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 with a review of Adam Booth’s newly released CD The Mountain Came Alive: A Year in the Life of a Mountain in Stories and Song. Think of Booth on this project as a combination of Raffi and Pete Seeger. He joyfully pitches his message to a middle school audience using the seasonal framework promised in the title. And what is that message? “Celebrate the things you love about your [Appalachian] home; they may be taken away if you don’t hold fast to them.”
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.
“Dr. Richard Banks was one of the most shining ornaments of the medical profession in this State since its organization,” says William J. Northen in his 1910 book ‘Men of Mark in Georgia.’ “The Federal government employed Dr. Banks to visit the Indians and see if he could alleviate the ravages of smallpox. He performed this duty, vaccinated many of them, and treated many, and greatly amazed the Indians by restoring to sight a number of them who had been blind for years.”
“We need to be less aware of the picturesque, amusing or distressing differences, and more keenly conscious of the kinship of the mountain people with their kind elsewhere and everywhere,” states University of NC professor E.C. Branson, in a 1916 study comparing mountain poverty to statewide poverty benchmarks. “Otherwise we shall bring to noble effort in the mountains a certain disabling attitude that is fatal to success.”
We’ll wrap things up with an oral history from one Mrs. G.C. Johnson about the early years of the company coal town of Jenkins, KY. “They used outlaws and anything they could get,” she says. “There were a lot of foreigners that couldn’t speak a word of English, and an interpreter would come in to tell the company store clerk what they wanted.”
And, thanks to the good folks at the Internet Archive we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music from Jimmie Rodgers in a 1928 recording of I’m Lonely & Blue.
So, call your old Plott hound up on the porch, fire up your corncob pipe, and settle in for a dose of Appalachian History.