A young black girl tries to pass for white in 1960s rural Georgia in the short film ‘Across the Tracks’

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-09-05 16:59Z by Steven

A young black girl tries to pass for white in 1960s rural Georgia in the short film ‘Across the Tracks’

Afropunk
2017-08-30

Eye Candy

Two African American sisters grow up in racially charged 1960s Georgia, but one is born with fair skin. And when schools integrate in their small town, she decides to change her destiny—by passing for white.

Set in modern day and 1960s rural Georgia, “Across The Tracks” follows two black sisters—one dark skinned, the other light skinned—as they both navigate the desegregation of their school and make choices that will change them forever. Shot by director/cinematographer Mike Cooke in the small town of Arlington, GA. and co-written by Kimberly James, “Across the Tracks” is a story so resonate with and relevant to the black experience even now you’ll wonder why it hasn’t been done sooner…

Read the entire article here.

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A Conflict of Race and Religion

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Judaism, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2017-04-17 00:31Z by Steven

A Conflict of Race and Religion

Atlanta Jewish Times
2017-04-13

Patrice Worthy

As a Jew of color, your identity and loyalty are constantly questioned.

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was laid off from my job for poor work performance. Weeks before, I went to HR regarding a co-worker who attacked my Jewish identity by asking another co-worker, “What does she want to be Jewish?” followed by “She thinks she so cute” because I asked for the first day of Pesach off.

Her sister, who worked in the same department, questioned my Judaism in front of the entire office, and when the daily harassment was too much for my body to handle, I was hospitalized and forced to tell my diagnosis to my supervisor, who encouraged the discrimination, and the HR rep…

…Being black and Jewish, at least from my experiences in the South, is a precarious position. Especially in a socially segregated city like Atlanta, where you are forced to choose between being Jewish and being black, whatever that means…

Read the entire article here.

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Walter White and the Atlanta NAACP’s Fight for Equal Schools, 1916–1917

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2017-04-08 02:07Z by Steven

Walter White and the Atlanta NAACP’s Fight for Equal Schools, 1916–1917

History of Education Quarterly
Volume 7, Issue 1 (April 1967)
pages 3-21
DOI: 10.2307/367230

Edgar A. Toppin (1928-2004), Professor of History
Virginia State College

In 1917 a delegation of negroes went before the Board of Education in Atlanta, Georgia, to demand equal facilities for colored school children. This marked the beginning of the work in Atlanta of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The youthful branch secretary who sparked this drive, Walter Francis White, called this “our first fight and our first victory and … we have only begun to fight.” Despite his enthusiasm, Atlanta moved at a glacial pace toward parity in the dual school systems.

Read or purchase the article here or here.

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African Americans in Atlanta: Adrienne Herndon, an Uncommon Woman

Posted in Articles, Arts, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2017-02-08 16:53Z by Steven

African Americans in Atlanta: Adrienne Herndon, an Uncommon Woman

Southern Spaces: A Journal about Real and Imagined Spaces and Places of the US South and their Global Connections
2004-03-16
DOI: 10.18737/M7XP4B

Carole Merritt


Portrait of Adrienne Herndon, date unknown. (c) The Herndon Home.

Overview 

Ahead of her time and outside of her assigned place, Adrienne Herndon achieved acclaim in education, drama, and architecture in turn-of-the-century Atlanta. As head of the drama department at Atlanta University, as aspiring dramatic artist, as architect of what would be designated a National Historic Landmark, Adrienne Herndon set her own course in a society that rejected such independence in women. She was one of the most highly trained professional women in Atlanta, having graduated from Atlanta University normal school in preparation for teaching, and having received degrees from the Boston School of Expression and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York.

Adrienne Herndon (1869–1910)

“It is simply inevitable that I should end up on the stage,” Adrienne stated in 1904 just before her Boston debut as a dramatic reader. “The footlights have beckoned me since I was a little child and I simply must respond. It has always been my dream to portray all the heroic feminine characters of Shakespeare.” (Boston Traveler, January 25, 1904). From her childhood in Savannah, through her drama studies in Boston and New York, Adrienne held on to this dream of a career on the legitimate theater stage. The harsh realities of race and gender in America, however, doomed the realization of this dream. Except for vaudeville, minstrelsy, and all-Black dramatic productions, there was no place for Blacks on the American theater stage. As the daughter of light-skinned, slave-born house servants with considerable White ancestry, Adrienne’s skin was white. She identified herself as a Creole, a racially ambiguous term by which she was neither admitting nor denying her race.

Passing for White, she made her debut in Boston…

Read the entire article 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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Employee’s Change in Racial Self-Identification Cannot Support Discrimination Claim if Employer Unaware of Change

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2015-10-08 20:28Z by Steven

Employee’s Change in Racial Self-Identification Cannot Support Discrimination Claim if Employer Unaware of Change

JD Supra Business Advisor
2015-10-05

Jonathan Crotty
Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP, Charlotte, North Carolina

Michael Vanesse
Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP, Charlotte, North Carolina

In recent years, more Americans have begun identifying themselves as biracial or of mixed racial heritage. This shift has resulted in changes to census and other forms where people are asked to self-identify by race. In addition, some persons of mixed heritage may change their personal identification with one racial category over time. However, as recently pointed out by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, this change cannot form the basis for a race discrimination claim if unknown to the employer at the time the questioned decisions were made.

In Fagerstrom v. City of Savannah, the plaintiff was a police captain of Swedish and Japanese heritage. When filling out forms used for affirmative action purposes, the plaintiff had identified himself as white. When passed over for promotion to major, the plaintiff sued, alleging that he had been discriminated against based on his race in favor of two white captains. The plaintiff said that he changed his self-identification to Asian-American several years previously…

Read the entire article here.

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The Cherokee Rose: A Novel Of Gardens & Ghosts

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Novels, Slavery, United States, Women on 2015-03-22 18:31Z by Steven

The Cherokee Rose: A Novel Of Gardens & Ghosts

John F. Blair
2015-04-07
264 pages
6×9
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-89587-635-5

Tiya Miles, Elsa Barkley Brown Collegiate Professor of African American Women’s History
University of Michigan

Written by an award-winning historian and recipient of a recent MacArthur “Genius Grant,” The Cherokee Rose explores territory reminiscent of the bestselling and beloved works of Alice Walker, Octavia Butler, and Louise Erdrich. Now, Tiya Miles’s luminous but highly accessible novel examines a little-known aspect of America’s past—slaveholding by Southern Creeks and Cherokees—and its legacy in the lives of three young women who are drawn to the Georgia plantation where scenes of extreme cruelty and equally extraordinary compassion once played out.

Based on the author’s in-depth and award-winning research into archival sources at the Chief Vann House Historic Site in Chatsworth, Georgia, and the Moravian mission sponsored there in the early 1800s, Miles has blended this fascinating history with a contemporary cast of engaging and memorable characters, including Jinx, the free-spirited historian exploring her tribe’s complicated racial history; Ruth, whose mother sought refuge from a troubled marriage in her beloved garden and the cosmetic empire she built from its bounty; Cheyenne, the Southern black debutante seeking to connect with a meaningful personal history; and, hovering above them all, the spirit of long-gone Mary Ann Battis, a young woman suspected of burning a mission to the ground and then disappearing from tribal records. Together, the women’s discoveries about the secrets of the Cherokee plantation trace their attempts to connect with the strong spirits of the past and reconcile the conflicts in their own lives.

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Down Blige Road: Where There’s No Place Like Home

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Slavery, United States on 2014-10-14 13:13Z by Steven

Down Blige Road: Where There’s No Place Like Home

Richmond Hill Reflections
Richmond Hill, Georgia
Volume 10, Number 4 (September 2014)
pages 57-60

Leslie Ann Berg (Photos by Callie Beale Photography)

Richmond Hill’s history is engrained deep within the walls of its old buildings, street names, and its land. But there is another place where history runs deep in Richmond Hill. It is a living, breathing history that not only thrived centuries ago, but is still thriving today. It is a history that courses through the very veins of the Richmond Hill people: It is the history of bloodlines.

Some of us are military families that found our way to Richmond Hill because of our duty, others transferred here for a job, and still others came to Richmond Hill for its quiet, safe community and great schools. But there is a very real and permanent group of people who live in Richmond Hill because it is home in the deepest sense of the word: Richmond Hill is where their ancestors settled and where they choose to remain. This group of people is the Blige family.

Meeting a member of the Blige family is like meeting an old friend. They are warm, welcoming, and full of jovial conversation. As I sat around Albertha Blige’s dining room table with her cousin Francis, and her mother Dorothy, and Uncle Pete, both in their 80s, we discussed Blige family history, traditions, and folklore. The women were tight-lipped when it came to telling stories, but Uncle Pete opened up and let me in on who exactly the Bliges were and are.

The Bliges made their way to Richmond Hill after the Civil War in 1875, when three brothers, Andrew, Benjamin, and Rently Blige, migrated south from Charleston, South Carolina. All three bothers married and had eight, nine, and 11 children respectively and so began the large Blige family of Richmond Hill. The brothers worked for wages at the Ogeechee River plantations. As their children grew, the family purchased land from Thomas Savage Clay, a man who owned several plantations in the Richmond Hill area.

Owning land was monumental for the families of emancipated slaves like the Bliges, yet life wasn’t easy. Uncle Pete, Benjamin Blige’s grandson and one of 20 children, recalls what life was like when he was a boy: “[My father] worked about 60 miles from [Richmond Hill]. He left on Sunday evenings and didn’t come back for 2 weeks. My mother was here taking care of the farm. The kids worked… that’s why they had so many kids. Kids carried the farm and my mother did the housework and watched the kids.”…

…Uncle Pete’s accounts of his family may sound like a typical African American ancestral history in the southeastern United States, but beneath the commonalities lies a forgotten history, a history that never made its way into the history books.

The Blige’s African American ancestry is vibrant and evident, yet they are also of Cherokee Indian decent. African-Native Americans? Yes, and in fact, African-Native Americans made up a significant percentage of Native Americans living in the South in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Yet their existence is not widely accounted for in history.

The American history that most of us are familiar with is one that paints a picture of segregated ethnic groups, depicting Whites as slave owners, Africans as slaves, and Native Americans as tribe members. In most of our minds, all three groups were separate and played a very specific and hierarchical role in history. Yet, before North America was widely colonized, distinct segregation did not exist, and the interaction between Africans and Native Americans was somewhat frequent. Enslaved Africans escaped to Native American tribes (some tribes even hosted stops on the Underground Railroad), some Native Americans were enslaved by Europeans alongside Africans, and some Native Americans had African slaves. Often times, the two groups worked alongside each other, lived together, and shared recipes, myths, legends, and herbal remedies. Africans and Native Americans intermarried and had children. In fact, relations were so frequent that when a census was taken in the early 1800s, 10% of the Cherokee Nation was of African descent; 100 years later, this number increased to 50%.

As interaction between the Africans and Native Americans increased, colonists felt a need to break their alliance and issue laws that secured the land and property the Europeans had acquired. Once the American government was established and began to thrive, such laws were carried out. Only then did the rights ot slave owners gain tremendous strength, while the rights of Africans and Native Americans fell to the wayside. In order to enforce the new laws and segregate the two ethnic groups, a census was taken to categorize all individuals as African or Native American. Categorization was based solely on skin color; consequently, much of the African-Native American history, culture, and ancestral lines were erased. Fast forward 300 years and most Americans know very little, it anything, about this fascinating ethnic group.

The Blige family shares in this incredible story of the African-Native Americans. Their bloodline is unique and in many ways, we wall never truly uncover the rich culture ot the African-Native American due to the lack ot documentation. But the Blige family has main tained a connection to their African-Native American ancestors in their ability to live off the land and their lifelong practice olt faith and spirituality…

Read the entire article here.

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Black History Month celebrates both race and ethnicity

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Campus Life, Media Archive, United States on 2014-02-11 04:45Z by Steven

Black History Month celebrates both race and ethnicity

The Red & Black
University Georgia Student Newspaper
Athens, Georgia
2014-07-02

Mariya Lewter, Sphomore
Decatur, Georgia

As a person of “mixed” race, I’ve always found it difficult to truly racially identify myself. Not because I don’t know who I am, but because others refused to accept my definition of who I am.

Growing up, I attended predominantly black schools. There were few kids who looked like me, and I can probably count on one hand how many students were not African-American.

My peers had a hard time guessing my race because I have a light skin complexion, but black facial features and curly hair. So I often got asked the question, “What are you?”…

…I know how I look, but I also know how I feel and how I was raised. I was raised with black culture in a black community with a black family. My blood is only one-fourth Caucasian, but according to everyone around me, because I’m fair-skinned, there was no way I could be black.

This mindset needs to change…

Read the entire article here.

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