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Showing posts from 2019

That’s right, slaveowners got reparations

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When Slaveowners Got Reparations
Tera W. Hunter, April 16, 2019, The New York Times




On April 16, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill emancipating enslaved people in Washington, the end of a long struggle. But to easeslaveowners’ pain, the District of Columbia Emancipation Act paid those loyal to the Union up to $300 for every enslaved person freed.

That’s right, slaveowners got reparations. Enslaved African-Americans got nothing for their generations of stolen bodies, snatched children and expropriated labor other than their mere release from legal bondage.

The compensation clause is not likely to be celebrated today. But as the debate about reparations for slavery intensifies, it is important to remember that slaveowners, far more than enslaved people, were always the primary beneficiaries of public largess.

The act is notable because it was the first time that the federal government authorized abolition of slavery, which hastened its demise in Virginia and Mary…

Knock Down The House | Official Trailer | Netflix

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“Contemptible Collectibles”

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Contemptible Collectibles Posted: 22 Apr 2019 Content Note: This post discusses racist memorabilia in sociological context and provides an image of one collection critical of this memorabilia below the page break.

Why do some people collect racist memorabilia and artifacts? Objects depicting African Americans in derogatory and stereotypical ways are commonly referred to as “black memorabilia” or “black Americana,” although scholar Patricia Turner more aptly names them “contemptible collectibles.”
As documented by David Pilgrim, founder and curator of the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia, these artifacts include everyday objects like toys and games, household items such as cookie jars, and postcards. Although usually associated with the Jim Crow era, many of the items are still produced or reproduced today, and all draw on racial caricatures, such as the “mammy,” “Tom,” “picanniny,” and “brute,” among others.
Not without controversy, “contemptible collectibles” hav…

Real Viking History and the Imagined White Supremacist Past

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In the 19th century, Romantic German nationalism metastasized into the Völkish movement, which was interested in historical narratives that bolstered a white German nation state. The movement rewrote history, drawing on folklore such as that of Brothers Grimm, medieval epics and a dedication to racial white supremacy.

READ: Real Viking History and the Imagined White Supremacist Past | Time

In Favor of Reparations

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Georgetown students vote in favor of reparations for enslaved people
Susan Svrluga, April 12, 2019, The Washington Post



Georgetown University students voted overwhelmingly for a proposal to create a fund to help descendants of the enslaved people sold in the 19th century at a time when the school struggled to pay off debts, results released Friday show.

Two-thirds of undergraduate students who voted in the student government referendum supported the measure, one that is not binding but still sends a message to university administrators and beyond.

The vote comes at a time when reparations have been an issue nationally, promoted by some Democratic presidential candidates, and as a growing number of universities are exploring the role of slavery at their institutions.

Student activists who came up with the idea and campaigned for it gathered early Friday, waiting for vote results to be announced on social media by student government leaders. They were holding their phones, a…

Monumental Cloth: Its Insidious Presence in Popular Culture

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A Monumental Cloth That Tells a New Truth About the US Civil War
Jasmine Weber, April 9, 2019, Hyperallergic



PHILADELPHIA — Yoga mats, decorative throw pillows, beach towels, do-rags, and wedding rings: all objects you can purchase today emblazoned with the Confederate battle flag.

Though Confederate soldiers waved a number of flags, none have become as culturally emblematic and parasitic as the rebel flag we know today. But contemporary artist Sonya Clark is challenging its insidious presence in popular culture.

Hate and racial discrimination is an easy disease to catch in this nation,” Clark said during a tour of her recently opened exhibition Monumental Cloth, The Flag We Should Know. Even if we can take down statues heralding Confederate generals, she says, the symbol of the rebel flag is “far more pervasive and problematic.” And to this problem, Clark has presented a solution.

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How historians got Nike to pull an ad campaign — in under six hours

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How historians got Nike to pull an ad campaign — in under six hours
Megan Kate Nelson, April 12, 2019, The Washington Post



It was still early on March 30 when historian Amy Kohout began scrolling through her Instagram feed. An image caught her eye: an ad by Nike promoting its new line of Trail Running gear, which launched this month. It had a throwback feel: a vivid image of a lone runner on a dirt path, bolting along a green bluff above an ocean with inspirational text beneath, urging potential buyers to abandon all of their wayfinding technologies and become reacquainted with “the feeling of being lost.”

These were nice sentiments. But what gave Kohout pause was the slogan in large font underneath the photograph: “The Lost Cause.” And then there was the final sentence: “Because the lost cause will always be a cause worth supporting.”

For historians of the American South and the Civil War, these words are alarming. The Lost Cause was a story that white southerners told th…

40th anniversary Black 14 Protests

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'We were villains': how Wyoming's Black 14 blazed the trail for Missouri protests Forty-six years ago, a group of 14 black football players at the University of Wyoming banded together in the name of enacting social change – and were promptly kicked off the team. See discussion
Panel discussion regarding the Black 14 protests in Wyoming
NEWS

Deep Roots

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Actually, the Electoral College Was a Pro-Slavery Ploy
Akhil Reed Amar, April 6, 2019, The New York Times



Many Americans are critical of the Electoral College, an attitude that seems to have intensified since Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election despite losing the popular vote. These critics often make two arguments: first, that electing the president by direct popular vote would be preferable in a democracy; and second, that the Electoral College has disreputable origins, having been put into the Constitution to protect the institution of slavery.

Defenders of the Electoral College often counter that it was designed not to help maintain slavery but for other reasons, many of them still relevant, such as to balance the power of big states against that of small states. (Even some critics of the Electoral College have made this argument.)

Both sides are misguided. There are legitimate reasons to keep the Electoral College system, odd and c…

Enslaved People Never Caught Up

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What Southern dynasties’ post-Civil War resurgence tell us about how wealth is really handed down
Andrew Van Dam, April 4, 2019, The Washington Post



Emancipation should have laid waste to the Southern aristocracy. The economy was built on the forced labor of enslaved Africans, and almost half the Confederacy’s wealth was invested in owning humans. Once people could no longer be treated as chattel, that wealth evaporated.

But less than two decades after the Civil War, Southern slave-owning dynasties were back on top of the economic ladder, according to an ambitious new analysis from Leah Boustan of Princeton University, Katherine Eriksson of the University of California at Davis and Philipp Ager of the University of Southern Denmark.

Their research upends the conventional wisdom that slave owners struggled after they lost access to their wealth. Yes, some fell behind economically in the war’s aftermath. But by 1880, the sons of slave owners were better off than the sons of …

a woman named Redoshi

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She Survived a Slave Ship, the Civil War and the Depression. Her Name Was Redoshi.
Sandra E. Garcia, April 3, 2019, The New York Times

It has long been believed that a man named Cudjo Lewis was the last living survivor of the trans-Atlantic slave trade in the United States. Now a researcher at Newcastle University in Britain says she has discovered testimony from someone who may have lived even longer — a woman named Redoshi.

The new findings, published last week in the journal Slavery & Abolition, are likely to be subject to scholarly debate, because there are few records documenting the lives of the last Africans to be captured and brought to the United States on slave ships.

Regardless of Redoshi’s precise historical status, the researcher, Hannah Durkin, has pieced together accounts from different sources and census records to carve out the remarkable life of a woman who survived the treacherous Middle Passage voyage at age 12, was sold as a child bride, and lived …

A Race to Digitize

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Archivists race to digitize slavery records before the history is lost (audio)
Rupa Shenoy, April 04, 2019, Public Radio International



Abu Koroma is the archivist in training at the National Archives of Sierra Leone — and he’ll remain the archivist in training until one of the two senior archivists retire.

“That is how it is done,” he laughed.

When Koroma started at the archives in 2004, Sierra Leone was emerging from civil war. He was fresh out of high school and his parents had died, so he needed the small salary badly. And the archives fascinated Koroma. They date back to the first treaty regional leaders made with British colonists in 1788. After Britain outlawed participation in the slave trade in 1807, British administrators in colonial Sierra Leone filled books with descriptions of each liberated African.

“Most times when I’m in the archives alone, I think I want to be a professor, and I will start writing books,” Koroma said.

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Churches Burning

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3 Black Churches Have Burned in 10 Days in a Single Louisiana Parish
Richard Fausset, April 5, 2019, The New York Times



ATLANTA — Three historically black churches have burned in less than two weeks in one south Louisiana parish, where officials said they had found “suspicious elements” in each case. The officials have not ruled out the possibility of arson, or the possibility that the fires are related.

“There is clearly something happening in this community,” State Fire Marshal H. Browning said in a statement on Thursday. “That is why it is imperative that the citizens of this community be part of our effort to figure out what it is.”

The three fires occurred on March 26, Tuesday and Thursday in St. Landry Parish, north of Lafayette. A fourth fire, a small blaze that officials said was “intentionally set,” was reported on Sunday at a predominantly black church in Caddo Parish, about a three-hour drive north.

“But just as we haven’t connected the three in St. Landry, we h…

Deadly Deception

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The United States government committed an act of torture against U.S. citizens in direct violation of the U.S. Constitution and human rights.  For forty years between 1932 and 1972, the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) department, conducted an experiment on 399 black men infected with syphilis. These men, for the most part, were poor farmers from one of the poorest counties in Alabama. They were never told what disease they were suffering from or its seriousness. The doctors that were treating them had no intention of curing them of syphilis, they were ordered to lie to them in order to collect data. The government wanted information on how the disease progressed, what damage it would do to the human body, and any additional information once it killed them. They especially wanted information to be collected from the autopsies of the men, and they were thus deliberately left to degenerate under the ravages of tertiary syphilis. The men suffered and died with symptoms that …

Tre Maison Dason Premier Tonite

An estimated one in 14 American children is growing up with a parent in prison. #TreMaisonDasanPBS premieres tonight at 10/9c (via @Colorlines) https://t.co/4Is5QpRYdq — Independent Lens|PBS (@IndependentLens) April 1, 2019
New PBS Doc 'Tre Maison Dason' Explores Growing Up With An Incarcerated ParentOne in 14 American children has a parent who is currently, or was previously, in prison. “Tre Maison Dasan” follows three of these children.
Tiarra MukherjeeApr 1, 201912:17PM EDT "Tre Maison Dasan" is a moving portrait told through the eyes of three young boys growing up with a parent in jail. Denali Tiller’s new film, “Tre Maison Dasan,” is an eye-opening look at the way children are punished for their parents’ crimes, an underexposed social disruption we ignore at our peril.

According to a report by The Sentencing Project, an estimated one in 14 American children is growing up with a parent in prison. “Tre Maison Dasan” follows three of these children and thei…

What making America great again really means

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What White Supremacists Know What making America great again really means. by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, from Evil Empire | Spring 2019


More than 4,400 African-American men, women, and children were hanged, burned alive, shot, drowned, and beaten to death by white mobs between 1877 and 1950. The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, in Montgomery, Alabama, is a sacred space for truth-telling and reflection about racial terror in America and its legacy. Photo and caption courtesy Soniakapdia via Creative Commons.
The United States has been at war every day since its founding, often covertly and often in several parts of the world at once. As ghastly as that sentence is, it still does not capture the full picture. Indeed, prior to its founding, what would become the United States was engaged—as it would continue to be for more than a century following—in internal warfare to piece together its continental territory. Even during the Civil War, both the Union …

The release of Modern Slavery Data Stories

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Governments Are Not Effectively Tackling Modern Slavery, New UN Data Tool ShowsHuman Wrongs Watch29 March 2019 — A new UN data tool created by the United Nations University’s Centre for Policy Research, has revealed that, worldwide, government aid and policy to end modern slavery is not being effectively directed towards the places where the practice is most prevalent.* ILO/A. Khemka | Forced labour often means unpaid wages, excessively long work hours without rest days, confiscation of ID documents, little freedom of movement, deception, intimidation and physical or sexual violence. ILO/A. Khemka The release of Modern Slavery Data Stories, a series of easily understandable animated graphics, gives detailed pictures of the ways that factors related to modern slavery have changed over time, and comes during a period when over 40 million people are living in slavery, more than ever before in human history. UN-led research shows that half of those enslaved are working as force…

The Case for Reparations

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The Whitening of a President

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Six artists each shared their version of the portrait and their perspective on the whitening of Nieto and the necessity in questioning whether or not should to be black in order to speak about Afro-Colombian identity.

READ: The Whitening Of A President | Contemporary And

Theory? Polygenism

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Harvard University sued over allegedly profiting from what are believed to be the earliest photos of American slaves
Joseph Garrison, March 20, 2019, USA Today



BOSTON — In 1850, a Swiss-born Harvard University professor commissioned what are believed to be the earliest photos of American slaves.

The images, known as daguerreotypes and taken in a South Carolina studio, are crude and dehumanizing — and they were used to promote racist beliefs.

Among the photographed: an African man named Renty and his daughter Delia. They were stripped naked and photographed from several angles. Former professor Louis Agassiz, a biologist, had the photos taken to support an erroneous theory called polygenism that he and others used to argue African-Americans were inferior to white people.

Now, a woman who claims to be a direct descendant of that father and child – Tamara Lanier, the great-great-great granddaughter of Renty – is suing Harvard over the photos.

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More evidence of Racial Bias

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Stanford researchers looked at 100 million police traffic stops and found a lot of racial bias.

READ: Inside 100 million police traffic stops: New evidence of racial bias

Racism meets sexism

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MMCA 2018 Sizzle Reel - Moving The Needle On Media Diversity

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On Resentment

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A young Black Frenchman aims a gun at le flic that gunned down his friend; a Filipino youth stabs his girlfriend’s pimp to death; an Argentine colonial official has both his hands axed off. These are just some of the dramatic scenes in the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s (BAM) new series, On Resentment, in dialogue with our time’s own resentful, violent zeitgeist, often in the context of marginalized communities and racism.  Emily Wang and Matthew Shen Goodman, the editors of Triple Canopy magazine, which co-presented the series with BAM curator Ashley Clark, ask in their online essay, “A Note on Resentment”:
What are the possibilities and limitations of resentment—as a basis for thinking, speaking, and writing, establishing intimacy and forging solidarity? How does resentment shape not only how we speak but what we say? How is resentment stoked, policed, circulated, and mobilized? How does resentment channel our attentions and efforts, and to what ends?read

Failures | Diets

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Ida B. Wells vs. Frances Willard: Getting to the truth of a failure to fight racial injustice
Leslie Harris and Lori Osborne, March 11, 2019, The Chicago Sun-Times

The failure of the early Women’s Movement to incorporate black voices was glaringly obvious in the clash between two Chicago-area titans of women’s history: Ida B. Wells and Frances Willard.

Under Willard’s leadership, the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union increasingly became an advocate for broad social as well as political change. However, in 1894 and 1895, Willard and anti-lynching activist Wells fought a war of words in the international press that leaders of today’s movements for equality would do well to bear in mind.

Frustrated that white reformers such as Willard failed to stand with her against the terrible violence being perpetrated by lynch mobs against blacks in the South, Wells publicly called Willard to account. She convinced an English newspaper to reprint a previously published interview in whic…

Where we live makes a difference

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Over one in ten households in the U.S. spends more than half their income on housing costs – a financial burden that is associated with increased food insecurity, child poverty and a greater proportion of people in fair or poor health – according to new research conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.
The annual collaboration, County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, analyzes the factors that influence health, such as structural factors, access to and quality of health care, and personal health behaviors, as well as health outcomes for almost every county in the nation. This year’s analysis, which examines both location and race, has a particular emphasis on housing. The research reveals that in the most segregated counties nearly one in four black households spends more than half their income on housing, compared with one in 10 white households.


Here are some of the key findings:
On average, rates of “seve…

American schools can’t figure out how to teach kids about slavery

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American schools can’t figure out how to teach kids about slavery
P.R. Lockhart,  March 13, 2019, Vox.com



A white teacher at an affluent New York private school has been accused of holding a mock slave auction for her students in which white fifth-graders pretended to bid on their black peers.

Yes, seriously. This is a real news story. In 2019. From just last week, in fact. And it’s merely the latest in a long line of high-profile controversies revolving around poorly conceived lessons about slavery in American schools.

The latest story comes from the Chapel School in Bronxville, New York, a private school in an affluent, predominantly white neighborhood north of Manhattan. According to New York’s PIX11 news, fifth-grade teacher Rebecca Antinozzi allegedly had her black students leave the classroom and, according to one student, pretended “to put imaginary chains along our necks and wrists, and shackles on our ankles.”

The teacher then led the students back into the classro…

More Bullshit about Indians and Slaves and Guns

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Can’t someone just be honest about the Founders? They were racist, misogynist, greedy, elitist bastards. We should stop caring what they thought. Let’s talk about whether the felon dispossession law is fair as a matter of public policy now, not whether those dead white guys thought it was a good idea. And BTW, if we do that, we leave judges out of that conversation.
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The Netherlands: Untold Tales

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Analyzing the Past and Decolonizing the Future The Netherlands was one of the most belligerent European colonial empires. Driven by commerce and spread over four continents, their imperial ambitions changed the lives and cultures of millions of people from Indonesia to the Caribbean. In this series artists and arts practitioners share their thoughts on how to deal with the legacies of that empire, in the Netherlands and beyond.

Afterlives of Slavery addresses the Netherlands’ colonial past and its lingering presence, taking the local audience as a focal point. A major aspiration of the exposition is to call immediate attention to the country’s colonial violence and its role in the transatlantic slave trade. However, the conditions of production, the grid format, the limited scope of the material selected, the choice of a video that promises non-threatening education, and the almost complete absence of works by artists of color born in the Netherlands or in the former colonies s…

Ugly American Tradition

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Policing black Americans is a long-standing, and ugly, American tradition
Vanessa Holden and Edward E. Baptist, March 6, 2019, The Washington Post



In recent years, news cycle after news cycle has focused on Americans, many of them white, who took it upon themselves to police their black neighbors. A white Yale graduate student called campus police officers to report a black student sleeping in a common room. A white golf course proprietor called the police on a group of black women because, apparently, playing a round too slowly is a crime. Twelve-year-old Reggie Fields was reported to the police for mowing a lawn. Stephanie Sebby-Strempel ultimately pleaded guilty to third-degree assault after harassing an African American teenager who dared to go swimming while black. And on Feb. 26, 2012, George Zimmerman, a neighborhood vigilante, killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla.

These incidents are not historically unusual. What’s new is the outcome, at least in some…

The Shadow of White Slavery

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Yale Podcast

More reading:
Nell Painter. History of White People (New York: Norton, 2010). https://www.amazon.com/History-White-People-Irvin-Painter/dp/0393339742

The Embrace

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Artist Hank Willis Thomas' and MASS Design Group's "The Embrace," a bronze-finish sculpture of two pairs of giant arms embracing each other, has been chosen to honor Coretta Scott King and Martin Luther King Jr. on the Boston Common. Thomas is an acclaimed conceptual artist focused on issues of history and identity. He said the 22-foot-high proposed sculpture was inspired by an iconic photo of the Kings embracing after King Jr. had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The photo, he said, looks almost as if Coretta is supporting Martin's weight. READ

Increasing women’s economic equality would reduce poverty for everyone

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Source
Gender inequality in the economy costs women in developing countries $9 trillion a year – a sum which would not only give new spending power to women and benefit their families and communities, but would also provide a massive boost to the economy as a whole.
Countries with higher levels of gender equality tend to have higher income levels, and evidence from a number of regions and countries shows closing the gap leads to reduction in poverty.
In Latin America for instance, an increase in the number of women in paid work between 2000 and 2010 accounted for around 30 percent of the overall reduction in poverty and income inequality.
Supporting women to have access to quality and decent work and improve their livelihoods is therefore vital for fulfilling women’s rights, reducing poverty and attaining broader development goals.
Women’s economic empowerment is a key part of achieving this. We need a human economy that works for women and men alike, and for everyone, not …

Our Beloved Kin

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Bancroft Prize for History Is Awarded to 2 Scholars
Jennifer Schuessler, March 7, 2019, The New York Times

A mammoth biography of Frederick Douglass and a new study of the 17th-century colonial American conflict known as King Philip’s War have won this year’s Bancroft Prize, which is considered one of the most prestigious honors in the field of American history.

David W. Blight’s Frederick Douglass, Prophet of Freedom, published by Simon and Schuster, was cited for offering “a definitive portrait” of the 19th-century former slave, abolitionist, writer and orator “in all his fullness and imperfection, his intellectual gifts and emotional needs.”

Lisa Brooks’s Our Beloved Kin, published by Yale University Press, was praised for how it “imaginatively illuminates submerged indigenous histories,” drawing readers into “a complex world of tensions, alliances and betrayals” that fueled the conflict between Native Americans in New England and European colonists and their Indian al…

The Mixed Beauty Julia Jones

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Julia Jones was born on January 23, 1981 in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. She is an actress, known for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010), Westworld (2016) and Wind River (2017) and Cold Pursuit (2019)

Studied at The Boston Ballet School from the age of 4.
Modelled for Levis, The Gap, Esprit, and L'Oreal.
Graduated from Columbia University with a degree in English.
Her father had a gym locker next to the gym locker of Maura Tierney's father. Westworld (TV Series)
Kohana - The Passenger (2018) ... Kohana - Kiksuya (2018) ... Kohana She is part English, Native American (Choctaw and Chickasaw) and African-American.
[On growing up in Jamaica Plain, Boston] One of the great things about growing up there was that it's so ethnically diverse, you didn't really pay attention to race. My dad is part Choctaw, Chickasaw and African American. I didn't realize the significance of not being white until I moved to LA.


If we unite?

Malcolm X on Unity pic.twitter.com/sa2ljDDHIH — Kentah Gwanjez (@GWANJEZ) March 6, 2019

Tackling Racism: Symbolic Progress vs REAL Progress

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on the side of the Revolutionists

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The author of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, which takes a big swipe at weapons of mass destruction, noted near the end of his life:“I am always on the side of the revolutionists, because there never was a revolution unless there were some oppressive and intolerable conditions against which to revolute.” 

Thanks, Mr. Twain. I’m glad you said that.

Slavery brought to light — and to life – in harrowing detail

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Slavery brought to light — and to life – in harrowing detail
Katharine Shilcutt, February 25, 2019, Rice University News & Media



The Amistad is arguably the best known of all the ships that carried slaves to the U.S. Memorialized in Steven Spielberg’s 1997 film of the same name, it was also at the center of the landmark 1841 Supreme Court case United States v. Schooner Amistad, which was second only to Dred Scott v. Sandford in its legal impact on the abolition of slavery in America.

But anyone interested in learning more about the Amistad through Voyages, the world’s leading online resource on slaving vessels, came up empty-handed. Searching the website and its list of 37,000 trans-Atlantic expeditions produced nothing on the infamous ship.

That’s because the Amistad, like many other slaving vessels, was on an intra-American course. And until recently, the Voyages website was limited to slave-trading voyages that crossed the Atlantic Ocean.

That’s one reason Voyages wil…

sexism is the primal, or first, form of oppression in humanity

Sexism is a form of oppression and domination. As author Octavia Butler put it, "Simple peck-order bullying is only the beginning of the kind of hierarchical behavior that can lead to racism, sexism, ethnocentrism, classism, and all the other 'isms' that cause so much suffering in the world."

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Little Man Little Man

White Fragility