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

That dichotomy between Indians as enablers of racism and Indians as victims of racism guides Saunt's book and exposes sometimes discomforting realities of life for southern Indians since the United States arrived in their world Black, White, and Indian is enlightening, disturbing, and a welcome addition to Americna Indian and Southern history.

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. Brooks, author of Confounding the Color Line: Deloria, University of Michigan. 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.


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Hewitt, The Journal of American History " Black, White, and Indian is an enormously valuable book, one that any scholar interested in Native or American history could profit from and one that could be taught in undergraduate and graduate classes. Deloria, University of Michigan "The intersections between Native American history and the history of race in America are not always clear. Great Crossings Christina Snyder. Ensuring Inequality Donna L. Pen and Ink Witchcraft Colin G. Gorn, Randy Roberts, Susan Schulten A Grounded Identidad Merida M.

Black, white, and Indian : race and the unmaking of an American family in SearchWorks catalog

At the heart of the narrative is a fact suppressed to this day by some Graysons: Focusing on five generations from to , this book reveals the terrible compromises that Indians had to make to survive in the shadow of the expanding American republic. Overwhelmed by the racial hierarchy of the United States, American Indians disowned their kin, enslaved their relatives, and fo Overwhelmed by the racial hierarchy of the United States, American Indians disowned their kin, enslaved their relatives, and fought each other on the battlefield. In the 18th-century native South, when the Graysons first welcomed Africans into their family, black-Indian relationships were common and bore little social stigma.

But as American slave plantations began to spread across Indian lands, race took on ever greater significance. Native American families found that their survival depended on distancing themselves from their black relatives. The black and Indian Graysons survived the invasion of the Creek Nation by US troops in and again in , endured Indian removal and the Trail of Tears, battled each other in the Civil War, and weathered the destruction of the Creek Nation in the s.

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When they finally became American citizens in , Oklahoma law defined some Graysons as white, some as black. By this time, the two sides of the family, divided by race, barely acknowledged each other.

Claudio Saunt

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