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Northwest of Manhattan where the New York-New Jersey boundary crosses the tree-covered ridges and hollows ridges and hollows of the Ramapo Mountains there is a group of about 1,500 racially mixed people who have long been referred to by journalists and historians as the "Jackson Whites."In a study combining tee disciplines of anthropology, sociology,...
Northwest of Manhattan where the New York-New Jersey boundary crosses the tree-covered ridges and hollows ridges and hollows of the Ramapo Mountains there is a group of about 1,500 racially mixed people who have long been referred to by journalists and historians as the "Jackson Whites."In a study combining tee disciplines of anthropology, sociology, folklore, and history, David Cohen found that the old stories about these people were legends, not history.He found no reliable evidence that their ancestors were Tuscarora Indians, Hessian deserters from the British army, escaped slaves, and British and West Indian prostitutes imported by a sea captain named Jackson for the pleasure of British soldiers occupying Manhattan during the War for Independence.David Cohen lived among the Ramapo Mountain People for a year, conducting genealogical research into church records, deeds, wills, and inventories in county courthouses and libraries. He established that their ancestors included free black landowners in New York City and mulattoes with some Dutch ancestry who were among the first pioneers to settle in the Hackensack River Valley of New Jersey.In describing his findings and his experiences, Professor Cohen shows how their racially mixed ancestry, their special family and kinship system, and their intergroup attitudes and folkways distinguish and socially isolate these people as a separate racial group today, despite modern communications and transportation and their proximity to New York City.
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