The National Museum of the American Indian, the National Museum of African Art and NMAAHC recently presented From Tarzan to Tonto: Stereotypes as Obstacles Toward a More Perfect Union.
The discussion among noted scholars, authors and critics about the persistent presence of stereotypes and the barriers they pose toward a more enlightened and inclusive society was featured in Essence Magazine. Read the article and view photos of the event.
The entire presentation is available to stream on YouTube. Watch now. Find and view additional programming in The National Museum of the American Indian archives.
Event participants included Gaurav Desai, Tulane University; Adrienne Keene, Brown University; Tiya Miles, University of Michigan; Imani Perry, Princeton University; and Jessi Wente, film critic and director of film programs, TIFF Bell Lighthouse. The event took place at the American Indian Museum’s Rasmuson Theate in Washington, D.C.
From an event hosted by the Women’s Diversity Book Group, co-sponsored by Women’s Rights Information Center’s Community Outreach & Education Committee and Englewood Public Library, to celebrate Native American Heritage Month in November, Englewood, New Jersey –
Social Issues Book Club of the Institute for Social Research, at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2016. Rita Bantom, Johanna Bleckman, Cathy Dougharty, Joyce French, Maudine Logan, Kaye Marz, Tiya Miles, Lee Ridley, Mary Vardigan (from left to right)
Thank you to Lois Brown, a researcher on Afro-Native histories in her own right, for sharing these thoughts on the group’s discussion: “Everyone loved learning something new—about the enslavement of African Americans by American Indians (and the aftermath), and the venue of the novel was the best vehicle for them. They were happy to know that I had met you and said to tell you they enjoyed Cherokee Rose very much.”
Follow Tiya Miles
Tiya Miles at The Raven Book Store, Lawrence, KS, 2015
Did you know Tiya is a guest blogger on the Huffington Post? In her recent post “Trump Plan To Cut NEH And NEA Diminishes Us All” Tiya warns of what we stand to lose if President Trump’s proposals to cut funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts are successful. Read Tiya’s past posts.
And if you’re on Twitter, follow Tiya @TiyaMilesUM.
Panel participants included Christine Anderson, Dept. of History, Xavier University, Holly McGee, Dept. of History, University of Cincinnati, Betty Ann Smiddy, College Hill Historical Society, and Brian Taylor, Black Lives Matter Cincinnati.
The event was moderated by Fritz Casey-Leininger, Dept. of History, University of Cincinnati and sponsored by the UC History Department, the Charles Phelps Taft Research Center, the Dean of Arts and Sciences, and the African American Cultural Resource Center.
INCYMI — watch now
Miles’ insight into the intimate dynamics of slavery at the crossroads of Native American and African American experience has won her professional accolades and an eager readership. In this sense, while The Cherokee Rose is fiction, it is no sharp departure. Miles builds upon what she had already taught us, including her exploration of Georgia’s Chief Vann House, to provide a new vantage point from which to explain the past.
– Martha Jones
The book launch for my debut novel, The Cherokee Rose, held at the University of Michigan, was a truly memorable experience. The organizers and people who came out were amazingly generous. Books of the Week picks! You can read their review in the PW story.
My grandmother used to tell me stories about her father, a man born into slavery who claimed African American as well as Native American forebears. His name was Price. He lived in Mississippi as a boy and felt the immediate, transformative effects of the U.S. Civil War. He came of age as a free man, but faced the brutal limitations of unrelenting racial prejudice. He had children; they had children; those children had children, and here I am.
Tiya with her grandmother, Alice Stribling Banks, and twin daughters, Noa Alice and Nali Azure, 2004.
My grandmother never finished grade school. She picked cotton as a girl down South, then cleaned homes for white families to make a living for her own twelve children in the North. She is the most brilliant person I have ever known. When I was admitted to Harvard College, my grandmother told me that one of her employers had a son who was a professor there. She couldn’t believe that her granddaughter would be at the same school, not as his maid, but as a student.
Tiya Miles’s maternal grandmother, Alice Stribling Banks (right) and grandmother-in-law, Bertha Gone Snow (left), West Glacier, MT,1998.
The memory of my grandmother’s beaming pride at my graduation, after all of her years spent stooping down in cotton fields and kitchens, still brings tears to my eyes. She passed away at the age of 90, just before my twin daughters reached their first birthday. She had a lovely funeral. As my grandmother would say, we sent her home in “high cotton.”
The Metaphysics of History
When I travel to give presentations on my work, I most often hear feedback on an interview with Krista Tippett, titled “On Living Memory,” where I talked about the metaphysics of history. Here it is:
The magic of history may be this: with time comes change. So how can we channel that magic? How can we shape that inevitable change for the betterment of our planet Earth and all of her motley residents – the animate and the inanimate, the weak as well as the strong? How can we play our parts in history for the greater good? How can we make history together, aligning in our minds the reality of change and the righteousness of justice?
The Call of the Ancestors
A quotation from my mother, upon learning that I had just won a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship:
Go make your ancestors proud.
The Call of History
A quotation from historian Walter Johnson’s article, “On Agency” (Journal of Social History, 2003):
If we are to acknowledge the claims of the past upon the present and to frame our scholarship as acts of redress, it seems to me important that we do so in ways that engage the exigencies of the present – the globalization of racialized and feminized structures of exploitation, rates of black incarceration in the United states that are unprecedented in world history, the resurgence of slavery – plain and simple slavery – as a mode of production, and, importantly, the emergence of new forms of (global) political solidarity and collective action – with terms other than those produced by an earlier struggle. It requires, that is, that we re-immerse ourselves in the nightmare of History rather than resting easy while dreaming that it is dawn and we have awakened.