Issue 2: April 2006



Carter Family Keeps on the Sunny Side

Murals of old-time country music pioneers A.P., Sara, and Maybelle Carter line the walls of the Carter Family Fold. Children and grandmothers, teenagers and men in overalls stomp and twirl alongside each other. In the shadow of Clinch Mountain in southwest Virginia, the venue marks the birthplace of country music and has attracted musicians from […]


Remembering Carl Rutherford

Ain’t no grave holding Carl Rutherford down. In death as in life he’s still making people laugh out loud, and his music continues to carry on like a contagious smile. Which is mostly all he wanted. “I’d like to leave an afterglow of smiles when life is done,” he told his cousin, Hershel Muncy, before […]


Eulogy for the Carolina Parakeet

Think of the most remote Appalachian wilderness you have ever visited, and imagine that landscape if you time-traveled centuries into the past. Would it look much the same as it does today? Not likely, even though it may be “untouched.” The landscape would be filled with seemingly exotic species: towering chestnut trees, vast expanses […]


Jack Spadaro

Jack Spadaro was a young engineer in February 1972 when he arrived at the site of a coal waste dam failure that killed 125 people. He had grown up in coal country, and had worked in the mines to get through college. Even so, he was shocked. “I made a pledge to dedicate my […]


Clean Smokestacks Bake Sale Helps Raise Awareness

At this rate, more than five million more bake sales would be needed to help American Electric Power company equip two aging electric power plants in Southwestern Virginia with modern pollution control systems. But since AEP has no plans to clean up their power plants, Appalachian Voices decided to lend a hand. “We thought we […]


President Theodore Roosevelt

One hundred years ago, President Theodore Roosevelt worked with Congress to ADD land to our national forests. “ I am gravely concerned at the extremely unsatisfactory condition of the public land laws and at the prevalence of fraud under their present provisions. For much of this fraud the present laws are chiefly responsible. In fairness […]


Appalachian Spring

The end of a dark and difficult winter brings back moments of sorrow and horror like blasts of arctic wind. From the mines of West Virginia and Kentucky came news of tragedy that could have been averted. From federal appeals courts in Richmond and Knoxville came more grim news, as reckless procedures for permitting mountaintop […]


Learning about Vultures with Kids

The author is an Associate Professor of English at Radford University in Radford, Va. The vultures have come back. They swirl and mix above me as I ride my bike home on Sundell Drive, though not much sun reaches this shady street and there are no farmers in this dell. Only vultures. And deer. […]


Taking Mountaintop Removal to the United Nations

Ask any one of the 10 delegates of seven organizations representing the voices of the dispossessed in Appalachia why they’re going to the United Nations on May 6-12, and they’ll all tell you the same thing. To fight for their human rights. The coalition is collectively organizing a side event at an upcoming U.N. meeting […]


Volunteers witness everyday tragedies, extraordinary hope in the coalfields

As our caravan wound northward from our homes in peaceful Boone, North Carolina, through the back roads toward the twisted hollows of southern West Virginia, we were reminded of why we love these mountains. But this wasn’t a sight-seeing trip. We were group of Appalachian Voices volunteers were going to a part of Appalachia that […]


Spring Tonics and Appalachian Herbals

The Southern Appalachian Mountains forests contain a cornucopia of over four hundred medicinal herbs used by the Cherokee, including both native and introduced plants. Many of these herbs and their traditional medicinal uses were shared with the European settlers. The settlers often added their own additional European plants and use of alcohol tinctures. These plant […]


The Ecology of Freedom

It is with much confidence that I can say that the hopes, dreams and aspirations of the individuals and communities that make up Appalachian Voices represents the essence of the majority of American voices. Many people today feel that their input into the political system that governs our lives and our land is not represented […]


Appalachian resources: independence, culture and enlightenment

The United States of Appalachia: How Southern Mountaineers Brought Independence, Culture, and Enlightenment to America By Jeff Biggers. Shoemaker & Hoard. 238 pages. $26.00 In 1966, Appalachian scholar Robert Munn observed that “more nonsense has been written about the Southern Mountains than any comparable area in the United States.” In the years since Munn’s comment, […]


Bush proposes sale of national forest lands across US

President George Bush’s proposed sale of 300,000 acres forest service lands may have been just a trial balloon for a larger land sale, as Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) suggested in late March. But the balloon seems to be deflating quickly. Most of the Appalachian region’s governors, senators and representatives speaking on the issue have opposed […]


Appalachian Voices Volunteer Update

Ending Mountaintop Removal Our volunteers and interns accomplished a lot this semester for our mountaintop removal campaign. So far this semester we held 5 volunteer nights where our volunteers made phone calls to members and activists across the country urging them to write their representatives and tell their families and friends about the devastating effects […]