I have three different racial identities—white, Indian, and multiracial. It is not that I present as one more than the others; they are all whole and complete, and I am all of them.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2021-11-03 23:35Z by Steven

I have three different racial identities—white, Indian, and multiracial. It is not that I present as one more than the others; they are all whole and complete, and I am all of them. I identify as white when people blame white people for racism and call for them to be better, and as the Indian person who needs them to speak up in places where they hold power, and as the multiracial person who reminds everyone that the racial structures some imagine to be rigid quickly break down under the slightest scrutiny.

Jaya Saxena, “Explaining My Multiracial Identity (So Others Don’t Do It For Me),” Catapult, January 4, 2017. https://catapult.co/stories/explaining-my-multiracial-identity-so-others-dont-do-it-for-me.

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Language as a Kind of Home: Talking with Anne Liu Kellor

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive on 2021-11-03 23:32Z by Steven

Language as a Kind of Home: Talking with Anne Liu Kellor

The Rumpus

Grace Loh Prasad

Anne Liu Kellor

How far do you need to travel to unlock the truth of your own heart? This is the central question in Anne Liu Kellor’s lyrical memoir Heart Radical: A Search for Language, Love, and Belonging, forthcoming from She Writes Press on September 7. Propelled by a spiritual quest and a longing to reconnect with the language her mother spoke to her growing up, Kellor left the comfort of her Pacific Northwest home to embark on a journey to Tibet and China in her twenties. Although it wasn’t her first time there—she’d visited before in college—this time she returned to China with a stronger resolve to find a sense of purpose and renew a part of her identity that felt stifled at home.

After traveling to Lhasa, visiting a remote monastery, and almost losing her passport, Kellor set up a home base in Chengdu, a bustling metropolis in Western China that’s bigger than New York City. She found work teaching English to college and graduate students but quickly became overwhelmed with the workload and the stress of having to be a role model and tiptoeing around sensitive topics such as Tibet and Tiananmen. Without a job and determined to stay in Chengdu, she moved in with an artist friend, Yizhong, who soon became her lover.

The safe shelter of her tender relationship with Yizhong allowed her to explore more confidently, develop her vocabulary, and pursue her creative impulses to paint and write in her journal. But even as her Mandarin fluency grew and she settled into a comforting rhythm, as a mixed-race and bicultural woman living in China she ultimately decided she wanted more—choosing a life that would be expansive enough to embrace all of her various identities.

I spoke with Kellor in late July about her debut memoir, her relationship to language, her evolving impressions of China, and having the heart of a seeker…

Read the entire interview here.

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Explaining My Multiracial Identity (So Others Don’t Do It For Me)

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2021-11-03 22:59Z by Steven

Explaining My Multiracial Identity (So Others Don’t Do It For Me)


Jaya Saxena

Tallulah Pomeroy

Every time someone guesses wrong, I am the one to apologize.

My mom always laughs when remembering how she was mistaken for an Irish nanny when taking me to the park as a baby. This was back when nannies were more likely to be Irish, when interracial marriages were less common, and long before I grew up to look like her in every way but my coloring. Sometimes I try to imagine how that conversation would go—“Excuse me, ma’am, I just wanted to inquire about your race and how it relates to the child you are holding”—and how dim you have to be to not realize a redhead can birth a brunette.

They were always mistaken, and it was our job to correct them; otherwise we’d be lying. She’s American, not Irish. I am biologically hers. My mother is white and I am not. Or I am, and not, at the same time. Other people’s false assumptions about what people can and should look like, about who could possibly exist, became our burden…

Read the entire article here.

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Heart Radical: A Search for Language, Love, and Belonging

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2021-11-03 22:32Z by Steven

Heart Radical: A Search for Language, Love, and Belonging

She Writes Press
253 pages
5.43 x 0.94 x 8.35 inches
Paperback ISBN: 978-1647421731

Anne Liu Kellor

Wanting to understand how her path is tied to her mother tongue, Anne, a young, multiracial American woman, travels through China, the country of her mother’s birth. Along the way, she tries on different roles—seeker, teacher, student, girlfriend, artist, and daughter—and continually asks herself: Why do I feel called to make this journey?

Whether witnessing a Tibetan sky burial, teaching English at a university in Chengdu, visiting her grandmother in LA, or falling in love with a Chinese painter, Anne is always in pursuit of intimacy with others, even as she is all too aware of her silences and separation. For two years, she settles into a comfortable routine in her boyfriend’s apartment and regains fluency in Chinese, a language she spoke as a young child but has used less and less as an adult. Eventually, however, her desire to know herself in other ways surfaces again. She misses speaking English, she feels suffocated by urban, polluted China, and she starts to fall for another man. Ultimately, Anne realizes that to live her truth as a mixed-race, bilingual woman she must embrace all of her influences and layers. In a world that often wants us to choose a side or fit an ideal, she learns that she can both belong and not belong wherever she is, and that home is ultimately found within.

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Identity as a Hall of Mirrors: Descent by Lauren Russell

Posted in Articles, Biography, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2021-11-03 22:02Z by Steven

Identity as a Hall of Mirrors: Descent by Lauren Russell

The Rumpus

Jesi Buell (Bender)

Lauren Russell, Descent (Grafton, Vermont: Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2020).

A while back, my husband and I took DNA ancestry tests. When the results come in, they give you a map with circles colored in to indicate where your ancestors came from. My husband’s blue-green circles swallowed almost the entire world. Mine, on the other hand, was a dot above England and Ireland with a small opaque dip down into Germany. One tiny point in the entirety of the world. It reminded me of a Conan O’Brien segment where he did his own test and it came back one hundred percent Irish.

I’m not sure if it was a bit but the technician told him it was a certainty that his family was inbred. Joking aside, it struck me then that how we see ourselves and how we understand the past can be, for some people, as simple as looking into a mirror and, for others, as complicated as walking through a hall of mirrors.

As a biracial woman, Lauren Russell examines her history in Descent through many mirrors, from both personal and cultural memories, and through prose, verse, and historical documents, to better understand herself. The title itself suggests a delving, a digging into, and we join Russell as she explores her family’s past like a new land, like something that has long been buried.

In my high school U.S.
History class, when we
got to the part on the
inhumanity of slave
holders, I said,
“Actually, I am
descended from slave
holders.” For some
reason nobody stated
the obvious: that I am
also descended from

Read the entire review here.

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Performing Racial Uplift: E. Azalia Hackley and African American Activism in the Postbellum to Pre-Harlem Era

Posted in Arts, Biography, Books, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, United States, Women on 2021-11-03 21:43Z by Steven

Performing Racial Uplift: E. Azalia Hackley and African American Activism in the Postbellum to Pre-Harlem Era

University Press of Mississippi
224 pages
13 b&w illustrations and 13 musical examples
Hardcover ISBN: 9781496836687
Paperback ISBN: 9781496836793

Juanita Karpf, Lecturer of Music
Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio

A groundbreaking rediscovery of a classically trained innovator and powerful teacher who set milestones for African American singers and musicians

In Performing Racial Uplift: E. Azalia Hackley and African American Activism in the Postbellum to Pre-Harlem Era, Juanita Karpf rediscovers the career of Black activist E. Azalia Hackley (1867–1922), a concert artist, nationally famous music teacher, and charismatic lecturer. Growing up in Black Detroit, she began touring as a pianist and soprano soloist while only in her teens. By the late 1910s, she had toured coast-to-coast, earning glowing reviews. Her concert repertoire consisted of an innovative blend of spirituals, popular ballads, virtuosic showstoppers, and classical pieces. She also taught music while on tour and visited several hundred Black schools, churches, and communities during her career. She traveled overseas and, in London and Paris, studied singing with William Shakespeare and Jean de Reszke—two of the classical music world’s most renowned teachers.

Her acceptance into these famous studios confirmed her extraordinary musicianship, a “first” for an African American singer. She founded the Normal Vocal Institute in Chicago, the first music school founded by a Black performer to offer teacher training to aspiring African American musicians.

Hackley’s activist philosophy was unique. Unlike most activists of her era, she did not align herself unequivocally with either Booker T. Washington or W. E. B. Du Bois. Instead, she created her own mediatory philosophical approach. To carry out her agenda, she harnessed such strategies as giving music lessons to large audiences and delivering lectures on the ecumenical religious movement known as New Thought. In this book, Karpf reclaims Hackley’s legacy and details the talent, energy, determination, and unprecedented worldview she brought to the cause of racial uplift.

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The Recovered Life of Isaac Anderson

Posted in Biography, Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs, Religion, Slavery, United States on 2021-11-03 21:42Z by Steven

The Recovered Life of Isaac Anderson

University Press of Mississippi
256 pages
16 b&w illustrations
Hardcover ISBN: 9781496835147
Paperback ISBN: 9781496835130

Alicia K. Jackson, Associate Professor of History
Covenant College, Lookout Mountain, Georgia

The story of an enslaved man who became a Georgia state senator, helped found a church, and led his people to promise and hope

Owned by his father, Isaac Harold Anderson (1835–1906) was born a slave but went on to become a wealthy businessman, grocer, politician, publisher, and religious leader in the African American community in the state of Georgia. Elected to the state senate, Anderson replaced his white father there, and later shepherded his people as a founding member and leader of the Colored Methodist Episcopal church. He helped support the establishment of Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee, where he subsequently served as vice president.

Anderson was instrumental in helping freed people leave Georgia for the security of progressive safe havens with significantly large Black communities in northern Mississippi and Arkansas. Eventually under threat to his life, Anderson made his own exodus to Arkansas, and then later still, to Holly Springs, Mississippi, where a vibrant Black community thrived.

Much of Anderson’s unique story has been lost to history—until now. In The Recovered Life of Isaac Anderson, author Alicia K. Jackson presents a biography of Anderson and in it a microhistory of Black religious life and politics after emancipation. A work of recovery, the volume captures the life of a shepherd to his journeying people, and of a college pioneer, a CME minister, a politician, and a former slave. Gathering together threads from salvaged details of his life, Jackson sheds light on the varied perspectives and strategies adopted by Black leaders dealing with a society that was antithetical to them and to their success.

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I Color Myself Different

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Forthcoming Media, Identity Development/Psychology, Monographs, United States on 2021-11-03 21:40Z by Steven

I Color Myself Different

40 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1338789621

Colin Kaepernick, Eric Wilkerson (Illustrator)

An inspiring story of identity and self-esteem from celebrated athlete and activist Colin Kaepernick.

When Colin Kaepernick was five years old, he was given a simple school assignment: draw a picture of yourself and your family. What young Colin does next with his brown crayon changes his whole world and worldview, providing a valuable lesson on embracing and celebrating his Black identity through the power of radical self-love and knowing your inherent worth.

I Color Myself Different is a joyful ode to Black and Brown lives based on real events in young Colin’s life that is perfect for every reader’s bookshelf. It’s a story of self-discovery, staying true to one’s self, and advocating for change… even when you’re very little!

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An American Color: Race and Identity in New Orleans and the Atlantic World

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Louisiana, Monographs, United States on 2021-11-03 21:38Z by Steven

An American Color: Race and Identity in New Orleans and the Atlantic World

University of Georgia Press
272 pages
Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in
Hardcover ISBN: 9-780-8203-6076-8
Paperback ISBN: 9-780-8203-6078-2

Andrew N. Wegmann, Associate Professor of History
Delta State University, Cleveland, Mississippi

For decades, scholars have conceived of the coastal city of New Orleans as a remarkable outlier, an exception to nearly every “rule” of accepted U.S. historiography. American only by adoption, New Orleans, in most studies, serves as a frontier town of the circum-Caribbean-a vestige of North America’s European colonial era along the southern coast of a foreign, northern, insular United States. Beneath that, too, many have argued, a complex algorithm of racial mixtures was at work well into the nineteenth century, a complexity of racial understanding and treatment that almost every scholar to date has claimed simply did not exist within the more “American” states further north and outside the bounds of the Caribbean’s bizarre socioracial influence.

The reality, as An American Color explains, is that on the surface, New Orleans did have a racial and social system that confounded the more prudent and established black-white binary at work in the social rhetoric of the British-descended states further north. But this was not unique, especially within the United States. As Andrew N. Wegmann argues, New Orleans is representative of a place with different words for the same practices found throughout the North American continent and the Atlantic world. From New Orleans to Charleston and Richmond, the social construction of race remained constant and Atlantic in nature, predicated on a complex, socially infused, multitier system of prescribed racial value that challenged and sometimes abandoned preordained definitions of “black” and “white” for an assortment of fluid but meaningful designations in between. New Orleans is thus an entry point for the study of color in an Atlantic United States.

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The Devil’s Half Acre: The Untold Story of How One Woman Liberated the South’s Most Notorious Slave Jail

Posted in Biography, Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs, Slavery, United States, Virginia, Women on 2021-11-03 21:37Z by Steven

The Devil’s Half Acre: The Untold Story of How One Woman Liberated the South’s Most Notorious Slave Jail

Seal Press (an imprint of Basic Books)
352 pages
Hardcover ISBN-13: 9781541675636
eBook ISBN-13: 9781541675629
Audiobook ISBN-13: 9781549193354

Kristen Green

The inspiring true story of an enslaved woman who liberated an infamous slave jail and transformed it into one of the nation’s first HBCUs

In The Devil’s Half Acre, New York Times bestselling author Kristen Green draws on years of research to tell the extraordinary and little-known story of young Mary Lumpkin, an enslaved woman who blazed a path of liberation for thousands. She was forced to have the children of a brutal slave trader and live on the premises of his slave jail, known as the “Devil’s Half Acre.” When she inherited the jail after the death of her slaveholder, she transformed it into “God’s Half Acre,” a school where Black men could fulfill their dreams. It still exists today as Virginia Union University, one of America’s first Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

A sweeping narrative of a life in the margins of the American slave trade, The Devil’s Half Acre brings Mary Lumpkin into the light. This is the story of the resilience of a woman on the path to freedom, her historic contributions, and her enduring legacy.

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