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Documentary Genocide: Families Surnames on Racial Hit List

By Peter Hardin, Times-Dispatch Washington Correspondent Sunday,March 5, 2000

Long before the Indian woman gave birth to a baby boy, Virginia branded him with a race other than his own. The young Monacan Indian mother delivered her son at Lynchburg General Hospital in 1971. Proud of her Indian heritage, the woman was dismayed when hospital officials designated him as black on his birth certificate. They threatened to bar his discharge unless she acquiesced. The original orders came from Richmond generations ago. Virginia’s former longtime registrar of the Bureau of Vital Statistics, Dr. Walter Ashby Plecker, believed there were no real native-born Indians in Virginia and anybody claiming to be Indian had a mix of black blood. In aggressively policing the color line, he classified “pseudo-Indians” as black and even issued in 1943 a hit list of surnames belonging to “mongrel” or mixed-blood families suspected of having Negro ancestry who must not be allowed to pass as Indian or white. With hateful language, he denounced their tactics.



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