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My Melungeon Heritage: A Story of Life on Newman's Ridge Paperback – January 1, 1997

4.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mattie Ruth Johnson lived was born and raised in Hancock County, Sneedville, Tennessee, on Newman’s Ridge in an area called Prospect Ridge. Her ancestors include many Melungeons, and she has done much research on her family lines.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 156 pages
  • Publisher: Overmountain Press; 1St Edition edition (January 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570720630
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570720635
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #828,017 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is the kind of book that we all wish our parents would have written for us. It details the author's life and times growing up in a remote area of Tennessee in the 1940's and 50's. If you have an interest in Appalachian culture, genealogy, or life styles of the past you will enjoy this book.
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Format: Paperback
I found this book while researching the Melungeons for a book I am writing, and bought it. After reading it, I believe it to reflect a reality that allows the reader to relate to the time and place along with the author. I contacted Ms. Johnson and, with her permission, will be mentioning her book in the chapter on the Melungeons in my forthcoming book "Smoky Mountain Mysteries."
So much of the material on the Melungeons, that I found, dwells only on trying to solve the mystery of their origin, and their ill treatment. No doubt both of these items deserve attention, but Ms. Johnson's book puts these things in prospective.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having just finished "Walking Towards The Sunset" by Wayne Winkler, I was interested in a first person perspective on what it was like living with a lack of civil rights, not being allowed to vote, go the the school of your choice, and being at the mercy of the census takers as to what race you are. Winkler's book makes it all seem pretty grim, and I wanted to know how the Melungeons coped with the outrage of being a second class citizen. You won't find anything like that in this book. It was an interesting read, but nothing I had not read in other books about living without modern conveniences, and kicking snakes out of the way on your way to the outhouse. Mattie Johnson tells how they did their laundry, how they put up vegetables and fruit, about going to church and school, etc. Everyone loved each other, all their neighbors were friendly, never a bad word was said. All sweetness and light. The children were all well-behaved, and helped with the housework. But the book doesn't even mention the Melungeons till the last couple of pages, when she does a short mention of her ancestors. Not one word about any prejudice at all. This flies in the face of "Walking Towards The Sunset." Both book are centered around Newman's Ridge in north east Tennessee. I am still in the dark. Were the Melungeons really persecuted, or did they live the idealic life in Mattie Johnson's book? I am still interested in their culture. I want to know how they managed to survive and escape the "stigma" of being tri-racial. But I sure didn't find it in this book. This was just a run of the mill collection of childhood stories. The word "Melungeon" could have been left out of the title and just called " Life on Newman's Ridge."
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By Katy Brown on November 25, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A good look at a hard-working family on Newman's Ridge. People don't get any more "real" than this. I smiled and cried. Thank you Mattie Ruth Johnson for sharing your family with us.
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Format: Paperback
"A Story of Life on Newman's Ridge" captivates the reader with the author's description of the Melungeon culture in which she grew up, giving insight into its somewhat socially isolated existence. It touches on the origin of the Melungeons in this country and their strong adaptability under the labeling of 'mix-bloods'. Their's was an envious

lifestyle, a happy, peaceful group who believed in God. They have been true survivors.
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