A Colored Woman in a White World

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, United States, Women on 2015-11-03 02:07Z by Steven

A Colored Woman in a White World

Humanity Books (an imprint of Prometheus Books)
2005 (originally published in 1940)
488 pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-59102-322-7

Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954)

With a New Foreword by Debra Newman Ham

Though today she is little known, Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954) was one of the most remarkable women of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Active in both the civil rights movement and the campaign for women’s suffrage, Terrell was a leading spokesperson for the National American Woman Suffrage Association, the first president of the National Association of Colored Women, and the first black woman appointed to the District of Columbia Board of Education and the American Association of University Women. She was also a charter member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. In this autobiography, originally published in 1940, Terrell describes the important events and people in her life.

Terrell began her career as a teacher, first at Wilberforce College and then at a high school in Washington, D.C., where she met her future husband, Robert Heberton Terrell. After marriage, the women’s suffrage movement attracted her interests and before long she became a prominent lecturer at both national and international forums on women’s rights. A gifted speaker, she went on to pursue a career on the lecture circuit for close to thirty years, delivering addresses on the critical social issues of the day, including segregation, lynching, women’s rights, the progress of black women, and various aspects of black history and culture. Her talents and many leadership positions brought her into close contact with influential black and white leaders, including Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Robert Ingersoll, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Jane Addams, and others.

With a new introduction by Debra Newman Ham, professor of history at Morgan State University, this new edition of Mary Church Terrell’s autobiography will be of interest to students and scholars of both women’s studies and African American history.

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Who’s Black, Who’s Not, and Who Cares?

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2013-03-16 18:08Z by Steven

Who’s Black, Who’s Not, and Who Cares?

Uptown Magazine

Yaba Blay, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies
Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

“What are you?” It’s a question I have never been asked. I am Black. Period. The color of my skin is reflective of my Ghanaian ancestry and by its dark tone, everyone I encounter knows exactly what I am. Although I have lived most of my life acutely aware of the disadvantages assigned my complexion, it is not until recently, when I began to encounter people who identify as Black but don’t necessarily “look Black,” that I began to realize some of the privileges my dark skin carries; the most profound of which is its ability to unambiguously communicate my identity, not only to other people, but to other Black people. They know I am Black. I can rest assured that when someone in the room is talking about Black people, they realize that they are talking about my people. I also know that if I say “we” when talking about Black people, no one looks at me like I’m crazy, no one laughs at me as if I am somehow confused about my identity, and no one takes offense because they suspect I am somehow perpetrating a fraud. My Black is that Black that everyone knows is Black for a fact…

…On the one hand, we may reject our lighter skinned sisters and brothers because of their multiracial-ness, whether actual – “You’re mixed, you’re not Black” – or assumed – “You’re so light, you must be mixed.” But then on the other hand, most of us would concede that the large majority of Black people, particularly African Americans, are of mixed heritage. So, which one is it?

How did we get here? When did we abandon our cultural and political understandings of Blackness for more phenotypical ones? And do such narrow constructions of Blackness ultimately benefit us as community? Where would we be as a community if we had relied on skin color to determine Blackness a hundred years ago? No W.E.B. DuBois. No Mary Church Terrell. No Malcolm X. No Lena Horne. No Arturo Schomburg. And let’s understand the implications if we continue to use skin color as a gauge of racial identity – in essence, Herman Cain would be more Black than Ben Jealous….

Read the entire article here.

Dr Blay’s latest project “(1)ne Drop: Conversations on Skin Color, Race and Identity seeks to challenge narrow, yet popular perceptions of what “Blackness” is and what “Blackness” looks like. To learn more about the project, visit 1nedrop.com.

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Righteous Propagation: African Americans and the Politics of Racial Destiny after Reconstruction

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2010-02-13 00:09Z by Steven

Righteous Propagation: African Americans and the Politics of Racial Destiny after Reconstruction

University of North Carolina Press
December 2004
416 pages
6.125 x 9.25, 22 illus., notes, bibl., index
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8078-2902-8
Paper ISBN  978-0-8078-5567-6

Michele Mitchell, Associate Professor of History
New York University

Between 1877 and 1930–years rife with tensions over citizenship, suffrage, immigration, and “the Negro problem”–African American activists promoted an array of strategies for progress and power built around “racial destiny,” the idea that black Americans formed a collective whose future existence would be determined by the actions of its members. In Righteous Propagation, Michele Mitchell examines the reproductive implications of racial destiny, demonstrating how it forcefully linked particular visions of gender, conduct, and sexuality to collective well-being.

Mitchell argues that while African Americans did not agree on specific ways to bolster their collective prospects, ideas about racial destiny and progress generally shifted from outward-looking remedies such as emigration to inward-focused debates about intraracial relationships, thereby politicizing the most private aspects of black life and spurring race activists to calcify gender roles, monitor intraracial sexual practices, and promote moral purity. Examining the ideas of well-known elite reformers such as Mary Church Terrell and W. E. B. DuBois, as well as unknown members of the working and aspiring classes, such as James Dubose and Josie Briggs Hall, Mitchell reinterprets black protest and politics and recasts the way we think about black sexuality and progress after Reconstruction.

Read the prologue here.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes on Usage and Terminology
  • Prologue. To Better Our Condition One Way or Another: African Americans and the Concept of Racial Destiny
  • 1. A Great, Grand & All Important Question: African American Emigration to Liberia
  • 2. A Black Man’s Burden: Imperialism and Racial Manhood
  • 3. The Strongest, Most Intimate Hope of the Race: Sexuality, Reproduction, and Afro-American Vitality
  • 4. The Righteous Propagation of the Nation: Conduct, Conflict and Sexuality
  • 5. Making the Home Life Measure Up: Environment, Class and The Healthy Race Household
  • 6. The Colored Doll Is a Live One: Material Culture, Black Consciousness, and Cultivation of Interracial Desire
  • 7. A Burden of Responsibility: Gender, “Miscegenation,” and Race Type
  • 8. What a Pure, Healthy, Unified Race Can Accomplish: Collection Reproduction and the Sexual Politics of Black Nationalism
  • Epilogue. The Crossroads of Destiny
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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