Melungeon-L ArchivesArchiver > Melungeon > 2004-02 > 1076930489
From: "Curtis" <>
Subject: Re: [Melungeon] A Question(and some aswers) for "JC"
Date: Mon, 16 Feb 2004 03:21:35 -0800
I don't know who the hider-outers are, I just know they ring false.
I'm just going to ignore them.
----- Original Message -----
From: ernest hurst
Sent: Monday, February 16, 2004 2:22 AM
Subject: RE: [Melungeon] A Question(and some aswers) for "JC"
I'm not as "certain" as you are that J. C. & Joanne are one and the same,
but sure could not strongly disagree with that. I'd say that J. C.
definitely IS NOT someone who just dropped in for the first time, a couple
days ago. Like you, I do hope that Joanne will "come back". Whether you
agree with her 100% is really immaterial - you definitely have to respect
someone who has put forth as much effort as she has, and shared her
research so freely.
As to your twelve stages, I have to agree. That's about the most logical
theory/explanation that I've read and goes right along with what I've found
on a couple of my lines (who were probably never called Melungeons, but
were from similar backgrounds & lived in close proximity to many who were).
Ernie Hurst, IBSSG
> [Original Message]
> From: Curtis <>
> To: <>
> Date: 2/16/2004 12:55:40 AM
> Subject: [Melungeon] A Question(and some aswers) for "JC"
> You know, JC, it's funny . . . but not being a self-made anything . . . I
had to have everything drilled into my head by teachers for many, many
years . . . I can't help doing comparative analysis . . . on the way people
write, the words they use, sentence structure, vocabulary. And someone
else I know who's good with tracing I.P. addresses corroborates my
conclusion . . . namely, that you are Joanne.
> No reason to pretend, Sweetheart, you earned the right to be as overt and
out-there as anyone.
> Why hide behind a false handle?
> Just be yourself and advocate for what you believe in.
> you have really interesting ideas. I, for one, collected your posts.
You turned up a lot of stuff I never saw before.
> There's a lot I don't agree with you about, but it's mostly a question of
> My theory on the Ridge-Onlies is this:
> There were 12 main stages in the development of the current
> 1. Shame and consternation because the mainstream made them feel like
unwanted second-class citizens. In the days of slavery this was more than
just mean people saying mean things to poor, dark folks. It was a viable
threat that led the ancestors to get the heck out of Dodge, to hide out,
cover their tracks, cut ties, make up cover stories, lie to the kids,
scratch names off county documents, and--eventually--try to pass as White.
> 2. Those who were able--eventually--to leave the heritage baggage
behind and who were accepted (tentatively, at first) as "White". . . with
Portugee and Indian coloring . . . had a fear of being found out. They
stopped passing down the story of their true origins. Period. The secret
went to the grade. But there would have been a palpable sense of that
secret and the stain of shame that would have remained. unanswered
questions. Memories of strange whispering and being told to "shut-up and
stop askin' them dang fool questions." Leave the dead to bury the dead,
and all that.
> 3. Before they died off, the ones who still knew the secret figured
out that the only way to keep their neighbors or county folk from
suspecting their secret . . . was to ACT not only proud of being White . .
. but SUPER proud. That meant being the first to lead the charge against
any Blacks or other "undesirables" who might attempt to move in nearby.
When it was time to support slavery or oppose the Union, you KNOW the
secret-keepers saw an opportunity to "prove" their Whiteness. Scratch deep
enough and you'll find Klan members, too. But, remember, this was the last
generation to still know the secret. So all their race-hatred was acting.
Inside, they still bore the scars of remembering how their people had been
treated because of who they were.
> and, finally,
> 4. Mindless and irrational pride in being White--as taught by the
convincing actors, above--and a sense of superiority and pride because,
"We're better than 'them' ."
> 5. Then along comes the electric dishwasher (etc.) and the concept of
"free time" and the luxury of being able to develop actual hobbies . . .
like family history and genealogy. First it was being in local history
societies . . . trekking off to country graveyards to lest the names and
dates on everyone whoever died and got buried with stone markers, then to
the Court Houses, Census Roles, Mormon collections./ But there was a heck
of a lot of missing answers. "Come on! Where's that Mayflower passenger?
Where are those Revolutionary War pension records? I just KNOW our people
were among the Founding Fathers! High degree of pride, looking for
> 6. Then came the Internet. It brought people together with the same
family names from all over the place. Records began to tie together. And
people began sharing their "brick wall" problems. Family surname
communities began to form. Pride was made even greater when multiplied by
so many like-minded proud people.
> 7. then came the M-List and the others that have followed. But there
was always an elephant in the chat-room. the possibility of African
ancestry. No one wanted to talk about it and inquiries were quickly shut
down and turned to other topics: "Shut-up and stop askin' them dang fool
questions. We got serious genealogical work to do!"
> 8. Then Kennedy and others began discovering that the strange and
unusual references to Melungeons, Brass Ankles, Black Dutch, and Mestee
Indian groups just MIGHT help to explain some of the brick walls. And in
some of the old "local color" pieces people found . . . as well as some of
the family stories . . . the word "Portuguese came up . . . just in time .
. . as the THREAT of discovery of things people didn't REALLY want to know
started to take on more and more of a look of possibility and plausibility.
> 9. Then some brave souls started introducing the hard facts, slowly
and cautiously. The Portuguese idea was always kept in the forefront like
a security blanket. And there really WAS some likely connections in some
families to SOMETHING Portuguese, so people held on to that like a lifeline
as they proceeded deeper into the cave of the unknown. Indians started
looking PRETTY GOOD as ancestors right about that time. But the words "we
may actually have Black ancestors" was rarely said and ALWAYS guaranteed a
> 10. Then some obnoxious realists started speaking up, and charging the
people with continuing their Great Grandpa's made-up bigotry against the
very THOUGHT of being part Black. Fight broke out and people (like me and
Time, to name two) were banned from the Lists.
> A couple of years passed.
> During that time, Tim researched and writes a lot of stuff, I start
looking as how the internal family dynamic might have looked and developed
. . .
> . . . and Brent Kennedy writes another book . . on the HUGE happening
that took place during that two year period:
> 11. The DNA results came out. While the "meaning" of some of the
results has yet to be fully and correctly communicated (give it another
year while the Melungeon Mean Tenderizer does its work) . . . it was
instantly obvious that trying to block the African connection would be as
futile as trying to hold back the tide.
> >>>> That threatened to be disastrous for those who just hated that
thought. But they couldn't deny it. They were ABOUT to be forced to
reassess the long-held family pride that had--for so long--been founded on
lies about who we were and where we came from. It COULD have been a hard
fall to recover from. Some intuitively KNEW they weren't ready to make
that transition. And . . . as human psychology often requires . . . they
started looking for substitutes for the source of that heady family pride.
> which leads to the current phase that some are caught in:
> 12. My "Melungeon" ancestor (though admittedly part African and Indian
. . . and probably not really part-Portuguese) is better that YOUR
"Melungeon" ancestor. There are several variations on this theme:
> a. I have documentation, you don't.
> b. I have photos that clearly show my ancestor's swarthy complexion
and facial features--and you don't.
> . . . and the hottest one of all:
> c. My lines trace all the way to the top of Newman's Ridge . . . and
too-bad-for-you, yours don't. And more than that, Let's just say that in
order to be eligible to actually call yourself "Melungeon" you have to be
able to DOCUMENT and show PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE that you descend from a
family that once lived on Newman's Ridge.
> How much more exclusive can you get??
> Why, hell, that's even BETTER than being White! And idiot can be White,
but only a handful can be a Melungeon straight off the Ridge! Why that
will make me the ENVY of everyone! They'll ALL wish they were as lucky as
me! NOW I HAVE SOMETHING I CAN REALLY BE PROUD ABOUT!!!
> . . . Ahem . . . Back to reality, folks.
> You, too Joanne.
> We're all in this together. Don't go gettin' cabin fever on us! Earth
to Joanne . . . when the swelling goes down and you float back to the
ground, we'll all be here waiting for you with open arms.
> Cousins till the end.
> After years of
> ----- Original Message -----
> Sent: Sunday, February 15, 2004 2:28 PM
> Subject: Re: [Melungeon] A Question to the List
> DITTO Jean
> I too came here to seek out my kinfolk, and I got a huge surprise. I
> lot of gossip, a lot of back biting and a whole lot of one up manship.
> I guess this is not the list that it is touted on the Rootsweb site to
> I shall see what the next few days brings and decide if there is any
> to stick around these parts.
> ==== Melungeon Mailing List ====
> The Vardy Community Historical Society
> ==== Melungeon Mailing List ====
> Battles in Red, Black and White
> Virginia Racial Integrity Law
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