Melvin Van Peebles made a documentary called Classified X in 1998, about the portrayal of black people throughout the history of American cinema. You can see it on YT in six parts: 1
. Apologies for the low video quality.
posted by Dim Siawns
on Nov 30, 2010 -
The Jackie Robinson of architecture.
An orphaned African American boy from downtown Los Angeles, Paul Revere Williams
wanted to be an architect, and when he mentioned his career goal the high school guidance counselor ”stared at me with as much astonishment as he would have had I proposed a rocket flight to Mars... Whoever heard of a Negro being an architect?
”. Therefore, Williams learned to read and draw upside down -- he knew that white clients would not sit next to him -- graduated from USC
and in 1924 became the first certified African American architect west of the Mississippi. In a 50-year long extraordinary career,
he designed landmarks like the Theme restaurant
at Los Angeles International Airport
(with Welton Becket
), the LA County Courthouse
, the Hollywood YMCA
, Saks Fifth Avenue
in Beverly Hills
, restored the Beverly Hills Hotel. Some of his most interesting buildings, like the La Concha Motel
in Las Vegas
have either been razed
to the ground
or, like the "Batman house
", aka 160 S San Rafael mansion
in Pasadena, have been destroyed by fire. Now, Williams' historic Morris Landau House
has been cut into 21 separate pieces
and sits in a Santa Clarita storage yard, rotting away
. More inside.
posted by matteo
on Jul 2, 2006 -
"Approximately 250,000 persons viewed and passed by the bier of little Emmett Till. All were shocked, some horrified and appalled. Many prayed, scores fainted and practically all, men, women and children wept". Chicago Defender, September 1, 1955.
Federal officials this morning erected a white tent over the grave of Emmett Till
, Ill., in preparation to exhume the body
to shed light on the Chicago teenager's death
50 years ago.
Till, 14 years old at the time, was killed in a hate crime
in Money, Miss., that sparked the Civil Rights movement
. (previous Emmett Till MeFi threads here
posted by matteo
on Jun 1, 2005 -
Rebecca Protten, born a slave in 1718, gained her freedom and joined a group of proselytizers from the Moravian Church
. She embarked on an itinerant mission, preaching to hundreds of the enslaved Africans of St. Thomas, West Indies. Weathering persecution from hostile planters, Protten and other black preachers created the earliest African Protestant congregation in the Americas. University of Florida historian Jon Sensbach
has written a book
about Protten's life -- the interracial marriage, the trial on charges of blasphemy and inciting of slaves, the travels to Germany and West Africa. Later in her life, after she moved to Germany, Rebecca was ordained as a deaconess: "a former slave now administered Communion and practiced other claims to spiritual authority over white women, including European aristocrats." More inside.
posted by matteo
on May 15, 2005 -
Black sues black for racism.
"Dwight Burch, a former [Applebee's] employee, accused his manager at the Jonesboro, Ga., restaurant of repeatedly referring to him as a 'tar baby' and 'Black monkey' during his three months at the restaurant." Here's the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
press release about the lawsuit (settled out of court for $40,000). The EEOC calls the case "rare"; BET says it's "increasingly common". But wait a minute: since black males make it a point to call each other "nigger", how can you tell self-deprecating camaraderie from self-loathing colorism?
posted by 111
on Aug 16, 2003 -
Korean pop group has "Seoul".
Covered in greasepaint and sticking their lips out in exaggerated fashion, Korean girl group, the Bubble Sisters
, sing and dance to teenybopper pop in blackface
. In homogenous countries, racism seems to play out differently than in diverse countries such as the United States. In Asia, putting on blackface may be seen as a way to pay homage to artists of African ethnicity, but in the U.S. it makes most people cringe and recoil in horror much like hearing someone say the "N" word. The Bubble Sisters profess a love for black music and seek to emulate it, but in their “Bubble Song” video
, the group wears blackface while lamenting they are ugly and praying to be pretty for their true loves. Is this
an earnest homage to African-American musicians, blatantly offensive Sambo-esque imagery or a cultural misinterpretation of flattery?
posted by VelvetHellvis
on Feb 24, 2003 -
In bigot versus bigot, white racist is winner
: "Hey, when you find a black bigot, feel free to censure and ostracize him or her as the circumstance warrants. I don't care. Just don't pretend the transgression is what it is not. Don't claim it represents a significant threat to the quality of life of white Americans at large." (via a2g2
posted by owillis
on Jan 21, 2002 -