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.

Why Blackface? A Scholar Weighs In On Why Blackface Is Part of American Culture's DNA

Covington Catholic High School Students carry on blackface tradition at 2012 basketball game.

Covington Catholic High School Students carry on blackface tradition at 2012 basketball game.

By Michael Millner, Associate Professor of English and American Studies, University of Massachusetts Lowell . First published on The Convervsation

Blackface is part of American culture’s DNA.

But America has forgotten that.

For almost two weeks, conflict has raged over the use of blackface by two current Virginia politicians when they were younger. The revelations have threatened the men’s jobs and their standing in the community.

The use of blackface is now politically and culturally radioactive. Yet there was a time when it wasn’t.

teach the history of blackface in the United States. Like much of America, my undergraduate students suffer from a kind of historical amnesia about its role in American culture. They know little about its long history, and they haven’t considered its prevalence and significance in everyday American life.

Most of all, they’ve never asked themselves, “Why blackface?”

Michaela Coel Launches Hugo Blick Netflix Drama 'Black Earth Rising' About Rwandan Genocide

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Michaela Coel Launches Hugo Blick Netflix Drama 'Black Earth Rising' About Rwandan Genocide

The February 2019 issue of Vogue US touches base with writer and actor Michaela Coel in a small cafe near her London apartment. AOC first met up with the Bafta-winning actor Coel in the February issue of British Vogue. Her essay ‘Flight Or Fight: Michaela Coel On Why We Need To Talk About Race’ was calming, as she dug deeper into the topic of ‘white privilege’ and racial stereotypes than the usual talking heads. I can learn from Michaela Coel.

"We are not campaigning for you to hand over your money, job, Upper Class flights and land... rather it’s the freeing of your minds from history we want"

Coel, now 31, rose to fame in Britain in the “semiautobiographical and widkedly funny TV series ‘Chewing Gum’. After dropping out of university twice, Coel ended up in drama school. So totally disenchanted with the roles offered to her, she wrote her own one-woman theatrical show, one that eventually became ‘Chewing Gum’.

‘Black Earth Rising’

Her latest TV project ‘Black Earth Rising’ is an eight-part drama by Hugo Blick, in which Coel plays Kate Ashby, a survivor of the Rwandan genocide. The series will debut on Netflix January 25.

Kate is raised as the adopted daughter of Eve (Harriet Walter), a British barrister, who joins forces with her colleague Michael (John Goodman) take on the prosecution of an African warlord who played a role in ending the genocide.

In the series, Kate has to reevaluate her ideas of right and wrong, which is perhaps why she wrote such an insightful essay on race a year ago. “This role changed me as a person,” she says.

Mitch Landrieu Launches E Pluribus Unum Fund For Racial Reconciliation With Backing By Emerson Collective

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Mitch Landrieu Launches E Pluribus Unum Fund For Racial Reconciliation With Backing By Emerson Collective

The removal of the statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in New Orleans, was the second of four Confederate monuments scheduled by then New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu for relocation in advance of the city’s 300 anniversary. The larger-than-life image of Davis atop an ornate granite pedestal roughly 15-feet high was erected in 1911, nearly 50 years after the end of the war, and commissioned by the Jefferson Davis Memorial Association.

A month earlier workers dismantled an obelisk that was erected in 1891 to honor members of the Crescent City White League who in 1874 fought in the Reconstruction-era Battle of Liberty Place against the racially integrated New Orleans police and state militia.

Two other works were also removed in the summer of 2017: a bronze statue of Gen. Robert E Lee that has stood in a traffic circle, named Lee Circle, in the city’s central business district since 1884, and an equestrian statue of P.G.T. Beauregard, a Confederate general. 

Former Alabama Senator and Attorney General in the Trump Administration Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III bears the Confederate general’s name.

Protests on both sides of the Confederate statue debate were fierce, prompting Mayor Landrieu to make an eloquent, emotional and gifted speech on the subject of removing the Confederate monuments on Friday, May 19, 2017.

The full text of Landrieu’s speech was published by The New York Times. I consider it to be one of the best speeches I’ve ever heard — from its sweeping beginning to its soul-wrenching end.

Thank you for coming.

The soul of our beloved City is deeply rooted in a history that has evolved over thousands of years; rooted in a diverse people who have been here together every step of the way — for both good and for ill. It is a history that holds in its heart the stories of Native Americans — the Choctaw, Houma Nation, the Chitimacha. Of Hernando De Soto, Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, the Acadians, the Islenos, the enslaved people from Senegambia, Free People of Colorix, the Haitians, the Germans, both the empires of France and Spain. The Italians, the Irish, the Cubans, the south and central Americans, the Vietnamese and so many more. Read on.

Megyn Kelly's 'Blackface' Comments Leave Her NBC News Future Very Cloudy

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Megyn Kelly's 'Blackface' Comments Leave Her NBC News Future Very Cloudy

I missed this Megyn Kelly 'blackface' stupidity from Tuesday. The NBC face been on thin ice anyway, as Kelly's ratings have not been great. Her audience is 35% or more people -- largely women -- of color.

She still hasn't recovered from her run-in with Jane Fonda, choosing to ask Fonda about plastic surgery rather than her activism, which was the scheduled topic. Fonda abruptly ended the interview.

So Megyn Kelly, who already has a track record over objecting to black Santas, wonders out loud -- in the midst of this Trump crisis -- why whites can't wear blackface on Halloween. If the woman wanted to get her contract cancelled, she just delivered her own knock-out punch.

Kelly’s off the air Thursday and everything is up in the air at NBC. Rumors are intense that her departure is in negotiations. Given the outrage among her own colleagues over her ‘blackface’ remarks, it’s difficult to understand how Megyn Kelly can survive.

What was she thinking!!! Just last night I wrote a terse pushback over Instagram and Twitter outrage that Kendall Jenner was wearing frizzy curls in a photoshoot. Generally I feel that our culture has become way too politically correct. However, blackface??? Are you out of your mind Megyn Kelly? Because I refuse to buy the dumb blonde moniker, being one myself.

Architect Sir David Adjaye Curates Artist Lina Iris Viktor For Wondereur.com

Sir David Adjaye curates artist Lina Iris Viktor

Sir David Adjaye curates artist Lina Iris Viktor

Architect Sir David Adjaye Curates Artist Lina Iris Viktor For Wondereur.com

Spectacular paintings by artist Lina Iris Viktor are on view at the New Orleans Museum of Art until Jan. 6, 2019. Introduced to her work via Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, further investigation about Viktor brought me to Wondereur.com, an outstanding website curating artists by other credentialed creatives.

New York based Viktor is profiled by Sir David Adjaye, a leading figure in the architecture world, and lead designer of the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. In 2017, TIME magazine named Adjaye as the world’s most influential architect. He was also knighted by the British government in 2017, an opportunity for Adjaye to reiterate the responsibility and potential of architects “to effect positive social change.”

In his curator’s statement for Wondereur.com about Lina Iris Viktor, Sir David Adjaye describes her work:

“Lina’s work is as evocative as it is strikingly beautiful. Her explorations with gold possess incredible intelligence, drawing out at once powerful connections to global indigenous heritages, opulent futuristic visions of black beauty, and vast philosophical notions of cosmology, geometry, and atomic matter. Her work crosses confidently across a landscape of science, technology, culture and identity with a timeless elegance and a casual defiance that is definitively modern.”

At New Orleans Museum of Art, Lina Iris Viktor Explores Blackness As A Source Of Energy and Creation

ELEVENTH.  2018. LINA IRIS VIKTOR. PURE 24-KARAT GOLD, ACRYLIC, GOUACHE, PRINT ON CANVAS. 65 X 50 IN. COLLECTION OF THE ARTIST, COURTESY THE ARTIST AND MARIANE IBRAHIM GALLERY, SEATTLE

ELEVENTH. 2018. LINA IRIS VIKTOR. PURE 24-KARAT GOLD, ACRYLIC, GOUACHE, PRINT ON CANVAS. 65 X 50 IN. COLLECTION OF THE ARTIST, COURTESY THE ARTIST AND MARIANE IBRAHIM GALLERY, SEATTLE

At New Orleans Museum of Art, Lina Iris Viktor Explores Blackness As A Source Of Energy and Creation

New York artist Lina Iris Viktor

New York artist Lina Iris Viktor

At New Orleans Museum of Art, Lina Iris Viktor Explores Blackness As A Source Of Energy and Creation

“Usually I am more about trying to bridge divides of thought where people think things are in very defined spaces,” artist Lina Iris Viktor tells Harper’s Bazaar Arabia from her studio in New York. “I am all about making bridges.” The painter and conceptual artist is preparing new work for her first solo museum exhibition now open at the New Orleans Museum of Art entitled Lina Iris Viktor: A Haven. A Hell. A Dream Deferred.

Known for large-scale black and gold works on paper and canvas, the sculptural surfaces of Viktor’s pieces shimmer opulently with densely patterned iconography. There is something searingly original and contemporary about her almost cosmic composition of hieroglyphic elements that recall myriad forms, from Aboriginal Dreamtime paintings to West African textiles.

Born to Liberian parents, Lina Iris Viktor lives in London and Johannesburg, travelling and studying widely. The artist is not inspired by a specific location. Rather “It’s about experience and worldliness and understanding that there is no centre.”

Killer Mike Joins Atlanta's High Museum Board, Talks Arts Education & Inclusivity

Kerry James Marshall's 'Past Times' 1997 Image, private collection of rapper and Atlanta High Museum Board Member Michael Render

Kerry James Marshall's 'Past Times' 1997 Image, private collection of rapper and Atlanta High Museum Board Member Michael Render

Killer Mike Joins Atlanta's High Museum Board, Talks Arts Education & Inclusivity

Atlanta’s High Museum of Art has been unusually successful in attracting young people and people of color to the museum in recent years. Now, Killer Mike, the 43-year-old rapper, who is a committed activist and father of four, is the newest member appointed to the board

Killer Mike, whose given name is Michael Render, is known for hard-hitting, hip hop rhymes about income inequality, police brutality, and systemic racism, topics that also infuse his political commentary and activism. The rapper garnered headlines with Democratic progressives in 2016 with his embrace of Bernie Sanders. Render has become a sought-after contributor on the news and political panels, and a guest lecturer at some of America’s top colleges and universities with his articulated views on the intersection of art and culture.