In the News #bigisms #racism
Jack Guy, March 26, 2020, CNN
(CNN) — A woman who was taken from Africa when she was just two years old has been identified as the last known survivor of the transatlantic slave trade.
Matilda McCrear was taken from West Africa to Mobile, Alabama, on board the last slave transport ship, the Clotilda, in July 1860, a UK researcher has discovered, uncovering the life of a remarkable woman.
McCrear was transported alongside her mother Gracie, three older sisters, and a man who became her stepfather, according to a press release from Newcastle University. Her two brothers were left in West Africa.
McCrear, her mother and one sister were bought by the same slaveowner, while the other two siblings were never seen again.
She died in 1940 when she was 81 or 82. McCrear's grandson, Johnny Crear, now 83 years old, said he had "no idea" she had been on the Clotilda and said the new information will help him trace his family tree.
SNCC and/in the North
Say Burgin, March 24, 2020, Black Perspectives
This year, one of the most important civil rights movement groups, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) celebrates the 60th anniversary of its founding. SNCC’s brilliance laid in its community organizing practices. It empowered people in communities big and small – and often amidst great danger – to see themselves as capable of effecting change. These are the contributions for which it has become most well-known, but there are still aspects of SNCC’s complex, multi-layered history about which we know too little. With this in mind, I’d like to shine some light on a lesser-known branch of SNCC’s work, the network of Friends of SNCC groups that developed across the country. The history of these groups highlights how crucial organized sympathizers were to SNCC’s success, as well as the ways in which Friends of SNCC activism could open up struggles against racism in the Jim Crow North.
Madam C.J. Walker tackled the politics of black hair. More than a century later, the battle still rages on.
Helena Andrews-Dyer, March 23, 2020, The Washington Post
“Hair can be freedom or bondage. The choice is yours,” Sarah Breedlove shouts to a growing crowd of black women as she shows off her homemade “hair grower” — palm-sized tins of hope — in the Netflix limited series Self Made.
In the scene, Sarah isn’t yet Madam C.J. Walker: the first female African American millionaire who employed nearly 10,000 workers, owned bustling factories run by women and built a mansion next to John D. Rockefeller’s. But even without the fancy name, Sarah has vision and quickly emerges as the loudest voice in what we now know as the Great Conversation about black hair. Should it be straight? Natural? Judged? Touched? Left alone?
A century later, society is still trying to answer those questions. And Self Made, an earnest zip through Walker’s extraordinary life told in four episodes released Friday, is part of a cultural groundswell about African American women’s hair that has been growing — like the Madam’s first miracle product — for some time.
Fighting racism includes fighting for property, says Brazilian activist
Nações Unidas Brasil, March 24, 2020
For 30 years, Brazilian activist Damião Braga, 53, has been fighting for the right of people of African descent to access land and property in Rio de Janeiro.
On the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, this year raising awareness to the dangers of racism and prejudice, his struggle is newly in focus.
A quilombola leader, he is frequently the target of threats and violence because of his activism. He demands from the State and the justice system the transfer of properties in a historical area of the city to the descendants of enslaved people.
During slavery (16th to 19th century), the term quilombola referred to the enslaved African people and Afro-descendants who fled the sugar cane mills and farms to form small villages called quilombos.
Viewing Blackness Through the Lives of the Medici
Katy Simpson Smith, March 24, 2020, Literary Hub
There are two extant paintings of Giulia de’ Medici, a noblewoman who lived in 16th-century Italy and did noblewoman things, like marrying a cousin and stockpiling land. In one image she’s a young woman surrounded by symbols of Medici power, and in the other she’s a child, pout-faced and vulnerable. So vulnerable, in fact, that at some point she was entirely painted out—perhaps because she was an illegitimate child, or because she was a girl, or because she had African ancestry.
The Medici, one of the richest and most pope-producing families of Renaissance Italy, had a line descended from Simonetta da Collevecchio, an enslaved or indentured woman who was thought to be Moorish. Alessandro, Duke of Florence, was her son, curly-headed and dark-skinned; Giulia was his daughter, often described as being a mirror of her father. Alessandro was also called “Il Moro,” the Moor, though possibly not till after his death. His Blackness may have been inscribed onto his body later by rivals, or by historians who saw his reign as peculiarly tyrannical.