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Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  550 ratings  ·  69 reviews
The author explores the little-told story of black Indians, defined here as people with dual African and Native American ancestry or African Americans who lived primarily with Native Americans. Using fascinating biographies and detailed research, Katz creates a chronology of this hidden heritage during the settlement of the American West. Illustrations. Young Adult.
Paperback, 198 pages
Published January 1st 1997 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 1986)
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Ife I agree this is a complex topic, because, these historical accounts are not included in the history taught in American Schools. Native American and Af…moreI agree this is a complex topic, because, these historical accounts are not included in the history taught in American Schools. Native American and Africans and some other Nationalities were already in North America, when the Vikings and, Spanish and other Europeans came to it's shores. They had businesses and Civilizations, which were destroyed and undermined by the Europeans, as they committed atrocities and stole land that did not belong to them. Black Indians, usually includes all of what the previous answer included and also speaks of those who intermarried with the Native Americans and are Black and Native. Many who are called plains Indians have that distinction. I would suggest to anyone interested in uncovering ,"Truth and History" to read this book. (less)

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Fascinating subject, but dry on delivering the materials. Many controversies as well.
B. P. Rinehart
This book is a very good introduction to a history often whispered and gossiped about by African-Americans in the USA (including in my family) but never until this book comprehensively talked about and researched for a wide public.

This book does a very good job at dissecting the history of the relationship between Blacks and "Reds" from the earliest days of Slavery until the turn of the 20th century.

The two things that surprised me the most about the Black-Amreican American-Indian relations wa
Sep 17, 2008 rated it liked it
this is a much more cohesive, and overall more enjoyable book than katz' black west. tho both have some of the same historiclal figures and stories i feel they cannot be repeated enough inorder to subvert the dominant paradigm of the west and the frontier... the one thing that got me in this book was the authors assumption that "mixed-breed" (in this case, white/red) indians were bigoted and "pure-bloods" were more accepting of blacks. this 'natural' inclination just based on one's race shows a ...more
Theophilus (Theo)
Mar 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Back in the 50s it was fashionable to claim Native American blood rather than admit our slave ancestors may have been violated by their European masters or others of the dominant class. In the 60s it became a sign of solidarity to deny any other blood than black African ancestry. With the current popularity of family history research, Katz's book is as relevant as ever. Though first published in 1986 the information has not lost its value, nor has the relatively untold story of relations between ...more
Some interesting and little known facts about a people often left out of history books.
Mindy Burroughs
Jan 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read. Tons of information and insight densely packed into a 200ish page book of indispensable knowledge. Very well written and accessible.
Fredrick Danysh
Many blacks have become members of Indian tribes usually in the American Southeast. Prime examples are the Seminole, Creek, and Cherokee.
John Stroup
Oct 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Most of these black Indians do not live in forests or broad plans for the stereotype that they are. Most live in Boston, Chicago, New Orleans, Cleveland, and Denver. They’be occupied much of the lands. They’ve made a long march from farms, words, and ranches, to skyscrapers, subways, and ghettos. The main goals for these African American Indians what’s to build a model for the future generations and to be a leading voice like their ancestors. The conflicts at these black Indians had was The raci ...more
Bryan Anderson
Jul 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A valuable look at the history between two groups of people and their shared mistreatment by colonization and expansion of the United States. I enjoyed the many beautiful examples of how Black and Indigenous have been intertwined, both positively and negatively, for the last 400-plus years.
Mike Thomas
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very readable book about an essential part of North American history.
Nov 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Good intro to the subject, but I think I would have preferred a more in depth cultural history than the bio vignettes.
Roger DeBlanck
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Katz’s research does the important job of recognizing the largely forgotten and oftentimes ignored history of Black Indians throughout the development of America. In doing so, he illustrates their significant contributions, honors their sacrifices, and bears witness to their struggles for equality. The history Katz sets forth begins with the earliest American settlements. He tells how in 1526 the Spaniards fled the colony of San Miguel de Gualdape in South Carolina and left their slaves behind. ...more
In his introduction to Black Indians the author noted two things.  First, that he wrote it primarily with young people in mind.  Second, that he did not intend for it to be an academic piece of work. 

Thus, it is not surprising that the prose was in a more casual at times rambling, if not occasionally dramatic narrative style with numerous interesting stories about various Black Indians, the role they played in American history, etc.   The book also included many copies of paintings/engravings an
Vernelle Edwards
Apr 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Since my grandmother was a Seminole Indian, I did know a little about the Seminole wars prior to reading"Black Indians". However, this book is full of information and photos of people I knew nothing about. For example, it traces the arrival of the first enslaved Africans brought into South Carolina near the PeeDee River by the Spainards in the 15th century. They escaped to the Indians in the woods. Also, there are accounts of Indians and Blacks who excaped slavery throughout the Americas intermi ...more
Michael Philliber
An interesting review of American history from the perspective of African-American and Native-American. Mostly concerned with telling the story about the two befriending and often mixing together. But also told with a "noble savage" idealism that paints a skewed picture in many places.

Written for young readers, it can be picked up and easily consumed by adults. Not written from a scholarly angle, even by the author's own admission. Therefore not much back-up for the story he relates. It was an
Teresa Kemp
Nov 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
There was not a lot written about this topic and I was trying to find more information and sources when this book was recommended to me. I was not disappointed.

I not only read this, I like it so much I carried this book in my museum gift shop in the UGRR Secret Quilt Code Museum Exhibit 2005-2007. It was a great seller and I received many positive comments from those who purchased the book also.
Ebony Jones-Kuye
Aug 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I love this book because it gave a real outline of African-Americans and Indians relationship in regards to marriage, slavery, and doing business with each other. It really laid out the Seminoles Indians who happen to be African-American and Indian and discuss how they arrived in Mexico and still live there today. This is a good read that offers a great history lesson in understanding Black Indians.
Feb 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
A unique look at African Americans, Native Americans and "White Americans" and how they interacted from the time our country began through the settling of the West. History that you do not easily find in our current history books or classes. New paperback edition by Simon Pulse publishers out in December 2005. ...more
Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
Skeptical how accurate this is. As it is Native American Heritage Month it seemed like a good time to pick up this book by author Katz. Native American history really does not get the attention it should in the US and black Indians (as the title refers to) are a group I don't think I ever heard about until well into adulthood. At most I think my education was limited to how black Indians could claim membership in a nation and how that criteria can differ from group to group. In order to rectify ...more
This is an overview of the relationship between Black slaves and freedmen and Native Americans. It tells the history of slaves escaping and in some area such as Brazil founding their own towns and villages. I would have liked more detail and documentation and notes so I could follow and find more details. As for Blacks and Black Indians in the frontier during and after the Colonial period, the stories were better covered. The Indians on the whole were not racist towards the Blacks and even the I ...more
Dec 05, 2019 rated it liked it
A great entry point to exploring the erased, complex history of black and indigenous people in the Americas. This book can't possibly cover everything, or read smoothly, but it's disjointed at times, and there are some sections that read like laundry lists of historical figures and their deeds. For many readers, this book will be eye-opening, or at the very least, shift their thinking in terms of the messy history of both collaboration and confrontation of black and indigenous people living in t ...more
Teya Z
Jul 29, 2020 rated it did not like it
I was really interested in reading this and learn more about black and indigenous peoples shared history in the United States, specifically in the west.

Does not stand the test of time and is v problematic. Refers to indigenous people as “the red man”. A lot of dated vocabulary that makes for reading this uncomfortable.

Also feels as if historian has dedicated his life‘s work to uncovering this history but is patronizing about it? Not sure. Felt like he had a bit of a sympathetic superiority com
Linda Owen
Nov 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
This book was originally published as a young-adult non-fiction title, which is why there is a bibliography but no footnotes. I actually would have liked footnotes! There is so much information here but the author is sometimes strident and often passionate, inserting himself a bit too much into the text, which would be improved by a more dispassionate tone. However, the information, which focuses on the South, Mid-West, and West. is hard to find other places (the Seminole and Pueblo wars, for in ...more
The book does well to shed light on figures from American history who I wouldn't have known otherwise. My criticisms are more about the writing. It wasn't always the smoothest and at points felt like the author just wanted to make sure he mentioned someone. I would still recommend the book to others, but I'd say it works best as an introduction to forgotten and overlooked Americans. (The author does explain that the book was originally released by a publisher of children's books.) ...more
Nov 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant, honest account of the profound relationship that Native Americans, Africans and their descendants had with each other. This book doesn't sugar coat their being subject to horrific treatment at the hands of white people, and is clear about some of the many ways that Europeans attempted to seize and destroy the native and enslaved people's land and livelihoods. The attention and depth of research in this historical read is honourable. ...more
V.C. Terry
Apr 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Overall, this was a really great book. I gave it 4 stars because around the 8th chapter it gets somewhat redundant. However, the first part of the book is very exciting. It details the relationship between Indians and Africans, as well as their shared struggles living in a “white world.” It offers a lot of first hand accounts so it is very unbiased. Good read!
Jiamelishua Ammons
Excellent read!

It was such an inspiration to read all of the history of Black and Indian heritage combined. Coming from an African American family with Indian blood on both sides; it was very interesting to read. Some information I was familiar with and some I was not which made it very educational for me. This is truly a book to share.😊
Shirley Key
I appreciated this book and the way the author shared the history of the Black race and the Indian race. This part of America's history needs to be told. Our country is in turmoil because of the treatment the Indians and the Blacks after the white race entered this country. This complete history of America should be told and taught to all citizens. ...more
Feb 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating stories that have been buried, inadvertently or otherwise, about the two most abused/segregated/enslaved heritages in the history of our country. Everyone should add it to their list. Lord knows that most school textbooks and Hollywood movies didn’t.
Jeremy Martin-weber
Apr 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The first African men to set foot in the Americas were free men. Free. Men.

That’s one of the things I learned from this important book on the overlooked Black and Red heritage we have in American history. I’m so glad I took the time to read it.
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