One of my sisters discovered this March 18, 2005 interview with my mother’s first cousin, my first cousin once removed, Frances Beal this autumn, conducted by Loretta Ross. Fran is about 12 years younger than my mother and 13 years older than I am. Her kids are about a dozen years younger than my sisters and I. Her late mother, Charlotte Yates, was my beloved great aunt.
Her politics are far more liberal than mine. She, I suspect, would eschew the term “liberal” altogether, in favor of “radical”. What is truly interesting about the piece though, from my specific POV, is her retelling of her history, which invariably overlaps with mine.
Here’s a picture of Frances Beal.
The info in the italics is mine.
Frances Beal was born in Binghamton, NY, January 13, 1940, the daughter of Ernest Yates [ my maternal grandmother’s brother- ] who was of African American and Native American ancestry, and Charlotte Berman Yates, of radical Russian Jewish immigrant roots. When Fran’s father died in 1954, her mother moved the family to St. Albans, an integrated neighborhood in Queens. In addition to observing her mother’s participation in left politics, Fran was profoundly affected by the murder of Emmett Till , as was I. After graduating from Andrew Jackson High School in 1958, she became involved in civil rights activities and socialist politics while attending the University of Wisconsin.
She married James Beal, and from 1959 to 1966, they lived in France, where they had two children and Fran became attuned to the internationalist/anti-imperialist politics of post-colonial African liberation struggles…
BEAL: OK. I was born in a relatively small city, upstate New York, called Binghamton, New York , as was I. In school they used to tell us, Bing bought a ham and it weighed a ton: that’s how to spell Binghamton…
Continue reading Frances Beal: Voices of Feminism Oral History Project