Mullane Literary Associates

The Dawn of Detroit by Tiya Miles

The Dawn of Detroit Tiya Miles

Praise for Tiya Miles’s The Dawn of Detroit

Beautifully written and rigorously researched....Throughout this riveting text, personal and family stories illustrate and advance a narrative that rewrites our understanding of slavery in the making of the United States.”

2018 Frederick Douglass Book Prize Jury

Exemplary history...Miles demonstrates that Malcolm X (whose activist father was lynched in Michigan) was right when he insisted that all of the United States is south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Out of careful research, supple prose, deeply humane generosity to her historical subjects, and a knack for uncovering gripping family narratives, Miles has crafted a work from which any reader can learn new things. There is no finer writer among historians than Tiya Miles.

Edward Baptist, author of The Half Has Never Been Told

A book that will reorient the focus of early slavery in North America Westward to include Detroit as central to any understanding of the tangled relations of French, English, Euro-Americans, Indians, and Africans on the frontier from the 18th to early 19th century. A necessary work of powerful, probing scholarship.

Publisher Weekly (starred review)

“Miles’s account of the founding and rise of Detroit is an outstanding contribution that seeks to integrate the entirety of U.S. history, admirable and ugly, to offer a more holistic understanding of the country.”

Booklist (starred review)

“If many Americans imagine slavery essentially as a system in which black men toiled on cotton plantations, Miles upends that stereotype several times over.”

New York Times Book Review

In her new, groundbreaking history...that does for Detroit what the Works Progress Administration and the Federal Writers’ Project slave narratives did for other regions.”

The Washington Post

“Tiya Miles is among the best when it comes to blending artful storytelling with an unwavering sense of social justice.”

Martha S. Jones in The Chronicle of Higher Education

“A book likely to stand at the head of further research into the problem of Native and African-American slavery in the north country.”

Kirkus Reviews

“There is currently no historical marker acknowledging slavery in Detroit— revealing that people were bought, sold, and held as property,’ Tiya Miles tell us in her rich account….The Dawn of Detroit is a brilliant telling of chattel bondage’s long and twisted history and the evolution of race relations in the City on the Straits.

Ira Berlin, author of Many Thousands Gone

“Extracting seemingly lost lives from sparse records to recover the humanity of people regarded as property, Tiya Miles exposes the tenacity of slavery and forced labor, both black and Indian, in multiethnic and multicultural Detroit during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. It is an often ugly—but also a revealing and surprising—story....a pointillist account of a complicated borderland.

Richard White, author of The Middle Ground

Tiya Miles is the rarest sort of historian: a brilliant and humane observer who can build an account of the terrifying difference of the past out of a series of observations that have the plain familiarity of family history.”

Walter Johnson, author of Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market

About the Author

Tiya Miles is Professor of History at Harvard University. A recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant,” she is the author most recently of The Dawn of Detroit: A Chronicle of Slavery and Freedom in the City of the Straits, which has received multiple awards from leading historical organizations. Her first book, Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom, received awards from historical, humanities, American studies, and Native American studies associations, including the Frederick Jackson Turner prize from the Organization of American Historians for the best first book in American history and recognition from the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association as one of the ten most influential books of the first decade of the twenty-first century. She is also the author the novel The Cherokee Rose, a Lambda Literary Award finalist in fiction and a Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week; Tales from the Haunted South, an historical travel narrative; and The House on Diamond Hill, a history of plantation slavery in the Cherokee Southeast. Miles has published various personal essays on race, feminism, and identity as well as academic articles on women’s history and black and Native interrelated experience and is a contributor to the opinion pages of The New York Times.

» See also

The Cherokee Rose