We post a new episode of Appalachian History weekly podcast every Sunday. Check us out on the Stitcher network, available on mobile phones, in-car dashboards and tablets worldwide. Just click below to start listening:
We open today’s show the story of the Scottsboro Boys. On March 25, 1931, local authorities in Paint Rock, AL arrested nine black youths on a freight train after receiving word about a fight between blacks and whites on the train. They discovered two white women dressed in men’s overalls on the same train and subsequently charged the nine young men with rape. But something about the women’s testimonies in court didn’t add up.
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.
The South, in the days before the Civil War, had despised manufacturing, but the men who rebuilt the war-ravaged Southern states were well aware of the importance of industrialization. The new era began with the opening of the Piedmont Cotton Mill in the upper part of South Carolina in 1876.
James Moseley was employed as night fireman and engineer by Kentucky’s Black Diamond Coal & Mining Company. In 1908 he died after falling down a 100 foot mine shaft during his shift. Black Diamond claimed it didn’t owe any damages to his descendents, since his job description did not require him to be near that particular shaft, and that if he had remained where his duties required him to be, he wouldn’t have fallen. But the truth of the matter wasn’t quite that simple.
Benito Fernandez, a Spanish immigrant living in Clarksburg, WV, in the early 20th century, was skeptical of his wife Cristina’s religious superstitions. On St. Joseph’s Eve, she would never forget to perform the egg-in-a-glass ritual, and would be the first one in the morning to hurry to the window to see what had taken place in the glass during the night. Benito rolled his eyes every year, until Cristina decided to teach him a little lesson.
We’ll wrap things up with a look at Tennessean John Denton. Denton fought for the Confederate Army, but deserted it. Then he joined the Union Army, but deserted it even faster. And that was just the beginning of his troubles.
And, thanks to the good folks at the Berea College Southern Appalachian Archives, we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music by Danielle Fraley in a 1973 recording of Forked Deer.
So, call your old Plott hound up on the porch, fire up your corncob pipe, and settle in for a dose of Appalachian History.