All Blog Posts (53)

New book from Lisa Alther; new screen adaptation from Adriana Trigiani

Publication date for a new book of transcribed conversations between Lisa Alther and French painter Francoise Gilot was last week. The book was edited by Nan Talese and published in New York by Doubleday. The conversations recorded in About Women included the years when Alther was writing a non-fiction account of her Melungeon ancestors, published…


Added by Melungeon Heritage Association on November 27, 2015 at 1:00pm — No Comments

19th Union photos shared by Julie Williams Dixon

This gallery includes longtime MHA members and newcomers who shared family memories and photos at 19th Union. In addition to being an accomplished filmmaker, Julie is a photographer and her participation in 19th Union at Warren Wilson College was twofold.  She presented the keynote address on Friday evening but also invited people to bring family pics on Saturday, to be photographed with…


Added by Melungeon Heritage Association on September 11, 2015 at 4:30pm — No Comments

Earl L. Ijames and Wayne Winkler, 19th Union Presenters

Earl L. Ijames is currently the Curator at the North Carolina Museum of History and been both a reference and photograph archivist at the North Carolina Office of Archives and history. Earl is also a farmer, heavily involved in many aspects of his community, and currently lives in Wendell, NC.  A 1991 graduate of North Carolina State University, Earl has a degree in History with minors in Economics, English and…


Added by Melungeon Heritage Association on June 18, 2015 at 12:34pm — No Comments

Dr. Kathy Lyday, 19th Union Presenter

Dr. Kathy J. Lyday teaches first-year writing, linguistics, grammar, history of the English language, American literature, literature of the Holocaust, and Appalachian literature on a regular basis at Elon University in Elon, NC, where she has taught for 33 years.  She also taught an interdisciplinary seminar on the Melungeons for two years.  After finishing her…


Added by Melungeon Heritage Association on June 11, 2015 at 2:56pm — No Comments

Frank W. Sweet and Nick Douglas, 19th Union Presenters

Frank W. Sweet is the author of Legal History of the Color Line (ISBN 9780939479238), an analysis of the nearly 300 appealed cases that determined Americans' "racial" identity over the centuries. It is the most thorough study of court cases on this topic yet published. He was accepted to Ph.D. candidacy in history with a minor in molecular anthropology at the University of Florida in 2003 and completed all but his dissertation defense. He earned an M.A.…


Added by Melungeon Heritage Association on June 5, 2015 at 5:55am — No Comments

Stacy R. Webb and Scott Withrow, 19th Union Panelists

Stacy R Webb is a 12th generation Texas-born “Redbone,” president and founding member of the Redbone Heritage Foundation, now known as Redbone Nation. and a specialist in website design and online publishing. A contributing author of numerous articles discussing historical and genealogical research and DNA studies, she has extracted records of the people known as Redbone/Mulatto/Free…


Added by Melungeon Heritage Association on May 31, 2015 at 7:00am — No Comments

Julie Williams Dixon, 19th Union Keynote Speaker

(Julie Williams Dixon will discuss the making of her 2007 documentary Melungeon Voices and her present perspective on the subject, as the keynote speaker on the evening of June 26 at 19th Union. ) 

Julie Williams Dixon grew up in Wise, Virginia just a few doors down from Brent Kennedy. When she read his book in the 1990s she recalled the mystery surrounding Melungeons when they were described to her as "a kind of Indian that kept to themselves."

During her…


Added by Melungeon Heritage Association on May 28, 2015 at 9:39am — No Comments

DruAnna Williams Overbay, 19th Union Presenter, "Attending Warren Wilson College"

This is the first of a series of blog posts featuring speakers who will appear at 19th Union, June 26/27, at Warren Wilson College


DruAnna Williams Overbay, a direct descendant of the Melungeon patriarch Vardemon Collins, is a retired English teacher having spent 46 years in her career.  A life-long Presbyterian, DruAnna was educated at the Vardy Community School during…


Added by Melungeon Heritage Association on May 23, 2015 at 6:00am — No Comments

Invisible History of the Human Race by Christine Kenneally published today, 10/9/2014, with entire chapter on Melungeons

A MUST READ for all interested in Melungeons. Prepublication reviews from Publisher's Weekly and Kirkus Reviews were encouraging but did not mention the thirteenth of fourteen chapters, which is about Melungeons and features extensive interviews with…


Added by Melungeon Heritage Association on October 9, 2014 at 11:30am — 1 Comment

Melungeon metadata as of 8/26/2014

Here are the latest state rankings for Google searches of the word Melungeons. Note that 100 is always the number of the top ranked state, and each subsequent number is the percentage of that number found in each of the other states.  Hence there were 80% as many Melungeons searches in Kentucky as in…


Added by Melungeon Heritage Association on August 26, 2014 at 3:52pm — No Comments

Creoles and Melungeons: More Important Than Ever to America-- by Nick Douglas

Creoles and Melungeons: More Important Than Ever to America

The unique origins of Creoles and…


Added by Melungeon Heritage Association on August 22, 2014 at 7:30am — 3 Comments

In Memory of Mattie Ruth Johnson

Mattie Ruth Johnson, age 73, died Wednesday, August 13, 2014 at Holston…


Added by Melungeon Heritage Association on August 18, 2014 at 3:30pm — No Comments

18th Union Registrations by State

107 individuals from 14 states attended 18th Union. Friday's free events at the Vardy Community Historical Society and Mountain Empire Community College did not require registration but VCHS counted 60 in attendance through the day Friday.  36 attended the Friday evening reception at  MECC. The pie chart…


Added by Melungeon Heritage Association on July 3, 2014 at 9:00am — No Comments

Stability Despite Controversy

The latest data from Google Trends shows that online searches for the term Melungeon have been fairly stable over the last five years. (The one exception is a spike in searches in spring 2012 inspired by the AP story about a DNA study.) This indicates that public interest in Melungeons has neither increased or decreased during this time frame, which is reflected in comparable stability in Union attendance and MHA membership and finances. There has been considerable online commentary and…


Added by Melungeon Heritage Association on June 8, 2014 at 9:00am — No Comments

Shepherd/Shepard/Sheppard family


My maternal ggrandfather was George Henry Shepherd, born Feb 1842 in Christian Co, KY, and died 7 April 1927.  He married Eugenia "Denie" Hopson in 1867.  I have not been able to connect any heritage further back than George with any confidence.  The area also had another George Shepherd and this confuses information.  I was told that having a…


Added by Linda Townsend on May 28, 2014 at 6:05pm — 2 Comments

Seeking Roots in Shifting Ground-- Dr. Laura Tugman's topic for 18th Union, June 28

Dr. Laura Tugman will discuss her doctoral dissertation, entitled Seeking Roots in Shifting Ground: Ethnic Identity Development and the Melungeons of Southern Appalachia. Her research examined the experience of Melungeon ethnic identity development through ethnographic interviews with Melungeon individuals in Southern Appalachia. Her study concluded that the identity development process and group dynamics occurring within the Melungeons present challenges to the current multicultural…


Added by Melungeon Heritage Association on May 20, 2014 at 4:54pm — No Comments

Abijah Alley of Long Hollow-- 18th Union Presentation by Nancy Gray Schoonmaker, Ph.D.

As MHA returns this year to the Melungeon heartland, we welcome a presentation on a unique and little-known figure in the history of far Southwest Virginia, whose family belonged to the same small church as the first recorded Melungeons, in Scott County.

Abijah Alley of Long Hollow

Abijah Alley spent several weeks in heaven conversing with angels in the early 1840s. Back home in Long Hollow, he wrote a book about it. The Alleys were deeply…


Added by Melungeon Heritage Association on May 1, 2014 at 5:30am — No Comments

"The Melungeons of Vardy Valley" lecture and screening featuring MHA Board Member Todd Beckham 2/27/2014

MHA Board member Todd Beckham was guest lecturer on mixed race ancestry on February 27, 2014 at  Woods Hole, MA at the Marine Biology Laboratory …

Added by Melungeon Heritage Association on March 15, 2014 at 6:30am — No Comments

Appalachian Voice Online story by Kimber Ray, "Handing Off and Holding On: Melungeon Identity in Appalachia"

This new article from the online journal sponsored by Appalachian Voices features photographs from researcher Tammy Stachowicz and her mother Sylvia Ray, who participated in 16th Union in Big Stone Gap, and whose subsequent discoveries will be of great interest to those who attend 18th Union there this summer.

Added by Melungeon Heritage Association on February 20, 2014 at 6:31pm — No Comments

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