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Header graphic for Arnold Arboretum Director's Lecture Series 2021, Pecan: The Intersection of Biodiversity and Human Diversity. Includes Arnold Arboretum logo and images of the three speakers, James McWilliams, Robin Wall Kimmerer, and Tiya Miles.
“Every Pecan Tree”: Trees, Meaning, and Memory in Enslaved People’s Lives
This is the third of three lectures in the Arnold Arboretum's Director's Lecture Series.

Tiya Miles will take up the pecan tree as inspiration for exploring the meaning of trees in the lives of enslaved African Americans. Using a family heirloom passed down by Black women, as well as slave narratives, oral histories, and missionary records, her presentation will consider the importance of trees as protectors of bodies and spirits, as sites of violence, as memory keepers, and as historical witnesses in the Black experience of captivity and resistance. Ultimately, time spent with these examples will underscore the centrality of the natural world to Black, and indeed, human, survival.

Free Zoom webinar

Mar 8, 2021 07:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Tiya Miles
Professor of History and Radcliffe Alumnae Professor @Harvard University
Tiya Miles is the author of five books, including three works in the history of American slavery: Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom, The House on Diamond Hill: A Cherokee Plantation Story, and The Dawn of Detroit: A Chronicle of Slavery and Freedom in the City of the Straits. Miles has translated her research into historical fiction, recounted her travels to "haunted" historic sites of the South in a published lecture series, and written widely on history and memory, Black culture, women’s history, and Black and Indigenous interrelated experience. She taught at the University of Michigan for sixteen years. All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, A Black Family Keepsake, is forthcoming from Random House. A past MacArthur Foundation “Genius Award” and National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholars Award recipient, Miles is currently a Professor of History and Radcliffe Alumnae Professor at Harvard University.