This valuable Web site was created as an educational supplement to Malinda Maynor Lowery's 14-minute video, Sounds of Faith, and was initially distributed in CD-ROM format. It serves today as a useful introduction to Lumbee history, a bibliography of writings about the Lumbee and related topics, and a guide for genealogy and other research on the Lumbee.
Because it was written to accompany the video on Lumbee singing, music, and Christian faith, the text focuses on and refers to those aspects of Lumbee history and culture. Still, there is a great deal to help the novice researcher, the researcher needing an overview of the Lumbee, or the genealogist.
The section on Lumbee history has three subsections: Political History, Religious History, and Musical History.
The well-documented Political History section explains why the Lumbee did not undergo removal, as the Five Civilized Tribes did. Lumbee history is traced from the tribes of Lumbee ancestors who lived in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia prior to contact with Europeans, through their migration along the frontier of North Carolina between the 1500s and early 1700s; to their coalescence on the Lumbee River. The history goes forward from there, touching on topics such as the North Carolina Constitution of 1835 and the subsequent inclusion of the Lumbee in the category of "free persons of color"; the Henry Berry Lowry era; establishment of the Croatan Normal School (the first four-year college for Indians), which evolved into UNC-Pembroke; the Lumbee Act of 1956 and continuing Lumbee efforts to obtain full federal recognition; and the 1958 Lumbee routing of the Ku Klux Klan in Maxton. This section is accompanied by useful maps and illustrations, including a chart of surnames shared by the Lumbee and the Melungeons.
The Religious History section explains the Lumbee ancestors' conversion to Christianity, choice of Protestant Christianity, and establishment of Baptist and Methodist churches and church associations.
The Musical History section discusses Lumbee singing of long-metered hymns; the importance of the oral tradition to Lumbee religious experience; and Lumbee shape note singing.
The bibliography is grouped by topic: general reference; tribes and groups discussed in the Political History section, with an extensive listing of sources on the Lumbee (there are subsections for Henry Berry Lowry, dialect, health, federal recognition efforts; music; religion; Web sites; historical resources; and video/multimedia.
The Research Suggestions section is applicable for those doing historical research on the Lumbees, but it is particularly valuable to genealogists. Maynor cautions people thinking of getting started that the Lumbee Tribe's staff does not provide materials for genealogists or answer questions from individual researchers. She lists the documents that one's ancestry be traced back to as one of the requirements for inclusion on the tribal roll. She discusses the common sources (such as federal census records, state census records, church records, and Bibles) people will need to use for researching Lumbee ancestors; difficulties posed by the changes in the political boundaries of the area now known as Robeson County; and the importance of Lumbee surnames and kinship networks. She provides a list of common Lumbee surnames.