I was born in Chicago on December 30, 1946, within the vortex of a huge snowstorm. My father had to help the taxi driver navigate Lake Shore Drive with the windows wide open, while my mother was in labor. I was a scrawny baby, and my father worked to keep me alive, holding me over a steamy washtub to help me breathe. I will think of them both when I step on the stage of the Riviera Theatre, in Chicago, on my seventieth birthday, with my band, and my son and daughter. Despite the emotionally wrenching atmosphere that has engulfed us during the Presidential election, I have tried to spend December immersed in positive work, tending to the needs of my family, and preparations for the new year.
When National Geographic announced the publication of a special issue about race this week, editor-in-chief Susan Goldberg's editor's note reported that the magazine had asked historian John Edwin Mason, of the University of Virginia, to look at the magazine's past and help assess its coverage of race over the years. Goldberg relays some of Mason's findings to her readers, but I wondered how Mason had gone about his research, and what else he had found that hadn't made it into that relatively brief editor's note. A historian of Africa, black American life, and photography, Mason told me over Skype that he had to be disciplined in approaching this project, lest he lose weeks and months to reading back issues. To create a framework for himself, he chose a dozen years of important milestones in African history, then read all the magazines that had been published in those years. He took special note of the ads, remarking on the stark contrast between images of watches and luxury cars and photographs of supposedly "primitive" Africans, Indians, and Pacific Islanders--a contrast that set up an implicit division between reader and observed.
An Alaska Airlines plane is pictured in Seattle, July 15, 2016. A female passenger aboard an Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to Kansas City died Tuesday as the result of a medical emergency, officials said. The woman aboard Flight 478 could not be resuscitated at Kansas City International Airport, an airport spokesman told Fox 4 Kansas City. Police said the woman was already dead when emergency personnel were able to reach her, the station reported, adding that the woman appeared to be undergoing cardiac arrest in mid-flight. Woman dies on Alaska Airlines flight to Kansas City https://t.co/O0z4rugE44
Three Iowa businessmen filed a lawsuit against United Airlines Wednesday over the death of a giant rabbit that was found dead in a kennel after a flight from London to Chicago, according to the Associated Press. Mark Oman, Steve Bruere, and Duke Reichardt filed the lawsuit more than three months after United Airlines workers noticed the rabbit, named Simon, had died on April 20. The rabbit had sat in the cargo section of a Boeing 767 at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, expecting to board a connecting flight to Kansas City and where his new owners planned to retrieve him. The lawsuit requests punitive damages and $2,300, intended to supplement the cost and transportation of the continental rabbit, a breed that has a typical lifespan of four or five years. Guy Cook, the attorney for the three men, said Simon was purchased with the hopes of selling merchandise and displaying him during the Iowa State Fair.