Synopses & Reviews
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.
"This is a bold and original narrative that is required reading to comprehend the deep historical relationship between the Indigenous peoples who were transported from Africa into chattel slavery and the Indigenous peoples who were displaced by European settler colonialism to profit from the land and resources, two parallel realities in search of self-determination and justice." Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States
"Only twenty years ago, Kyle Mays's voice wouldn't even have passed through academia's and media's gatekeepers. The fact that a voice like this can be heard today and tell his own story is unexpected great news for America... and it's just the beginning." Raoul Peck, director of I Am Not Your Negro and Exterminate All the Brutes
"This book reveals uncomfortable truths about the dehumanizing legacies of both capitalism and colonialism while forging a path of reconciliation between the Black and Native communities. Mays offers a solid entry point for further study. An enlightening reexamination of American history." Kirkus Reviews
"Nuanced and illuminating, this book is a worthy addition to a remarkable series." Booklist
About the Author
Kyle T. Mays 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.