The Era Of The Black Western Has Arrived. Is It Here to Stay?

High Country News / November 10, 2023

Black Westerns offer the opportunity for Black actors to inhabit the gamut of humanity, from kindhearted settler to kickass sheriff (or deputy marshal) to morally ambivalent gunslinger. With a man like Bass Reeves, who had to navigate white racism, tribal sovereignty and African American identity politics, we could have been that much closer to arriving in an era in which Black life onscreen is reflective of the complexities and cross-cultural realities of Black life on the ground. But we’re not there yet. Perhaps the yet-to-be-released HBO project, Twin Territories, co-produced by Morgan Freeman and also based on Bass Reeves’ life, will fare better.

Reconsidering Wilma Mankiller

High Country News / June 6, 2022

Mankiller, the Cherokee Nation’s first female chief, is one of the most well-known and widely respected Native American figures in the country. But, like all human beings, she’s complicated: She was also an architect of the mass disenrollment of the Black members of her tribe (also known as “Freedmen”) — a position she regretted later in life, and an injustice that has only just been fully remedied under the current Cherokee principal chief, Chuck Hoskin, Jr.

The Ways Afro-Indigenous People Are Asked to Navigate Their Communities

High Country News / October 28, 2021

African American and Native American history have long been considered kindred by those who cite the original sin of the United States as twofold—the dual Indigenous land and Black labor theft by European settlers. Both groups suffered the losses of language, culture, and freedom... The real history between African Americans and Native Americans is complex and involves various times and places where these peoples joined together or took part in the other’s subjugation—and these complexities shape the ideas Black and Native people have of one another today.

B.C. Franklin and the Tulsa Massacre: A Triracial History

Perspectives Daily (American Historical Association) / May 26, 2021

On May 31, 1921, Buck Colbert Franklin peered up at the Tulsa, Oklahoma, sky and saw planes dropping turpentine bombs onto the roofs of nearby homes and businesses. On the street around him, he watched Black women, men, and children being felled by the guns of their white neighbors. Under the guise of extracting retribution for a Black teenager’s supposed assault on a white woman a day before, white Tulsans strategically destroyed the physical manifestations of their Black neighbors’ success.