East Of Eden

"A curious mix of the relevant and reverential"


East Of Eden

Untitled. Or "Yes, I do prefer the company of the dead."

"Sarah Mae Flemming (2nd from left) is joined by Julia E. King and attorneys Lincoln C. Jenkins & Matthew J. Perry.The photograph was taken by John W. Goodwin, a Columbia [S.C.] photographer." (Caption and photo via Columbia SC 63 Twitter)

 

For the past three months, I've fallen into a hole of sorts. Fallen... or actually, jumped.

Back in August, I tested my Mom's DNA through Ancestry (I've tested it before, but that other company turned out to be pretty shaky, and a quick Google search turns up a slew of angry customers... I'm not sure if it's still even in existence), and received the results back in September, just in time for her birthday. To our shock, I was matched with a few 1st and 2nd cousins, and far more shockingly, I...

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Flashback Friday: That time Lincoln planned to free the slaves and send them south of the border.


Engraving by Thomas Nast in 1865. (Source)

 

I recently binge-listened to "Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom" by David W. Blight on Audible. It clocks in at nearly 37 hours, and makes great use of every minute. While this book contains an incredible wealth of historical, social and political information I recommend reading (or listening) to it all, I want to hone in on a particular event, which, quite interestingly, does not actually involve Douglass. Instead, Blight takes us to the White House in 1862 for a meeting between Lincoln and a group of Black leaders to discuss the future of the slaves after The Civil War. First, a little background from the book:

 

“Lincoln, a longtime sympathizer with colonization, set in motion...

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Some Sunday Stuff: December 23rd.


Merry Christmas Eve's Eve! If you're still doing last minute holiday shopping/ cooking/ cleaning/ running ragged, I understand! I spent the hours before my mom-in-law flew in from Trinidad on Friday literally scrubbing tiles, walls (look, I'm not sure how or why, but walls by doorways collect an ungodly amount of dirt over time), and sinks. I had on the thick yellow gloves and all, Friends. 

Even more telling, I didn't even put up the Christmas tree until Wednesday, less than a week before Christmas, making this year the latest I've ever done so. I'm not quite sure what happened. Thanksgiving came around, and for some reason after making a pine cone turkey and hanging artificial autumn leaves on the piano and flatscreen, I just...

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Flashback Friday: Orson Welles & The "Voodoo MacBeth".


(Image Source: Inverse)

 

It's mind boggling to me, but back in the 1930s, during the height of the Great Depression, the federal government paid a then-unknown, and very young Orson Welles to put on a play... featuring an all Black cast. But this did indeed happen, although it's not well-remembered (and when it is, it's more in the context of what made Welles a wunderkind on his way to "War of the Worlds" and "Citizen Kane" greatness).

From Kashann Kilson, writing at Inverse Entertainment:

Founded in 1935 as a part of the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935, the Works Projects Administration was an arm of the New Deal with one task: put millions of unemployed Americans back to work. While the WPA was more expensive than...

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Flashback Friday: The oh-so Noble Mr. Johnson.


Noble Johnson (Image Source)

 

A few months back, I shared the story of Madame Sul-Te-Wan, the Black actress who got her big Hollywood start in "The Birth of a Nation" in 1915. Madame was one of the few actors in the film playing Black characters who were actually Black; the main characters of color were actually White actors in blackface. 

Today, I want to talk about Noble Johnson, another Black actor who starred in films at the same time and enjoyed a long, successful career in Hollywood. Interestingly (although not surprisingly), Johnson was able to skirt the race issue by playing characters who were not Black. In a reverse of the "Birth" White actors, Noble gained fame and film credits, and became part of Hollywood...

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So maybe Indians are kinda, sorta Black?


Bonda girl in Orissa. Image by: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0/Flickr/Otabi kitahachi (via HuffPo)

 

Well, at least some Indians are... a few weeks ago, I confessed up to thinking as a kid that Indians were Black. And a few of my Indian/Bangladeshi friends gave me e-props for it (what up?!). One of them, Wafi, passed on this HuffPo article by Rita Banerji from 2015 that goes into fascinating detail about how there is indeed a strong genetic link between Indians and Africa:

 

 Growing up in India, I never met or heard about Indians with African lineages. Then in 2005 I watched a dance performance by the Sidi Goma, a group of musicians from the African Indian community, the Siddi, and I was astonished and mesmerised. Since then I've...

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Flashback Friday: Marlon Brando's Eulogy for a Black Panther.


Black Panther Bobby Seale with actor Marlon Brando. (Image Source: San Francisco Bay View)

 

In a San Francisco Bay View film review for the 2015 documentary "Listen to Me Marlon", the story of Marlon Brando's press-making eulogy for slain Black Panther Bobby Hutton is retold:

In the late ‘60s, Marlon Brando and Jane Fonda are credited with helping to bring the Black Panther Party and their politics to a mainstream white audience. In 1967, Brando gave a speech at the funeral of 17-year-old Black Panther Bobby Hutton who was unjustifiably murdered by Oakland police.

 

...
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