Envisioning Afro-Indigenous Futures: Land Back, Reparations, and the Aftermath of Colonialism and White Supremacy
February 3, 2022
6:00 p.m. (virtual event)
"An Afro-Indigenous History of the United States" (Beacon Press, 2021) is the first intersectional history of the Black and Native American struggle for freedom in our country that also reframes our understanding of who was Indigenous in early America.
Beginning with pre-Revolutionary America and moving into the movement for Black lives and contemporary Indigenous activism, Afro-Indigenous historian Kyle T. Mays argues that the foundations of the U.S. are rooted in antiblackness and settler colonialism, and that these parallel oppressions continue into the present. He explores how Black and Indigenous peoples have always resisted and struggled for freedom, sometimes together, and sometimes apart. Whether to end African enslavement and Indigenous removal or eradicate capitalism and colonialism, Mays show how the fervor of Black and Indigenous peoples' calls for justice have consistently sought to uproot white supremacy.
Mays uses a wide array of historical activists and pop culture icons, “sacred” texts and foundational texts like the "Declaration of Independence and Democracy in America." He covers the civil rights movement and freedom struggles of the 1960s and 1970s, and explores current debates around the use of Native American imagery and the cultural appropriation of Black culture. Mays compels us to rethink both our history as well as contemporary debates and to imagine the powerful possibilities of Afro-Indigenous solidarity.
Kyle T. Mays, Ph.D., is an Afro-Indigenous (Saginaw Chippewa) writer and scholar of U.S. history, urban studies, race relations and contemporary popular culture. He is an assistant professor of African American studies, American Indian studies and history at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of "Hip Hop Beats, Indigenous Rhymes: Modernity and Hip Hop in Indigenous North America."
This event is presented as part of the HRC Race, Ethnicity and Social Justice Speaker Series and is co-sponsored by the VCU Departments of History, English and African American Studies, as well as the VCU Office of Multicultural Student Affairs.