Harmless Like You: A Novel

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Media Archive, Novels, United States on 2019-05-04 01:52Z by Steven

Harmless Like You: A Novel

W. W. Norton
February 2017
320 pages
5.9 × 8.6 in
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-324-00074-7

Rowan Hisayo Buchanan

Written in startlingly beautiful prose, Harmless Like You is set across New York, Connecticut, and Berlin, following Yuki Oyama, a Japanese girl fighting to make it as an artist, and Yuki’s son Jay who, as an adult in the present day, is forced to confront his mother’s abandonment of him when he was only two years old.

The novel opens when Yuki is sixteen and her father is posted back to Japan. Though she and her family have been living as outsiders in New York City, Yuki opts to stay, intoxicated by her friendship with the beautiful aspiring model Odile, the energy of the city, and her desire to become an artist. But when she becomes involved with an older man and the relationship turns destructive, Yuki’s life is unmoored. Harmless Like You is a suspenseful novel about the complexities of identity, art, adolescent friendships, and familial bonds that asks—and ultimately answers—how does a mother desert her son?

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Public Radio Reporter Seeking Couples In New England For Story On Interracial/Mixed Marriage.

Posted in Autobiography, Media Archive, United States, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers on 2017-02-20 02:17Z by Steven

Public Radio Reporter Seeking Couples In New England For Story On Interracial/Mixed Marriage.

WGBH Radio
Boston, Massachusetts

Sally Jacobs

My name is Sally Jacobs and I am a reporter doing a project for WGBH radio in Boston on interracial marriage in connection with the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing the practice. I am looking for couples in New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont) who have a compelling story of challenge, triumph, passion, hardship or adventure.

I am also looking for some particular experiences:

  • Interracial couples who divorced in the mid 1980s.
  • Couples who married before interracial marriage became legal in 1967.
  • Young/millennial couples who met on an interracial dating website.
  • Those with a compelling story from any time period.

If you live in any of the six New England states, please e-mail me a description of your story, long or short, at sallyhjacobs@gmail.com.

Many thanks.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The Relationship of Identity to the Organizational Development of FLECHAS: Perceptions of Race from a Puerto Rican Perspective

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2016-01-31 22:02Z by Steven

The Relationship of Identity to the Organizational Development of FLECHAS: Perceptions of Race from a Puerto Rican Perspective

The Forensic Examiner
June 2015

Raul A. Avila

The Puerto Rican preoccupation with “whitening” and incidents of black racism obfuscate Puerto Rican identity. The “deliberate amnesia” regarding their genetic and cultural connection with Black African slaves compels Puerto Ricans to disassociate themselves from “blackness” and everything that “blackness” unjustifiably represents among many: inferior intelligence, poverty, and a lack of ability to perform well in high-level positions. Puerto Rican whitening is the answer to the racial profiling of Blacks by law and society, especially in the United States. The resulting disassociation with the African Black heritage impedes the resolution of the Puerto Rican identity crisis.

FLECHAS is an organization founded in New Haven, CT in 1977 to challenge this identity disorder among Puerto Ricans. FLECHAS is an acronym for “Feast of Loiza in Connecticut in Honor of Saint James the Apostle.” It is significant that Loiza, a city in northern Puerto Rico, was the Port of Call for Black African slaves. The founders of FLECHAS, natives of Loiza, grew up with positive images of being black and a strong sense of history rooted in their blackness. In fact the legend of Saint James, celebrated by the town for over two hundred years, runs parallel to that of the African god, Chango, who symbolizes strength and the peoples’ battle against slavery and injustice. Founders did not experience negative portrayals of blackness as Blacks in their day were policemen, elected officials, or teachers. It was not until they left Loiza that they experienced racism, so they founded FLECHAS to reestablish blackness to its rightful place of honor among the Puerto Rican community.

FLECHAS is a Puerto Rican organization founded in New Haven, CT in 1977. (Appendix A) The founders are a group of citizens, who in the late 1960s migrated from the town of Loiza, Puerto Rico, the center of African slave trade during the period of Spanish colonialism in the New World. With membership composed of primarily Black Puerto Rican descendants, FLECHAS was created in response to the conviction that the Black Puerto Rican heritage has been either misrepresented or generally omitted in any discussion of Puerto Rican identity.

The African influence on Puerto Rican culture is obvious. That influence can be found in Puerto Rican music, dance, art, food, and religion (Galvin, 2005). Moreover, DNA tests conducted by geneticists in 2000 found that 27% of Puerto Ricans on the Island have mitochondrial DNA from the people of Africa (Martinez-Cruzado, 2003). However, the Census of 2010 indicates that only 12% of Puerto Ricans self-report as being Black, while most scientists report that, for Puerto Ricans on both the island and in mainland United States, 47% have African blood (Kinsbruner, 1996). Although these findings are hotly contested, Via (2011) reports that the percentages of Puerto Ricans with African DNA average 20%. Apparently, Puerto Ricans have made a concerted effort to disassociate themselves from their Black African heritage.

For Puerto Ricans, the issue of identity formation has been complicated by five hundred years of colonialism, four hundred of which were under Spanish rule. The issues of racism, Black and White intermarriage, and Puerto Rican identity today can be traced all the way back to the 8th century Moors, who ruled Spain for 800 years. During that period there was no discrimination against Blacks. Historians, such as Robert Martinez of Baruch College, indicate that society in Spain was devoid of racism toward Blacks, and this attitude carried over to Puerto Rico by the conquistadores. As a matter of fact, Martinez notes, racial intermarriage was not frowned upon. He writes:

In the 8th century, nearly all of Spain was conquered (711-718) by the Muslim Moors who had crossed over from North Africa. A section of the city of Seville, which was a Moorish stronghold, was inhabited by thousands of Blacks. Black women were highly sought after by Spanish males. Therefore, it was no surprise that the first conquistadors who arrived to the island intermarried with the native Taino Indians and later with the African immigrants (Martinez, 1990, p. 3).

Conversations with founders of FLECHAS indicate this was indeed the case in the province of Loiza on the island of Puerto Rico, where they were born and raised. There was neither discrimination nor racism in Loiza, as many descendants of African Black slaves like themselves held prestigious positions in Loiza as politicians, writers, teachers, and law enforcement officers. It was not the same situation outside of Loiza on the island, according to the founders of FLECHAS, and when Puerto Rico became a territory of the United States in 1898, Puerto Ricans experienced the same racist effects of “blackness” as African Americans. This writer’s role in composing this article as a participant observer is important and critical to consider since I am of Black Puerto Rican ancestry, a current member of FLECHAS, and a professional therapist for the Greater New Haven community in Connecticut

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

When Ancestry Search Led To Escaped Slave: ‘All I Could Do Was Weep’

Posted in Articles, Audio, Autobiography, Biography, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2016-01-19 02:13Z by Steven

When Ancestry Search Led To Escaped Slave: ‘All I Could Do Was Weep’

Fresh Air (From WHYY in Philadelphia)
National Public Radio

Terry Gross, Host

When she was in fifth grade, Regina Mason received a school assignment that would change her life: to connect with her country of origin. That night, she went home and asked her mother where they were from.

“She told me about her grandfather who was a former slave,” Mason tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. “And that blew me away, because I’m thinking, ‘Slavery was like biblical times. It wasn’t just a few generations removed.’ ”

But for Mason, slavery was a few generations removed. She would later learn that her great-great-great-grandfather, a man named William Grimes, had been a runaway slave, and that he had authored what is now considered to be the first fugitive slave narrative.

“William Grimes’ narrative is precedent-setting,” Mason says. “[It] was published in 1825, and this was years before the abolitionist movement picked up slave narrative as a propaganda tool to end slavery. It sort of unwittingly paved the way for the American slave narrative to follow.”

Grimes’ original narrative tells the story of his 30 years spent in captivity, followed by his escape in 1814 from Savannah, Ga. He describes how his former owner discovered his whereabouts after the escape and forced him to give up his house in exchange for his freedom. (An updated version, published in 1855, includes a chapter about Grimes’ later life in poverty.)

Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave was again republished in 2008 by Oxford University Press. The latest edition was edited by Mason and William Andrews, a scholar of early African-American autobiography…

…Interview Highlights

On learning from her mother that her ancestors had been slaves

She talked about Grandpa Fuller, who was a mulatto slave. And I inquired about his parentage and she told me that his father, from what she knew, was a plantation owner, and his mother was an enslaved black woman. …

And I’m asking, “Well, that’s weird. Did his father own him?” … I mean, how do you explain … to children that slavery existed in freedom-loving America, No. 1; and No. 2, how do you explain to a child about an enslaved heritage shrouded in miscegenation? It’s not an easy thing to do…

Read the story highlights here. Listen to the interview (00:35:55) here. Download the interview here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave

Posted in Autobiography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery, United States on 2016-01-19 02:02Z by Steven

Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave

Oxford University Press
192 pages
21 illus.
5 1/2 X 8 1/4 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 9780195343311
Paperback ISBN: 9780195343328

William L. Andrews, E. Maynard Adams Professor of English; Senior Associate Dean for Fine Arts and Humanities
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Regina E. Mason, Grimes’s great-great-great-granddaughter

  • The first fugitive slave narrative in American history
  • A candid, unfiltered, and fully authenticated account of both slavery and so-called freedom in the antebellum U.S. before the advent of the American antislavery movement
  • A unprecedented editorial partnership blending scholarship and family history to yield a unique modern edition of a neglected classic of antislavery literature
  • No other slave narrative has been recovered, researched, and annotated by a slave’s descendent until now

Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave is the first fugitive slave narrative in American history. Because Grimes wrote and published his narrative on his own, without deference to white editors, publishers, or sponsors, his Life has an immediacy, candor, and no-holds-barred realism unparalleled in the famous antebellum slave narratives of the period. This edition of Grimes’s autobiography represents a historic partnership between noted scholar of the African American slave narrative, William L. Andrews, and Regina Mason, Grimes’s great-great-great-granddaughter. Their extensive historical and genealogical research has produced an authoritative, copiously annotated text that features pages from an original Grimes family Bible, transcriptions of the 1824 correspondence that set the terms for the author’s self-purchase in Connecticut (nine years after his escape from Savannah, Georgia), and many other striking images that invoke the life and times of William Grimes.

Table of Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction by William L. Andrews
  • Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave
  • Chronology: the life and times of William Grimes
  • Afterword by Regina E. Mason
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Drock Story (Second Edition)

Posted in History, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, Slavery, United States on 2013-10-04 02:40Z by Steven

The Drock Story (Second Edition)

Our Family Tree – Ancestors of Donald W.L. Roddy and Related Family Lines
August 2005
29 pages

Donald W. L. Roddy (From Research by: Daryl Y. [Hooper] Holmes and Donald W. L. Roddy)

1730 – Norwich, Connecticut:

My great-great-great-great-great grandfather, Guy Drock, was probably born sometime between 1726 and 1742, most likely around 1730, give or take a few years. He may have been born in Norwich, or born elsewhere and brought to Norwich as a child. Guy officially became a Christian on 31 July, 1742, when he was baptized in the First Congregational Church in Norwich, New London County, in the Colony of Connecticut in New England. Nothing is said about his age in the baptismal Record, other than that he was a boy, so we don’t know if his was an infant baptism or a voluntary baptism sometime in his later childhood.

As a boy, and young man, Guy worked for Captain Benajah Bushnell, who was a wealthy, influential land speculator, and one of the original settlers of what became Norwich in New London County in the Colony of Connecticut in New England. He got the title “Captain”, not from any association with seafaring, but because of his involvement with the local militia which conducted drills at least once a year, whether they needed it or not. Sometime around 1755, Sarah Powers, a young woman from Newport, on the Colony of Rhode Island, also started working for Benajah Bushnell. We do not know whether Sarah Powers was a voluntary employee of Bushnell or an indentured servant legally obligated to work for him for a specified period of time. In fact, we know very little about Sarah …. we do not even know for sure that she was born in Rhode Island, only that she had lived there prior to appearing in Norwich.

While working for Bushnell, Sarah apparently fell in love with Guy, and probably married him sometime around 1757 or before. It is likely that she also had a child by Guy between 1757 and 1759, perhaps Simon. In June, 1759, Guy and Sarah probably stopped working for Benajah Bushnell, and set about trying to make a new life for themselves. The so called French and Indian War was raging at the time. Guy opened a small blacksmith shop in downtown Norwich. He may have learned his blacksmith’s skills while working for Bushnell, or perhaps he became self taught after he left Bushnell’s service. During the war, inflation ran rampant. After the war, of course, came an economic depression. Guy and Sarah must have been hard pressed indeed to keep body and soul together. Then, to make matters worse, the British parliament started passing the series of acts that eventually led to the Revolutionary War.

Read the entire paper here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Descendants of Norwich slave, owner meet

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2013-10-03 05:00Z by Steven

Descendants of Norwich slave, owner meet

Norwich Bulletin
Norwich, Connecticut

Adam Benson

Norwich, Conn.—When descendants of Norwich slave Guy Drock and the man who owned him met  for the first time Thursday, they weren’t sure what would happen.

Grant Hayter-Menzies’ fifth-generation great-grandfather, Capt. Benejah Bushnell, owned Drock for a decade in the mid-1700s in Norwich.

Hayter-Menzies, of British Columbia; Daryl D’Angelo, of Amherst, N.H.; and her cousin, Donald Roddy, of Spokane, Wash. — all of them white — came to Karen Cook’s U.S. history class at Norwich Free Academy with a story they said had to be told.

“I don’t have any of the cultural and social legacies of someone who grew up identified as an African-American, and I still had a moment of, ‘What does this guy want from me,’” D’Angelo said of meeting Hayter-Menzies.

Hayter-Menzies was apprehensive, too…

… Roddy, a retired airline pilot, said he stumbled across his Drock lineage several years ago, while doing genealogical research on his family.

“I had no idea I had African ancestors until a few years ago,” Roddy said. “No one in my living family had a clue about that.”

Hayter-Menzies said he’s forged a unique bond with D’Angelo and Roddy, and quickly felt a kinship with them once they finally met.

“My first reaction was to reach out and hug you,” Hayter-Menzies told D’Angelo. “We feel like friends already.”…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

“Slavery, Freedom and Reunion in a Colonial Connecticut Town” with Grant Hayter-Menzies, Daryl D’Angelo and Donald Roddy

Posted in Audio, History, Live Events, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2013-10-03 03:25Z by Steven

“Slavery, Freedom and Reunion in a Colonial Connecticut Town” with Grant Hayter-Menzies, Daryl D’Angelo and Donald Roddy

Research at the National Archives and Beyond
BlogTalk Radio
Thursday, 2013-10-03, 21:00 EDT, (Friday, 2013-10-04, 01:00Z)

Bernice Bennett, Host

In June 1759, Norwich, Connecticut businessman Benajah Bushnell sold Guy Drock, a slave of African ancestry, to Sarah Powers, the Caucasian woman Drock had possibly married. Ironically, this deed freed Drock from Bushnell’s control but not from slavery. In March 2012, descendants of Guy and Sarah Drock and of Benajah Bushnell came together in Norwich for the first time in over two centuries. Drock descendants Daryl D’Angelo and Donald Roddy—who when they began their research years earlier did not know they had African ancestry, and Bushnell descendant Grant Hayter-Menzies—who thought only his Southern ancestors were slave owners—met to try to understand a legacy they did not know they shared. In the town where their past began, they sought to explore the personal impact of their ancestors’ intertwined histories, how the past has shaped them, their research and their interactions with one another today, and the relatively unknown institution of slavery in early New England.

  • Grant Hayter-Menzies is an internationally published biographer and journalist .
  • Daryl D’Angelo is a wife and mother, photographer and writer, and lives in a small town [Amherst] in southern New Hampshire.
  • Donald Roddy is a 78 year old retired Airline Pilot.

For more information, click here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Issue Brief – Race and Ethnicity Matters: Concepts and Challenges of Racial and Ethnic Classifications in Public Health

Posted in Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Reports, United States on 2013-04-22 02:17Z by Steven

Issue Brief – Race and Ethnicity Matters: Concepts and Challenges of Racial and Ethnic Classifications in Public Health

The Connecticut Health Disparities Project
Connecticut Department of Public Health
Hartford, Connecticut
Fall 2007

Alison Stratton, PhD

Ava Nepaul, MA

Margaret Hynes, PhD, MPH

Race, Ethnicity and Health Disparities: An Introduction

Extraordinary improvements in the health of all Americans have been made since the early 20th century. However, not everyone benefits equally from these advances in the public’s health. Nor is every group equally burdened by the leading causes of death, which in the United States today are no longer infectious diseases, but rather chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes.

“Health disparities”—those avoidable differences in health among specific population groups that result from cumulative social disadvantages (Stratton, Hynes, and Nepaul 2007)—exist for many minority populations in the United States. As used here, “minorities” are those populations in a society that are in a position of cultural and political non-dominance and disadvantage. As a result, they may experience reduced healthcare quality and access, and increased rates of disease, disability, and death compared to the overall U.S. population. For example, U.S. minority populations might include racial and ethnic minorities, limited English proficiency populations, people living in poverty, and homeless persons.

The Connecticut Health Disparities Project at the Department of Public Health (DPH), in conjunction with other agencies and programs, is taking a new look at health disparities and the collection of “race” and “ethnicity” data. Differential treatment of people based on the ideas of race and ethnicity is a social reality for all Americans (Nepaul, Hynes and Stratton 2007) and has a large impact on Americans’ health and general well-being. In order to track the health impact of these ideas of race and ethnicity, health departments at all levels need to collect consistent and comprehensive health information using racial and ethnic classification tools.

However, race and ethnicity data alone are not sufficient to accurately depict health disparities (Nepaul, Hynes and Stratton 2007). In fact, social structural factors (such as poverty, [low income environments, socioeconomic status and social supports) are equally if not more important as fundamental causes of health disparities (Link and Phelan 1995).

In this Issue Brief, then, we seek to address these questions: How have people defined and used the concepts of “race,” and “ethnicity?” How useful or consistent is our current collection of racial and ethnic data in the effort to reduce and eliminate health disparities? What other factors have an impact on people’s health? Below we: 1) introduce the history, theoretical foundations, and uses of the ideas of “race” and ethnicity” in public health data collection; 2) discuss why they are difficult, yet necessary, concepts to use in studying health in the United States; and 3) stress the need for inclusion of socio-economic and other demographic factors in the collection and analysis of health data to more fully illuminate health disparities…

…Race and ethnicity are neither scientifically reliable nor valid categories, and assignments to racial or ethnic categories are often based on observer biases, changing situational identities, and historical-political vagaries (Lee 1993; Kaplan and Bennett 2003; Williams 2007). In real life, people do not have only one fixed racial or ethnic identity which remains the same over time and space and that can be accurately measured. A further complication inherent in categorization is that people embrace biracial, multiracial, and multi-ethnic identities, which makes the categories even more difficult to sustain, compare, and enumerate. Current racial and ethnic categories for federal data collection are not sensitive to the complex intra-group heterogeneity that exists in the nation (Kaplan and Bennett 2003; Office of Management and Budget 1997).

Despite such inconsistencies in use and logic, the ideology of race is deeply ingrained in American culture. People acting on these beliefs and practices create a social reality for themselves and others based in part on these perceived racial or ethnic differences between people. This reality includes the structures, beliefs and practices of health care, medicine and economics that contribute to health disparities for minority populations (Williams, Lavizzo-Mourey and Warren 1994)…

Read the entire report here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Firsting and Lasting: Writing Indians out of Existence in New England

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2012-03-28 15:35Z by Steven

Firsting and Lasting: Writing Indians out of Existence in New England

University of Minnesota Press
296 pages
25 b&w photos, 2 tables
5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8166-6578-5
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8166-6577-8

Jean M. O’Brien, (White Earth Ojibwe) Professor of History
University of Minnesota

Across nineteenth-century New England, antiquarians and community leaders wrote hundreds of local histories about the founding and growth of their cities and towns. Ranging from pamphlets to multivolume treatments, these narratives shared a preoccupation with establishing the region as the cradle of an Anglo-Saxon nation and the center of a modern American culture. They also insisted, often in mournful tones, that New England’s original inhabitants, the Indians, had become extinct, even though many Indians still lived in the very towns being chronicled.

In Firsting and Lasting, Jean M. O’Brien argues that local histories became a primary means by which European Americans asserted their own modernity while denying it to Indian peoples. Erasing and then memorializing Indian peoples also served a more pragmatic colonial goal: refuting Indian claims to land and rights. Drawing on more than six hundred local histories from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island written between 1820 and 1880, as well as censuses, monuments, and accounts of historical pageants and commemorations, O’Brien explores how these narratives inculcated the myth of Indian extinction, a myth that has stubbornly remained in the American consciousness.

In order to convince themselves that the Indians had vanished despite their continued presence, O’Brien finds that local historians and their readers embraced notions of racial purity rooted in the century’s scientific racism and saw living Indians as “mixed” and therefore no longer truly Indian. Adaptation to modern life on the part of Indian peoples was used as further evidence of their demise. Indians did not—and have not—accepted this effacement, and O’Brien details how Indians have resisted their erasure through narratives of their own. These debates and the rich and surprising history uncovered in O’Brien’s work continue to have a profound influence on discourses about race and indigenous rights.

Tags: , , , , , ,