Arica L. Coleman

Assistant Professor
Black American Studies Program
417 John Ewing Hall
Newark, Delaware 19716
(302) 831- 4982

Arica L. Coleman teaches an array of courses relating to the history, politics, and culture of people of African descent and race relations in the United States. Her research focuses on the complex negotiations of race and identity within the historical and contemporary realities of people of African-American Indian ancestry. More specifically, she is interested in identity reconfiguration within the context of tribal sovereignty and the ways in which historical and contemporary anti-black racism effects tribal enrollment.  How does mainstream racial formation influence the federal recognition process? To what extent does the reconstruction of tribal histories affect the historical consciousness of those within and without the tribes?  In what ways do present federal recognition policies disrupt the historical relations between African Americans and American Indians? How will new DNA technologies impact federal recognition policies?  These are the central questions guiding her research.

Coleman has participated in a number of conferences, seminars, panel discussions, and workshops that focus on issues of racial identity, diversity and social justice.  In April 2007 she appeared as a guest on BET’s Meet the Faith, to discuss the current Cherokee Freedmen crisis (descendents of Cherokees slaves were expelled from the nation in March 2007).  She is currently involved in projects to preserve two historic Virginia cemeteries: the Spy Hill Plantation Slave Cemetery and the Rappahannock Indian Cemetery located in King George County and King &Queen County respectively.


“Loving V. Virginia.” Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity, and Society. Sage Publications, Inc., 2008.

“Ancestry DNA and the Manipulation of Afro-Indian Identity,” The First and the Forced: African American and Indigenous Intersections [Online]. Eds. James N. Leiker, Kim Warren, and Barbara Watkins. Lawrence, Kansas: The Hall Center for the Humanities, University of Kansas, summer 2007: 135-155.

“‘Tell The Court I Love My [Indian] Wife:’ Interrogating Race and Self Identity in Loving V. Virginia.” Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society Vol. 8, No 1, Routledge, 2006: 67-80; Reprinted in  Racializing Justice, Disenfranchising Lives: The Racism, Criminal Justice, and Law Reader. Eds. Manning Marable, Keesha Middlemass, and Ian Steinberg. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007: 159-174.