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

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Mercer University Press, 1997 - History - 180 pages
3 Reviews
As early as 1654, English and French explorers in the southern Appalachians reported seeing dark-skinned, brown- and blue-eyed, and European-featured people speaking broken Elizabethan English, living in cabins, tilling the land, smelting silver, practicing Christianity, and, most perplexing of all, claiming to be "Portyghee." Declared "free persons of color" in the late 1700s by the English and Scottish-Irish immigrants, the Melungeons, as they were known, were driven off their lands and denied voting rights, education, and the right to judicial process. The law was enforced mercilessly and sometimes violently in the resoundingly successful effort to totally disenfranchise these earliest American settlers.

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This was the book that got me going, it got me heading in the right direction while attempting to figure out my Bennett family history. Awesome read, lots of tid bits/ stories of the past. I would suggest this read to anyone who might want to find out a little more about Melungeons and the true meaning of the word!
Larry Bennett
GG Grandson of Spencer & Dicy Bennett

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Alright ya'll. This is coming from the real deal. I am from the South. My heritage is very similar to Kennedy's. I enjoyed this book, and can relate to Kennedy on many levels.I looked up pictures of the people at these Melungeon conventions and they can't hold a candle to my "exotic look." When I ask my elders about our heritage, I am quickly silenced and told that whatever I find out, don't go flaunting it around, its from a long time ago. The true key to "Melungeons" lie in Virginia, North and South Carolina. What label someone uses depends on the location of the individual. The Brass Ankles,The Lumbees, Redbones, The "tri-racial isolate theory, all of that and the Melungeons is relative to the particular individual. Now when I asked my Granny if she had heard of Melungeons she scoffed and said no. She knew of the Lumbees and the Brass Ankles. The Native American blood that many Southerners have is just as taboo by itself, depending on the family. That has to do with our location, North and South Carolina. Yes, many families are all related, just migration patterns determined who they were. My Granny told me she would rather find out we were part Black than Indian because Indians are heathens. Her parents were connected to the KKK in SC. She was 99 years old at the time. 

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About the author (1997)

N. Brent Kennedy is founder of the Melungeon Research Committee and author of the acclaimed The Melungeons: The Resurrection of a Proud People.

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