We post a new episode of Appalachian History weekly podcast every Sunday. You can start listening right away by clicking the podcast icon over on the left side of your screen. If you’d rather grab the show off itunes for later listening, click here.
We open today’s show on a road trip with guest blogger Sonja Ingram. Ms. Ingram is a Partners in the Field representative for Preservation Virginia and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. In this piece she’ll take us along on her initial inspection visit of the Konnarock School in Hillsville, VA and explain how this institution became listed as one of Preservation Virginia’s Most Endangered Places of 2009.
The fury of the flood that swept through Letcher County Kentucky on June 2, 1927 far exceeded anything that had ever hit the area up till that date, reported the Mountain Eagle newspaper. Pull on your galoshes; we’ll take a quick survey of the scene on the ground after the waters receded.
It’s June. If you’ll be getting married this month, keep an eye out on those fun loving neighbors down the way. They may shivaree you and your loved one if you don’t watch out. Shivaree was a nineteenth and early twentieth century Appalachian custom of teasing a married couple on their wedding night or shortly thereafter. The bride was carried around in a tub at times, and the groom was ridden on a rail. All in good fun, of course.
Next, we’ll fill you in on Sarah Moon’s brand new play Light Comes. The New Mummers theatre troupe unveiled the play’s first public reading last Friday, May 29th, in New York City as the kickoff event to the 2nd annual NY Loves Mountains Festival, a weekend full of theatre, music, and activism promoting an end to mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia.
“It’s a priority for us to tour this play in coal country,” says Moon. “We want to premiere the play in Kentucky, then bring it to theatres throughout Appalachia before bringing it back to New York.”
We’ve got a separate interview with Sarah Moon on how this play came about. “In May of 2007,” she says, “our company was asked to put together a performance piece on the subject of mountain top removal for a media action event at the UN.
“Our dramaturg found transcripts from victims of the Buffalo Creek flood in 1972. I chose one of those testimonies to perform and through it found a connection to the suffering of Appalachians who’ve lost or suffered damage on their land because of strip mining and mountain top removal.”
We’ll wrap things up with a look at a man you’ve heard of since you were a kid, but probably don’t know too much about: Johnny Appleseed, aka John Chapman. No figure from American folklore personifies the spread of the apple into the heartland quite like him. He was as his legend suggests a man who moved around a great deal, planting his orchards in western Pennsylvania, across central Appalachia into Kentucky, and on throughout Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.
And, thanks to the good folks at the Digital Library of Appalachia we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music from Dot Zeh in a 1979 recording of the 1931 tune “Baby Won’t You Please Come Home.”
So, call your old blue-tick hound up on the porch, fire up your corn-cob pipe, and settle in for a dose of Appalachian History.