Issue 6: December 2011/January 2012


Handmade Heritage

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Old Folktales Die Hard

The Ballad of Tom Dooley By Brian Sewell “Murdered in May of 1865,” a white gravestone on the banks of the Yadkin River in Wilkes County, N.C., reads. “Tom Dula hanged for crime.” The grave belongs to Laura Foster, the victim in one of the most popularized and retold murder cases in Appalachian folk history. […]

Bees Share the True Cost of Coal

By Brian Sewell Outside of Appalachia, artists who acknowledge their connection to coal have adopted the issue of mountaintop removal and taken to the road. The Beehive Collective’s True Cost of Coal illustration transforms ways of thinking as it travels by inviting all who see it into a web of stories. The panoramic poster depicts […]

Putting the Human Perspective into Mountaintop Removal

By Brian Sewell For every movement, there is a message. This message can take many forms, but often the most moving is the creation of art to inform. Art helps people see problems anew, even those who see them everyday. The campaign to end mountaintop removal is no different. At the annual meeting of Kentuckians […]

Talking Tradition

Storytelling Moves to Center Stage By Molly Moore According to Gary Carden, the Scot-Irish people of Appalachia don’t communicate in dialogue. They communicate in stories. “When I was a child, [storytelling] was called lying,” Carden says. A renowned storyteller, Carden was raised by his Scot-Irish grandparents in the Balsam Mountains of Western North Carolina. Carden […]

Appalachian Documentaries

Films Scrutinize the Impacts of Coal By Theresa L. Burris Residents of Appalachia have encountered prejudice through all types of media, some based on stereotypes of coal mining society. Fortunately, conscientious documentarians have surfaced over the years. They counter negative images of the region and examine the humanitarian struggles that come from the nation’s fossil […]

Grassroots Filmmaking in Appalachia

By Tom Hansell Amazing documentaries come from the Appalachian region. From the Academy Award-winning Harlan County, U.S.A. to the recent premiere of The Last Mountain at the Sundance Film Festival, these mountains are full of compelling stories that have attracted documentary filmmakers from across the world. A great source of homegrown documentaries from the Appalachian […]