In Chicago, the CDG got the opportunity to introduce our history to a national audience of academics and students at the Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference at DePaul University in Chicago.
Writer Lars Adams, of the Chowanoke Descendants website, presented the history of the Choanoac (Chowanoke) people from the earliest evidence in the 8th century, to their encounter with the English in 1586 in Hertford County and to their decline and supposed demise in Gates County 1821. Adams finished his account by relating the re-assertion of Choanoac heritage: the growth of the Robbins family near Cofield, the rise of the Meherrin-Chowanoke people, based in the Hertford County, and the Choanoac marker in Harrellsville that was erected last year.
My latest presentation of the Winton Triangle has since added the recent findings and events of the past year and a new map of Winton Triangle schools. Several audience members told me that is was best presentation they had seen so far, and on that strength, several of them returned to attend the next day’s panel about Melungeons and other mixed-race people in Appalachia. S. J Arthur, President of the Melungeon Heritage Association, and Wayne Winkler, from East Tennessee State University and author of Walking Toward Sunset, documented the historical diversity of mixed-race people in Appalachia. This panel was moderated by the Chowan Discovery Group.
I am excited that this is the CDG’s second participation in a conference in a month’s time, that we bought the CDG presence to a national audience and made new academic friends.
At two of the sessions I attended, during open discussions, I got to alert academics about the wealth of research possibilities offered by the Winton Triangle project, and learned of a new source of documents that we will begin to study this month. Thankfully, these are held by my friends at Howard University’s Moorland Spingarn Research Center.
I’d like to thank Laura Kina of DePaul University for paving the way for our two panels, Meherrin-Chowanoke artist Gerry Lang for moderating the Choanoac-Winton Triangle panel, and Mayola Cotterman, a longtime family friend, for taking me into her comfy, lovely and conveniently-located home and attending both panels. Our friends Steven Riley and Julia Cates of Mixed Race Studies attended, and as always, were supportive.
Next month in December: two firsts for Chowan Discovery! – Marvin T. Jones