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VIRTUAL EVENT: BOOK TALK: I've Been Here All the While: Black Freedom on Native Land

Thursday, April 29, 2021 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Registration is requested
Members and VESP holders: Free | Visitors: $5

Book Talk: I've Been Here All the While: Black Freedom on Native Land

Alaina E. Roberts

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, 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.

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.

 

Alaina E. Roberts is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Pittsburgh. Her first book, I’ve Been Here All the While: Black Freedom on Native Land (University of Pennsylvania Press, Spring 2021), uses archival research and family history to upend the traditional narrative of Reconstruction, connecting debates about Black freedom and Native American citizenship to westward expansion onto Native land. Her writing has also appeared in the Journal of the Civil War Era, the Washington Post, and the Western Historical Quarterly.

Help support the author and independent bookstores. 

PURCHASE I've Been Here All the While from our partner, Harvard Book Store.

 

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Auto-generated captions are available for most virtual programs. To request live captioning or other accommodations, please contact Hannah Weisman at weisman@bostonathenaeum.org or 617-720-7617 at least four business days prior to the event.