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The Orgins of the Melungeon

A relatively small group of people from Appalachian, the dark-skinned Melungeons (previously) have been a source for speculation and conjecture for many years. Exactly who where their ancestors? Portuguese? Turks? Roma? Cherokee? A recent DNA study (108 page pdf) posted in the Journal of Genetic Genealogy (site link) says otherwise (WaPo article).
posted by edgeways on May 24, 2012 - 95 comments

The Multirracialist Melungeons

The Original Benetton Colors: The Mysterious, Multirracialist Melungeons. "The Melungeon Movement is intent on not defining, or even further refining, racial boundaries, but instead on blurring them. We believe in one human race and that by being permitted to embrace our full multi-cultural heritage, we can more quickly make this dream a reality". Originally identifying themselves as Portuguese, Turkish and Native American slaves escaping from their Spanish and English captors, the Melungeons were the first to become literally lost in America. Always violently persecuted, Melungeons were probably the first enthusiastically anti-racist citizens of the United States and the origin of the melting-pot doctrine which flowered much later. Now there is a Melungeon Movement which takes those pioneers' "example of a multi-ethnic population which put aside its racial and cultural differences, came together and survived as one people (literally, the source of the slogan, One People, All Colors)". All fascinating stuff I know absolutely nothing about. Any suggestions, pointers or ideas?
posted by MiguelCardoso on May 9, 2003 - 19 comments

Gone To Croatan: Runaway Slaves, Lost Tribes, Tri-Racial Isolates & Hi, Iconomy!

In the late 18th or early 19th century a group of runaway slaves and serfs fled from Kentucky into the Ohio Territory, where they inter-married with Natives and formed a tribe - red, white & black - called the Ben Ishmael tribe. The Ishmaels (who seem to have been Islamically inclined) followed an annual nomadic route through the territory, hunting & fishing, and finding work as tinkers and minstrels. They were polygamists, and drank no alcohol. Every winter they returned to their original settlement, where a village had grown.

But eventually the US Govt. opened the Territory to settlement, and the ~official~ pioneers arrived. Around the Ishmael village a town began to spring up, called Cincinnati. Soon it was a big city. But Ishmael village was still there, engulfed & surrounded by "civilization." Now it was a ~slum~.


Maroons, Ramapaughs, Jackson Whites, the Moors of Delaware, Melungeons, the Ben Ishmaels--hat tip to Footnotes of History on that last--Red Bones, Brass Ankles, Turks, Lumbees, Croatans and other lost tribes and rebel slave communities.

The questions raised are what is race, tribe and family ...among others.

Included by extension are Hakim Bey, The Moorish Orthodox Church, various tribes of Black Indians, Jukes, Kallikaks, Margaret Sanger, The Bell Curve and Heather Locklear. (Step within the tent for the latter's interpetive dance)
posted by y2karl on Nov 15, 2002 - 38 comments

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