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|1||A mysterious people||2|
|2||The first mixed generation||17|
|4||Civil War struggles||47|
|5||Jim Crow struggles||56|
|Pt. 2||Children of perdition||73|
|7||Development of modern racism||95|
|9||Race science and race politics||117|
|10||World War II and the Nazis||135|
|11||Complexities of complexions||161|
Posted December 29, 2006
Melungeon descendants come from familes who share a secret that has turned cousin against cousin. Reviewing a book like this requires some background to understand how some reviewers might be reluctant to use their own names. As one of a growing number of Americans whose family roots have been traced to Melungeon lines, I read Tim Hashaw's book with more than a little interest. Melungeons are a uniquely American group, made from European, Southeastern tribes of American Indians, and--and this is the 'old Melungeon Secret' . . . Africans. Before reviewing the book, it is important for readers--and those who may be interested in researching our people--to understand that TO THIS DAY Melungeon descendants are plagued by the denial of the African component of our ancestry. The 'cousins' from various lines of the 'tri-Racial Isolate' group have fought for more than a decade over the issue of Black blood. And that should surprise no one when you consider that our ancestors hid their origins, 'married White,' and eventually passed for White in a period of American history where a single 'drop' of African blood could cause a family to lose it's farm, be legally prohibited from inheriting land, and lose the right to marry who one pleased. Worse, children of mixed ancestry were at risk of being captured and sold into slavery . . . even if the parents had never been slaves. As the early generations were forced to face the tough reality of changing laws (in Virginia and the Carolinas, especially) aimed at limiting the freedom and rights of Free People of Color, our Melungeon ancestors and their followed the path explored but Daniel Boone, and moved into remote Appalachian areas--in Tennessee and Virginia, and on into parts of Kentucky, West Virginia, and Southern Ohio. They aligned themselves closely with certain Indian groups, often claimed Portuguese ancestry as an explanation for their non-standard looks, and vehemently denied African ancestry. Today many family historians and genealogists have traced their ancestral connection to identified Melungeon lines still live in Appalachia and the Southern States. Virtually all the rest of us come from families who migrated out of the Smokies and other parts of the Appalachians, either with the Indians at the time of the Trail of Tears or, more often, in the exodus of people leaving the South in the devastation at the end of the Civil War. Many went to the states that were eventually ruined in the Dust Bowl Days, and then those families moved on again--scattering our people to the wind. Even if particular families had not purposefully denied their origins, the trek out of the mountains, and the exodus out of Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas . . . and into California, Louisiana, Missouri, and deeper into Arkansas and Texas (among many other places) meant that many families simply lost track of the luxury of family history . . . barely escaping war, famine and drought--as well as the prejudices of suspicious neighbors, old and new. It is no wonder that during slavery, and then in the wake of the Civil War, so-called 'Reconstruction,' and the Jim Crow years, that people like the Melungeons failed to pass along the 'family secret' about a certain aspect of their origins to the new generations. In some cases, no doubt, the denial of a family's African ancestry took the form of vocal anti-Black sentiments--expressed at every convenient occasion to help the family distance itself from people with more recent African ancestry, darker complexions, and recent ties to slavery. Because the Melungeon family groups started in and around Jamestown before slavery was codified--apparently with a shipload of Africans stolen from the Portuguese, about 1618/9--the African ancestors of Melungeons actually pre-date slavery. They had already finished their indentures and started marrying Whites and Indians before chattel slavery has evolved in the South. They did not, therefore, ally themselWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 23, 2006
Reviewer: Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA) Children Of Perdition: Melungeons And The Struggle Of Mixed America by award winning investigative journalist Tim Hashaw is the history of mixed-race communities in America during the 300 years in which marriage between whites and nonwhites was outlawed. Melungeons, often called 'children of perdition' by both whites and blacks, ranked socially below communities of freed slaves even though they had lighter skin. Persecution of melungeons included imprisonment, whipping, slavery, lunching, gun battles, forced sterilization, and exile, yet they persevered and preserved folk tales. Even in the twentieth century, there were various American schemes to forcibly exile US citizens with as little as 'one drop' of black blood to Africa. In addition to tracing history, Children Of Perdition delves into psychology and the development of racism both historical and modern, as well as the practices of scapegoating, racial politics, and the impact of World War II and the Nazis. Highly recommended as both history and ancient and modern social commentary.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 27, 2006
'Melungeon' is a term usually applied to one of a number of so-called 'tri-racial isolate' groups of the Southeastern United States, found mainly in Appalachia. These 'blue-eyed negros' have long been a subject of fascination. Where did they come from? Are they a distinct ethnic group or a mixed-race people forced to live on the margin of society on account of racism? Don't expect this book to provide any kind of answer or even provide an overview of what is known about Melugeons. Rather than a work of scholarship, it appears to be a collection of the author's Internet forum diatribes. We find out Margaret Sanger's racialist views (though nothing is said about her pioneering efforts in family planning) and learn that Nazi eugenicists were inspired by American thinkers. In short, there is no context and not very much about Melugeons. The author prattles on without showing any real interest in his subject, who they are, and where they came from. The Melugeons are a shy people who lived in the shadows or a racialist America for many centuries. It's a shame to see them exploited this way, turned into fodder for someone's ill-conceived political opinions.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.