Clarence King and racial identity


Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
This thread has been locked
Messages 1 - 10 of total 10 in this topic

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Topic Author's Original Post - Sep 19, 2010 - 02:29am PT
I had never read that much about Clarence King, and saw this on NPRs site...

"James Todd was really not black, he was not a Pullman porter, and he was not even James Todd," author Martha Sandweiss tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. "He was in fact Clarence King, a very well-educated white explorer who was truly a famous man in late 19th century America."

from where the anecdotes roam
Sep 19, 2010 - 02:41am PT
i saw this as primarily a love story in the context of great social adversity.
set aside 45 minutes for this telling of the story by the author.

it came up in this thread:

in case you don't get past the first page, here's where treeman takes the OP's nod:
Treeman saw through my ruse.

Clarence King, who did something astonishing. A white man who chose to pass as a black for 17 years, and was accepted as such by the black community of the time.

When I heard this story this year, I absolutely thought it was a hoax. I mean, how was it possible that such a famous man could have this history, and have it not known.

The book about him is "Passing Strange: A Gilded Age Tale of Love and Deception Across the Color Line"

Glad I posted this, as I was not aware of that talk on the C-span site, nor that resource existed, at all.

As for current climbers, Marc Jackson is pretty good.

and remarks i made at the time, to save making them again:
i was so provoked by the author's presentation, i fritzed out and started a thread called "clarence king, we hardly knew ya."
it languished for twelve hours or so with only 'dirtbag' responding with a "sounds interesting."

to tell the truth i fritzed out again and deleted the thread for reasons akin to the wary miner whose fuse might or might not have fizzled.
plus some other threads at the time had run completely off the tracks in regrettable directions. right, like that could ever happen again.

my take on the story had to do with compassion for a man who was driven to extreme measures for following
the true compass of his heart in a time when social constraints would have ruined him.

he felt no attraction to stiff victorian women "suitable" to a man who moved amongst presidential cabinets
and also performed western wilderness surveys.

instead his passion was stirred by voluptuous afro-caribbean earthyness (help me out here largo)
and frankly, i get it, but apparently can't describe it.

his widow was supported until the sixties by financial underpinning traceable to lincolns sec of state, i mean really, check out the story

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Sep 19, 2010 - 02:55am PT
Which is precisely why it can be such a poignant divider.

from where the anecdotes roam
Sep 19, 2010 - 03:46am PT
really t*r, you think people want You to explain "the way cells express themselves?"

in my case i'm fascinated by the subtle differences in structural characteristics that are so close yet slightly skewed, for instance between say maori and samoan. just tonight i learned norah jones is the daughter of ravi shankar, and her obvious beauty became even more intriguing, i observe with a sharpened eye given that bit of knowledge.

i'm always reluctant to ask, not knowing in what way the question might be offensive. honestly it hadn't occured to me that they might be sensitive regarding a question
i wouldn't have ventured to ask a cellular biologist.

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Sep 19, 2010 - 04:09am PT
"Dude, what's up with yer cells?"

Just read your self quote hooblie, fascinating!

from where the anecdotes roam
Sep 19, 2010 - 05:00am PT
anyway, that clarence guy. what a tale of devotion, and risk taken to be true to his passion. hope we can see through the confusion that his subterfuge stirs and appreciate the man who did what he thought he had to do. given the times, i'm sure his assesment was right

Trad climber
northern CA
Jun 29, 2015 - 08:55pm PT
From today's NY Times

Driven by Love or Ambition, Slipping Across the Color Line Through the Ages
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Jun 29, 2015 - 09:35pm PT
The Epilogue to Clarence King: A Biography by Thurman Wilkins.
The lady called Mrs. Howland was King's mother, Mrs. George Snowden Howland, formerly Mrs. James Rivers King. CK was her sole support for most of her later life.

Somebody's gotta have some content, so she thinks,

"I'll go sift through some old dirt tailings.

"Leave these people's reputations alone?

"Not if there is titillation to be had.

"Oooh, la-la! The Mother Lode!"

No offense, Hooblie, my man. I bothered with this book. I really HAD TO READ this bio. I concentrated on it for months, off and on.

The thing that struck me was that he could go for so long on his frequent visits to mines belonging to his partners or to his clients, and come home to this household.

It must have been hard for him to bear, because if he'd been at all a good businessman, he'd have made his pile and been able to retire.

His problem was that he wanted to retire in the manner of his pals like John Hay and Henry Adams, and that never happened.

He could have settled for much less, but would not have been happy, do you see?

It's a material world, after all, and I sometimes wonder what's love got to do with it?

NOTE ABOUT THIS BIO: The early part of King's career, his struggles with bureaucracy, and his running the USGS are all pretty good reading. The stories about his own luck with mines is just mostly pathetic, sometimes almost tragic, but of little interest to climbers. Just so ya know. It's an easy book to "skim."

Boulder climber
Jun 29, 2015 - 10:48pm PT
How dare any of you question the veracity of a Clarence King?

mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Jun 29, 2015 - 10:55pm PT
Toujours l'audace



Messages 1 - 10 of total 10 in this topic
Return to Forum List
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks

Try a free sample topo!

SuperTopo on the Web

Recent Route Beta