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As early as 1654, English and French explorers in the southern Appalachians reported seeing dark-skinned, brown- and blue-eyed, and European-featured people speaking broken Elizabethan English, living in cabins, tilling the land, smelting silver, practicing Christianity, and most perplexing of all, claiming to be "Portyghee." Declared "free persons of color" in the late 1700s by the English and Scotch-Irish immigrants, the Melungeons, as they were known, were driven off their lands and denied voting rights, education, and the right to judicial process. The law was enforced mercilessly and sometimes violently in the resoundingly successful effort to totally disenfranchise these earliest American settlers.

These Melungeons were a remarkable people caught up in a nightmare not of their own making. Perhaps history can finally amend itself and belatedly recognize the incredible achievement of these brave and lonely people, who were among the earliest American pioneers, and bring at long last an end to the Inquisition. The Melungeons: The Resurrection of a Proud People by N. Brent Kennedy and Robyn Vaughan Kennedy is their story.

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ISBN-10:  0865545162
ISBN-13:  978-0865545168
Author:  N. Brent Kennedy
Genre:  Social Sciences
Publisher:  Mercer University Press
Date Published:  January 1997
Format:  Paperback
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review by . August 04, 2010
The improbable story of a lost race of people who still walk among us today.
According to the website Tennessee Online "They are considered one of the world's greatest anthropological mysteries--a tribe of "natives" twice discovered in the Appalachian mountains prior to early settlement of the region, but, other than their Mediterranean skin tones, bore strikingly European features and conducted themselves in a fashion strange to the American Indian tribes which surrounded them.  As far as anyone knew, there had never been any conflict between this …
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The Melungeons: The Resurrection of A Proud People An Untold Story of Ethnic Cleansing In America
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