Sunday, April 20, 2008

Melungeon Historical Society

By Wayne Winkler

On Saturday, April 19, 2008, the Melungeon Historical Society held its first meeting in Rogersville, Tennessee. The organization was formed by a group of Melungeon researchers and descendents to collect and preserve historical records that pertain to the Melungeons and/or their kinfolks and descendents. MHS will use documented family genealogy, documented historical research and documented DNA research conforming to recognized professional and scholarly standards to compile and prepare records, to establish and maintain a website and/or blog to keep members informed, and to sponsor and encourage educational meetings, gatherings, lectures, and activities in genealogy and history. The Melungeon Historical Society will be a membership organization, and those interested in joining should contact Becky Nelson at:

We look forward to a new era in Melungeon research and welcome all who share our desire to preserve our Melungeon heritage.

Wayne Winkler, President
Jack Goins, Vice-president, Heritage
Penny Ferguson, Vice-president, Research
Becky Nelson – Secretary/Treasurer

Board of Directors:

Tari Adams
Don Collins
Janet Crain
Roberta Estes
Dr. Harold B. Houser
Kathy James
Joy King
Dr. Kathy Lyday-Lee
Dennis Maggard
Kevin Mullins
Evelyn Orr
Joanne Pezzullo
Cleland Thorpe
Beverly Walker


Wayne Winkler

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


By Gary J. Gabehart

I have a cousin, at least she claims to be, who insists she is actually Black. She insists that I, and the rest of my family, is Black as well. She of course does not have any genealogy or any other proof that there is any Black blood in the family other than she wants to be Black. In fact, DNA studies do not indicate, in any of the lines so far, that there is any "Black" blood. (Yes, Ray Bridges, a 4 th cousin claims I am a Mexican, but it is not so).

Yeah, you can say "so what, what's the big deal?" I say everyone needs to be somewhere, but being Black might not be that easy. What do you do to be Black? If I want to be Indian, I just braid my hair and speak in halting English, eat fry bread and spend my time at Pow Wows. See how easy it is to be an Indian? I gave you the Hollywood image and you bought into it right away.

Now it would seem to me if I was a Black Man or Woman, I might find it some what insulting to have an obviously "White" Woman insist that she is Black, then, on the other hand, I might just blow it off as a crazy White Woman. Personally, I don't care what she wants to be because it does not affect me directly. But what do you do with a relation who accuses you of being a racist because you refuse to go along with her "Black" plan?

I think there is a need for a "Black" card. Call it a "Certificate of Degree of Black Blood," (CDBB). This of course would be proof that you had "Black" blood -- this card is long overdue. In fact, they need to issue one in this country for Jewish people as well. It would be the "Certificate of Degree of Jewish Blood," (CDJB). This would do away with the wannabe factor and protect various cultures from contamination...hmmmmm, seems like a 1930-40 German leader had the same idea.

Why a card? North American Indian people carry the card, "Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood," (CDIB) -- I carry one. If it's good enough for Indians, it should be good enough for Blacks, and -- it would protect them from my goofy wannabe cousin. It would also create new jobs, the Bureau of Black Affairs, (BBA), and the Bureau of Jewish Affairs, (BJA), or the Bureau of Chinese or Turkish Affairs, (BCA or BTA). And, finally, everyone in the country would know who they really were.

These cards would also put the race baiters out of business (well, I'm just saying that because it sounds good). Does this all sound bizarre? Is it bizarre that Indians carry a card to prove they are Indian?

So what do you say to a cousin who insists you are Black and calls you a racist because you question her comments? Some peoples kids!


GARY J. GABEHART, Mishiho (Mish-eh-ho)