8/11 Alaina Roberts

Pitt Professor Alaina Roberts on the fraught relations between freed slaves, white settlers, and Native Americans during the Reconstruction

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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 on to 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 the Tulsa Race Massacre in 1921.

Alaina E. Roberts is an award-winning Black, Chickasaw, and Choctaw historian who studies the intersection of Black and Native American life from the Civil War to the modern day. She is currently an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Roberts holds a Doctorate in History from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Arts in History, with honors, from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

In addition to multiple academic articles, her writing has appeared in news outlets like the Washington Post, High Country News, and TIME magazine, and she has been profiled by CNN, Smithsonian Magazine, and the Boston Globe.

**Masks will be required at this event**

I've Been Here All the While: Black Freedom on Native Land (America in the Nineteenth Century) By Alaina E. Roberts Cover Image
$34.95
ISBN: 9780812253030
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University of Pennsylvania Press - April 5th, 2021

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.