That the Blood Stay Pure

That the Blood Stay Pure

African Americans, Native Americans, and the Predicament of Race and Identity in Virginia
Arica L. Coleman
Distribution: World
Publication date: 10/18/2013
Format: Hardback 12 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-01043-8
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A Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2014

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.

Author Bio

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


“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 Tech

“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

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Table of Contents

Author’s Note
Part 1: Historicizing Black--Indian Relations in Virginia
Prologue: Lingering at the Crossroads: African-Native American History and Kinship Lineage in Armstrong Archer’s A Compendium on Slavery
1. Notes on the State of Virginia: Jeffersonian Thought and the Rise of Racial Purity Ideology in the Eighteenth Century
2. Redefining Race and Identity: The Indian-Negro Confusion and the Changing State of Black-Indian Relations in the Nineteenth Century
3. Race Purity and the Law: The Racial Integrity Act and Policing Black/Indian Identity in the Twentieth Century
4. 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 Virginia
5. 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, Virginia
7. Nottoway Indians, Afro-Indian Identity, and the Contemporary Dilemma of State Recognition
Epilogue: Afro-Indian Peoples of Virginia: The Indelible Thread of Black and Red
Appendix: Racial Integrity Act Text
Selected Bibliography

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