On August 31, 1830 delegates from the Chickasaw nation, President Jackson, and representatives of the United States Government met at the Franklin Masonic Hall. The men agreed to a treaty that would cede all Chickasaw lands in Alabama and Mississippi to the U.S. Government in return for comparable lands in Oklahoma. Though never ratified, the Treaty of Franklin was the first of the Indian removal treaties and one step in a chain of events that would radically impact Americans for decades to come.
Acknowledging the importance of this history, the Historic Franklin Masonic Hall Foundation will host a two day symposium September 13 and 14, with optional registration and tours on September 12, exploring the complex historical relationships between Native Americans and African Americans and seeking a better understanding of how their intertwined stories are a significant part of our American identity. Our symposium will focus on asking specific questions about the complexities of Native American and African American identity, offering new considerations on our shared histories, and holding meaningful dialogue–particularly on the difficult topics of removal, enslavement, freedom, and citizenship politics. Ensuing issues of land ownership, assimilation, and reforms between the 1860s-1930s forever shaped and transformed peoples, property, the South, the American West, and lasting perceptions of American identity.