Malinda Maynor Lower

Malinda Maynor Lowery is member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina and is the Cahoon Family Professor in American History at Emory University in Atlanta. Her scholarly research interests include Indigenous migration and identity, school desegregation, federal recognition, religious music, and foodways.

Lowery is the author of the award-winning book Lumbee Indians in the Jim Crow South: Race, Identity, and the Making of a Nation (2010), which describes how, between the periods of Reconstruction and the 1950s, the Lumbee crafted and maintained a distinct identity in an era defined by racial segregation in the South and paternalistic policies for Indians throughout the nation.

She is also the author of the book The Lumbee Indians: An American Struggle (2018), which is a survey of Lumbee history from the eighteenth century to the present, written for a general audience. The Lumbee Indians intertwines Lowery’s family history with that of the Lumbee, shedding new light on America’s defining moments from the first encounters with Europeans to the present day. How and why did the Lumbees both fight to establish the United States and resist the encroachments of its government? How have they not just survived, but thrived, through Civil War, Jim Crow, the civil rights movement, and the war on drugs, to ultimately establish their own constitutional government in the twenty-first century? Their fight for full federal acknowledgment continues to this day, while the Lumbee people’s struggle for justice and self-determination continues to transform our view of the American experience.

Lowery has also produced three documentary films about Indigenous issues, including the award-winning In the Light of Reverence (2001), which focuses on three separate stories of land-use conflicts over Native American sacred sites on public and private land around the West, sites such as Devils Tower, Hopi Land, and Mount Shasta. She has also produced two short films, Sounds of Faith (1997), and Real Indian (1996), which both dealt with concerns surrounding Lumbee identity and culture.

Lowery currently serves on the board of the Independent Television Service. She was also recently elected to join the Society of American Historians and the board of the American Council of Learned Societies.  Before joining Emory University, Lowery was a Professor of History at UNC-Chapel Hill, where she directed the Center for the Study of the American South.

Contact Information:

Select Publications, Talks, and Films:

Lowery, Malinda Maynor. “The Original Southerners: American Indians, the Civil War, and Confederate Memory.” Southern Cultures 25, no. 4 (2019): 16–35.

Lowery, Malinda Maynor. The Lumbee Indians: An American Struggle. H. Eugene and Lillian Youngs Lehman Series. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2018.

Library of Congress, Association of Tribal Libraries, Archives, and Museums, “Civil Rights, Identity & Sovereignty: Native American Perspectives on History, Law & the Path Ahead,” Malinda Maynor Lowery with Walter Echo-Hawk, Ladonna Harris, and Tim Tingle, September 10, 2015.

Wood, Sara, and Malinda Maynor Lowery. “As We Cooked, As We Lived: Lumbee Foodways.” Southern Cultures 21, no. 1 (2015): 84–91.

Maynor, Malinda (dir., prod.). “Sounds of Faith,” documentary video (15 min, 1997)

Lowery, Malinda Maynor and Blair L.M. Kelley, “Where the Past and Future Meet,” podcast (25 min, 2020).

McLeod, Christopher (dir., prod.) and Malinda Maynor (co-prod.), “In the Light of Reverence,” documentary video (72 min, 2001).

Lowery, Malinda Maynor. “Kinship and Capitalism in the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations.” In The Native South: New Histories and Enduring Legacies, ed. Tim Alan Garrison and Greg O’Brien, 200-19. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2017.

Lowery, Malinda Maynor. “On the Antebellum Fringe: Lumbee Indians, Slavery, and Removal.” Native South 10, no. 1 (2017): 40–59.

Lowery, Malinda Maynor. “‘You Look Like a Pied Man:’ Racial Ambiguity and Murder in Montgomery County, Georgia, 1893.” Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 14, no. 4 (2015): 541-550.

Lowery, Malinda Maynor. “Racial Science and Federal Recognition: Lumbee Indians in the Jim Crow South.” In Recognition, Sovereignty Struggles, & Indigenous Rights in the United States: A Sourcebook, edited by Amy E. Den Ouden, and Jean O’Brien, 65-93. Book Collections on Project Muse. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2013.

Lowery, Malinda Maynor. Lumbee Indians in the Jim Crow South: Race, Identity, and the Making of a Nation. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, March 2010.