The Scotch-Irish in our family came from a man named Moore. He was a child in the Appalachian Mountains of East Tennessee when he discovered another child hiding under a bush. She was a Cherokee girl, maybe three years old, the only survivor of a raid on her village. He took her hand and took her home.
We don't know his first name. Her name was Lucy. But Lucy and this man Moore had four children: Washington, William, Nancy, and Sarah. They had children, who had children. The generations coiled into a spiral of flesh and blood that eventually yielded my mother and her children.
My family reveres this legend. Someone always recites it at our biennial family reunion. But no one ever tells the other half of the story--how our family line went from Indian and Irish to black.
I have a picture of one of my ancestors, William Moore. If he wasn't white, he should have been. His hair contained only a hint of curl and not a hint of color. His lips were thin, not thick like mine. But "black" he was, and "black" his family became. Scotch-Irish blood mixed with American Indian and African blood. Green and blue eyes showed up in descendants with thick, curly hair.
The progress of that centuries-old mixture continues in me. Me and my dark brown skin. Me and my straight nose and wide, full lips. Me and my kinky hair.