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 look at a brand new documentary film titled ‘Earl Hamner Storyteller.’ “There were eight of us,” Hamner recalls. “Tall, lean, fine-boned, red-headed youngsters growing up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia during the Depression. My father called us ‘his thoroughbreds,’ and put us on a pedestal. CBS called us The Waltons, and put us on television.”
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.
In 2013, Cora Hairston released her debut novel, a story told through the eyes of a coal miner’s daughter ‘on the black side.’ Faces Behind the Dust traces the challenges, triumphs and tragedies of a young black woman’s coming of age in the southern West Virginia coalfields in the 1950’s and 1960’s, towards the end of segregation and the dawning of the Civil Rights era. Here’s an excerpt from it.
We’ll wrap things up with the tale of Tennessee’s most famous hag: the Bell Witch. “This witch,” said an 1886 ‘History of Tennessee,’ “was supposed to be some spiritual being having the voice and attributes of a woman. It was invisible to the eye, yet it would hold conversation and even shake hands with certain individuals. It would take the sugar from the bowls, spill the milk, take the quilts from the beds, slap and pinch the children, and then laugh at the discomfort of its victims.”
And thanks to the good folks at the Victor Library at the University of California Santa Barbara, we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music from Smyth County Ramblers a 1928 recording of My Name is Ticklish Reuben.
So call your old Plott hound up on the porch, fire up your corncob pipe, and settle in for a dose of Appalachian history.