Kyle T. Mays and Paul Ortiz discuss
An Afro-Indigenous History of the United States
by Kyle T. Mays
published by Bloombury Books
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 US 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 is an Afro-Indigenous (Saginaw Chippewa) writer and scholar of US 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.
Paul Ortiz is a professor of history at the University of Florida where he teaches undergraduate courses and supervises graduate fields in African American history, Latina/o & Latinx history, comparative ethnic studies, U.S. South, labor, social movement theory, oral history, digital humanities, ethnography and other topics. He is the author of An African American and Latinx History of the United States, which received the 2018 PEN Oakland-Josephine Miles Award for Literary Excellence. His book Emancipation Betrayed: The Hidden History of Black Organizing and White Violence in Florida from Reconstruction to the Bloody Election of 1920 was awarded the Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore Book Prize from the Florida Historical Society and the Florida Institute of Technology. He also co-edited and conducted oral history interviews for the book, Remembering Jim Crow: African Americans Tell About Life in the Segregated South. Professor Ortiz teaches undergraduate courses and supervises graduate fields in African American history, Latina/o & Latinx history, comparative ethnic studies, U.S. South, labor, social movement theory, oral history, digital humanities, ethnography and other topics. Ortiz is currently co-editing a book with Wesley Hogan titled Changing the System Now: People Power, History, and Organizing in the 21st Century, which includes contributions by William Greider, Lane Windham, Ernie Cortes and others.
Sponsored by the City Lights Foundation