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Who are the Melungeons? Wayne Winkler to speak, March 11

****258 Hodges Library (at Melrose Ave. entrance)****

Who are the Melungeons? These mysterious inhabitants of Hancock County, Tennessee and environs are one of a number of “tri-racial isolate”* groups living in southern Appalachia. Like other mixed-race groups, they were the targets of legal and social restrictions enacted during the 19th — and even the early 20th — century.

The historical origins of the Melungeons are the subject of many conflicting theories. Are they of Gypsy or Turkish ancestry? The descendants of shipwrecked sailors? A longstanding myth even proclaimed them an indigenous people, inhabiting Appalachia before the arrival of the first white settlers. And present-day genetic studies have not provided a conclusive answer to the question of their origins.

To learn more about the Melungeons, join us to hear Wayne Winkler on Tuesday, March 11, 11:00 am, in 605 Hodges Library. Winkler, himself of Melungeon ancestry, is the former president of the Melungeon Heritage Association and author of Walking Toward the Sunset: The Melungeons of Appalachia.

A collection of books on the Melungeons is available in our Culture Corner, 1st floor, Hodges Library.

*Tri-racial describes populations thought to be of mixed European, sub-Saharan African, and Native American ancestry.

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