Confounding the Color Line: The Indian-Black Experience in North America / Edition 1

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Overview

Confounding the Color Line is an essential, interdisciplinary introduction to the myriad relationships forged for centuries between Indians and Blacks in North America. Since the days of slavery, the lives and destinies of Indians and Blacks have been entwined -- thrown together through circumstance, institutional design, or personal choice. Cultural sharing and intermarriage have resulted in complex identities for some members of Indian and Black communities today.

The contributors to this volume examine the origins, history, various manifestations, and long-term consequences of the different connections that have been established between Indians and Blacks. Stimulating examples of a range of relations are offered, including the challenges faced by Cherokee freedmen, the lives of Afro-Indian whalers in New England, and the ways in which Indians and Africans interacted in Spanish colonial New Mexico. Special attention is given to slavery and its continuing legacy, both in the Old South and in Indian Territory. The intricate nature of modern Indian-Black relations is showcased through discussions of the ties between Black athletes and Indian mascots, the complex identities of Indians in southern New England, the problem of Indian identity within the African American community, and the way in which today's Lumbee Indians have creatively engaged with African American church music.

At once informative and provocative, Confounding the Color Line sheds valuable light on a pivotal and not well understood relationship between these communities of color, which together and separately have affected, sometimes profoundly, the course of American history.

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Editorial Reviews

Southwest Book Reviews - W. David Laird

"Thoroughly researched, the essays are well-documented and scholarly without being weighed down by racial or historiographic jargon, a compliment to Brooks' careful editorial work. . . . A fine book that opens doors and sheds light on some little-known aspects of our history."—W. David Laird, Southwest Book Reviews
New Mexico Historical Review - Nancy Shoemaker

“This collection of essays on Indian-Black relations makes a powerful statement about the complexity and inscrutability of race in American society. . . . Facile renderings of race in American history typically cast Whites as the perpetrators and people of color as allies in their victimization, but this volume jars us from that complacency by exposing racism’s even more insidious effect of blurring the line between perpetrator and victim.”—Nancy Shoemaker, New Mexico Historical Review
Choice

"Collectively, these essays reveal that the relationship between being Indian and being black experienced throughout US history confounds earlier generalizations. . . . Laura Lovett's 'African and Cherokee by Choice' and Ron Welburn's 'A Most Secret Identity' are alone worth the price of the book."—Choice
Choice
"Collectively, these essays reveal that the relationship between being Indian and being black experienced throughout US history confounds earlier generalizations. . . . Laura Lovett's 'African and Cherokee by Choice' and Ron Welburn's 'A Most Secret Identity' are alone worth the price of the book."—Choice
Southwest Book Reviews

"Thoroughly researched, the essays are well-documented and scholarly without being weighed down by racial or historiographic jargon, a compliment to Brooks' careful editorial work. . . . A fine book that opens doors and sheds light on some little-known aspects of our history."—W. David Laird, Southwest Book Reviews

— W. David Laird

New Mexico Historical Review

“This collection of essays on Indian-Black relations makes a powerful statement about the complexity and inscrutability of race in American society. . . . Facile renderings of race in American history typically cast Whites as the perpetrators and people of color as allies in their victimization, but this volume jars us from that complacency by exposing racism’s even more insidious effect of blurring the line between perpetrator and victim.”—Nancy Shoemaker, New Mexico Historical Review

— Nancy Shoemaker

H-Net Reviews

“A welcome contribution to the growing scholarship on the fascinating connections between Natives and African Americans in North America. . . . This book surpassed what it set out to do: complicate the color line and open our eyes to the difficulties inherent in Native-black interaction.”—H-Net Reviews
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803261945
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 396
  • Sales rank: 496,715
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

James F. Brooks is an assistant professor of history at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of Captives and Cousins: Slavery, Kinship, and Community in the Southwest Borderlands.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction
1 Intimacy and Empire: Indian-African Interaction in Spanish Colonial New Mexico, 1500-1800 21
2 "The English Has Now a Mind to Make Slaves of Them All": Creeks, Seminoles, and the Problem of Slavery 47
3 "Colored" Seamen in the New England Whaling Industry: An Afro-Indian Consortium 76
4 Strategy As Lived: Mixed Communities in the Age of New Nations 108
5 Uncle Tom Was an Indian: Tracing the Red in Black Slavery 137
6 "Born and Raised among These People, I Don't Want to Know Any Other": Slaves' Acculturation in Nineteenth-Century Indian Territory 161
7 "African and Cherokee by Choice": Race and Resistance under Legalized Segregation 192
8 Blood Politics, Racial Classification, and Cherokee National Identity: The Trials and Tribulations of the Cherokee Freedmen 223
9 Blood and Culture: Negotiating Race in Twentieth-Century Native New England 261
10 A Most Secret Identity: Native American Assimilation and Identity Resistance in African America 292
11 Making Christianity Sing: The Origins and Experience of Lumbee Indian and African American Church Music 321
12 Estrangements: Native American Mascots and Indian-Black Relations 346
Epilogue: Seeing Each Other through the White Man's Eyes 371
Contributors 387
Index 391
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