‘Passing’ Trailer: Tessa Thompson & Ruth Negga Star In Netflix Movie It Landed At Sundance

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Videos on 2021-09-23 01:54Z by Steven

‘Passing’ Trailer: Tessa Thompson & Ruth Negga Star In Netflix Movie It Landed At Sundance

Deadline Hollywood
2021-09-21

Patrick Hipes, Executive Managing Editor

Netflix made a splash at this year’s Sundance Film Festival when it acquired Rebecca Hall’s Passing, the drama starring Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga. Hall, making her directorial debut, adapted the film from the 1929 novel by Nella Larson. Now the streamer is prepping for the film’s New York Film Festival slot October 3, after which it will get a theatrical release followed by a debut on the service November 10.

The pic, shot it black and white, tells the story of two Black women, Irene Redfield (Thompson) and Clare Kendry (Negga), who can “pass” as white but choose to live on opposite sides of the color line during the height of the Harlem Renaissance in late 1920s New York. After a chance encounter, Irene reluctantly allows Clare into her home, where she ingratiates herself to Irene’s husband (André Holland) and family, and soon her larger social circle as well. Irene soon finds her once-steady existence upended by Clare, and the the story becomes one about obsession, repression and the lies people tell themselves and others to protect their carefully constructed realities…

Read the entire article here.

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Why Did Two People So Poorly Matched Stay Together So Long?

Posted in Articles, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2021-09-21 14:12Z by Steven

Why Did Two People So Poorly Matched Stay Together So Long?

The New York Times
2021-09-06

Eleanor Henderson


Christopher Sorrentino’s parents, Gilbert and Vicki, circa 1972. Sorrentino examines their confounding marriage in his memoir, “Now Beacon, Now Sea.” via Christopher Sorrentino

Christopher Sorrentino, Now Beacon, Now Sea: A Son’s Memoir (Catapult, 2021)

As I was reading Christopher Sorrentino’sNow Beacon, Now Sea,” I heard Rodrigo Garcia, son of Gabriel García Márquez, on the radio, talking about his new memoir, “A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes.” Garcia’s book is a loving chronicle of the last days of his larger-than-life father and loyal mother. Sorrentino’s book, too, is about his novelist father and his parents’ deaths. Both have the subtitle “A Son’s Memoir.” But “Now Beacon, Now Sea” is no tender tribute. Listening to Garcia speak, I realized that Sorrentino was working in a decidedly different genre: His “son’s memoir” is more autopsy than eulogy.

Sorrentino’s father, Gilbert, was an avant-gardist more prolific than famous, who died in an under-resourced hospital in Brooklyn as his son was en route; his wife, Vicki, who is the real subject of this book and a truly fascinating one, died under even grimmer circumstances. Her decaying body, discovered by her son in her Bay Ridge apartment, is the striking opening image of the book. An autopsy was never ordered…

Read the entire review here.

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Now Beacon, Now Sea: A Son’s Memoir

Posted in Biography, Books, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing on 2021-09-21 03:34Z by Steven

Now Beacon, Now Sea: A Son’s Memoir

Catapult
2021-09-07
304 pages
6.33 x 1.07 x 9.27 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 9781646220427

Christopher Sorrentino

A wrenching debut memoir of familial grief by a National Book Award finalist—and a defining account of what it means to love and lose a difficult parent, for readers of Joan Didion and Dani Shapiro.

When Christopher Sorrentino’s mother died in 2017, it marked the end of a journey that had begun eighty years earlier in the South Bronx. Victoria’s life took her to the heart of New York’s vibrant mid-century downtown artistic scene, to the sedate campus of Stanford, and finally back to Brooklyn—a journey witnessed by a son who watched, helpless, as she grew more and more isolated, distancing herself from everyone and everything she’d ever loved.

In examining the mystery of his mother’s life, from her dysfunctional marriage to his heedless father, the writer Gilbert Sorrentino, to her ultimate withdrawal from the world, Christopher excavates his own memories and family folklore in an effort to discover her dreams, understand her disappointments, and peel back the ways in which she seemed forever trapped between two identities: the Puerto Rican girl identified on her birth certificate as Black, and the white woman she had seemingly decided to become. Meanwhile Christopher experiences his own transformation, emerging from under his father’s shadow and his mother’s thumb to establish his identity as a writer and individual—one who would soon make his own missteps and mistakes.

Unfolding against the captivating backdrop of a vanished New York, a city of cheap bohemian enclaves and a thriving avant-garde—a dangerous, decaying, but liberated and potentially liberating place—Now Beacon, Now Sea is a matchless portrait of the beautiful, painful messiness of life, and the transformative power of even conflicted grief.

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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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AMST 3407 – Racial Borders and American Cinema

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Communications/Media Studies, Course Offerings, Judaism, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing, Religion, United States on 2021-09-04 00:47Z by Steven

AMST 3407 – Racial Borders and American Cinema

University of Virginia
Department of American Studies
Fall 2021

This class explores how re-occurring images of racial and ethnic minorities such as African Americans, Jews, Asians, Native Americans and Latino/as are represented in film and shows visual images of racial interactions and boundaries of human relations that tackle topics such as immigration, inter-racial relationships and racial passing.

For more information, click here.

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I Was Expecting a Black Guy by Herb Harris

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, Passing, Social Justice, Social Science, United States on 2021-08-30 18:30Z by Steven

I Was Expecting a Black Guy by Herb Harris

Hippocampus Magazine: Memorable Creative Nonfiction
2021-01-08

Herb Harris

Peering over wire-rimmed glasses, the Vice President of Clinical Research looked directly at me for the first time since we sat down for the job interview and said, “I was expecting a Black guy.” There was no trace of humor in his comment.

At our greeting there had been a firm handshake, but no smile. Tall, portly, and balding, his presence conveyed gravitas and corporate seniority.

There was a long stretch of silence. I sat on a low uncomfortable couch, trying to maintain an impossible posture that appeared to be both relaxed and engaged. My back was aching from this contradiction, as I struggled to contain my shock at the inappropriate remark.

I had not been asked about race at any point in the application process. There had been no boxes to check, and no personal demographic information was ever requested. Whatever had created this expectation in the Vice President’s mind, he was disappointed. The person before him did not appear to be Black…

Read the entire article here.

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Portrait of the Artist as a Black Man

Posted in Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Media Archive, Passing, Social Justice, United States on 2021-08-18 00:25Z by Steven

Portrait of the Artist as a Black Man

Solstice: A Magazine of Diverse Voices
Summer 2021

Herb Harris
Arlington, Virginia

When you turn the corner
And you run into yourself
Then you know that you have turned
All the corners that are left

Langston Hughes

The more I stared at the drawing, the more alien and unrecognizable it became. I had labored over every line, but it was not the person I intended to draw. It began as a self portrait, but a stranger emerged who had been living somewhere within me. He was now crashing through the page.

I am a descendant of slaves and their owners. This contradiction manifests itself in every aspect of my physical appearance. My beige skin is light enough to pass as white. My angular nose and thin lips corroborate this story. My almond-shaped brown eyes are deep-set and give little clue to my identity. My hair might give me away, but its loose brown curls suggest to most people some vaguely white-ish ethnicity rather than an African origin. In general, people take in these details and read the whole as white. When I tell others that I am black, this usually requires a lengthy explanation that stretches back into little-known aspects of the history of slavery. I have to explain to people, who often seem to be hearing it for the first time, that sexual exploitation of slaves was so widespread that most black people in the United States today have some degree of European heritage. They generally imagine some version of a sanitized mythology that involves consensual romance.

“You mean like Sally Hemmings and Thomas Jefferson?”

“No, I mean like rape.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Racial Identity Choice and its Consequences: A Study on Elizabeth Alexander’s Race

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Passing on 2021-07-22 02:35Z by Steven

Racial Identity Choice and its Consequences: A Study on Elizabeth Alexander’s Race

Annual International Conference on Language and Literature
Medan, Indonesia
2020-11-04 through 2020-11-05
Published 2021-03-11
Pages 17-27
DOI: 10.18502/kss.v5i4.8661

Nur Saktiningrum
Department of English
Gadjah Mada University of Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Race, as people understand it, is something that you were born with. One was born with specific physical features that by social construction, define one’s race. What if a person was born with physical features that enable him to choose whether to embrace the race defined by blood or the one defined by social construction? And are there any consequences of the choices made? This research studies the choice made by mulatto to pass as white and the consequences following the decision. The focus of the study is a poem written by Elizabeth Alexander entitled Race (2001). To answer the abovementioned questions, the poem is analyzed using a new historical approach. The approach enables the researcher to understand the historical background of and the author’s perspective on racial passing depicted in the poem and its relation to the reality of racial passing in American society. The results show that there are external and internal factors that make it possible for an individual to pass as a member of a different race from what he was. The external factors include the biological taxonomy that identifies him as belonging to a dominant race and the social construction that classifies people based on their physical features. The internal factor is the passer’s belief that by assuming a new racial identity, he will be able to lead a better life and be relieved from the oppression of the dominant race. Despite the privilege and opportunity that the new racial status can offer, racial passing can also bring some disadvantages such as the loss of the sense of belonging to the old racial identity, the feeling of insecurity, and the possibility of being disowned by one’s family.

Read the entire article in PDF or HTML format.

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J.P. Morgan’s personal librarian had two identities. It took two authors to tell her story.

Posted in Articles, Biography, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2021-07-20 02:20Z by Steven

J.P. Morgan’s personal librarian had two identities. It took two authors to tell her story.

The Washington Post
2021-06-28

Natachi Onwuamaegbu


“The Personal Librarian” co-authors Heather Terrell, writing as Marie Benedict, and Victoria Christopher Murray. (Phil Atkins)

Historical fiction writer Heather Terrell (who also writes under the name Marie Benedict) was introduced to Belle da Costa Greene between bookshelves at New York’s Morgan Library over 20 years ago. The docent — whom she has tried to find since — told her about a Black woman who passed as White and worked as J.P. Morgan’s personal librarian in the early 1900s. Terrell wasn’t yet writing historical fiction about women — she was a lawyer — but the story lingered in the back of her head.

Once she read Black author Victoria Christopher Murray’s work two years ago, she knew she found the partner she was waiting for to tackle da Costa Greene’s story. To write about a Black woman who passed as non-Black with an author she had never met was a process, especially when the editing coincided with the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer and a pandemic.

The Washington Post talked to Terrell and Murray about what it was like to work on “The Personal Librarian” when so much of the world was falling apart…

Read the entire interview here.

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J.P. Morgan’s librarian hid her race. A novel imagines the toll on her.

Posted in Articles, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2021-07-17 00:53Z by Steven

J.P. Morgan’s librarian hid her race. A novel imagines the toll on her.

The Christian Science Monitor
2021-06-29

Heller McAlpin, Correspondent


Library of Congress
Belle da Costa Greene, shown in 1929, curated rare books for mogul J.P. Morgan. She was the first director of the Morgan Library.

Some books leave you wondering why the author has chosen to tell this particular story, and why now. This is emphatically not the case with “The Personal Librarian,” a novel about the woman who helped shape the Morgan Library’s spectacular collection of rare books and art more than a century ago. It quickly becomes clear why two popular authors, Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray, have teamed up to tell this important, inspirational story.

Belle da Costa Greene’s success in the almost exclusively male world of art and rare book dealers was an unusual feat for a woman in the early 20th century. But what makes it even more extraordinary – and such rich material for historical fiction – is the secret she harbored throughout her long career: She hailed from a prominent, light-skinned Black family, many of whose members had chosen to pass as white.

“The Personal Librarian” reminds readers that this decision was not made lightly. After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Civil Rights Act in 1883 – a ruling that ushered in Jim Crow segregation and gave white supremacy and racial discrimination legal cover, the ramifications of which are felt to this day – few opportunities were open to anyone classified as nonwhite…

Read the entire book review here.

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