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The Long-Passed Days of "Passing" & 'Posing' (Pt 2/2)

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  • multiracialbookclub
    Passing: how posing became a choice for many Americans (Pt. 2 /2
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 3 1:06 PM

      Passing: how 'posing'
      a choice for 
      many Americans (Pt. 2/2)

      (An article written by Monica L. Haynes for 
      the 'Post-Gazette', Sunday, October 26, 2003



      This article is a continuation of the posting 'The Long-Passed Days of "Passing" & 'Posing' / Pt. 1')

      Unbreakable family ties

      Attorney Wendell Freeland remembers a decade or so ago 
      when he and his wife were reading in the newspaper 
      about the fast rise of a young man who was `White'*

      In the ensuing conversation, Freeland's wife noted that her 
      husband was smarter and much more on the ball than the 
      young man and should have reached the same career peak. 

      Freeland recalls his daughter saying to him, 
      "You've got nothing to complain about; 
      you could have [lived as] `White'*".

      Theoretically, yes. 

      Freeland says he can fool even those
        "black"^^ people who 
      swear they can detect another  "black"^^, no matter how fair. 

      Consciously, Freeland said he could no more 
      "pass" than his brown-skinned brethren. 

      "I never thought about it," said the 78-year-old attorney. 
      "My family ties were so great."

      Freeland, who came to Pittsburgh in 1950, grew 
      up in a segregated community in Baltimore…


      Wendell Freeland, a Squirrel Hill 

      lawyer and civil rights activist, 
      never considered "passing" as 
      `White'^, although he witnessed 
      others passing to get into 
      barred theaters or stores. 
      "That was just casual passing," 
      Freeland says. 
      "I knew people who crossed over."

      As a college student, he encountered 
       "black"^^ from the British 
      West Indies and other places who "passed" to go to the movies 
      or to shop in places where 
       "black"^^ were not welcome. 

      "That was just casual-"passing"," 
      Freeland said. 
      "I knew people who crossed-over." …

      Freeland, who lives in Squirrel Hill, has spent a 
      lifetime utilizing his considerable talents for 
      numerous social and civil rights causes. 

      He served as senior vice president of the National Urban 
      League and was a member of the search committee that 
      selected Vernon Jordan to lead that organization in the 1970s. 

      He's been on any number of boards, including those of 
      Westminster College, University of Pittsburgh and University 
      of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and he had been chairman 
      of the board of governors for the Joint Center for 
      Political and Economic Studies in Washington, D.C. 

      As obvious as the European portion of his ancestry is, Freeland 
      said it was never a source of great pride or interest to him. 

      "I'm more proud of my great-great-grandmother's 
      manumission [emancipation] papers
      any drop of 
      `White'* blood," he said. 

      "I have to tell you my complexion has certain advantages. 
      I learn a lot about 
      `White'* people … ," 
      Freeland said, 

      … "It doesn't bother me if somebody "passed" and 
      had a life that was more successful and happy. 

      I'm successful and happy, too."










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