Race, Place, and Other Things for the Taking: Archaeological Examinations of the Buffalo Soldiers and Allensworth, California, 1890-1920
The Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) and its African American Male Achievement (AAMA) program are exploring how black students understand the ways in which currently existing structures, spaces, and systems work in relation (and in response) to their own theoretical and physical presence as black males. This project connects the AAMA program’s mandate for how a community actively demonstrates their own forms of local socio-political praxis (especially through AAMA’s African indigenous knowledge-based curriculum) to community-accountable archaeology. The inter-disciplinary efforts of this project’s community-accountable archaeological praxis decenters dominant Euro-American and Western knowledge systems and colonialist practices via incorporation of multiple knowledge systems. The project focuses on the Post-Reconstruction town of Allensworth, California as an intentional act of black placemaking as California’s first and most prominent all-black township. In drawing historical and contemporary connections between Allensworth and Oakland, this project focuses on and reinvests educational deliverables as valued by African Americans as a means towards social progress, economic advancement, moral uplift, and as evidence of Black achievement amongst a White America. In these ways, my research prioritizes the utility of community-accountable work to support AAMA’s mission to co-craft ownership of historical narratives and reinvest in community educational uplift.