african american travel

#BlackHistoryMonth #tbt: Being the first African American woman to travel to space is one of Mae Jemison’s many accomplishments. A dancer, Peace Corps doctor, public speaker and astronaut, Mae went to college at age 16, holds 9 honorary doctorates and has founded many STEM-related programs for students. 


Artist: Loïs Mailou Jones


Lois Mailou Jones was an African American painter best known for her considerable influence during the Harlem Renaissance

Her parents encouraged her art from an early age, urging her to draw and paint whenever possible

She was an incredibly educated woman, attending the High School of Practical Arts in Boston before going on to study at The Boston Museum of Fine Arts and The Boston Normal Art School, as well as taking graduate classes at Harvard University and Columbia University. She received her bachelor’s from Howard University, graduating Magna Cum Laude. She also received a fellowship to study in Paris at the Acadèmie Julian.

She founded the art department of the Palmer Memorial Institute in North Carolina, and was recruited one year later to join Howard University’s art department as a watercolor professor

Her main inspiration was Celine Marie Tabard, a painter whom Jones cultivated an artistic friendship and alliance with. Tabard would often submit Jones’ works for jury prizes because of the prejudice against African Americans. They traveled to many countries together and painted each other as well.

She has won 13 prominent awards for her art, which is recognized by its bright colors, distinct style, and influence of Cubism and Haitian art.

ESPN Replaces Sage Steele on "NBA Countdown" Due To Policy Limiting On-Air Political Commentary

ESPN Replaces Sage Steele on “NBA Countdown” Due To Policy Limiting On-Air Political Commentary

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Sage Steele out, Michelle Beadle in, as ESPN’s NBA Countdown makes a new move to limit, on air political commentary. Surprisingly, Sage Steele is aconservative political activist and often finds herself amid controversy for expressing her beliefs. Though Steele has been with ESPN for a decade, her comments have not put her under fire until recently. (more…)

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More Hidden Figures: Women of Color in STEM Fields

Last year’s #OscarsSoWhite movement sparked many questions including “Does the entertainment industry have to whitewash in order to attract viewers?” 2016’s “Hidden Figures” features the untold stories of Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), some of the women who helped the United States launch an astronaut into orbit.

Let’s take a look at even more “Hidden Figures,” women of color in STEM fields that shaped the world we live in today.

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Mae Jeminson, an engineer, physician and NASA astronaut, was the first African-American woman to travel into space. On Sept. 12, 1992, she went into orbit on the Space Shuttle Endeavour. The first African-American woman to be admitted into the astronaut training program, she garnered several awards, including the 1988 Essence Science and Technology Award, the 1992 Ebony Black Achievement Award and a Montgomery Fellowship from Dartmouth College in 1993.

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Alexa Irene Canady, a doctor and neurosurgeon, received her medical degree from the University of Michigan and did her postgraduate work at Yale University. There, she became the first woman and first African American to specialize in neurology and neurosurgery.

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Dr. Marie Daly, a chemist, studied at Queens College and New York University before becoming the first African-American woman to earn a doctorate in Chemistry. After earning her doctorate from Columbia, she continued her research, taught at universities throughout New York City and created a scholarship fund in memory of her supportive father in order to help students of color interested in pursuing physics and chemistry at Queens College.

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Evelyn Boyd Granville earned her doctorate in mathematics from Yale University in 1949. Granville worked on projects for the Apollo program including celestial mechanics and trajectory computation before becoming a professor of mathematics.

“Hidden Figures” has been nominated for several awards, including an Academy Award, Golden Globe, and Critics’ Choice. The movie is poised to gross at least $100 million on a relatively small budget of $25 million, eradicating any notion that people will not pay to see diverse stories.
Black Travel Groups Find Kindred Spirits on Social Networks
Virtual communities have sprung up catering to African-Americans travelers, mainly women, who rarely find themselves the target of tourism companies.
By Ashley Southall

As I stood barefoot at the entrance to the Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple, a labyrinthine Hindu shrine in the southwestern Indian state of Kerala that is forbidden to nonworshipers, a man studied me.

Wrapped in a blue silk sari, I was an anomaly in the crowds of worshipers and wedding guests sweeping past. My pecan-brown skin had been tanned by the sun, my tightly coiled hair was cut in a close crop, and I spoke a foreigner’s English. There was no one like me there except my then-boyfriend, who was standing next to me with his modest Afro as we waited for my college roommate’s wedding party.

“What are you? South African?” the man finally said. When I told him we were American, he asked again, “South African?”

Continue reading the main story


The forgotten way African Americans stayed safe in a racist America

Jim Crow laws across the South mandated that restaurants, hotels, pool halls and parks strictly separate whites and blacks. Lynchings kept blacks in fear of mob violence. And there were thousands of so-called “sundown towns,” including in northern states like Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan, which barred blacks after dark, an unofficial rule reinforced by the threat of violence.

So in 1936, a postal worker named Victor Green began publishing a guide to help African American travelers find friendly restaurants, auto shops and accommodations in far-off places. Green dubbed the guide after himself – the “Green Book” – and published it for decades. Green says he was inspired by the Jewish press, which had long published information on restricted places.


What does it look like to be on the set of a Spike Lee film? That’s what you can find out in the photos of his brother, David Lee, who’s been capturing moments from the making of the 2015 Honorary Oscar recipient’s features through still unit work beginning with Spike’s first feature, She’s Gotta Have It (1986), and up through 2012’s Red Hook Summer.

David Lee has been the still unit photographer for many of the key American films and television series of the modern era, including King of the Hill (1993), Far from Heaven (2002), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), American Gangster (2007), and the first season of HBO’s The Wire (2002). Work from David Lee’s fine art portfolio has been shown at the Museum of the City of New York, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. and Boston’s Photography Resource Center. David was also included in “Songs of My People,” a group show of works from 100 African American photographers that has traveled internationally.  In 2014, the Academy celebrated Lee’s work on his brother’s films in an exhibition titled “WAKE UP! An Exhibition of Still Unit Photography by David Lee.”

Black in Europe

“Ugh I didn’t like France. French people are racist”“Go to Italy! They’re so friendly and I hear they love black women”“Do Germans even have black people outside of the military?”

It’s something almost every black traveller fathoms before venturing abroad. How will my blackness be perceived in this predominantly non-black space? It’s a valid concern. At best, our otherness might put us on a flattering pedestal. At worst, we might get mistreated. Even traveling to remote areas of the U.S you will find people that stare at you and ask aggravating questions like “Can I touch your hair?”. I certainly wondered about how I’d fare as a black woman before moving to France. 

But this post is really not just about me. Yes I am black. Yes I am in Europe. But that really doesn’t make me special. Because even though only a small percentage of African Americans travel to Europe yearly, there are tens of millions of black people that are already there: Afro-Europeans. 

Black people don’t just live in Africa and the United States. Thanks (but like, no thanks) to colonialism, the African diaspora truly reaches some of the most unlikely corners of the earth. Most African Americans make the mistake of assuming that we are the only group of african descendants living as the underrepresented, mistreated, systematically oppressed minorities in predominantly white spaces. Tell that to the 55 million Afro-Brazilians. Or the millions of black descendants in the UK, Italy, and France. 

But our egocentricism isn’t entirely our fault. I, too, had no idea exactly how many black and brown people lived in Europe until I came here. I assumed based on films, television, and images I had seen growing up that Europe is one homogenous white continent. Full of sameness with very little variation of color or culture (or at least not culture from an ethnic standpoint). It’s the invisible diversity of Europe. In the same way African-Americans lack representation in almost all facets of our society, Afro-Europeans lack it even more. 

I had met a lot of people my first couple of months in France but I still felt something was missing. I yearned to connect with people that were like-minded. People in which I had an inevitable bond with. In short, I needed to make black friends. It sounds silly to some but anyone a part of a minority group in some way (race, sexuality, etc) understands this desire. 

The problem was never the lack of black people, but how to organically make friends with them. Making friends as an adult is not an easy feat. When you’re a kid it’s so easy! All you have to do is say this: 

But how do you tell a random person you think they’re kinda cool and we should hang out in the most platonic way possible without being creepy? 

Several months later and I’ve met friends of friends, connected with random people through social media, and have even joined a Black Expats in Paris meet-up. By speaking with people I’ve gathered quite a few perspectives. 

African Americans are both admired and envied in France. Believe it or not, we have the type of global visibility not afforded to others of the African Diaspora. African Americans are the examples of cool, the creators of pop culture. Our celebrities are their celebrities, our favorite TV shows are their favorites too. African Americans are vocal in periods of inequality and reactionary during times of social injustice. Mike Brown & Trayvon Martin are not only names uttered on American soil. “I Have a Dream” is familiar to all European ears, the “Black Lives Matter” cry has been heard around world and the Civil Rights Movement is a part of their curriculum just as much as ours. In short, the Black American experience has left a definite mark in world history. 

For Black Europeans, however, their history tends to get shoved under the rug. I am not AT ALL an expert on this topic but here is a concise history of European colonization in Africa in my own words. 

**Anndi’s Quick and Over-simplified History on the Conquest of Africa**

In the late 1800s, several European countries such as the UK, France, and Portugal had set up port cities in Africa for trading goods and resources. Everything was cool until this dude named King Leopold II of Belgium was like, “you know what would be awesome? My own territory in the Congo”. So homeboy sliced out a chunk of the Congo for his own PERSONAL benefit, not even in the name of Belgium. The other European powers (UK, France, Italy, Portugal, and Germany) started to freak out and thought, “Damn my ego is super big, how can I make it bigger?”. So they had a meeting in Germany, found a map of Africa, and literally cut the continent apart like slices of pizza. It’s worth mentioning that none of the African countries in question were invited to said pizza party. So NINETY PERCENT of the continent was colonized without permission, MILLIONS of Africans were forced into labor, resources were exploited, men were killed, women were raped, children were maimed, feuding ethnic groups were mixed…all under the guise that they were “saving uncivilized savages from eternal damnation”.

Flash forward several decades and the European Powers finally started to leave. Whether they left on their own accord or were driven out by revolutionary groups, the heinous effects of imperialism are evident for several African countries by way of corrupt governments, tireless civil wars, and psychological trauma.

**The End** ….Except not the end because these heinous effects still linger. 

I’ve noticed a slight lack in community for Afro-French people. For African-Americans, there’s this idea of fictive kinship. I may not know you from Adam, but if we are the only two black people within a predominantly white space then we will acknowledge one another. But that’s only on a micro-level. On a macro-scale, we have become masters of creating spaces for ourselves. Hair salons & barbershops, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, BET Network, NAACP… we have a black national anthem!! All with the intent of uplifting and strengthening one another, for validating our place in a society not made for us. 

But our sense of community derives from our shared experiences. Many of our ancestors were slaves. Many of our living relatives grew up in segregation. For France, and many other European countries, the experiences of black europeans, while similar, are not identical nor are they shared. At any rate, its hard to have a sense of community when you don’t even know how many people of African descent live in your country. Apparently, taking an ethnic census is constitutionally banned in France. 

For Afro-french people, they’re not bound together by race as much as their family origins. If you’re a black woman from Guadeloupe, you might feel a bigger bond to people from the West Indies than to those from West Africa. Honestly, I envy greatly that Afro-Europeans know exactly where they come from and even have family that still live in those countries. I have never felt so shameful about not knowing my roots until moving here. Every time I meet an Afro-french person for the first time, the conversation goes as follows.

Them: So where are you from?

Me: I’m from the U.S!

Them: Yeah, I know. But like where are you really from?

Me: Washington, DC. 

Them: What’s your family origin I mean to say.

Me: Um…I don’t know? My ancestors were slaves so…

Them: …..

Me: …..Nice meeting you! 

In general, there’s this idea that black people are never really from whatever predominantly white country they reside in. Afro-french people can be born and raised in Paris and never feel or be seen as “french”. Even when I meet White Europeans, they are generally skeptical about my origin story but for a different reason. Because I have a lighter skin tone than most Afro-french, many assume that I am “métisse” or mixed. During my trip to Italy, an italian man told me “You’re beautiful. I love mulatto women”. The assumption really bothers me because black and beautiful are not mutually exclusive concepts homeboy! But I do love their faces of disappointment when I tell them I am proudly, undeniably, 100% BLACK. 

But let’s discuss some positives, for there are many. While Black French don’t organize against injustices in the same way we do, that doesn’t mean they aren’t having these important conversations. The Afro-fem movement seems to be really big here. I’ve seen countless articles, youtube videos, tweets, and have even been invited to conferences by Afro-feminists to discuss the interesting balance of race and gender. 

I’ve met so many black french women who are smart and woke. Clever and funny. Women who want to be a voice for their community. Women who are artists, poets, and singers. Women who are beautiful inside and out. Women who are writers. Women who are fly. Women who are college educated. Women who want to uplift and strengthen their fellow sisters. Women who want to be a vessel for serious change in their society. 

So don’t sleep on Afro-Europeans. They have a very real place in our world. 

I would be remiss not to mention the Strolling Series by Cecile Emeke, which was in truth my personal introduction to Afro-European voices. Cecile Emeke is a British woman who brilliantly decided to film black individuals across the African diaspora. The result? Unraveling the generalized blanket of our black experiences into singular, personal threads of testimony. Emeke has filmed in the Netherlands, Italy, Jamaica, and many other countries and its widespread appeal has garnered a huge Youtube following. Of course, you’ll hear the familiar stories of micro-agressions, respectability politics, and self-love affirmation. But you’ll also hear views on mental health, sexual orientation & expression, capitalism, veganism, colonial reparations, and a plethora of other subjects not often heard from black standpoints. 

If you’re interested, I would start with one of my three favorites: Two Black Friends in France , One Black Male Feminist from the UK, or A Black Actress in London

So what does it mean to be Black in Europe? I have the same answer for someone who would ask what its like to be black in the U.S. There is no simple answer. The culture, the attitudes, the ideas, the joys, the struggles of black people are not monolithic. They are varied. They are nuanced. They may intersect but they don’t coalesce. 

I write this to say there is more to the black experience than what you have experienced personally. I think its important not only to have conversations on blackness within the US but in a global context as well. And lets remind ourselves that as Black Americans, our global visibility gives us a certain level of privilege. The next time you say #BlackLivesMatter, mentally expand that demand outside of North America. When you think of the black community, challenge yourself to think beyond your own borders. 

And if you’re able, travel abroad. Talk to people. Have these discussions. Your eyes and minds will open wider than you know. 

May 25 1935 Jesse Owens sets 3 world records in 45 minutes at Ohio State Owens attended The Ohio State University only after employment was found for his father, ensuring the family could be supported. Affectionately known as the “Buckeye Bullet,” Owens won a record eight individual NCAA championships, four each in 1935 and 1936. (The record of four gold medals at the NCAA has been equaled only by Xavier Carter in 2006, although his many titles also included relay medals.) Though Owens was enjoying athletic success, he had to live off campus with other African-American athletes. When he traveled with the team, Owens could either order carry-out or eat at “black-only” restaurants. Likewise, he slept in “black-only” hotels. Owens was never awarded a scholarship for his efforts, so he continued to work part-time jobs to pay for school. Owens’s greatest achievement came in a span of 45 minutes on May 25, 1935 at the Big Ten meet in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he set three world records and tied a fourth. He equaled the world record for the 100-yard (91 m) sprint (9.4 seconds) and set world records in the long jump (26 feet 8¼ inches (8.13 m), a world record that would last 25 years), 220-yard (201.2 m) sprint (20.7 seconds), and 220-yard (201.2m) low hurdles (22.6 seconds to become the first person to break 23 seconds). In 2005, both NBC sports announcer Bob Costas and University of Central Florida professor of sports history Richard C. Crepeau chose this as the most impressive athletic achievement since 1850. Owens was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter organization established for African Americans.

The Kalunga line is a watery boundary between the world of the living and the dead in Kongo Culture. The word Kalunga is Kikongo for “threshold between worlds”. The Kalunga line is often associated with bodies of water. Kongos believed the soul after death traveled the path of the sun as it set in the west. The enslaved believed they were being taken to the land of the dead, never to return. Thus the Kalunga line became known as a line under the Atlantic Ocean where the living became the dead and the only way back to life was to recross the line. Some religions today still make reference to the Kalunga Line believing that the soul of an African American travels back to Africa upon death and re-enters the world of the spiritually living although the body has passed on.

anonymous asked:

Fav ones that are still alive and/or working?

Cool women of science that are still alive:

Jocelyn Bell Burnell - Astrophysicist; Discovered radio pulsars (her advisor won the Nobel prize for this). Has been the President of the Royal Astronomical Society, The Institute of Physics, Royal Society of Edinburgh and elected Pro-Chancellor of the University of Dublin.

Elizabeth Blackburn - Molecular Biologist; She co-discovered telomerase the enzyme associated with the repair of telomeres (part of chromosomes). Won the Nobel prize in Medicine in 2009 for this research. On January 1st, 2016 she will become the president of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

Shirley Ann Jackson - Physicist; the first African American to earn a doctorate at MIT. She’s the current president of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and has many awards and accomplishments.

Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard - Biologist; won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for the genetics of embryonic development.

Vera Rubin - Astronomer; who did pioneering work on the rotation of galaxies. This work formed the foundation of the current study of Dark Matter.

Mae Jemison - Physician and NASA Astronaut; First African American to travel in space; also practiced medicine in the Peace Corps.

Melissa Franklin - Experimental Particle Physicist; Her team found some of the first evidence for the existence of the top quark.

Darleane C. Hoffman - Nuclear Chemist; was part of a team that confirmed the existence of the element Seaborgium.

Ingrid Daubechies - Mathematician, and the first women to serve as the president of the International Mathematical Union. Her research is on wavelets in image compression.

Sylvia Earle - Marine Biologist; The first female chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Mary-Claire King - Geneticist; is known for identifying breast cancer genes, demonstrating that humans and chimpanzees are 99% genetically identical, and using genomic sequencing to identify victims of human rights abuses.

Susan Solomon - Atmospheric Chemist; She and her team proposed the chloroflurocarbon free radical reaction mechanism, which explains the hole in the ozone layer.

Mildred Dresselhaus - Physicist nicknamed the “Queen of Carbon Science; MIT’s first female institute professor and has won many international scientific awards. Known mostly for her work on Carbon nanotubes.

Shirley M. Tilghman - A leader in the field of molecular biology and was Princeton University’s first female president.

Lene Hau - Physicist; She led a scientific team that was able to slow, and then stop the motion of light. Also has done very important work in quantum physics.

Real & Fantasy Races Co-existing

So I’ve been developing this sci-fi/fantasy world where quite a number of my stories take place. It’s an entirely different planet in another solar system. On this planet I have a number of fantasy people/aliens that don’t fit the bill of high fantasy races (humans, elves, orcs and whatnot)

This idea started over 10 years ago with me, a black girl, having a strong desire to see more 1) powerful women 2) people of color in fantastical settings and 3)powerful/important men of color. For that reason, people of color (literally red, blue, green, yellow,brown) dominate my world. Those with paler or white skin are very rare.

Is it racist that i have done something like that? Is it ok that i have chosen to include very few people with recognizably Caucasian skin?

in addition, I was wondering how I would deal with these characters with regards to their culture and representation. For example, i have a fantasy race that resembles humans.They’re dark skinned and their culture is inspired modern Black culture. They have the same speech patterns (AAVE). Because it is a fantasy setting, they don’t have the history that Black people in modern America have. So how do I deal with diversity in a fantasy setting?

Is it even possible for me to consider my characters POC even though they are not human?

It’s not racist, but just misinformed. Someone who is literally red, blue, green is not a Person of Color in the context that we use it in. Yes, technically they are, but the term “PoC ” has a history rooted in white supremacy. It’s not racist to have very few white people in your story (also Caucasian does not mean white). That doesn’t mean that you can create “diversity” by having people who are neon green and hot pink, exclude actual human skin tones, and call your aliens People of Color because they are green.

You nearly answered your own question regarding your fantasy race speaking AAVE and being coded as Black. Since they don’t have the history of modern Blacks in America, they therefore can’t speak AAVE which is African-American Venacular English. This can lean into stereotype territory if you have your African-American coded characters speaking AAVE.  How can their culture be inspired by a culture they know nothing about or even had contact with? The only work around this, if you have your heart set on this, is to have actual African-Americans travel and live on this planet. It’s really the only thing that makes sense, even though I would caution against using this. If the only Black characters you have in your story are speaking AAVE, it could be offensive yet it would also be offensive if you had one specific culture (not related to skin tone) speaking AAVE too. I think it would be much more unique in terms of a story to create your own culture that is influenced by the events that have taken place on your fantasy planet. You can create your own slang and speech patterns that are spoken by a diverse population of characters, not just the ones you’ve coded to be Black.

Even if they aren’t human, you’ve coded them to be portrayed as a certain ethnicity based on the information given. I wouldn’t say you can consider them POC because they live on a different planet that does not have the same historical context as Earth. In terms of representation, that part is iffy. It would be strange to have a planet that is basically a representation of our own with unnatural skin tones. As a reader I’d wonder why the story couldn’t just take place on our own planet. Yet there are stories like Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy that include humans and aliens. One thing you can learn from these examples is to diversify your human characters by having actual human skin tones along with the more unnatural skin tones.

~Mod Najela

Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations. If you adopt their attitudes, then the possibility won’t exist because you’ll have already shut it out…You can hear other people’s wisdom, but you’ve got to re-evaluate the world for yourself.

Mae Jemison (First African American Woman to Travel In Space)

Photo Credit: NASA

Nichelle Nichols with real NASA astronaut Mae Jemison on the set of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION – 1993

“Second Chances” 1993

Mae Jemison was the first African American woman to travel in space aboard the ENDEAVOUR on September 12, 1992.

She has cited Nichols’ role of Lieutenant Uhura as her inspiration for wanting to become an astronaut.