Join us for a virtual lecture with local author and Pitt History professor, Alaina E. Roberts, with her new book I’ve Been Here All the While: Black Freedom on Native Land.
Perhaps no other symbol has more resonance in African American history than that of “40 acres and a mule”—the lost promise of Black reparations for slavery after the Civil War. In I’ve Been Here All the While: Black Freedom on Native Land, we meet the Black people who actually received this mythic 40 acres, the American settlers who coveted this land, and the Native Americans whose holdings it originated from.
In nineteenth-century Indian Territory (modern-day Oklahoma), a story unfolds that ties African American and Native American history tightly together, revealing a western theatre of Civil War and Reconstruction.
Through chapters that chart cycles of dispossession, land seizure, and settlement in Indian Territory, Alaina E. Roberts draws on archival research and family history to upend the traditional story of Reconstruction. She connects debates about Black freedom and Native American citizenship to westward expansion onto Native land. As Black, white, and Native people constructed ideas of race, belonging, and national identity, this part of the West became, for a short time, the last place where Black people could escape Jim Crow, finding land and exercising political rights, until Oklahoma statehood in 1907.
This event is free, with registration.
Registrants will receive a link to view the virtual lecture on Thursday, April 22.
2021/04/22 - 2021/04/22
Additional time info:
Copies of I’ve Been Here All the While: Black Freedom on Native Land will be available on April 9, 2021 from White Whale Bookstore.