The Fiction of the Color Line

Posted in Articles, Biography, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2021-10-21 01:01Z by Steven

The Fiction of the Color Line

Vulture
2021-10-18

Brittany Luse

Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photo: Getty, Yale University Library

Black women writers have long used passing stories to crack our façades of race, class, and gender.

Somewhere on Long Island around 1980, a blondish preteen is onstage at summer camp channeling Hodel from Fiddler on the Roof, her confident voice and star power self-evident. Her tawny-skinned father beams from the audience, and as she takes her bow, soaking in the applause, he approaches the stage bearing a hefty bouquet of daisies. He hands her the flowers, their eyes and hearts locking for a beat in shared pride. Then the girl realizes that every other parent, instructor, and child in the auditorium is staring at them. “Not in a way that felt good, not because I had given the outstanding performance of the night,” she would recall decades later. “They were staring because my father was the only Black man in sight, and I belonged to him.” The others had assumed until that moment that Mariah Carey — the girl with the frizzy honey-blonde hair — was white like them.

The Meaning of Mariah Carey, the singer’s delectable memoir co-written with Michaela Angela Davis, a former editor at Essence and Vibe, recalls many such stories. In doing so, it’s in direct conversation with the American literary tradition of novels about passing and passing-capable Black women — stories about the concealment, or the possibility of concealment, of one’s Black parentage and all of the attendant personal and social complexity. Since the late-19th century, writers have used passing as a narrative tool to do everything from encouraging white readers to sympathize with the struggles of Black characters to scrutinizing the hypocrisy of America’s racial hierarchy…

Read the entire article here.

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Ralston, Elreta Melton Alexander

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Law, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2021-10-02 02:13Z by Steven

Ralston, Elreta Melton Alexander

NCPedia
State Library of North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
2013

Virginia L. Summey, Historian, Author, and Faculty Fellow
Lloyd International Honors College, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Elreta Melton Alexander was a pioneering African-American attorney from Greensboro, North Carolina. Born in Smithfield, North Carolina, she was the daughter of a Baptist minister and a teacher, and grew up comfortably as a part of the black middle class. Coming of age during the Jim Crow period of the South, she was raised by her educated, middle-class parents to be a leader in the community. The descendant of two white grandparents, her bi-racialism formed her early awareness of colorism within the African-American community…

Read the entire article here.

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Beyoncé in the World: Making Meaning with Queen Bey in Troubled Times

Posted in Anthologies, Arts, Books, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2021-10-01 15:45Z by Steven

Beyoncé in the World: Making Meaning with Queen Bey in Troubled Times

Wesleyan University Press
2021-06-08
392 pages
31 color photos
Hardback ISBN: 9780819579911
Paperback ISBN: 9780819579928
eBook ISBN: 9780819579935

Edited by:

Christina Baade, Professor, Communication Studies & Media Arts
McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Kristin A. McGee, Associate Professor of Popular Music
University of Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands

Essays investigate Beyoncé’s global impact

From Destiny’s Child to Lemonade, Homecoming, and The Gift, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter has redefined global stardom, feminism, Black representation, and celebrity activism. This book brings together new work from sixteen international scholars to explore Beyonce’s impact as an artist and public figure from the perspectives of critical race studies, gender and women’s studies, queer and cultural studies, music, and fan studies. The authors explore Beyoncé’s musical persona as one that builds upon the lineages of Black female cool, Black southern culture, and Black feminist cultural production. They explore Beyoncé’s reception within and beyond North America, including how a range of performers—from YouTube gospel singers to Brazilian pop artists have drawn inspiration from her performances and image. The authors show how Beyoncé’s music is a source of healing and kinship for many fans, particularly Black women and queer communities of color. Combining cutting edge research, vivid examples, and accessible writing, this collection provides multiple lenses onto the significance of Beyoncé in the United States and around the world.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword / Janell Hobson
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: Beyoncé Studies / Christina Baade, Marquita Smith, and Kristin McGee
  • Part One “Diva” / Black Feminist Genealogies
    • 1. “I Came to Slay”: The Knowles Sisters, Black Feminism, and the Lineage of Black Female Cool / H. Zahra Caldwell
    • 2. From Colorism to Conjurings: Tracing the Dust in Beyoncé’s Lemonade / Cienna Davis
  • Part Two “Formation” / A Southern Turn
    • 3. Beyoncé’s South and a “Formation” Nation / Riché Richardson
    • 4. Merging Past and Present in Lemonade’s Black Feminist Utopia / J. Brendan Shaw
  • Part Three “XO” / Faith and Fandom
    • 5. At the Digital Cross(roads) with Beyoncé: Gospel Covers That Remix the Risqué into the Religious / Birgitta J. Johnson
    • 6. “She Made Me Understand”: How Lemonade Raised the Intersectional Consciousness of Beyoncé’s International Fans / Rebecca J. Sheehan
  • Part Four “Worldwide Woman” / Beyoncé’s Reception Beyond the United States
    • 7. The Performative Negotiations of Beyoncé in Brazilian Bodies and the Construction of the Pop Diva in Ludmilla’s Funk Carioca and Gaby Amarantos’s Tecnobrega / Simone Pereira de Sá and Thiago Soares
    • 8. A Critical Analysis of White Ignorance Within Beyoncé’s Online Reception in the Spanish Context / Elena Herrera Quintana
  • Part Five “Hold up” / Performing Femme Affinity and Dissent
    • 9. Six-Inch Heels and Queer Black Femmes: Beyoncé and Black Trans Women / Jared Mackley-Crump and Kirsten Zemke
    • 10. From “Say My Name” to “Texas Bamma”: Transgressive Topoi, Oppositional Optics, and Sonic Subversion in Beyoncé’s “Formation” / Byron B Craig and Stephen E. Rahko
  • Part Six “Freedom” / Sounding Protest, Hearing Politics
    • 11. Musical Form in Beyoncé’s Protest Music / Annelot Prins and Taylor Myers
    • 12. Beyoncé’s Black Feminist Critique: Multimodal Intertextuality and Intersectionality in “Sorry” / Rebekah Hutten and Lori Burns
  • Part Seven “Pray You Catch Me” / Healing and Community
    • 13. Beyond “Becky with the Good Hair”: Hair and Beauty in Beyoncé’s “Sorry” / Kristin Denise Rowe
    • 14. The Livable, Surviving, and Healing Poetics of Lemonade: A Black Feminist Futurity in Action / Mary Senyonga
  • About the Contributors
  • Index
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‘How is Pauli Murray not a household name?’ The extraordinary life of the US’s most radical activist

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Gay & Lesbian, History, Law, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States, Women on 2021-09-30 03:38Z by Steven

‘How is Pauli Murray not a household name?’ The extraordinary life of the US’s most radical activist

The Guardian
2021-09-17

Steve Rose


‘I lived to see my lost causes found’ … Pauli Murray. Photograph: Everett Collection Historical/Alamy

She explored her gender and sexuality in the 20s, defied segregation in the 40s and inspired Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Now, a film is bringing her trailblazing achievements to light

It seems inconceivable that someone like Pauli Murray could have slipped through the cracks of US history. A lawyer, activist, scholar, poet and priest, Murray led a trailblazing life that altered the course of history. She was at the forefront of the battles for racial and gender equality, but often so far out in front that her contributions went unrecognised.

In 1940, 15 years before Rosa Parks, Murray was jailed for refusing to move to the back of a bus in the Jim Crow south. In 1943, she campaigned successfully to desegregate her local diner, 17 years before the Greensboro lunch counter sit-ins of 1960. Her work paved the way for the landmark supreme court ruling Brown v Board of Education in 1954 – which de-segregated US schools – to the extent that Thurgood Marshall, a lawyer for the NAACP civil rights group, called Murray’s book States’ Laws on Race and Color “the bible for civil rights lawyers”.

Murray also co-founded the National Organization for Women (NOW), in 1966, alongside Betty Friedan. When Ruth Bader Ginsburg won the Reed v Reed case in 1971, which ruled that discrimination “on the basis of sex” was unconstitutional, her arguments were built on Murray’s work. Ginsburg named Murray as co-author of the brief. “We knew when we wrote that brief that we were standing on her shoulders,” Ginsburg later said.

Murray ought to be celebrated as an American hero, commemorated in stamps, statuary and street names, not to mention biopics, so why is her name relatively unknown?…

Read the entire article 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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She became a park ranger at 85 to tell her story of segregation. Now 100, she’s the oldest active ranger.

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2021-09-27 19:21Z by Steven

She became a park ranger at 85 to tell her story of segregation. Now 100, she’s the oldest active ranger.

The Washington Post
2021-09-24

Sydney Page


Betty Reid Soskin at the Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, Calif. Soskin is the oldest active ranger in the National Park Service. (Luther Bailey/NPS photo)

When asked how it feels to be 100 years old, Betty Reid Soskin gave a subtle shrug, smiled and said: “The same way I felt at 99.”

But she’s not just any centenarian: Soskin is the oldest active ranger in the National Park Service, and after celebrating her birthday on Sept. 22, she’s still going strong.

Seated in the study of her apartment in Richmond, Calif., dressed proudly in her park ranger uniform, Soskin reflected on her life.

When it comes to sharing her story, Soskin is not shy. As a park ranger at the Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, she spends her days recounting her rich and complicated history, in the hope that her firsthand account will resonate with people, and encourage them to share their own stories.

“I think everyone’s story is very important. There is so much diversity,” Soskin said. “It’s in that mix that the great secret of a democracy exists.”…

Read the entire article here.

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‘America’s Oldest Park Ranger’ Is Only Her Latest Chapter

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2021-09-21 00:50Z by Steven

‘America’s Oldest Park Ranger’ Is Only Her Latest Chapter

The New York Times
2021-09-20

Jennifer Schuessler


Chanell Stone for The New York Times

Betty Reid Soskin has fought to ensure that American history includes the stories that get overlooked. As she turns 100, few stories have been more remarkable than hers.

The Rosie the Riveter / World War II Home Front National Historical Park, which sprawls across the former shipyards in Richmond, Calif., on the northeast edge of San Francisco Bay, tells the enormous story of the largest wartime mobilization in American history and the sweeping social changes it sparked.

Visitors can climb aboard an enormous Victory ship, one of more than 700 vessels produced in Richmond — and, in the gift shop, pick up swag emblazoned with the iconic image of the red-kerchiefed Rosie herself, arm flexed up with “We Can Do It!” bravado.

But for many, the park is synonymous with another woman: Betty.

Betty Reid Soskin, who turns 100 on Sept. 22, is the oldest active ranger in the National Park Service. Over the past decade and a half, she has become both an icon of the service and an unlikely celebrity, drawing overflow crowds to talks and a steady stream of media interviewers eager for the eloquent words of an indomitable 5 feet 3 inch great-grandmother once described by a colleague as “sort of like Bette Davis, Angela Davis and Yoda all rolled into one.”…

Read the entire article here.

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A Love Letter to Indigenous Blackness

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States, Women on 2021-09-21 00:36Z by Steven

A Love Letter to Indigenous Blackness

NACLA: Report on the Americas
Volume 53, Issue 3, November 2021 (Published online 2021-09-13)
pages 248-254

Paul Joseph López Oro, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies
Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts


A Garifuna ritual gathering to honor the ancestors at Orchard Beach in the Bronx, New York, June 2017. (Paul Joseph López Oro)

Garifuna women in New York City working to preserve life, culture, and history across borders and generations are part of a powerful lineage of resistance to anti-Blackness.

Mirtha Colón. Janel Martinez. Aida Lambert. Tania Molina. Carla Garcia. Tola Guerrero. Karen Blanco. Miriam Miranda. Ofelia Bernandez. Olga Nuñez. Luz Solis. Siria Alvarez. Isha Sumner. Sulma Arzu-Brown. Dilma Suazo-Gordon. Isidra Sabio. These are just some names of Garifuna women whose hemispheric political labor highlights a transgenerational and transnational tradition of preserving Garifuna life. Garifuna women are the very foundation of conjuring, mobilizing, and safeguarding Garifuna ancestral memory, rituals, language, and oral histories—all embodied histories of knowledge production—across generations and national boundaries. Some of these Garifuna women live in New York City, and some of them live in Central America’s Caribbean coasts. Some have never been to Central America, but their family’s nostalgia remains with them.

Garifuna life is matrifocal. Garifuna women are not simply the head of the household, but they are also at the center of organizing and governing every family structure, which extends beyond biological kinship. This is not a uniquely Garifuna experience. Throughout the African diaspora in the Americas, Black women are often the head of the household. Especially if we consider non-heteronormative notions of family and kinship, Black women have been at the forefront of preserving and protecting Black life over centuries, as anthropologists Christen A. Smith and Keisha-Khan Y. Perry have documented. However, a matrifocal or matrilineal society does not dismantle misogynoir, patriarchy, racial capitalism, and anti-Blackness. I write this matrilineal love letter to honor, celebrate, and center Garifuna women’s political, intellectual, spiritual, cultural, and knowledge producing labor that often goes unseen, uncited, or undervalued in a world that remains heteropatriarchal and anti-Black…

Read the entire article here.

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Pauli Murray Should Be a Household Name. A New Film Shows Why.

Posted in Articles, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, Gay & Lesbian, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, United States, Women on 2021-09-20 16:49Z by Steven

Pauli Murray Should Be a Household Name. A New Film Shows Why.

The New York Times
2021-09-15

Melena Ryzik


A scene from “My Name Is Pauli Murray.” The documentarian Betsy West, who made the film with Julie Cohen, said, “We just thought, why didn’t anybody teach us about this person?” Amazon Studios

The lawyer, activist and minister made prescient arguments on gender, race and equality that influenced Thurgood Marshall and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

When the lawyer, activist, author and educator Pauli Murray died in 1985 at the age of 75, no obituary or commemoration could contain all of her pathbreaking accomplishments. A radical and brilliant legal strategist, Murray was named a deputy attorney general in California — the first Black person in that office — in 1946, just a year after passing the bar there. Murray was an organizer of sit-ins and participated in bus protests as far back as the 1940s, and co-founded the National Organization for Women. Murray was also the first Black woman to be ordained an Episcopal priest. In 2012, she was sainted.

Murray has been saluted in legal, academic and gender-studies circles, and in the L.G.B.T.Q. community. But her overarching impact on American life in the 20th and now 21st centuries has not been broadly acknowledged: the thinking and writing that paved the way for Brown v. Board of Education; the consideration of intersectionality (she helped popularize the term “Jane Crow”); the enviable social circle, as she was a buddy of Langston Hughes and a pen pal of Eleanor Roosevelt, and worked on her first memoir alongside James Baldwin at the MacDowell Colony in the first year it allowed Black artists.

Murray was devoted to feminism and the rights of women even as, it turned out, she privately battled lifelong gender identity issues. She should be a household name on par with Gloria Steinem or Ruth Bader Ginsburg, both of whom cited her work often. Instead Murray is an insider’s civil rights icon.

Now a documentary, “My Name Is Pauli Murray,” aims to introduce Murray to the masses. Made by the same Academy Award-nominated filmmakers behind the surprise hit “RBG,” it uses Murray’s own voice and words as narration, drawn from interviews, oral histories and the prolific writing — books, poems and a collection of argumentative, impassioned and romantic letters — that Murray meticulously filed away with an eye toward her legacy. And the film arrives at a moment when the tenacious activism of people of color, especially women, is being re-contextualized and newly acknowledged, at the same time that many of the battles they fought are still raging…

Read the entire article here.

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Sexuality and Slavery: Reclaiming Intimate Histories in the Americas

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Women on 2021-09-20 13:57Z by Steven

Sexuality and Slavery: Reclaiming Intimate Histories in the Americas

University of Georgia Press
2018-10-01
240 pages
5 b&w images
6.000in x 9.000in
Hardcover ISBN: 9-780-8203-5403-3
Paperback ISBN: 9-780-8203-5404-0

Edited by:

Daina Ramey Berry, Oliver H. Radkey Regents Professor of History
University of Texas, Austin

Leslie M. Harris, Professor of History
Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

Foreword by:

Catherine Clinton, Denman Endowed Professor in American History
University of Texas, San Antonio

An examination of the many facets of sexuality within slave communities

In this groundbreaking collection, editors Daina Ramey Berry and Leslie M. Harris place sexuality at the center of slavery studies in the Americas (the United States, the Caribbean, and South America). While scholars have marginalized or simply overlooked the importance of sexual practices in most mainstream studies of slavery, Berry and Harris argue here that sexual intimacy constituted a core terrain of struggle between slaveholders and the enslaved. These essays explore consensual sexual intimacy and expression within slave communities, as well as sexual relationships across lines of race, status, and power. Contributors explore sexuality as a tool of control, exploitation, and repression and as an expression of autonomy, resistance, and defiance.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword / Catherine Clinton
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction / Daina Ramey Berry and Leslie M. Harris
  • Chapter 1 : Early European Views of African Bodies: Beauty / Stephanie M. H. Camp
  • Chapter 2: Toiling in the Fields: Valuing Female Slaves in Jamaica, 1674-1788 / Trevor Barnard
  • Chapter 3: Reading the Specter of Racialized Gender in Eighteenth-Century Bridgetown, Barbados / Marisa J. Fuentes
  • Chapter 4: As if She Were My Own: Love and Law in the Slave Society of Eighteenth-Century Peru /Bianca Premo
  • Chapter 5: Wombs of Liberation: Petitions, Law, and the Black Woman’s Body in Maryland, 1780-1858 / Jessica Millward
  • Chapter 6: Rethinking Sexual Violence and the Marketplace of Slavery: White Women, the Slave Market, and Enslaved Peoples Sexualized Bodies in the Nineteenth-Century South / Stephanie Jones-Rogers
  • Chapter 7: The Sexual Abuse of Black Men under American Slavery Thomas A. Foster
  • Chapter 8: Manhood, Sex, and Power in Antebellum Slave Communities / David Doddington
  • Chapter 9: What’s Love Got to Do with It? Concubinage and Enslaved Women and Girls in the Antebellum South / Brenda E. Stevenson
  • Chapter 10: When the Present Is Past: Writing the History of Sexuality and Slavery / Jim Downs
  • Contributors
  • Index
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