Exploring the Afro-Indigenous experience

Posted in Articles, Interviews, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2021-10-08 22:26Z by Steven

Exploring the Afro-Indigenous experience

Indian Country Today
2021-09-28

Nancy Spears
Gaylord News

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers. (Photo courtesy of Honorée Fanonne Jeffers)
Honorée Fanonne Jeffers. (Photo courtesy of Honorée Fanonne Jeffers)

The author’s new novel looks at the history of a Black family in central Georgia

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers is a full-tenure professor who’s been teaching nearly two decades in the English department at the University of Oklahoma. The first African American full professor in the history of the department, who is also Afro-Indigenous.

Her new novel explores the Afro-Indigenous experience, an area of literature Jeffers said has been long underrepresented and under-discussed.

The 790-page novel titled “The Love Songs of W.E.B Du Bois” released earlier this year in July explores the two centuries-old history of a Black family in central Georgia who is descended from Afro-Indigenous origin.

She discussed the book at the virtual National Book Festival event with Karen Grigsby Bates, senior correspondent for NPR’s Code Switch on Sept. 23.

Jeffers sat down with Gaylord News to discuss the themes of her book and reflects on how the narrative can translate to social justice issues across minority groups in the US

Read the entire interview here.

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Born into slavery, they rose to be elite New York Jews. A new book tells their story.

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Interviews, Judaism, Media Archive, Passing, Religion, Slavery, United States on 2021-10-08 14:05Z by Steven

Born into slavery, they rose to be elite New York Jews. A new book tells their story.

Religion News Service
2021-10-05

Yonat Shimron, National Reporter and Senior Editor


Once We Were Slaves: The Extraordinary Journey of a Multiracial Jewish Family” and author Laura Arnold Leibman. Courtesy images

In her new book, ‘Once We Were Slaves: The Extraordinary Journey of a Multiracial Jewish Family,’ Laura Arnold Leibman shows that Jews were not only slave owners. They were also slaves.

(RNS) — Jews are proud of the biblical story from Exodus that recounts their deliverance from slavery in Egypt in the third century B.C.

But few U.S. Jews consider that some of their ancestors were slaves in the trans-Atlantic slave trade that ended in the 19th century.

In her new book, “Once We Were Slaves: The Extraordinary Journey of a Multiracial Jewish Family,” Laura Arnold Leibman, a Reed College English professor, conclusively shows that Jews, who were typically thought of as white, were not only slave owners. They were also slaves.

Leibman does this by excavating the genealogies of Sarah and Isaac Lopez Brandon, siblings born in the late 18th century to a wealthy Barbadian Jewish businessman and an enslaved woman. The siblings eventually made it New York, where they were able to pass as white. They became accomplished and affluent members of New York City’s oldest Jewish congregation, Shearith Israel.

Sarah and Isaac’s father, Abraham Rodriguez Brandon, was a Sephardic Jew who traced his ancestry to the expulsion of Jews from Spain. He settled in Barbados as part of a Jewish community of between 400 and 500 families that worked on the island’s sugar plantations and refineries.

Brandon secured his children’s manumission fees, and in 1801 they became “free mulattos.” In Barbados, that still meant they could not vote or hold office, or for that matter be married in the island’s synagogue or buried in its cemetery.

But America was kinder to them. Both Sarah and Isaac immigrated to America and married into prominent and wealthy U.S. Jewish families while hiding their past. One granddaughter had no clue about their origins.

Religion News Service talked to Leibman about her discovery of the Brandon genealogy and what it means for the U.S. Jewish community to grapple with its multiracial past and present. The interview was edited for length and clarity…

Read the entire interview here.

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It’s Never Too Late to Publish a Debut Book and Score a Netflix Deal

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Interviews, Media Archive, United States, Virginia on 2021-10-03 03:22Z by Steven

It’s Never Too Late to Publish a Debut Book and Score a Netflix Deal

The New York Times
2021-09-28

Isaac Fitzgerald


Jocelyn Nicole Johnson, a public school art teacher for 20 years, is the author of “My Monticello,” her debut book. She also has a Netflix film deal. Matt Eich for The New York Times

Jocelyn Nicole Johnson, at 50, is not the average age of a debut author. But the public school teacher describes herself as a “literary debutante” with the October publication of “My Monticello.”

Jocelyn Nicole Johnson has been a public school art teacher for 20 years, but she is not in her elementary classroom this fall in Charlottesville, Va. Her debut collection, “My Monticello” — five short stories and the book’s title novella — will be published on Oct. 5. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead has called “My Monticello” “nimble, knowing, and electrifying,” and Esquire named “My Monticello,” published by Henry Holt, one of the best books of the fall, writing that it “announces the arrival of an electric new literary voice.”

To top that off, Netflix plans to turn the book’s title novella into a film. In the novella, which is set in the near future, a young woman who is descended from Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, and a band of largely Black and brown survivors take refuge from marauding white supremacists in Monticello, Jefferson’s homestead…

Read the entire interview here.

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Adele Logan Alexander

Posted in Biography, History, Interviews, Media Archive, United States, Videos, Women on 2021-09-29 02:07Z by Steven

Adele Logan Alexander

Charlie Rose
1999-10-26

Charlie Rose, Host

Adele Logan Alexander discusses the history of identity, race, and class in the United States through her own family story, as she does in her book “Homelands and Waterways: The American Journey of the Bond Family, 1846-1926.”

Watch the entire interview (00:17:52) here.

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Recalling and Reimagining Vietnam: A Conversation with Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Biography, Interviews, Media Archive on 2021-09-14 18:10Z by Steven

Recalling and Reimagining Vietnam: A Conversation with Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith

World Literature Today
2019-08-12

Mary E. Adams, Associate Professor of English
University of Louisiana, Monroe

Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith was born in Nha Trang, Vietnam, and raised in California. His first book, The Land Baron’s Sun: The Story of Lý Loc and His Seven Wives, won the 2015 Indie Book Award for best poetry collection. His other works include The Land South of the Clouds and The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born. He earned an MFA from McNeese State University and has taught creative writing at Louisiana Tech University since 1999.

Mary E. Adams: Your first book, The Land Baron’s Sun: The Story of Lý Loc and His Seven Wives, focuses on your grandfather’s life, loves, and, ultimately, his years of hard labor in a reeducation camp. Why did you need to tell his story?

Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith: I learned by the age of thirty just how much of his life was kept from me, the hardships he had to go through. Lý Loc was once rich, powerful, and all of that was gone after the fall of Saigon. You’re looking at a man who owned so much land, who had seven houses, seven wives, twenty-seven children, who was a major commander for the South Vietnamese army. To have to write a letter to my mom in America begging for money is a lowly place to be. All of the sudden, out of your twenty-seven children, you have one in America who works at a sweatshop making dresses, blouses, and slacks for fifty cents per item stitched, and you’re asking her for money in order to eat, in order to be clothed. That’s the thing I had to deal with growing up, knowing he lived the rest of his life as a poor person…

Read the entire interview here.

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The Story Of J.P. Morgan’s ‘Personal Librarian’ — And Why She Chose To Pass As White

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2021-09-14 14:38Z by Steven

The Story Of J.P. Morgan’s ‘Personal Librarian’ — And Why She Chose To Pass As White

Code Switch
National Public Radio
2021-08-31

Karen Grigsby Bates, Senior Correspondent


Marie Benedict (left) and Victoria Christopher Murray
Phil Atkins

This summer on Code Switch, we’re talking to some of our favorite authors about books that taught us about the different dimensions of freedom. In our last installment, we talked to author Julia Alvarez about her poetry collection The Woman I Kept to Myself and how difficult it can be to share your many selves with the world. Next up, a conversation with authors Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray on their book The Personal Librarian.

At the turn of the 20th century, financier J.P. Morgan amassed a rich collection of antique objects related to the power of the written word: manuscripts, books, artwork. He did it all with the idea of enjoying his collection privately. But shortly after his death, Morgan’s personal librarian, a woman named Belle da Costa Greene, convinced J.P. Morgan’s son, Jack Morgan, to make the library a gift to New York City.

The Morgan, as it is now known, welcomes thousands of visitors each year — scholars, researchers, tourists and art lovers — to enjoy the collection. What most don’t know is this: For more than four decades, the library’s collections were acquired and curated by a Black woman. Belle da Costa Greene was quietly passing as white in order to work for one of the most powerful men in the United States

Read the story here.

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Defying Categories: An Interview with Hollay Ghadery

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Canada, Interviews, Media Archive on 2021-09-14 02:25Z by Steven

Defying Categories: An Interview with Hollay Ghadery

White Wall Review
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
2021-09-13

Rosabel Smegal and Isobel Carnegie, Managing Editors

“A lot of people are saying I’m brave for writing this,” Hollay Ghadery tells us, grinning through the screen. “But I wish it wasn’t seen as so brave. I wish it was the way everyone was, or felt comfortable being.”

Brave is just one of the words that Ghadery’s memoir Fuse has been called since its publication by Guernica Editions in May 2021. Other words include: edgy, powerful, raw, and profoundly honest. Written in short, thematic vignettes, Fuse follows the experiences of a young woman of Iranian and British Isle descent growing up in a biracial and bicultural household in small-town Ontario. Ghadery is as honest as her prose is lyrical, unpacking her mental health journey and lifelong struggles with substance abuse, eating disorders, and anxiety. The memoir jumps back and forth through time as Ghadery tells powerful stories from her first (and only) night in a brothel to being unable to fluently communicate with her Farsi-speaking aunts and living with OCD. Meditating on the complexities of the biracial female body, Ghadery challenges traditional, clear-cut ideas about identity, motherhood, and family.

Ghadery studied English Literature and holds a Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph. For several years, she worked in freelance and corporate writing but now, as a mother of four, she devotes her time to writing creatively. Her poetry, short stories, and non-fiction have been published in various literary journals including The Malahat Review, Grain, Understorey, The Antigonish Review, The Fiddlehead, and Room. She has also written for White Wall Review, publishing a review of Anna Van Valkenber’s Queen and Carcass in April 2021 that you can read here.

We were fortunate enough to sit down with Ghadery over Zoom this summer and chat about writing authentically, navigating Biracial Identity Disorder, and defying categories. Much like her memoir, she was open and honest and so willing to share…

Read the entire interview here.

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In Our Blood: A People, Divided

Posted in Audio, History, Interviews, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2021-08-30 22:44Z by Steven

In Our Blood: A People, Divided

a LATTO thought: An immersive audio documentary series that dismantles post-racial myths about mixed race identities.
2021-08-28

CA Davis, Host

Marilyn Vann, Doug Kiel, Ariela Gross, Leetta Osborne-Sampson and Kim TallBear

The conclusion of a LATTO thought’s first miniseries traces how Indigenous kinship has been damaged by centuries of racist and colonial American policies. Marilyn Vann (Cherokee Nation) and LeEtta Osborne-Sampson (Seminole Nation) share the painful fight that the descendants of Indigenous Freedmen have waged for civil rights within their own nations. Genocide in slow motion and the lack of one equal citizenship created a zero sum game that, left a people—a family—divided.

But… that may not be the case for much longer.

Listen to the episode (01:11:00) here.

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What Does It Mean To Be Latino? The ‘Light-Skinned Privilege’ Edition

Posted in Audio, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2021-08-21 03:46Z by Steven

What Does It Mean To Be Latino? The ‘Light-Skinned Privilege’ Edition

Code Switch
National Public Radio
2021-07-14

Shereen Marisol Meraji, Co-host/ Senior Producer

Kumari Devarajan, Producer

Leah Donnella, Editor


Maria Hinojosa (left) and Maria Garcia.
Krystal Quiles for NPR

Maria Garcia and Maria Hinojosa are both Mexican American, both mestiza, and both relatively light-skinned. But Maria Hinojosa strongly identifies as a woman of color, whereas Maria Garcia has stopped doing so. So in this episode, we’re asking: How did they arrive at such different places? To find out, listen to our latest installment in this series about what it means to be Latino.

Listen to the story (00:37:15) here.

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Chanda Prescod-Weinstein: “I’m one part of the universe, trying to figure out another part of the universe.”

Posted in Articles, Interviews, Media Archive on 2021-08-18 01:56Z by Steven

Chanda Prescod-Weinstein: “I’m one part of the universe, trying to figure out another part of the universe.”

Guernica
2021-08-02

Lacy M. Johnson

On quarks, leptons, and the patriarchy.

​“Articulating scientific questions is social,” Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein writes in The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey Into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred, a fascinating and hard-to-classify book that blends clear and cogent writing about the science of theoretical physics with piercing critiques of the cultures in which that science occurs. In her work as a theoretical physicist, Prescod-Weinstein articulates scientific questions about dark matter and space-time, as well as social ones about who gets to do physics and the power relations involved in how it’s done. In The Disordered Cosmos, Prescod-Weinstein brings these scientific and social questions together. Informed by Black feminism, she moves from discussions of quarks and leptons to explanations of the roots and history of patriarchy, from hidden figures to the insights of observational astronomy.

One of the few Black women in her field, Prescod-Weinstein has had a remarkable career. Originally from East Los Angeles, she is an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at the University of New Hampshire, where she is also core faculty in women’s and gender studies. She has held research positions at the Kavli Institute for Astrophysics & Space Research and the Center for Theoretical Physics at MIT, as well as a postdoctoral fellowship at the Observational Cosmology Lab at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. For a time, she was editor-in-chief at the online experimental literary magazine The Offing.

She brings this varied and multifaceted background to bear on The Disordered Cosmos, which is part science book, part personal narrative, part cultural critique. But this work is more than the sum of its parts. The Disordered Cosmos calls on us to consider the harmful power relations far too many of us are far too willing to accept, and — through its probing inquiries into who gets to ask scientific questions and do scientific work — offers a compelling vision of a more expansive and inclusive universe. Early in the book she offers two big dreams for Black children: “to know and experience Blackness as beauty and power” and “to know and experience curiosity about the night sky, to know it belonged to their ancestors.” She writes, “That, too, is freedom.”

Chanda and I talked over Zoom in early June about dark matter, the season of Star Trek that’s “queer as fuck,” and why it’s important to be aware of whom you’re writing “not just for but to.”…

Read the entire interview here.

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