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No symbol in African American history may be as powerful as “40 acres and a mule”—the lost promise of Black reparations for slavery after the Civil War.
In this Meet the Author event, we’ll hear from scholar Alaina Roberts about the Black people who received the mythic 40 acres, the American settlers who coveted this land, and the Native Americans who originally inhabited the land.
Joined by the Newberry’s Rose Miron, Roberts will discuss her new book, I’ve Been Here All the While: Black Freedom on Native Land, in which she uses archival research and family history to revise the traditional story of Reconstruction by focusing on the ways Indigenous peoples, freed African Americans, and white settlers negotiated claims to land during the period of westward expansion.
About the Speakers:
Alaina E. Roberts is an assistant professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research focuses on the intersection of African American and Native American history from the nineteenth century to the modern day with particular attention to identity, settler colonialism, and anti-Blackness. In addition to I’ve Been Here All the While: Black Freedom on Native Land (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021), her writing has appeared in the Washington Post, the Journal of the Civil War Era, and the Western Historical Quarterly.
Rose Miron is the Director of the D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies at the Newberry. Her research explores public history and public memory in the Northeast and the Great Lakes regions. Her work has been published in the journal Native American and Indigenous Studies and by the National Council on Public History. Her current book project is tentatively titled Indigenous Archival Activism: Recovering Native History in the Mohican Tribal Archive and Beyond.
This program is co-sponsored by the D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies at the Newberry.