The Importance of Being Turbaned

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Passing, Religion, United States on 2022-05-21 22:25Z by Steven

The Importance of Being Turbaned

The Antioch Review
Volume 69, Number 2, Spring 2011
pages 208-221

Paul A. Kramer, Associate Professor of History
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee

This narrative piece, selected by The Best American Essays 2012 as a “notable essay,” tells the story of Rev. Jesse Routté, an African American Lutheran minister in New York who, in response to racist abuse during a 1943 trip to Mobile, Alabama, returned four years later disguised as a turbaned, Swedish-accented “foreigner.” When he reported positive treatment, it flaunted contradictions in Jim Crow’s racial definitions.

Read the entire article here.

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Thinking in Colour: A BBC Radio Collection of Documentaries on Race, Society and Black History

Posted in Audio, Barack Obama, Biography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, Politics/Public Policy, Religion, Social Justice, United Kingdom, United States on 2021-12-16 17:53Z by Steven

Thinking in Colour: A BBC Radio Collection of Documentaries on Race, Society and Black History

BBC Digital Audio
ISBN: 9781529143560

Gary Younge, Professor of Sociology
University of Manchester

Gary Younge Gary Younge (Read by) Robin Miles (Read by) Amaka Okafor (Read by) Full Cast (Read by) Ricky Fearon (Read by)

Gary Younge explores race, society and Black history in these five fascinating documentaries

Author, broadcaster and sociology professor Gary Younge has won several awards for his books and journalism covering topics such as the civil rights movement, inequality and immigration. In this documentary collection, the former Guardian US correspondent turns his attention to current American political and social issues, including populist conservatism, and African-American identity.

In Thinking in Colour, he examines racial ‘passing’: light-skinned African-Americans who decided to live their lives as white people. Looking at the topic through the prism of Nella Larsen’s 1929 novella Passing, Gary hears three astonishing personal stories, and probes the distinction between race and colour.

Recorded shortly after the historic 2008 election, The Documentary: Opposing Obama follows Gary as he travels through Arkansas and Kentucky, talking to people who see Barack Obama’s presidency as nothing but bad news, and hearing their hopes and fears for the future.

In The Wales Window of Alabama, Gary recounts how the people of Wales helped rebuild an Alabama church, where bombers killed four girls in 1963. Hearing of the atrocity, sculptor John Petts rallied his local community to raise money, and subsequently created a new stained glass window that has become a focus for worship and a symbol of hope.

In Ebony: Black on White on Black, we hear the history of Ebony, the magazine that has charted and redefined African-American life since its launch in 1945. But what is its place in the world today, and does it still speak to contemporary African-Americans?

And in Analysis: Tea Party Politics, Gary assesses the Tea Party movement, a US right-wing protest group that objects to big government and high taxes. He finds out what sparked this grass-roots insurgency, who its supporters are, and analyses its impact.

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“I have supper with them, and they have supper with me too. Only thing I don’t like is blacks and whites mixing, but I keep that to myself.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2020-06-21 23:41Z by Steven

“I got plenty of African American friends — I’ve known ’em since I was 14,” said [Lonnie] Miles, adding that he learned to say ‘African American’ out of respect. “They know if they need anything, all they have to do is ask me. I have supper with them, and they have supper with me too. Only thing I don’t like is blacks and whites mixing, but I keep that to myself.”

Stephanie McCrummen, “Wrapped up in the Confederate flag,” The Washington Post, June 20, 2020.

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Adella Hunt Logan

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Women on 2019-10-01 21:09Z by Steven

Adella Hunt Logan

Harvard Magazine
September-October 2019

Adele Logan Alexander, Emeritus Professor of History
George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

Hunt Logan in June 1901, after earning her “honorary” master’s degree from Atlanta University
Collection of the author; reproduction photograph by Mark Gulezian

Historian Adele Logan Alexander ’59 is Adella Hunt Logan’s only granddaughter. Her family memoir Princess of the Hither Isles: A Black Suffragist’s Story from the Jim Crow South (Yale), appears this month. The portrait of Hunt Logan opposite, by the Parisian-trained, African-American painter William Edouard Scott, was begun in 1915 while he was in residence at Tuskegee and completed at her daughter’s direction in 1918.

Brief life of a rebellious black suffragist: 1863-1915

Soon after meeting Susan B. Anthony in 1895 at a convention of the National-American Woman Suffrage Association (N-AWSA) in Atlanta, Adella Hunt Logan wrote to the suffragist leader, “I am working with women who are slow to believe that they will get help from the ballot, but someday I hope to see my daughter vote right here in the South.” She strove to spur often frightened or otherwise reluctant black women to political action through gaining access to the ballot; she lobbied for equal pay as well, and ultimately espoused women’s reproductive rights.

The letter and Hunt Logan herself were virtually unique, because in her own eyes, and as specified by law, she was “a Negro.” Due to her predominantly Caucasian ancestry, however (both her mother and her black-Cherokee-white maternal grandmother maintained longstanding, consensual relationships with slaveholding white men), Hunt Logan herself looked white. As an adult, she occasionally “passed” to travel on the Jim Crow South’s railways, and to attend segregated political gatherings, such as the N-AWSA’s, from which she brought suffrage tactics and materials back to share with her own people. At the time, she was the N-AWSA’s only African-American lifetime member, and the only such member from ultraconservative Alabama, where she lived with her husband, Warren Logan, and their children, and taught for three decades at Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee Institute, the agricultural and industrial school for black Southerners that drew such prominent visitors as Frederick Douglass, Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, and philanthropists Andrew Carnegie and Julius Rosenwald….

Read the entire article here.

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“My mama would go around town, pushing my sister and I in a cart to the grocery store, and people would actually come up to her and lecture her. They would say, ‘Do you know what you’ve done?'”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-09-26 01:45Z by Steven

Her [Brittany Howard’s] most striking lyrics come on Goat Head [in her album Jaime], as she discusses growing up as the child of a poor, interracial couple in rural Alabama.

“When I was born – or rather when my sister was born in 1984 – that was like the first wave of mixed babies, little brown babies,” she says.

“My mama would go around town, pushing my sister and I in a cart to the grocery store, and people would actually come up to her and lecture her. They would say, ‘Do you know what you’ve done?'”

In the song, she recalls an incident that happened when she was a baby, but was told about later, where “someone cut off a goat’s head, and they put it in the back of my dad’s car and slashed his tyres, and smeared blood all over his car”.

“It’s always been a part of me, that story,” says Howard. “Because Athens was a beautiful, peaceful country place, where people are neighbours and we really care about each other. But there’s a racial line, or there was at least, and that’s why I wanted to write that song. Just to explain where I was coming from.”

Mark Savage, “Brittany Howard finds freedom after Alabama Shakes,” BBC News, September 25, 2019.

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Brittany Howard finds freedom after Alabama Shakes

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States on 2019-09-26 00:28Z by Steven

Brittany Howard finds freedom after Alabama Shakes

BBC News

Mark Savage, BBC music reporter

Brittany Howard
Brittany Howard: “If I was going to make a solo record, I knew it had to be something true.” Brantley Gutierrez

In the middle of making her new album, Brittany Howard decided to record the air conditioner.

Holding a microphone to ceiling, she captured the unit’s electromagnetic pulse, turned it into a tape loop, then transposed it onto a keyboard.

“In the end, I think we were overly ambitious,” she reflects. “Because it turned out to be terrible.”

The experiment may have been scrapped, but it illustrates the sense of freedom Howard felt as she made her first solo album…

Read the entire article here.

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Tuscaloosa author writes children’s book about biracial daughter

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2019-01-12 02:16Z by Steven

Tuscaloosa author writes children’s book about biracial daughter

The Tuscaloosa News
Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Kelcey Sexton, Staff Writer

Monique Fields, a children’s author from Tuscaloosa, stands with her first published book Saturday, July 21, 2018. [Staff file photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

Monique Fields remembers when she got inspiration for “Honeysmoke.”

It was when her eldest daughter began asking questions about herself, namely about the color of her skin. They were questions that took her by surprise because Simone was only 3 years old.

“She started asking questions about who she is, and I didn’t really have any good answers for her,” Fields said.

It seemed early for her to be paying such close attention to things like that.

“Basically, she pointed to my face one day, and she said, ‘Mommy’s a black girl.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, Mommy’s a black girl,’ ” she said. ”(Then Simone) said, ‘Simone is a white girl.’ ”

Fields, 48, admitted she really didn’t know the best way to respond to that and told Simone, no, she was a black girl like Mommy.

“Which is not true and was not the thing to do,” she said. “Then (Simone’s dad) Ken said, ‘You have a little bit of both worlds. You’re a little bit of Mommy and a little bit of Daddy.’…

Read the entire article here.

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Alabama’s Anti-Miscegenation Statutes

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2016-07-27 02:09Z by Steven

Alabama’s Anti-Miscegenation Statutes

Alabama Review
Volume 68, Number 4, October 2015
pages 345-365
DOI: 10.1353/ala.2015.0033

Jeremy W. Richter, Associate
Webster, Henry, Lyons, Bradwell, Cohan & Speagle, P.C., Attorneys and Counselors at Law, Birmingham, Alabama

In the immediate aftermath of the civil war and, more specifically, the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, various southern states began passing laws to preserve a now-fragile social structure. Beginning with President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863, which liberated all slaves residing in rebel states or territories, the southern states’ social ecology had begun to unravel, and southern whites faced a situation in which the black Americans once deemed property were now citizens—equal in the eyes of the law.

Nevertheless, white citizens sought to maintain control over their black counterparts. In an effort to preserve their society, southern states in 1865 began to pass a series of laws, which varied by state and collectively became known as Black Codes. These laws were designed to exploit and control former slaves. For example, freedmen (as freed black citizens became known) who were arrested for vagrancy could be contracted out for labor; freedmen were, in some states, not allowed to raise their own crops and were precluded from entering towns without permission. Most significantly perhaps, the Black Codes enacted offenses containing differing penalties for black versus white citizens. These racially-discriminatory penalties were later outlawed upon the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment and the enactment of the Reconstruction Acts.

Two centuries of slavery had, prior to 1865, created a caste system which maintained, at least officially, the distinction between white and black. With that barrier removed and the federal government attempting to institute legal racial equality, of primary concern to many was the preservation of the purity of the white race. In response, many states throughout the United States, largely regardless of geography, passed laws prohibiting the intermarriage of white and black citizens. In 1967, the Supreme Court of the United States held in Loving v. Virginia that laws prohibiting interracial marriage were unconstitutional, and as such any such existing laws were overturned. At the time of the Loving v. Virginia decision, sixteen states still had anti-miscegenation laws in effect: Delaware, Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Florida, West Virginia, and Oklahoma.

The State of Alabama enacted its first anti-miscegenation law in the Penal Code of 1866:

If any white person and any negro, or the descendant of any negro, to the third generation inclusive, though one ancestor of each generation was a white person, intermarry, or live in adultery or fornication with each other, each of them must, on conviction, be imprisoned in the penitentiary, or sentenced to hard labor for the county, for not less than two, nor more than seven years.

The Alabama legislature reinforced this statute in new penal codes that were enacted in 1867 (§ 3602), 1876 (§ 4189), 1886 (§ 4018), and 1896 (§ 5096). In 1901, Alabama drafted a new state constitution, wherein the anti-miscegenation statute was made a part of the state constitution: “The legislature shall never pass any law to authorize or legalize any marriage between any white person and a negro, or descendant of a negro.” The final revisions to Alabama’s anti-miscegenation law were adopted in the Code of Alabama of 1940, which stated: “If any white person and any negro, or the descendant of any negro intermarry, or live in adultery or fornication with each other, each of them shall, on conviction, be imprisoned in the penitentiary for not less than two nor more than seven years.”

Judicial Application of Anti-Miscegenation Laws in Alabama: Setting Precedent, 1868–1881

In addition to a law disallowing marriage between whites and blacks, the Alabama Penal Code of 1866 adopted laws governing adultery. Where Alabama Code § 3598 outlined the repercussions of adultery offenses generally, Alabama Code § 3602 specifically addressed the penalties for adultery between white and black persons:

If any white person or negro, or the descendant of any negro, to the third generation inclusive, though one ancestor of each generation was a white person, intermarry or live in adultery with each other, each of them must, on conviction, be imprisoned in the penitentiary, or sentenced to hard labor for the…

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Interesting description of a group of people called Cajans around Mobile Alabama written before 1940

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States on 2015-11-06 16:39Z by Steven

Interesting description of a group of people called Cajans around Mobile Alabama written before 1940

Alabama Pioneers

Donna R. Causey


Occupying the pine and oak woods of Mobile County in southern Alabama are a group of people of mixed racial blood known in that section as Indian Cajans.

Living in a little world of their own, set apart from the rest of the world by the color line and ideas of social inequality, this group of people lives near Mobile County, known for its thriving seaport, and is the home of a big percent of this Cajan population. These people have been so overlooked that no one really knows where they came from, nor how long they have been here.

It is evident that the Alabama Cajans are a mixture of a number of races and nationalities: English, American Indian, German, French, Italian, Mexican, Negro, and Russian. The name “Cajan” is probably a misnomer as the group is connected only remotely with the Acadians of historical fame; however, it has been brought over probably from Louisiana and Mississippi and is now in general use in south Alabama.

In the absence of a more accurate term “Cajan” is used in this account to designate the people of mixed blood in Mobile County who are classed as neither white, red, nor black, but constitute a unique race.

Numerous stories regarding the origin of the group are told; however, none is known to be authentic. A typical tale is told by some of the old settlers in the southern part of the County. During the War of 1812 numbers of English pirates were forced to flee for their lives, and they came to Mobile. From the town they moved out into this section to escape punishment. Here they married and intermarried with Spanish, French, Germans, American Indians, and Mexicans, and started the new mixed race of Cajans…

Read the entire article here.

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Darkroom: A Memoir in Black and White

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2015-09-21 00:28Z by Steven

Darkroom: A Memoir in Black and White

University of Alabama Press
264 pages
Quality Paper ISBN: 978-0-8173-5714-6
eBook ISBN: 978-0-8173-8619-1

Lila Quintero Weaver

Darkroom: A Memoir in Black and White is an arresting and moving personal story about childhood, race, and identity in the American South, rendered in stunning illustrations by the author, Lila Quintero Weaver.

In 1961, when Lila was five, she and her family emigrated from Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Marion, Alabama, in the heart of Alabama’s Black Belt. As educated, middle-class Latino immigrants in a region that was defined by segregation, the Quinteros occupied a privileged vantage from which to view the racially charged culture they inhabited. Weaver and her family were firsthand witnesses to key moments in the civil rights movement. But Darkroom is her personal story as well: chronicling what it was like being a Latina girl in the Jim Crow South, struggling to understand both a foreign country and the horrors of our nation’s race relations. Weaver, who was neither black nor white, observed very early on the inequalities in the American culture, with its blonde and blue-eyed feminine ideal. Throughout her life, Lila has struggled to find her place in this society and fought against the discrimination around her.

Read chapter four here.

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