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This Day in History: We Celebrate the Birth of Anna Kingsley


From the African American Registry,

This date in 1793 celebrates the birth of Anna Kingsley. She was a African plantation owner, abolitionist, and former slave in America.

The owner's house on the Kingsley Plantation

The owner’s house on the Kingsley Plantation

Born Anna Madgigine Jai in Senegal, she was captured in her native country in 1806 when she was 13 years old. She was brought to Florida, then a Spanish colony, where she was sold to Zephaniah Kingsley, a slave trader and a maritime merchant, and she worked on his plantation in northeast Florida.

Kingsley married her and allowed for her freedom in 1811. They had four children. She became the manager of the plantation and held the position for 25 years. Anna Kingsley became a slave owner herself. Her husband was on record as saying that she “could carry on all the affairs of the plantation in my absence as well as I could myself.”

After Spain sold Florida to the United States in 1819, life grew difficult. The U.S. laws concerning freed Blacks were far more restrictive than those of Spain. Kingsley’s status as a freed slave and landowner were threatened. Plus her interracial marriage was unacceptable in the new U.S. state of Florida. The Kingsleys fled to Haiti, where they ran another plantation and created a colony for free Blacks. After her husband’s death in 1843, Kingsley returned to Florida, where she fought the courts to claim the land left to her and her children in his will.

After a difficult court battle (some of his white relatives had contested her claim), Kingsley won the right to her inheritance. Her skill at running a plantation and her battle for property rights made her a celebrated and influential figure in the free Black community of northern Florida. Anna Kingsley died in 1870.

Anna Kingsley book

Anna Kingsley: A Free Woman

The Anti-Slavery Society

Anna Madgigine Jai Kingsley: African Princess, Florida Slave, Plantation Slaveowner



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Black Identity and Racism Collide in Brazil

By ,

The country’s complex history with race gains the spotlight as the World Cup attempts to address the recent wave of racist attacks against black players.

Before teams representing their countries from around the world arrived in Brazil, the country’s president, Dilma Rousseff, took the opportunity to label 2014 the “anti-racism World Cup.”

Brazilian soccer player Neymar stated that he had never encountered any sort of racism in his life because he is not black even though he clearly looks black.

Brazilian soccer player Neymar stated that he had never encountered any sort of racism in his life because he is not black even though he clearly looks black.

The declaration came after a wave of racist incidents in soccer around the world targeting black players, many of whom are Brazilian. While it’s a well-intentioned gesture and a particularly important one for a World Cup being hosted in the country that’s home to the largest population of people of African descent outside of Africa, Brazil has a complex past and present when it comes to race.

That complexity can perhaps best be illustrated by the fact that many black Brazilians don’t think of themselves as black. Brazilian soccer star Neymar is a great example. Asked during an interview in 2010 if he had ever experienced racism, his response was, “Never.” He added, “Not inside nor outside of the soccer field. Even more because I’m not black, right?”

This denial of blackness may seem confusing to many Americans, because despite his long, straightened and occasionally blond hair, Neymar is clearly black.  But for Brazilians, being black is very different from what it is in the United States.

“The darker a person is in Brazil, the more racism she or he is going to suffer. Light-skinned black people don’t identify as black most of the time,” says Daniela Gomes, a black Brazilian activist who is currently pursuing a doctorate in African Diaspora studies at the University of Texas. “A lot of people choose to deny their blackness. They don’t believe they are black, but they suffer racism without knowing why.”

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Single mother graduates from UCLA with three degrees

by ,


Deanna Jordan, 28, looks up before she walks in the graduation ceremony at UCLA.

A single mother of three boys, Deanna Jordan, graduated over the weekend from UCLA with three degrees.

Jordan grew up in Compton and, by 22, was a mother of three.

“I needed for my sons to see there was a legacy that preceded them with college,” Jordan told CBS Los Angeles. “I am the first in my family to go to college.”

The 28-year-old attended West Los Angeles Community College for two years before transferring to UCLA, where she spent three-and-a-half years.

Jordan earned two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s degree in African-American Studies.

“You can’t really succeed unless you fail, and I failed a lot of times, but it was my persistence and my willingness never to give up,” she said.

In addition to her studies, she founded the Compton Pipeline Taskforce, a volunteer organization that helps Compton schools.

The new graduate plans to attend law school in the future in an effort to become a district attorney.

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Was the Author of The Three Musketeers a Black Man?

By Henry Louis Gates Jr.,

100 Amazing Facts About the Negro: You may already know the answer, but here’s why it matters
Editor’s note: For those who are wondering about the retro title of this black-history series, please take a moment to learn about historian Joel A. Rogers, author of the 1934 book 100 Amazing Facts About the Negro With Complete Proof, to whom these “amazing facts” are an homage.

Amazing Fact About the Negro No. 83: Which famous 19th-century French author had African ancestry?

When I was a teenager falling in love with books, had anyone told me that three of the most beloved characters in world literature, The Three Musketeers, had sprung from the pen of a black man, I would have said, Get out of town. And when I heard rumors about the author’s ancestry in college, I wondered whether it was more legend than fact, akin to the myth that Beethoven was black. It turns out that this happens to be true: Alexandre Dumas was both a Frenchman and a black man, and retelling his story reinforces the more important point that imagination should not be shackled by skin color.Alexander_Dumas

Recall, earlier in this series we read about Napoleon’s “Black Devil,” Thomas-Alexandre Dumas, the black man born to a French nobleman and a slave who ascended to the highest ranks of the French military during that country’s revolution only to end up in an Italian dungeon and a poor man’s grave. I mentioned then that Gen. Dumas would have the last laugh, thanks to his son, Alexandre Dumas père (meaning “father,” sort of like “senior” in English to distinguish from a “junior” of the same name). And that son would become one of the most influential writers in history.


Dumas’ most popular works, The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers, have engrossed readers and actors for years. Yet many literary historians simply chose to erase his racial origins, leaving most readers, until recently, to assume the default: that the author of those works had to be white in order to write so vividly about white people, even though his race was anything but a secret during his own lifetime. In fact, when I mention Dumas and Russian writer Alexander Pushkin in the introductory lecture to a course I teach at Harvard University with Lawrence Bobo, our students appear shocked to learn that both had black ancestry.

Early Years

Alexandre Dumas père was born in Villers-Cotterêts, France, on July 24, 1802, to parents Thomas-Alexandre Dumas and Marie-Louise Laboruet. He was one-quarter black, as Richard Stowe, author of the 1976 biography Alexandre Dumas père, recounts. Dumas’ godfather was supposed to have been Napoleon Bonaparte, but, as Dumas told it, the arrangement was dropped after his father and the future French emperor became enemies. Gen. Dumas died in 1806, yet through his absence, he loomed even larger in his son’s mind. “I adored my father,” Dumas is quoted as saying in Tom Reiss’ 2012 book The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo.  “Perhaps, at so early an age, the feeling which today I call love was only a naïve astonishment at that Herculean stature and that gigantic strength I’d seen him display on so many occasions; perhaps it was nothing more than a childish pride and admiration. … But, in spite of all that, even today the memory of my father, in every detail of his body, in every feature of his face, is as present to me as if I had lost him yesterday.”

The general’s death hurt in other ways, for despite his high military rank, his pension was withheld. Dumas, growing up in poverty, also was convinced that the vengeful Napoleon had blocked his admission to any military school or civilian college, according to Reiss.

The Beginnings of a Literary Career

Dumas’ mother, a widow and single parent, “exercised little authority over [her son], rearing him with abundant affection but almost in spite of herself letting him do whatever he wished,” Stowe writes, so that “Dumas at seventeen or eighteen was as learned in the ways of the woods as he was little schooled.” The seeds of Dumas’ literary ambitions were planted around age 16, when he met Adolphe de Leuven, the teenage son of a Swedish nobleman, on vacation in VillersCotterêts. Dumas, whose résumé at that point was still thin, as a notary’s apprentice, was captivated by de Leuven’s tales of Parisian life.

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Black teen says teacher told him to say ‘Yes sir, master’


Jabre White said he was stunned and angry when he claims his teacher implied White was his slave and the teacher was his master.

White tells the Des Moines Register’s Lee Rood his teacher Shawn McCurtain asked the class to move downstairs to take an economics final exam.

Jabre White was left speechless when he heard his white teacher telling him to call him "master." His mother Nicholle, found nothing humorous about the statement when the teacher tried to apologize and said that was all it was.

Jabre White was left speechless when he heard his white teacher telling him to call him “master.” His mother Nicholle, found nothing humorous about the statement when the teacher tried to apologize and said that was all it was.

White replied “Yes sir,” but he claims McCurtain replied, “You meant to say ‘Yes sir, master.’”

The incident, which occurred in May, left the college-bound senior considerably hurt and his mother calling for action.

According to the Register’s report, the school district is not denying the incident happened. White’s mother, Nicholle, claims McCurtain called her to apologize and referred to the comment as an attempt to be “humorous.”

It’s unclear what disciplinary action was pursued by the school district, because the information is “confidential under state law.”

A school district spokesman, Phil Roeder, confirmed to the Register McCurtain was still employed at the school.

White is headed to Iowa State next fall. His mother said she plans to “contact the Iowa Civil Rights Commission and the NAACP.”

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Tony Awards 2014 Belong to Audra McDonald

Audra McDonald is overcome with emotion after winning her record-breaking sixth Tony Award at Radio City Music Hall in New York on June 8, 2014.

Audra McDonald is overcome with emotion after winning her record-breaking sixth Tony Award at Radio City Music Hall in New York on June 8, 2014.

BY: ,

Sunday night’s 68th Annual Tony Awards were all about Audra McDonald and James Monroe Iglehart, as one became the most decorated Broadway actress of all time with her win and the other saw his decision to surpass being a pro wrestler and a Harlem Globetrotter pay off with his first Tony win.

McDonald wowed Broadway audiences with her portrayal of Billie Holiday’s struggle with drug and alcohol addiction in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill. McDonald had to not only imitate the singer’s alcohol-fueled performances but also had to emulate her signature husky voice.

“I get to the theater at about 6 p.m. or 6:15 p.m. I need that time. I don’t let anybody come in from a half-hour on. I go really deep within myself,” she told the Wall Street Journal about her process to prepare.

Her best lead actress win makes this her sixth Tony surpassing five-time winners Angela Lansbury and the late Julie Harris, CBS News reports.

The 43-year-old actress got her career off to a strong start having won three Tony Awards by the time she was 28 for her performances in CarouselMaster Class, and Ragtime.

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Jeralean Talley, oldest-living American, celebrates 115th birthday

From the Associated Press

INKSTER, Michigan (AP) — The oldest-living American, a member of a select group of the living to have been born in the 19th century, has celebrated her 115th birthday.

Jeralean Talley, 115yrs old

Jeralean Talley, 115 years old

Jeralean Talley, who was born May 23, 1899, celebrated Friday as the second-oldest person in the world, according to a list maintained by the Gerontology Research Group, which tracks the world’s longest-living people. She went fishing last year and still gets around on her own with the help of a walker. On her birthday, Talley is going to the doctor for a checkup, although she says she doesn’t feel sick.
The Michigan resident plans to celebrate with family and friends at a local church on Sunday. Talley’s knees occasionally hurt, her right hand shakes, she has a hard time hearing and her memory comes and goes. Her answer as to why she has lived so long hasn’t changed over the years.
“It’s all in the good Lord’s hands,” Talley told the Detroit Free Press. “There’s nothing I can do about it.”

The Gerontology Research Group verified Talley’s age using census data. Japan resident Misao Okawa, 116, is the world’s oldest person, according to the group. Talley, whose husband died in 1988, is cared for by a 76-year-old daughter who lives with her. Five generations of the family are living in the area, including a great-great-grandson.
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News Police: Teacher had sex with student, knowingly exposed him to HIV


A former Louisiana high school teacher and track coach is accused of having sex with one of his student athletes and knowingly exposing him to HIV.

Derrick Nesby, 37, was arrested by Terreboone Parish sheriff’s deputies last week and charged with felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile and felony intentional exposure to the AIDS virus, reports USA Today.

Derrick Nesby, former Louisiana High School teacher and track coach, was arrested on accusations of having sex with one of his student athletes and exposing him to HIV.

Derrick Nesby, former Louisiana High School teacher and track coach, was arrested on accusations of having sex with one of his student athletes and exposing him to HIV.

Nesby worked at H.L. Bourgeois High School where the 16-year-old boy attended.

According to authorities, a school resource officer was the first to receive complaints about Nesby involved with the student, and the inappropriate contact is believed to have happened during the past school year.

Nesby was only employed by the school for a year.

The former teacher denied allegations by police but was arrested at the school May 28. He was originally held on $500,000 bond, but it was recently increased by a judge to $1,000,000 on Friday.

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White Teacher Reinstated After Blackface Lesson

A Michigan middle school teacher’s suspension for teaching his eighth-grade class about blackface has ended after almost two weeks. Alan Barron returned to his job at Monroe Middle School on Monday, CBS Detroit reports.

Michigan Middle School teacher, Alan Barron, who was initially suspended for doing a blackface lesson with his students was now recently reinstated.

Michigan Middle School teacher, Alan Barron, who was initially suspended for doing a blackface lesson with his students was now recently reinstated.

Barron, 59, was showing his class a video about how white entertainers used to put on blackface to imitate black people. The administrator sitting in on the class stopped the lesson, declaring it racist.

This led parents and students in the community to rally behind the teacher, and their protests appear to have gotten results. Barron was reinstated, and CBS Detroit reports that Monroe Public Schools Superintendent Barry Martin issued a statement on the district’s website, saying that there was a misunderstanding about the approach to the sensitive topic.

“As a result of incorrect information presented within the community, there is a perception that the district was opposed to a teacher providing students with information about the history of racial issues in this country,” the statement read. “This simply is not true and is a misinterpretation of the concern. Monroe Public Schools, following Michigan curriculum, requires and values the teaching of African American history and issues of race as part of our social studies instruction. The teacher in question was placed on paid leave to give the district time to fully consider what occurred in this classroom.”

Barron’s lawyer confirmed to CBS Detroit that the teacher, who plans to retire at the end of this school year after 36 years of teaching, would be back in school. “He looks forward to spending the final three weeks of his career doing what he loves, teaching the young people of Monroe,” C.J. Horkey said in a statement, according to CBS. “He also wants to thank this wonderful community for its support though this difficult situation.”

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Dr. Maya Angelou Funeral Details

By NewsOne Staff,

Maya Angelou died on Wednesday, May 28th.

Maya Angelou died on Wednesday, May 28th.

Funeral services for Dr. Maya Angelou, who died last Wednesday at 86-years-old, will be held Saturday morning on the campus of Wake Forest University, reports WXII.

Heads of states and other dignitaries are expected to attend the private service, but no names have been confirmed.

Prior to her death, Dr. Angelou had been a faculty member at Wake Forest since 1982.

“Dr. Angelou was a national treasure whose life and teachings inspired millions around the world, including countless students, faculty, and staff at Wake Forest, where she served as Reynolds Professor of American Studies since 1982. Our thoughts and prayers are with Dr. Angelou’s family and friends during this difficult time.”

“Maya Angelou has been a towering figure — at Wake Forest and in American culture. She had a profound influence in civil rights and racial reconciliation. We will miss profoundly her lyrical voice and always keen insights,” Wake Forest University President Nathan O. Hatch said on Wednesday.

Angelou’s family will release a formal statement on Monday.

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