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The Color of the LandRace, Nation, and the Politics of Landownership in Oklahoma, 1832-1929$
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David A. Chang

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780807833650

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807895764_chang

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Introduction: Oklahoma as America

Introduction: Oklahoma as America

(p.1) Introduction: Oklahoma as America
The Color of the Land

David A. Chang

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter explains that Oklahoma encapsulates so much American history within its borders, revealing much about how the struggle over land has given shape to the way Americans—indigenous, black, and white—created and gave meaning to races and nations. It considers both the symbolic power people give land in such terms as “homeland,” “Black Belt,” or “white man's” country and the economic power that land possesses. The chapter notes that Oklahoma, like the rest of America, was until recently a largely rural and agricultural society. It uses a regionally focused study of rural land tenure to consider major issues in the history of American society and politics: southern slavery, western conquest, Indian resistance, the making of black and white and Indian peoples, the making of rich and poor, and radical social movements and their suppression. The chapter places emphasis on the Creek people and the lands that constituted their national domain until Oklahoma statehood in 1907.

Keywords:   Oklahoma, American history, indigenous, slavery, Indian, Creek people

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