At a time when concepts of racial and ethnic identity increasingly define how we see ourselves and others, the ancestry of Melungeons–a Central Appalachian multi-racial group believed to be of Native American, African and European origins–remains controversial. Who is Melungeon, how do we know and what does that mean? In a series of interviews with individuals who claim Melungeon heritage, the author finds common threads that point to shared history, appearance and values, and explores how we decide who we are and what kind of proof we need to do so.
This book was a labor of love and the culmination of 15 years of research. While I am extremely proud of the scholarship and research, my greatest learning took place within the portraiture method of research. This type of work empowers those willing to share their story. It elevates their experience and gives credence to their interpretations and perceptions. To understand anything is first to know the context it is situated in.
For anyone wondering about their ancestors and background, this book will provide support and validation for your search.