Monday, September 28, 2020

Great Things About Fall

 


I'm a summer girl! I love hot weather, I love wearing shorts, sundresses, and sandals. I love being able to go outside and not bundle up. With that said, I know there are many out there who love fall. I certainly don't mind it. 


I enjoy a change of season and that crisp smell of turning leaves in the cooler air. Fall weather seems to put me in the mood for root vegetables and homemade soup. It also stirs up the holiday spirit. Cooler weather reminds me that Thanksgiving is right around the corner!


As much as I hate to say goodbye to summer, I'll welcome the fall by enjoying these wonderful things, especially the edible ones!



  • The colorful sight of autumn leaves
  • Crisper air and crunchy leaves
  • Big comfortable sweaters
  • Cozy fires in the fireplace
  • Thanksgiving
  • Pumpkin pie
  • Hot apple cider
  • Hot chocolate

What do you like most about fall? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, September 21, 2020

Passing Strange

 

Seems like there's a lot of  reverse passing going on these days, so I thought I'd re-post this article from March of 2012.

I love exploring tales of forbidden love, and one of the most interesting I've ever read about was that of Clarence King and Ada Copeland.  Their story is told in Martha A. Sandweiss's book, Passing Strange.

Clarence King is a hero of nineteenth century western history.  He was also a brilliant scientist, best-selling author and architect of the great surveys that mapped the West after the Civil War. Secretary of State John Hay declared King “the best and brightest of his generation.”

However, King hid a secret from his friends, as well as the prominent Newport family from which he hailed:  He lived a double life.  For thirteen years King was known  as a celebrated white explorer, geologist and writer.  But he was also known as James Todd, a black Pullman porter and steel worker.

The fair skinned blue-eyed son born to a wealthy China trader passed across the color line.  This was not the usual case of a black man passing as white--but a white man passing as black!  And he didn't reveal his secret  to his black common-law wife, Ada Copeland, until his dying day.

Why did King do this?  To be with the woman he loved.  To marry Ada publicly, as the white man Clarence King, would have scandalized him and destroyed his career.

Passing Strange is a fascinating account of a sacrifice made for love.  If you like history, romance and forbidden love stories, then you'll enjoy Passing Strange!

Can you share a rather strange love story you've heard about?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, September 14, 2020

Effa Manley: Another White Woman Passing as Black

 

I'm finally blogging again after a couple of weeks with no computer access. It's nice to be back, and I'm surprised that "passing" is back in the news again! A few years ago, it was former college instructor and NAACP chapter president Rachel Dolezal, now it’s former University professor Jessica Krug. Both of these white women chose to pass as black. 

Everyone is familiar with the term trans-gender, so should a new term be created for what these women were doing? In other words, if someone chooses to racially pass, should they be considered trans-racial? If you're unfamiliar with the term "passing," here's a definition from Wikipedia:

Racial passing refers to a person classified as a member of one racial group attempting to be accepted as a member of a different racial group. The term was used especially in the U.S. to describe a person of mixed-race heritage assimilating into the white majority during times when legal and social conventions...classified the person as a minority, subject to racial segregation and discrimination.

Back in the days of segregation, lots of mixed race individuals of black and white ancestry chose to pass as white for social and economic reasons.  Effa Manley, however, was a white woman who chose to pass as black!  Her biological parents were white, but she was raised by her white mother, and her step-father who was African-American.

I'd never heard of Effa Manley, but here's some of her story from a Negro Leagues Legacy article, "The First Lady of Black Baseball," by Aimee Crawford.  

Effa Manley was ahead of her time.


In the 1930s and '40s, women were often viewed as second-class citizens, and blacks were accorded few rights. According to the established rules of society, neither were considered qualified to contend at baseball's highest level. But Effa Manley had little use for those rules -- or for establishment, for that matter.

Like greats Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby, she was a pioneer in breaking down baseball's racial barriers. Unlike those two, Manley faced the additional obstacle of gender bias.

Aggressive and progressive, glamorous and magnanimous, Manley overcame each to make her mark as one  of the most fascinating and significant figures in Negro League history. 

"She was unique and effervescent and knowledgeable," says Monte Irvin, the Hall of Famer who played shortstop and outfield for the Newark Eagles, the Negro League team Manley co-owned with her husband, Abe. "She ran the whole business end of the team."

 A born entrepreneur, Manley was the only female in the history of Negro Leagues.  Effa and Abe ran the Eagles, a Negro National League team, from 1935-48. And her considerable influence extended beyond baseball as well; she was also active in the black civil rights movement.


Manley was born March 27, 1900. Her birth, like much of her life, was controversial. Within the black community, Manley rarely discussed her heritage, and most people assumed she was a light-skinned black. But Manley claimed in an interview in 1973 that she was white.

Her mother, Bertha Ford Brooks, was white, of German and Asian-Indian descent. Effa explained that Bertha, who earned a  living as a seamstress, became pregnant by her white employer, John M. Bishop, a wealthy Philadelphian. Manley's black stepfather, Benjamin Brooks, sued Bishop and received a settlement of $10,000 before he and Bertha divorced. Bertha remarried, and Effa was raised in a household with a black step-father and black half-siblings, and so chose to live as a black person.

Effa Manley was a fascinating individual, and the first woman I'd ever heard of to "pass as black!" Had you ever heard of her, or perhaps someone else who chose to pass as something other than white?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, August 24, 2020

Tignon Laws of Louisiana

Since so many of us are wearing mandated masks in public these days due to COVID-19, I thought I'd re-post this article I wrote back in February of 2018.

Hubby found some interesting information yesterday and suggested that I use it for a blog post. I thought this was a fascinating topic, and only recently learned about myself (like literally last week in the book I'm reading White Like Her). So, thanks to Hubby, here's an article from Royal Tours of New Orleans that explains just what the tignon laws of Louisiana were: 

The tignon was the mandatory headwear for Black Creole women in Louisiana during the Spanish colonial period, and the style was adopted throughout the Caribbean island communities as well. This headdress was required by Louisiana laws in 1785. Called the Tignon Laws, they prescribed appropriate public dress for females of color in colonial society, where women of color and some white women tried to outdo each other in beauty, dress, ostentation and manners.
A Black Creole woman with a tignon
Beginning in the 1800s, tignon was a local New Orleans word for the headwrap, a variation on the French word, chignon which refers to a smooth knot or twist or arrangement of hair that is worn at the nape of the neck.

According to the Code Noir, a mother’s slave condition passed to her newborn infant.  But, due to the lack of White women in early New Orleans, it was common for White men to take a woman of color as a mistress.  Many but not all of the children born from these relationships were free.  The children would be classified as mulatto, quadroon, or octoroon according to the fraction of Black blood in the child.  With so many quadroons and octoroons in the community, it was occasionally difficult to distinguish a free or slave Black woman from a White woman.
Marie Constance, born a mulatto slave, wearing a tignon
When Spain acquired Louisiana in 1763, the concept of coartación was introduced which acknowledged the right of slaves to purchase their freedom. The policy of self-purchase originated in the Spanish perception of slavery as an unnatural human condition.  This method became a popular means for enslaved Blacks to gain their freedom.
Mulatto women wearing tignons
By the time of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, New Orleans free blacks constituted nearly 20% of the urban population while enslaved Africans and African Americans represented nearly 38% of the city’s residents. But, even years before, the increasing assertiveness of black New Orleanians and the growing numbers of free blacks alarmed Spanish officials. The then Spanish Governor attempted to restrict black mobility by suppressing free black assemblies and banning concubinage.
In an effort to maintain class distinctions in his Spanish colony at the beginning of his term, Governor Esteban Rodriguez Miró (1785 – 1791) decreed that female gens de couleur, slave or free, should cover their heads with a knotted headdress and refrain from “excessive attention to dress.”  Miró criticized black women for their “idleness,” “incontinence,” and “libertinism” and demanded that they renounce their “mode of living.”
In 1786, while Louisiana was a Spanish colony, the governor forbade “females of color … to wear plumes or jewelry”; this law specifically required “their hair bound in a kerchief.”  But the women, who were targets of this decree, were inventive & imaginative with years of practice. They decorated their mandated tignons, made of the finest textiles, with jewels, ribbons, & feathers to once again outshine their white counterparts and defy the law without actually breaking it.
Consequently, Miró’s decree had a somewhat different effect as what was intended as a means of controlling and identifying women gens de couleur became instead a fashion statement that remains to this day.
Had you ever heard of tignon laws? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, August 17, 2020

Double Take!

I got a kick out of this story when I first heard about it, and when I told my kids, they had a hard time believing it. Fun story! Here it is reprinted from The New York Post.
There’s a set of biracial twins in the UK who are turning heads because one is black and the other is white.
Born in 1997 to a white father and a half-Jamaican mother, the sisters have grown accustomed to getting mistaken for being just friends — and they have even had to produce their birth certificates in order to prove they are in fact related, Barcroft Media reports.

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Lucy and Maira Aylmer pose with their mother, Donna, father, Vince, and siblings George, Chynna and Jordan. 

“No one ever believes we are twins because I am white and Maria is black,” Lucy explained. “Even when we dress alike, we still don’t even look like sisters, let alone twins.”
After giving birth naturally, the twins’ mother, Donna Douglas, did a double-take as she looked at her daughters for the very first time.
“It was such a shock for her because obviously things like skin color don’t show up on scans before birth,” Lucy said. “So she had no idea that we were so different. When the midwife handed us both to her, she was just speechless.”
And when it comes to the girls’ personalities, they are nearly as different as their looks.
Lucy, who has red hair and a very fair complexion, studies art and design at Gloucester College, according to Barcroft.

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“No one ever believes we are twins because I am white and Maria is black,” says Lucy. 

Maria, who has brown hair with a caramel complexion, studies law and psychology at Cheltenham College. They have three siblings, who all have mixed skin color.
“All our older brothers and sisters have a skin color which is in between Maria and I,” Lucy said. “We are at opposite ends of the spectrum and they are all somewhere in between.”
Lucy says one of the great things about having a twin who looks completely different is that people don’t mistake them for one another.
“We were in the same class at infant school, but no one ever had a problem telling us apart,” she explained. “Most twins look like two peas in a pod — but Maria and I couldn’t look more different if we tried. We don’t even look like we have the same parents, let alone having been born at the same time."

Were you familiar with this story? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!