Lumbee Indians seek end to a century of questions about identity

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States on 2016-04-13 00:02Z by Steven

Lumbee Indians seek end to a century of questions about identity

The Baltimore Sun
Baltimore, Maryland

Richard O’Mara, Staff Writer

Proud people from North Carolina find a home in Baltimore

Shirley Jeffrey, an East Baltimore resident, remembers the painful moment five years ago when two Sioux Indians told her that “Lumbees aren’t really Indians.”

Jimmy Hunt recalls a similar experience as an Army recruit when a sergeant asked the American Indians in the group to stand up. “There were two others besides myself,” he says. “Later they said I wasn’t an Indian because I was a Lumbee.”

Not really Indians? How could this be said of the largest American Indian group east of the Mississippi? The ninth-largest in the United States, with nearly 50,000 members, according to the Bureau of the Census. About 4,300 of them are in Maryland.

The question of identity has troubled the Lumbees for more than a century, but it may be resolved this year if Congress approves a bill introduced by Rep. Charles Rose III, D-N.C., to extend full recognition to the tribe.

It’s not that Mrs. Jeffrey is uncertain about who she is. Nor is Mr. Hunt…

Read the entire article here.

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W.T. Jones — Carthage’s best-kept secret: From slave to industrialist in the South

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Passing, Slavery, United States on 2016-03-27 01:57Z by Steven

W.T. Jones — Carthage’s best-kept secret: From slave to industrialist in the South

The Courier-Tribune
Ashboro, North Carolina

Judi Brinegar

(Contributed photo)

He was born the son of a slave and her white owner in 1833. By time time of his death in 1910, William T. Jones was one of the prominent business owners in Carthage. He rubbed elbows with the elite, white, upper class in Moore County during the 1880s, dined with them, threw elaborate holiday parties where most of the guests were white, and even attended church with them. Both of his wives, Sophia Isabella McLean and Florence Dockery were white. Dockery was the daughter of a well-to-do Apex family.

Yet, until a decade ago, few in this small Moore County town acknowledged out loud that Jones was not a white man.

Then, Pat Motz-Frazier entered the scene in 2005. She purchased Jones home, built in 1880 for his wife, Florence, and today runs it as a bed and breakfast, aptly named “The Old Buggy Inn.”

“He built this huge elaborate house because he and his wife wanted to fill it with children,” Motz-Frazier says. “Unfortunately, they never had any.”

Motz-Frazier ran into many brick walls while trying to research the history of her historic Victorian home. Many of those she asked, declined to acknowledge that Jones, president of the Tyson & Jones Buggy Company, was anything but a white man, she says. Slowly and methodically, she finally put together the pieces of the puzzle of what was a remarkable story of Jones, one man who, in the 19th century, never let the color of his skin define him…

Read the entire article here.

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Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-03-16 22:41Z by Steven


Goldsboro Weekly Argus
Goldsboro, North Carolina
Thursday, 1895-02-28 (Volume XVI, Number 67)
page 1, column 3
Source: Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. United States Library of Congress.

Well, well, well!

“Where are we at?”

The sudden death of Frederick Douglas, the foremost negro in America, not by deserts but by the combination of fortuitous circumstances, occurred at his home in Washington, D. C., Wednesday night, and yesterday the Rep-Pop-Fusion House of Representatives of the General Assembly of North Carolina adjourned in his honor.

Fred Douglas as every one knows, was a mulatto, who was born a slave, but ran away at the age of 21 and made good his escape to New York. He had acquired a pretty fair education in his slavery days, which aided him in engineering his escape and helped him in his thus acquired freedom to gain notoriety. He leaped into prominence at one bound—at an anti-slavery meeting in Nantucket in 1841, where he made a speech, and delivered himself with such force and venom against the South that he was at once employed by the “Massachusetts Anti-Slavery League” to take the lecture field m behalf of the emancipation movement, that culminated in the war between the States.

After the war Douglas pressed himself into the field of politics, with his past prestige to give him force, and was made secretary of the San Domingo Commission, in 1871, under President Grant; and in 1872 he was one of the Republican Presidential electors of New York.

Subsequently he was for a number of years, until the Republicans went out of power, Register of Deeds for the District of Columbia, and while incumbent of that office married a white woman.

When President Harrison came into power he made Douglas U.S. Minister to Hayti.

This is the record in brief of the man who, though a negro himself, eschewed his own race and attempted to promulgate amalgamation, by marrying a white wife:—this is the man, “neither fish nor fowl,” as to race, but very foul always in his abuse of the South, in whose “honor” the lower House of the General Assembly of North Carolina, by the majority vote of its Rep-Pop fusion contingent, adjourned yesterday.

Wonder what Senator Marion Butler’s Etheopean will have to say about this action of his Russell-Pearson-Skinner Butler-Kitchen-ridden “Co-operative” Legislature.

Truly are we fallen on strange times in North Carolina.

Miscegenation Endorsed.

Several weeks ago a proposition was made in the General Assembly to adjourn in honor of Robert E. Lee, on the occasion of his birthday. This resolution was voted down, although by enactment of a prior Legislature Gen. Lee’s birthday is a public holiday in the State, and the public buildings are closed on that day.

Yesterday a resolution was introduced to adjourn until 10 o’clock on Saturday in order to pay respect to the memory of George Washington, whose birthday is also a legal holiday. This was voted down.

At the same session that the resolution to adjourn in honor of Washington was voted down, the following resolution, introduced by Crews, colored, of Granville, was adopted:

Whereas, The late Frederick Douglass departed this life on the 20 inst.; and whereas, we greatly deplore the same; now, therefore,

Resolved, That when this House adjourn, it adjourn in respect to the memory of the deceased.

These three dates—the birth of Lee, the birth of Washington, and the death of Douglass are compassed in one month. This General Assembly, deliberately and after debate, voted down the resolutions to honor the memory of the Father of his country, and Robt. E. Lee, who, with Grant, was among the heroes of Chepultapec, and the commander of the armies of the South, but put on record, in the journals of the House, a resolution of adjournment “in respect to the memory of Frederick Douglass.”

This action is equivalent to saying:

these three, but the greatest of these is Douglas.”

This action, more correctly than any other official proceeding of this Legislature, shows the spirit of this body.

Fusion is a marriage of two parties having no principles in common.

The endorsement of the miscegenation leader is the legitimate heir of this union. —Raleigh News & Observer

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White or black? Sometimes it’s not so clear-cut

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing, United States on 2015-10-05 15:41Z by Steven

White or black? Sometimes it’s not so clear-cut

StarNews Online
Wilmington, North Carolina

Beverly Smalls

In June, as Rachel Dolezal of Spokane, Wash., confused members of the NAACP as well as her family, friends and the public about her choice to identify as an African-American, new conversations began.

Dolezal was accused of being a white person trying to pass as a black person. She stepped down as head of the NAACP’s chapter in Spokane.

Ironically, Americans of mixed heritage who appeared to be white in past centuries could gain better socio-economic opportunities by relocating to regions far from relatives known to be part African or Native American.

Unlike Dolezal, they preferred the advantages of being classified as white.

A different term, “mulatto,” defined those of mixed race, often with one white and one black parent.

If it were known, one drop of Indian or African blood in a family line could propel an individual or group of people into a lifetime of forced segregation and disadvantages in a minority community.

Having pale African-American skin could have provided advantages or separations from other black people, according to a 1930s Federal Writers’ Project.

A Wilmington man known as “Uncle Jackson,” born in 1851 and interviewed for the New Deal writers’ project, reported that there were lots of “mulatto Negros” in this region. Having a father who was part Indian and a mother who was considered mulatto, Jackson said he was not allowed to even play with “common chil’en,” white or colored.

Bygone cultural identity practices in 20th century Wilmington resulted in notable memories from descendants of mixed-race families…

Read the entire article here.

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President Obama’s Letter to the Editor

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-08-13 01:37Z by Steven

President Obama’s Letter to the Editor

The New York Times Magazine

Barack Obama, President of the United States
Washington, D.C.

Illustration by Ben Wiseman

For the cover story of our Aug. 2 issue, Jim Rutenberg wrote about efforts over the last 50 years to dismantle the protections in the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the landmark piece of legislation that cleared barriers between black voters and the ballot. The story surveyed a broad sweep of history and characters, from United States Chief Justice John Roberts to ordinary citizens like 94-year-old Rosanell Eaton, a plaintiff in the current North Carolina case arguing to repeal voting restrictions enacted in 2013. The magazine received an unusual volume of responses to this article, most notably from President Barack Obama.

I was inspired to read about unsung American heroes like Rosanell Eaton in Jim Rutenberg’s “A Dream Undone: Inside the 50-year campaign to roll back the Voting Rights Act.”

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union. …” It’s a cruel irony that the words that set our democracy in motion were used as part of the so-called literacy test designed to deny Rosanell and so many other African-Americans the right to vote. Yet more than 70 years ago, as she defiantly delivered the Preamble to our Constitution, Rosanell also reaffirmed its fundamental truth. What makes our country great is not that we are perfect, but that with time, courage and effort, we can become more perfect. What makes America special is our capacity to change…

…I am where I am today only because men and women like Rosanell Eaton refused to accept anything less than a full measure of equality. Their efforts made our country a better place. It is now up to us to continue those efforts. Congress must restore the Voting Rights Act. Our state leaders and legislatures must make it easier — not harder — for more Americans to have their voices heard. Above all, we must exercise our right as citizens to vote, for the truth is that too often we disenfranchise ourselves…

Read the entire article here.

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A Look At People’s ‘Race Experience’ In NC

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United States on 2015-05-15 19:42Z by Steven

A Look At People’s ‘Race Experience’ In NC

WUNC 91.5, North Carolina Public Radio

Charlie Shelton, Digital News Producer

We recently released a survey asking people about their experience with race in North Carolina. The responses ranged from personal stories on race’s influence in daily interactions to how race is affecting public opinion. From the state’s rural communities to its larger cities, people recognized that race relations are changing, but we still have a ways to go.

Here are some of the responses:…

Michi Vojta, 44 years old, Raleigh

“As a mixed race person (mother from Japan), I can generally “pass“, as it was called — people don’t often notice, or care, about my non-white heritage.

Years ago I visited a friend living in Columbia, NC. As a teacher she went to work and I hung out killing time and went for a jog. I thought it was odd how there were two gas stations from the same exact company on the same road within spitting distance. I was telling her where I jogged, and she asked what I thought were odd questions: ‘Did the folks seem surprised to see you?’ I thought, ‘Gosh, it can’t be that small a town, right?’…

Read the entire article here.

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Wrightsville Beach alderman pressured to resign after insult against bartender

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-04-22 19:51Z by Steven

Wrightsville Beach alderman pressured to resign after insult against bartender

Wilmington, North Carolina

Julian March

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH | Alderman Darryl Mills is facing pressure to resign after he used derogatory language to a bartender last month.

Mills made the comment to Mia Banks while she was working at King Neptune Restaurant on North Lumina Avenue.

In an interview, Mills confirmed he called Banks a “mixed breed” and used an expletive. He said he and Banks have had a bantering and teasing relationship for years.

“That night, as soon as it happened, I saw that it bothered her, hurt her, and I apologized immediately and left,” Mills said. He later apologized a second time in an email.

He has no plans to resign. “I think this is a personal matter,” he said. “It has nothing to do with Wrightsville Beach.”

Banks agreed she had a bantering relationship with Mills, but said that would be true with all of her customers, especially regulars.

She said she had not discussed her race with Mills before his comment. Her mother is Polish and Italian and her father is African-American.

“I was humiliated,” Banks said. “I was degraded.”…

Read the entire article here.

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How one man has made a mark on history in northeast N.C.

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation on 2015-04-07 01:21Z by Steven

How one man has made a mark on history in northeast N.C.

The Outer Banks Voice

Ed Beckley

Marvin T. Jones has a passion for local heritage and is responsible for a half dozen historical markers in the area.

Our region’s rich history is brought to the fore each time someone who passes a historical marker on the side of the road, stops, reads and ponders. But who dreams up these visual reminders of our times gone by and makes them appear before our eyes?

They’re people such as Marvin T. Jones, who grew up in rural Hertford County, “taking much notice of them (as a small boy) and pleased when my first school, C.S. Brown, received one in the 1980’s.”

Jones has a passion for local heritage and is responsible for a half dozen historical markers in the area, including The Roanoke Island Freedmen’s Colony, the Algonquian Village of Dasemunkepeuc in Dare County and four others inland.

The North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program reports more than 1,400 markers in place in the state since 1936. Twenty-five are in Dare County. They are not only a tribute to the places and patriots of the past, but to the people who work to place them for posterity. Jones is squarely in that category…

…He has a rich diverse racial background, as is the case of so many others in that area. It was his mother’s mention of her ancestor, a Chowanoke Native-American leader, which impelled him to research the area’s history all the way back to the first English colonists in 1584. Jones is a mix of mostly Chowanoke, Tuscarora, European and African descent, with roots as far away as India…

Read the entire article here.

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A History of Loss

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2015-02-10 21:08Z by Steven

A History of Loss

The Chronicle Review
The Chronicle of Higher Education

Allyson Hobbs, Assistant Professor of History
Stanford University

Alexander L. Manly could have been the first victim of the bloody race riot that exploded in Wilmington, N.C., in early November 1898. Manly, publisher of the Daily Record, North Carolina’s only African-American newspaper, was the target of the rioters after he wrote an inflammatory editorial about white supremacists’ charges that black men were assaulting white women. Manly fired back that the white women who claimed that black men had raped them had, in fact, engaged in consensual sex. His press was burned to the ground. He narrowly escaped to Philadelphia, but upon arrival, discovered that work was hard for a black man to find. Employers summarily rejected his applications for employment as a painter, insisting that no union would accept a black member.

“So I tried being white,” Manly later explained to the journalist Ray Stannard Baker, “that is, I did not reveal the fact that I had coloured blood, and I immediately got work in some of the best shops in Philadelphia. I joined the union and had no trouble at all.”

But Manly soon tired of the charade. Passing only during the work day—”9-to-5 passing,” it was called—meant that he had to leave his house early in the morning and could not return until after nightfall. He feared discovery. “The thing became unbearable,” he lamented. “I preferred to be a Negro and hold up my head rather than to be a sneak.” So he became a janitor and lived openly with his recognizably black wife and children.

Manly could have reaped all of the benefits that accrued to whiteness: economic opportunity and security, political agency, and countless social privileges. Indeed, by some accounts, his light skin had eased his escape from Wilmington, protected him from the racial violence that had engulfed the city, and very likely saved his life. But for Manly, those gains were far outweighed by all that there was to lose…

Read the entire article here.

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Veterans to Remember: Parker David Robbins

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, United States on 2015-01-08 16:14Z by Steven

Veterans to Remember: Parker David Robbins

We’re History

Ben Railton, Associate Professor of English and Coordinator of American Studies
Fitchburg State University, Fitchburg, Massachusetts

Thanks principally to the critical and popular success of the film Glory (1989), our collective memory of the Civil War includes African American soldiers (known in their era as United States Colored Troops). But while we might have a sense of those soldiers’ general participation in the war, few individual African American soldiers or officers have made it into our Civil War narratives – which also, and perhaps even more significantly, means that we don’t tend to think about African American Civil War veterans and their experiences and identities beyond the war. Parker David Robbins (1834-1917) is a good candidate to correct those trends.

Robbins doesn’t fit either of the two identities that historians have most consistently linked to the USCT: he was neither an ex-slave nor a free Northern African American. Instead, he was born free in North Carolina, into a mixed-race farming family that included Native American as well as European and African American heritages. By the time the war started, Robbins had begun developing his own North Carolina family and legacy. He was married and running a 100-acre farm on which he paid Confederate taxes. But when he learned of the creation of African American regiments in the Union Army, he crossed into Union territory and enlisted in the 2nd U.S. Colored Cavalry, in which he served until the war’s end. Glory rightly makes a great deal of the unique threats faced by the war’s African American soldiers, and thus of the inspiring bravery they demonstrated simply by joining and staying in the army; Robbins’ abandonment of a settled and comfortable life in order to enlist exemplifies those histories…

Read the entire article here.

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