Arwin Smallwood

Two old photos of Smallwood
Courtesy of Arwin Smallwood

Arwin Smallwood grew up in the rural town of Indian Woods, in the northeastern part of North Carolina. The ten-square-mile community is the home to descendants of the Native American, African and European people who lived there over hundreds of years. Smallwood came of age there in the 60s and 70s. 

Brian Robinson, UNCG

Many African Americans searching for their family histories hit a wall when they get to the 1860s or 1870s. During slavery, the only public records for enslaved people were deeds, which classified them as property and said nothing of their lived experiences, or even marked their birth or death.

Archived illustrated image.
North Carolina State Archives

Even before the Lost Colony, great waves of emigration and migration were reshaping the region now known as North Carolina. As foreign empires invaded the land, new alliances and identities formed between the Tuscarora People along the coast and freed West Africans and Caribean Natives.