Amnesia of June Bugs, A Novel

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Novels, United States on 2022-05-13 18:30Z by Steven

Amnesia of June Bugs

7.13 Books
2022-04-25
354 pages
Paperback ISBN-13: 979-8985376203
5.5 x 0.89 x 8.5 inches

Jackson Bliss

Jackson Bliss’s brilliant and moving debut novel redefines what a novel can be. Hurricane Sandy has just smashed into the Eastern Seaboard, trapping four passengers on the C train: a Chinese American graffiti artist grieving his father’s death, a mixed-race graphic designer struggling to become a mom, a Moroccan French translator escaping his heartache in Paris, and an Indian American traveler leaving Chicago to regain control of her life. Amnesia of June Bugs is an ambitious, infatuated, and furious book about the time we lost and the people we could have loved.

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Stories of racial passing, from the pages of Nella Larsen to Detroit’s upper class

Posted in Articles, Audio, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2022-03-31 22:52Z by Steven

Stories of racial passing, from the pages of Nella Larsen to Detroit’s upper class

Stateside
Michigan Radio
2022-03-25

“Still’s Underground Rail Road Records,” 1886  /Boston African American National Historic Site

To escape slavery in Georgia, light-skinned Ellen Craft and her dark-skinned husband William posed, respectively, as a white gentleman traveling with his enslaved manservant in 1848.

Elsie Roxborough was born in 1914 in Detroit to one of Michigan’s most prominent Black families. When she died in New York City in 1949, her death certificate listed her race as white. She had lived there as a white woman for over a decade, working for a time as a model while aspiring to acclaim as a playwright.

“She almost immediately goes to New York City after graduation from the University of Michigan,” said Ken Coleman, a journalist who has researched the Roxborough family. Elsie Roxborough “at least professionally changed her name to Pat Rico at one point, and then ultimately, Mona Manet, and her brown, brownish-black hair becomes Lucille Ball auburn.”

Roxborough represents one of the few documented historical instances from Michigan of a Black person choosing to live nearly full-time as a member of white society. This phenomenon, known as racial passing, has received renewed popular attention through recent artistic works like Rebecca Hall’s film adaptation of Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel Passing and Britt Bennett’s novel The Vanishing Half

Listen to the story (00:19:36) here.

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Stateside Podcast: “Passing:” The Story of Elsie Roxborough

Posted in Audio, Biography, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2022-03-30 13:51Z by Steven

Stateside Podcast: “Passing:” The Story of Elsie Roxborough

Stateside
Michigan Radio
2022-03-24

University Of Michigan Alumni Association/Bentley Historical Library

Writer and reporter Ken Coleman tells the story of Detroiter Elsie Roxborough, who was born into a wealthy, Black family in Detroit. But when she died in 1939, her death certificate listed her as white.

In 1914, Elsie Roxborough was born into a wealthy, Black family in Detroit. But when she died in 1939, her death certificate listed her as white. Her life was rich, curious and at times, troubled, all while attempting a sort of high-wire-act of living multiple lives, between cities and names and races. Today, we talk about her life, death, and everything in between.

Listen to the story (00:19:36) here. Download the story here.

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Growing up, as a mixed race child, with survivor grandparents

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Biography, Europe, History, Judaism, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2022-03-15 22:27Z by Steven

Growing up, as a mixed race child, with survivor grandparents

Forward
2022-03-08

Kyla Kupferstein
Oakland, California

Courtesy of Kyla Kupferstein
Kyla with her grandmother Fela and grandfather Hershl

As a child growing up in the 1970s and 80s, my younger brother David and I did everything in Manhattan: it was where we lived, went to school and played with our friends.

Except for the weekends when my parents would take us to visit my grandparents in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx. Buba Fela and Zayda Hershl lived in the Amalgamated Houses on Sedgwick Avenue – a cooperative apartment complex that functioned like a reassembled shtetl, a Yiddish-speaking community of Jews from Eastern Europe who had somehow escaped or survived the Nazi genocide and lived to tell the tale.

As my brother and I (known at our grandparents’ home as Kylashi and Davittle) sat at our grandparents’ kitchen table, we were fed a steady diet of Holocaust talk. “The war,” they called it, when they spoke English, which they did only for us. Hitler, Stalin, the camps – all these were a part of their normal vocabulary. And their neighbors, some who had been my grandparents’ friends back in Warsaw, most of them Bundists ranging from agnostic to atheist, were the closest thing to an extended family that we had.

Unlike many other survivors who kept silent because they couldn’t bear to revisit the atrocities, everyone in this community told their stories openly; we waited for those stories, just as we waited for Buba’s misshapen cookies and trips to the sprinklers in Van Cortlandt Park. Countless times we heard the story of how they left: when young men were urged to leave Warsaw because of Hitler’s imminent arrival, my Zayda, Herschel, decided he couldn’t leave without his love, Fela. Her grandfather quickly married them, and they fled to Russia, innocently believing it would be safe for them as socialists. But they were arrested at the Russian border, and then jailed separately in Stalin’s prisons in Siberia

Read the entire article here.

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Your Attention Please: Initiative 29 – Tao Leigh Goffe • Hulu

Posted in Arts, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States, Videos on 2022-03-11 04:04Z by Steven

Your Attention Please: Initiative 29 – Tao Leigh Goffe • Hulu

Hulu
2021-05-29

Tao Leigh Goffe, Assistant Professor of Literary Theory and Cultural History
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

Journey through time with professor and DJ Tao Leigh Goffe as she uncovers her story at the intersection of Black and Chinese culture in this month’s #Initiative29 episode.

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A Drop of Midnight: A Memoir

Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Books, Europe, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery on 2022-02-26 21:15Z by Steven

A Drop of Midnight: A Memoir

Amazon Crossing
2020-03-01
304 pages
5.5 x 1 x 8.25 inches
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-1542017077
Paperback ISBN-13: 978-1542016704
Audio CD ISBN: 978-1799726296

Jason Diakité

Rachel Willson-Broyles (Translator)

World-renowned hip-hop artist Jason “Timbuktu” Diakité’s vivid and intimate journey through his own and his family’s history―from South Carolina slavery to twenty-first-century Sweden.

Born to interracial American parents in Sweden, Jason Diakité grew up between worlds―part Swedish, American, black, white, Cherokee, Slovak, and German, riding a delicate cultural and racial divide. It was a no-man’s-land that left him in constant search of self. Even after his hip-hop career took off, Jason fought to unify a complex system of family roots that branched across continents, ethnicities, classes, colors, and eras to find a sense of belonging.

In A Drop of Midnight, Jason draws on conversations with his parents, personal experiences, long-lost letters, and pilgrimages to South Carolina and New York to paint a vivid picture of race, discrimination, family, and ambition. His ancestors’ origins as slaves in the antebellum South, his parents’ struggles as an interracial couple, and his own world-expanding connection to hip-hop helped him fashion a strong black identity in Sweden.

What unfolds in Jason’s remarkable voyage of discovery is a complex and unflinching look at not only his own history but also that of generations affected by the trauma of the African diaspora, then and now.

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Why Chinese Americans Are Talking About Eileen Gu

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2022-02-21 18:20Z by Steven

Why Chinese Americans Are Talking About Eileen Gu

The New York Times
2022-02-18

Ashley Wong

Whether or not they agreed with her choices, many Chinese Americans said Eileen Gu’s comments about her identity resonated with them. Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

The critical crossfire Ms. Gu has faced has implications that go far beyond the Olympic slopes, Chinese Americans say. And some see themselves in the duality she has embraced.

When it comes to Eileen Gu, the 18-year-old Olympic gold medalist freestyle skier who was born in San Francisco but competed for China, Chinese Americans have lots of opinions.

There are those who love her, moved by her ability to soar over treacherous slopes with ease. Others are inspired by her efforts to navigate the uneasy political tension between two countries and cultures. Some believe she chose to represent China simply to cash in on the lucrative opportunities it has afforded her.

But like her or not, many Chinese Americans interviewed in the New York region this week agreed on one thing: When Ms. Gu says, as she often does, “When I’m in the U.S., I’m American, but when I’m in China, I’m Chinese,” it resonates with them.

“I think what I’m seeing is somebody who isn’t afraid to love her identities and share that with people,” said Sarah Belle Lin, 28, a Harlem resident. “I think it’s so brave, actually, for her to speak about that on a public platform.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Belle de Costa Greene: Library Director, Advocate, and Rare Books Expert.

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2022-02-13 04:25Z by Steven

Belle de Costa Greene: Library Director, Advocate, and Rare Books Expert.

Headlines & Heroes: Newspapers, Comics, & More Fine Print
Library of Congress
Washington, D.C.
2022-02-08

Joanna Colclough, Reference Librarian
Serial and Government Publications Division

Belle de Costa Greene, Oct. 1, 1929. Photograph by Bain News Service. George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

In 1999, biographer Jean Strouse published her work on J. P. Morgan, railroad magnate, financier, and New York millionaire of the late 1800s. Of course, Belle de Costa Greene is featured in the book – she worked closely with Morgan for the last 8 years of his life as his personal librarian, managing his private art and rare book collection. Greene’s name was not unknown to history. The first half of the 20th century saw Greene rise as a top expert in the rare book world as librarian and first director of the Morgan Library and Museum. But Strouse discovered something new about Greene that presented Greene in whole new light. In an article for The New Yorker (March 29, 1999, p. 66-79), Strouse tells how she located Greene’s birth certificate in Washington, D.C. which was marked with a C for “colored.”

Greene passed as white for her entire professional life. This is a fact both surprising and not – surprising that such a secret could be so well-kept and not surprising considering the prejudice of society…

Read the entire article here.

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Mirror Girls

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Novels, Passing, United States, Women on 2022-02-09 02:55Z by Steven

Mirror Girls

Little, Brown Young Readers
2022-02-08
304 pages
Hardcover ISBN-13: 9780759553859
eBook ISBN-13: 9780759553859
Audiobook ISBN-13: 9781549165962

Kelly McWilliams

A thrilling gothic horror novel about biracial twin sisters separated at birth, perfect for fans of Lovecraft Country and The Vanishing Half

As infants, twin sisters Charlie Yates and Magnolia Heathwood were secretly separated after the brutal lynching of their parents, who died for loving across the color line. Now, at the dawn of the Civil Rights Movement, Charlie is a young Black organizer in Harlem, while white-passing Magnolia is the heiress to a cotton plantation in rural Georgia.

Magnolia knows nothing of her racial heritage, but secrets are hard to keep in a town haunted by the ghosts of its slave-holding past. When Magnolia finally learns the truth, her reflection mysteriously disappears from mirrors—the sign of a terrible curse. Meanwhile, in Harlem, Charlie’s beloved grandmother falls ill. Her final wish is to be buried back home in Georgia—and, unbeknownst to Charlie, to see her long-lost granddaughter, Magnolia Heathwood, one last time. So Charlie travels into the Deep South, confronting the land of her worst nightmares—and Jim Crow segregation.

The sisters reunite as teenagers in the deeply haunted town of Eureka, Georgia, where ghosts linger centuries after their time and dangers lurk behind every mirror. They couldn’t be more different, but they will need each other to put the hauntings of the past to rest, to break the mirrors’ deadly curse—and to discover the meaning of sisterhood in a racially divided land.

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Judge Jane Bolin

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Law, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States, Women on 2022-02-01 04:14Z by Steven

Judge Jane Bolin

Historical Society of the New York Courts
2018-02-21

David L. Goodwin, Appellate Public Defender
New York, New York

Dear Jane,

You’re one of the reasons the courts for children are a greater hope than some people say. You’re one of the dedicated ones.1

Born and raised in Poughkeepsie, but with a career in the five boroughs of New York City, Jane Matilda Bolin (1908–2007) is best known for a particular “first” of groundbreaking magnitude. She holds the honor of being the first African-American judge in the entire United States, joining the bench of New York City’s Domestic Relations Court in 1939. Her appointment by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, which came as some surprise to Bolin herself — summoned with her husband to an audience with the mayor at the 1939 World’s Fair, she was not informed of the mayor’s intentions in advance — made “news around the world.”2

About that news: in announcing this historical judgeship, some outlets hedged the call, if ever so slightly. The Chicago Defender, which “chronicled and catalyzed the African-American community’s greatest accomplishments for nearly a century,”3 proudly announced that La Guardia had “smashed a precedent for the entire United States” because Bolin was “thought to be the first Race woman judge to be appointed in this country.”4 About two months later, the Defender had eliminated the qualifier, describing Judge Bolin as the “first Race woman to serve as a judge in the history of America.”5 And despite the shifting nature of historical inquiry, her title has held firm; on the sad occasion of her obituary, she was still, resolutely, “the first black woman in the United States to become a judge.”6

Read the entire article here.

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