“In Virginia they (Equipment owned by Coal Mining Companies) are taxed at only 10 percent of their value, while the equipment of all others, belonging either to individuals and/or businesses, is taxed at approximately one-third of its value. Here also, resale to subsidiaries can make this even lower for coal companies. A leasing company can sell a $100,000 machine to a mining company which it controls for $10,000; then the mining company will pay tax on 10 percent of that or $1,000… Through resale to subsidiaries, mining machinery worth $75,000 is valued at $3,000; taxes arc less than a miner pays on the automobile which he drives to work to operate the machine.” – Eller
While coal mine operators and their subsidiaries are clearly abusing the idea of internal colonization, is it possible for businesses to open new branches or plants to bring jobs, other businesses, and hopefully prosperity to regions where there are few jobs and little money.
It’s hard to explain Roanoke, Virginia to people who have never been there before. Its important that you include the “Virginia” part of “Roanoke, Virginia” because if, and when you don’t, most people assume that you must be a descendant of one of the famous settlers at the “Lost Colony” or “Roanoke Island.” The reality of the situation is that I have never been there and know practically nothing about the first English settlement in america besides the fact that the people there mysteriously went missing, and that my grand parents were not among those people. I suppose that the idea that I must be from this lost colony is so prevalent because every one hears about “Roanoke Island” in their third grade american history class, but they never hear about “Roanoke Virginia” aside from a hand full of tragic shootings and a mention in an Old Crow Medicine Show song, we are a rather insignificant town.
In John A. Williams’ article, “Ghosts, Boundaries, and Names”, he asserts that Appalachia has in a way sold out to progress and forward thinking, has been fractured by modern land distribution through geographical boundaries instead of cultural boundaries. Williams does this by telling the story of the founding of Appalachia starting in Wytheville, where he describes a cabin and a nearby fort that were lost to the progress of the interstate. Williams purpose is to break down the borders and definition of Appalachia that the reader may have created in their mind in order to show how Appalachia is “a territory only of the mind… a place that has been invented, not discovered” (Williams 9). I appreciated Williams’ writing because it gives strong value to the idea that Appalachia has grown an identity as the “rural and beautiful blue ridge mountains” where there are unique people with unique traditions unlike anywhere else in the United States.
The reading for this post is by John Finger and is titled “Cherokee Accommodation and Persistence in the Southern Appalachians”. Finger describes how during the 1900’s Cherokee traditions and culture experienced a dramatic shift toward “whiteness” when Cherokee communities in the southern Appalachian Mountains were “Civilized” through church and government programs. White intervention in Cherokee communities served to impact the geographic, social, and economic construction of Appalachia because the Cherokee were forced by the federal government to fall into white society and give up their tribal identity. Fortunately the Cherokee were able to find similarities between christian culture and their own which allowed them to integrate with Whites but to retain their own culture at some level. Finger describes the way that the Cherokee were forced to “become a white person with red skin” by using several examples. The most shocking example that Finger uses comes late in the paper when he describes how the Cherokee tried to avoid association with other people of color. Instead the Cherokee fought for ambiguity and lead a passive existence often in the background of their communities. The Cherokee’s willingness to conform to the expectations of white culture helped them to remain in their native homes and preserve part of their culture. It is interesting to me that the Cherokee were able to maintain their identity as somewhat “white” through out the pre-civil war era, but how did this change during the 20th century?
This blog is going to follow Jordan Laney’s course on Appalachian Studies. Posts will be made in response to the articles read in class and other in class assignments. The classwork for the course will cover topics ranging from the region’s indigenous cultures like the Cherokee to poverty and employment in the region in modern times.