Articles in regional publications that pertain to a wide range of North Carolina-related topics.
for Milteer, Warren E., Jr
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The Great Dismal Swamp is the center of Gates County, North Carolina's fame, known for its bounty of flora and fauna, and tales of runaway slaves. What is overlooked however, is that in the eighteenth- and nineteenth-centuries--before the American Civil War--nearly four hundred free people of color called Gates County and the Great Dismal Swamp home.
Over the course of the 18th century, the native North Carolina Chowan population adopted European practices and sold their allocated reservation lands to conform and survive in the British colony. These actions led to their reclassification from “Indians” to “Colored People” by colonial officials, who also assumed there was a loss of cultural identity. Contemporary writers incorrectly believed the Chowans no longer existed as a political or cultural entity, however an examination of archival and oral histories indicates that the Chowan people have maintained their cultural identity. Furthermore, their colonial racial reclassification is indicative of attitudes towards race and identity formation in the 18th century.