The Seductions and Confusions of Genealogical Research

by Ann Banks' Confederates in My Closet For a long time, I thought that researching family history was a dubious pastime. Also one fraught with peril, when undertaken for the purposes of ancestor-glorification and ego-gratification.  Should you have a forebear by whom you set great store – for example, as my Aunt May did by Philip Alston, you may well learn many disreputable things about him, of which owning slaves is only one. ... According to a website compiling “ All Deceased Banks & Bankses Persons of European Origin in the U.S. . .” Dr. Banks’ Hampton, Virginia, house was burned down during the Civil War and the family was forced to flee, saving only a pair of silver candlesticks.  This colorful detail comes from the records of a Mrs. James Banks and may or may not be apocryphal. (And if it IS true, what became of those candlesticks?) I take note of the qualifying “of European Origin” in the webpage title.  In the 1840 census, Dr. Banks’s

Maury's Racist Legacy in Sciences #HonestPortrayals

Rethinking Matthew Fontaine Maury’s Racist Legacy in the Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences Helen M. Rozwadowski and Penelope Hardy Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Colloquium University of Wisconsin Aired on March 22, 2021 Amidst recent calls in the United States and elsewhere to remove statues and other references that glorify historically racist figures, we offer a reexamination of nineteenth-century naval officer Matthew Fontaine Maury, who was well-known during his lifetime for his contributions to navigation, ocean science, and meteorology. While Maury made significant contributions toward understanding and representing the ocean-atmosphere system and argued for increased support from both government and public for such studies, his work, including his science, was also inextricably involved in his nation's imperialist goals. Before and after his resignation from the United States navy to join the Confederacy during the American Civil War, Maury worked for the perpe

Understanding Trenton Doyle Hancock

  Trenton Doyle Hancock Something American Learn More about the artist  

In the News #BigIsms #JimCrow #GoldenAge #JacobLawrence

If It’s Not Jim Crow, What Is It? Jamelle Bouie, April 6, 2021, The New York Times The laws that disenfranchised Black Americans in the South and established Jim Crow did not actually say they were disenfranchising Black Americans and creating a one-party racist state. I raise this because of a debate among politicians and partisans on whether Georgia’s new election law — rushed through last month by the state’s Republican legislature and signed by Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican — is a throwback to the Jim Crow restrictions of the 20th century. continue   Bill to Expand African Burial Ground National Monument Hakim Bishara, April 4, 2021, Hyperallergic Lawmakers from the United States Senate and House of Representatives have reintroduced a bill to expand the African Burial Ground National Monument in New York into an international museum and education center. Located in Lower Manhattan, the African Burial Ground holds the remains of more than 15,000 enslaved and free Black p

Global Impact of George Floyd Murder

  Global impact Chauvin's knee became a symbol of Black oppression worldwide: in Australia and Japan, in France and Germany, in Kazakhstan and Indonesia. The case "has really become a global indictment of police forces," said Brenda Stevenson, a professor of history and African American studies at UCLA. "This is now representative of what happens everywhere — at least, that's what many people believe. …People are really watching to see if the U.S. can get it right this time." Thabi Myeni, a 23-year-old law student in Johannesburg, South Africa, had been to plenty of protests before last spring — mostly over racial equity in tuition fees. When Myeni saw the video of Floyd's death, she thought it would be another example of racial injustice going unnoticed. "I had no idea it would spark a global movement," she said. What changed for her was when South Africa's ruling party decried Floyd's killing as a "heinous murder." It struck

Cracking the Code #Eugenics #RaceScience

  A lawsuit seeks to reveal John Tanton's documents, which are locked away until 2035. Ahmad set out to discover who was, in his words, “the flamethrower.”  That same month, he learned from a  New York Times  article  that John Tanton, the  nativist  founder of prominent anti-immigration organizations, had donated a trove of documents to his alma mater, the University of Michigan, in the 1980s. With the help of an associate, Ahmad glanced through the papers’ titles listed on the  website  of the school’s Bentley Historical Library. Among the “really scary stuff” they saw was a reference to a box containing nine folders with 14 years’ worth of material related to the  Pioneer Fund , a foundation established in 1937 to promote eugenics and “race science.”  BIG READ: The secret papers that could crack open the very worst of today's anti-immigration movement   Its Own Words "[R]ace-realists view race as a natural phenomenon to observe, study, and explain. They believe

In The News #BigIsms #Looting #MuseumsHUMANRemains #JimCrow

  A forgotten 19th-century story can help us navigate today’s political fractures Ellen Gruber Garvey, March 23, 2021, The Washington Post Can Democrats truly reconcile with those Republicans who called President Biden’s election fraudulent and encouraged violent attack of the U.S. Capitol? Earlier moments in U.S. history should caution us about the lure and danger of reconciliation when one side refuses to acknowledge wrongdoing. After the Civil War, former Union partisans sought to get along with the Southerners who fought to keep Black people enslaved even after the war. But later, they doubted the wisdom of having done so. One of those people was Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), the most influential novel in the United States during the 19th century. Her famous book kindled readers’ sense that they could and must end slavery, even if that meant disrupting alliances, friendships and family ties with enslavers and their supporters. Thirty yea

Headlines: In The News #BigIsms #Racism

The long, ugly history of anti-Asian racism and violence in the U.S. Gillian Brockell, March 18, 2021, The Washington Post A gunman killed eight people at three Atlanta-area spas Tuesday night; six of the victims were women of Asian descent, sparking fears among advocacy groups that the killings may have been racially motivated. Anti-Asian hate crimes have spiked 150 percent since the pandemic began, according to a recent study. People of Asian descent have been living in the United States for more than 160 years, and have long been the target of bigotry. Here is a look at the violence and racism that Asian immigrants and Asian Americans have faced since before the Civil War. continue   ‘This Is Jim Crow in New Clothes’ Jamelle Bouie, March 19, 2021, The New York Times Senator Raphael Warnock gave his first speech on the Senate floor on Wednesday. The subject? Voting rights. “We are witnessing right now a massive and unabashed assault on voting rights unlike anything we have s

How Portugal silenced ‘centuries of violence and trauma’

There has been little acknowledgement of Portugal’s role in the transatlantic slave trade – until now. ...Portugal’s ever-more assertive and politically engaged Black population, now second-generation, are at the forefront of those in Portuguese society pushing for a more nuanced and complicated version of history to finally be told. This Movimento Negro has also brought more attention to the ongoing legacies of structural racism – in terms of police brutality, equal access to housing and education, and representation, for example. Circa 1450, Henry, known as The Navigator (1394 – 1460) the Portuguese prince, accredited with the discovery of the Madeira Islands, the Azores and the Cape Verde Islands [Hulton Archive/Getty Images] There has been little acknowledgement of Portugal’s role in the transatlantic slave trade – until now. The fascist origins of the ‘discoveries’ narrative The Monument to the Discoveries was originally created as a temporary statue made of fibrous plaster for t

IN THE NEWS! #BigIsms #FBIMurderFredHampton

  In the News America’s Political Roots Are in Eutaw, Alabama Adam Harris, February 26, 2021, The Atlantic Granddaddy’s voice was raspy; love laced his hello . His throne, a maroon recliner, filled the corner of the den in his ranch-style home. On a typical summer afternoon—during one of our weeklong sojourns back to Montgomery, Alabama, from wherever the Air Force took my dad—my cousins and I would be sprawled across the floor, keeping up a ruckus. In the evening, Granddaddy would fumble with the remote, his hands worn from years working on the telephone lines for South Central Bell, and turn on the news. He would shush all of us; this was one of his favorite times of the day. Granddaddy always wanted to know what was going on, even if he could already tell you why  it was happening. He was full of the wisdom of a man born into the sharecropping South of 1931. continue   Statues and Fields: Thoughts on our national fight over how we remember, and what we forget Neil King Jr.,

One Drop Rule

    The US Census reveals much about the country’s perspective on race. It counts people according to how the nation defines people, and historically, those people counted as Black have been those people with any known Black ancestry.  If you were white, you were free; if you were Black, you were enslaved. Simple. Racial mixing posed a number of potential problems. At a time when Blacks far outnumbered whites, whites were afraid of losing control over the enslaved population. While legally many Mixed-race individuals were considered white in many states at various points of time, socially most whites regarded anyone with any Black ancestry as Black. GOOD READ: How the “One Drop Rule” Became a Tool of White Supremacy

In The News #BigIsms #Schomburg

 MORE! In the News Op-Ed: Kevin McCarthy loves Frederick Douglass. Do you feel better now? David W. Blight, February 17, 2021, The Los Angeles Times Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) loves the great African American leader Frederick Douglass. He has a portrait of the former slave in his office at the U.S. Capitol. Does that make you feel any better? Just now many Americans are weary of, indeed fed up with, Republicans’ venality, hypocrisy and lies. But if we were hoping for at least a weekend off after the second impeachment trial ground to its inevitable end, it was not to be. Instead, as a spoiler, up stepped McCarthy, the House Republican leader, just in time for Valentine’s Day in a gesture of goodwill for Black History Month, to deliver a tribute to the master orator and writer, Douglass. In a one-minute video, as well as a longer narrative statement, McCarthy and his staff served up a tasteless batch of historical pablum. Lame, inaccurate history can seem merely in

In The News #Big Isms #OneDropRule #RedLining #GreatMigration

 T hese are amazing stories. Hope you enjoy!   She sued her enslaver for reparations and won. Her descendants never knew. Sydney Trent, February 24, 2021, The Washington Post Not long after his mother died on an October day in 2003, David Blackman journeyed with his teenage daughter from Pensacola, Fla., to the narrow, two-story brick house in Southside Chicago where he had lived as a boy. Mary Blackman’s home had once throbbed with life — the notes as she played the piano ringing through the rooms, the smell of biscuits and fudge filling the air and, not infrequently, the stern thunder of Mary’s voice as she kept her six children in line. Now the house was eerily quiet, jammed with furniture, stacks of papers and puzzles, dusty knickknacks. As David sifted through items on an old wooden sideboard in Mary’s dining room, a sheaf of papers caught his eye. He picked them up and scanned them: They were photocopies of a one-page contract written in a very old-fashioned, angular

IN THE NEWS #BigIsms #Reparations #Slavery

  In the News 'Uncomfortable truth’: The new push for a slavery reparations commission in Congress DeNeen L. Brown, February 10, 2021, The Washington Post Weeks after Democrats took control of Congress and the White House, a Black lawmaker is making a renewed push for a national commission to examine the impact of slavery and reparations for descendants of millions of enslaved Africans. Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee (D-Tex.) announced the reintroduction of H.R. 40 to create the reparations commission last month, and next week the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties is set to hear testimony on the bill. H.R. 40 has a long history in the House, championed for decades by the late Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and now by Lee. The reparations commission would study the history of slavery, the role federal and state governments played in supporting slavery, and racial discrimination against the descendants of enslaved Africans. continue  

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Indian Slavery


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