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melungeon family I recently came across an article posted in the British journal Mail Online, and wanted to share it’s discussion of a group of Appalachian people trying to avoid being racially tagged.

I have never heard of the Melungeons before reading this article, “Revealed: Ancient Appalachian people who boasted of Portuguese ancestry to avoid slavery were actually descended from African men and white women.”

Apparently the term refers to almost anyone of mixed-race ancestry, on the east coast from New York to Louisiana, but primarily to mixed native American or black blood, distinguished from the “mestizos” and “creoles” of Mexican or Spanish heritage further south in Texas and Louisiana. Other terms similar to Melungeon, in New York, included “Montauks”, the “Mantinecocks”, “Van Guilders”, the “Clappers”, and “Shinnecocks”. Pennsylvania had the “Pools. North Carolina the Lumbees, Waccamaws and Haliwas and South Carolina the Redbones, Buckheads, Yellowhammers, Creels and others.

As the article describes,

Some speculated they were descended from Portuguese explorers, or perhaps from Turkish slaves or Gypsies but a new DNA study attempts to separate truth from oral tradition.
Genetic evidence shows that the families historically called Melungeons are the offspring of sub-Saharan African men and white women of northern or central European origin

However I began to disagree with the tone the article took, in their explanation as to why the group would ‘hide black ancestry with claims of being Portuguese in identity.’ In a day and age when “Southern high-bred people will never tolerate on equal terms any person who is even remotely tainted with negro blood, but they do not make the same objection to other brown or dark-skinned people, like the Spanish, the Cubans, the Italians, etc,” it was merely a matter of survival.

The study quotes from an 1874 court case in Tennessee in which a Melungeon woman’s inheritance was challenged.
In that instance, if the defendant Martha Simmerman were found to have African blood, she would lose the inheritance.
Her attorney, Lewis Shepherd, argued successfully that the Simmerman’s family was descended from ancient Phoenicians who eventually migrated to Portugal and then to North America.

Obviously, if one’s genetic heritage could mean the difference between being free or likely to be enslaved or treated differently under the law, it was very important to maintain their historic claim that they were Portuguese. However, both claims could have been equally true. Ancestors of the Melungeons would have immigrated from Portugal originally, yet not necessarily been of “phoenician blood”. Instead their ancestors could have arrived in Portugal from any Portuguese colonial territories in sub-saharan Africa, such as Mozambique, Angola, or Cape Verde. Thus present-day researchers would be correct as to the genetic heritage being south African, and the Melungeons claim that they were Portuguese, being equally true.

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once every 2737 years

once every 2737 years

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The pyramids of Giza in Egypt are currently aligned in exactly the same manner as three of the planets in our solar system, Saturn, Venus, and Mercury are aligned as of 12/3/12, 18 days before the famous and popular 12/21/12 which is the end of the Mayan calendar.

(This has been calculated using specialized software like Stellarium).

The planetary alignment on December 3, 2012 with the pyramids of Giza, occurs only once every 2737 years.

For more interesting stuff about the conjunction of dates, stars and the ancient calendar, you can read a related story, “2112 Decoded” at World Mysteries.

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De Staalmeesters – van Rembrandt


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reprise of the article “Black History: Black European nobility tucked away”

Black nobility in Europe? According to black Dutch researcher Egmond Codfried and author of the book “Belle van Zuylen’s forgotten grandmother” there was black nobility in Europe, but their history and images were later carefully hidden, edited out or painted over. His claims are controversial, and of course not accepted by European historians and the man in the street. Codfried has systematically studied hundreds of paintings of famous and less famous nobility. He regularly stumbled upon people who looked black or coloured, or although they were white, clearly had African facial features.

Maria Jacoba van Goor

Codfried writes: “This study of historical sources and literature on black and coloured historic persons was inspired by the chance finding of a portrait of Maria Jacoba van Goor. We get a view of the problems and of the methods to identify these Europeans. This beautiful painting was also a reason to cast an afrocentric view at Belle van Zuylens life and her works, the biographies en the origin of her financial fortune. Through her coloured grandmother, the Dutch Belle van Zuylen (1740-1805) also known as Madame de Charrière, joins the rank of writers as the Russian Alexander Pushkin, the French Alexander Dumas and Colette, the Britons Elizabeth Barrett and her husband Robert Browning. As well as the German classic composer Ludwig von Beethoven and Queen Charlotte of Britain. These are Europeans of great merit, who had black forefathers. Also we find that Belle was a friend of Pierre Alexander Du Peyrou (1729-1794), a brown coloured and wealthy Surinam plantation owner in Swiss. Belle is renowned as a close friend, benefactor and publisher of the most famous philosopher of the Enlightenment, Jean Jaques Rousseau.

Alexander Pushkin

Alexander Dumas

Jean Etienne Liotard


Also from writings of contemporaries to make that more black and colored people lived in Europe than they appear, writes Codfried. So was it written that someone “the milk of a black woman would have drunk” or “chocolate” would have eaten. Also, blacks by their surroundings as “the chimney sweeper” called. Or it was said that those “bad complexion” or had always “a burnt head”. Codfried: “Many portraits show pure white faces while it is established that the person sometimes black or chocolate brown was, as Constantijn Huygens, Charles II Stuart, Madame de Stael, Baron Aarnoud Joost van der Duyn and Pierre-Alexander Dupeyrou. Moreover it is known that the famous classical composer Ludwig van Beethoven was quite black and nicknamed “the black Spaniard” bore. Habsburg emperor Leopold I, Holy Roman Empire was Swinburne described as “a short, big black man.” His portraits show “the dancing emperor” as a black man with very thick lips and a forward lower half of the face. Duchess Charlotte Sophie of Mecklenburg Strelitz (1740-1818), queen of George III of England and grandmother of Queen Victoria, had, according to her physician a “true mulattengezicht” . In this case show the paintings by Sir Ramsay clearly a woman of color. ”

Maurits Huygens

sophie von mecklenburg

van Beethoven

Codfried’s research is important, pioneering work. And though his book is now and then a little messy reading, it is nevertheless quite convincing. Mainly because of the dozens of images. Concepts of racism occasionally creep in, with all the talk about lip thickness, nose width, eye color, color, curliness of hair, the distance between the nose and upper lip, the protrusion from the bottom of the face, and so on. This raises associations with the skull measuring the Nazi “scientists”. On the other hand the theory, if you proceed, is justified in that there are many more black and colored people living in the Netherlands and Europe than normally assumed. Codfried is fortunately very clear that he is only comparing the appearance of people, and that he does not believe in the existence of “races”. “Skin color and ethnicity are in some ways more artificial social constructs than biological realities, but like other social structures such as gender or nobility very decisive for the individual,” he writes.

reprised from “Black and colored nobility stashed away”
and the Afro-Europe International blog

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excerpt from the YouTube post:

A LOVE STORY
In what was called, the belly of the beast, John of the
Cross
wisely more silent than the prophet Jonah,
dealt not with men but with God alone, waiting
patiently for a divine answer that would end the dark
night of his soul.

In the end; The Religion that would Police him could
not disturb the ecstasy of one who had been carried
so far into the light that he was no longer troubled at
the thought of being rejected even by those who
would hold themselves up to the world as being Holy!

No one can become a saint without solving the
problem of suffering. No one who has ever written
anything, outside the pages of Scripture, and no one
has given us such a solution to the problem as St.
John of the Cross.

In the end they consciously did everything they could
to remove St. John of the Cross from a position in
which he would be able to defend what he knew to be
true.

While sanctity alone is perhaps the living solution of
the problem of suffering. Still suffering continues to
be suffering; But it can cease to be an obstacle in our
life, and to our mission or our happiness, in which we
can find refuge positively and concretely in faith, hope
and love.

John of the Cross does not reveal when or how his
answer came, but when John of the Cross made his
miraculous escape during the octave of the
Assumption, in 1578, he carried in his pocket the
manuscript of a poem which critics have declared to
be far superior to any other in the Spanish language,
if not the world. The writings of John of the Cross
during his dark night of the soul.

In total darkness John of the Cross finds only light, in
cold only warmth, in desperation only Hope, in Hope
only Faith, in Faith only Love. Love being greatest of
all. Stronger than Fear. Stronger than Evil. Love – The
ultimate Protector. Love – The ultimate Motivator.
Love – The ultimate Weapon.

*****

John of The Cross

O Living flame of love
That, burning, dost assail
My inmost soul with tenderness untold,
Since thou dost freely move,
Deign to consume the veil
Which sunders this sweet converse that we hold …
And O, ye lamps of fire,
In whose resplendent light
The deepest caverns where the senses meet,
Erst steeped in darkness dire,
Blaze with new glories bright
And to the loved one give both light and heat!

*****
The Christ of St John of The Cross is the first of two extraordinary crucifixions painted by Dali in the early 1950s. In a cosmic dream the secret of Christ is revealed. This later confirmed by a drawing of the crucified Christ by St John of the Cross, the 16th-century Spanish mystic, in which Dali discovers a triangle (Trinity) nested inside of a circle (of life).

*****
Music – Loreena McKenitt
Title – The Dark Night of the Soul
Lyrics – Loreena McKennitt – John of the Cross
Art – Salvidor Dali – “The Christ of Saint John of the
Cross”
Video – Clover Studio

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reposted from “Chanel: A Lion in Tweed”
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Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel’s headstone in Lausanne, Switzerland


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it is only fair to pay equal respect to the woman and legend behind the brand that has single-handedly made quilted bags and ballerina flats universal fashion must-haves. Gabrielle, or “Coco” as she preferred, was a complex and complicated woman. Or, atleast, that is how she is portrayed in the three (yes, three) books that came out just this season. Having only read one so far, I can promise that Coco’s romances are explored just as thoroughly as the rumors which surrounded her life between the covers of Justine Picardie’s Coco Chanel: The Legend and The Life. Between the captivating photos of her past and sketches by Karl Lagerfeld, Picardie’s writing makes for an illuminating tale of a woman torn between two lives: fashion designer and wartime woman.

My personal fascination has been focused on Coco’s years in Switzerland. I’ve spent the past two months living in this country known for the Alps and fondue, and can’t help but imagine what it must have been like 65 years ago when the designer frequented the shores of Lac Léman. As Picardie notes in her book, Chanel once said she felt “free as a bird” when visiting Switzerland; her unsmudged red lipstick and conservative clothing concealing a life of lovers, flings, family drama, and a token best friend with a drug problem.

Following her death at the Ritz in Paris on January 10, 1971, Coco was buried at the Cimetière du Bois-de-Vaux in Lausanne. The turnout for her burial appeared meager in photos, as a formal, more-sizable ceremony had been conducted in Paris two weeks prior. Her gravestone is recognizable by five lions that appear across the top of her headstone; Coco’s astrological sign was Leo, something that defined her to the end. Today, greenery in the formation of her name, “Coco”, is perfectly placed across the area where her body rests. Next week, it will be 41 years since she passed.

As written in Picardie’s pages, Chanel once said to Paul Morand,
“I would make a very bad dead person, because once I was put under, I would grow restless and would think only of returning to earth and starting all over again.” I’ll keep my eye on her plot.

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reposted from “Chanel: A Lion in Tweed”

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Previously I posted about some of the sillier styles of the 2012 Olympic uniforms…in retrospect, some of the older styles had more taste…

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