The Fierce Pride and Passion of Rhinestone Fashion | We Spend Time With Mickalene Thomas

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The Fierce Pride and Passion of Rhinestone Fashion | We Spend Time With Mickalene Thomas

Contemporary artist Mickalene Thomas is best known for her large-scale paintings of black women posed against boldly patterned backgrounds and adorned with rhinestones. Illustrative of the artist’s signature style, her 2010 Portrait of Mnonja depicts a striking female figure reclining on a couch.

Visitors, who find their way to the high-ceiling third floor gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, consistently gather round this painting, fascinated by its bright colors and drawn to its subject—an elegant and poised African-American woman.

“She is owning and claiming her space, which is very exciting,” reveals the artist in a 2017 SAAM interview. The woman’s crossed ankles are perched on the sofa’s armrest, and her fuchsia high heels dangle over the edge. Her right hand rests on her knee and her fingers evoke a dancer’s enviable combination of strength and grace. Exuding an air of power and sophistication, Mnonja literally sparkles from head to toe—her hair, makeup, jewelry, clothes, fingernails and shoes all glisten with rhinestones.

The Forgotten History of Segregated Swimming Pools and Amusement Parks

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The Forgotten History of Segregated Swimming Pools and Amusement Parks

By Victoria W. Wolcott

Summers often bring a wave of childhood memories: lounging poolside, trips to the local amusement park, languid, steamy days at the beach.

These nostalgic recollections, however, aren’t held by all Americans.

Municipal swimming pools and urban amusement parks flourished in the 20th century. But too often, their success was based on the exclusion of African Americans.

As a social historian who has written a book on segregated recreation, I have found that the history of recreational segregation is a largely forgotten one. But it has had a lasting significance on modern race relations.

Swimming pools and beaches were among the most segregated and fought over public spaces in the North and the South.

MacKenzie Bezos Joins Gates & Buffett 'The Giving Pledge', Sharing Half of Her New Fortune

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MacKenzie Bezos Joins Gates & Buffett 'The Giving Pledge', Sharing Half of Her New Fortune

There aren’t many solo images of MacKenzie Bezos out there. Even though the mom of four is a successful writers and played her own roll in the formation of Amazon, almost all images of MacKenzie include her husband Jeff Bezos.

Vogue US interviewed one of the world’s richest women in 2013 in advance of her “gripping new novel Traps”. The interview by Rebecca Johnson describes MacKenzie as a “bookish and she” girl who spent hours in her bedroom writing elaborate stories. She attended first Hotchkiss and then Princeton, a very deliberate choice that gave her access to writer Toni Morrison. One of America’s most important voices became Bezos’ mentor and called her in 2013 “one of the best students I’ve ever had in my creative-writing classes . . . really one of the best.”

The Story of East Africa's Role In The Transatlantic Slave Trade

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The Story of East Africa's Role In The Transatlantic Slave Trade

The recent discovery of the remains of the Portuguese slave ship São José off Cape Town has brought East Africa’s role in the transatlantic slave trade to public attention. But the São José was merely one of a large number of slave vessels that either rounded the Cape or put into Table Bay for refreshment.

The sinking of the São José two days after Christmas in 1794 marked the end of a bad year for the slave trade at the Cape of Good Hope. In April that year, a second vessel, the French ship Jardinière, had gone down off Cape Agulhas. Around 185 slaves had reached shore but many had then escaped or had died of their exertions. Only 125 were finally auctioned at Stellenbosch.

A New Civil War Museum Speaks Truths in the Former Capital of the Confederacy

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A New Civil War Museum Speaks Truths in the Former Capital of the Confederacy

At the terminus of five railroads, Richmond, Virginia was more than just the nominal capital of the Confederate States of America. The city’s factories supplied the Confederacy with food, munitions, and cannons. After the war, its historians, writers, and sculptors manufactured “heroes” of the Confederacy as men who treated enslaved people with paternalistic affection, fighting for just causes and states’ rights.

Richmond, once the second-largest market for enslaved people and the capital of a state where more than half of all Civil War battles were fought, would, in peacetime, metamorphose into the site of a prolonged, contested engagement for the very memory of the war. The myths garlanding Confederate figures like Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee, who made Richmond their home for relatively brief spells of time, have long outshone the stories of generations of Richmonders who have lived in the contradictions of the city of the Lost Cause.

It’s with some fitting justice, then, that a museum opening this weekend in what was once the industrial heart of Richmond sits at the center of the nation’s modern-day struggles to understand the impact and devastation wrought by the Civil War.

Muslims Arrived In America 400 Years Ago As Part of the Slave Trade and Today Are Vastly Diverse

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Muslims Arrived In America 400 Years Ago As Part of the Slave Trade and Today Are Vastly Diverse

Most Americans say they don’t know a Muslim and that much of what they understand about Islam is from the media.

It’s not surprising then to see the many misunderstandings that exist about Muslims. Some see them as outsiders and a threat to the American way of life and values. President Donald Trump’s controversial policy to impose a ban on Muslims from seven countries entering into the United States played into such fears.

What many don’t know, however, is that Muslims have been in America well before America became a nation. In fact, some of the earliest arrivals to this land were Muslim immigrants – forcibly transported as slaves in the transatlantic trade, whose 400th anniversary is being observed this year.