Growing up with the Country

Kendra Taira Field
UC Riverside

Growing Up with the Country illuminates the migration and settlement of African Americans from the Deep South to Indian Territory after the Civil War, arguing that this journey functioned both as movement toward freedom and as part of the expansion of U.S. empire. As African American migrants in Indian Territory sought freedom through a series of experiments in farming, land ownership, and subsequent migrations to West Africa and Mexico, they simultaneously partook of federal expansion and economic, political, and cultural negotiations over land with Indians, freedpeople of the Indian Nations, white settlers and oil speculators. Growing Up with the Country treats African Americans and Native Americans as complex actors on a North American “frontier,” by paying attention to the presence of Native Americans as slave owners, and African Americans as settlers on Indian land. The stories this project uncovers contribute to a more complicated and complete history of U.S. empire.