MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) — The King of Rock n' Roll may have African roots. That's according to a new DNA study published in the Journal of Genetic Genealogy. It breaks down the genetic origins of a group of people called "Melungeons."
Elvis Presley has been linked to that group in the past. Melungeons were previously referred to as a group of dark-skinned blue-eyed Appalachian residents. Some speculated they were descended from Portuguese explorers, Turkish slaves, or gypsies. Now the study published in the Journal of Genetic Genealogy concludes they are a mixture of white and black.
Elvis Aaron Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi in 1935. According to some genealogy reports Presley's maternal great-great-great grandmother, Morning Dove White, was a Cherokee Indian from Tennessee, but how about having African roots?
"I doubt it but it could be a possibility,” said an Elvis fan from New York, Gwen Gray.
"I'm not surprised. I would agree,” said another Elvis fan from Canada, Joyce Holmes.
Doctor Brent Kennedy wrote a book about the origins of the Melungeons several years ago. His book is entitled, “The Melungeons: The Resurrection of a Proud People.” He said many of them were rounded up with the Cherokee and sent on The Trail of Tears. Dr. Kennedy claimed Elvis and Abraham Lincoln have melungeon roots. According to the new study by the Journal of Genetic Genealogy, melungeons are the offspring of sub-Saharan African men and white women of northern or central European origin.
"Just the way he looked, his skin tone, and I think everybody has a little bit of everything in them,” said Elvis fan Margaret Lafreniere.
"I think a little Greek and a little Cherokee Indian. Absolutely I think he’s mixed,” said another fan, Anthony Bilardi of New York.
"I absolutely believe it,” said Elvis fan Cindy Weingartner from Montana. “You can't have that kind of rhythm if you don't have some kind of black genes somewhere and Cherokee is known to be really good looking, he was very handsome."
Elvis fans say it doesn't matter what his origins they will always adore him. Elvis Presley Enterprises did not want to comment on this new study or the King's genetic roots.