Alaina E. Roberts is a historian of African American and Native American life in the Civil War and Reconstruction Eras. She is currently an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Roberts holds a Doctorate in History from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Arts in History, with honors, from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Dr. 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 Nations), Native American enrollment politics, Indigeneity in North America and across the globe, Black and Native American portrayals in the media, and identity.
In her current manuscript project, titled, I’ve Been Here All the While: Settler Colonialism and Black Reconstruction (under contract with the University of Pennsylvania Press), she argues that white expansion onto Native land in Indian Territory enabled a western Reconstruction project in which Indian freedpeople (the former slaves of members of the Five Tribes) and Black Americans were able to obtain land, build communities, and enjoy certain rights and freedoms. Dr. Roberts connects events and discourses occurring in Indian Territory about belonging and Black and Native identity during the Reconstruction and Statehood Eras to the contemporary debates about nationhood and African American personhood occurring in the United States.