John Edwin Mason Profile picture
Writing a book about Gordon Parks. Occasional photographer. Daily walker. Avid French hornist. Teaches history @UVA. Board @evdayprojects & Aftermath Project.
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Sep 14, 2018 4 tweets 3 min read
These steps might look small, but it's possible that they're the beginning of a long-overdue process of repairing the relationship between @UVA & Charlottesville's African American community. Seems to me that President Ryan deserves both our support & our critical engagement. Here's some background on the living wage issue from @RuthServen.…
Sep 10, 2018 5 tweets 3 min read
Well, poop. Amtrak is already preemptively cancelling trains along the east coast for later this week & the weekend. Hurricane #Florence. That's not really a complaint. The last time a hurricane came ashore & stalled over Virginia, 153 people died in flooding & mudslides in Nelson County, just south of Charlottesville. 👉🏾…
And the forecast is no joke. 👇🏾
Aug 23, 2018 6 tweets 1 min read
Lies, yes. No large scale killings, no land seizures. But worse. Literally the talking points of violent white supremacist organizations More on the origins of this mythology.
Aug 21, 2018 5 tweets 2 min read
Some of the best reporting I've seen in a long time. Text, voices, photo, & video work beautifully together. Very moving. Important story. Adding to this thread on some stunningly good journalism.
I love this example of how a text, by Lisa Rab, & (simply gorgeous) portraits, by Travis Dove, can tell very different but complementary & reinforcing stories.…
Aug 20, 2018 5 tweets 2 min read
Here's a Gordon Parks photo for #WorldPhotographyDay.
A portrait of Ella Watson. But not *that* portrait of Ella Watson. Not the iconic one.
I'm writing about both. And several others. Stay tuned. A black & white photo, showing Ella Watson, a housekeeper in a government office building. She is seen standing in the middle of a large office after everyone else has gone home. Office equipment can be seen on the desks. Watson's mop and broom are at her side. A Rufus Holsinger photo for #WorldPhotograhyDay.
Miss Conkey, with beet. Charlottesville, 1918. A black and white studio portrait of a teenaged girl, in a white dress with ruffles. She proudly holds a giant beet.
Aug 13, 2018 4 tweets 2 min read
😂 My friend @ninaberman doing to Jason Kessler what ought to be done to Jason Kessler. Immediately reminds me of Arnold Newman's portrait of the Nazi industrialist Alfred Krupp.…
Aug 12, 2018 6 tweets 2 min read
Good brief account of what went down in Charlottesville tonight. Not all that much, frankly. But 700 cops -- many in riot gear -- armored police vehicles, & a helicopter overhead made things much more tense than they needed to be. I'm thinking about the 700 out-of-town riot cops currently in Charlottesville.
And about the old saying...
To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
Aug 11, 2018 9 tweets 3 min read
Pretty sure I just stumbled across the first publication of Ansel Adams' Moonrise Near Hernandez New Mexico. US Camera magazine, December 1942. Here's what Adams had to say about the photo. Mostly technical details.
Aug 6, 2018 12 tweets 8 min read
The best #Charlottesville-One-Year-Later stories will be written & produced by Charlottesvillians. Today, I'm starting a thread to highlight work that's caught my eye. I welcome suggestions about things I've missed.
But first... Words matter. What happened in #Charlottesville on August 11th & 12th last year wasn't a rally. It wasn't a riot. It was terrorism.
White supremacist terrorists invaded my city, killing Heather Heyer & sending dozens to the hospital.
Terrorism. It's the right word. Please use it.
Aug 3, 2018 6 tweets 1 min read
This is wild. I just found an early newspaper profile of Gordon Parks. It's about his musical career & mentions his photography only in passing. Many (many!) of the details about his life as a musician are completely missing from his memoirs & interviews.
I'm absolutely stunned. From the same article, Brother Parks at 24. A black and white, head and shoulders portrait of Gordon Parks. He's dressed in a coat and tie, smiling, and quite handsome.
Aug 3, 2018 10 tweets 3 min read
The @Miller_Center still refuses to get it. The Trump administration isn't politics as usual. It's undermining the very democratic & scholarly principles that the Center claims it stands for. And it's pursuing an openly racist, white nationalist agenda which has no place at @UVA. This simple-minded both-sides-ism will be the death of us. Some of us, at least.
Jul 30, 2018 4 tweets 2 min read
My @UVA history colleague. His departure is a huge loss for the @Miller_Center (which insists on digging itself deeper into that it's created for itself). More on the situation.
Jul 28, 2018 19 tweets 6 min read
The speaker, Dr. Paul Barringer, was well known nationally for his book, "The American Negro." His argument wasn't subtle: "...if you scratch a Negro, you will find a savage." I case you're wondering... Yes, arguments like that were used to justify lynchings.
May 26, 2018 6 tweets 2 min read
We should also have learned about American slave owners who ripped crying children from their mothers' arms & sold them away.
We need to stop looking elsewhere for historical comparisons. Atrocities happened here. This parent's words will sound shockingly familiar to anyone who's read autobiographies by former slaves or the WPA interviews with ex-slaves.
Jan 15, 2018 12 tweets 3 min read
I've spent the morning thinking about the visual representation of black people. And not just because this is the day on which some of our appalling politicians defile the words & image of Martin Luther King. African Americans have challenged the how they're represented -- usually, misrepresented -- in visual media since at least the middle of the 19th century. Frederick Douglass was one of the first. >>…