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Windows on the Past: The Cultural Heritage of Vardy, DruAnna Elizabeth Williams Overbay

1 Windows on the Past: The Cultural Heritage of Vardy
DruAnna Elizabeth Williams Overbay
298 pages, 6 x 9, Illustrations, index, bibliography, paperback / softcover, Mercer University Press
The story of the historic Vardy Community.
Windows on the Past: The Cultural History of Vardy features oral histories and images of Melungeon daily life such as church gatherings and family activities by focusing on the Vardy Community School, a Presbyterian mission school, and the Vardy Community Church. A vivid description of the community and its historical buildings is included as the interviewees discuss the classroom environment and teaching activities within the school. The impact of the school's staff and the spiritual and community leaders is also emphasized. Relative to these stories is the Vardy Community Historical Society, Inc., a group formed to restore Vardy landmarks and preserve the community pride.
Windows on the Past allows its readers the opportunity to experience Melungeon culture and the community through the voices of oral histories. Their respective viewpoints help us understand this distinctive Appalachian community located on Blackwater Creek, Newman's Ridge, and Powell Mountain in Hancock County, Tennessee, and Lee County, Virginia.
Titles of Related Interest
Melungeons: The Last Lost Tribe in America
North from the Mountains: A Folk History of the Carmel Melungeon Settlement, Highland County, Ohio
My Bones Are Red: A Spiritual Journey with a Tri-Racial People in the Americas

About Author
DruAnna Elizabeth Williams Overbay, an English teacher at Jefferson County High School in Tennessee, is one of the founding members and current secretary of the Vardy Community Historical Society. She attended the Vardy Community School, where her parents taught. She lived the first fifteen years of her life in the Hancock County, Tennessee, community. The author and her siblings had lived on but still own the original homestead of the Melungeon patriarch, Vardemon Collins.
Price: 25.00 USD



2 North from the Mountains: A Folk History of the Carmel Melungeon Settlement, Highland County, Ohio
John S. Kessler and Donald B. Ball
paperback, Mercer University
The newest book in Mercer University Press' new series The Melungeons: History, Culture, Ethnicity, and Literature is North from the Mountains: A Folk History of the Carmel Melungeon Settlement, Highland County, Ohio by John S. Kessler and Donald B. Ball. It is the first substantive study of the Carmel Melungeon settlement since 1950. Tracing their history from about 1700, this book contains extensive firsthand information to be found in no other source, and relates the Carmel population to the Melungeons and similar mixed-blood populations originating in the Mid-Atlantic coastal region.
This study combines a review of documentary evidence, extensive firsthand observations of the group, and information gleaned from area informants and a visit to the Carmel area. The senior author, until about age eighteen, was a resident of a community nearby, hence the personal insight and perspective into the lifestyle and inter- and intrarelationships of the group.

About Author
John S. Kessler was raised in the Carmel community in southeastern Highland County, Ohio, where his ancestors had lived for several generations. Previous publications have appeared in The Nautilus, Transactions of the Kentucky Academy of Science, and Ohio Valley Historical Archaeology.

Donald B. Ball is a native of Middle Tennessee. Previous publications have appeared in the Tennessee Anthropologist, Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin, and Ohio Valley Historical Archaeology. He is an archaeologist for the US Army Corps of Engineers in Louisville, Kentucky.

Price: 19.95 USD

My Bones Are Red: A Spiritual Journey with a Tri-Racial People in the Americas, Patricia A. Waak

3 My Bones Are Red: A Spiritual Journey with a Tri-Racial People in the Americas
Patricia A. Waak
192 pages, 51/2 x 81/2, Index, bibliography, iIllustrated, hardback, Mercer University Press
A genealogical memoir of "Redbones"
In the late 1700s the roots of cowboy culture arose out of the Carolinas. These men and women were not the typical white ranchers that would be depicted in later stories and films. Instead they were a group of "tri-racial isolates." While much is now being published about Melungeons, little has been written about the cowboy Redbones. The Redbones followed Reverend Joseph Willis to Louisiana in the early 1800s. He was the patriarch of the group and con-tributed his Baptist ministry to the spiritual composite that would make up their religious heritage.
My Bones Are Red primarily tells the stories of the Perkins family . They would stay in Louisiana for at least four decades before crossing the border into Texas. For the first time this book tracks family members who would be sequentially classified by the U.S. census as black, "free people of color," mulatto, Indian, and white over a period of one hundred years. Historical evi-dence suggests the Perkins family and the families they married into were a combination of Native American, African, and British.
What started out as a quest to find the mother of her beloved grandfather, became for Patricia Waak a revelation about the diversity of her family. It became, in fact, a spiritual journey as she visited cemeteries, courthouses, and archives from Accomack County, Virginia, to Goliad, Texas. Filled with transla-tions of old court cases, accounts from oral history, and the results of countless hours of research, she also invites us to participate in her own dis-covery through original poetry which introduces each chapter. Included are photographs, genealogical charts, maps, and copies of old documents.
The journey to discover the story of one line of her family, becomes for the author a farewell to her mother and an honoring of the people who contributed to who she is today. Patricia Waak's career in the United States and overseas has dealt with popu-lation dynamics and their effect on human and environmental health. Most recently she has been the director of human popu-lation and environment programs and a senior advisor for the National Audubon Society. She is the author of numerous books and articles, including Planet Awakening. She lives in Colorado with her husband and two dogs.
Titles of related interest
Walking Toward the Sunset: The Melungeons of Appalachia
From Anatolia to Appalachia: A Turkish-American Dialogue
The Melungeons: The Resurrection of a Proud People
Price: 18.00 USD

Walking Toward the Sunset: The Melungeons of Appalachia, Wayne Winkler

4 Walking Toward the Sunset: The Melungeons of Appalachia
Wayne Winkler
304 pages, 6 x 9, Index, bibliography, paperback / softcover, Mercer University Press
A comprehensive portrait of the "Melungeons."
Walking toward the Sunset is a historical examination of the Melungeons, a mixed-race group predominantly in southern Appalachia. Author Wayne Winkler reviews theories about the Melungeons, compares the Melungeons with other mixed-race groups, and incorporates the latest scientific research to present a comprehensive portrait.
In his telling portrait, Winkler examines the history of the Melungeons and the ongoing controversy surrounding their mysterious origins. Employing historical records, news reports over almost two centuries, and personal interviews, Winkler tells the fascinating story of a people who did not fit the rigid racial categories of American society. Along the way, Winkler recounts the legal and social restrictions suffered by Melungeons and other mixed-race groups, particularly Virginia's 1924 Racial Integrity Act, and he reviews the negative effects of nineteenth- and twentieth-century magazine and journal articles on these reclusive people. Walking toward the Sunset documents the changes in public and private attitudes toward the Melungeons, the current debates over "Melungeon" identity, and the recent genetic studies that have attempted to shed light on the subject. But most importantly, Winkler relates the lives of families who were outsiders in their own communities, who were shunned and shamed, but who created a better life for their children, descendants who are now reclaiming the heritage that was hidden from them for generations.
Other Titles of Interest
The Melungeons: The Resurrection of a Proud People
North from the Mountains: A Folk History of the Carmel Melungeon Settlement, Highland County, Ohio
How They Shine: Melungeon Characters in the Fiction of Appalachia

About Author
Wayne Winkler, a Melungeon descendant, is director of public radio station WETS in Johnson City, Tennessee. He is writer and producer of an award-winning radio documentary on the Melungeons, and is president of the Melungeon Heritage Association. He lives in Jonesborough, Tennessee, with wife Andrea and daughter Claire.
Price: 19.00 USD


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