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Author's Forum Presents The Cherokee Rose : A Conversation with Tiya Miles and Martha Jones

Wednesday, January 20, 2016
12:00 AM
Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library, 913 S. University, Library Gallery, #100

Today's book signing and sale courtesy of Common Language Bookstore.

The Cherokee Rose explores territory reminiscent of the bestselling and beloved works of Alice Walker, Octavia Butler, and Louise Erdrich. Now, Tiya Miles's luminous but highly accessible novel examines a little-known aspect of America’s past—slaveholding by Southern Creeks and Cherokees—and its legacy in the lives of three young women who are drawn to the Georgia plantation where scenes of extreme cruelty and equally extraordinary compassion once played out.

Based on the author's in-depth and award-winning research into archival sources at the Chief Vann House Historic Site in Chatsworth, Georgia, and the Moravian mission sponsored there in the early 1800s, Miles has blended this fascinating history with a contemporary cast of engaging and memorable characters, including Jinx, the free-spirited historian exploring her tribe’s complicated racial history; Ruth, whose mother sought refuge from a troubled marriage in her beloved garden and the cosmetic empire she built from its bounty; Cheyenne, the Southern black debutante seeking to connect with a meaningful personal history; and, hovering above them all, the spirit of long-gone Mary Ann Battis, a young woman suspected of burning a mission to the ground and then disappearing from tribal records. Together, the women’s discoveries about the secrets of the Cherokee plantation trace their attempts to connect with the strong spirits of the past and reconcile the conflicts in their own lives.

In addition to her recognition as a MacArthur recipient, Tiya Miles has been selected for Ebony Magazine’s Power 100 and The Grio’s 100 lists of African American leaders. Her nonfiction books, The House on Diamond Hill: A Cherokee Plantation Story (UNC Press, 2010) and Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom (University of California Press, 2005) received numerous awards. She is a professor in American Culture, History, Afroamerican & African Studies, Native American Studies, and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan.

Martha S. Jones is a member of the Law School's Affiliated LS&A Faculty and professor of history and associate chair of U-M's Department of Afroamerican and African Studies. She is codirector of the Michigan Law Program in Race, Law & History. She holds a PhD in history from Columbia University and a JD from the CUNY School of Law. Prior to joining the Michigan faculty, she was a public interest litigator for the HIV Law Project and MFY Legal Services, where her work focused on the rights of people with disabilities.

The Author's Forum is a collaboration between the U-M Institute for the Humanities, University Library, & Ann Arbor Book Festival.

Additional support for this event provided by the departments of Afroamerican and African History, American Culture, History, and Women's Studies.