The Melungeons blog

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Melungeons, history, genealogy, research, articles - 2005 Kennedy article

"ADDENDUM; 24 April 2005

As promised in the above article, I’m now sharing both my father’s and my DNAPrint and EuroDNA results. As you might recall, my brother’s results were:

DNAPrint 2.5:

Indo-European: 98%

Sub-Saharan African: 2%

EuroDNA (based on his 98% Indo-European):

50% Northern European (northern/western Europe)

25% South Asian (India-Pakistan)

15% Eastern European (Turkish-Greek/Mediterranean)

10% Middle Eastern

In order to gauge both the accuracy of the tests and to hopefully better determine our genetic origins, my Father and I also participated in both the DNAPrint and EuroDNA testing process. My results were as follows:

DNAPrint 2.5:

100% Indo-European

EuroDNA (based on 100% Indo-European):

45% Northern European (northern/western Europe)

25% Middle Eastern

25% Eastern European (Turkish-Greek/Mediterranean)

5% South Asian (India-Pakistan)

My results very closely reflect what we expected, given my brother’s results and the fact that we are full siblings. We also expected my South Asian to be less, as his features show “south Asian” more than mine, though physical appearance isn’t always reflected by measurable genes. In summary, I tested 55%, or thereabouts, non-northern European while my brother tested approximately 52% non-northern European.

Since our Mother is deceased, we could only test our Father. While he has a mixed heritage also, we have assumed that Dad’s results would show more northern European than ours, given his more “traditional” northern/western European appearance. In fact, Richard and I estimated that he would test out at 70% northern European and the remaining 30% a mixture of the others. His actual results were:

65% Northern/western European

15% Middle Eastern

10% Eastern European (Turkish-Greek)

10% South Asian (India-Pakistan)

While we can only estimate our Mother’s DNAPrint and EuroDNA results, based on my and my brother’s results, when coupled with my Father’s more northern European results, we are led to estimate that her results would have approximated 30% northern European, 4% sub-Saharan African, and the remaining 65% or so divided among the remaining Middle Eastern, Turkish-Greek, South Asian categories. Again, exactly what one might expect from her physical appearance. Our hope is to even more closely approximate her likely genetic heritage via the testing of two surviving great aunts.

In short, our experience with the DNAPrint and EuroDNA analyses has been extremely enlightening and absolutely confirming of what we have suspected all along.

The Melungeons: The Resurrection of a Proud People. An Untold Story of Ethnic Cleansing in America
The Melungeons: The Resurrection of a Proud People. An Untold Story of Ethnic Cleansing in America

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The African

Celebrating the Estelusti ~ The Freedmen
Oklahoma's Black Indians"

Seminoles, Native Americans and African Bloodlines - Global Black News (African American News)

"Often as a child my parents told me things they thought I should know. Some of the views altered my outlook on life and others would not become important to me until I reached adulthood. Telling me that my grandmother descended from Seminoles was an item that only in the past few years has become increasingly significant to me.

Growing up in a household that took pride in our African heritage and history, I didn't run around trying to claim Native American Ancestry out of false pride, it was just a fact that I learned about myself. However, as I learned more about the connections between Africans and Native Americans and kept witnessing the increasing problems that currently exist between the groups, especially the Seminoles, it has become necessary to speak out.

Every since Europeans have been documenting the contact between Africans and Native Americans there has been a history of cooperation among the two groups. They fought against slavery, imprisonment, removal from land and the ever encroaching European assault on Western land. Africans and Native Americans, for the most part have usually existed peaceably because they shared similar problems and aspects of culture."

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Jews of Savannah

"Jews of Savannah

B. H. Levy and Rabbi Arnold Mark Belzer

Congregation Mickve Israel was founded by 42 Jews who arrived in Savannah, in the new colony of Georgia, on July 11, 1733. Having left London, England, five months earlier, the brave band of mostly Portuguese Jews and two German Jewish families sought freedom and opportunity in the New World.

The first communal act upon landing in Savannah was the initiation of divine services. Worship was facilitated by the fact that more than a 'Minyan' (a quorum of 10 men) was immediately available and a Torah Scroll (the first 5 books of the bible) was carried by the settlers to their new home in Georgia."

Wanderings: Chaim Potok's History of the Jews
Wanderings: Chaim Potok's History of the Jews

Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, The: Father Gregorio Bolivar's 1625 report: A vactican source for the history of early Virginia

"WHEN European nations set out to colonize the New World during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, they did so for a variety of reasons. Europeans hoped to expand their territorial empires, gain wealth from the New World, find a shorter route to the riches of Asia, and extend both the reach and influence of Christianity. National and religious rivalries that had developed in Europe, including competition between England and Spain, quickly imbued attempts at settlement in the Americas. By the time England began making serious efforts to plant colonies in North America during the 1580s and early 1600s, Spain had already established one of the largest empires in the history of the world. Settlement in the Spanish colonial empire stretched from the southern tip of South America to modern-day Florida, although the Spanish claimed the entire American southeast to at least 37 degrees north latitude (approximately the mouth of the Bahia de Santa Maria, or the Chesapeake Bay), a territory they called La Florida., Their New World empire had become a profitable one for the Spanish.

Mercantilism, the economic theory that dominated early modern Europe, held that a finite amount of wealth existed in the world and that one of the primary reasons for planting colonies was to help a mother country acquire as much of that wealth as possible through trade or the appropriation of natural bounty. Using the forced labor of thousands of New World slaves, Spanish colonists extracted gold and silver from mines in Mexico and South America to send back on board the yearly Spanish treasure fleet. Lacking colonies with which to exploit the bounty of the Americas, Queen Elizabeth I (born 1533; reigned 1558-1603) enco"

Seattle Catholic - Spanish Martyrs for Virginia

"Spanish Martyrs for Virginia

by Matthew M. Anger

Fr. Segura's Lost Mission of 1570-71

In 2002, the Diocese of Richmond opened the cause for the canonization of the Spanish Jesuit Martyrs of Virginia. This has renewed interest in the fascinating, almost fantastic, tale of a lost Spanish colony in Virginia and the men who died trying to convert the Ajacan Indians. In 1571, Fr. Segura and his seven companions were killed by hostile tribesmen at the St. Mary's mission sited on Virginia's Lower Peninsula, near the Chesapeake Bay. This was close to the spot where the English would permanently settle just thirty years later. Fr. Russell E. Smith is the postulator for the martyrs' canonization and a judge with the diocesan tribunal. Fr. Smith learned about the Jesuit settlement while growing up in historic Williamsburg, Virginia and as a priest he took up the matter with the postulator general for the Society of Jesus, in Rome. The Virginia Historical Society and the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities have also lent their scholarly support for evidence of the Spanish mission. Meanwhile, the Richmond diocese has designated St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in New Kent County as the new Shrine of the Jesuit Martyrs. "

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Ethnicity and Race: What are You?

"What are You?

Shortly after birth, most Americans have the ethnic/racial group identity of their biological parents placed on their birth certificates. This provides an identity for children that will usually stay with them throughout their lives and will have a major impact on how they see themselves and how others treat them. It often restricts their choices of friends and marriage partners. It may give them advantages or it may create road blocks in their educations, careers, and the neighborhoods in which they wish to live.
Many, if not most, European Americans now believe that this official ethnic/racial classification and life-long tracking is unnecessary. The writer Tony Morrison has observed that 'whites see themselves as unraced.' For those who do not label themselves in terms of 'race', official racial designations naturally seem irrelevant and even counter productive to social harmony and individual rights. In contrast, members of ethnic/racial minorities generally see value in this group classification system because they do not consider themselves to be 'unraced.' For them, labeling may prevent their official invisibility and subsequent social and economic discrimination. This view is not surprising considering the history of past discrimination and even slavery of some groups.

The official state and national government practice over the last century in the U.S. was to try to force everyone into one of a number of specific racial/ethnic categories for the national census, hiring goals, college admission records, etc. Ultimately, these categories are based on the false assumption that somewhere there are 'pure races' and 'pure cultures.' Such groups do not exist today and may never have existed due to intergroup mating and to the more or less constant diffusion of culture trai"

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The Melungeons

"'Black Indian' Lists Prove Helpful

From Brent Kennedy

January 25, 1998

W. A. Plecker's list of 'mongrel Virginians' proved quite helpful in our recent efforts to demonstrate how Melungeon mixed-race families migrated westward from eastern Virginia, and how many Appalachian surnames correspond with Plecker's list of 'mongrel' surnames of eastern Virginia. See Kennedy Responds to DeMarce.

While Dr. Virginia DeMarce and I have had our differences over the degree of expansiveness of the Melungeon population (and its original ethnic make-up), I continue to hold her general research skills in high regard. My criticisms of DeMarce have never been related to the accuracy of her work in relation to the written record, but simply that her work has invariably excluded significant data - and population groups - that were either not reflected at all, or inaccurately reflected, in the written record. To demand that official census records, or written tribal/clan histories, be produced to verify one's existence, is to effectively exterminate the vast majority of Native American, African, and Melungeon/mixed-race heritage. Most people in these populations were not even permitted to learn to read and write, thus ensuring that their histories would never be 'properly' recorded. And the ruling whites of the time were generally recording records in only four classifications: white (northern European), red (Native American), black (sub-Saharan African), or mulatto (a combination of the first three). There was no option for Arab, Jew, Berber, Turk, etc., save to be pigeon-holed into one of the first three, or to be assigned to the last 'catch all' category. While I take pride in all my ancestors who fit into the first three, as well as the mulatto category, I also "

The Challenge of African American Research

African American Research, Part 1

African American Research, Part 2

Finding Your African American Ancestors: A BeginnerÆs Guide

African American Links and Resources

Celebrating African American Family History

Black Roots: A Beginner's Guide to Tracing the African American Family Tree

African American Family Histories

CD-ROM: African Americans in the 1870 U.S. Federal Census

Database of African Genealogy

Help for African American Research Free African Americans of North Carolina and Virginia by Paul Heinegg

"Paul Heinegg's Free African Americans of North Carolina and Virginia is a collection of genealogies about African American families living in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Garnering the American Society of Genealogists' Donald Lines Jacobus Award in 1994, it is a resource well-worth investigating for any individual tracing families from these locations and time periods.

Here, you can get a taste of Paul Heinegg's research and writing through the Introduction he wrote for this book. Even if you are not researching families from these locations and time periods, you will find that the Introduction provides you with an interesting look at African-American life during this time period. Specifically, he shows how the social status of many landowning African-American families changed so much over the years that 'by the 20th century they had no idea their ancestors had been free.' It is lengthy, so you may prefer to print it rather than reading it online. Footnotes for the Introduction are included at the bottom of this page. However, to get information about citations shown in square brackets ( [ ] ), please refer to the complete book. "

Further reading:

North Carolina-South Carolina Boundary

Reminiscences and memoirs of North Carolina and eminent North Carolinians

The Scotch-Irish, or, The Scot in North Britain, North Ireland, and North America

North Carolina, the Old North State and the new

Genealogy Workshop at North Carolina State Archives

Eastern North Carolina, 1861

North Carolina Coast, 1862

North & South Carolina, 1865

Early North Carolina Settlers, 1700s-1900s


"Welcome to our HomePage

There are three groups or kinds of Aboriginal People recognized by the Canadian Constitution: Metis

Status Indian


We are a proud nation who's history and traditions date back to the early 1700's. Our culture is a rich and vigorous one.

We invite you to share and learn about our people here on our site. This page is dedicated to preserving our culture and our proud heritage."

The Jackson Whites

"The Jackson Whites A Pathfinder and Annotated Bibliography
by: Randy D. Ralph"


My parents moved the family way, way out in the country, after my baby brother was born, to a little tract house in the middle of the Preakness Valley in Passaic County, New Jersey. The valley was open and green and filled with Dutch dairy farms and Italian truck gardens. It lay snuggled between the Ramapo and Watchung ridges. Our family was one of the first to move into the new neighborhood between Old Man van der Veen's dairy cows and Mrs. Capodimaggi's vegetable garden. One day in mid-summer, not long after we'd moved in, a new kid showed up at the baseball diamond the us kids had carved out of one of the still-vacant lots. His name was Willie G. Mann, Jr., or, just "Junior." He became one of my best friends for reasons I didn't understand until many years later.

Melungeon/Cultural Diversity Workshop, Wise, VA- May 3, 1997


Friday, May 2, 1997

Kingsport (TN) Times-News


'Melungeons' story deserves to be told'

History buffs should mark Saturday on their calendars. That's when a tri-state conference will examine evolving cultural, genealogical and genetic research on Melungeons and how it might be incorporated into the teaching of this region's history.

That may sound a little too academic to some. But what's recognized and taught as history is not always based on pure fact. Some of it is driven by hero glorification, and there's a healthy dose of myth in the mix, too. But sometimes, new discoveries are made that add dimension and perspective to the facts.

That's what seems to be happening with the Melungeons.
At the risk of sounding like revisionists, the conference's sponsors plan to expose this aspect of New World cultural diversity to those who attend. Since most of the audience will be teachers, it follows that once they are up to speed on the research and theory, they could consider incorporating it into classroom instruction.

The Virginia and Wise County Education Associations are sponsoring the conference, which will draw its audience from Southeast Kentucky, Southwest Virginia and Eastern Tennessee. That region is the heartland for the Melungeons, a dark-skinned people who cannot easily fit into any race classification.

The theory has roots in events in the 1500s and involves Turkish prisoners of Sir Francis Drake, and some of the shipwrecked Portuguese sailors and soldiers abandoned in the New World. It concludes that these men and their offspring established themselves as a distinct racial culture in this region.

Clinch Vallev College administrator Brent Kennedy's book 'The Melungeons: The Res"

Intro to "The Melungeons: ... Ethnic Cleansing in America" by Brent Kennedy

Intro to "The Melungeons: ... Ethnic Cleansing in America" by Brent Kennedy: "The Melungeons: The Resurrection of a Proud People

An Untold Story of Ethnic Cleansing in America
N. Brent Kennedy
Robyn Vaughan Kennedy"

Slave Bibliography Table of Contents

Eugenics Watch

"Eugenics is dedicated to the proposition that all men are created unequal and the food is running short; that, in the struggle for food, those who have an inherited advantage prevail and pass the advantage on to their children who prevail even more; that this is how evolution, Yale and the English aristocracy happened. A further belief is that, at this point in evolution, the more evolved must take destiny and the less evolved in hand. Selection must not be left to chance for chance is cruel, capricious and, all too often, expensive but must instead be led by the kindly elite - Harvard professors, British aristocrats, Serbian psychiatrists, Aryans and so on. But death control, which has been the main method used by natural selection or chance, for termination of useless populations, must be replaced by birth control which is cheaper, and, as Charles Darwin pointed out in The Descent of Man, more effective.

The problem is that the masses will not dedicate themselves unselfishly to the production and protection of an elite while exterminating their own posterity. Over and over the eugenicists roll this rock up the hill and over and over it rolls down - often on them. Outstanding classics of scientific racism, such as The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy or The Passing of the Great Race, The Bell Curve or The g Factor are rejected in favor of 'sentimental slogans' such as ' All men are created equal' or 'I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its Constitution'. Governments with eugenic policies come to power in Germany, South Africa, Rumania, or Alabama and the world rises against them. Then it's all to do again."

War Against The Weak: Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race
War Against The Weak: Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race

Research Aids & Recent Articles, A Melungeon HomePage

"What's A'Melungeon'?

Some dictionary definitions:

Webster's Third New International Dictionary (1981): melungeon, also malungeon: (me'lenjen -s) usu. cap[origin unknown]: one of a group of people of mixed Indian, white, and Negro ancestry in the southern Appalachians esp. of eastern Tennessee.

American Heritage Dictionary: Me.lun.geon (melun'jen) n. One of a small group of dark skinned people of uncertain origin living in the mountains of eastern Tennessee. [Origin uncertain.]
Dictionary of the English Language (1981): While 'origin unknown' is still the most-certain conclusion, it is variously supposed the term comes from (1) the French melange, 'mixing/mixture' or 'blending/blend,' (2)the Greek IleAas melas, 'dark' or 'black,' or (3) the African-Portuguese melungo or mulango, perhaps meaning 'shipmate'.

Some say the term is a sixteenth-century African-Portuguese (Berber/Moorish) word meaning simply 'white person.'"

A Melungeon's HomePage: Article Reprint, Winter 1994, GEORGIA JOURNAL

"Winter 1994

Georgia Journal


By N. Brent Kennedy

IN 1988 N. Brent Kennedy was diagnosed with a potentially debilitating disease called erythema nodosum sarcoidosis. It attacks the immune system and can leave its victims crippled or blind. In many cases it results in death from pulmonary failure. It has no known cause. Nor is there a cure. Its only treatment is anti-inflammatory drugs. The only hope physicians offer is that it will go into remission. But Brent Kennedy is a stubborn man. He was determined to know why this disease had singled him out.

What he was stunned to learn is that while it is not unknown among people of Scandinavian and Irish extraction, sarcoidosis is more common among people whose ancestors came from Africa and the Mediterranean. In the American South, curiously, it seems to be common among both blacks and whites who share no apparent ethnic bonds, and it is equally common among Portuguese descendants in New England.

Fortunately for Kennedy, his acute sarcoidosis went into remission after six months. But his brush with death and initial findings about the origins of his illness rekindled in him a zeal to find his roots that had once so enthralled him as a child. It was not always a pleasant journey. For he was to discover that his family were 'Melungeons', a name of derision in the Appalachian Mountains of his forbears, something akin to Poor White Trash elsewhere. It was then easy for Kennedy to understand why his family had buried so much of its background. What he also discovered was a tangled, sordid history of racism, disfranchisement and forced displacement, a history of a people who were among the first from the Old World to occupy North America, yet were the victims of the same Northern Eu"

A Melungeon HomePage: June '94 Reprint of (N.C.) The State, article by Billy Arthur

A Melungeon HomePage: June '94 Reprint of (N.C.) The State, article by Billy Arthur:

"From The State June 1994, No. Carolina TAR HEEL HISTORY By Billy Arthur

The Melungeons

Could it be that these dark-skinned, black-haired immigrants of Portuguese and Spanish descent were North Carolina's first settlers?"

Melungeon Research Aids: Indentured Oprhans in Mississippi, 1865-1868, Freedmen's Bureau Records

Melungeon Research Aids: Indentured Oprhans in Mississippi, 1865-1868, Freedmen's Bureau Records: "Thanks to Linda L. Threadgill - for this contribution.
Records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands:
Indentures of Orphans in Mississippi, 1865 - 1866"

"Through the Gap" by John Fox Jr., A Melungeon's HomePage

"John Fox Jr. wrote two stories that had Melungeon characters-- he often included them in early 'drafts' but usually changed the characterizations before publication. This short story, called 'Through the Gap,' was published in 1897, in the collection, Hell-fer-Sartin and Other stories He is referring to Big Stone Gap, (the gap in Wise County's Stone Mountain and a gateway to Lee Co., VA, Bell Co. and Harlan Co., Ky, and also toward Cumberland Gap, and thus Hancock Co., TN). Notice how Fox uses 'Malungian' and 'half-breed' interchangeably; of what 'ethnic' background is the woman? What's her relationship to the 'Malungian'?


by John Fox Jr.

WHEN thistles go adrift, the sun sets down the valley between the hills; when snow comes, it goes down behind the Cumberland and streams through a great fissure that people call the Gap. Then the last light drenches the parson's cottage under Imboden Hill, and leaves an after-glow of glory on a majestic heap that lies against the east. Sometimes it spans the Gap with a rainbow.
Strange people and strange tales come through this Gap from the Kentucky hills. Through it came these two, late one day -- a man and a woman -- afoot. I met them at the foot-bridge over Roaring Fork. "

Melungeon HomePage: Article from the Kentucky Explorer

Melungeon HomePage: Article from the Kentucky Explorer: "Thanks to Madge for taking the time to scan this article and for securing permission for it to be posted here.
[The following 1895 article is reprinted with permission from Mr. Charles Hayes, Jr. editor, of the excellent magazine Kentucky Explorer. The on-line version of that magazine is available via: If you are not already a subscriber to Mr. Hayes' magazine, we urge you to visit the WebSite and contact Mr. Hayes for subscription info. Also note that the text refers to drawings and photos; these are currently unavailable but we are working to secure them for scanning.]
The Kentucky Explorer , March 1997, Page 34
Ginseng Hunters Found Ancient Skeletons At Raven Rock
Treasure Hunters Destroyed Skeletons Of Perry County's Prehistoric People

BY T.D. Witherspoon - CA. 1895"

Melungeon Research: Plecker Letter #1 to Tennessee

Melungeon Research: Plecker Letter #1 to Tennessee:

"NOTE: W.A. Plecker, acting as Virginia's first Registrar of Vital Statistics, was determined to 'mark' all Melungeons as not-white. Here is his reaction to a Tennessee archivist who had tried to respond honestly to his letter-of-inquiry, just one of many such letters that he wrote to neighboring states seeking information on Melungeon origins; the date shows that even during World War II, Plecker did not ease up in his efforts. An excellent discussion of Plecker's dubious 'legacy' can be found in Pocahontas'People by Helen Rountree.

Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Health


August 20, 1942

[TO]Mrs. John Trotwood Moore

State Librarian and Archivist

State Department of Education

Nashville, Tennessee

Dear Mrs. Moore:

We thank you very much for your informative letter of August 12 in reply to our inquiry, addressed to the Secretary of State, as to the original counties from which Hancock County, Tennessee, was formed. "

Melungeon Research: Plecker Letter #1 to Tennessee

Melungeon Research: Plecker Letter #1 to Tennessee: "NOTE: W.A. Plecker, acting as Virginia's first Registrar of Vital Statistics, was determined to 'mark' all Melungeons as not-white. Here is one of many letters that he wrote to neighboring states seeking information on Melungeon origins; the date shows that even during World War II, Plecker did not ease up in his efforts. The enclosures noted below have not been located but presumably consisted of a list of allegedly 'Melungeon' family-names. An excellent discussion of Plecker's dubious 'legacy' can be found in Pocahontas'People by Helen Rountree.
Commonwealth of Virginia
Department of Health
I. C. Riggin, M. D.
Bureau of Vital Statistics
W. A. Plecker, M. D. Registrar
August 5, 1942
Secretary of State,
Nashville, Tennessee.
Dear Sir:
Our bureau is the only one in any State making an intensive study of the population of its citizens by race. "

A Melungeon HomePage: Plecker essay # 3

A Melungeon HomePage: Plecker essay # 3: "Virginia Health Bulletin, November 1925
Vol. XVII, Extra No. 12

Virginia 'Indians'
by W. A. Plecker
From the booklet:
Issued by
Bureau of Vital Statistics
State Board of Health
Richmond, VA
When the Racial Integrity law was being enacted, it was the desire of all to recognize as an integral and honored part of the white race, the descendants of John Rolfe and Pocahontas, and to protect also other white citizens of Virginia who are descendants in part of members of the civilized tribes of Oklahoma and who are of no other admixture than white and Indian. "

A Melungeon HomePage: Other Doctors on Eugenics, 1925

A Melungeon HomePage: Other Doctors on Eugenics, 1925: "Virginia Health Bulletin, November 1925
Vol. XVII, Extra No. 12

Discussion (by other doctors)
From the booklet:
Issued by
Bureau of Vital Statistics
State Board of Health
Richmond, VA
Dr. A. T. McCormack, Louisvile, Ky. -- The very important matter presented so ably by Dr. Plecker is of a great deal of practical importance unquestionably and, at the same time, one of the best statements that can be presented in regard to the value and integrity of vital statistics. I think it is of extreme importance and should be kept before the public mind. "

A Melungeon HomePage: Plecker essay # 2, 1925

A Melungeon HomePage: Plecker essay # 2, 1925: "Virginia Health Bulletin, November 1925
Vol. XVII, Extra No. 12

Shall America Remain White? *
By W. A. Plecker, M. D.
From the Booklet:
Issued by
Bureau of Vital Statistics
State Board of Health
Richmond, VA
* Read before Section on Public Health, Southern Medical Association, Eighteenth Annual Meeting, New Orleans, La., Nov. 24-17, 1924.
This question may be answered in the affirmative today, but if delayed for several generations it may be forever too late.
'Taxation without representation' was the slogan that fired the colonists of 1776; 'states' rights' was the cry that called forth the determined resistance of the South in 1861, and 'making the world safe for democracy' was the thought that mobilized the resources of our land and hurried millions of our young men to arms when the rights of mankind were trampled upon. "

A Melungeon HomePage: Plecker essay # 1, 1925

A Melungeon HomePage: Plecker essay # 1, 1925: "Virginia Health Bulletin, November 1925
Vol. XVII, Extra No. 12
Shall America Head for Race Suicide or for Race Improvement? *
By W. A. Plecker, M. D.
From the Booklet:
Issued by
Bureau of Vital Statistics
State Board of Health
Richmond, VA
[* Read by invitation before the Southside Medical Society at Petersburg, Va., September 8, 1925.]"

A Melungeon HomePage: Plecker Introduces 1925 Booklet

A Melungeon HomePage: Plecker Introduces 1925 Booklet:

"Virginia Health Bulletin, November 1925

Vol. XVII, Extra No. 12


From the booklet:



Issued by Bureau of Vital Statistics State Board of Health Richmond, VA 1925

THE purpose of this, the fifth of the New Family series of booklets, is to place before the better class of young people of Virginia knowledge as to the two great dangers threatening the integrity and supremacy of the native white American race. "

A Melungeon HomePage: 1924 Racial Integrity Act

A Melungeon HomePage: 1924 Racial Integrity Act: "State of Virginia
Enacted 1924
An Act To Preserve Racial Integrity
1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia That the State Registrar of Vital Statistics may as soon as practicable after the taking effect of this act, prepare a form whereon the racial composition of any individual as Caucasian, Negro, Mongolian, American Indian, Asiatic Indian, Malay or any mixture thereof or any other non-Caucasic strains, and if there be any mixture, then the racial composition, of the parents and other ancestors, in so far as ascertainable, so as to show in what generation such mixture occurred, may be certified by such individual, which form shall be known as a registration certificate. The State Registrar may supply to each local registrar a sufficient number of such forms for the purposes of this act; each local registrar may personally or by deputy, as soon as possible after receiving said forms, have made thereon in duplicate a certificate of the racial composition as aforesaid, of each person resident in his district, who so desires, born before June fourteem nineteen hundred and twelve, which certificate shall be made over the signature of said person, or in the case of children under fourteen years of age, over the signature of a parent, guardian, or other person standing in loco parentis. One of said certificates for each person thus registering in every district shall be forwarded to the State registrar for his files; the other shall be kept on file by the local registrar. "

A Melungeon HomePage: Loving v. Virginia

A Melungeon HomePage: Loving v. Virginia: "Case name: Loving v. Virginia
388 U.S. 1 No. 395.

Argued April 10, 1967. - Decided June 12, 1967. - 206 Va. 924, 147 S.E.2D 78, reversed. "


State Registrar of Vital Statistics, Richmond, Virginia

* Read at the joint session of the Public Health Administration and Vital Statistics Sections of the American Public Health Association at the Fifth-third Annual Meeting at Detroit, Michigan, October 23, 1924.

THE SETTLERS of North America came not as did the Spanish and Portuguese adventurers of the southern continent, without their women, bent only on conquest and the gaining of wealth and power; but bringing their families, the Bible, and high ideals of religious and civic freedom.
They came to make homes, to create a nation, and to found a civilization of the highest type; not to mix their blood with the savages of the land; not to originate a mongrel population combining the worst traits of both conquerors and conquered.
All was well until that fateful day in 1619 when a Dutch trader landed twenty negroes and sold them to the settlers, who hoped by means of slave labor to clear the land and develop the colony more quickly.
Few paused to consider the enormity of the mistake until it was too late. From this small beginning developed the great slave traffic which continued until 1808, when the importation of slaves into America was stopped. But there were already enough negroes in the land to constitute them the great American problem. Two races as materially divergent as the white and the negro, in morals, mental powers, and cultural fitness, cannot live in close contact without injury to the higher, amounting in many case; to absolute ruin. The lower never has been and never can be raised to the level of the higher."

Melungeon HomePage:The infamous Plecker "ATTACHMENT"

Melungeon HomePage:The infamous Plecker "ATTACHMENT": "NOTE: W.A. Plecker, acting as Virginia's first Registrar of Vital Statistics, was determined to 'mark' all Melungeons as not-white. Below is a transcribed copy of the certificate that Plecker had affixed to all 'suspect' birth, death, and marriage certificates in Virginia. I have also made a photo-image:
Certificate, .jpeg-file, 154K

WARNING -- To be attached to the backs of birth or death certificates of those believed to be incorrectly recorded as to color or race.

Howe in his History of Virginia, 1845, Pages 349-350 says of the Mattaponi and Pamunkey Indians of King William County: 'Their Indian character is nearly extinct by intermixture with the whites and negroes.'
Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, Volume 14, Pages 460 and 464, says of Chickahominy Indians, 'No pure bloods left, considerable negro admixture,' and of the Pamunkeys, 'All mixed-bloods; some negro mixture.'
The Handbook of American Indians (Bulletin 30), Bureau of American Ethnology, under the heading 'Croatan Indians,' says: 'The theory of descent from the colony may be regarded as baseless, but the name itself serves as a convenient label for a people who combine in themselves the blood of thc wasted native tribes, the early colonists or forest rovers, the runaway slaves or other negroes, and probably also of stray seamen of the Latin races from coasting vessels in the West Indian or Brazilian trade.
Across the line in South Carolina are found a people, evidently of similar origin, designated-'Redbones.' In portions of western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee are found the so-called 'Melungeons' (probably from French melange, 'mixed') or 'Portuguese ' apparently an offshoot from C"

1929 Letter from W.A. Plecker to Virginia citizen

1929 Letter from W.A. Plecker to Virginia citizen: "Commonwealth of Virginia
Bureau of Vital Statistics
State Department of Health
Richmond, VA

December 26, 1929
William T. Adcock
Amherst Virginia.
Dear William:
I received your letter of October 30th 1929 in which you say that 'We have decided to lose the last drop of blood we have in us before we will be classed as colored'.
In order to know upon what grounds you considered yourself white, I wrote to you twice asking you to tell us who was your mother and who was her mother. You did not reply to either letter as we certainly expected you to do if you are attempting to maintain that they are white. I did not however ask you that because we did not know but simply to see what you would say. "

ARCHIVE for A Melungeon HomePage


NOTE: W.A. Plecker, acting as Virginia's first Registrar of Vital Statistics, was determined to 'mark' all Melungeons as not-white. An excellent discussion of Plecker's dubious 'legacy' can be found in Pocahontas' People, by Helen Rountree. "

A MELUGEON HOMEPAGE: Edward Price: Geographic Analysis, 1953

A MELUGEON HOMEPAGE: Edward Price: Geographic Analysis, 1953: "The following is from the Association of American Geographers. Annals Vol. 43 (June 1953) pp 138-55. Reprint permission granted with acknowledgment.
Los Angeles State College
A STRANGE product of the mingling of races which followed the British entry into North America survives in the presence of a number of localized strains of peoples of mixed ancestry. Presumed to be part white with varying proportions of Indian and Negro blood, ** they are recognized as of intermediate social status, sharing lot with neither white nor colored, and enjoying neither the governmental protection nor the tribal tie of the typical Indian descendants. A high degree of endogamy results from this special status, and their recognition is crystallized in the unusual group names applied to them by the country people. "


Govern'r & the Councill of our Colony and Plantacon of Virginia in The West Indys.
Treaty Between Virginia And The Indians 1677
Articles of Peace between the most Mighty Prince & our Dread Soveraigne Lord Charles the II by the Grace of God King of greate Brittaine, France, and Ireland. Defender of the ffaith &c: And the severall Indian Kins and Queens &c Assentors and Subscribers hereunto made and Concluded at the Camp of Middle plantacon, the 29th day of May: 1677; being the day of the most happy birth & Restauration of our s'd Soveraigne Lord, and in the XXIX yeare of his said Ma'ties Reigne."

A Melungeon's HomePage- 1849 Article

A Melungeon's HomePage- 1849 Article: "From Littell's Living Age-No. 254-31 March, 1849'


(We are sorry to have lost the name of the southern paper from which this is taken.)

We give to-day another amusing and characteristic sketch from a letter of our intelligent and sprightly correspondent, sojourning at present in one of the seldom-visited nooks hid away in our mountains.

You must know that within ten miles of this owl's nest, there is a watering-place, known hereabouts as 'black-water Springs.' It is situated in a narrow gorge, scarcely half a mile wide, between Powell's Mountain and the Copper Ridge, and is, as you may suppose, almost inaccessible. A hundred men could defend the pass against even a Xerxian army. Now this gorge and the tops and sides of the adjoining mountains are inhabited by a singular species of the human animal called MELUNGENS.

The legend of their history, which they carefully preserve, is this. A great many years ago, these mountains were settled by a society of Portuguese Adventurers, men and women--who came from the long-shore parts of Virginia, that they might be freed from the restraints and drawbacks imposed on them by any form of government. These people made themselves friendly with the Indians and freed, as they were from every kind of social government, they uprooted all conventional forms of society and lived in a delightful Utopia of their own creation, trampling on the marriage relation, despising all forms of religion, and subsisting upon corn (the only possible product of the soil) and wild game of the woods. These intermixed with the Indians, and subsequently their descendants (after the advances of the whites into this part of the state) with the negros and the whites, thus forming the present race of Melungens. They are tall, straigh"

Mercer University Press: How They Shine: Melungeon Characters in the Fiction of Appalachia

"How They Shine: Melungeon Characters in the Fiction of Appalachia

Katherine Vande Brake

The first critical study of Melungeon characters in fiction.

How They Shine: Melungeon Characters in the Fiction of Appalachia

Katherine Vande Brake

The first critical study of Melungeon characters in fiction.

In How They Shine: Melungeon Characters in the Fiction of Appalachia, Vande Brake argues that fiction writers choose to create Melungeon characters, incorporate Melungeon lore, and replicate the Melungeon experience because Melungeon is such a powerful metaphor. Their use of Melungeons is not intended as an insult, but instead as a way to say more with less. Melungeon means mystery, unpredicatbility, isolation, prejudice, passion, volatility, superstition, pride. Melungeon means fiery moonshine “likker,” beautiful dark-skinned women, and handsome, reckless men. Melungeon conjures visions of independent life on Appalachian ridges, tongue-speaking preachers handling poisonous snakes, secluded log cabins with arched windows, and family genealogies complete with foreign-sounding names. Melungeon assumes exotic ethnic origins in the days before the English colonized North America.

How They Shine: Melungeon Characters in the Fiction of Appalachia ( Melungeon Series)
How They Shine: Melungeon Characters in the Fiction of Appalachia ( Melungeon Series)

A Melungeon HomePage: Kennedy response to DeMarce

"September 7, 1997

From: Brent Kennedy

I was recently asked by several media representatives to respond to Virginia DeMarce's most recent statements regarding the Melungeons and me personally. Their questions have tended to revolve around the three basic issues below, so I have crafted a sort of synopsis of my replies to the media for inclusion on the home page if appropriate, or for sharing with others who may also be curious.

Of course, much of this back-and-forth bantering could have been avoided if the National Genealogical Quarterly had permitted me some sort of response to her 1996 book review. But the editors did not, and the rest as they say, is history. But I am grateful to those journals and web-sites which did publish my rebuttal. Their sense of fair play was recognized and there's no doubt that the entire sordid incident in truth fueled the great debate that has brought the issue to the forefront. In that sense, I must extend my gratitude to the editors of NGQ. Thank you. Time is indeed demonstrating the vailidity of our work.

First, I am generally pleased to see what appears to be Dr. DeMarce's increasing acceptance of a broader-based Mediterranean gene pool for our Appalachian ancestors. This less narrow view is in stark contrast to the one exhibited in her original review of my book in last summer's edition of the National Genealogical Quarterly. In each succeeding news account her views on the theory, if not me, are softening. I have heard indirectly that her major contentions now are that:
(1) She sees no rationale or evidence for any theorized Turkish infusion, and

(2) She believes that Melungeons have always been - and remain - a very few isolated families, and that I have broadened the definition of Melungeon to the point of meaninglessness"

A Melungeon HomePage: Folk Tales # 1

"Six Hundred Honest Pounds

From God Bless the Devil! Liars' Bench Tales, Aswell, et al, eds., Tennessee Writer's Project. Illustrations by Ann Kelley, Tennessee Art Project; 1940, University of North Carolina Press.

THEY SAY IT WAS BACK IN THE EIGHTIES, OR maybe the nineties, and in Hancock County. Whatever the year of it, there was a big barbecue and rabbit stew near the Powell River. A man running for Congress was who give it. Now, Hancock is still a mighty lean sort of place and all you have to do to git most of the whole county together on one point of ground is to let out that there'll be free eats. They'll come Ford-back, mule-back, foot-back, and a-crawling down every little path out of the hills. They'll come like red ants to spilled honey.

And so it was this time I'm a-chawing about. Every soul for thirty mile around that warn't too feeble or crippled to move or too wanted by the Law to be seen in public places was there in that beech grove beside of the Powell River. Even a heap of folks from up across the Kentucky line--where it's pretty lean, too --was on hand trying their best to look like they was born and bred and done voting square in Hancock County. "

A Melungeon Research Aid: TIRAH Institute

"Submitted by - Chris McCoy

The TIRAH Society

THE TIRAH INSTITUTE for the Advancement of Triracial Isolates
Original New World People
Research Division

The TIRAH Institute is the biosocial research division of the TIRAH Society and is responsible for advancing the social, political and economic interests of Tan Americans at the national level.

The Purpose

The institute's purpose is to restore the integrity of the native hybrid community under a new racial category, to bring a sense of solidarity and ecological balance to the lives of Tan Americans and to help Tans survive in a more racially diverse and complex society.
Primary Goals:

Define the nation's original hybrid people of color as a racial group.
Reconcile color differences that exist within the hybrid community and come to grips with the fact that these differences (Tan, Yellow and White) may hold a different social reality for some of us when dealing with outside groups.

Gain acceptance and respect as a viable and unified native people by respecting and cooperating with our own kind. "

A Melungeon HomePage: TIRAH fights Census-change


From: Chris McCoy, TIRAH, Tue, 8 Jul 1997

TIRAH Wins Major Census Battle in Washington, D.C.

'Four year battle comes to an end; multiracial category was rejected today by the OMB and other government agencies. Multiracial will not appear in the 2000 census. Native Americans did get approval of their new 'American Indian' designation. I am extremely pleased with the outcome and attribute our success to the 'Mulatto Extirpation' theme, the 'Mongrel' epithet and Dr. Plecker. This is a very powerful message and definitely got the attention of Washington. Thanks for your support and added web page coverage at a critical time. I am confident now that we can win our fight and restore the heritage and history of our people.'"

A Melungeon HomePage: TIRAH on U.S. Census

TIRAH on U.S. Census: "Submitted by - Chris McCoy

The TIRAH Society

Census Overview for Mulattoes 1790-1860

U.S. Census of 1790- 59,500 Mulattoes in U.S.; Va. -12,866.

U.S. Census of 1800- 108,400 Mulattoes in U.S.; Va.- 20,124.

U.S. Census of 1810- 186,446 Mulattoes in U.S.; Va.- 30,570.

U.S. Census of 1820- 233,500 Mulattoes in U.S.; Va.- 36,899.

U.S. Census of 1830- 319,599 Mulattoes in U.S.; Va.- 47,348

U.S. Census of 1840- 386,203 Mulattoes in U.S.; Va.- 49,852

U.S. Census of 1850- 434,449 Mulattoes in U.S.; Va.- 54,333

U.S. Census of 1860- 487,970 Mulattoes in U.S.; Va.- 58,042

Maryland had the largest population of Mulattoes in 1860 - 83,942. "

A Melungeon HomePage: Sister Cities Receive Diversity Award

"Submitted by Scott Pippin

June 18, 1997

News Release


The sister cities of Wise, Virginia and Cesme, Turkey have been selected to receive the Diverse Community Award at the 35th Annual Awards Program of Sister City International's Annual Conference in San Diego, California on August 2.

The Diverse Community Award 'distinguishes sister city programs that best promote international understanding and long-term partnerships through community activities (performing and graphic arts, history, sports, cross-cultural education, etc.) which involve participants that reflect the diversity of the community (e.g. participants of different ages, ethnicities, races, socioeconomic backgrounds and participants with disabilities.)'
Wise and Cesme became sister cities in mid-1995. At the 1995 Wise Fall Fling, Mustaffa Siyahhan, Director of Tourism of the Turkish Embassy in Washington, visited Wise to commemorate the growing relationship between Wise and Cesme.

Interest in forming the sister city relationship sprang partly from the work of Clinch Valley College professor Brent Kennedy, whose research indicates that Turks, Portuguese, and other people of Mediterranean descent played a major role in originally populating the mountains of Southwest Virginia, Eastern Kentucky, East Tennessee, and western North Carolina.

Since the sister city relationship was forged, over 200 Turks have visited Wise, many as part of the 1996 Fall Fling. Their visit to the Fall Fling brought local, regional, and national media coverage to the Town. In March 1996, Wise Mayor Caynor Smith and other local residents visited Turkey as part of a Melungeon heritage tour. "

A Student's Poem inspired by the Melungeon Story

"Free people of color

no rights, no respect

Free people of color

is it injustice I detect?

Life and you did not

treat these people kind

Life and you did not

hide all the evidence they could find

Hidden for years

their past so unsure

Hidden for years

the pain these people endured

Lies and tales so awful

made to disgrace

Lies and tales so awful

like spit in their face.

Oppressed longer than many

they had no choice

oppressed longer than many

they had no voice.

Fighting to recover

the past so brutily erased

Fighting to recover the past

so they can die with grace.

'Nicki' Bates

Brandy Nicole Bates
Senior, J. J. Kelly High School
Wise, Virginia "

The National Melungeon Registry, Wise Co. VA Historical Society

"The National Melungeon Registry

Who Are the Melungeons?

Like the mists that envelop the mountains, the Melungeons are a people whose ancestry has been shrouded in mystery. However, through the efforts of Brent Kennedy and others, the veil of secrecy surrounding these proud people is being lifted and their unique heritage is being revealed.

The Melungeons are most likely the descendants of late 16th century Turks and Portuguese stranded on the Carolina shores when Sir France Drake liberated some 200 young Turks on the North Carolina coast when the settlement of Santa Elena, South Carolina was abandoned by the Spanish. They later intermarried with the Powhatan, Pamunkey, Chickahominy, and Catawba Indians. These two groups probably combined later, settled in the Appalachians and with further intermarriage with the Cherokees, and much later with the northern European settlers; primarily the Scotch-Irish, becoming part of the American Melting Pot. The word Melungeon is both Portuguese, and Turkish, meaning 'cursed soul.' Today, Melungeon descendants can be found among all racial and ethnic groups. Abraham Lincoln and Elvis Presley have probable Melungeon heritage through their maternal lines. "

P.A.H.R. Foundation -- Portuguese & Melungeon News, page 1

"Author of the book 'The Forgotten Portuguese' is awarded the Medal of Merit by the Portuguese Government: "

A Melungeon HomePage: New Book - The Forgotten Portuguese by Manuel Mira


The Forgotten Portuguese:
The Melungeons And Other Groups
The Portuguese Making of America
by Manuel Mira

Follow The Colorful And Revealing History Of The Portuguese In The Making of America
Early American history before the 17th century is rather vague. The 15th and 16th centuries are often called the lost or forgotten centuries in American history.

The author has painstakingly done a lengthy research on the attempts of one particular group to settle in North America since the early 15th century. The Portuguese people are one the oldest European group of settlers, probably the first one to arrive in this continent and permanently settle among the natives in a peaceful manner.

This book follows their quest for better life in the New World and of other groups who consider themselves Portuguese, such as the Melungeons of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
Manuel Mira, who was born in Portugal and lives in the Appalachians, has been able to identify with these forgotten groups. His research has brought to light for the first time some of the missing pieces in the Melungeon puzzle. His work also presents several aspects of American and Portuguese history.

The author has lived for extensive periods of time in three continents. This has given him considerable knowledge of the different groups of people with whom the Portuguese have integrated. His love for history and deep interest in social and community affairs gave him an opportunity to compile many years of experience and research into a book that will be a welcome addition to any library.
Manuel Mira is married to Lurdes, has a son and a daughter, and six grandchildren. The older two attend college. Manuel is also the "

Forgotten Portuguese

A Melungeon HomePage: Turkish Research Inititative

"Major Turkish Research Initiative Underway

Provided by Professor Turker Ozdogan

George Washington University Washington, DC

l-to-r, Brent Kennedy, Turker Ozdogan, and Frank Keel
An unprecedented Turkish, Eurasian, Central Asian, and Siberian research initiative into the origins of the Melungeons, as well as possible connections to at least some Native American Indian tribes, is now in the formative stages.

On August 25, 1997, three American representatives engaged in what will surely be seen as a historic journey by attending the Turkish World Research and Economic Development Congress in Izmir, Turkey.

Dr. Brent Kennedy, Vice Chancellor of Clinch Valley College of the University of Virginia, Professor Turker Ozdogan of George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and Dr. Frank Keel, Eastern Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs represented, in turn, American Melungeons, Turkish-Americans, and Native Americans in search of cultural roots and/or potential economic connections to the Turkic populations of Turkey, Eurasia, the Central Asian republics, and Siberia.

After an astounding welcome from those assembled, both Keel and Kennedy addressed the Congress of Turkic peoples, receiving enthusiastic responses from the delegates. The event was covered by international news media.
With academic freedom re-emerging in the Central Asian republics following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the general consensus among Turkic and Central Asian scholars is that both American Melungeons and Native Americans can now expect access to important previously unattainable research data, as well as the cooperation of qualified Central Asian scholars who have long held the view that cultural and genetic linkages existed between themselves an"

A Melungeon HomePage: November 7, 1997 Update from Brent Kennedy

"Kennedy Announces New Focus in Personal Mission
All Truth Goes Through Three Steps:




- Arthur Schopenhauer

A Ten Year Journey

Arthur Schopenhauer's comments reverberate with personal meaning and relevance as I enter the tenth year of my own truth-seeking journey. A journey I never intended to embark upon but one which I couldn't halt once commenced. An accident of life, if you prefer, or the hand of destiny as I prefer. Nevertheless, a journey filled with challenges, disappointments, new friends, new foes, and personal rewards which cannot be measured.

My original intent has not wavered: to attract - and force if necessary - scholarly and public attention to the story of the Melungeons and other mixed-race people of this Nation. To force the notion that our Nation has, from the beginning, been both multi-cultural and multi-racial, but that our institutions - from government census reports to mainstream history books - have conspired, sometimes unintentionally, to deny this truth. It has not been easy. My efforts have often been met with disdain, prejudice, and violent opposition. I've tried to take the positive criticisms to heart and learn from them. The personal attacks and the racist or other extreme diatribes I've learned to discard.

The Melungeons have been a generally ignored people whose experiences - good and bad - were not deemed worthy of historical or social consideration because those experiences could not be pigeon-holed into the broader contexts of 'black' or 'white' or 'red.' Such rigid and artificial boundaries ensured that the story of our people would never be accurately told, if told at all. E"

Barbados Link-- Melungeon KinFolk?

Barbados Link May Provide 'Smoking Gun' Clue to Melungeon Surnames

Melungeon ancestry possibilities have expanded to include significant numbers of 'English' and 'Scotch' settlers who came to South Carolina in the late 1600s and early 1700s, but not from England. Although these people held English citizenship, their actual ethnic make-up was far different from the prototype Anglos of that period. These settlers were from Barbados, ethnically mixed people seeking better lives in the mainland colonies.
These so-called 'freedmen' tended to be a mixture of English and Scotch, native Barbadians (i.e. Indian), Portuguese Jews, other Mediterranean people, and Africans. And, most telling, their surnames match those English names that most commonly show up among the earliest Melungeon populations. It would seem likely that, over time, these ethnically mixed 'Englishmen' would have indeed moved northward and admixed with Melungeon ancestral groups in the Carolinas and Virginia. There are many related documents detailing the movements of these early settlers, but one will suffice for this first announcement (this document kindly provided by Angela Andrews of the University of Virginia). John Camden Hotten's work on the Barbados settlers provides the following astonishing surname list of 'English' settlers from Barbados: (see below for Library of Congress citations) "

Anthropologists Recommend 'Race' Be Scrapped

"Press Release/OMB 15

For information, call

Mary Margaret Overbey

(703) 528-1902, ext 3006

September 8, 1997

For Immediate Release

AAA recommends 'race' be scrapped; suggests new government categories.

ARLINGTON, VA--The US Government should phase out use of the term 'rac' in the collection of federal data because the concept has no scientific just)fication in human biology, according to a skatement released today by the American Anthropological Association (AAA).

Instead of race, ethnic categories which better reflect the diversity of the US population should be used. The AAA statement includes five recommendations for changes in the way the government collects information about its citizens. It addresses the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Directive 15, which designates racial and ethnic categories used in the US census and in innumerable other public and private research projects.

'There are many misunderstandings associated with notions of race and ethnicity. The AAA advocates a more scientific and realistic approach to how the federal government categorizes Americans, and thus how Americans identify themselves,' said Mary Margaret Overbey, Ph.D., AAA Director of Government Relations. 'The proposed Directive 15 revisions are not sign)ficantly different from 20 years ago. Should Americans still be characterized in the same way for the new millennium and beyond?' "

News & Announcements, A Melungeon HomePage

"Get this Article! In Southern Cultures by John Shelton Reed

Just Released! a new article about Melungeons in the fabulous (scholarly but readable) journal named Southern Cultures published by the Univ. of North Carolina Press. The author is John Shelton Reed, well-known sociologist (of the modern South), co-editor of Southern Cultures, a Kingsport, TN, native, and the older brother of author Lisa Alther. The full citation is:

John Shelton Reed, 'Mixing in the Mountains,' in Southern Cultures, Vol 3, Number 4, Winter 1997-1998, pp. 25-36.

The article's subtitle (from the index) reads: 'The Melungeons prove to be more than just another of the South's 'little races' for the author.' The article includes a photo of Reed, its caption reads: 'John Shelton Reed, sociologist and possible Melungeon.'

To summarize, Reed gives a nutshell review of the known and 'legendary' facts about the Melungeons-- incuding Dromgoole, Price, Bible, DeMarce, and Brent Kennedy -- and describes how, growing up in Kingsport, he had heard a lot about Melungeons (and his father/doctor had told him about the six finger-thing) but, despite a high-school-era jaunt to Sneedville for the purpose of seeing some in their natural habitat, he didn't believe that he actually knew any or had ever seen any. " Bulletin Board (Possible Melungeon Cemetery)

"Possible Melungeon Cemetery

by Donald B. Ball

Melungeon researchers may find the following recently published article of interest. The subject of this piece is the archaeological excavation of a possible (but not proven) Melungeon cemetery dating to ca. 1800-1830 in southern Hancock County, Tennessee. The specific reference for this article is:

Matternes, Hugh B.
1998 Who are the People in the Cool Branch Cemetery (40HK9)? A
Bioanthropological Case Study. Tennessee Anthropologist 23(1-2):


This article examines the excavation of five graves and reports on both the associated grave goods (coffin hard hardware) and analysis of the poorly preserved skeletal remains. Craniometric analysis suggests a 'white' ethnicity."

News & Announcements, A Melungeon HomePage

News & Announcements, A Melungeon HomePage: "June 18, 1998

The Melungeons

Mystery in the mountains

By Ted Anthony, AP national writer


He always believed them. No reason not to.

Kennedy was his name, and of course Scots-Irish was his background -- a self-reliant lineage straight back to the cool hills of western Europe, people who took to Appalachia's ridges with vigor and verve. Intrepid mountaineers.

But this illness, this thing that threatened to consume his body and hijack his control -- well, it just didn't fit. Not at all. An odd malady common in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern people? How did it invade him, of all people? "

Tuesday, April 19, 2005



Mention has been made of the Catawba Trail. The following is Hon. James Veech's account and description of it as given in The Monongahela of Old:
'The most prominent, and perhaps the most ancient of these old pathways across our county, was the old Catawba or Cherokee Trail, leading from the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, &c., through Virginia and Western Pennsylvania, on to Western New York and Canada. We will trace it within our limits as well as we can. After crossing and uniting with numerous other trails, the principal one entered Fayette territory, at the State line, at the mouth of Grassy run. A tributary trail, called the Warrior Branch, coming from Tennessee, through Kentucky and Southern Ohio, came up Fish creek and down Dunkard, crossing Cheat river at McFarland's. It run out a junction with the chief trail, intersecting it in William Gans' sugar camp, but it kept on by Crow's mill, James Robinson's, and the old gun factory, and thence toward the mouth of Redstone, intersecting the old Redstone trail from the top of Laurel Hill, afterward Burd's road, near Jackson's, or Grace Church, on the National Road. The main Catawba trail pursued the even tenor of its way, regardless of minor points, which, like a modern grand railroad, it served by branches and turn-outs. After receiving the Warrior Branch junction, it kept on through land late of Charles Griffin, by Long's Mill, Ashcraft's Fort, Phillip Rogers' (now Alfred Stewart's), the Diamond Spring (now William James'); thence nearly on the route of the present Morgantown road, until it came to the Misses Hadden's; thence across Hellen's fields, passing near the Rev. William Brownfield's mansion, and about five rods west of the old Henry Beeson brick house; the"

The Catawba soldier of the Civil War

The Catawba Indian Nation of the Carolinas (Images of America Series)
The Catawba Indian Nation of the Carolinas (Images of America Series)

Indians' New World: Catawbas and Their Neighbors from European Contact through the Era of Removal
Indians' New World: Catawbas and Their Neighbors from European Contact through the Era of Removal

Monday, April 18, 2005

RootsWeb: Melungeon-L Hawkins Archives Project

"Melungeon-L Archives

From: 'Penny Ferguson'

Subject: Hawkins Archives Project

Date: Mon, 18 Apr 2005 22:22:58 -0400

This came through the Hawkins email list as a record found today from the Hawkins Archives Project.

'28 Sept 1847 Lewis Minor came into court and makes oath that he cannot safely come to trial without the presence of John Netherland Esq. his council, who is absent. Therefore pray a continuance not for delay, but for justice. Lewis Minor'

Below is written by John Netherlands daughter:

'By the Constitution of 1834 all persons of color were deprived of the franchise in Tennessee,"

Virginia-Tennessee Boundary

Kentucky and Tennessee, 1862-64

Tennessee Country, 1748-1775

Holston, Watauga, and the Tennessee Country, 1748-75

East Tennessee Historical Society Hosts Genealogy Conference and Family Reunion Celebration

Eastern Tennessee, 1865

Indianz.Com > News > Column: Wal-Mart destroying Native ruins in Arizona

"Wal-Mart destroying Native ruins in Arizona

Monday, November 22, 2004

'Nobody predicted the Casa Grande Ruins could go down like this, that after hundreds of years of surviving the elements, standing as testament to a civilization that thrived in the desert more than 700 years ago, the adobe walls could crumble because of a Wal-Mart across the street.
Modern development came slowly to the Casa Grande Ruins. For years, the closest business was the Ruins Village Store, a bar that became a drive-through liquor outlet. Coolidge annexed land that included the monument in 1983, setting the stage for Wal-Mart's entrance in 1999. That's when the city approved construction of a 107,000-square-foot store, with its massive, RV-friendly parking lot, right across the street from the monument. A Blockbuster Video followed, as did a Taco Bell and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Safeway expanded a small grocery store south of the ruins and turned it into a strip mall. Park employees give directions like this to the monument: 'Go just past the Wal-Mart and turn right at Blockbuster.'
Officials with the Casa Grande park saw problems with the Wal-Mart-sparked development across the street. But they did not foresee a squirrel infestation.' "

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Exhibits at Carnegie Museum of Natural History

"The Mysterious Bog People
July 9, 2005 January 23, 2006

The Mysterious Bog People is the first-ever international touring exhibit to explore 10,000 years of rituals and sacrifice in northwestern Europe. It features seven bog mummies and over 400 artifacts that have never been displayed in the United States. The Mysterious Bog People is the first time so many bog mummies and offerings have been brought together, providing valuable insight into the practices of ancient Europeans.

Carnegie Museum of Natural History will be the first and only museum in the eastern United States to exhibit The Mysterious Bog People. Among the exhibit's most extraordinary artifacts are the bog mummies. The ancient human remains in The Mysterious Bog People exhibit provide museum visitors a rare opportunity to stand face-to-face with people who lived thousands of years ago." - MELUNGEONS IN FICTION


On Friday, Katherine Vande Brake - an English professor at King College in Bristol, Tenn. - discussed Melungeon characters in fiction. She's the author of 'How They Shine: Melungeon Characters in the Fiction of Appalachia.'

Vande Brake studied 21 pieces of Appalachian fiction, each of which features characters who are Melungeon. Some of those works include 'Through the Gap' by John Fox Jr., 'The Devil's Dream' by Lee Smith, 'Daughter of the Legend' by Jesse Stuart, 'The Tall Woman' by Wilma Dykeman and 'Big Stone Gap' by Adriana Trigiani.

Vande Brake argues that the writers choose Melungeon characters and incorporate Melungeon lore because it's such as powerful metaphor. It's a way to say more with less, she said Friday.

The term Melungeon conjures visions of self-sufficient life on Appalachian ridges, tongue-speaking snake handling preachers, secluded log cabins with arched windows and family genealogies complete with foreign-sounding names, according to Vande Brake.

These stories often contain or feature unpredictability and mystery, prejudice, violence, isolation, poverty, moonshine making, herb lore and herb medicine"

How They Shine: Melungeon Characters in the Fiction of Appalachia ( Melungeon Series)
How They Shine: Melungeon Characters in the Fiction of Appalachia ( Melungeon Series)

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | DNA project to trace human steps

DNA project to trace human steps

By Paul Rincon

BBC News science reporter

A project spanning five continents is aiming to map the history of human migration via DNA.

The Genographic Project will collect DNA samples from over 100,000 people worldwide to help piece together a picture of how the Earth was colonised. Samples gathered from indigenous people and the general public will be subjected to lab and computer analysis to extract the valuable genetic data. Team leader Dr Spencer Wells calls the plan "the Moon shot of anthropology.

Dr Spencer Wells, The Genographic Project
The $40m (£21m) privately funded initiative is a collaboration between National Geographic, IBM and the Waitt Family Foundation charity.

Participating in the five-year study are some of the world's top population geneticists, as well as leading experts in the fields of ancient DNA, linguistics and archaeology. "

New Foundation Gives Money to Mixed-Race Children

"She also mentioned that the foundation will be helping the already established groups, such as Melungians, a group that claims its origins from Native Americans, Whites, and African-Americans. At least some of the funds will be earmarked towards political ends, such as endorsing the Congressmen who support a multiracial category for Census 2000. (One is Rep. Thomas Petri (R., Wis), who introduced this bill in Congress.)"

Monday, April 11, 2005

Historic Bethabara Park

"The Moravian Story

Calendar of Events

Archeology Park

1753 Wilderness Preserve

Colonial Agriculture

Cultural History

Tour Information
Village of 1754

The Mission of the Museum is to preserve, acquire, and interpret our cultural and natural history to make a better future.

Visit Historic Bethabara Park for an imaginative journey to the Carolina backcountry of nearly 250 years ago. A small group of Moravians daringly settled this religious village and trade center in an 18th-century wilderness, full of bears, wolves, Indians and outlaws.

Today's Bethabara evokes this era. A National Historic Landmark, this 1753 site of the German-speaking, Protestant settlement nestles in a picturesque, wooded 175-acre wildlife preserve with 126 kinds of area birds. The museum features a unique, restored and furnished 1788 church, archaeological ruins, Visitor Center with introductory video, exhibits and tours with costumed guides, as well as a reconstructed village, a French and Indian War fort and colonial and medical gardens. Explore the nature trails to the mill site, stroll the boardwalk over the beaver pond and spot otters, mink, foxes, deer and woodchucks or picnic overlooking the village.
Begin your visit to Winston-Salem at the place where it all began."

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Artifacts from Vardy, TN

"Digital Library of Applachia

Artifacts from Vardy,Hancock County,Tennessee

Katherine Vande Brake, Professor of English and Technical Communication

King College, Bristol, TN

In the early twentieth century there were many families both farming in the valley and living on either Powell Mountain or Newman's Ridge. In many ways it was like other similar Applachian communities--isolated by geography but self-sufficient. People raised what they needed for food, bartered with their neighbors, built their homes from the lumber readily available on their land, worshiped in small churches they could walk to, worked together on house and barn raisings or homemade quilts, paid their taxes, and sent their young men off to war when the nation called for them. Selling timber, tobacco, and moonshine liquor were ways to raise cash. In fact one Melungeon woman, Mahala Collins Mullins, was famous for two things--the quality of her moonshine and her size."

How They Shine: Melungeon Characters in the Fiction of Appalachia ( Melungeon Series)
How They Shine: Melungeon Characters in the Fiction of Appalachia ( Melungeon Series)