.S. / Jonathan Rosa, Stanford University
    • 4. The Meaning of Ching Chong: Language, Racism, and Response in New Media / Elaine W. Chun, University of South Carolina
    • 5. “Suddenly faced with a Chinese village”: The Linguistic Racialization of Asian Americans / Adrienne Lo, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    • 6. Ethnicity and Extreme Locality in South Africa’s Multilingual Hip Hop Ciphas / Quentin E. Williams, University of the Western Cape
    • 7. Norteno and Sureno Gangs, Hip Hop, and Ethnicity on YouTube: Localism in California through Spanish Accent Variation / Norma Mendoza-Denton, University of Arizona
  • Part II. Racing Language
    • 8. Towards Heterogeneity: A Sociolinguistic Perspective on the Classification of Black People in the 21st Century / Renée Blake, New York University
    • 9. Jews of Color: Performing Black Jewishness through the Creative Use of Two Ethnolinguistic Repertoires / Sarah Bunin Benor, Hebrew Union College
    • 10. Pharyngeal beauty and depharyngealized geek: Performing ethnicity on Israeli reality TV / Roey Gafter, Tel Aviv University
    • 11. Stance as a Window into the Language-Race Connection: Evidence from African American and White Speakers in Washington, D.C. / Robert J. Podesva, Stanford University
    • 12. Changing Ethnicities: The Evolving Speech Styles of Punjabi Londoners / Devyani Sharma, Queen Mary, University of London
  • Part III. Language, Race, and Education in Changing Communities
    • 13. “It Was a Black City”: African American Language in California’s Changing Urban Schools and Communities / Django Paris, Michigan State University
    • 14. Zapotec, Mixtec, and Purepecha Youth: Multilingualism and the Marginalization of Indigenous Immigrants in the U.S. / William Perez, Rafael Vasquez, and Raymond Buriel
    • 15. On Being Called Out of One’s Name: Indexical Bleaching as a Technique of Deracialization / Mary Bucholtz, University of California, Santa Barbara
    • 16. Multiculturalism and Its Discontents: Essentializing Ethnic Moroccan and Roma Identities in Classroom Discourse in Spain / Inmaculada García-Sánchez, Temple University
    • 17. The Voicing of Asian American Figures: Korean Linguistic Styles at an Asian American Cram School / Angela Reyes, Hunter College and The Graduate Center, CUNY
    • 18. “Socials”, “Poch@s”, “Normals” y Los de Más: School Networks and Linguistic Capital of High School Students on the Tijuana-San Diego Border” / Ana Celia Zentella, University of California, San Diego
  • Index
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The JewAsian Phenomenon: Raising Jewish-Asian Families

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2016-08-24 21:33Z by Steven

The JewAsian Phenomenon: Raising Jewish-Asian Families

JewishBoston: The Vibe of the Tribe
2016-08-10

Judy Bolton-Fasman, Culture Reporter

A new book, as well as a conversation with its authors, sheds light on a growing segment of the Jewish population—Jewish-Asian children who are raised as Jews.

Helen Kim and Noah Leavitt are the authors of “JewAsian: Race, Religion, and Identity for America’s Newest Jews,” the first book-length study of Jewish-Asian couples and their children. While the two sociologists, who are married and professors at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash., have a personal stake in the subject, they have also observed that as a Jewish-Asian couple they are far from alone in raising their children as Jews. In the book, the couple’s research on Jewish-Asian families is encapsulated in interviews and extensive studies on the subject.

Keren McGinity, director of Interfaith Families Jewish Engagement at Hebrew College, notes: “‘JewAsian’ is groundbreaking because it’s the first book to complicate the intermarriage narrative by looking at it through the trifold lens of ethnicity, race and religion. Kim and Leavitt’s work highlights important new ways of understanding Jewish-American, Asian-American and Jew-Asian identities, challenging dominant racial, ethnic and interfaith marriage discourses in the process. I am thrilled to have it on my syllabus for the course ‘Jewish Intermarriage in the Modern American Context’ at Hebrew College this fall.”

Kim and Leavitt recently talked to JewishBoston about their new book and their family life…

Read the entire interview here.

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Faithfully Podcast 8: Asian Americans, Yellowface, and Pursuing Whiteness

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Audio, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2016-08-17 01:19Z by Steven

Faithfully Podcast 8: Asian Americans, Yellowface, and Pursuing Whiteness

Faithfully Magazine: At the Intersection of Race, Culture & Christianity
2016-05-28

Chinese/Filipino Author Bruce Reyes-Chow Shares Perspectives on Navigating Race

The Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow joined the Faithfully Podcast crew recently to share his thoughts and observations on some issues Asian Americans face when it comes to experiences relating to race and culture.

Reyes-Chow hails from San Francisco, California, is a third-generation Chinese/Filipino, and a former pastor. Reyes-Chow, ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA), served as Moderator for the denomination’s 2008 General Assembly, its highest elected office.

The married father of three teen girls has authored the books But I Don’t See You as Asian: Curating Conversations About Race, The Definitive-ish Guide for Using Social Media in the Church, and 40 Days, 40 Prayers, 40 Words: Lenten Reflections for Everyday Life, among others.

In his discussion with Faithfully Podacst hosts Nicola Menzie, Keisha Boston, and Vincent Funaro, Reyes-Chow comments on challenges some Asian Americans face when relating to the black-white binary paradigm inherent in conversations about racism in the United States…

Read the article here. Listen to the podcast here. Download the podcast here.

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NBA Star Amar’e Stoudemire Is Moving to Israel — Because He’s a Hebrew Israelite

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2016-08-07 17:01Z by Steven

NBA Star Amar’e Stoudemire Is Moving to Israel — Because He’s a Hebrew Israelite

Forward
2016-08-01

Sam Kestenbaum, Staff Writer

This week, basketball star Amar’e Stoudemire ended a celebrated 14-year career with the NBA. The six-time All-Star spent most of his career with the Phoenix Suns and the New York Knicks, before finishing with the Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat.

Now he’s moving on and up — to Jerusalem. Jews who move to Israel commonly refer to the move as “ascending” to the Holy Land. And like many of them, Stoudemire’s move is at least partly a spiritual journey.

“The Scripture speaks about Jerusalem as a holy place, and I can feel that whenever I’m in the city,” Stoudemire wrote in a farewell note. “My whole journey with reuniting with the Holy Land has always been important,” he added at a press conference.

That “journey” has fascinated, and at times bewildered, some American Jews and Israelis. Stoudemire visited Israel in 2010 to “explore his Hebrew roots” and has visited many times since, even applying for Israeli citizenship. His affinity for Israel prompted a flurry of media attention — was he Jewish? Some mainstream outlets reported then — and some continue to erroneously report — that Stoudemire converted or had a Jewish mother.

But Stoudemire is no Jew, convert or otherwise…

Read the entire article here.

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