Appalachian Anthology by Diane Alexander


SKU: 9781983369476 Category:

A collection of Appalachian journal articles, research papers, historiographies, and oral histories prominently featuring Appalachian culture, dialect, and stereotyping. Vignettes of oral history from the 30s and 40s will charm and amuse the reader, highlighting the observation that Appalachians are both natural-born storytellers and humorous. Appalachia has fought harder than most other American cultures in establishing an evenhanded reputation, dispelling various stereotypes such as being the land of hillbilly backwardness with a culture of harsh poverty and illiteracy that has entrapped its people, and enriching and preserving its heritage. Scholars who supported the poverty-stricken image of the Appalachians claimed their research revealed an oppressive culture that imprisoned its people. In contrast, histories, historiographies, and oral histories from Appalachia demonstrate that the people made their culture; the culture did not make the people. Excerpts from The Forties: I was born on October 14, 1938. I don’t remember this event, but believe it to be factual and accurate. Life was very settled and routine for a couple of years and then upheaval threatened my serenity. We moved to Newport News, Virginia. From the conversations around me, I believed that we were going far, far away to a land populated by very odd people. We referred to our future home as “Newpertnews.” The Alexander family was about to embark on a disjointed journey through the unsettled Forties, a very different decade. Excerpt from The Music: One of these come-lately musicians caused the only real dust-up among the members of our original group that I can remember or knew of during those years. Someone who had not played with us before brought an electric, amplified guitar to our house one Saturday night. To the old-time pickers, an amplified instrument was an insult to their music and they were incensed by the intrusion. The transgressing guitar player plugged in his guitar and proceeded to rattle the windows and the nerves of the old-time musicians. The fiddle, banjo, mandolin and acoustic guitar could not be heard above the distorted din of the Sears and Roebuck guitar and amplifier. Without a word, Homer, Johnny and Red packed up their instruments and departed. They did not come back until Pappy finally and firmly convinced them that there would never again be any amplified instruments allowed in the house. And, as far as I know, Pappy kept his word.

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