A selection of first-person testimonies from On Dark and Bloody Ground was included in the “Readings” column of Harper’s, where the magazine reprints “excerpts from the best and most bizarre new books.”
Now for sale from West Virginia University Press! This set of oral histories from 1972 circulated for many years as an informal typescript volume, acquiring an almost legendary status among those intrigued by the subject. Key selections appear here for the first time as a published book, supplemented with introductory material, maps, educational resources, and photographs. Published to coincide with the celebration of the Blair Mountain Centennial in 2021, the book includes a preface by me and an afterword by Cecil E. Roberts of the United Mine Workers of America. All proceeds benefit the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum.
I wrote a short piece for Glamour magazine’s September issue, published alongside the voices of women in Arizona, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Florida, speaking about the issues that will decide their vote ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. “I’m a Woman in a Battleground State. Here’s What Politicians Don’t Understand About Me.” For the record: I don’t hate the city where I started my Ph.D. That was an error introduced in the editing process, over which I had limited control. 😉
AFTER THE 2016 ELECTION, the calls and emails rolled into West Virginia, as the press scrambled to make sense of a place that hadn’t occupied this much space on the national political stage since John F. Kennedy’s 1960 primary.
“We’re looking for a family in a trailer park.”
“We’re looking for a holler. How do we get there?”
“I need a Trump-supporting son of a coal miner who doesn’t think coal is coming back. Do you know one?”
Even before Donald Trump’s election, Appalachia was treated as a kind of Rosetta stone for deciphering rural white poverty in America. Read More…
The Paint Creek Audio History Project is a geo-located series of radio stories featuring the voices of people who live on beautiful Paint Creek, WV. These ten stories became the basis of an audio driving tour delivered via mobile app, as well as a new website for the Paint Creek Scenic Trails Association.
Cedar Grove draws from the writing of Mary Lee Settle and a chorus of voices from her hometown of Cedar Grove, WV. The project features a photography collaboration with Roger May. Gibbs Kinderman is the executive producer, the editor is Ben Shapiro. Cedar Grove was co-produced by Allegheny Mountain Radio and West Virginia Public Broadcasting, and me.
These projects would not have been possible without support from The West Virginia Humanities Council, the National Coal Heritage Area Authority, the Fayette County Commission, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
The room was wall-to-wall rednecks: dust-smudged coal miners, grandmas in flowery dresses, mussy-haired young punks, and old-timers in union ball caps. The red bandannas they wore around their necks spoke of a radical history you won’t read about in the average American history book. This colorful crew of about 500 souls had traveled from neighboring hollers and all over the country to mark the grand opening of the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum, which I helped launch last weekend in the coalfields of Appalachia. I wrote about it, and the potential for heritage tourism, in Yes! Magazine.