The Real Paul Jones

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“Lost Voices of the Afro-Celts” Thursday

What: “Lost Voices of the Afro-Celts”
Who: Michael Newton, PhD Celtic Studies
Where: Toy Lounge, Dey Hal, UNC
When: Thursday November 17th, 3:30 PM

Summary: Modern American consciousness is highly racialized: we are told implicitly and explicitly that our skin color determines our race, our identity, to whom we belong and what belongs to us. The reality of American history, even in the South, is not so easily segregated, however. There have been many fascinating exchanges and interactions between people of African ancestry and people of Scottish Highland ancestry.
African-Americans came to speak Gaelic fluently during the eighteenth century, and services in Gaelic lasted even longer in black churches than in white churches. African-Americans, as professional musicians in the South, played a variety of instruments and styles, including Scottish Gaelic tunes for dances. Like every other group of European immigrants in America, Scottish Highlanders took different roles in the institution of slavery: many Gaels, especially in the South, became slave-holders, while others were fire-brands agitating for
abolition. In both cases, Highlanders left their mark on the history of African-Americans. Those expressing the injustice done to Scottish Gaeldom, especially during the Clearances, made explicit parallels with the African experience.
This lecture will explore some of the forgotten connections between African-Americans and Scottish Highlanders and remind us of the rich cultural interactions between people of all ethnic origins in North America. Celtic heritage is not reserved exclusively for “white” people: it is an important element in the history of our nation and belongs to people of all colors.

More on Michael Newton:
Dr Michael Newton has a PhD in Celtic Studies from the University of Edinburgh. He has written several books and numerous articles on Highland history and tradition, and has become the leading scholar on the culture and history of immigrant Highland communities in the United States. He is a fluent Gaelic speaker, a proponent of Highland song and dance, and a published creative writer in the Gaelic language.

The Centering the American South lecture series of the Center for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.


  1. keyo yendi

    2/1/2007 at 6:07 am

    hello there mr real paul!

    Im very much interested in the afro celtic history, as i have 2 beautiful afroceltic children who are also inspired by your wonderful piece on the afrocelts.

    Thank you very much for this, and i apreciated the depth of research it took to piece it all together…quite a journey i imagine.

    Would it be possible to forward me any information regarding this subject matter?… as i am compiling a piece of work specificlly for my daughters, and a company called celtic dawn based in camden lock, london, england.

    thanking you very much or being out there,

    yours sincerly,

    keyo yendi.

  2. facinating and inspiring, i myself being an afro-celt. there isn’t enough published on this subject but you have done it justice i feel. i like the site. and i naturally agree with my dad^

  3. Kimberly S. Brewster-Hall

    8/14/2007 at 10:00 pm

    This is great stuff! I am an African American tracing my ancetrial roots back to Scotland; to see this website was very refreshing and it gives me hope. I really appreciate your extensive research and would love some pointers on how to find books and literature on the subject of Africans living in Scotland in the 1200-1600’s.

    Thanks again,

    True History is a Wonderful Thing!

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