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This title in other editions

The Fiddler on Pantico Run: An African Warrior, His White Descendants, a Search for Family

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The Fiddler on Pantico Run: An African Warrior, His White Descendants, a Search for Family Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

and#8220;My dadand#8217;s family was a mystery,and#8221; writes prize-winning journalist Joe Mozingo. Growing up, he knew that his motherand#8217;s ancestors were from France and Sweden, but he heard only suspiciously vague stories about where his fatherand#8217;s family was fromand#8212;Italy, Portugal, the Basque country. Then one day, a college professor told him his name may have come from sub-Saharan Africa, which made no sense at all: Mozingo was a blueeyed white man from the suburbs of Southern California. His family greeted the news as a larkand#8212;his uncle took to calling them and#8220;Bantu warriorsand#8221;and#8212;but Mozingo set off on a journey to find the truth of his roots. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;He soon discovered that all Mozingos in America, including his fatherand#8217;s line, appeared to have descended from a black man named Edward Mozingo who was brought to the Jamestown colony as a slave in 1644 and won his freedom twenty-eight years later. He became a tenant farmer growing tobacco by a creek called Pantico Run, married a white woman, and fathered one of the countryand#8217;s earliest mixed-race family lineages. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;But Mozingo had so many more questions to answer. How had it been possible for Edward to keep his African name? When had some of his descendants crossed over the color line, and when had the memory of their connection to Edward been obscured? The journalist plunged deep into the scattered historical records, traveled the country meeting other Mozingosand#8212;white, black, and in betweenand#8212;and journeyed to Africa to learn what he could about Edwardand#8217;s life there, retracing old slave routes he may have traversed. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;Iandgt;The Fiddler on Pantico Run andlt;/Iandgt;is the beautifully written account of Mozingoand#8217;s quest to discover his familyand#8217;s lost past. A captivating narrative of both personal discovery and historical revelation that takes many turns, the book traces one family line from the ravages of the slave trade on both sides of the Atlantic, to the horrors of the Jamestown colony, to the mixed-race society of colonial Virginia and through the brutal imposition of racial laws, when those who could pass for white distanced themselves from their slave heritage, yet still struggled to rise above poverty. The authorand#8217;s great-great-great-great-great grandfather Spencer lived as a dirt-poor white man, right down the road from James Madison, then moved west to the frontier, trying to catch a piece of Americaand#8217;s manifest destiny. Mozingos fought on both sides of the Civil War, some were abolitionists, some never crossed the color line, some joined the KKK. Today the majority of Mozingos are white and run the gamut from unapologetic racists to a growing number whose interracial marriages are bringing the family full circle to its mixed-race genesis. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Tugging at the buried thread of his origins, Joe Mozingo has unearthed a saga that encompasses the full sweep of the American story and lays bare the countryand#8217;s tortured and paradoxical experience with race and the ways in which designations based on color are both illusory and life altering. andlt;Iandgt;The Fiddler on Pantico Run andlt;/Iandgt;is both the story of one manand#8217;s search for a sense of mooring, finding a place in a continuum of ancestors, and a lyrically written exploration of lineage, identity, and race in America. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;*** andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;Bandgt;andlt;Iandgt;From andlt;/Iandgt;andlt;/Bandgt;andlt;Bandgt;andlt;Iandgt;The Fiddler on Pantico Runandlt;/Iandgt;andlt;/Bandgt; andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;As I listened to the dry rasp of the elephant grass, I gazed out over the Kingdom of Kom. A narrow gorge threaded through the lush terrain below, opening into a smoky blue chasm in the distance, the Valley of Too Many Bends. . . . This belt of fertile savannah in western Cameroon rested at a terrible crossroads, with no forest to hide in when the marauders arrived. The kings may have been safe in their fortified isolation, but their people were not. They were taken first by Arab invaders in the Sudan in the north, and then by the southern peoples who found that humans were the commodity Europeans most desired. . . . andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Those who survived had been handed from tribe to tribe, through too many hostile foreign territories to dream of escaping and returning home. And then off they went, into the sea. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;High on a ridge, three hundred miles by road from the Atlantic, I sat at the headwaters of that outward movement, imagining the people flowing away like the rivers below. I pictured a boy, gazing down into that blue mountain cradle, the grass dry-swishing in the breeze, the drums coming up in the night. A boy suddenly pulled into the current and scrambling to reach the bank. A boy unable to imagine the ocean and sickly white men in big wooden ships and the swampy, malarial settlement called Jamestown where he would be sold to a planter in the year of their lord 1644. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;This is the beginning, I said to myself. The beginning of my familyand#8217;s story, the point just after which my forebears obscured the truthand#8212;and nearly buried it forever.

Review:

"L.A. Times reporter Mozingo's thorough scouring of his genealogy from Africa to Jamestown, Va., is a quirky, often exhausting, and finally satisfying account.Having wondered all his life about his mysterious surname — his family believed it was either Italian or Basque — Mozingo finally acted on intelligence that the name is actually Bantu, from Central Africa, and that most of the Mozingos in America could be traced to a black slave living in Jamestown, Va., in the 1600s. This information comes in the first chapter of Mozingo's work, following which he describes years of tortuous research into the life of forebear Edward Mozingo. Edward was most likely a young teenager when he arrived in Jamestown, became a servant of one of the colony's major planters, was freed as a result of a lawsuit, married a white woman, and, while living on a Virginia farm called Pantico Run, fathered several children who passed as white. The fiddle-playing Edward died in 1712. With irony and wit displayed in encounters with unprepossessing relatives, the author challenges received notions of race and class. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

A prize-winning journalist’s quest to uncover the hidden history of his remarkable American family, part black and part white—all descended from an African slave who won his freedom in the Jamestown court in 1672, one of the country’s first free black men.

Growing up, Joe Mozingo heard only rumors about where his father’s family was from—Italy, France, the Basque Country. Then one day, a college professor told him his name came from Africa, and that launched Joe, a blue-eyed, brown-haired white man, on a journey to find the truth of his family roots. He discovered that he was descended from a slave brought to the Jamestown colony in 1644, Edward Mozingo, who was one of the only slaves to keep his African surname. Edward had sued for his freedom, becoming a tobacco farmer on a creek called Pantico Run in Northern Virginia and marrying a white woman from a landowning family, fathering one of the country’s first mixed race family lines. Research also showed he was a fiddler.

Joe plunged deep into the scattered historical records, traveling all around the country meeting Mozingos black, white, and mixed race, and across the Atlantic to the rainforests of Cameroon, the slave ports of Angola and the mouth of the Congo River, to uncover the full family saga. In a beautifully crafted narrative of both personal discovery and historical revelation - with plenty of humor punctuated throughout — he traces his ancestors from the burgeoning mixed-race society of colonial Virginia, through the brutal imposition of racial laws and the splitting of the lineage, as those who could pass for white distanced themselves from their slave heritage. In Joe’s own line, Spencer lived as a white man, right down the road from James Madison, then moved west to chase America’s manifest destiny. Mozingos fought on both sides of the Civil War, and some were abolitionists while others joined the KKK. Joe’s grandfather transplanted the family to Los Angeles during World War II to pursue the American dream that eluded the family for 300 years.

The Fiddler on Pantico Run is both the moving story of one man’s search for connection to his lost past and the larger story of the torturous history of race in America; a lyrically written exploration of the many ironies and tragedies of race and class in American identity.

Synopsis:

A prize-winning journalist’s quest to uncover the hidden history of his remarkable American family, part black and part white—all descended from an African slave who won his freedom in the Jamestown court in 1672, one of the country’s first free black men.

Growing up, Joe Mozingo heard many stories about where his father’s family was from—Italy, Hungary, the Basque Country. Then one day, a colleague told him his name came from the African Congo, and that sent Joe, a blue-eyed, brown-haired white man, off on a journey to find the truth of his family roots. He discovered that he was descended from a slave brought to the Jamestown colony in 1644, Edward Mozingo, likely an African prince from the Kingdom of Kon, who was one of the only slaves to keep his African surname. Edward had sued for his freedom, becoming a tobacco farmer on a country road called Pantico Run in Northern Virginia and marrying a white woman from a landowning family, fathering one of the country’s first mixed race family lines. Research also showed he was a fiddler.

     Joe plunged deep into the scattered historical records, traveling all around the country meeting Mozingos black, white, and mixed race, and over to Africa to the depths of the Congo and the slave ports of Angola, to uncover the full family saga. In a beautifully crafted narrative of both personal discovery and historical revelation, he traces his ancestors from the burgeoning mixed-race society of colonial Virginia, through the brutal imposition of racial laws and the splitting of the lineage, as those who could pass for white distanced from their slave heritage. In Joe’s own line, Spencer lived as a white man, right down the road from James Madison, then moved west to chase America’s manifest destiny. His descendants fought on both sides of the Civil War, and some were abolitionists while others joined the KKK. Joe’s grandfather transplanted the family to Hollywood to find their own piece of the American dream.

     The Fiddler on Pantico Run is both the moving story of one man’s search for connection to his lost past and the larger story of the torturous history of race in America; a lyrically written exploration of the many ironies and tragedies of race in American identity.

About the Author

Joe Mozingo is a senior writer for the Los Angeles Times. A Pulitzer Prize finalist, his articles have appeared in newspapers and magazines nationwide. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781451627480
Author:
Mozingo, Joe
Publisher:
Free Press
Subject:
Biography - General
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
20121031
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
index, notes
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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The Fiddler on Pantico Run: An African Warrior, His White Descendants, a Search for Family Used Hardcover
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$17.95 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Free Press - English 9781451627480 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "L.A. Times reporter Mozingo's thorough scouring of his genealogy from Africa to Jamestown, Va., is a quirky, often exhausting, and finally satisfying account.Having wondered all his life about his mysterious surname — his family believed it was either Italian or Basque — Mozingo finally acted on intelligence that the name is actually Bantu, from Central Africa, and that most of the Mozingos in America could be traced to a black slave living in Jamestown, Va., in the 1600s. This information comes in the first chapter of Mozingo's work, following which he describes years of tortuous research into the life of forebear Edward Mozingo. Edward was most likely a young teenager when he arrived in Jamestown, became a servant of one of the colony's major planters, was freed as a result of a lawsuit, married a white woman, and, while living on a Virginia farm called Pantico Run, fathered several children who passed as white. The fiddle-playing Edward died in 1712. With irony and wit displayed in encounters with unprepossessing relatives, the author challenges received notions of race and class. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by , A prize-winning journalist’s quest to uncover the hidden history of his remarkable American family, part black and part white—all descended from an African slave who won his freedom in the Jamestown court in 1672, one of the country’s first free black men.

Growing up, Joe Mozingo heard only rumors about where his father’s family was from—Italy, France, the Basque Country. Then one day, a college professor told him his name came from Africa, and that launched Joe, a blue-eyed, brown-haired white man, on a journey to find the truth of his family roots. He discovered that he was descended from a slave brought to the Jamestown colony in 1644, Edward Mozingo, who was one of the only slaves to keep his African surname. Edward had sued for his freedom, becoming a tobacco farmer on a creek called Pantico Run in Northern Virginia and marrying a white woman from a landowning family, fathering one of the country’s first mixed race family lines. Research also showed he was a fiddler.

Joe plunged deep into the scattered historical records, traveling all around the country meeting Mozingos black, white, and mixed race, and across the Atlantic to the rainforests of Cameroon, the slave ports of Angola and the mouth of the Congo River, to uncover the full family saga. In a beautifully crafted narrative of both personal discovery and historical revelation - with plenty of humor punctuated throughout — he traces his ancestors from the burgeoning mixed-race society of colonial Virginia, through the brutal imposition of racial laws and the splitting of the lineage, as those who could pass for white distanced themselves from their slave heritage. In Joe’s own line, Spencer lived as a white man, right down the road from James Madison, then moved west to chase America’s manifest destiny. Mozingos fought on both sides of the Civil War, and some were abolitionists while others joined the KKK. Joe’s grandfather transplanted the family to Los Angeles during World War II to pursue the American dream that eluded the family for 300 years.

The Fiddler on Pantico Run is both the moving story of one man’s search for connection to his lost past and the larger story of the torturous history of race in America; a lyrically written exploration of the many ironies and tragedies of race and class in American identity.

"Synopsis" by , A prize-winning journalist’s quest to uncover the hidden history of his remarkable American family, part black and part white—all descended from an African slave who won his freedom in the Jamestown court in 1672, one of the country’s first free black men.

Growing up, Joe Mozingo heard many stories about where his father’s family was from—Italy, Hungary, the Basque Country. Then one day, a colleague told him his name came from the African Congo, and that sent Joe, a blue-eyed, brown-haired white man, off on a journey to find the truth of his family roots. He discovered that he was descended from a slave brought to the Jamestown colony in 1644, Edward Mozingo, likely an African prince from the Kingdom of Kon, who was one of the only slaves to keep his African surname. Edward had sued for his freedom, becoming a tobacco farmer on a country road called Pantico Run in Northern Virginia and marrying a white woman from a landowning family, fathering one of the country’s first mixed race family lines. Research also showed he was a fiddler.

     Joe plunged deep into the scattered historical records, traveling all around the country meeting Mozingos black, white, and mixed race, and over to Africa to the depths of the Congo and the slave ports of Angola, to uncover the full family saga. In a beautifully crafted narrative of both personal discovery and historical revelation, he traces his ancestors from the burgeoning mixed-race society of colonial Virginia, through the brutal imposition of racial laws and the splitting of the lineage, as those who could pass for white distanced from their slave heritage. In Joe’s own line, Spencer lived as a white man, right down the road from James Madison, then moved west to chase America’s manifest destiny. His descendants fought on both sides of the Civil War, and some were abolitionists while others joined the KKK. Joe’s grandfather transplanted the family to Hollywood to find their own piece of the American dream.

     The Fiddler on Pantico Run is both the moving story of one man’s search for connection to his lost past and the larger story of the torturous history of race in America; a lyrically written exploration of the many ironies and tragedies of race in American identity.

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