Special Online Lectures: Black Histories in Native (American) Lands

Phillips Theological Seminary is pleased to announce two lectures as part of The Black Church Traditions and African American Faith-Life program. The lectures focus on the Black heritage and history in Indian Territory, including Freedpersons, Black Indians, and Afro-Natives. Both lectures will be presented on the seminary’s YouTube channel. You can see a preview online now. CLICK TO WATCH

Dr. Nakia Parker, presenting Feb. 28 at 7 p.m., is a historian of nineteenth-century U.S. slavery, African American, and American Indian history. She is currently an Assistant Professor of History at Michigan State University. Parker is currently working on her book manuscript, Trails of Tears and Freedom: Black Life in Indian Slave Country, 1830-1866 which examines the forced migrations, labor practices, family life and kinship networks, and resistance strategies of people of African and Afro-Native descent in Choctaw and Chickasaw slaveholding communities.

This project emphasizes the pivotal role of slavery to the dispossession of Native people from their homelands in the Deep South, the physical and legal processes of Choctaw and Chickasaw expulsion, and to resettlement in Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma). It reconstructs how enslaved people interacted with others who lived in and bordered their new homeland, including Indigenous peoples like the Comanche and the Caddo.

Dr. Alaina E. Roberts, presenting March 3 at 7 p.m., is an award-winning historian who studies the intersection of Black and Native American life from the Civil War to the modern day. She is currently an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Pittsburgh. Roberts writes, teaches, and presents public talks about Black and Native history in the West, family history, slavery in the Five Tribes (the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole Indian Nations), Native American enrollment politics, and Indigeneity in North America and across the globe.

In addition to multiple academic articles, her writing has appeared in news outlets like the Washington Post, High Country News, and TIME magazine, and she has been profiled by CNN, Smithsonian Magazine, and the Boston Globe.