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History department to host African American History Speaker Series

January 25, 2021

Idaho State’s Department of History will host “Identity,” a Black history webinar series, during February and March. The series features four talks, delivered over Zoom.

“Black Slaves & Indian Masters: A History of Indian Territory”
Dr. Alaina Roberts
Thursday, Feb. 4 at 3 p.m.
In this talk, Dr. Roberts will discuss the history of Black slave-owning among the Five Tribes (the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole Nations). She will then leave her listeners with a set of questions that encourages them to come to terms with this history and the anti-Black racism that endures in Indian Country and across North America.

“Jumping the Broom: The Surprising Multicultural Origins of a Black Wedding Ritual”
Dr. Tyler Parry
Thursday, Feb. 25 at 3 p.m.
Though often tied to one or two ethnic groups, the matrimonial act of "jumping the broom" holds a much more complex, interconnected history that links the cultures of peoples of African and European descent throughout the Atlantic world. Providing the first comprehensive history of the "broomstick wedding," Tyler D. Parry explains how this ritual emerged from the most rural and isolated regions of Britain and the United States to becoming one of the most influential and recognizable folk rituals in modern history.

“Through Their Eyes: History of The LDS Church through the Black Experience”
Ms. Tarienne Mitchell
Thursday, March 11 at 3 p.m.
Tarienne Mitchell is the Audio Visual Archivist at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Church History Library, and is the subject matter expert for Black Church history. She will be speaking about the Black experience in the Church through telling the stories of Black pioneers' (early members) stories.

“The Quest for ‘Fitness:’ Black Women’s Exercise and Public Health in the Early Twentieth Century”
Dr. Ava Purkiss
Thursday, March 25 at 3 p.m.
This talk will examine how black women augmented their public health campaigns by integrating physical exercise into their health activism in the early twentieth century. It will explore how African American women used exercise not only to achieve physical fitness goals, but to make larger claims to racial fitness and fitness for citizenship. The talk will speak to how ideas of “fitness” spanned the physical, moral, and civic realms for black women in the twentieth century and beyond.


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