New Book: Social justice movements in Appalachia

Posted on March 3, 2006

[posted from Comm-Org]

NEW BOOK forthcoming on social justice movements in Appalachia…

“Jeff Biggers?s inspiring book should be a best seller immediately. It is a ?how-to? book?-how to assert your fundamental rights and how to speak out in the manner of the American Revolution footsloggers, whose descendants they are. Read it and your faltering hopes will rise.?
–STUDS TERKEL

The United States of Appalachia: How Southern Mountaineers Brought Independence,
Culture and Enlightenment to America.
Jeff Biggers
Shoemaker and Hoard
Now available on Amazon, local bookstores.

?The shameless caricatures?-?hillbilly? and ?redneck?-?have in popular thought defined the people of Appalachia, in the mountains of the Cumberlands. If ever there were a folk most enlightened in the world of haves and have-nots, exercising their first amendment rights with more guts than our ?respectable media,? it is the heroic survivors in the hills and hollows. Among those that have long gone were Joe and Gaynell Begley, who ran a general store in a Kentucky ghost town made so by strip miners and corporate lawyers, and Myles Horton, one of our great educators, whose Highlander Folk School in Tennessee taught students, black and white, among whom were Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks. They learned at Highlander where the body was buried and who was doing what to whom. There have been so many others, including Nina Simone, the black singer, and Florence Reece, a miner?s daughter who wrote, ?Which Side Are You On??

Beyond its mythology in the American imagination, Appalachia has long been a vanguard region in the United States-?a cradle of U.S. freedom and independence, and a hotbed for literature and music. Some of the most quintessential and daring American innovations, rebellions, and social movements have emerged from an area often stereotyped as a quaint backwater. In the process, immigrants from the Appalachian diaspora have also emerged as some of our nation’s most famous leaders.


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