That the Blood Stay Pure
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That the Blood Stay Pure : African Americans, Native Americans, and the Predicament of Race and Identity in Virginia

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That the Blood Stay Pure traces the history and legacy of the commonwealth of Virginia's effort to maintain racial purity and its impact on the relations between African Americans and Native Americans. Arica L. Coleman tells the story of Virginia's racial purity campaign from the perspective of those who were disavowed or expelled from tribal communities due to their affiliation with people of African descent or because their physical attributes linked them to those of African ancestry. Coleman also explores the social consequences of the racial purity ethos for tribal communities that have refused to define Indian identity based on a denial of blackness. This rich interdisciplinary history, which includes contemporary case studies, addresses a neglected aspect of America's long struggle with race and identity.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 328 pages
  • 160.02 x 233.68 x 25.4mm | 249.47g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 12 b&w illus.
  • 0253010438
  • 9780253010438

Review quote

"That the Blood Stay Pure is an important book deserving a wide readership." -The Journal of American History "Readers across the breadth of Native American studies will appreciate this valuable critical contribution to the field.... The continuance of peoples in this region has been a less popular subject than the documentation of their past presence, so Coleman offers a text that bridges that divide, demonstrating the immense importance of the past to the present, and even future, of relations." -Native American and Indigenous Studies "Coleman's book certainly contributes to the ongoing debates about the rites and rights of Indianness, as well as the crucial ways of imagining and realizing inclusion, exclusion, and state(s) of belonging in Native American and African American communities... [A]ttempts of claiming Indianness and Indian racial (read: blood) authenticity, of disclaiming and stigmatizing blackness, of maintaining and policing 'that the blood stay pure,' continue today not only in Indian communities/tribes in Virginia but also throughout Indian country." -American Historical Review "That the Blood Stay Pure represents a bold attempt to re-conceptualize how we think about Native American racial identity in the context of both a four-century history of racism and the modern era of tribal recognition and identity politics." -Journal of Interdisciplinary History "Arica L. Coleman traces the political, legal, and ideological efforts of white Virginians to advance rigid definitions of race-defined as a `racial purity campaign.'... Coleman argues that this campaign masked kinship links between black and Native American Virginians, and by considering Native Americans, she challenges the common tendency simply to depict American race relations within a black/white dichotomy. She identifies key developments, especially 1860s blood quantum laws and the 1924 Racial Integrity Act, which defined racial purity as an `absence of Blackness' and hardened racial identities [and] by taking her analysis into the twentieth century, she demonstrates the state's enduring power to redefine and restrict racial identities.... [Her book] challenges historians to consider the continual processes by which both the state and the individual construct (and reconstruct) racial identity." -H-SAWH "[Arica Coleman has] unraveled the story of how the law created a racial divide that the Civil Rights movement has never eroded. Virginia's miscegenation laws, from the law of hypo-descent to the Racial Integrity Act, are burned into the hearts and culture of Virginians, white, black and Indian." -New Books in African American Studies "[T]this tremendous book, wisely honing in on one state, one set of political agendas, and a chronological view of the phenomenon of negotiated ethnicity, is the most thorough treatment of the topic this reviewer has read. A pure joy!... Essential." -Choice "That the Blood Stay Pure provides a crucial missing chapter of America's racial history-the toxic consequences of Virginia's racial purity campaign on Black-Indian identities and relationships. Coleman boldly confronts the taboo topic of anti-Black racism that endures in some Indian tribes, while offering an alternative vision of recognition, reconciliation, and respect. This eye-opening book will expand and challenge your thinking about race." -Dorothy Roberts, University of Pennsylvania "This is strong, innovative work that historicizes and challenges the legal construction and maintenance of `racially pure' categories, as well as established hierarchies of race and privilege. Coleman's project moves far beyond America's fading, `black-white binary' as a means of mapping the nation's racial politics. In doing so, the book suggests a far more multicultural future on the horizon. Thoroughly researched and well written, That the Blood Stay Pure is necessary reading." -Ed Guerrero, New York University "Coleman has produced a provocative book, dealing with situations that are, as she notes, 'filled with controversy and pain.' From the first arrival of African workers as servants and slaves in 1619, Indian-Black relations have been engaged in, denied, legislated, and above all complicated by sociohistorical constructions of race and the meanings and values of racially defined groups. Sifting through the histories and writing clearly and openly, Coleman seeks to untangle the webs of meaning and fairly represent the individuals and groups involved. This powerful volume is a significant contribution to the literatures on race and race-relations in Virginia." -Frederic W. Gleach, author of Powhatan's World and Colonial Virginia: A Conflict of Culture "Brave, brilliant, exciting. That the Blood Stay Pure looks to me like a prize-winner. The author attacks the broad history of race in US history-the ways it has worked, the ways in which it has been portrayed, including by historians and anthropologists-with an empirical focus on Virginia as a particularly illuminating case study. Every chapter takes a provocative, fresh look at its subject." -Peter Wallenstein, Virginia Techshow more

About Arica L. Coleman

Arica L. Coleman is Assistant Professor of Black American Studies at the University of Delaware.show more

Table of contents

AcknowledgmentsForewordAuthor's NoteIntroductionPart 1: Historicizing Black--Indian Relations in VirginiaPrologue: Lingering at the Crossroads: African-Native American History and Kinship Lineage in Armstrong Archer's A Compendium on Slavery1. Notes on the State of Virginia: Jeffersonian Thought and the Rise of Racial Purity Ideology in the Eighteenth Century2. Redefining Race and Identity: The Indian-Negro Confusion and the Changing State of Black-Indian Relations in the Nineteenth Century3. Race Purity and the Law: The Racial Integrity Act and Policing Black/Indian Identity in the Twentieth Century4. Denying Blackness: Anthropological Advocacy and the Remaking of the Virginia Indians (The Other Twentieth Century Project)Part 2: Black-Indian Relations in the Present State of Virginia5. Beyond Black and White: Afro-Indian Identity in the case of Loving V. Virginia 6. The Racial Integrity Fight: Confrontations of Race and Identity In Charles City County, Virginia7. Nottoway Indians, Afro-Indian Identity, and the Contemporary Dilemma of State RecognitionEpilogue: Afro-Indian Peoples of Virginia: The Indelible Thread of Black and RedAppendix: Racial Integrity Act TextNotesSelected BibliographyIndexshow more

Rating details

17 ratings
4.23 out of 5 stars
5 47% (8)
4 41% (7)
3 0% (0)
2 12% (2)
1 0% (0)
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