As a Finance major I have learned that a lot of Appalachia’s decline was caused by bad economic planning and a failing economy. Jobs have been leaving Appalachia for many years due to the decrease of coal mining jobs in the region which led to the failing economy. Being a finance major, I have been able to see where the region failed at developing a more stable economy, by “putting all of its eggs in one basket”. That metaphorical basket is the coal industry. When jobs in the industry began to be cut the region was not ready. People were left without work and no where to go. They had to turn to other things, this includes drug use and the selling of drugs. We have seen this in many readings during the semester and know this has caused huge problems within Appalachia. If something is not done in the future, Appalachia will continue to struggle and the quality of life will lower even further. This will cause people to not be interested in moving to the area, which mean the end of many towns and communities in Appalachia. All of these factors will contribute to the decline of Appalachia, unless we do something otherwise.
Gender plays a large role in many aspects of Appalachian culture. Protests are just one of many that gender affects. In Appalachia, many of the protests involve workers rights, most notably the rights of miners. Gender plays a large role because the women of the communities have to be active in the community with the protests because the men are working in the mines and cannot speak for themselves by working. In the past, it was mostly women but nowadays women are sometimes in the mines as well so men play a part also. In many stories and videos we were shown, women were the main protest activists, who got all the protests organized. They were able to get their point across and help their spouses. This was done because it not only affected the miners but the families of the miners, which made it even more important for women to speak up and let their voice be heard. Without women starting movements so that their husbands could continue to work, some changes would never have been made, making it harder for the miners to work and be able to provide for their family. I believe this will continue to happen in Appalachia because although a lot of things have changed with gender, whether it is men or women protesting there will always be people standing up for the people they love when they are not able to.
“Unlike manufacturing or industries in which materials are fabricated or value is added through a production process, mining processes add little value and do little to stimulate other types of economic activities.”(Lewis 19)
This picture correlates to the quote because these mining towns were just for extracting the coal. Most mine owners did not care what the people wanted, as long as they got their money from the coal. This led to run down towns without much to appeal to the citizens and outsiders.
My discussion question relates to my research topic of Abandoned Appalachian Towns. What in these towns could have been done to increase economic prosperity and security in case of a declining coal industry?
Lewis, Helen M. “Colonialism in Modern America.” (n.d.): n. pag. NA. NA .Web. 05 Oct. 2016
In Malone’s chapter of High Mountains Rising, he states that there is no such thing as Appalachian Music. However, I disagree, I believe that Appalachian Music can be put into its own category. Appalachian music is not only unique in the many instruments and styles used but also in the lyrics of the songs made from within the region. Malone says, “It exhibits the influence of many ethnic and racial groups and, above all, the interaction of city and rural forms and the changing economic patterns of the Southern mountains (HMR 115).” I believe that Appalachian music does not only have to be one style of music, it can be anywhere from bluegrass to rap. It is not the genre of music that makes it Appalachian but rather the lyrics and basis of the songs origins. The song above in the link is Dueling Banjos from the movie Deliverance. I believe that this song is just as much Appalachian as the rap song that we listened to in class about West Virginia water, because its not about the style but the meaning behind the song.
Why does music from Appalachia lead to stereotypes about the region and what can be done by artists to prevent these assumptions?
Straw, Richard Alan., and Tyler Blethen. High Mountains Rising: Appalachiain Time and Place. Urbana: U of Illinois, 2004. Print.
The picture below is when my hometown, Altavista,VA, was a thriving community. With many factories with manufacturing jobs, Altavista had a booming economy and looked like it would prosper well into the future. But as most small towns came to find out, it could not last forever. In 2001, The Lane Co, a cedar chest building plant which had been around for about the same time that the town existed announced it was closing its doors at the headquarters at which it had been located for decades and moving its plant facilities overseas. This took a major toll on the town and its economy as hundreds of people lost their jobs and this caused many to relocate or search for jobs within the town. This story is relevant to Merchandising the Mountaineer because I remember in the reading it talked about how the pictures of a place can say a lot, but it is not always the whole story. This is true of my home town, it has been misrepresented for years since the closing of the Lane plant as a dying town. I believe this is far from the truth, there are many positive signs for Altavista. From reinvestment to the attraction of new companies. The picture below represents a town that people use to think could be prosperous. Many local elders in the town still continue to fall on the Lane closing as an event that is holding the town back. That could be true, however we must move on and find ways for the town to move forward instead of dwelling on the past. We must celebrate the past but also find innovative ways to make sure that we prosper in the future. We must move forward so that our town in not misrepresented by pictures of the past but represented with pictures that display the towns economic growth and development of today.
76 Years Service to the Lane Company and Its Predecessors. N.d. N.p.
Appalachia is known for many things, from bluegrass music to moonshine. However, it is also known for things that are not necessarily true. These ideas about the region are outside views that are crafted without knowledge of the region as a whole. One of the many stereotypes of Appalachia is that all inhabitants are hillbillies. This is far from the truth, because there are many major urban areas in the region that have people of all occupations including doctors, lawyers, and bankers. Another misconception is that it is only inhabited by whites. However, the region is populated by many different races and is a very diverse area. There are citizens with many different religious, cultural, and ethnic views and practices that are able to coexist in the widespread region. One last myth is that the Appalachian region is mostly impoverished. As stated before, there are people in high ranking positions throughout the region and although there is poverty, there is also poverty in all other parts of the country and not just Appalachia. The region is full of potential for people in all occupations and is sought after when searching for a relaxing and beautiful place to call home.
As stated in the name of my blog, Appalachia is more than hillbillies and hollers. We in Appalachia cherish our time in this beautiful region of the country. From the rolling mountains to the running river rapids, we know how lucky we are and these stereotypes about the region hold people back from actually getting to know what Appalachia is all about. As time goes on hopefully people are educated and get a taste of what Appalachia is all about, because it is a shame for people to not enjoy this wonderful region that God created.
Hatfield Clan. N.d. Wikipedia, n.p.
The Appalachian Mountains’ Wonders. N.d. Historic Hotels of America, n.p.
Welcome to Appalachia – More Than Hillbillies and Hollers, in this blog we will talk about Appalachia and the multiple facets that shape and affect the beautiful region that we live in. At this moment we are reading High Mountains Rising, a collection of chapters written by many authors, which tells about the history along with other descriptions of many important pieces that make Appalachia what it is. In our discussion on the region and the text we have been learning how the natives were pushed out of their land by new settlers. We also have discussed how this affected the region in all facets from economics to culture. “The Eastern Band of Cherokees has been transformed by the course of history into a tribe very different from their ancestors of 300 years ago (Boyd 15).” This quote from the text shows how after their removal from the area these tribes were not the same. After contact with the new settlers many natives became assimilated into the culture and therefore they were culturally different from their ancestors. They acted different, talked different, and started to become more and more “civilized”. This assimilation no matter the number of natives, affected everything from economics to social construction of the tribe. Natives were training for real jobs, and integrating into the society of settlers. No more were the natives only huntsman or gatherers, they were civilized like their English counterparts, conducting themselves in ways that natives before them would have never imagined.
The natives after years of solitude would soon know that no one was safe from the oppressing US government. “In the spring of 1838, the U.S. Army came into the mountains and forcibly removed these Cherokees to the West on what is known as the Trail of Tears.” Their homelands were being taken by the leadership of the United States, they had no power to oppose the actions taken and had to give up their beloved homeland.
As a catalyst for further discussion, I will leave you with this. With the increase in animosity between the tribes and US Government, what were the United States reasons for forcing thousands of natives off of their land?
Straw, Richard A., H. Tyler. Blethen, and C. Clifford Boyd, Jr. High Mountains Rising Appalachia in Place and Time. Baltimore: U of Illinois,2004. Print.
Stanley, Max D. N.d. Trail of Tears. R. Michelson Galleries. Web. 31 Aug. 2016.
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