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That the Blood Stay Pure: African Americans, Native Americans, and the… (2013)

by Arica L. Coleman

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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.… (more)
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I found that to tell the truth is the hardest thing on earth, harder than fighting in a war, harder than taking part in a revolution. If you try it you will find at times sweat will break upon you. You will find that even if you succeed in discounting the attitudes of others to you and your life, you will wrestle with yourself most of all, fight with yourself, for there will surge up in you a strong desire to alter facts, to dress up your feelings. You'll find that there are many things you don't want to admit about yourself and others. As your record shapes itself, an awed wonder haunts you. And yet there is no more exciting adventure than trying to be honest in this way. The clean, strong feeling that sweeps you when you've done it makes you know that. - Richard Wright
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In memory of Lillian, Leighton, and Jack
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In February 2004, the Rappahannock Indian Baptist Church was engulfed in the flames of controversy when a married couple, Lori and Jasper Battle, were denied membership.
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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.

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