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Joe Mozingo chronicles his surname from Jamestown slave to KKK members

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“The Fiddler on Pantico Run” is author Joe Mozingo’s quest to discover the origins of his father’s family, and the shocking discoveries he made along the way. After initially believing that Mozingo was a French or Basque name, a college professor suggested that it was most likely of African origins.

This came as a shock to the blue eyed, very Caucasian Mozingo, but spawned a search for his family’s origins. Eventually, Mozingo was able to trace his ancestry back to Edward Mozingo, an African slave brought to Jamestown in 1644, who eventually earned his freedom and married a white woman.

The discovery of Edward Mozingo, however, is only the beginning of the family history laid out in The Fiddler on Pantico Run. Joe Mozingo searches for Edward’s roots in Africa, but also traces how the family evolved in America from Edward’s initial mixed race marriage. Mozingo meets distant relatives all over the country, some white, some black, some somewhere in between, all with distinct family histories.

Some had become abolitionists during the Civil War period, while others had fought for the Confederacy and joined the KKK. To this day, some remained open about race, while others still harbored a blatantly racist worldview. Through all of these discoveries within his own family, Mozingo’s book paints a masterful portrait of America’s tenuous racial past, and complicated racial future.


Joe Mozingo, author of “The Fiddler on Pantico Run: An African Warrior, His White Descendents, A Search For Family”