A short story
Hi! My name is Patrick Neal Minges and welcome to my website. I was born in the mountains of North Carolina in the middle of the valley towns of the Cherokee homelands. My family goes back seven generations in the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, so I guess that would make me a "highlander." In Cherokee, the word for highlander is Goodoowah. That was the subject of my dissertation.
When I graduated from college at East Carolina University with a Master's in Counseling, I spent a few years as a public school teacher in South Carolina and North Carolina. In 1986, I decided that I wanted to do something different so I moved to New York City and began pursuing an M.Div. at Union Theological Seminary. Within that same year, I began working for Amnesty International USA in the Communications department and by the time I left, I had done the organization's first website. In 1997, I left AIUSA to go to work at Human Rights Watch as the Director of Publications and was responsible for the publication of its research in print and electronic format. After about seven years there, I decided that I wanted to do something else. At the beginning of the new millenium, we moved from New York City to a thousand acre farm just southwest of Manassas, Virginia. I also started pursuing an Ed. Spec. degree at the University of Virginia. Several years later, I left Human Rights Watch and took a job teaching at a public school less than ten miles from my home.
My doctorate is in American Religious History from Union Theological Seminary and the focus of my research is on the cultural interactions between African Americans and Native Americans in the nineteenth century. I have been lucky enough to have participated in several groundbreaking conferences on the subject matter and have published several papers in journals and anthologies. I have rewritten my dissertation as a book and it was published by Routledge Press as "Slavery in the Cherokee Nation: The Keetoowah Society and the Defining of a People: 1855-1867." It is a fascinating subject matter and one in which there is developing interest by academics and the public alike. My second book was published by John Blair Publishers in 2004 and it is entitled The Black Indian Slave Narratives. My third book was also published by Blair and it is entitled Far More Terrible for Women: Personal Accounts of Women in Slavery .
Not too long ago, we decided that we wanted to be closer to our aging parents, so we left out wonderful home in Northern Virginia. Unfortunately, just before we left we lost one of oldest and dearest friends when our beautiful Deva passed away on a walk one afternoon. We were both with her and her passing was a tribute to the way that she lived her life; she never compromised in her love for life and she lived every minute as if it were her last. When her last moments finally came, she shared them with us in one of the more moving experiences of our lives...as she passed she wagged her tail at us and smiled. We spread Deva's ashes on the farm in Catlett that she loved so very much.
I'm married to Penn Payler, a wonderful artist and educator and, incredibly enough, we have stayed together through graduate school, New York City, and even my dissertation. Her patience with and support for me has been my lifeline. We have two dogs: Boon and Selu and two cats: Satori and Ashoka. We used to live in a house built on the property of Dan Nicholas Park near High Rock Lake [a.k.a. the "redneck riviera"] in Rowan County just outside of Salisbury ,North Carolina. I used work at Davidson Early College in Lexington, N.C. teaching honors English, Civics, and United States history to students who receive both college and high school credit for the work that they do at DMC. When they graduate from high school, they can enter college as a junior. It is a wonderful place and they are delightful kids and I am excited to be able to participate in such a unique experience.
Then, one day we up and decided to buy a house and settle down like normal people. After an extended search, we found a wonderful house at the foot of Devil's Chimney immediately adjacent to Hanging Rock State Park. We can see the magnificient Pilot Mountain from just up the hill in Quaker Gap. Walk out of our back yard and you walk into 7000 acres of wilderness. We have great neighbors who help us out even though we aren't really used to the country life. We love Stokes County. I was going to continue to work at Davidson Early College, but not long after we bought our house-- Stokes County started an Early College. I started out as a School Counselor at Stokes Early College High School, but soon enough returned to teaching which is my first love. Penny and I also teach at Forsyth Tech -- seemingly the President's favorite community college. We love our new lives and thank God for every day.