Thomas E. Wagner and Phillip J. Obermiller's African American Miners and Migrants documents the lives of Eastern Kentucky Social Club (EKSC) members, a group of black Appalachians who left the eastern Kentucky coalfields and their coal company hometowns in Harlan County.
Bound together by segregation, the inherent dangers of mining, and coal company paternalism, it might seem that black miners and mountaineers would be eager to forget their past. Instead, members of the EKSC have chosen to celebrate their Harlan County roots. African American Miners and Migrants uses historical and archival research and extensive personal interviews to explore their reasons and the ties that still bind them to eastern Kentucky. The book also examines life in the model coal towns of Benham and Lynch in the context of Progressive Era policies, the practice of welfare capitalism, and the contemporary national trend of building corporate towns and planned communities.
What happens when fossil fuels run out? How do communities and cultures survive?
Central Appalachia and south Wales were built to extract coal, and faced with coal’s decline, both regions have experienced economic depression, labor unrest, and out-migration. After Coal focuses on coalfield residents who chose not to leave, but instead remained in their communities and worked to build a diverse and sustainable economy. It tells the story of four decades of exchange between two mining communities on opposite sides of the Atlantic, and profiles individuals and organizations that are undertaking the critical work of regeneration.
The stories in this book are told through interviews and photographs collected during the making of After Coal, a documentary film produced by the Center for Appalachian Studies at Appalachian State University and directed by Tom Hansell. Considering resonances between Appalachia and Wales in the realms of labor, environment, and movements for social justice, the book approaches the transition from coal as an opportunity for marginalized people around the world to work toward safer and more egalitarian futures.
The appearance of Alain Resnais' 1955 French documentary Night and Fog heralded the beginning of a new form of cinema, one that used the narrative techniques of modernism to provoke a new historical consciousness. Afterimage presents a theory of posttraumatic film based on the encounter between cinema and the Holocaust. Locating its origin in the vivid shock of wartime footage, Afterimage focuses on a group of crucial documentary and fiction films that were pivotal to the spread of this cinematic form across different nations and genres.
Joshua Hirsch explores the changes in documentary brought about by cinema verite, culminating in Shoah. He then turns to teh appearance of a fictional posttraumatic cinema, tracing its development through the vivid flashbacks in Resnais' Hiroshima, mon amour to the portrayal of pain and memory in Pawnbroker. He excavates a posttraumatic autobiography in three early films by the Hungarian Istvan Szabo. Finally, Hirsch examines the effects of postmodernism on posttraumatic cinema, looking at Schindler's List and a work about a different form of historical trauma, History and Memory, a videotape dealing with the internment of Japanese Americans during the Second World War.
Sweeping in its scope, Afterimage presents a new way of thinking about film and history, trauma and its representation.
John Anthony Caruso’s The Appalachian Frontier, first published in 1959, captures the drama and sweep of a nation at the beginning of its westward expansion. Bringing to life the region’s history from its earliest seventeenth-century scouting parties to the admission of Tennessee to the Union in 1796, Caruso describes the exchange of ideas, values, and cultural traits that marked Appalachia as a unique frontier.
Looking at the rich and mountainous land between the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers, The Appalachian Frontier follows the story of the Long Hunters in Kentucky; the struggles of the Regulators in North Carolina; the founding of the Watauga, Transylvania, Franklin, and Cumberland settlements; the siege of Boonesboro; and the patterns and challenges of frontier life. While narrating the gripping stories of such figures as Daniel Boone, George Rogers Clark, and Chief Logan, Caruso combines social, political, and economic history into a comprehensive overview of the early mountain South.
In his new introduction, John C. Inscoe examines how this work exemplified the so-called consensus school of history that arose in the United States during the cold war. Unabashedly celebratory in his analysis of American nation building, Caruso shows how the development of Appalachia fit into the grander scheme of the evolution of the country. While there is much in The Appalachian Frontier that contemporary historians would regard as one-sided and romanticized, Inscoe points out that “those of us immersed so deeply in the study of the region and its people sometimes tend to forget that the white settlement of the mountain south in the eighteenth century was not merely the chronological foundation of the Appalachian experience. As Caruso so vividly demonstrates, it is also represented a vital—even defining—stage in the American progression across the continent.”
The Author: John Anthony Caruso was a professor of history at West Virginia University. He died in 1997.
John C. Inscoe is professor of history at the University of Georgia. He is editor of Appalachians and Race: The Mountain South from Slavery to Segregation and author of Mountain Masters: Slavery and the Sectional Crisis in Western North Carolina.
“This book is a unique study of race and racism across two centuries in the hinterland of the upper South. Its implications are at once depressingly familiar and distinctly fresh.” —W. Fitzhugh Brundage, author of Lynching in the New South: Georgia and Virginia, 1880–1930
From the earliest days when slaves were brought to western Kentucky, the descendants of both slaves and slave owners in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, have continued to inhabit the same social and historic space. Part ethnography and part historical narrative, Been Coming through Some Hard Times offers a penetrating look at this southern town and the surrounding counties, delving particularly into the ways in which its inhabitants have remembered and publicly represented race relations in their community.
Neither Deep South nor Appalachian, this western Kentucky borderland presented unique opportunities for African American communities and also deep, lasting tensions with powerful whites. Glazier conducted fieldwork in Hopkinsville for some ten months, examining historical evidence, oral histories, and the racialized hierarchy found in the final resting places of black and white citizens. His analysis shows how structural inequality continues to prevail in Hopkinsville. The book’s ethnographic vignettes of worship services, school policy disputes, segregated cemeteries, a “dressing like our ancestors” day at an elementary school, and black family reunions poignantly illustrate the ongoing debate over the public control of memory. Ultimately, the book critiques the lethargy of white Americans who still fail to recognize the persistence of white privilege and therefore stunt the development of a truly multicultural society.
Glazier’s personal investment in this subject is clear. Been Coming through Some Hard Times began as an exploration of the life of James Bass, an African American who settled in Hopkinsville in 1890 and whose daughter, Idella Bass, cared for Glazier as a child. Her remarkable life profoundly influenced Glazier and led him to investigate her family’s roots in the town. This personal dimension makes Glazier’s ethnohistorical account especially nuanced and moving. Here is a uniquely revealing look at how the racial injustices of the past impinge quietly but insidiously upon the present in a distinctive, understudied region.
JACK GLAZIER is a professor of anthropology at Oberlin College. He is the author of Dispersing the Ghetto: The Relocation of Jewish Immigrants across America and Land and the Uses of Tradition among the Mbeere of Kenya.
In Beyond Mammoth Cave: A Tale of Obsession in the World’ s Longest Cave, James D. Borden and Roger W. Brucker provide gripping first-person accounts of the discoveries, including Roppel Cave, that made Kentucky’ s Mammoth Cave three times longer than any other cave in the world.
Borden, a relative newcomer, and Brucker, a veteran explorer, bring a personal and sometimes conflicting view of their roles as adversaries in a race that lasted from 1972 through 1983 to find “ big cave.” They describe hazardous adventures, precarious climbs, and close calls from falling rocks. The perils are many and the trek arduous as they squirm through muddy tubes, wade in neck-deep cold water, and crawl over sharp rocks and gritty sand. Theirs is a tale of agonizing endurance spiced by spectacular discoveries.
But the cave was not the sole obstacle. The explorations were complicated by political intrigue and the rivalry between the Kentucky-based Cave Research Foundation and the Central Kentucky Karst Coalition, each seeking to make discoveries and hide secrets. Extreme stress, of course, evoked extreme behavior, ranging from selfishness to sacrifice, from outrageous humor to the deadly serious response.
Beyond Mammoth Cave includes maps by Patricia Kambesis that show the progression of cave discoveries in relation to the topography. Original line drawings by well-known illustrator Linda Heslop capture the dark mystery of the exploration. The book features five black and white photographs as a color gallery of photographs.
A sequel to The Longest Cave by Brucker and Richard A. Watson, this book is a comprehensive update of the speleological investigations in the Mammoth Cave region. Brucker’ s involvement provides continuity to the investigation.
Between 1776 and the mid-1800s, the number of Baptists in the United States grew at a staggering
rate, rising from fifty thousand at the outbreak of revolution to more than a million as the nation
edged toward civil war. As the Second Great Awakening swept through the Old Southwest, it generated
religious enthusiasm among Methodist and Baptist converts who were intent upon replacing
old forms of Protestantism with an evangelical vibrancy that reflected and often contributed
to the unsettled social relations of the new republic. No place was better suited to embrace this
enthusiasm than Kentucky. In Born of Water and Spirit, Richard C. Traylor explores the successes
and failures of Baptists in this area, using it as a window into the elements of Baptist life
that transcended locale.
Traylor argues that the achievements of Baptists in Kentucky reflect, in many ways, their success
and coming of age in the early national period of America. The factionalism that characterized
frontier Baptists, he asserts, is an essential key to understanding who the colonial Baptists had
been, who they were becoming in the late eighteenth through the mid-nineteenth centuries, and
who they would become after the Civil War.
In this highly nuanced study, Traylor looks at the denomination in light of what he calls its
“Baptist impulse”—the movement’s fluid structure and democratic spirit. These characteristics
have proven to be its greatest strength as well as the source of its most terrible struggles. Yet, confronting
theological clashes, along with the challenges that come with growth, forged the Baptist
identity and shaped its future.
The first three chapters examine the primary elements of the impulse: rituals of conversion,
baptism, and communion; the Baptist preacher; and the significance of the local church to the
sect. Following these chapters are explorations of the reformations and forces of change in the
early to mid-1800s, the role of women and African Americans in developing the group, and the
refinement and reorientation of priorities from 1840 to 1860. This important denominational history
will be of great value to scholars of American religious history and the history of the early
Richard C. Traylor is a professor of history at Hardin-Simmons University in
Abilene, Texas. His articles have been published in Baptist History and Heritage and
Missouri Historical Review.
By the Noble Daring of Her Sons is a tale of ordinary Florida citizens who, during extraordinary times, were called to battle against their fellow countrymen.
Over the past twenty years, historians have worked diligently to explore Florida’s role in the Civil War. Works describing the state’s women and its wartime economy have contributed to this effort, yet until recently the story of Florida’s soldiers in the Confederate armies has been little studied.
This volume explores the story of schoolmates going to war and of families left behind, of a people fighting to maintain a society built on slavery and of a state torn by political and regional strife. Florida in 1860 was very much divided between radical democrats and conservatives.
Before the war the state’s inhabitants engaged in bitter political rivalries, and Sheppard argues that prior to secession Florida citizens maintained regional loyalties rather than considering themselves “Floridians.” He shows that service in Confederate armies helped to ease tensions between various political factions and worked to reduce the state’s regional divisions.
Sheppard also addresses the practices of prisoner parole and exchange, unit consolidation and its effects on morale and unit identity, politics within the Army of Tennessee, and conscription and desertion in the Southern armies. These issues come together to demonstrate the connection between the front lines and the home front.
What happened at or near the Cane Ridge meeting house in central Kentucky in August 1801 has become a legendary event in American religious history. Never before in America had so many thousands of people gathered for what became much more than the planned Presbyterian communion service. Never had so many families camped on the grounds. Never before had so many people been affected with involuntary physical exercises—sobbing, shouting, shaking, and swooning. And never before in American had a religious meeting led to so much national publicity, triggered so much controversy, or helped provoke such important denominational schisms.
Paul Conkin tells the story of Cane Ridge in all its dimensions. The backdrop involves the convoluted history of Scotch-Irish Presbyterianism in America, the pluralistic religious environment in early Kentucky, and the gradual evolution of a new form of evangelical religious culture in eighteenth-century America.
The aftermath was complex. Cane Ridge helped popularize religious camps and influenced the subsequent development of planned camp meetings. It exposed deep and developing divisions of doctrine among Presbyterian clergy, and contributed to the birth of two new denominations —Christians (Disciples of Christ) and Cumberland Presbyterians and furthered the growth of a new revival culture, keyed to a crisis-like conversion experience, even as it marked a gradual decline in sacramentalism.
One of America's most enduring forms of public worship, the camp meeting had its beginnings at the dawn of the nineteenth century during the “Great Revival” that swept the newly settled regions of the young republic. Camping out at religious gatherings brought people from diverse backgrounds into close and sustained contact, creating a small society governed by religious harmony. The culmination of this phenonenon came in 1801 at Cane Ridge Presbyterian meetinghouse in Kentucky, where more than ten thousand people gathered for a week of worship and fellowship.
To trace the origins of the camp meeting, Ellen Eslinger follows Kentucky's development from its initial settlement in 1775 to the eve of the Great Revival. She describes how a region first characterized by border warfare during the Revolution quickly cast off its frontier beginnings. Even so, she demonstrates, settlers found it difficult to cope with challenges posed by economic competition, political partisanship, and cultural conflict. In this time of uncertainty, camp meetings brought a restored sense of community attachment, merging Christian and republican ideals to create a new model of American society.
Citizens of Zion does more than explain a particular instance of religious revivalism; it explores the creation of a new form of worship that enabled people to relate more comfortably to a changing society through an intense collective experience. It explains how early camp meeting revivalism—as exemplified by the Cane Ridge gathering—differed significantly from both earlier evangelical forms and later manifestations. Camp meeting revivalism, Eslinger shows, eventually came to reflect the emerging liberal culture, but its early years reveal it as an important mechanism for reintegration into a rapidly transforming world.
The Author: Ellen Eslinger is associate professor of history at DePaul University.
Harriette Simpson Arnow is an American treasure. Of the twenty-five stories in this collection, fifteen were previously unpublished. Until now, the short fiction of Arnow has remained relatively obscure despite the literary acclaim given to her novels The Dollmaker and Hunter’s Horn. These stories, written early in her career for the most part, reveal an artistic vision and narrative skill and serve as harbingers for her later work. They echo her interest in both agrarian and urban communities, the sharpening of her social conscience, and her commitment to creating credible and complex characters. This collection is organized against the backdrop of her life, from Kentucky in the 1920s to Ohio and Kentucky in the 1930s and to Michigan in the 1940s. As Arnow fans read these early gems, they will be led from gravel roads to city pavement and open layers of Arnow’s development as a novelist to expose the full range of her contributions to American literature.
In 1938, Esquire purchased "The Hunters," which was eventually published as "The Two Hunters," a chilling story of a seventeen-year- old boy’s confrontation with a deputy sheriff. At the time, Esquire did not accept submissions from women, and its editors had no idea that writer H. L. Simpson was not a man. Years later, she admitted in an interview, "it worried me a little, that big lie, but I thought if they wanted a story, let them have it." Esquire paid her $125 for this story. The contributor’s notes at the back of the magazine include a photo of "H.L.Simpson," actually a photo of one of her brothers-in-law. It was her little joke on a publisher that discriminated against women....
—from the Introduction
In Creekside, dedicated archaeologist Meg Harrington guides her students in a race against time to protect the legacy of the past before bulldozers rip it to shreds.
The setting is a Kentucky pasture slated for development—the construction of the new Creekside subdivision. Once, that same beautiful stretch of land was home to three generations who experienced love, loss, and tragedy in their log cabin beside the creek. It was here during the late 18th century that Estelle Mullins struggled to build her home on the dangerous frontier.
In Meg’s 21st-century world of archaeology we read about excavation techniques, daily experiences at a dig, tight construction deadlines, the use of heavy equipment, report writing, artifact analysis, damage from looters and collectors, and the reality of site destruction in the path of modern development. The depiction of Estelle’s frontier life includes Kentucky’s early Euro-American settlement of the Cumberland Gap, encounters with Shawnee defending their land, Protestant fragmentation, the rise of religious fundamentalism, the immigrant stampede down the Ohio River, and the persistent issue of class-based land ownership.
The two partially interwoven story lines link artifact and place, ancestors and descendants, the present and the past, and inspire us to explore the personal connections between them all in fresh and vital ways.
By the end of the Civil War, Champ Ferguson had become a notorious criminal whose likeness covered the front pages of Harper’ s Weekly, Leslie’ s Illustrated, and other newspapers across the country. His crime? Using the war as an excuse to steal, plunder, and murder Union civilians and soldiers.
CumberlandBlood: Champ Ferguson’ s Civil War offers insights into Ferguson's lawless brutality and a lesser-known aspect of the Civil War, the bitter guerrilla conflict in the Appalachian highlands, extending from the Carolinas through Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia. This compelling volume delves into the violent story of Champ Ferguson, who acted independently of the Confederate army in a personal war that eventually garnered the censure of Confederate officials.
Author Thomas D. Mays traces Ferguson's life in the Cumberland highlands of southern Kentucky, where— even before the Civil War began— he had a reputation as a vicious killer.
Ferguson, a rising slave owner, sided with the Confederacy while many of his neighbors and family members took up arms for the Union. For Ferguson and others in the highlands, the war would not be decided on the distant fields of Shiloh or Gettysburg: it would be local— and personal.
Cumberland Blood describes how Unionists drove Ferguson from his home in Kentucky into Tennessee, where he banded together with other like-minded Southerners to drive the Unionists from the region. Northern sympathizers responded, and a full-scale guerrilla war erupted along the border in 1862. Mays notes that Ferguson's status in the army was never clear, and he skillfully details how raiders picked up Ferguson's gang to work as guides and scouts. In 1864, Ferguson and his gang were incorporated into the Confederate army, but the rogue soldier continued operating as an outlaw, murdering captured Union prisoners after the Battle of Saltville, Virginia.
Cumberland Blood, enhanced by twenty-one illustrations, is an illuminating assessment of one of the Civil War's most ruthless men.
Ferguson's arrest, trial, and execution after the war captured the attention of the nation in
1865, but his story has been largely forgotten. CumberlandBlood: Champ Ferguson's Civil War returns the story of Ferguson's private civil war to its place in history.
Kentucky’s Daniel Boone National Forest is one of the crown jewels of the Bluegrass State’s outdoor attractions. Yet until now, there has been no detailed guidebook on this beautiful area. Johnny Molloy, a veteran guidebook writer, has compiled a detailed resource for enjoyable adventures in the Daniel Boone National Forest (DBNF).
In this guide, Molloy leads readers through forty hikes within the natural wonders of DBNF, including Natural Bridge and Cumberland Falls. Descriptions of each hike are straightforward and accurate, so readers can focus on enjoying natural features, scenic overlooks, interesting geological formations, and landmarks along the trails. Hikers will see the best of the Cumberland Plateau, from exquisite arches to bluffs that offer extensive vistas to waterfalls that descend into sandstone cathedrals. The paths tread through deep forests in gorges cut by creeks and rivers and atop the Cumberland Plateau, where oak and pine forests range long distances. Rockhouses, caves, and other geological features stand out in these rich woodlands. Hikers may also encounter protected plants and animals along these trails, including the red-cockaded woodpecker, Virginia big-eared bat, freshwater mussels, white-haired goldenrod, and the black bear.
Detailed, easy-to-follow directions for each trail will allow hikers to progress on their chosen course without frustrating detours. The hikes range in distance, difficulty, and destination, offering the full breadth of hiking experiences to be had within the DBNF. The shortest hike is under a mile, and the longest is ten, with most somewhere in the middle. Hikers can use the chart at beginning of the book to select the perfect trail for their experience level and desires. Also included are detailed trail maps and photos.
For the new hiker as well as the experienced outdoor adventurer, Day Hiking Kentucky’s Daniel Boone National Forest is sure to become an indispensable guide to one of Kentucky’s national treasures.
Johnny Molloy has published more than sixty books about hiking and other forms of outdoor adventure, including Trial by Trail: Backpacking in the Smoky Mountains, second edition, and Mount Rogers National Recreation Area Guidebook: A Complete Resource for Outdoor Enthusiasts, third edition.
Margaret Garner was the runaway slave who, when confronted with capture just outside of Cincinnati, slit the throat of her toddler daughter rather than have her face a life in slavery. Her story has inspired Toni Morrison’s Beloved, a film based on the novel starring Oprah Winfrey, and an opera. Yet, her life has defied solid historical treatment. In Driven toward Madness, Nikki M. Taylor brilliantly captures her circumstances and her transformation from a murdering mother to an icon of tragedy and resistance.
Taylor, the first African American woman to write a history of Garner, grounds her approach in black feminist theory. She melds history with trauma studies to account for shortcomings in the written record. In so doing, she rejects distortions and fictionalized images; probes slavery’s legacies of sexual and physical violence and psychic trauma in new ways; and finally fleshes out a figure who had been rendered an apparition.
Excavations at Wickliffe Mounds
Kit W. Wesler, with a foreword by Victoria G. Fortner University of Alabama Press, 2001 Library of Congress E99.M6815W47 2001 | Dewey Decimal 976.996
Wesler provides an impressive and definitive compilation of more than 70 years of archaeological excavations at one of the most important
archaeological sites in Kentucky.
The Wickliffe Mounds site is located on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River in Ballard County, Kentucky, about three miles south of the mouth of the Ohio River. Around A.D. 1100, Mississippian people--farmers and traders with a culture closely related to the historic cultures of the Southeast (Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and others)—created a settlement there on which they lived for approximately 250 years before moving on.
In 1930 road construction cut a channel through the site, revealing archaeological deposits and bringing the area to the attention of Fain King, a local lumberman and entrepreneur. King bought the site in hopes of turning it into an attraction for the education and entertainment of the public, and not incidentally for his own profit. For more than 50 years the area was subjected to excavations ranging from looting to professional research efforts. In 1983, the site was finally turned over to Murray State University to be developed into an academic facility dedicated to research, student training, public education, and preservation of the site and its collections. Fortunately, the Wickliffe collections include all the early excavation records as well as more than 85,000 artifacts, 90% of which had been catalogued. Between 1984 and 1996 excavations were conducted specifically to affirm questionable data and/or fill in gaps in the Wickliffe archaeological record.
In this volume, Wesler and his colleagues have compiled data from almost seven decades of excavations at Wickliffe Mounds, providing the first comprehensive study of this important site. The paperback version of the book is accompanied by a CD-ROM that contains contributions from a wide range of archaeological specialists and includes archaeological data, site maps, database files, plats of excavations, artifact descriptions, and photographs, compiling in one place the entire archaeological record for this very important eastern North American site.
Face Boss tells a story that few people have heard: what it is really like to labor inside the dark and dangerous world of a vast underground coal mine. With unflinching honesty, as well as considerable humor and insight, Michael Guillerman recalls his nearly eighteen years of working as both a union miner and a salaried section foreman-or “face boss”-at the Peabody Coal Company's Camp No. 2 mine in Union County, Kentucky.
Guillerman undertook this memoir because of the many misconceptions about coal mining that were evidenced most recently in the media coverage of the 2006 Sago Mine disaster. Shedding some much-needed light on this little-understood topic, Face Boss is riveting, authentic, and often raw. Guillerman describes in stark detail the risks, dangers, and uncertainties of coal mining: the wildcat and contract strikes, layoffs, shutdowns, mine fires, methane ignitions, squeezes, and injuries. But he also discusses the good times that emerged despite perilous working conditions: the camaraderie and immense sense of accomplishment that came with mining hundreds of tons of coal every day. Along the way, Guillerman spices his narrative with numerous anecdotes from his many years on the job and discusses race relations within mining culture and the expanding role of women in the industry.
While the book contributes significantly to the general knowledge of contemporary mining, Face Boss is also a tribute to those men and women who toil anonymously beneath the rolling hills of western Kentucky and the other coal-rich regions of the United States. More than just the story of one man's life and career, it is a stirring testament to the ingenuity, courage, and perseverance of the American coal miner.
Michael D. Guillerman worked for the Peabody Coal Company from 1974 to 1991. Over his long career, his jobs included belt shoveler, timberman, shooter, drill and shuttle car operator, rock duster, and finally section foreman. Now retired, he lives with his wife, Marie, in Union County, Kentucky.
Focusing on the life of ambitious former slave Conway Barbour, Victoria L. Harrison argues that the idea of a black middle class traced its origins to the free black population of the mid-nineteenth century and developed alongside the idea of a white middle class. Although slavery and racism meant that the definition of middle class was not identical for white people and free people of color, they shared similar desires for advancement.
Born a slave in western Virginia about 1815, Barbour was a free man by the late 1840s. His adventurous life took him through Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky; Cleveland, Ohio; Alton, Illinois; and Little Rock and Lake Village, Arkansas. In search of upward mobility, he worked as a steamboat steward, tried his hand at several commercial ventures, and entered politics. He sought, but was denied, a Civil War military appointment that would have provided financial stability. Blessed with intelligence, competence, and energy, Barbour was quick to identify opportunities as they appeared in personal relationships—he was simultaneously married to two women—business, and politics.
Despite an unconventional life, Barbour found in each place he lived that he was one of many free black people who fought to better themselves alongside their white countrymen. Harrison’s argument about black class formation reframes the customary narrative of downtrodden free African Americans in the mid-nineteenth century and engages current discussions of black inclusion, the concept of “otherness,” and the breaking down of societal barriers. Demonstrating that careful research can reveal the stories of people who have been invisible to history, Fight Like a Tiger complicates our understanding of the intersection of race and class in the Civil War era.
This first-ever pictorial record of the people and methods of the Illinois-Kentucky Fluorspar District from the 1900s to the 1990s covers early and modern means of extracting, hoisting, processing, and transporting the mineral from mine mouth to end user. Nearly one hundred images carefully selected by author Herbert K. Russell show early pick-and-shovel extraction and open-flame lighting as well as primitive drilling methods and transportation by barrels, buckets, barges, mule teams, and trams, in addition to the use of modern equipment and sophisticated refinement procedures such as froth flotation. Russell also provides an overview of the many industrial uses of fluorspar, from metal work by ancient Romans to the processing of uranium by scientists seeking to perfect the atomic bomb. Preserving what is known about the industry by miners, managers, and museums, this detailed and fascinating pictorial history looks both above and below ground at fluorspar mining.
Fort Donelson's Legacy portrays the tapestry of war and society in the upper southern heartland of Tennessee and Kentucky after the key Union victories at Forts Henry and Donelson in February 1862. Those victories, notes Benjamin Franklin Cooling, could have delivered the decisive blow to the Confederacy in the West and ended the war in that theater. Instead, what followed was terrible devastation and bloodshed that embroiled soldier and civilian alike.
Cooling compellingly describes a struggle that was marked not only by the movement of armies and the strategies of generals but also by the rise of guerrilla bands and civil resistance. It was, in part, a war fought for geography—for rivers and railroads and for strategic cities such as Nashville, Louisville, and Chattanooga. But it was also a war for the hearts and minds of the populace. "Stubborn civilian opposition to Union invaders," Cooling writes, "prompted oppressive military occupation, subversion of civil liberties, and confiscation of personal property in the name of allegiance to the United States—or to the Confederacy, for that matter, since some Unionist southerners resented Confederate intrusion fully as much as their secessionist neighbors opposed Yankee government."
In exploring the complex terrain of "total war" that steadily engulfed Tennessee and Kentucky, Cooling draws on a huge array of sources, including official military records and countless diaries and memoirs. He makes considerable use of the words of participants to capture the attitudes and concerns of those on both sides. The result is a masterful addition to Civil War literature that integrates the military, social, political, and economic aspects of the conflict into a large and endlessly fascinating picture.
A fascinating collection of ghost stories, tales of the supernatural, death beliefs and death sayings that remain as a vestige of the part in south central Kentucky's "Pennyrile" region.
"This unique and extremely valuable book adds considerably to the area of folklore studies in the United States. The material which Montell obtained in his field work is superb."
"This book is to be recommended to both folklorists and those non-folklorists who read folklore for enjoyment alone. It makes an important contribution to the study of deathlore and, it is to be hoped, will draw added attention to this multi-generic subject area."
--David J. Hufford, Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin.
"Professor Montell's book can well be viewed as a standard of excellence: a direct, articulate and cataloged approach for future study and implementation in the fields of folklore and oral history."
--Joan Perkal, Oral History Association Newsletter.
"The book gives fascinating accounts of death beliefs, death omens, folk beliefs associated with the dead, and in the major section, ghosts narratives. A fine combination of scholarship and chilling narration to be relished by firelight in an old deserted house in the hills."
"Professor Montell has arranged beliefs and experiences about death of a particular group of people in such a way that a whole new aspect of the people's lives comes to focus."
--Loyal Jones, The Filson Club HIstory Quarterly.
At her death in 1986, Harriette Simpson Arnow left a modest collection of published work: ten short stories, five novels, two non-fiction books, a short autobiography, and nineteen essays and book reviews. Although the sum is small, her writing has been examined from regionalist, Marxist, feminist, and other critical perspectives.
The 1970s saw the first serious attempts to revive interest in Arnow. In 1971, Tillie Olsen identified her as a writer whose "books of great worth suffer the death of being unknown, or at best, a peculiar eclipsing." Joyse Carol Oates wrote in The New York Times Book Review that Arnow's The Dollmaker is "our most unpretentious American masterpiece."
In the 1990s, it is appropriate to take stock of her earlier work and to prompt reexamination of this powerful yet poorly understood writer. This collection of critical essays examines traditional as well as new interpretations of Arnow and her work. It also suggests future directions for Arnow scholarship and includes studies of all of Arnow's writing, fiction and non-fiction, published and unpublished.
Far from the glittering lights of Broadway, in a city known more for its horse racing than its artistic endeavors, an annual festival in Louisville, Kentucky, has transformed the landscape of the American theater. The Actors Theatre of Louisville—the Tony Award–winning state theater of Kentucky—in 1976 successfully created what became the nation's most respected new-play festival, the Humana Festival of New American Plays.
The Humana Festival: The History of New Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville examines the success of the festival and theater’s Pulitzer Prize–winning productions that for decades have reflected new-play trends in regional theaters and on Broadway—the result of the calculated decisions, dogged determination, and good luck of its producing director, Jon Jory.
The volume details how Actors Theatre of Louisville was established, why the Humana Festival became successful in a short time, and how the event’s success has been maintained by the Louisville venue that has drawn theater critics from around the world for more than thirty years.
Author Jeffrey Ullom charts the theater’s early struggles to survive, the battles between troupe leaders, and the desperate measures to secure financial support from the Louisville community. He examines how Jory established and expanded the festival to garner extraordinary local support, attract international attention, and entice preeminent American playwrights to premier their works in the Kentucky city.
In The Humana Festival, Ullom provides a broad view of new-play development within artistic, administrative, and financial contexts. He analyzes the relationship between Broadway and regional theaters, outlining how the Humana Festival has changed the process of new-play development and even Broadway’s approach to discovering new work, and also highlights the struggles facing regional theaters across the country as they strive to balance artistic ingenuity and economic viability.
Offering a rare look at the annual event, The Humana Festival provides the first insider’s view of the extraordinary efforts that produced the nation’s most successful new-play festival.
Harriette Simpson Arnow Michigan State University Press, 1997 Library of Congress PS3501.R64H86 1997 | Dewey Decimal 813.52
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.
I. J. Schwartz University of Alabama Press, 1990 Library of Congress PJ5129.S298K413 1990 | Dewey Decimal 839.0913
An epic poem about life in America in the early 20th century, as perceived by a Jewish immigrant.
Kentucky is the first major work in Yiddish literature to present America as its primary theme. The long epic poem paints a rich picture of life in Kentucky just after the Civil War. Written between 1918 and 1922 by Lithuanian-born writer, I. J. Schwartz, it first appeared in the Yiddish journal Zukunft and later, in 1925, was published as a book. Although unknown to English readers until this translation, the book was a primary text for immigrants and potential immigrants in places as remote as Poland and Argentina who received their first impressions of America from its pages. Parts of it were even set to music and sung in choruses around the world.
First published in 1849 and largely unavailable for many years, The Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb is among the most remarkable slave narratives. Born on a Kentucky plantation in 1815, Bibb first attempted to escape from bondage at the age of ten. He was recaptured and escaped several more times before he eventually settled in Detroit, Michigan, and joined the antislavery movement as a lecturer.
Bibb’s story is different in many ways from the widely read Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave and Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. He was owned by a Native American; he is one of the few ex-slave autobiographers who had labored in the Deep South (Louisiana); and he writes about folkways of the slaves, especially how he used conjure to avoid punishment and to win the hearts of women. Most significant, he is unique in exploring the importance of marriage and family to him, recounting his several trips to free his wife and child. This new edition includes an introduction by literary scholar Charles Heglar and a selection of letters and editorials by Bibb.
Because textiles rarely are preserved in the archaeological record outside of deserts and permafrost areas, in many regions of the world very little is known about their characteristics, functions, production technology, or socioeconomic importance. While this fact is also true of organic fabrics produced during the Mississippian period in southeastern North Anerica, a wide variety of Mississippian textiles has been preserved in the form of impressions on large pottery vessels. From attribute analysis of 1,574 fabrics impressed on Wickliffe pottery sherds and comparison of the impressions with extant Mississippian textile artifacts, Drooker presents the first comparative analysis of these materials and the most inclusive available summary of information on Mississippian textiles.
When Fort Sumter fell to Confederate troops in April 1861, most states quickly declared their allegiances to the North or South. Kentucky, however, assumed an antiwar posture that outlasted Fort Sumter by five months, begrudgingly joining the Union cause only when Confederate troops marched into the state and seized the town of Columbus. With its hesitancy to make an immediate commitment and faced with the conflicting sentiments of its people, Kentucky stood as a microcosm of the nation’s dilemma. In the first comprehensive examination of Kentucky’s secession crisis in nearly ninety years, Gary R. Matthews examines the antebellum social, economic, and political issues that distinguished Kentucky from the rest of the slave and border states, identifying it instead with a national perspective and its own peculiar form of Unionism.
On the eve of the Civil War, Kentucky’s affinity for the South was based on historical and cultural similarities, including the presence of slavery and a powerful “master class.” However, the planter class that dominated early Kentucky was supplanted in the 1830s by an urban middle class that challenged both the need for slavery and the authority of the master class. Matthews analyzes the dichotomy of these two groups, examines emancipation efforts in Kentucky, and explores the intricacies of Whig politics to show how Kentucky differed from the “southern” model in significant ways. He also explains how geographical components, most importantly the southern Appalachian Mountains and the Ohio-Mississippi River system, helped define Kentucky’s singular role in antebellum America.
As Matthews shows, Kentuckians desired both Union and slavery, and saw secession as a threat to both. The state’s unique political and economic identities had been established long before the sectional crisis, and its self-interests could be best served in a national as opposed to a sectional environment. By choosing neutrality and then Unionism, the Kentucky of 1861 proved it was more American than southern.
Gary R. Matthews, an independent historian and freelance writer, is the author of Basil Wilson Duke, CSA: The Right Man in the Right Place.
In the late nineteenth century, industrialization was making its way into rural America. In an agricultural region of Kentucky and Tennessee called the Black Patch for the dark tobacco grown there, big business arrived with a vengeance, eliminating competition, manipulating prices, and undermining local control. The farmers fought back. Night Riders tells the story of the struggle that followed, and reveals the ambiguities and complexities of a drama that convulsed this community for over two decades. Christopher Waldrep shows that, contrary to many accounts, these wealthy tobacco planters did not resist these new forces simply because of a nostalgia for a bygone time. Instead, many sought to become modern capitalists themselves--but on their own terms. The South's rural elite found their ability to hire and control black labor--the established racial practice of the community--threatened by the low prices offered by big companies for their raw materials. In response, farmers organized and demanded better prices for their tobacco. The tobacco companies then attempted to divide the farmers by offering higher prices to those willing to break with the others. When some cultivators succumbed, their betrayal awakened a deeply rooted vigilante tradition that called for the protection of community at all costs. Waldrep analyzes the spasm of violence that ensued in which horsemen, riding at night, destroyed tobacco barns and the warehouses where the companies stored their tobacco. But despite this fierce upheaval, the Black Patch community endured. The most thorough treatment ever given to the Black Patch war, Night Riders illuminates a moment in history in which the traditional and the modern, the rural and the industrial, fought for the future--and past--of a community.
A dynamic figure in the pages of history, Major General William “Bull” Nelson played a formative role in the Union’s success in Kentucky and the Western theater of the Civil War. Now, Donald A. Clark presents a long-overdue examination of this irascible officer, his numerous accomplishments, and his grim fate. More popularly known for his temper than his intrepid endeavors on behalf of the North, Nelson nevertheless dedicated much of his life to his nation and the preservation of the Union.
The child of a privileged family, Nelson was one of the first officers to graduate from the newly formed U.S. Naval Academy. His years in the Navy imbued in him the qualities of bravery, loyalty, and fortitude; however, his term of service also seemed to breed an intolerance of others for which he became infamous, and that ultimately led to his violent downfall. Clark sheds new light upon Nelson’s pre–Civil War years as a naval officer, when he became a hardened veteran of battle, fighting at the siege of Veracruz and the capture of Tabasco during the Mexican War in the 1840s. On the basis of Nelson’s military experience, in 1861 President Lincoln sent him to Kentucky—which was considering secession—and Nelson rallied loyalists and helped the Union prepare to maintain control of the state during the next several years of war.
Nelson went on to prove instrumental in blocking Confederate attempts to subdue Kentucky and the West, serving important roles in the battle of Shiloh, General Henry W. Halleck’s advance against Corinth, and Brigadier General Don Carlos Buell’s movement toward Chattanooga. But while some viewed his bold maneuvers as the saving of the state, many others, including such notables as Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman, argued that Nelson’s actions merited no praise. Unfortunately for the general, the question of his value to the Union abruptly became moot, as his achievements were shortly overshadowed by ignominious rumors of scandal and abuse.
His involvement in the defense of Louisville gave Nelson a chance to redeem himself and restore his military reputation, but the general’s famous temper soon robbed him of any potential glory. During September of 1862, in a crime that was never prosecuted, fellow Union general Jefferson C. Davis shot and killed Nelson after an argument. Clark explores this remarkable exception in military law, arguing that while the fact of the murder was indisputable, many considered Davis a hero for having dispatched the so-called tyrant. Although Nelson eventually received many posthumous honors for his indispensable role in the war, justice was never sought for his murder.
A comprehensive study of this well-known, yet misunderstood American figure, The Notorious “Bull” Nelson: Murdered Civil War General is an illuminating addition to the history of the Civil War. Through Clark’s impeccable research and richly layered narrative, William “Bull” Nelson springs from the pages as large and volatile as he was in life.
Of Caves and Shell Mounds
Edited by Kenneth C. Carstens and Patty Jo Watson University of Alabama Press, 1996 Library of Congress E78.K3O34 1996 | Dewey Decimal 976.98
Ancient human groups in the Eastern Woodlands of North America were long viewed as homogeneous and stable hunter-gatherers, changing little until the late prehistoric period when Mesoamerican influences were thought to have stimulated important economic and social developments. The authors in this volume offer new, contrary evidence to dispute this earlier assumption, and their studies demonstrate the vigor and complexity of prehistoric peoples in the North American Midwest and Midsouth. These peoples gathered at favored places along midcontinental streams to harvest mussels and other wild foods and to inter their dead in the shell mounds that had resulted from their riverside activities. They created a highly successful, pre-maize agricultural system beginning more than 4,000 years ago, established far-flung trade networks, and explored and mined the world's longest cave—the Mammoth Cave System in Kentucky.
Kenneth C. Carstens, Cheryl Ann Munson, Guy Prentice, Kenneth B. Tankersley, Philip J. DiBlasi, Mary C. Kennedy, Jan Marie Hemberger, Gail E. Wagner, Christine K. Hensley, Valerie A. Haskins, Nicholas P. Herrmann, Mary Lucas Powell, Cheryl Claassen, David H. Dye, and Patty Jo Watson
On Homesickness: A Plea
Jesse Donaldson West Virginia University Press, 2017 Library of Congress PS3604.O5344O5 2017 | Dewey Decimal 813.61
2017 Mountain Heritage Literary Festival Appalachian Book of the Year
One day, Jesse Donaldson wakes up in Portland, Oregon, and asks his wife to uproot their life together and move to his native Kentucky. As he searches for the reason behind this sudden urge, Donaldson examines both the place where he was born and the life he’s building.
The result is a hybrid—part memoir, part meditation on nostalgia, part catalog of Kentucky history and myth. Organized according to Kentucky geography, with one passage for each of the commonwealth’s 120 counties, On Homesickness examines whether we can ever return to the places we’ve called home.
Effie Marquess Carmack (1885-1974) grew up in the tobacco-growing region of southern Kentucky known as the Black Patch. As an adult she moved to Utah, back to Kentucky, to Arizona, and finally to California. Economic necessity primarily motivated Effie and her husband's moves, but her conversion to the Mormon Church in youth also was a factor. Throughout her life, she was committed to preserving the rural, southern folkways she had experienced as a child. She and other members of her family were folk musicians, at times professionally, and she also became a folk poet and artist, teaching herself to paint. In the 1940s she began writing her autobiography and eventually also completed a verse adaptation of it and an unpublished novel about life in the Black Patch.
Much of Effie's story is a charming memoir of her vibrant childhood on a poor tobacco farm. She describes a wide variety of folk practices, from healing and crafts to children's games. Her family's life included the backbreaking labor and economic trials of raising tobacco, but it was enriched by a deep familial heritage, communal music, creative play, and traditional activities of many kinds. After the family converted to the Mormon Church, religious study and devotion became another important dimension. Effie's account of Mormon missions contributes to the little-known record of Latter-day Saint attempts to establish a presence in the South.
After marrying, the Carmacks moved west, eventually landing in the Arizona desert, where Effie took up painting in earnest. Her art began to attract modest attention, which brought exhibits, awards, and a new career teaching others what she had taught herself. After the Carmacks later retired to Atascadero, California, Effie became a more active and public folk singer as well.
For two and a half years, Katherine J. Black crisscrossed Kentucky, interviewing home vegetable gardeners from a rich variety of backgrounds. Row by Row: Talking with Kentucky Gardeners is the result, a powerful compilation of testimonies on the connections between land, people, culture, and home.
The people profiled here share a Kentucky backdrop, but their life stories, as well as their gardens, have as many colors, shapes, and tastes as heirloom tomatoes do. Black interviewed those who grow in city backyards, who carve out gardens from farmland, and who have sprawling plots in creek bottoms and former pastures. Many of the gardeners in Row by Row speak eloquently about our industrialized food system’s injuries to the land, water, and health of people. But more often they talk about what they are doing in their gardens to reverse this course.
Row by Row is as sure to appeal to historians, food studies scholars, and sustainability advocates as it is to gardeners and local food enthusiasts. These eloquent portraits, drawn from oral histories and supplemented by Deirdre Scaggs’ color photographs, form a meditation on how gardeners make sense of their lives through what they grow and how they grow it.
This richly illustrated book is the eighth of nine Classics in Southeastern Archaeology volumes based on Moore's investigations along the waterways of eastern North America.
This oversized reprint volume presents original materials from Moore's northernmost expeditions conducted in the early 1900s as he surveyed areas of potential archaeological interest in the southeastern United States. Some of the sites he found were later targeted for major excavations during the days of the WPA/CCC. Many National Register Historic Sites are today located along the rivers he explored in this work. In many cases, however, Moore's report documents sites since destroyed by river action or by lake impoundments behind hydroelectric dams or by looters.
As with all of Moore's other investigations, his thorough documentation and collaboration with other scholars advanced understanding of aboriginal peoples and fueled debate among the experts. For instance, more than 296 burials were recovered from Indian Knoll on the Green River in Kentucky. Some graves included ceremonially "killed" artifacts, dogs buried with both adults and children, and exotic materials leading to speculations concerning origins, usage, and trade networks. Stone box graves were widespread and somewhat exclusive to this area, giving rise to early assumptions regarding kinship between scattered modern Indian tribes.
Richard Polhemus has compiled a comprehensive inventory of Moore's work in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Kentucky and written a concise introduction to place the work in context. In so doing, he has made available to contemporary scholars of history, archaeology, and anthropology a trove of resource material on one of the most archaeologically rich and artifact-diverse regions in the nation.
“Benjamin Franklin Cooling has produced a triumphant third volume to his definitive study of Tennessee and Kentucky in the Civil War. Like his first two volumes, this one perfectly integrates the home front and battlefield, demonstrating that civilians were continually embroiled in the war in intense ways comparable to and often surpassing the violence experienced by soldiers on the battlefield. The impacts of armies, guerrillas, and other military forces on civilians was continual, terrifying, and brutal in nearly all parts of the Confederacy’s Heartland.” —T. Michael Parrish, Linden G. Bowers Professor of American History, Baylor University
“Cooling’s scholarship is indeed sound and based on extensive research in a variety of original sources that range from manuscript collections to newspapers, with an exhaustive list of secondary sources. His work represents the first new interpretations of this important part of the war in decades.” —Archie P. McDonald, Regent’s Professor and Community Liaison, Stephen F. Austin State University
In two preceding volumes, Forts Henry and Donelson and Fort Donelson’s Legacy, Benjamin Franklin Cooling offered a sweeping portrayal of war and society in the upper southern heartland of Kentucky and Tennessee during the first two and a half years of the Civil War. This book continues that saga as Cooling probes the profound turmoil—on the battlefield, on the home front, within the shadow areas where lawlessness reigned—that defined the war in the region as it ground to its close.
By 1864 neither the Union’s survival nor the South’s independence was any more apparent than at the beginning of the war. The grand strategies of both sides were still evolving, and Tennessee and Kentucky were often at the cusp of that work. With his customary command of myriad sources, Cooling examines the heartland conflict in all its aspects: the Confederate cavalry raids and Union counteroffensives; the harsh and punitive Reconstruction policies that were met with banditry and brutal guerrilla actions; the disparate political, economic, and sociocultural upheavals; the ever-growing war weariness of the divided populations; and the climactic battles of Franklin and Nashville that ended the Confederacy’s hopes in the Western Theater. Especially notable in this volume is Cooling’s use of the latest concepts of “hybrid” or “compound war” that national security experts have applied to the twenty-first-century wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—a mode of analysis that explores how catastrophic terrorism and disruptive lawlessness mix with traditional combat and irregular operations to form a new kind of warfare. Not only are such concepts relevant to the historical study of the Civil War in the heartland, Cooling suggests, but by the same token, their illumination of historical events can only enrich the ways in which policymakers view present-day conflicts.
In chronicling Tennessee and Kentucky’s final rite of passage from war to peace, To the Battles of Franklin and Nashville and Beyond is in every way a major contribution to Civil War literature by a masterful historian.
Dawn Jewell is fifteen. She is restless, curious, and wry. She listens to Black Flag, speaks her mind, and joins her grandmother’s fight against mountaintop removal mining almost in spite of herself. “I write by ear,” says Robert Gipe, and Dawn’s voice is the essence of his debut novel, Trampoline. She lives in eastern Kentucky with her addict mother and her Mamaw, whose stance against the coal companies has earned her the community’s ire. Jagged and honest, Trampoline is a powerful portrait of a place struggling with the economic and social forces that threaten and define it. Inspired by oral tradition and punctuated by Gipe’s raw and whimsical drawings, it is above all about its heroine, Dawn, as she decides whether to save a mountain or save herself; be ruled by love or ruled by anger; remain in the land of her birth or run for her life.
Anne Braden University of Tennessee Press, 1999 Library of Congress F459.L89N43 1999 | Dewey Decimal 305.896073076944
"The Wall Between is a chilling depiction of a pattern repeated over and over again across the South as brave Blacks and whites tried to breach the barrier between the races. . . . We need to know Anne Braden's story, perhaps even more in 1999 than when she wrote it in 1957." —from the foreword by Julian Bond
In 1954, Anne and Carl Braden bought a house in an all-white neighborhood in Louisville, Kentucky, on behalf of a black couple, Andrew and Charlotte Wade. The Wall Between is Anne Braden's account of what resulted from this act of friendship: mob violence against the Wades, the bombing of the house, and imprisonment for her husband on charges of sedition.
A nonfiction finalist for the 1958 National Book Award, The Wall Between is one of only a few first-person accounts from civil rights movement activists—even rarer for its author being white. Offering an insider's view of movement history, it is as readable for its drama as for its sociological importance. It contains no heroes or villains, according to Braden—only people urged on by forces of history that they often did not understand.
In an epilogue written for this edition, the author traces the lives of the Bradens and Wades subsequent to events in the original book and reports on her and her husband's continuing activities in the Civil Rights movement, including reminiscences of their friendship with Martin Luther King. Looking back on that history, she warns readers that the entire nation still must do what white Southerners did in the 1950s to ensure equal rights: turn its values, assumptions, and policies upside down.
In his foreword to this edition, Julian Bond reflects on the significance of the events Anne describes and the importance of the work the Bradens and others like them undertook. What's missing today, he observes, is not Wades who want a home but Bradens who will help them fight for one. Anne and Carl Braden showed that integrated groups fight best for an integrated world, and The Wall Between is a lasting testament to that dedication.
The Author: Ann Braden was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and worked as a newspaper reporter and a public relations agent for trade unions. She served as a delegate to the 1984 and 1988 Democratic National Conventions and has been a visiting professor at Northern Kentucky University, where she teaches civil rights history. She continues to work with the Kentucky Alliance against Racial and Political Repression.
[Gene: edit for book cover by deleting last sentences of second and third paragraphs, last two of fourth.
The Bond foreword isn't exactly bristling with quotes. The only drawback to the one I selected is that the reference to 1999 might tend to date the book if you use it on the back cover. Do you think you could legitimately edit it to read "even more today"?]
Weedeater is a contemporary story of love and loss told by a pair of eastern Kentucky mountaineers. Gene is a lovelorn lawnman who bears witness to the misadventures of a family entangled in drugs, artmaking, and politics, a family beset by environmental and self-destruction. And a young mother, Dawn Jewell, is at the center of the family. She spends the pages of Weedeater searching—for lost family members, lost youth, lost community, and lost heart. Weedeater is a story about how we put our lives back together when we lose the things we thought we couldn’t bear losing, how we find new purpose in what we thought were scraps and trash caught in the weeds.
Weedeater picks up six years after the end of Robert Gipe’s first novel, Trampoline, and continues the story of the people of Canard County, Kentucky. In Weedeater, the reader finds Canard County living through the last hurrah of the coal industry and the most turbulent and deadly phase of the community’s battle with opioid abuse. The events it chronicles are frantic, but its voice is by turns taciturn and angry, filled with humor and stoic grace.
Depression-era Harlan County, Kentucky, was the site of one of the most bitter and protracted labor disputes in American history. The decade-long conflict between miners and the coal operators who adamantly resisted unionization has been immortalized in folksong by Florence Reece and Aunt Molly Jackson, contemplated in prose by Theodore Dreiser and Sherwood Anderson, and long been obscured by popular myths and legends.
John W. Hevener separates the fact from the legend in his Weatherford Award-winning investigation of Harlan's civil strife, now available for the first time in paperback. In Which Side Are You On? Hevener attributes the violence–-including the deaths of thirteen union miners–-to more than just labor conflict, viewing Harlan's troubles as sectional economic conflict stemming from the county's rapid industrialization and social disorganization in the preceding decade.
Detailing the dimensions of unionization and the balance of power spawned by New Deal labor policy after government intervention, Which Side Are You On? is the definitive analysis of Harlan's bloody decade and a seminal contribution to American labor history.
Even some enlightened academicians automatically— and incorrectly— connect illiteracy to Appalachia, contends Katherine Kelleher Sohn. After overhearing two education professionals refer to the southern accent of a waiter and then launch into a few redneck jokes, Sohn wondered why rural, working-class white people are not considered part of the multicultural community. Whistlin’ and Crowin’ Women of Appalachia: Literacy Practices since College examines the power of women to rise above cultural constraints, complete their college degrees, assume positions of responsibility, and ultimately come to voice.
Sohn, a born southerner and assimilated Appalachian who moved from the city more than thirty years ago, argues that an underclass of rural whites is being left out of multicultural conversations. She shares how her own search for identity in the academic world (after enrolling in a doctoral program at age fifty) parallels the journeys of eight nontraditional, working-class women. Through interviews and case studies, Sohn illustrates how academic literacy empowers women in their homes, jobs, and communities, effectively disproving the Appalachian adage: “ Whistlin’ women and crowin’ hens, always come to no good ends.”
Sohn situates the women’ s stories within the context of theory, self confidence, and place. She weaves the women’ s words with her own, relating voice to language, identity, and power. As the women move from silence to voice throughout and after college— by maintaining their dialect, discovering the power of expressivist writing, gaining economic and social power, and remaining in their communities— they discover their identity as strong women of Appalachia.
Sohn focuses on the power of place, which figures predominantly in the identity of these women, and colorfully describes the region. These Appalachian women who move from silence to voice are the purveyors of literacy and the keepers of community, says Sohn. Serving as the foundation of Appalachian culture in spite of a patriarchal society, the women shape the region even as it shapes them.
Geared to scholars of literacy studies, women’ s studies, and regional studies, Whistlin’ and Crowin’ Women of Appalachia will also resonate with those working with other marginalized populations who are isolated economically, geographically, or culturally.