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Mixed-Race Author: 'Alice Randall'

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  • multiracialbookclub
    ... referrelative= t o:spt= 75 coordsize= 21600,21600 ath o:connecttype= rect gradientshapeok= t o:extrusionok= f ath referrelative= f u1:spt= 75
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 18, 2005
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      Mixed-Race Author: Alice Randall

      Alice Randall is author of Pushkin and the
      Queen of Spades
      &
      The Wind Done Gone

      Bio

      Alice Randall is author of Pushkin and the
      Queen of Spades & The Wind Done Gone

      Lineage:

      Multi-Generational Multiracially-Mixed (MGM-Mixed)

      Ethnicity:

      African-American

      Biography

      Alice Randall is the author of Pushkin and the Queen of Spades
      & The Wind Done Gone, both published by Houghton-Mifflin.
      Alice was born in Detroit , Michigan , in an enclave of Motown
      populated almost exclusively with refugees from Alabama .
      She grew up in Washington , D.C. , and then attended
      Harvard University , from which she graduated in 1981
      with an honors degree in English and American literature.
      In 1983 she moved to Nashville to become a country songwriter.
      In 2001, her first novel, The Wind Done Gone, became a New York
      Time's
      bestseller and the subject of a first-amendment legal battle.
      Alice received the Free Spirit Award in 2001 and the Literature Award
      of Excellence from the Memphis Black Writers Conference in 2002.
      She was a finalist for the NAACP Image Award in 2002.

      The only African-American woman in history to write a
      Number 1 country song, she has had over twenty songs
      recorded, including two top ten records and a top forty.

      Her work includes the only known recorded country songs to explore the
      subject of lynching (Mark O'Connor's "The Ballad of Sally Anne" ), mention

      Aretha Franklin in the same line as Patsy Cline (Trisha Yearwood's "Xxx's and
      Ooo's (An American Girl)"
      ), and give tribute to both the slave dead
      and the Confederate dead ("I'll Cry for Yours, Will You Cry for Mine?").

      Ms. Randall is also a produced screenwriter (a movie of the
      week for CBS) and has worked on adaptations of Their Eyes
      Were Watching God, Parting the Waters
      , and Brer Rabbit.

      The mother of Caroline Randall Williams (who is the great-granddaughter
      of the Harlem Renaissance poet Arna Bontemps) and the wife of attorney
      David Ewing (a ninth-generation resident of Nashville and a great-
      great-grandson of Prince Albert Ewing, the first African American to
      practice law in Tennessee), Alice Randall Ewing lives in Nashville, Tenn.


      Contact

      Email Address: Email Me
      Website: http://www.alicerandall.com

      Press Inquiries:

      Walter Vatter
      Houghton-Mifflin Books
      212-420-5830
      e-mail: walter_atter@...

      Speaking Representation:

      If you are interested in having Alice speak to your group,
      please contact Flip Porter at American Program Bureau.

      ********************************************
                                      ARTICLE
      ********************************************
      A nagging question spawned
      author to pen best-selling parody

      By ANNETTE JOHN-HALL
      The Philadelphia Inquirer
      (Sunday, July 22, 2001)

      For years, the question gnawed at Alice Randall, the author who
      fought in court to publish a book that is now a best-seller.
      Where, Randall wondered, were the mulatto children of Tara
      Randall, 42, who has lived in Nashville for almost 20 years, is of
      mixed-race ancestry and identifies, proudly, as African American
      .
      She was 12 and living in Detroit when she first read "Gone With the Wind,"
      Margaret Mitchell's Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Old South, and found
      herself mesmerized by the love story of headstrong Scarlett O'Hara and dashing
      Rhett Butler, and horrified by the demeaning depictions of the black slaves of Tara .
      Three decades later, Randall has turned Tara upside down and outraged the
      Mitchell estate with her parody "The Wind Done Gone" (Houghton Mifflin, $22),
      the story of the plantation told through the journal of Cynara, out-of-wedlock
      daughter of Mammy and Planter, the white man who owns her.

      In Randall's version, Scarlett, no longer the center of attention,
      is known merely as Other, and Rhett, called R., is Cynara's lover.
      The Mitchell estate sued to stop publication, and in April, an Atlanta judge
      agreed that "The Wind Done Gone" violated "Gone With the Wind"'s copyright.

      But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit overturned
      the ruling on the ground that it violated the First Amendment.

      That didn't stop a handful of protesters -- one wearing a Confederate uniform,
      waving a rebel flag and holding a sign that said "Write Your Own Book" -- from
      greeting Randall last week outside the Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta ,
      where she appeared as an invited guest during her national book tour.

      "I felt the need to write a text that would rebuke
      the original and transform it," says Randall.
      "Why? Because that novel injured so many people.
      Black people and white people have told me how poisoned they felt by it."

      Randall's need to respond to "Gone With the Wind" with her
      "unauthorized parody" was deeply personal, she says.

      Randall's father's parents were half-white; her great-great-
      grandfather was said to be Confederate Gen. Edmund Pettus.
      Her father was a green-eyed, red-haired
      black militant in the Malcolm X tradition.

      Her half-white mother "had a mixed racial identity," Randall
      says, "and 'Gone With the Wind' didn't make it easier."

      The family lived in Washington , D.C. , where
      Randall learned to love "high and low culture."

      She earned a degree in English at
      Harvard, and began writing for a living.
      She sold screenplays, including one that became
      a movie of the week for CBS, and wrote songs.

      She may be the only songwriter ever to include references
      to Aretha Franklin and Patsy Cline in the same hit song
      (Trisha Yearwood's "XXX's and OOO's (An American Girl)".)

      In her first novel, Randall says, she set out to dispel
      three myths perpetrated by "Gone With the Wind":
      "That blacks are inferior to whites.

      That the black mother is an asexual creature who exists to take
      care of a white charge. And that black politicians are incompetent."

      In "The Wind Done Gone," Cynara, Scarlett's mulatto half-sister,
      becomes educated and thrives in emancipation.

      She owns her own home in Atlanta , travels to
      Europe and hobnobs with black congressmen.

      Original characters from "Gone With the Wind" are here,
      but renamed and described in ways
      that Mitchell could never have foreseen.

      Ashley Wilkes is Dreamy Gentleman -- and gay.
      The saintly Melanie is Mealy Mouth.
      And Rhett, R., teaches Cynara to read and write.

      One of the novel's most compelling aspects is the exploration
      of Cynara's tangled relationship with Mammy, who, as Other's
      wet nurse, showed more affection to the white child than to her own.
      "The Wind Done Gone," now in its fourth printing,
      made its first appearance on the New York Times
      best-seller list last week, and is on the Publishers Weekly,
      USA Today and Entertainment Weekly lists.

      Reviews have been mixed, with the Los Angeles
      Times praising the book as "a gleaming pendant . . .
      that moves under its own power," and the
      New York Times dismissing it, saying:
      "Where Mitchell's novel was epic, vibrant and accessible,

      Randall's narrative is spare, flat and oblique."
      Randall places it in the African American
      tradition of parody as a form of protest.
      She likens it to a dance called the Cakewalk,
      an exaggerated promenade that blacks used to perform to entertain whites,
      when in fact it was secretly done to mock whites' behavior.

      "My purpose is political," Randall says.
      "My book is not a beach read. . . .
      It takes a big mind and big heart to get into this book.

      For many Americans, the other book had injured their minds and hearts.
      They're looking at my book for some kind of healing."

      http://www.readinggroupguides.com/guides3/wind_done_gone2.asp
      http://www.time.com/time/sampler/article/0,8599,100851,00.html
      http://www.alicerandall.com/

      **********************************
      Purchase Pushkin and the Queen of Spades

      Order Pushkin and the Queen of Spades
      from your local bookstore via Booksense.com
      Order Pushkin and the Queen of Spades from amazon.com.

      Purchase The Wind Done Gone

      Order The Wind Done Gone from your
      local bookstore via Booksense.com
      Order The Wind Done Gone from from amazon.com.

      color
    • wintyreeve@aol.com
      For years, the question gnawed at Alice Randall, the author who fought in court to publish a book that is now a best-seller. Where, Randall wondered, were the
      Message 2 of 3 , Dec 19, 2005
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        For years, the question gnawed at Alice Randall, the author who
        fought in court to publish a book that is now a best-seller.
        Where, Randall wondered, were the mulatto children of Tara
        Randall, 42, who has lived in Nashville for almost 20 years, is
        of
        mixed-race ancestry and identifies, proudly, as African American
        .
        She was 12 and living in Detroit when she first read "Gone With the Wind,"
        Margaret Mitchell's Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Old South, and found
        herself mesmerized by the love story of headstrong Scarlett O'Hara and dashing

         
        I would just like to add that a mixed race woman, Joan Bennett, was considered for the role of Scarlett O'Hara in "Gone with the Wind". Joan Bennett was considered in the eyes of Hollywood--and the public to be "white" because she had fair skin, and styled her hair just so. She was very popular, and even now not much is said about her mixed race lineage. She has a star on the Hollywood walk of fame too. The huge contradiction her is that because Joan could pass for "white" she didn't have to struggle in the Civil Rights Era, was embraced by society (was a sex symbol), was welcomed with cheers & hugs. Those with a shade darker of skin lived a completely different life. I haven't seen anything that shows that Joan actively stood up or championed for Civil Rights causes or for African-Americans. She may have done so in private? Surely if Joan were to reveal her true identity at this time, she would have been ostracized. Personally, I would have fought for the cause--wouldn't mind being scoffed at because I wouldn't want to live a lie & rub elbows with people who have no sense of morality--or even decency.
         
         
      • j s
        But you have to realize that many if not most Creoles didn t see themselves as black and therefore felt that the civil rights movement etc didn t apply to
        Message 3 of 3 , Dec 19, 2005
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          But you have to realize that many if not most Creoles didn't see themselves as black and therefore felt that the civil rights movement etc didn't apply to them. In fact some Creoles owned slaves and fought on the side of the confederates during the civil war. I see her great great grandfather was a Confederate officer on his bio - there's no reason to believe that she'd consider herself black. In fact we are using the one drop rule mentality if we say she should have stoood up and been counted as black. 

          wintyreeve@... wrote:
          For years, the question gnawed at Alice Randall, the author who
          fought in court to publish a book that is now a best-seller.
          Where, Randall wondered, were the mulatto children of Tara
          Randall, 42, who has lived in Nashville for almost 20 years, is
          of
          mixed-race ancestry and identifies, proudly, as African American
          .
          She was 12 and living in Detroit when she first read "Gone With the Wind,"
          Margaret Mitchell's Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Old South, and found
          herself mesmerized by the love story of headstrong Scarlett O'Hara and dashing

           
          I would just like to add that a mixed race woman, Joan Bennett, was considered for the role of Scarlett O'Hara in "Gone with the Wind". Joan Bennett was considered in the eyes of Hollywood--and the public to be "white" because she had fair skin, and styled her hair just so. She was very popular, and even now not much is said about her mixed race lineage. She has a star on the Hollywood walk of fame too. The huge contradiction her is that because Joan could pass for "white" she didn't have to struggle in the Civil Rights Era, was embraced by society (was a sex symbol), was welcomed with cheers & hugs. Those with a shade darker of skin lived a completely different life. I haven't seen anything that shows that Joan actively stood up or championed for Civil Rights causes or for African-Americans. She may have done so in private? Surely if Joan were to reveal her true identity at this time, she would have been ostracized. Personally, I would have fought for the cause--wouldn't mind being scoffed at because I wouldn't want to live a lie & rub elbows with people who have no sense of morality--or even decency.
           
           

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