We Refuse To Forget: A True Story of Black Creeks, American Identity, and Power

Riverhead. Jun. 2022. 272p. ISBN 9780593329580. $28. HIST
The history of Indigenous Americans is fraught with broken treaties and outright lies from the United States government. Award-winning journalist Gayle follows the Creek Indians from the Southeast along the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma, where they are also known as the self-governed Muscogee Nation. Unlike whites who brought enslaved Africans to America, the Creeks allowed enslaved people to earn their freedom and become full tribal members. Two Creek leaders of African descent, Cow Tom and Legus Perryman, were prominent in negotiations with the United States government. But when the Dawes Rolls of 1893–1913 (lists of people accepted by the United States government as Creeks) introduced race as an artificial basis of tribal membership, descendants of Cow Tom and Legus Perryman began to lose their status as enrolled tribal members; lawsuits regarding this status are pending to this day. In addition to exploring the nuances of Creek history, Gayle probes his own background as the son of Jamaican immigrants who moved from New York to Oklahoma.
VERDICT Illuminating a little-known aspect of American history, this book will especially appeal to those interested in the history of Indigenous and Black Americans.
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