This portrait project is currently on display at the American Indian Center Heritage Museum in Baltimore, and will return to display in southwestern Virginia in late June of 2018. Find out more at peopleandtheirpeople.com
I continue to document people throughout the Appalachian mountains and my current home state of North Carolina. Contact me if you're interested.
Here's an example of how I create the dyptich for each individual photographed for this collection. This is Debbie Moore, and here's what she told me:
“I am American. Thru my veins runs the blood of many ancestors from many countries. Some races known and some races still a mystery. I have many ancestors who are listed as white on all the census records but our family photographs tell a different story. Mysterious photographs of people of dark skin and crystal blue eyes spark my curiosity. Stories of Cherokees and people who were referred to as Black Dutch trickled down through the generations. Some of my questions about race were answered and some questions were answered with silence. I am holding the pictures of my mother, a sweet, beautiful woman with crystal blue eyes and lightly tanned skin and her great grandfather Thomas Jefferson Bandy who she referred to as Black Dutch. I am proud of my ancestors and embrace their many races with pride.”
Goinstown is a community once located along the border of North Carolina encompassing parts of Rockingham County, NC and Patrick County, VA. For many years, until the mid 1950s there was a small one room school there known as the Goinstown Indian School. The people who lived in this community and went to this school considered themselves Indians, though many likely had African and European admixture.
After the Melungeon story piqued my interest in the role these mixed ethnic groups played in settling of this country I started looking for Goinstown, and looking for the old school, but I never found either - until a day in 2016 when Mr. Jonathan Goins came to a screening of "melungeon voices" at the Museum and Archives of Rockingham Count (the MARC.) He stood up after the film, to a room full of people, and declared that the film had answered alot of his family's questions. I have since added he and his family to the "People and their People" portrait project. I am working with them to obtain more photographs and video of the Goinstown community - both the places and the people. I'll premiere this work in June of 2018 at the MHA Union.
The photograph shows Jonathan Goins standing in front of the old school, which sits on his property. He's holding a photo of the school taken in the 1950s.