Tuesday, February 26, 2008

"Melungeons" and America's Collective Consciousness

As a child, I heard a lot about the English colonists. Although Spain , the Netherlands and France once ruled different parts of North America, the main focus of the history books I learned from school focused on the British.
A group of which I became aware of a few years ago is the Melungeons, an ethnic group scattered accross the south whose roots are shrouded in mystery. Turkish, Portuguese Moorish and Arab are all cited as possible sources of the Melungeons, whose very name is of debated origins. DNA has pointed to various sources of their ancestry. Additionally, they have intermarried with native Americans, whites and African Americans. The term Melungeon has often been used in a disparaging manner. Fortunately the pride other ethnic groups have taken in their origins has influenced the Melungeons. It is my hope that research about this group will contribute to a more nuanced vision of what life was like in colonial America, and in turn how we see ourselves as a nation today.
Please click on the title to this post to visit the Melungeon website. I include below the BBC link that brought this group to my attention.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/384502.stm Sphere: Related Content

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