front cover of African American Workers and the Appalachian Coal Industry
African American Workers and the Appalachian Coal Industry
Joe William Trotter
West Virginia University Press, 2024

Essays by the foremost labor historian of the Black experience in the Appalachian coalfields.

This collection brings together nearly three decades of research on the African American experience, class, and race relations in the Appalachian coal industry. It shows how, with deep roots in the antebellum era of chattel slavery, West Virginia’s Black working class gradually picked up steam during the emancipation years following the Civil War and dramatically expanded during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

From there, African American Workers and the Appalachian Coal Industry highlights the decline of the region’s Black industrial proletariat under the impact of rapid technological, social, and political changes following World War II. It underscores how all miners suffered unemployment and outmigration from the region as global transformations took their toll on the coal industry, but emphasizes the disproportionately painful impact of declining bituminous coal production on African American workers, their families, and their communities. Joe Trotter not only reiterates the contributions of proletarianization to our knowledge of US labor and working-class history but also draws attention to the gender limits of studies of Black life that focus on class formation, while calling for new transnational perspectives on the subject. Equally important, this volume illuminates the intellectual journey of a noted labor historian with deep family roots in the southern Appalachian coalfields.

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Appalachia Inside Out V1
Conflict Change
Robert J. Higgs
University of Tennessee Press, 1995
Edited by Robert J. Higgs, Ambrose N. Manning, and Jim Wayne Miller
These two volumes constitute the most comprehensive anthology of writings on Appalachia ever assembled. Representing the work of approximately two hundred authors—fiction writers, poets, scholars in disciplines such as history, literary criticism, and sociology—Appalachia Inside Out reveals the fascinating diversity of the region and lays to rest many of the reductive stereotypes long associated with it.
Intended as a sequel to the widely respected collection Voices of the Hills, edited by Robert Higgs and Ambrose Manning and published twenty years ago, these volumes reflect the recent proliferation of imaginative and critical writing about Appalachia—a proliferation that suggests nothing less than a renaissance of collective self-assessment. The selections are organized around a variety of themes (including "War and Revolution," "Feuds and Violence," "Nature and Progress," "Dialect and Language," "Exile, Return, and Sense of Place," and "Majority and Minority") and reveal both the radical changes the region has undergone as well as the persistence of certain defining features.
The title Appalachia Inside Out refers in part to the fact that Appalachia has never existed in timeless isolation from the rest of country and the world; rather, it has both absorbed outside influences and exerted influence of its own. The title also indicates the editors' effort to look not only at the visible Appalachia but at the forces that underlie its history and culture. What emerges in these pages is an Appalachia both familiar and strange: a mirror of lived life on the one hand and, on the other, a haunted realm of unimaginable loss and bewitching possibility.
The Editors: Robert J. Higgs is professor of English, emeritus, at East Tennessee State University and the author of Laurel and Thorn: The Athlete in American Literature.
Ambrose N. Manning is professor of English, emeritus, at East Tennessee State University and a noted collector of folk songs and folklore.
Jim Wayne Miller, a poet, novelist, and essayist, is a professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Intercultural Studies at Western Kentucky University.


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front cover of Appalachia Inside Out V2
Appalachia Inside Out V2
Culture Custom
Robert J. Higgs
University of Tennessee Press, 1995
The two volumes of Appalachia Inside Out constitute the most comprehensive anthology of writings on Appalachia ever assembled. Representing the work of approximately two hundred authors-fiction writers, poets, scholars in disciplines such as history, literary criticism, and sociology-Appalachia Inside Out reveals the fascinating diversity of the region and lays to rest many of the reductive stereotypes long associated with it.
[more]

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Appalachian Images
Folk Popular Culture
W.K. Mcneil
University of Tennessee Press, 1995

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Appalachia's Alternative to Mainstream America
A Personal Education
Paul Salstrom
University of Tennessee Press, 2021

In many communities across North America in the 1960s and 1970s, the rural-relocation movement became both a way of life and a path forward for many people inclined to buck the mainstream—and Paul Salstrom embraced it. His experiences in rural Lincoln County, West Virginia, led him to the self-sufficient, “neighborly networking” lifestyle well known in many Appalachian communities since the early nineteenth century.

In Appalachia’s Alternative to Mainstream America, Salstrom outlines his Appalachian experiences in a memoir, revisiting this back-to-the-land tradition that guided his cultural experience during this time. While he pursued a number of experimental alternatives to a mainstream way of life during the late 1960s, it was not until he landed in Lincoln County a few years later that he found himself engaging in an alternative way of living that didn’t feel “experimental” at all. This distinctive way of life was largely characterized by a closer connection to the earth—local sufficiency informed by homesteading, subsistence farming, and gardening—and the community-wide trading of favors in a spirit of mutual aid.

Over time, Salstrom’s engagement in this “neighborly” occupation has nurtured an informed belief that Americans will be drawn back to landed customs, taking care of the earth and of one another to thrive as individuals and communities. Facing today’s pandemics, climate change, and deepening political divisions, says Salstrom, Americans urgently need to create a groundswell of localized food security and energy production.

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Apples On The Flood
Minority Discourse And Appalachia
Rodger Cunningham
University of Tennessee Press, 1991

front cover of Archaeological Perspectives on the Southern Appalachians
Archaeological Perspectives on the Southern Appalachians
A Multiscalar Approach
Ramie A. Gougeon
University of Tennessee Press, 2015
In the last four decades, southeastern archaeology has increasingly developed a processual method of looking at archaeological data through varying levels of scale. By adjusting the scale, archaeologists can further define societal interactions and exchanges, which is particularly useful to those researching the Mississippian period, as the rise and fall of chiefdoms was both internally complex and externally influenced by broader regional factors. This use of the most current research methods has enabled a more comprehensive understanding of prehistoric and historic sociopolitical entities.
            In Archaeological Perspectives of the Southern Appalachians, Ramie A. Gougeon and Maureen S. Meyers have brought together a dozen archaeologists to delineate multiscalar approaches to Native American sites throughout southern Appalachia. The essays range in topic from ceramic assemblages in northern Georgia to public architecture in North Carolina to the frontiers of southern Appalachia in Virginia. Throughout the volume, the contributors discuss varying scales of analysis in their own research to flesh out the importance of maintaining different perspectives when evaluating archaeological evidence.
            Additionally, the volume makes particular reference to the work of David Hally, whose influence on not only the editors and contributors but on southeastern archaeology as a whole cannot be overstated. While Hally was neither a pioneer nor vocal champion of scale variation, his impeccable research, culminating with the publication of his magnum opus King: The Social Archaeology of a Late Mississippian Town in Northwestern Georgia paved the way for younger scholars to truly develop research methods for holistic social archaeology.
 
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front cover of The Archaeology of Houses and Households in the Native Southeast
The Archaeology of Houses and Households in the Native Southeast
Benjamin A. Steere
University of Alabama Press, 2017
Explores the evolution of houses and households in the southeastern United States from the Woodland to the Historic Indian period (ca. 200 BC to 1800 AD)
 
The Archaeology of Houses and Households in the Native Southeast contributes enormously to the study of household archaeology and domestic architecture in the region. This significant volume combines both previously published and unpublished data on communities from the Southeast and is the first systematic attempt to understand the development of houses and households as interpreted through a theoretical framework developed from broad-ranging studies in cultural anthropology and archaeology.
 
Steere’s major achievement is the compilation of one of the largest and most detailed architectural datasets for the Southeast, including data for 1,258 domestic and public structures from 65 archaeological sites in North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, and the southern parts of Missouri, Indiana, and Illinois. Rare data from hard-to-find cultural resource management reports is also incorporated, creating a broad temporal and geographic scope and serving as one of many remarkable features of the book, which is sure to be of considerable value to archaeologists and anthropologists interested in comparative studies of architecture.
 
Similar to other analyses, Steere’s research uses multiple theoretical angles and lines of evidence to answer archaeological questions about houses and the people who built them. However, unlike other examinations of household archaeology, this project spans multiple time periods (Woodland, Mississippian, and Historic); is focused squarely on the Southeast; features a more unified approach, using data from a single, uniform database; and privileges domestic architecture as a line of evidence for reconstructing daily life at major archaeological sites on a much broader scale than other investigations.
 
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Backcountry Makers
An Artisan History of Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee
Betsy K. White
University of Tennessee Press, 2013
     This new book brings to life the material-culture heritage of southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee. In Backcountry Makers, Betsy K. White expands on her previous study of the region’s rich decorative arts legacy, Great Road Style, to offer a closer look at the individual artisans responsible for the diverse works that constitute that legacy.
     Beautifully illustrated with some 230 photographs, most of them in color, this volume includes biographical sketches of seventy-five makers—potters, weavers, spinners, quilters, embroiderers, cabinetmakers, metalsmiths, clocksmiths, gunsmiths, and artists—who worked in the region from the earliest eighteenth-century settlement days to the late twentieth century. The entry for each artisan is accompanied by one or more images of a signed or marked work, or, in a number of instances, an unmarked work with certain provenance.
     These vignettes offer a fascinating glimpse of the people behind the various pieces, describing their background, family life, and where they learned their trade. Using census records and other documentary evidence, White has traced the earliest of these artisans from their origins in such places as Europe and Philadelphia down through the Great Valley of Virginia to their ultimate destinations in southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee. Along with the photos displaying the products of their craftsmanship, the book also includes a number of evocative images of the artists and their homes and towns, thus giving the reader a fuller sense of the region where these gifted people lived and worked.
     One of the few studies to addresses handmade objects in this locale—and one of the even fewer works to focus on the artisans themselves— Backcountry Makers  will be of great value not only to scholars of material culture and the arts in Appalachia but also to those who collect regional antiques and crafts and want to know more about the individuals who made them.

Betsy K. White is the author of Great Road Style: The Decorative Arts Legacy of Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee. Until her retirement in 2008, she was director of the William King Regional Arts Center (now William King Museum) in Abingdon, Virginia.
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front cover of Blues and Roots/Rue and Bluets
Blues and Roots/Rue and Bluets
A Garland for the Southern Appalachians
Jonathan Williams
Duke University Press, 1985
Jonathan Williams’s poetry has been described as brilliant, sensuous, lyrical, quirky, suave, vital, joyful, sardonic, melodious, passionate, alive, pyrotechnic. This new, much enlarged edition of Blues and Roots displays all of the above. Williams has tramped the Appalachian Trail for decades, botanizing, jotting down specimens of authentic American speech, graffiti, superstitions, and nostrums—always curious, alert, and affectionately attentive. Blues and Roots focuses on the linguistic horizon of Appalachia in lyrics of wonder and light, of wit and comic incongruity, in found poems of the speech of his mountain neighbors. Publishers Weekly said of the earlier edition, “One of the most beautiful and evocative tributes to the Appalachians and its people yet published.” Blues and Roots is a fine celebration; Wiliams is a joyful ringmaster.
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Cades Cove
The Life and Death of a Southern Appalachian Community
Durwood Dunn
University of Tennessee Press, 1988
Winner of the Thomas Wolfe Literary Award

Drawing on a rich trove of documents never before available to scholars, the author sketches the early pioneers, their daily lives, their beliefs, and their struggles to survive and prosper in this isolated mountain community, now within the confines of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
In moving detail this book brings to life an isolated mountain community, its struggle to survive, and the tragedy of its demise.

"Professor Dunn provides us with a model historical investigation of a southern mountain community.  His findings on commercial farming, family, religion, and politics will challenge many standard interpretations of the Appalachian past."
--Gordon B. McKinney, Western Carolina University.  

 "This is a fine book. . . . It is mostly about community and interrelationships, and thus it refutes much of the literature that presents Southern Mountaineers as individualistic, irreligious, violent, and unlawful."
—Loyal Jones, Appalachian Heritage.  

"Dunn . . . has written one of the best books ever produced about the Southern mountains."
—Virginia Quarterly Review.  

"This study offers the first detailed analysis of a remote southern Appalachian community in the nineteenth century.  It should lay to rest older images of the region as isolated and static, but it raises new questions about the nature of that premodern community."
—Ronald D Eller, American Historical Review

Not only is his book a worthy addition to the growing body of work recognizing the complexities of southern mountain society; it is also a lively testament to the value of local history and the variety of levels at which it can provide significant enlightenment."
—John C. Inscoe,LOCUS
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front cover of Center Places and Cherokee Towns
Center Places and Cherokee Towns
Archaeological Perspectives on Native American Architecture and Landscape in the Southern Appalachians
Christopher B. Rodning
University of Alabama Press, 2015
Examines how architecture and other aspects of the built environment, such as hearths, burials, and earthen mounds, formed center places within the Cherokee cultural landscape

In Center Places and Cherokee Towns, Christopher B. Rodning opens a panoramic vista onto protohistoric Cherokee culture. He posits that Cherokee households and towns were anchored within their cultural and natural landscapes by built features that acted as “center places.”
 
Rodning investigates the period from just before the first Spanish contact with sixteenth-century Native American chiefdoms in La Florida through the development of formal trade relations between Native American societies and English and French colonial provinces in the American South during the late 1600s and 1700s. Rodning focuses particularly on the Coweeta Creek archaeological site in the upper Little Tennessee Valley in southwestern North Carolina and describes the ways in which elements of the built environment were manifestations of Cherokee senses of place.
 
Drawing on archaeological data, delving into primary documentary sources dating from the eighteenth century, and considering Cherokee myths and legends remembered and recorded during the nineteenth century, Rodning shows how the arrangement of public structures and household dwellings in Cherokee towns both shaped and were shaped by Cherokee culture. Center places at different scales served as points of attachment between Cherokee individuals and their communities as well as between their present and past. Rodning explores the ways in which Cherokee architecture and the built environment were sources of cultural stability in the aftermath of European contact, and how the course of European contact altered the landscape of Cherokee towns in the long run.
 
In this multi-faceted consideration of archaeology, ethnohistory, and recorded oral tradition, Rodning adeptly demonstrates the distinct ways that Cherokee identity was constructed through architecture and other material forms. Center Places and Cherokee Towns will have a broad appeal to students and scholars of southeastern archaeology, anthropology, Native American studies, prehistoric and protohistoric Cherokee culture, landscape archaeology, and ethnohistory.
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Cherokee Prehistory
The Pisgah Phase In The Appalachian Summit Region
Roy S., Jr. Dickens
University of Tennessee Press, 1976

After a century of archaeological research in the Southeastern United States, there are still areas about which little is known. Surprisingly, one of these areas in the Appalachian Summit, which in historic times was inhabited by the Cherokee people whose rich culture and wide influence made their name commonplace in typifying Southeastern Indians. The culture of the people who preceded the historic Cherokees was no less rich, and their network of relationships with other groups no less wide. Until recently, however, the prehistoric cultural remains of the Southern Appalachians had received only slight attention.

Archaeological sites in the Appalachians usually do not stand out dramatically on the landscape as do the effigy mounds of the Ohio Valley and the massive platform mounds of the Southeastern Piedmont and Mississippi Valley. Prehistoric settlements in the Southern Appalachians lay in the bottomlands along the clear, rocky rivers, hidden in the folds of the mountains. Finding and investigating these sites required a systematic approach. From 1964 to 1971, under the direction of Joffre L. Coe, the Research Laboratories of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, conducted an archaeological project that was designed to investigate the antecedents of the historic Cherokees in the Appalachian Summit, and included site surveys over large portions of the area and concentrated excavations at several important sites in the vicinity of the historic Cherokee Middletowns.

One result of the Cherokee project is this book, the purpose of which is to present an initial description and synthesis of a late prehistoric phase in the Appalachian Summit, a phase that lasted from the beginnings of South Appalachian Mississippian culture to the emergence of identifiable Cherokee culture. At various points Professor Dickens draws these data into the broader picture of Southeastern prehistory, and occasionally presents some interpretations of the human behavior behind the material remains, however, is to make available some new information on a previously unexplored area. Through this presentation Cherokee Prehistory helps to provide a first step to approaching, in specific ways, the problems of cultural process and systemics in the aboriginal Southeast.

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front cover of Civil War In Appalachia
Civil War In Appalachia
Collected Essays
Kenneth W. Noe
University of Tennessee Press, 1997
"Unlike many collections of original essays, this one is consistently fresh, coherent, and excellent. It reflects the combined scholarly excitement of ... the cultural history of the Civil War and the social history of Appalachia. As the editors point out in their introduction, this collection revises two false cliches - uniform Unionism in a region filled with cultural savages."
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front cover of Coal Towns
Coal Towns
Life Work Culture Company Towns
Crandall A. Shifflett
University of Tennessee Press, 1995
Using oral histories, company records, and census data, Crandall A. Shifflett paints a vivid portrait of miners and their families in southern Appalachian coal towns from the late nineteenth into the mid-twentieth century. He finds that, compared to their earlier lives on subsistence farms, coal-town life was not all bad. Shifflett examines how this view, quite common among the oral histories of these working families, has been obscured by the middle-class biases of government studies and the Edenic myth of preindustrial Appalachia propagated by some historians.

From their own point of view, mining families left behind a life of hard labor and drafty weatherboard homes. With little time for such celebrated arts as tale-telling and quilting, preindustrial mountain people strung more beans than dulcimers. In addition, the rural population was growing, and farmland was becoming scarce. What the families recall about the coal towns contradicts the popular image of mining life. Most miners did not owe their souls to the company store, and most mining companies were not unusually harsh taskmasters. Former miners and their families remember such company benefits as indoor plumbing, regular income, and leisure activities. They also recall the United Mine Workers of America as bringing not only pay raises and health benefits but work stoppages and violent confrontations.

Far from being mere victims of historical forces, miners and their families shaped their own destiny by forging a new working-class culture out of the adaptation of their rural values to the demands of industrial life. This new culture had many continuities with the older one. Out of the closely knit social ties they brought from farming communities, mining families created their own safety net for times of economic downturn. Shifflett recognizes the dangers and hardships of coal-town life but also shows the resilience of Appalachian people in adapting their culture to a new environment.

Crandall A. Shifflett is an associate professor of history at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
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front cover of A Familiar Wilderness
A Familiar Wilderness
Searching for Home on Daniel Boone's Road
Simon J. Dahlman
University of Tennessee Press, 2019

In 1775, renowned pioneer Daniel Boone was commissioned to blaze a road through the Appalachian and Cumberland Plateau regions as a fledgling American nation steadily pushed westward. What would come to be known as the Wilderness Road was the first major route into the West, and it allowed settlers to migrate northwest into Kentucky and later settle parts of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. In 2012, Jim Dahlman stopped to stretch his legs on a brief hike into the Cumberland Gap and stumbled upon an adventure. After months of preparation, Dahlman grabbed a pack and set out to hike as accurately as possible Daniel Boone’s original trace.

In A Familiar Wilderness, Dahlman illustrates that the Wilderness Road is more than an old track through Appalachia. Many of the towns grew up along Boone’s original footpath, and people in these areas can draw direct connections to Boone himself or to other early settlers who traversed this trans-Appalachian route. Dahlman uses these and other encounters to uncover the history of the Wilderness Road and show how we are all a product of our past.

The hospitality of strangers becomes especially instrumental in making Dahlman’s hike come alive. Robert, one such stranger, offers to personally guide Dahlman over Powell Mountain. As they make their ascent, Robert provides a splendid view of the mountain, blending careful observation of their surroundings with deep knowledge of the place. A finale to Dahlman’s almost 300-mile hike occurs on Hackberry Ridge overlooking Fort Boonesborough State Park—a fitting tribute to Boone’s own arrival on the ridge famously overlooking a herd of buffalo.

A Familiar Wilderness takes readers on a winding path where geography, history, and local memory intersect with daily life, and Dahlman’s lively writing, sensitive to every detail, will bring readers into thrilling touch with a past that still shapes and challenges the present.

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front cover of FINDING A CLEAR PATH
FINDING A CLEAR PATH
JIM MINICK
West Virginia University Press, 2006

Finding a Clear Path intertwines literature, agriculture, and ecology as author Jim Minick takes the reader on many journeys, allowing you to float on a pond, fly with a titmouse, gather ginseng, and grow the lowly potato. The reader visits monarch butterflies and morel mushrooms, encountering beavers, black snakes, and bloodroot along the way. Using his background as a blueberry farmer, gardener and naturalist, Minick explores the Appalachian region and also introduces information that can be appreciated from a scientific point of view, explaining, for example, the ears of an owl, or the problems with the typical Christmas tree. Reading this collection of essays invites you to search for ways to better understand and appreciate this marvelous world, opening paths for journeys of your own.

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front cover of The Food We Eat, the Stories We Tell
The Food We Eat, the Stories We Tell
Contemporary Appalachian Tables
Elizabeth S. D. Engelhardt
Ohio University Press, 2019

Blue Ridge tacos, kimchi with soup beans and cornbread, family stories hiding in cookbook marginalia, African American mountain gardens—this wide-ranging anthology considers all these and more. Diverse contributors show us that contemporary Appalachian tables and the stories they hold offer new ways into understanding past, present, and future American food practices. The poets, scholars, fiction writers, journalists, and food professionals in these pages show us that what we eat gives a beautifully full picture of Appalachia, where it’s been, and where it’s going.

Contributors: Courtney Balestier, Jessie Blackburn, Karida L. Brown, Danille Elise Christensen, Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle, Michael Croley, Elizabeth S. D. Engelhardt, Robert Gipe, Suronda Gonzalez, Emily Hilliard, Rebecca Gayle Howell, Abigail Huggins, Erica Abrams Locklear, Ronni Lundy, George Ella Lyon, Jeff Mann, Daniel S. Margolies, William Schumann, Lora E. Smith, Emily Wallace, Crystal Wilkinson

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Fools Parade
Davis Grubb
University of Tennessee Press, 2001
“Dark violence and piebald absurdity share an uncertain border, and now and then some mythmaker on his day off, like Grubb, manages to write within this certainty. A fine book, written for the hell of it, which is a splendid reason.”—Time

Set in the Appalachian backcountry in the midst of the Great Depression, Fools’ Parade traces the adventures of three ex-convicts who become involved in a wild and woolly chase along the Ohio River.

Convicted murderer Mattie Appleyard has just served forty-seven years in Glory Penitentiary. His release puts him in possession of a check for $25,452.32—the result of his having salted away his meager earnings in the Prisoner’s Work-and-Hope Savings Plan of the local bank. With his friends Johnny Jesus and Lee Cottrill, he plans to open a general store that will compete with the company store in Stonecoal, West Virginia.

Unfortunately, banker Homer Grindstaff, prison guard Uncle Doc Council, and Sheriff Duane Ewing have no intention of allowing Mattie to realize his ambitions. Mattie’s efforts to cash his check set a deadly pursuit in motion and introduce the reader to a host of colorful characters and a vividly recreated regional and historical background. Good and evil meet head-on in this novel that is, by turns, warm and humorous, rousing and tumultuous.

The Author: Davis Grubb (1919–1980) was the author of ten published novels, the most famous of which was Night of the Hunter. Both that book and Fools’ Parade, originally published in 1969, were made into motion pictures.
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Garden Creek
The Archaeology of Interaction in Middle Woodland Appalachia
Alice P. Wright
University of Alabama Press, 2020
A Dan Josselyn Memorial Publication

Presents archaeological data to explore the concept of glocalization as applied in the Hopewell world


Originally coined in the context of twentieth-century business affairs, the term glocalization describes how the global circulation of products, services, or ideas requires accommodations to local conditions, and, in turn, how local conditions can significantly impact global markets and relationships. Garden Creek: The Archaeology of Interaction in Middle Woodland Appalachia presents glocalization as a concept that can help explain the dynamics of cross-cultural interaction not only in the present but also in the deep past.

Alice P. Wright uses the concept of glocalization as a framework for understanding the mutual contributions of large-scale and small-scale processes to prehistoric transformations. Using geophysical surveys, excavations, and artifact analysis, Wright shows how Middle Woodland cultural contact wrought changes in religious practices, such as mound building and the crafting of ritual objects for exchange or pilgrimage.

Wright presents and interprets original archaeological data from the Garden Creek site in western North Carolina as part of a larger study of the Hopewell Interaction Sphere, a well-known but poorly understood episode of cross-cultural interaction that linked communities across eastern North America during the Middle Woodland period. Although Hopewellian culture contact did not encompass the entire planet, it may have been “global” to those who experienced and created it, as it subsumed much of the world as Middle Woodland people knew it. Reimagining Hopewell as an episode of glocalization more fully accounts for the diverse communities, interests, and processes involved in this “global” network.

 
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Handcraft Revival Southern Appalachia
1930-1990
Garry G. Barker
University of Tennessee Press, 1991

Appalachians have always honored craft.  Showoff quilts, complicated whittlings, "face jugs," intricate woven coverlets, and the work of famous basketmakers constituted the art of early Appalachia, the life and color of its remote mountain households.  By the 1920s, however, the craft tradition was quickly vanishing.  This lively, highly personal book recounts the "missionary" effort that preserved the traditional Appalachian craft culture and traces the organization, politics, and economics of later handcraft revival organizations in Southern Appalachia.

Deeply involved in many of the events he describes, Garry Barker has worked in the Appalachian crafts world since the early 1960s.  He draws on memories of the leading craftspeople of a bygone era, LBJ's War on Poverty, mushrooming markets for craft products, and the rise of academic crafts training.  The Handcraft Revival in Southern Appalachia represents the thoughtful winnowing of Barker's decades of serendipitous experience and disciplined observation, casual conversation and formal interviews, research and collecting, teaching and writing.

The book is the only history of the Appalachian craft movement between 1930 and 1990.  As such it will become an essential resource for craftspeople, scholars, and all interested in the Southern Appalachian region.  In addition, it constitutes a crucial chapter in the newly emerging history of American craft.
 

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Hunter's Horn
Harriette Simpson Arnow
Michigan State University Press, 1997

Michigan State University Press is proud to announce the re-release of Harriette Simpson Arnow's 1949 novel Hunter's Horn, a work that Joyce Carol Oates called "our most unpretentious American masterpiece."  
     In Hunter's Horn, Arnow has written the quintessential account of Kentucky hill people—the quintessential novel of Southern Appalachian farmers, foxhunters, foxhounds, women, and children. New York Times reviewer Hirschel Brickell declared that Arnow "writes...as effortlessly as a bird sings, and the warmth, beauty, the sadness and the ache of life itself are not even once absent from her pages."  
     Arnow writes about Kentucky in the way that William Faulkner writes about Mississippi, that Flannery O'Connor writes about Georgia, or that Willa Cather writes about Nebraska—with studied realism, with landscapes and characters that take on mythic proportions, with humor, and with memorable and remarkable attention to details of the human heart that motivate literature.

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Hunting for Hides
Deerskins, Status, and Cultural Change in the Protohistoric Appalachians
Heather A. Lapham
University of Alabama Press, 2006
Changes in Native American communities as they adapted to advancing Europeans.
 
This volume investigates the use of deer, deerskins, and nonlocal goods in the period from A.D. 1400 to 1700 to gain a comprehensive understanding of historic-era cultural changes taking place within Native American communities in the southern Appalachian Highlands. In the 1600s, hunting deer to obtain hides for commercial trade evolved into a substantial economic enterprise for many Native Americans in the Middle Atlantic and Southeast.  An overseas market demand for animal hides and furs imported from the Americas, combined with the desire of infant New World colonies to find profitable export commodities, provided a new market for processed deerskins as well as new sources of valued nonlocal goods.  This new trade in deerskins created a reorganization of the priorities of native hunters that initiated changes in native trade networks, political alliances, gender relations, and cultural belief systems.  

Through research on faunal remains and mortuary assemblages, Lapham tracks both the products Native Americans produced for colonial trade--deerskins and other furs--as well as those items received in exchange--European and native prestige goods that end up in burial contexts. Zooarchaeological analyses provide insights into subsistence practices, deer-hunting strategies, and deer-hide production activities, while an examination of mortuary practices contributes information on the use of the nonlocal goods acquired through trade in deerskins. This study reveals changes in economic organization and mortuary practices that provide new insights into how participation in the colonial deerskin trade initially altered Native American social relations and political systems.
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front cover of In the House of the Serpent Handler
In the House of the Serpent Handler
A Story of Faith and Fleeting Fame in the Age of Social Media
Julia C. Duin
University of Tennessee Press, 2017

In the House of the Serpent Handler offers an intimate and engrossing look at the latest generation of Pentecostal believers who “take up” venomous snakes as a test of their religious faith. Focusing on several preachers and their families in six Appalachian states, journalist Julia C. Duin explores the impact that such twenty-first-century phenomena as social media and “reality television” have had on rituals long practiced in obscurity.

As Duin reveals, the mortal snakebite suffered by pastor Mack Wolford in 2012 marked the passing of the torch to younger preachers Jamie Coots and Andrew Hamblin, who were featured in the 2013 series Snake Salvation on the National Geographic Channel. Seeing their participation in the show as a way of publicizing their faith and thus winning converts, Coots and Hamblin attempted to reinvent the snake-handling tradition for a modern audience. The use of the internet, particularly Facebook, became another key part of their strategy to spread their particular brand of Christianity. However, Coots’s own death in 2014 was widely reported after the TV series was canceled, while Hamblin, who emerges as the central figure in the book, was arrested and tried after a shooting incident involving his estranged wife. His hopes of becoming a serpent-handling superstar seemingly dashed, Hamblin spent several months in prison, emerging more determined than ever to keep to the faith. By the end of the narrative, he has begun a new church where he can pass on the tradition to yet another generation.

Duin’s thorough, sympathetic reporting and lively style bring the ecstatic church services she witnessed vividly to life, and through interviews and quotations from the principals’ Facebook postings, she has allowed them to express their beliefs and reveal their everyday lives in their own words. She also gives the reader an up-close view of how a reporter pursues a story and the various difficulties encountered along the way. Together these elements frame a striking picture: the young practitioners of a century-old custom—one so often dismissed as bizarre by outsiders—adjusting to the challenges of the new millennium.

Julia C. Duin, the former religion editor for the Washington Times, has published articles in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and other national publications. She is the author of five previous books, including, most recently, Days of Fire and Glory: The Rise and Fall of a Charismatic Community.

[more]

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Keeping Heart
A Memoir of Family Struggle, Race, and Medicine
Otis Trotter
Ohio University Press, 2015

“After saying our good-byes to friends and neighbors, we all got in the cars and headed up the hill and down the road toward a future in Ohio that we hoped would be brighter,” Otis Trotter writes in his affecting memoir, Keeping Heart: A Memoir of Family Struggle, Race, and Medicine.

Organized around the life histories, medical struggles, and recollections of Trotter and his thirteen siblings, the story begins in 1914 with his parents, Joe William Trotter Sr. and Thelma Odell Foster Trotter, in rural Alabama. By telling his story alongside the experiences of his parents as well as his siblings, Otis reveals cohesion and tensions in twentieth-century African American family and community life in Alabama, West Virginia, and Ohio.

This engaging chronicle illuminates the journeys not only of a black man born with heart disease in the southern Appalachian coalfields, but of his family and community. It fills an important gap in the literature on an underexamined aspect of American experience: the lives of blacks in rural Appalachia and in the nonurban endpoints of the Great Migration. Its emotional power is a testament to the importance of ordinary lives.

[more]

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Lost in Transition
Removing, Resettling, and Renewing Appalachia
Aaron D. Purcell
University of Tennessee Press, 2021

In Lost in Transition: Removing, Resettling, and Renewing Appalachia, Aaron D. Purcell presents a thematic and chronological exploration of twentieth-century removal and resettlement projects across southern Appalachia. The book shares complex stories of loss and recollection that have grown and evolved over time.

This edited volume contains seven case studies of public land removal actions in Virginia, Kentucky, the Carolinas, and Tennessee from the 1930s through the 1960s. Some of the removals include the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Norris Basin, Shenandoah National Park and the New River, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and the Keowee-Toxaway Project in northwestern South Carolina. Each essay asks key questions: How did governmental entities throughout the twentieth century deal with land acquisition and removal of families and communities? What do the oral histories of the families and communities, particularly from different generations, tell us about the legacies of these removals? This collection reveals confrontations between past and present, federal agencies and citizens, and the original accounts of removal and resettlement and contemporary interpretations. The result is a blending of practical historical concerns with contemporary nostalgia and romanticism, which often deepen the complexity of Appalachian cultural life.

Lost in Transition provides a nuanced and insightful study of removal and resettlement projects that applies critical analysis of fact, mythology, and storytelling. It illustrates the important role of place in southern Appalachian history. This collection is a helpful resource to anthropologists, folklorists, and Appalachian studies scholars, and a powerful volume of stories for all readers who reflect upon the importance of place and home.

[more]

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Loving Mountains, Loving Men
Memoirs of a Gay Appalachian
Jeff Mann
Ohio University Press, 2005
Loving Mountains, Loving Men is the first book-length treatment of a topic rarely discussed or examined: gay life in Appalachia. Appalachians are known for their love of place, yet many gays and lesbians from the mountains flee to urban areas. Jeff Mann tells the story of one who left and then returned, who insists on claiming and celebrating both regional and erotic identities. In memoir and poetry, Mann describes his life as an openly gay man who has remained true to his mountain roots. Mann recounts his upbringing in Hinton, a small town in southern West Virginia, as well as his realization of his homosexuality, his early encounters with homophobia, his coterie of supportive lesbian friends, and his initial attempts to escape his native region in hopes of finding a freer life in urban gay communities. Mann depicts his difficult search for a romantic relationship, the family members who have given him the strength to defy convention, his anger against religious intolerance and the violence of homophobia, and his love for the rich folk culture of the Highland South. His character and values shaped by the mountains, Mann has reconciled his homosexuality with both traditional definitions of Appalachian manhood and his own attachment to home and kin. Loving Mountains, Loving Men is a compelling, universal story of making peace with oneself and the wider world.
[more]

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Miners Millhands Mountaineers
Industrialization Appalachian South
Ronald D. Eller
University of Tennessee Press, 1982

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Mountain Holiness
A Photographic Narrative
Deborah Vansau Mccauley
University of Tennessee Press, 2003
“A remarkable achievement. Mountain Holiness combines Warren Brunner’s poignant and sensitive photographs with a succinct narrative by Deborah McCauley, the preeminent authority on Appalachian mountain religion. This is a landmark study that sheds light on one of the most neglected subjects in American religion.”—Randall Balmer, Ann Whitney Olin Professor of American Religion, Barnard College, Columbia University

Hidden deep in the hills of central Appalachia, tiny churches have quietly carried on their worship practices in an unbroken chain for two centuries. Harking back to the camp-meeting movement of the early nineteenth century, independent Holiness churches are considered by some to represent Appalachia's single largest religious tradition. Yet it is one that remains uncounted in any census of American church life because of the lack of formal institutions or written records. Through vivid images and perceptive words, this book documents this rich history, showing how these independent churches have sustained both faith and followers.
The authors spent five years interviewing and photographing Appalachia's Holiness people and participating in their services. From thousands of photographs, they have selected nearly three hundred fifty images for this large-format volume. Here are small one-room churches—many built to hold no more than a dozen people—scattered in the hills of Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia. Yet Warren Brunner's striking images depict not only buildings but also the people and their faith practices: river baptisms and homecomings, serpent handling and tent evangelism, radio preaching and special holiday services.

Deborah McCauley and Laura Porter's text combines descriptions of the pictures with the history of the churches and interviews with members. They create a representative window into the material and oral culture of central Appalachia's independent Holiness heritage. Mountain Holiness is a book that will fascinate anyone who cares about these traditions, as well as anyone concerned with the preservation of America's most vital folkways.

About the Authors: Deborah Vansau McCauley is a leading authority on
religion in Appalachia and is the author of Appalachian Mountain Religion: A History.
Laura E. Porter became familiar with Appalachian religion while pursuing a Master of Divinity degree at Union Theological Seminary; she is presently a computer consultant for religious and relief organizations.

Warren E. Brunner is a renowned photographer of Appalachia who has lived and worked in Berea, Kentucky, for nearly half a century. He has published three collections of photographs of the region. Patricia Parker Brunner, his wife, is an ordained Southern Baptist deacon who holds an M.A. in biblical studies.
[more]

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Mountain People in a Flat Land
A Popular History of Appalachian Migration to Northeast Ohio, 1940–1965
Carl E. Feather
Ohio University Press, 1998
In the early 1940s, $10 bought a bus ticket from Appalachia to a better job and promise of prosperity in the flatlands of northeast Ohio. A mountaineer with a strong back and will to work could find a job within twenty-four hours of arrival.

But the cost of a bus ticket was more than a week's wages in a lumber camp, and the mountaineer paid dearly in loss of kin, culture, homeplace, and freedom.

Numerous scholarly works have addressed this migration that brought more than one million mountaineers to Ohio alone. But Mountain People in a Flat Land is the first popular history of Appalachian migration to one community — Ashtabula County, an industrial center in the fabled “best location in the nation.”

These migrants share their stories of life in Appalachia before coming north. There are tales of making moonshine, colorful family members, home remedies harvested from the wild, and life in coal company towns and lumber camps.

The mountaineers explain why, despite the beauty of the mountains and the deep kinship roots, they had to leave Appalachia.

Stories of their hardships, cultural clashes, assimilation, and ultimate successes in the flatland provide a moving look at an often stereotyped people.
[more]

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No Lonesome Road
SELECTED PROSE AND POEMS
Don West
University of Illinois Press, 2004
This is the first book to celebrate the life and writing of one of the most charismatic Southern leaders of the middle twentieth century, Don West (1906-1992). West was a poet, a pioneer advocate for civil rights, a preacher, a historian, a labor organizer, a folk-music revivalist, an essayist, and an organic farmer. He is perhaps best known as an educator, primarily as cofounder of the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee and founder of the Appalachian South Folklife Center in West Virginia. In his old age, West served as an elder statesman for his causes.
 
No Lonesome Road allows Don West to speak for himself. It provides the most comprehensive collection of his poetry ever published, spanning five decades of his literary career. It also includes the first comprehensive and annotated collection of West's nonfiction essays, articles, letters, speeches, and stories, covering his role at the forefront of Southern and Appalachian history, and as a pioneer researcher and writer on the South's little-known legacy of radical activism.
 
Drawing from both primary and secondary sources, including previously unknown documents, correspondence, interviews, FBI files, and newspaper clippings, the introduction by Jeff Biggers stands as the most thorough, insightful biographical sketch of Don West yet published in any form.
 
The afterword by George Brosi is a stirring personal tribute to the contributions of West and also serves as a thoughtful reflection on the interactions between the radicals of the 1930s and the 1960s.
 
The best possible introduction to his extraordinary life and work, this annotated selection of Don West's writings will be inspirational reading for anyone interested in Southern history, poetry, religion, or activism.
 
[more]

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Other People’s Words
The Cycle of Low Literacy
Victoria Purcell-Gates
Harvard University Press, 1995

If asked to identify which children rank lowest in relation to national educational norms, have higher school dropout and absence rates, and more commonly experience learning problems, few of us would know the answer: white, urban Appalachian children. These are the children and grandchildren of Appalachian families who migrated to northern cities in the 1950s to look for work. They make up this largely “invisible” urban group, a minority that represents a significant portion of the urban poor. Literacy researchers have rarely studied urban Appalachians, yet, as Victoria Purcell-Gates demonstrates in Other People’s Words, their often severe literacy problems provide a unique perspective on literacy and the relationship between print and culture.

A compelling case study details the author’s work with one such family. The parents, who attended school off and on through the seventh grade, are unable to use public transportation, shop easily, or understand the homework their elementary-school-age son brings home because neither of them can read. But the family is not so much illiterate as low literate—the world they inhabit is an oral one, their heritage one where print had no inherent use and no inherent meaning. They have as much to learn about the culture of literacy as about written language itself.

Purcell-Gates shows how access to literacy has been blocked by a confluence of factors: negative cultural stereotypes, cultural and linguistic elitism, and pedagogical obtuseness. She calls for the recruitment and training of “proactive” teachers who can assess and encourage children’s progress and outlines specific intervention strategies.

[more]

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Power in the Blood
A Family Narrative
Linda Tate
Ohio University Press, 2009

Power in the Blood: A Family Narrative traces Linda Tate’s journey to rediscover the Cherokee-Appalachian branch of her family and provides an unflinching examination of the poverty, discrimination, and family violence that marked their lives. In her search for the truth of her own past, Tate scoured archives, libraries, and courthouses throughout Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Illinois, and Missouri, visited numerous cemeteries, and combed through census records, marriage records, court cases, local histories, old maps, and photographs. As she began to locate distant relatives — fifth, sixth, seventh cousins, all descended from her great-greatgrandmother Louisiana — they gathered in kitchens and living rooms, held family reunions, and swapped stories. A past that had long been buried slowly came to light as family members shared the pieces of the family’s tale that had been passed along to them.

Power in the Blood is a dramatic family history that reads like a novel, as Tate’s compelling narrative reveals one mystery after another. Innovative and groundbreaking in its approach to research and storytelling, Power in the Blood shows that exploring a family story can enhance understanding of history, life, and culture and that honest examination of the past can lead to healing and liberation in the present.

[more]

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Red, White, Black, and Blue
A Dual Memoir of Race and Class in Appalachia
William M. Drennen Jr., Kojo (William T.) Jones Jr.
Ohio University Press, 2004
Red, White, Black, and Blue began as a collaborative memoir by William M. “Bill” Drennen, a European American, and Kojo (William T.) Jones, an African American. These Appalachian men grew up in the South Hills section of Charleston, West Virginia. As boys they played on the same Little League baseball team and experienced just one year together as schoolmates after the all-white Thomas Jefferson Junior High School was desegregated in 1955. After that, class, race, and choice separated their life experiences for forty-five years. In 1992 both had returned to Charleston from lives mostly lived elsewhere. They decided to work together on a memoir of growing up through the trauma of desegregation. Their aim was to foster understanding between their distinct cultures for themselves and for their own and future generations. Dolores Johnson, in editing the two texts, observed two very different modes of expression: Bill Drennen’s narrative is threaded with references that connote wealth, status, and personal privilege; Kojo Jones’s memoir is interwoven with African American signification, protest, and moral outrage. The stories of their Appalachian upbringing in homes less than a mile apart are anecdotal in nature, but their diverse uses of the English language as they endeavor to communicate shared memories and common meanings reveal significant cultural connotations that transform standard American English into two different languages, rendering interracial communication problematic. Dr. Johnson’s analysis is to the point. Red, White, Black, and Blue is a groundbreaking approach to studying not only cultural linguistics but also the cultural heritage of a historic time and place in America. It gives witness to the issues of race and class inherent in the way we write, speak, and think.
[more]

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The Road
John Ehle
University of Tennessee Press, 1998
"In The Road John Ehle's skill as a storyteller brings an early episode of road building in the North Carolina mountains to rich and vivid life. Hardship and humor, suffering and dreams are the balance for survival in a landscape that makes harsh demands on its intruders. Ehle lets us experience this place, people, and past in a fully realized novel."—Wilma Dykeman

"The Road is a strong novel by one of our most distinguished authors. Muscular, vivid, and pungent, it is broad in historical scope and profound in its human sympathies. We welcome its return with warm pleasure."—Fred Chappell

Originally published in 1967, The Road  is epic historical fiction at its best. At the novel's center is Weatherby Wright, a railroad builder who launches an ambitious plan to link the highlands of western North Carolina with the East. As a native of the region, Wright knows what his railway will mean to the impoverished settlers. But to accomplish his grand undertaking he must conquer Sow Mountain, "a massive monolith of earth, rock, vegetation and water, an elaborate series of ridges which built on one another to the top."

Wright's struggle to construct the railroad—which requires tall trestles crossing deep ravines and seven tunnels blasted through shale and granite—proves to be much more than an engineering challenge. There is opposition from a child evangelist, who preaches that the railroad is the work of the devil, and there is a serious lack of funds, which forces Wright to use convict labor. How Wright confronts these challenges and how the  mountain people respond to the changes the railroad brings to their lives make for powerfully compelling reading.

The Author: A native of Asheville, North Carolina, John Ehle has written seventeen novels and works of nonfiction. His books include The Land Breakers, The Journey of August King, The Winter People, and Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation. Among the honors he has received are the Lillian Smith Prize and the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Award.
[more]

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THE SAFETY OF DEEPER WATER
Tim Poland
West Virginia University Press, 2009

When Sandy Holston is on dry land, she’s nothing special: a nurse who wears her hair in a ponytail and prefers a fishing lure as an earring. But once she dons waders, picks up a fly rod, and steps into a river, she becomes a remarkable, elegant fisherwoman who’s at peace with the world.

After surviving her marriage to Vernon - her violent, incarcerated ex-husband - peace is just what Sandy needs. So she moves to Damascus, a small town on the Ripshin River, where she plans to enjoy the fishing and the solitude. Finally she is on the brink of a life she desires in a place she loves. But as the Ripshin’s trout mysteriously die off, and as Sandy grows closer to a reclusive neighbor who has a propensity for fishing naked, her plans are put in jeopardy. Will Sandy be able to find peace - in the river or out - once Vernon is released from prison and fulfills his promise to hunt her down?

[more]

front cover of Saving Seeds, Preserving Taste
Saving Seeds, Preserving Taste
Heirloom Seed Savers in Appalachia
Bill Best
Ohio University Press, 2013

The Brown Goose, the White Case Knife, Ora’s Speckled Bean, Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter—these are just a few of the heirloom fruits and vegetables you’ll encounter in Bill Best’s remarkable history of seed saving and the people who preserve both unique flavors and the Appalachian culture associated with them. As one of the people at the forefront of seed saving and trading for over fifty years, Best has helped preserve numerous varieties of beans, tomatoes, corn, squashes, and other fruits and vegetables, along with the family stories and experiences that are a fundamental part of this world. While corporate agriculture privileges a few flavorless but hardy varieties of daily vegetables, seed savers have worked tirelessly to preserve genetic diversity and the flavors rooted in the Southern Appalachian Mountains—referred to by plant scientists as one of the vegetative wonders of the world.

Saving Seeds, Preserving Taste will introduce readers to the cultural traditions associated with seed saving, as well as the remarkable people who have used grafting practices and hand-by-hand trading to keep alive varieties that would otherwise have been lost. As local efforts to preserve heirloom seeds have become part of a growing national food movement, Appalachian seed savers play a crucial role in providing alternatives to large-scale agriculture and corporate food culture. Part flavor guide, part people’s history, Saving Seeds, Preserving Taste will introduce you to a world you’ve never known—or perhaps remind you of one you remember well from your childhood.

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Shelter from the Machine
Homesteaders in the Age of Capitalism
Jason G. Strange
University of Illinois Press, 2020
”You’re either buried with your crystals or your shotgun.” That laconic comment captures the hippies-versus-hicks conflict that divides, and in some ways defines, modern-day homesteaders. It also reveals that back to-the-landers, though they may seek lives off the grid, remain connected to the most pressing questions confronting the United States today.

Jason Strange shows where homesteaders fit, and don't fit, within contemporary America. Blending history with personal stories, Strange visits pig roasts and bohemian work parties to find people engaged in a lifestyle that offers challenge and fulfillment for those in search of virtues like self-employment, frugality, contact with nature, and escape from the mainstream. He also lays bare the vast differences in education and opportunity that leave some homesteaders dispossessed while charting the tensions that arise when people seek refuge from the ills of modern society—only to find themselves indelibly marked by the system they dreamed of escaping.
[more]

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Southern Appalachian Farm Cooking
A Memoir of Food and Family
Robert G. Netherland
University of Tennessee Press, 2016

Part cookbook and part memoir, Southern Appalachian Farm Cooking blends staples of farm-fresh, Appalachian cuisine with stories of life on a large farm in East Tennessee, where homemade biscuits and harvest vegetables were the fruits of hard work and meager earnings. Robert G. Netherland begins with the family farm: a sprawling sixty acres of fertile, rolling hills located in the small town of Surgoinsville, Tennessee, situated between bends in the Holston River. From there, Netherland guides the reader through threshing wheat, churning butter, sharecroppers and country doctors, hunting and hog killing, and all the while sharing updated versions of his family’s recipes for authentic farm-to-table food.

From biscuits to cornbread, freshly shelled beans to red-ripe tomatoes, and savory meats to the sweetest cherry pies, Southern Appalachian Farm Cooking provides the home cook with recipes and historical asides to turn any trip to the farmer’s market into a delicious family affair. In sharing his experiences, Netherland reminds us of a time when prepackaged and plastic-wrapped food didn’t line our counters and fill our cabinets, but in its place were baskets of seasonal fruit, canned vegetables, fresh baked breads, and hot-from-the-oven cobblers. Southern Appalachian Farm Cooking is more than just a nostalgic memoir of farming and food, it’s also filled with healthy, simple, everyday eats for the modern cook.

[more]

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The Tennessee-Virginia Tri-Cities
Urbanization in Appalachia, 1900–1950
Tom Lee
University of Tennessee Press, 2005
In 1900, the Appalachian region of northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia began to change. The inhabitants were dependent on the resources of the rural land, but the arrival of railroads spawned industrialization. Over the next several decades, families moved down from the mountains into the valley of East Tennessee as workers took jobs in the developing urban centers. Country stores, two-lane roads, and cornfields would eventually give way to cities, multi-lane highways, and new housing. The Tri-Cities—Kingsport, Johnson City, and Bristol—were starting to form.
    
In this carefully documented book, Tom Lee uses archival material, newspapers, memoirs, and current scholarship in Appalachian studies to examine the economic changes that took place in the Tri-Cities region from 1900 to 1950. With modernization and urbanization, an urban-industrial strategy of economic development evolved. The entry of extractive industry into the mountains established the power of the urban elite to shape rural life. Local businessmen saw the route to financial strength in the recruitment of low-wage industry. Workers left struggling farms for factory jobs. This urban-rural relationship supported the Tri-Cities’ manufacturing economy and gave power to the area’s elite.
    
The New Deal and the Second World War broadened this relationship as federal funding sustained the economy. The advantages of urban centers after decades of development left rural communities on the verge of disappearance and dependent on the jobs, opportunities, and economic vision of the cities. By 1950, the power of Appalachia’s elite over the people of the region had extended beyond urban boundaries and brought about the conditions necessary for the creation of the metropolitan Tri-Cities area of today.
    
Readers will gain a better understanding of the complexity of modernization in Appalachia and the rural South from this engaging book.

Tom Lee earned a PhD in history from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and is assistant professor of history at Hiwassee College in Madisonville, Tennessee.


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To Live Here, You Have to Fight
How Women Led Appalachian Movements for Social Justice
Jessica Wilkerson
University of Illinois Press, 2019
Launched in 1964, the War on Poverty quickly took aim at the coalfields of southern Appalachia. There, the federal government found unexpected allies among working-class white women devoted to a local tradition of citizen caregiving and seasoned by decades of activism and community service.

Jessica Wilkerson tells their stories within the larger drama of efforts to enact change in the 1960s and 1970s. She shows white Appalachian women acting as leaders and soldiers in a grassroots war on poverty--shaping and sustaining programs, engaging in ideological debates, offering fresh visions of democratic participation, and facing personal political struggles. Their insistence that caregiving was valuable labor clashed with entrenched attitudes and rising criticisms of welfare. Their persistence, meanwhile, brought them into unlikely coalitions with black women, disabled miners, and others to fight for causes that ranged from poor people's rights to community health to unionization.

Inspiring yet sobering, To Live Here, You Have to Fight reveals Appalachian women as the indomitable caregivers of a region--and overlooked actors in the movements that defined their time.

[more]

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To Make My Bread
Grace Lumpkin
University of Illinois Press, 1959
      A story of the growth of the
        new South, To Make My Bread revolves around a family of Appalachian
        mountaineers—small farmers, hunters, and moonshiners—driven
        by economic conditions to the milltown and transformed into millhands,
        strikers, and rebels against the established order. Recognized as one
        of the major works on the Gastonia textile strike, Grace Lumpkin's novel
        is also important for anyone interested in cultural or feminist history
        as it deals with early generations of women radicals committed to addressing
        the difficult connections of class and race. Suzanne Sowinska's introduction
        looks at Lumpkin's volatile career and this book's critical reception.
      Originally published in 1932
      "[The book's] meaning
        rises out of people in dramatic conflict with other people and with the
        conditions of their life. . . . [Lumpkin] treats her theme with a craftsman's
        and a psychologist's respect. The novel springs naturally from its author's
        immersion in and personal knowledge of her absorbing subject material."
        -- The New York Times
      "Unpretentious . . .
        written in a simple and matter-of-fact prose, and yet reading it has been
        a more real, more satisfying experience than that which almost any other
        recent work of fiction has given me. I cannot imagine how anyone could
        read it and not be moved by it." -- The Nation
      "A beautiful and sincere
        novel, outstanding." -- The New Republic
      The late
 
[more]

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Wingless Flights
Appalachian Women in Fiction
Danny L. Miller
University of Wisconsin Press, 1996
In this innovative work, Danny L. Miller surveys some of the depictions of mountain women from the 1880s to the 1950s, in the writings of Mary Noailles Murfree, Edith Summers Kelley, Anne W. Armstrong, Emma Bell Miles, Jesse Stuart, James Still, and Harriette Arnow. The major aims of the study are to show changes in the descriptions of mountain women—from non-native to native portrayals; from romantic to realistic presentations; and from an emphasis on victimization and drudgery to an emphasis on strength and endurance. Miller identifies qualities that have consistently characterized mountain women in literature.
[more]

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Women, Power, and Dissent in the Hills of Carolina
Mary K. Anglin
University of Illinois Press, 2002

Women, Power, and Dissent in the Hills of Carolina is a unique and impassioned exploration of gender, labor, and resistance in western North Carolina. Based on eight months of field research in a mica manufacturing plant and the surrounding rural community, as well as oral histories of women who worked in mica houses in the early twentieth century, this landmark study canvasses the history of the mica industry and the ways it came to be organized around women's labor.

Mary K. Anglin's investigation of working women's lives in the plant she calls "Moth Hill Mica Company" reveals the ways women have contributed to household and regional economies for more than a century. Without union support or recognition as skilled laborers, these women developed alternate strategies for challenging the poor working conditions, paltry wages, and corporate rhetoric of Moth Hill. Utilizing the power of memory and strong family and community ties, as well as their own interpretations of gender and culture, the women have found ways to "boss themselves."

[more]

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A Year without Months
Charles Dodd White
West Virginia University Press, 2022

“A beautiful, powerful book. Read it and be changed.”—Jim Minick

This collection of fourteen essays by Charles Dodd White—praised by Silas House as “one of the best prose stylists of Appalachian literature”—explores the boundaries of family, loss, masculinity, and place. Contemplating the suicides of his father, uncle, and son, White meditates on what it means to go on when seemingly everything worth living for is lost. What he discovers is an intimate connection to the natural world, a renewed impulse to understand his troubled family history, and a devotion to following the clues that point to the possibility of a whole life.

Avoiding easy sentiment and cliché, White’s transformative language drives toward renewal. A Year without Months introduces lively and memorable characters, as the author draws on a wide range of emotions to analyze everything, including himself.

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