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 guest author Dr. Michael Ruth. Dr. Ruth has just released Memory of a Miner: A True-Life Story from Harlan County’s Heyday. This book is the story of his dad’s life as an old-time coal miner in “bloody Harlan” in the early to mid 1900s, told in his own words and dialect.
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.
Next, director and playwright Thom Fogarty leads us through the strange journey he’s taken in trying to revive Lillian Smith’s play Strange Fruit. The play closed on Broadway after a total of only 60 performances. Smith was furious at how her work had been handled, and was swift to pronounce that Strange Fruit was to never again be produced. That was 69 years ago. True to her word, her literary agents and her estate have never allowed it to be produced. Until now.
We’ll wrap things up with a tale from Haints of the Hills: North Carolina’s Haunted Hundred. “One night, having been awoken from a deep sleep, the widow tiptoed to the kitchen cupboard after she heard the dishes rattling. But when she reached the cabinet, the noise did not abate. The brave woman groped for the cabinet door and jerked it open. A cat-like creature leaped from the cupboard and rubbed against her legs. But it was no ordinary cat.”
And thanks to the good folks at Warren Wilson College Archives, we’ll be able to enjoy some authentic Appalachian music from Red Parham a 1957 recording of Lost John.
So call your old Plott hound up on the porch, fire up your corncob pipe, and settle in for a dose of Appalachian history.