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 right side of your screen. If you’d rather grab the show off itunes for later listening, click here:
We open today’s show with a saga of science and political cover-up. In October 1960, Dr. Bernice Eddy gave a talk to the Cancer Society in New York without warning her employer, the National Institutes of Health, in advance. She startled the attendees by announcing that she had examined cells from monkey’s kidneys in which the polio virus to be used in polio vaccines was grown, and had found they were infected with cancer causing viruses. This talk cost Dr. Eddy her career.
We’ll pause in between things to catch up on a Calendar of Events in the region this week, with special attention paid to events that emphasize heritage and local color.
Lillian Exum Clement was nominated as a Democratic candidate for North Carolina’s House of Representatives two months before the 19th Amendment, granting the vote to women, was ratified in August 1920. She won the general election in November and, on January 5, 1921, took her seat in Raleigh, becoming the first woman elected to the North Carolina General Assembly.
During the 1930s and 1940s Rose Thompson worked as a home supervisor with the Farm Security Administration in Georgia. While she worked with farmers and their wives — teaching them to put up preserves, make cotton mattresses, and build chick brooders — she listened to the stories they told. Thompson spent some time during the summer of 1946 in Clayton, in Rabun County GA, where an elderly black preacher told her the tale of Fiddler’s Mountain.
The architectural landscape of Tennessee’s rural areas, small towns, and large cities is comprised of hundreds of historic buildings designed and built by African Americans. One rural county in East Tennessee has an extraordinary history of African-American builders. Established in 1794 along the North Carolina border, Sevier County has never featured a large black population; however, black builders constructed nearly every important late nineteenth and early twentieth century private and public building in the county.
We’ll wrap things up with a short appreciation for ‘the shack out back.’ Tennesseans called it the “la-la.” Elsewhere known as the john, the shanty, the shack, the throne, the shed, the relief office—it was the humble outhouse. The little buildings “out back” were as important as any building built before indoor plumbing.
And, thanks to the good folks at the Juneberry78s.com, we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music from Dilly and his Dill Pickles in a 1929 recording of Bust Down Stomp.
So, call your old Plott hound up on the porch, fire up your corn-cob pipe, and settle in for a dose of Appalachian History.