Black, White, and Indian: Race and the Unmaking of an American Family / Edition 1

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Overview

"Like many other residents of the eighteenth-century Native American South, where Black-Indian relations bore little social stigma, Katy Grayson and her brother William - both Creek Indians - had children with partners of African descent. As the plantation economy began to spread across their native land soon after the birth of the American republic, however, Katy abandoned her black partner and children to marry a Scottish-Creek man. She herself became a slaveholder, embracing slavery as a public display of her elevated place in America's racial hierarchy. William, by contrast, refused to leave his black wife and their several children and even legally emancipated them." Traveling separate paths, the Graysons survived the invasion of the Creek Nation by U.S. troops in 1813 and again in 1836 and endured the Trail of Tears, only to confront each other on the battlefield during the Civil War. Afterward, they refused to recognize each other's existence. In 1907, when Creek Indians became U.S. citizens, Oklahoma gave force of law to the family schism by defining some Graysons as white, others as black. Tracking a full five generations of the Grayson family and basing his account in part on unprecedented access to the forty-four volume diary of G. W. Grayson, the one-time principal chief of the Creek Nation, Claudio Saunt tells not only of America's past, but of its present, shedding light on one of the most contentious issues in Indian politics, the role of "blood" in the construction of identity.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This eloquent and meticulously researched book is a worthwhile addition to the scholarly attempt to explain the intriguing story of African/American Indian relations that permeated all American Indian nations in Oklahoma." --The Oklahoman

"All histories, especially family histories, harbor silences wherein uneasy truths reside. But few such histories--once those silences grow full with stories--speak so directly to the central sorrows in American society, past and present, as that of the Grayson family. Claudio Saunt's sensitive and daring recovery of the Grayson's centuries-long struggle to navigate the perilous racial triangle of Black, white, and Indian is at once irresistible and heartbreaking. It is a work for the ages."--James F. Brooks, author of Confounding the Color Line: The Indian-Black Experience in North America

"Meticulously researched, eloquently written, and full of the pain of slavery, dispossession, racism, and history itself, Black, White, and Indian sits at the leading edge of the exciting body of new work on African/American/Indian relations."-- Philip J. Deloria, University of Michigan

"The intersections between Native American history and the history of race in America are not always clear. Too often fear and fantasy obscure our memory and our vision. This compelling story of human beings struggling to survive and make lives for themselves and their families shines a fascinating light on the many places where red and black and white overlapped, blurred, and made history. This is a very important book."--Frederick E. Hoxie, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195313109
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 7/27/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 312
  • Sales rank: 798,626
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Claudio Saunt is Associate Professor of History at the University of Georgia.

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Table of Contents

Profile : a symposium at Dartmouth College 6
1 The Griersons 10
2 "My negro woman Judah" : William's decision 30
3 Race and removal : Katy's compromise 49
4 Separate paths : Katy and William in the antebellum Creek Nation 66
5 "It is negroes that we are killing now" : the Graysons' civil war 88
6 Northern Indians and negro slaves : Wash and the politics of reconstruction 111
7 Hardship and opportunity : the fortunes of Emma, Vicey, and Wash 132
8 Divided by blood : the Graysons and the end of the Creek Nation 151
9 Wash in the age of progress 173
10 The Graysons in a black and white world 194
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