Slavery took hold in Florida under the Spanish in the ‘forgotten century’ of 1492-1619.

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Religion, Slavery, United States on 2022-02-09 03:42Z by Steven

Slavery took hold in Florida under the Spanish in the ‘forgotten century’ of 1492-1619.

Tampa Bay Times

J. Michael Francis, Hough Family Endowed Chair
University of South Florida, St. Petersburg

Gary Mormino, Professor emeritus of History
University of South Florida, St. Petersburg

Rachel Sanderson, Associate Director, La Florida: The Interactive Digital Archive of the Americas
University of South Florida, St. Petersburg

Artistic rendering of Luisa de Abrego and others [ KATE GODFREY | University of South Florida, St. Petersburg ]

Every 16th century Spanish expedition to Florida included Africans, both free and enslaved.

On Jan. 5, 1595, an infant boy named Esteban was baptized in the small Spanish garrison town of St. Augustine. In the priest’s three-line baptism entry, Esteban’s mother is identified only by her first name, Gratia. Described as a slave owned by a Spanish woman named Catalina, Gratia was one of perhaps 50 slaves who lived in St. Augustine at the end of the 16th century. And like Gratia, most of the town’s other slaves appear only briefly in the historical record, with few personal details besides a Christian name: Simón, María, Agustín, Francisca, Ana, Baltasar, Felipe or Ambrosio.

Collectively, their long-forgotten stories document and complement a remarkable history that dates back more than a century before the first slaves reached Virginia in 1619. They portray a society that was fluid and eclectic. By 1619, La Florida’s population included Spaniards, Portuguese, Greeks, Italians, French, Flemish, Germans, two Irishmen, West Africans, Sub-Saharan Africans and a diverse group of Native Americans. In other words, early Florida reflected a population that resembled modern America.

Floridanos of African descent were present from the earliest Spanish expeditions to the peninsula. Most readers are familiar with the founding myth of Florida and Juan Ponce de León’s alleged search for the Fountain of Youth. However, his 1513 voyage takes on a different complexion when we understand the crew’s composition, which included several free blacks. One of them, Juan Garrido, a native of West Africa, later participated in Hernando Cortés’s 1519 conquest of Mexico, where he lived over the next two decades, participating in numerous conquest expeditions. In a lengthy petition submitted to the Spanish Crown in 1538, Garrido highlighted his three-decade career as a “conquistador,” adding that he commissioned the construction of Mexico City’s first Christian chapel and that he was the one who introduced wheat into Mexico

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A Man Called White and Exploring America’s Darkest Secret in “White Lies”

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, Social Justice, United States on 2022-02-09 03:15Z by Steven

A Man Called White and Exploring America’s Darkest Secret in “White Lies”

Chicago Review of Books

Steve Nathans-Kelly

An interview with A.J. Baime about his new book, “White Lies: The Double Life of Walter F. White and America’s Darkest Secret.”

When we speak of the peak years of the Civil Rights Movement, typically we refer to the period beginning with Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 and the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955-56—which thrusted Martin Luther King, Jr. onto the national stage. This canonical era concludes with the passage of the Voting Rights Act in August 1965 following the pivotal showdown in Selma. Those eleven years formed the Movement’s dominant narrative, which blurred and obscured most of what came before and after (and oversimplified much that’s in between).

Jacquelyn Dowd Hall’s landmark 2005 essay, “The Long Civil Rights Movement and the Uses of the Past,” ushered in a critical reassessment of these artificial historical boundaries. Hall argued that anointing this era not only limited the movement’s lifespan to a “halcyon decade,” but also narrowed its goals to the pursuit of a vaguely defined “color-blind” society, a notion later used to recast King and others as proponents of neoliberal social and fiscal policy.

Focusing exclusively on this period also meant overlooking many of the foundational figures who preceded it and laid the groundwork for nearly everything that followed.

One such figure is Walter F. White—known in his lifetime as “Mr. NAACP”—who led America’s most powerful civil rights organization from 1929 until his death in 1955. White featured prominently in nearly every important battle against segregation and white supremacy during those years. White’s extraordinary life demonstrates how blinding white Americans’ appalling lack of color-blindness could be.

By all appearances, the blond-haired and blue-eyed Walter White was white. But like his multiracial parents, both born to formerly enslaved people, White identified as Black throughout his life. In his early years with the NAACP, he used his appearance to infiltrate Southern white communities as an undercover white man, gathering critical information on brutal lynchings from killers keen to brag about their crimes…

Read the entire interview 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
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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White Lies: The Double Life of Walter F. White and America’s Darkest Secret

Posted in Biography, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, Social Justice, United States on 2022-02-09 02:53Z by Steven

White Lies: The Double Life of Walter F. White and America’s Darkest Secret

Mariner Books
400 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0358447757
Paperback ISBN: 978-0358581772
eBook ISBN: 9780358439660
Audiobook ISBN: 9780358581932

A. J. Baime

A riveting biography of Walter F. White, a little-known Black civil rights leader who passed for white in order to investigate racist murders, help put the NAACP on the map, and change the racial identity of America forever

Walter F. White led two lives: one as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance and the NAACP in the early twentieth century; the other as a white newspaperman who covered lynching crimes in the Deep South at the blazing height of racial violence. Born mixed race and with very fair skin and straight hair, White was able to “pass” for white. He leveraged this ambiguity as a reporter, bringing to light the darkest crimes in America and helping to plant the seeds of the civil rights movement. White’s risky career led him to lead a double life. He was simultaneously a second-class citizen subject to Jim Crow laws at home and a widely respected professional with full access to the white world at work. His life was fraught with internal and external conflict—much like the story of race in America. Starting out as an obscure activist, White ultimately became Black America’s most prominent leader. A character study of White’s life and career with all these complexities has never been rendered, until now.

By the award-winning, best-selling author of The Accidental President, Dewey Defeats Truman, and The Arsenal of Democracy, White Lies uncovers the life of a civil rights leader unlike any other.

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