South Carolina's Turkish People
A History and Ethnology
Early scholars ignored the Turkish tale and labeled these people "tri-racial isolates" and later writers disparaged them as "so-called Turks." But members of the group persisted in claiming Turkish descent and living reclusively for generations. Now, in South Carolina's Turkish People, Terri Ann Ognibene and Glen Browder confirm the group's traditional narrative through exhaustive original research and oral interviews.
In search of definitive documentation, Browder combed through a long list of primary sources, including historical reports, public records, and private papers. He also devised new evidence, such as a reconstruction of Turkish lineage of the 1800s through genealogical analysis and genetic testing. Ognibene, a descendant of the state's Turkish population, conducted personal interviews with her relatives who had been in the community since the 1900s. They talked at length and passionately about their cultural identity, their struggle for equal rights, and the mixed benefits of assimilation. Ognibene's and Browder's findings are clear. South Carolina's Turkish people finally know and can celebrate their heritage.
About the Authors
Glen Browder holds a Ph.D. in political science from Emory University and is a professor emeritus of political science and American democracy at Jacksonville State University in Alabama. A former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Browder also served Alabama in its House of Representatives and as secretary of state.
"Glen Browder's analysis of documentary sources and Terri Ann Ognibene's gathering of oral testimonies combine to make South Carolina's Turkish People very likely the closest we will ever come to understanding the origins and tangled history of this elusive but persistent community in Sumter County."—James Roark, Emory University
"South Carolina's Turkish People is a welcome addition to southern history and ethnic studies"—Journal of Southern History
"A good resource for academic libraries, historical archives and for student research into sociology/kinship studies and family structures in rural communities."—The Southeastern Librarian
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