Digitized Coal Sources from UK

Well, the summer is flying by and I haven’t updated the website much. I have been busy with the Lend-A-Hand Center Grow Appalachia Gardening program and the Knox County Farmers’ Market.

In June I attended the Agricultural History Society  meeting and I am preparing to attend the Rural Sociological Society Conference and International World Congress of Rural Sociology in August.

I wanted to share a recent resource from UK. Several collections having to do with coal in Kentucky have been digitized. Here is the press release. The digitized collections are housed at the Bert T. Combs Appalachian Collection.


Qualifying Exams

I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve been prepping for my qualifying exams. I am very excited to announce after a two-week take home exam and two hour oral exam, I passed!

I am very thankful to my committee for being so wonderful throughout this process and being the best mentors I could ask for. They are honestly a dream team and I am so honored to be able to work with them.  It is quite intimidating to give presentations to your entire works cited list!

I have also had the great opportunity to study under many other amazing Appalachian scholars. Alan Banks and Rob Weise at EKU have been constant champions. Pat Beaver, Sue Keefe, Bruce Stewart, Brad Nash, and Fred Hay at Appalachian State have also greatly influenced me over the past several years.


#stacked #squadgoals #committee

Now on to the summer, gardening, oral histories, and working on the dissertation!

Poverty and Landownership in the 1960s

In Dr. Dwight Billings’ APP 200 class we’ve been teaching about the War on Poverty and models of poverty that were prevalent in the 1960s.

Here are some links to share:

Appalachia: Rich Land, Poor People: https://archive.org/details/appalachiarichlandpoorpeople 

What Happens When You Don’t Own the Land: http://www.dailyyonder.com/what-happens-when-you-dont-own-land/2009/07/03/2205/

Chapter 7: Bombs and bullets in Clear Creek: http://www.kentucky.com/news/special-reports/fifty-years-of-night/article44430654.html

Grow Appalachia 2016

LAHC GA Gardening Program banner white

I am happy to announce that the Lend-A-Hand Center will again be a partner site with Grow Appalachia for the 2016 growing season.

I am excited to get started again as the Lend-A-Hand Center Grow Appalachia Gardening Program site coordinator for the third year. We’ll get to work soon with participant meetings and workshops.

The Knox County Farmers’ Market is also kicking off the year with a potluck on February 4th. Our board has been working on finalizing rules and application forms and preparing for the year. The market season will start May 26th and run every Thursday night from 5-8 in the parking lot of the Knox County Cooperative Extension office until September 29th.

Stinking Creek Stories KOHC Grant & Register of the Kentucky Historical Society Project

I recently learned that my application for the Kentucky Oral History Commission Project Grant was accepted. I will be conducting interviews on Stinking Creek for my “Stinking Creek Stories” Oral History Project. I plan to interview 25 people about their experiences with agriculture and their experiences with the Lend-A-Hand Center.

I hope to interview a variety of people building on some preliminary interviews I did last summer. These interviews will also be the basis of an article for the Register of the Kentucky Historical Society Special Issue on Agriculture and Rural Life and the basis of a presentation for the Agricultural History Society meeting this summer for the session “Contested Rural Landscapes in Twentieth-Century Kentucky.”

This project will also be a collaboration with the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky. I will be piloting a new file transfer system called “Exactly” which will send my recordings directly to the library. The Nunn Center will house the collection which will be accessible to the public from their website.

I’m excited to begin this project and thankful for all the support and encouragement from the KOHC, Nunn Center, Kentucky Historical Society, and my committee.

Digitized! Community Action in Appalachia: An Appraisal of the “War on Poverty” in a Rural Setting of Southeastern Kentucky, 1968

The University of Kentucky has just finished digitizing a report on the Knox County Economic Opportunity Council (KCEOC) that was conducted by a group of UK researchers and published in 1968. The report is entitled “Community Action in Appalachia: An Appraisal of the “War on Poverty” in a Rural Setting of Southeastern Kentucky.” The lead author was Paul Street.

This 13-unit collection assesses the early years of the KCEOC. Irma Gall of the Lend-A-Hand Center was an important founder of the program and the first community center coordinator. Peggy Kemner of Lend-A-Hand also worked with the KCEOC health program.

The collection is available through the UK Online Appalachian Resources page in the “Community Studies” section available here: http://libwwwapps03.uky.edu/omeka/app-community It is also cataloged under the “War on Poverty” section here: http://libwwwapps03.uky.edu/omeka/app-poverty

Here’s the main page for the UK Special Collections Research Center Online Appalachian Resources page: http://libwwwapps03.uky.edu/omeka/appalachian-resources

Thanks so much to the folks at the library who were willing to digitize this important collection.

I hope to use this collection to expand on some of my past research on the KCEOC.

The scope and depth of this project is immense. It is most likely the only study of its kind on a Community Action Program during that time period in Appalachia if not the rest of the country. The collection is incredibly important to the history of the War on Poverty in Appalachia and holds significant insights into not only the social conditions of the area and how the program was administered, but also the particular framing and understandings of poverty and government intervention that were employed by social scientists and practitioners during the period.

The library also sent me pdfs of all 13 units if anyone is interested in sharing those. They will be available as soon as the UK Library system is upgraded later this year.

Rurality, Feminism, and Appalachia: Possibilities and Prospects for Appalachian Feminism and Interorganizational Collaboration

I recently contributed a blog post to the Rural Women’s Studies Association site. The post entitled “Rurality, Feminism, and Appalachia: Possibilities and Prospects for Appalachian Feminism and Interorganizational Collaboration” is available here: https://ruralwomensstudies.wordpress.com/2016/01/20/rurality-feminism-and-appalachia-possibilities-and-prospects-for-appalachian-feminism-and-interorganizational-collaboration/

ASA Conference Preliminary Program

This week the Preliminary Program for the Appalachian Studies Conference was released. It is available here.

As Y’ALL (Young Appalachian Leaders and Learners) Co-chairs Jordan Laney and I have been working hard getting events and panels together.

Here are some highlights:

Y’ALL will be sponsoring the following special events at ASA 2016:

Saturday March 19th, 7:00-8:30 p.m. “Y’ALL Comm. Meet and Eat,” Dining Hall. All those interested in the work of Young Appalachian Leaders and Learners are invited to attend our annual meeting. Dinner with vegetarian options provided.

Saturday, March 19th, 9:30 p.m. Y’ALL/STAY/IG2BYITM  Mixer, Town Run Brewing Company, 202 E. Washington St. Join Young Appalachian Leaders and Learners, Stay Together Appalachian Youth, and It’s Good to Be Young in the Mountain folks to socialize, network, and learn about the work of other young people doing important work in the region.

T-shirts! Y’ALL will be sponsoring a screen-printing station at the conference. Bring tshirts, sweatshirts, canvas bags, or any other items you would like printed! Donations for scholarship funds will be accepted at the printing station.

During the conference join us for two Y’ALL Sponsored Roundtable Discussions:

Y’ALL Professional Advancement Roundtable

Katie Teal, chair jkteal93@gmail.com
Saturday, March 19, 10:00-11:15
Young Appalachian Leaders and Learners is a committee seeking to connect young people in Appalachia by breaking past the walls of institutions and encouraging engagement, leadership, activism, and collegiality among young people in Appalachia. This roundtable will focus on professional advancement with the intention of providing attendees with knowledge of resources to be successful in their professional and scholarly endeavors within Appalachia. In this panel we will support efforts of young people to more fully, understand professional development within the trans-disciplinary world of Appalachian Studies. This roundtable hopes to broaden and deepen critical discussions about the unique places and work Appalachian scholars, artists and activists navigate. Guests participating in this conversational, intergenerational roundtable include: Steve Fisher, Robert Gipe, Lora Smith, Sandy Ballard, and Shaunna Scott.

Building an Intersectional Youth Movement in Appalachia

Kendall Bilbrey, chair kendallalyse@gmail.com
Sunday, March 20th, 10:45-12:00
Across the Central Appalachian region, young people are working together to build inclusive communities. Groups like the STAY Project (Stay Together Appalachian Youth)  and YALL (Young Appalachian Leaders and Learners) are working together to form regional networks that intentionally hold space for youth voices in Appalachia. We realize that our panel does not represent every perspective of building inclusive communities and intersectionality in youth movement work. We encourage those voices often left out such as youth of  color, queer and transgender youth, and low-income youth to come and participate in our discussion. Please join us!

Jordan and I will also be presenting on a special roundtable discussing the recently released book Women of the Mountain South.

“Examining Feminism in Appalachia through Historical Scholarship: A Discussion of Women of the Mountain South 

Friday, March 19, 1:00-2:15
Convener: Barbara Ellen Smith. Roundtable Participants: Kathryn Engle, University of Kentucky; Connie Park Rice, West Virginia University; Marie Tedesco, East Tennessee State University; Rachel Terman, Ohio State University; Jordan Laney, Virginia Tech; Brandi Slider Weekley, West Virginia University.

This panel explores the concept of Appalachian feminism(s) through a discussion of the recently released book Women of the Mountain South: Identity, Work, and Activism. The panel will begin to explore questions such as: What is Appalachian feminism? Is there an Appalachian feminism? Are there several Appalachian feminisms? How has it changed over time? How is it different/similar to other forms of feminism? How does it fit into wider conceptualizations of feminism? Who is an Appalachian feminist? What are the aims of Appalachian feminism? What is an Appalachian feminist theoretical perspective? How does feminism in Appalachia connect with other social movements? How we can use historical scholarship to examine feminism in Appalachia? Are historical examinations necessary for understanding Appalachian feminism?

Joining in conversation with the authors, emerging and established scholars and activists will explore themes related to the notion of “women” and “activism” in the mountains. Our intention for this roundtable is to initiate a conversation about feminism in Appalachia to be continued in future conferences.

I will also be sharing our Grow Appalachia poster: Growing Appalachia: Local Foods & Community Development in Knox County, Kentucky

Hope to see everyone at Shepherd in March!


Practice Ressurection

As we head into the new year, let’s all aspire to live out the words of Wendell Berry.

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front
Wendell Berry

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.

So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion – put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Available online: http://www.context.org/iclib/ic30/berry/