18 episodes

"Before We Were White" will be highly contentious revisionist history at its most unflinching.

"Before We Were White" will tell real stories of heartland America, drawing upon facts and evidence buried deep underneath the “official story”.

Everything from outlaws, river pirates and prairie bandits, to Cherokee midwives and witch trials, fake eugenics, colonial-era Muslims, snake handlers, African-American cowboys, the Lost Colony of Roanoke, Jewish hillbillies, “sporting girls”, Mountain Gypsies and Creole Irish will get their turn under the magnifying lens.

Whether your interest is in history, politics, ethnology, folklore, music, genealogy, or just a cracking good story, you will find something here to astonish and amaze, entertain and educate.

Forget everything you thought you knew about North American history.

Forget everything you thought you understood about the ethnic roots of heartland America.

Before We Were White Before We Were White

    • History

"Before We Were White" will be highly contentious revisionist history at its most unflinching.

"Before We Were White" will tell real stories of heartland America, drawing upon facts and evidence buried deep underneath the “official story”.

Everything from outlaws, river pirates and prairie bandits, to Cherokee midwives and witch trials, fake eugenics, colonial-era Muslims, snake handlers, African-American cowboys, the Lost Colony of Roanoke, Jewish hillbillies, “sporting girls”, Mountain Gypsies and Creole Irish will get their turn under the magnifying lens.

Whether your interest is in history, politics, ethnology, folklore, music, genealogy, or just a cracking good story, you will find something here to astonish and amaze, entertain and educate.

Forget everything you thought you knew about North American history.

Forget everything you thought you understood about the ethnic roots of heartland America.

    Episode 16: Pre-Deliverance, Part 2

    Episode 16: Pre-Deliverance, Part 2

    Part Two of "Pre-Deliverance" continues our exploration of some of the forgotten roots of American culture and ethnicity.
    In this episode, we get closer to understanding the origins of "Hillbilly Jews".

    • 1 hr
    Episode 15: Pre-Deliverance, Part 1

    Episode 15: Pre-Deliverance, Part 1

    Play a game of word association with the average American.
    Say "banjo".
    Chances are, a great many would reply with words like "hillbilly" or "redneck".
    Some might venture to mention bluegrass music.
    How did a musical instrument which started off hundreds of years ago in Africa end-up becoming a symbol of "white" American music culture?
    And what if some of the earliest people of non-African ancestry to take-up the banjo were actually...Appalachian Jews?
    Join us for another winding trek through the hidden history of heartland America.

    • 58 min
    Episode 14: Black Paddywhackery, Part 2

    Episode 14: Black Paddywhackery, Part 2

    In Part 1 of "Black Paddywhackery", we learned about the origins of the Irish people, and asked why so many Americans self-identify as "Black Irish", believing themselves descended from survivors of the Spanish Armada which wrecked off the west coast of Ireland.
     
    Having shown the flaws in this folk history, in Part 2 of "Black Paddywhackery" we explore the true origins of those who call themselves "Black Irish". 

    • 1 hr 45 min
    Episode 13: Black Paddywhackery, Part 1

    Episode 13: Black Paddywhackery, Part 1

    A curious number of Southern Appalachians like to refer to themselves or extended family members as being "Black Irish".
    There are Facebook discussion groups catering to Appalachian Americans (with tens of thousands of members), and almost weekly an "expert" pops up assuring other members that the "Black Irish" are a thing, and that thing is usually this:
    "Loads of Irish people have black eyes, dark hair and skin.  They come from Spanish sailors stranded on Irish coasts during the naval retreat of the Spanish Armada in 1588.  These sailors intermarried with local Irish girls." 
    This oft-repeated folk history - and the assertion that large sections of the native Irish population are dark in complexion due to this - is utter claptrap.

    • 1 hr 15 min
    Episode 12: No Safe Harbor, Part 3

    Episode 12: No Safe Harbor, Part 3

    The eastern half of the continental USA is dotted with places inaccurately described as "tri-racial isolate communities".
    One of the largest such population groups can be found spread over Eastern Kentucky, the western parts of Virginia, East Tennessee, and West Virginia.
    Widely known as "Melungeons", few Americans have been the subject of such intense scrutiny and curiosity.
    Who are these people?  And why are they called "Melungeons"?  
    In this third and final installment of a three-part episode, we complete our exploration of this Appalachian and American enigma. 
    Is this a story about weirdly exotic or isolated people - or is it a story about the lies and myths at the heart of American identity itself?
    #BeforeWeWereWhite #history #melungeons #genealogy #GeneticGenealogy

    • 42 min
    Episode 11: No Safe Harbor, Part 2

    Episode 11: No Safe Harbor, Part 2

    The eastern half of the continental USA is dotted with places often described as "tri-racial isolate communities".
    One of the largest such population groups can be found spread over Eastern Kentucky, the western parts of Virginia, East Tennessee, and West Virginia.
    Widely known as "Melungeons", few Americans have been the subject of such intense scrutiny and curiosity.
    Who are these people?  Where did they come from?  
    In this episode, we continue our exploration of an Appalachian enigma - asking why so many of these mountain people always claimed Portuguese ancestry, even while outsiders dismissed such folk memory.   
    Is this a story about weirdly exotic or isolated people - or is it a story about the lies and myths at the heart of American identity itself?

    • 1 hr 2 min

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