Malinda Maynor Lowery Reincarnates Her Revolutionary Lumbee Ancestor

Jun 18, 2020

In addition to her scholarly work, Lowery is an acclaimed film producer behind 'A Chef's Life' and 'Private Violence.'
Credit Waltz Maynor

As we work to gain perspective during this crisis, we may find ourselves searching our personal and collective memories for precedents, stories or myths that might restore the ground under our feet. What is the relationship between collective memory and identity? 

Fairy tales like the American Dream and the Lost Cause emerge from selective memory, excluding Native and Black communities from history-making authority. Malinda Maynor Lowery wishes to recover the shunned layers of our history and reincorporate heroes of the past into our present moment. Host Frank Stasio joins Lowery on a hypothetical reincarnation of her rebel ancestor for the present moment. Using science fiction and oral history, they explore the importance of community vision to transform a crisis into revolution.

Henry Berry Lowrie is a mythical figure among the Lumbee people. In the wake of the Civil War, he and his associates waged an eight year guerilla war against white supremacists in government and the business community. He stands as the prototype of rebellion —  robbing the wealthy farmers to feed the poor. But, if alive today, would Lowrie abide by tribal elders’ stay-at-home orders? 

A Lumbee family in the early 20th century
Credit North Carolina Museum of History

About the interviewee:
Malinda Maynor Lowery is the director of the Center for the Study of the American South and a professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, she is the award-winning author of “The Lumbee Indians: An American Struggle” and “Lumbee Indians in the Jim Crow South: Race, Identity, and the Making of a Nation.”

Note: This program originally aired April 22, 2020.