The following paper is posted here in seven sections plus two sections of bibliography due to its length. This is a very interesting paper with some very interesting theories which I believe add greatly to our understanding of just who our Melungeon families were, where they came from and why it is that they hid who they were.
Reconstructing Identity across the Color Line
Elizabeth C. Hirschman
Professor II of Marketing
School of Business
New Brunswick, N.J. 08903
1274 de Calle Commercio
Santa Fe, N.M. 87508
The Melungeons, a person-of-color ethnic group dwelling in southern Appalachia, have recently discovered their multi-racial, non-Christian ancestry. We describe the process of ethnogenesis via consumption undertaken by Melungeons to connect their identities to this new-found ancestry. We also examine the social evolution of the Melungeon ethnic label to become a valued personal possession and the public identification of certain physical features as markers of Melungeon ethnicity. It is argued that ethnicity may be usefully problematized to support novel forms of inquiry into self-identity on racial, genetic and physiological levels.