Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Afro-Vikings? The Black-Danish Experience Invades My World
I can honestly say, before I met author, Heidi Durrow, in 2007, I'd never, ever truly contemplated the pairing of Blacks and Danes. Never. Durrow, the child of a Danish mother and an African-American father, obviously has and pointed out to me that the famed author, Nella Larsen, was also a Mixie with Black Danish ancestry. I thanked Heidi for the information but still considered the cultural mix of Danish and Black to be a coincidence and nothing else. I mean really, I reasoned, how many Afro-Vikings could there really be?
Fast forward to last week, when Heidi posted on her blog about a rather famous Afro-Viking named Casper Holstein. A patron of the arts during the Harlem Renaissance, a bit of a gambler, and a philanthropist, Holstein made Durrow's list of prominent Mixies for Mixed Experience History Month.
I tweeted about Holstein and posted on facebook that Afro-Vikings were truly a new mix for me to contemplate, and then guess what happens to me on Monday morning? Yes, just two days ago. I receive an email from a journalist in Denmark who has a Black African mother and a Danish father and wanted to write a story explaining the politics of Black hair to her mostly White countrymen. You could have slapped me silly with a feather. I mean, really. I feel the universe is trying to tell me something about opening my eyes to the Black Danish experience. By the way, I had a great conversation with the Danish journalist and she shared a lot about how she grew up feeling like she had to hide her curly hair in Denmark.
So, as the ever curious Meltingpot journalist, I am now trying to find out just where and when Blacks and Danes collide. Throughout history and today. For example, here's a link to an article on Denmark's slaving history. And here's a link to a recent story about St. Croix's ( a former Danish colony) African roots and influences.
So what about you Meltingpot readers. What or whom do you think about when you hear Afro-Vikings or the Black/Danish experience? I'm so listening.