Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Melungeon Ethnogenesis - BIBLIOGRAPHY, Part II

Richins, Marsha L. (1991), “Social Comparison and the Idealized Images of             Advertising”, Journal of Consumer Research, 18 (June), 71-83.

Root, Maria, Editor (1994), Racially Mixed People in America, Sage Publications,             Thousand Oaks, California.

__________, (1996), The Multiracial Experience: Racial Borders as the New Frontier,             Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, California.

Sattler, Richard A. (1996), “Remnants, Renegades and Runaways”, in Jonathon D. Hill       (Ed.), History, Power and Identity, Iowa City: Iowa University Press, 36-69.

Schouten, John W. (1991), “Selves in Transition: Symbolic Consumption in Personal Rits             of Passage and Identity Reconstruction”, Journal of Consumer Research, 17             (March), 412-425.

Stojanowski, Christopher M. (2005), “The Bioarchaeology of Identity in Spanish             Colonial Florida: Social and Evolutionary Transformation Before, During and       After Demographic Collapse”, American Anthropologist, September, Vol. 107,             #3, 417-431.

Sturtevant, William, (1971), “Creek into Seminole: North American Indians”.  In             Historical Perspective, ed. E. Leacock and N. Lurie New York: Random House,             92-128.

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Photograph Captions


Series One:  These photographs show various ways in which Melungeon ethnicity has been popularized and commercialized.

§        A display of Melungeon-made handcrafts for sale at the Fifth Melungeon Gathering, June 2004, Kingsport, TN.  Among the items displayed are baskets, wooden bowls, pottery, quilts and dulcimers.

§        An American Indian-Melungeon man who has set up an information table with books and pamphlets on Appalachian history, medicinal preparations, and folklore

§        Plaque on the Sneedville, TN courthouse commemorating the outdoor drama “Walk Toward the Sunset”.  This play told the Melungeon origin story and was one of the first publicly displayed aspects of Melungeon ethnicity.

§        Cabin of Mahala Mullins, a Melungeon moonshiner; the cabin is now a Melungeon cultural center.


Series Two:  Photographs taken at a Melungeon Gathering, June 2003, in Sneedville, TN;

§        Presbyterian Church Mission School used to “convert” the Melungeons to Christianity in the early 1900’s.


Series Three:  The Hidden Past Made Presently Public

§        A private Melungeon family graveyard atop a steep hill outside Norton, VA.  Tombstones dating from the 1800’s are inscribed with Judaic images, despite the family’s public identity as Christian.

§        Prof. Kevin Jones, a biogeneticist, addressing an audience of Melungeons and reporters during the 2002 Melungeon Gathering in Kingsport, TN.  His recent research on Melungeons’ female ancestry showed there were genetic matches in Syria, Turkey, Arabia and various Mediterranean lands. 



[1]  Personal communication, October 2000

[1] The Roanoke Island Colony was founded by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1587.  By 1591, the hundred or so colonists had mysteriously disappeared (see Miller 2000)

[1] Public comment by attendee at Melungeon Second Union, Wise, Virginia, 2001.

[1] Among these are: dark skin, dark hair, polydactillism, mandibular and palatal tori, Sinodonty, an Anatolian cranial ridge/bump, and genetic diseases such as FMF, Bechets syndrome, Sarcoidosis and Thalassemia.

[1] The term ‘in-bred’, though generally considered derogatory, is used as a self-descriptor among persons of Melungeon descent.  As an epithet for endogamous marital patterns, it is also genealogically and genetically accurate for the Melungeon community.  In keeping with the present pulse of Melungeon ethnogenesis, it is considered desirable to have as many overlapping ancestral lines as possible—an odd twist on the widespread concern for “blood purity” found in the Americas since the earliest days of Spanish colonization (Haley and Wilcoxon 2005).

[1] These are available at Melungeons@topica.com and Melungeon-L@Rootsweb.com

[1] Speakers have included archaeologists, epidemiologists, genealogists, biogeneticists, historians, novelists, sociologists, American Indian tribal leaders and a Turkish diplomat.

[1] Indeed, they were negatively sanctioned and could result in loss of land and voting rights, as well as reduced educational and economic opportunity (Blau 1980; Dane and Greissman 1972; Forbes 1988; Gilbert 1947; Hardin 2000; Henige 1998; Price 1950; Werner 1973; Williamson 1980).

[1] For example, the “Sizemore Tribe” which claims to be Cherokee, displays paternal genetic haplotypes which are both Native and European in origin (Yates 2003).

[1] Remarkably, Melungeons seem to have also attempted to ‘kosher’ or ‘halal’ slaughtered hogs, by first draining all blood from the carcass, then soaking it in water and finally rubbing it with salt.  Because feral and domestic hogs were a primary protein source in pre-colonial and colonial times, they were often incorporated into the diets of even crypto-Jewish and crypto-Muslim settlers.

[1] Mullins is one of the core Melungeon surnames, having originated with an Abram Moulins who arrived in the Colonies ca. 1720.

[1] Bensoussan means “son of Sousson” a common Sephardic surname.  One branch of the Sousson/Sasson/Sisson family early found their way to West Virginia where they founded Sissonville.

[1] Several South American countries, together with Cuba and Puerto Rico, are now discovering they havelarge ancestrally Sephardic populations.

[1] Persons of Roma/Gypsy heritage were forcibly transported from England to Virginia in the early 1600’s (Kennedy, 1997).

[1] The Addington family genealogy book has photographs of female family members in traditional Muslim/Sephardic apparel.

[1] First cousin and cousin-to-cousin marriages were/are common among Melungeons.

[1] “Franklin” was the early name of the region that became Tennessee.

[1] Bell (2005) cites even earlier, albeit more geographically limited, efforts to restrict the non-white Colonial population, noting that a miscegenation law was passed as early as 1691 in Virginia.

[1] Under this law a “white person” was defined as “only such a person as has no trace whatever of any blood other than Caucasian”, (Lombardo 2004 b); thus not only African and American Indian-descended persons were excluded, but also Asians, Indo-Pakistanis, Roma, Semites and Berbers.

[1] Ironically, this same Melungeon Nash family later produced mathematician John Forbes Nash, the subject of the film and book, A Beautiful Mind.

[1] Perhaps foremost among these being the production of a Melungeon dramain Sneedville, TN during the 1970’s titled “Walk Toward the Sunset”.

[1] Ironically, Walter Plecker was one of the architects of Virginia’s Racial Integrity Law in 1924, the very law that was used to disenfranchise Melungeons.  Here Melungeon JackGoins cites Plecker as proof of Goin’s Melungeon ethnicity.

[1] Which was sometimes technically accurate in that several Melungeons’ ancestors did arrive in North America from these countries; however most were ethnically Jewish or Muslim and originally from Spain and Portugal, before fleeing to Holland, France, Britain and Germany.

[1] This was regionally understood to simply mean brunette Dutch or Irish, but actually was often synonymous with Sephardic ancestry in Ireland and Holland.

[1] All these areas are known to have populations of Spanish Jews and Muslims who fled the Inquisition from 1500-1600; further, in and of themselves, Guthrie’s findings were remarkable, considering the donors were all Appalachian and not expected to match, say, Libyans.

[1] “Portuguese” was a social euphemism in the 1500’s and 1600’s for a Sephardic Jew (Kennedy 1997).

[1] These samples consisted of buccal (i.e., cheek) cells.

[1] In Kennedy’s case the maternal Siddi DNA was likely from a Roma/Gypsy ancestor.  Many Roma originated in the Untouchable class and some later became Sephardim in Spain.  Additionally, Roma were transported to the American Colonies as indentured workers during the early 1600’s (Kennedy 1997).

[1] In actuality, the new science of DNA tracing is more complex than this.  However, by tracing multiple lines of one’s ancestors, a consumer can determine where the majority of his/her forebears originated.  Further, autosomal DNA testing can provide valuable clues as to what primary racial groups are in an individual’s genetic background.

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