The House on Diamond Hill

A Cherokee Plantation Story

By Tiya Miles

336 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 18 illus., 1 table, 4 maps, appends., notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-7267-3
    Published: August 2012
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-0-8078-6812-6
    Published: August 2010
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-8325-4
    Published: August 2010

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Awards & distinctions

2011 Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin Prize, American Society for Ethnohistory

2011 Lilla M. Hawes Award, Georgia Historical Society

2011 National Council on Public History Book Award

At the turn of the nineteenth century, James Vann, a Cherokee chief and entrepreneur, established Diamond Hill in Georgia, the most famous plantation in the southeastern Cherokee Nation. In this first full-length study to reconstruct the history of the plantation, Tiya Miles tells the story of Diamond Hill's founding, its flourishing, its takeover by white land-lottery winners on the eve of the Cherokee Removal, its decay, and ultimately its renovation in the 1950s.

This moving multiracial history sheds light on the various cultural communities that interacted within the plantation boundaries--from elite Cherokee slaveholders to Cherokee subsistence farmers, from black slaves of various ethnic backgrounds to free blacks from the North and South, from German-speaking Moravian missionaries to white southern skilled laborers. Moreover, the book includes rich portraits of the women of these various communities. Vividly written and extensively researched, this history illuminates gender, class, and cross-racial relationships on the southern frontier.

About the Author

Tiya Miles is Elsa Barkley Brown Collegiate Professor at the University of Michigan. Her first book, Ties That Bind: The Story of An Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom, won the Organization of American Historians' Turner Prize and the American Studies Association's Romero Prize.
For more information about Tiya Miles, visit the Author Page.


"The only comprehensive book about life on the Vann Plantation from the perspective of examining not only Cherokee history . . . but also black history, the roles of Moravian missionaries and white history."β€”Daily Citizen, Dalton, GA

"The fullest published portrait yet of slaves to the Cherokee."β€” Defenders Online

"Miles paints the most detailed picture yet published of the lives of the black slaves to the Cherokee."β€”Bay State Banner

"Illustrates that Cherokee slavery differed significantly from that practiced by white Americans. . . . Slavery helped prove to the United States government that they [Cherokees] had acculturated and thus had become 'civilized.' Recommended."β€”Library Journal

"[Provides] rich detail from the newly translated diaries and letters of German missionaries."β€”Diverse Education

"[Miles'] book is accessible and well written, its story important. Highly recommended."β€”Choice

Multimedia & Links

Miles is winner of a 2011 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. Learn more about the award and Miles's work at the Foundation website,