Congratulations to Malinda Maynor Lowery, author of Lumbee Indians in the Jim Crow South: Race, Identity, and the Making of a Nation, who was recently named one of History News Network’s Top Young Historians. HNN’s feature on Lowery includes a list of professional accomplishments (did you know she has produced award-winning documentary films?) as well as a personal statement from Lowery herself. She writes:
LUMBEE INDIANS IN THE JIM CROW SOUTH has been living with me for over fifteen years, since I first wrote my undergraduate thesis on Henry Berry Lowrie, an important Reconstruction-era figure in Lumbee history. After that I took a big break from history to become a documentary film producer, but film only intensified my desires to use academic history as a storytelling medium that transcends the boundaries between the academy and the community. When I went back to get my PhD, I remained involved in documentary film, became a part-time theater producer, and began to think visually about historical storytelling, both in terms of narrative as well as argument. Oral tradition and artistic production, of course, has always been a tremendous part of Lumbee culture, so I could not ignore that, especially since I was writing about a relatively recent time period and many people who remember the people and events are still living. There were also plenty of compelling photographs, taken by both insiders and outsiders, that prompted fundamental questions about the documentary record. As I revised my dissertation into a book, I felt comfortable taking a few risks with voice and images to explicate questions of interest to academic historians but also to animate the narrative and give readers an insider look at the Lumbees.