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 by Alaina E. Roberts, 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.
Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures presents Author and Historian, Alaina E. Roberts, as part of its Made Local series, on Thursday, April 22 at 7:00 pm. This event is free with registration.
For more information, or to reserve your virtual seat, visit the Alaina E. Roberts event page.