Oklahoma is the perfect example of race being a myth crafted to shift control of land and wealth into white communities. Because each individual Native person in the Five Tribes received a land allotment (including women), white lawmakers made all non-Black people legally white.
This allowed for white men to marry non-Black Native women and shift control of Native lands into white communities and hands. Even though most white men couldn’t get a Native land allotment themself, by re-classifying non-Black Natives as white and setting up Jim Crow marriage
laws on racial lines, they were able to control Native women’s lands thru marriage and accumulate wealth. These Jim Crow Laws were the first laws every established after Oklahoma became a state and came into effect on December 18, 1907.
However, white men had a problem. Although they were able to marry non-Black Native women, their Jim Crow laws that they created prevented them from marrying wealthy Afro-Native women and girls, blocking a pathway to wealth and land acquisition.
There were Freedmen girls and women who ended up—by luck—receiving prosperous land allotments that produced the most wealth that Black folks had ever had. So, you have a state where there are now Black Natives who are wealthier than the white men trying to create gender and race
hierarchies and because of the Jim Crow laws they implemented themselves, they can’t access these girls’ wealth through marriages. One huge example of this was Creek Freedgirl Sarah Rector. At only 11 years old, she became the richest Black person in the whole country due to the
oil extracted on her land allotment. White men were furious and as she got access to her money, she started to cross the social boundaries of race because of her wealth. She received dozens of proposals for illegal marriages to white men both around the US and internationally.
But again, the white legislature made these marriages illegal. So, instead of ending Jim Crow, the legislature attempted to legally reclassify Sarah as white. This would allow not only white men to marry her but would also not cause her to break the class-based assumptions about
race. If the law passed, she would no longer be a wealthy Black woman breaking the class-based boundaries of race, but she would now be a “dark skinned” white woman, more aligned with what the class bounds of whiteness were supposed to be.
Freedmen were also consistently kidnapped by white and Black people who forced them to sign their lands away. White men also paid Black men to marry Freedwoman and Freedgirls and force them to sign away their lands once married. They found ways within the boundaries of Jim Crow
to violently redistribute land and wealth, and this reinforce the class bounds of whiteness. #FreedmenHistorySpotlightSaturday
I wrote about this in my senior thesis at Columbia. https://history.columbia.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/20/2020/05/Anderson-Keziah_SNR-Thesis_web.pdf?fbclid=IwAR3lGaSCfIhhSehKIVl7CMgnXK5ZpP7QNXZCDincGDIGqme1KFzDcXn7LGQ
Please read Racecraft: The Soul of Ineqaulity in American Life by Professor Barbara Fields for more info on how race is constructed, her theory was the basis of my articulations of how race is shaped by the needs of land and labor.
Please sign our petition to Deb Haaland! We are currently treated as second-class citizens in our tribes to this day! https://twitter.com/ChoctawFreedmen/status/1330941790262861828
Some other accounts to follow on Freedmen and also on Tulsa Race Massacre: @MCIFB1866Treaty and @Just4Greenwood
Just wanted to add that this is all from original research and that in order to refer to it in writing, please cite the research.