Chief Vann House MuseumAn exhibit detailing the construction of the historic house mentioned. (Photo courtesy of Chief Vann House Museum)

Some stories in our families, and in our culture, get passed down. Some lay hidden, or are actively forgotten. Public historian Tiya Miles has worked on the latter — unearthing the painful histories of African slave ownership by Cherokees in the 19th century.

In this short excerpt from our upcoming show, “Toward Living Memory,” Miles explains how one fragment of an archival document led to a meaningful change at the plantation home of Cherokee Chief Vann.

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In the introduction of this story, it states that "Native Americans" held African-Americans as slaves. The problem with  that statement is that it reflects on all "Native Americans" so unless you have evidence that all tribes held African American slaves, you must identify the people to whom the historian is referring--in this story it is the Cherokee.

A fair point, Marilyn. Thank you.

And more specifically, one specific family.

 Thanks so much for this program. Tiya Miles is a new hero.

And thanks to Krista for the comment about Southern Baptists and slavery. I left that church 45 years ago; still, it never occurred to me that slavery played a role in the separation of Southern and Northern Baptists. And I doubt that my mother knew, even though she was born in 1912 and spent her entire life in the church. My mother was convinced that doctrinal differences were the cause of the distinction; and for her, being correct in her doctrine was always a paramount concern. If anyone can steer me to written material (in print) on this topic, I would be grateful.