Hello Class!

Welcome to our Class Blog! This site examines the lives and the people of the Appalachian Mountains. We will travel through a whole new world, perhaps just for some of you? However, for others of you this may paint a picture of someone else’s story and life experiences that you may very well be able to relate. Our travels will be an exposure to a segment of the population that you may never have known or thought. Poverty does not care about race, age, region, or anything else, and my desire for you after being witness to the hardships that so many other Americans ignore,  is to go out into your community or wherever you can, impacting those in need. For those of you that can relate all too closely to this story of hunger, tough neighborhoods, or lack of opportunity, I want you to know that you are not alone! Everyone, no matter your situation can over come anything you want. Everyone–yes, even YOU — can make a difference!

 By analyzing this blog, we will have an understanding of the extreme poverty that plagues this area. We will learn about the economic conditions such as the main industry of coal, and the lack of other business or other industry and the lack of education this area is dealing with. We will examine how these critical issues that are missing are impacting the Appalachian communities. We will inspect the Federal government’s response with the War on Poverty. We will evaluate the effectiveness of that policy, and we will explore the short comings of it while analyzing what else needs to be done. Appalachia is one of the most poverty stricken areas, and it exists in our very own country! Many will ask, “How does poverty this bad happen in the richest country in the world?”  In this blog, you will be asked to answer questions based on some very striking primary source documents such as pictures, videos, and first hand accounts.  At the end of this, you will be exposed to a tragedy that I hope will spur you on to helping not just poverty around the World, but poverty in your back yard! At the end of this blog I have given you just one story of two women that are impacting their small community in the Appalachian Mountains. You may disagree with their motives, their religion, or anything else, and that is ok for you to do. However, those issues are not my intent or my main point in showing you their story! I want YOU to evaluate how YOU can impact those in need that live in YOUR community.

This is your chance to become more than a spectator of history, but it is your chance to become part of history, an active participant.  I hope that you are up to the challenge, and I hope that you accept this mission to stamp out poverty and help those in need. Knowledge is power, and this blog will allow you the opportunity to critically think about the injustices that exist in our World, specifically poverty in the Appalachia. These primary source documents will give you the exposure to potentially another world, a “hidden America.”  Each cartoon, speech, article, diary entry, or picture is design to help you become a historian that examines, analyzes, and most importantly, applies what is going on around you. In order to become a historical thinker, we all need to determine what each of us deem important, and with that empathy  we have to reach conclusions that cause us to create solutions of our own.

After examining each primary source closely, please answer each question thoughtfully and carefully. The questions are designed for you to think critically about the issues that each primary source document presents. Keep in mind and use compassion to the fact that we are using real lives and real stories when you are answering these questions. Please provide evidence to back up your position on the issues presented.  Have a great time exploring your interpretation of the Appalachian region.

The War on Poverty began with President Lyndon Johnson's visit to Tom Fletcher's front porch in Martin County, Kentucky, in April 1964. Walter Bennett's photo for Time Magazine has become an icon of the '60s

The War on Poverty began with President Lyndon Johnson's visit to Tom Fletcher's front porch in Martin County, Kentucky, in April 1964. Walter Bennett's photo for Time Magazine has become an icon of the '60s


  1. Describe the contrast between the two men in this picture.
  2. Other than the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, the legislation that made the War on Poverty law, what other important legislation did President Lyndon Johnson pass?
  3. Why is President Johnson at these peoples house?
  4. What is the War on Poverty?
  5. Describe the children’s facial expression.
  6. How would you react if a sitting President was on your front porch?






1. What kind of speech is this? Explain the significance of this speech?

2. Explain the privileges of citizenship the President discusses in this speech? Explain where does someone find these rights?

3. What do you notice about the crowd?

4. How did President Johnsons past experience influence him as President? What were his experiences? How do your past experiences influence you?

5. Do you think the President is correct when he says, “of course not people can not contribute to the nation if they are never taught to read or write”? Explain why you agree or disagree with this statement?

6. Explain what President Johnson means by the “clutches of poverty”?



January 8, 1964

Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, Members of the House and Senate, my fellow Americans:
I will be brief, for our time is necessarily short and our agenda is already long.
Last year’s congressional session was the longest in peacetime history. With that foundation, let us work together to make this year’s session the best in the Nation’s history.
Let this session of Congress be known as the session which did more for civil rights than the last hundred sessions combined; as the session which enacted the most far-reaching tax cut of our time; as the session which declared all-out war on human poverty and unemployment in these United States; as the session which finally recognized the health needs of all our older citizens; as the session which reformed our tangled transportation and transit policies; as the session which achieved the most effective, efficient foreign aid program ever; and as the session which helped to build more homes, more schools, more libraries, and more hospitals than any single session of Congress in the history of our Republic.
All this and more can and must be done. It can be done by this summer, and it can be done without any increase in spending. In fact, under the budget that I shall shortly submit, it can be done with an actual reduction in Federal expenditures and Federal employment.
We have in 1964 a unique opportunity and obligation–to prove the success of our system; to disprove those cynics and critics at home and abroad who question our purpose and our competence.
If we fail, if we fritter and fumble away our opportunity in needless, senseless quarrels between Democrats and Republicans, or between the House and the Senate, or between the South and North, or between the Congress and the administration, then history will rightfully judge us harshly. But if we succeed, if we can achieve these goals by forging in this country a greater sense of union, then, and only then, can we take full satisfaction in the State of the Union.

Unfortunately, many Americans live on the outskirts of hope–some because of their poverty, and some because of their color, and all too many because of both. Our task is to help replace their despair with opportunity.
This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America. I urge this Congress and all Americans to join with me in that effort.
It will not be a short or easy struggle, no single weapon or strategy will suffice, but we shall not rest until that war is won. The richest Nation on earth can afford to win it. We cannot afford to lose it. One thousand dollars invested in salvaging an unemployable youth today can return $40,000 or more in his lifetime.
Poverty is a national problem, requiring improved national organization and support. But this attack, to be effective, must also be organized at the State and the local level and must be supported and directed by State and local efforts.
For the war against poverty will not be won here in Washington. It must be won in the field, in every private home, in every public office, from the courthouse to the White House.
The program I shall propose will emphasize this cooperative approach to help that one-fifth of all American families with incomes too small to even meet their basic needs.
Our chief weapons in a more pinpointed attack will be better schools, and better health, and better homes, and better training, and better job opportunities to help more Americans, especially young Americans, escape from squalor and misery and unemployment rolls where other citizens help to carry them.
Very often a lack of jobs and money is not the cause of poverty, but the symptom. The cause may lie deeper in our failure to give our fellow citizens a fair chance to develop their own capacities, in a lack of education and training, in a lack of medical care and housing, in a lack of decent communities in which to live and bring up their children.
But whatever the cause, our joint Federal-local effort must pursue poverty, pursue it wherever it exists–in city slums and small towns, in sharecropper shacks or in migrant worker camps, on Indian Reservations, among whites as well as Negroes, among the young as well as the aged, in the boom towns and in the depressed areas.
Our aim is not only to relieve the symptom of poverty, but to cure it and, above all, to prevent it. No single piece of legislation, however, is going to suffice.
We will launch a special effort in the chronically distressed areas of Appalachia.
We must expand our small but our successful area redevelopment program.
We must enact youth employment legislation to put jobless, aimless, hopeless youngsters to work on useful projects.
We must distribute more food to the needy through a broader food stamp program.
We must create a National Service Corps to help the economically handicapped of our own country as the Peace Corps now helps those abroad.
We must modernize our unemployment insurance and establish a high-level commission on automation. If we have the brain power to invent these machines, we have the brain power to make certain that they are a boon and not a bane to humanity.
We must extend the coverage of our minimum wage laws to more than 2 million workers now lacking this basic protection of purchasing power.
We must, by including special school aid funds as part of our education program, improve the quality of teaching, training, and counseling in our hardest hit areas.
We must build more libraries in every area and more hospitals and nursing homes under the Hill-Burton Act, and train more nurses to staff them.
We must provide hospital insurance for our older citizens financed by every worker and his employer under Social Security, contributing no more than $1 a month during the employee’s working career to protect him in his old age in a dignified manner without cost to the Treasury, against the devastating hardship of prolonged or repeated illness.
We must, as a part of a revised housing and urban renewal program, give more help to those displaced by slum clearance, provide more housing for our poor and our elderly, and seek as our ultimate goal in our free enterprise system a decent home for every American family.
We must help obtain more modern mass transit within our communities as well as low-cost transportation between them.
Above all, we must release $11 billion of tax reduction into the private spending stream to create new jobs and new markets in every area of this land.



  1. What is the purpose and goal of the State of the Union Speech?
  2. To whom was this speech given?
  3. How will other Americans benefit from the War on Poverty address?
  4. How would you respond to this speech as an American, an Appalachian, an a Congressman?
  5. Name three (3) other situations where a President has pleaded for a cause?
  6. What does this sentence mean? “If we have the brain power to invent these machines, we have the brain power to make certain that they are a boon and not a bane to humanity.”
  7. What does President Johnson say is the cause of poverty? Do you agree or disagree? Explain?



75 – Letter to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House on Stepping Up the War on Poverty.
February 17, 1965


Dear Mr. President: (Dear Mr. Speaker: )

I request the doubling of the War Against Poverty.

In addition I request legislation to improve our ability to conduct that war.

We reaffirm our faith that poverty can be eliminated from this country, and our solemn commitment to prosecute the war against poverty to a successful conclusion. For that struggle is not only for the liberation of those imprisoned in poverty, but for the conscience and the values of a prosperous and free nation.

From the very beginning, this country, the idea of America itself, was the promise that all would have an equal chance to share in the fruits of our society.

As long as children are untrained, men without work, and families shut in gate-less ‘poverty, that promise is unkept. New resources and knowledge, our achievements and our growth, have given us the resources to meet this pledge. Not meanly or grudgingly, but in obedience to an old and generous faith, let us make a place for all at the table of American abundance.

Our objective was stated by the Congress in the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964: “to eliminate the paradox of poverty in the midst of plenty in this Nation by opening to everyone, the opportunity for education and training, the opportunity to work, and the opportunity to live in decency and dignity.”

to the fulfillment of the American dream for all our citizens.




  1. Why did the President of the United States single out this region for what?
  2. Why was there a need to have national policy put into place for assistance?
  3. Should this policy apply to all of the Appalachia? Is there anywhere else that would benefit from the War on Poverty? If so, where?
  4. Explain why some people would disagree with this quote given by President Johnson, “From the very beginning, this country, the idea of America itself, was the promise that all would have an equal chance to share in the fruits of our society.”
  5. Who else does the War on Poverty help besides the people of Appalachia?
  6. Why does the President need approval to spend money? Who gives him approval?






  1. What stands out to you most about this picture?
  2. Where do you think these people live?
  3. Describe their condition?
  4. What three (or more) basic things are these people in the photo missing?
  5. Describe the living conditions of the people in this photograph? What do you think the photographer trying to show or tell you with this photo?
  6. Why is the picture focused on the little girl in the front?







  1. Explain what kind of ad this is?
  2. How is the cycle of poverty broken?
  3. Talk about what the War on Poverty intends to do? What is a campaign promise?
  4. Describe the intentions of this ad? What techniques are they using?
  5. Illustrate what a “trait of character” is and is not?
  6. Explain the importance of voting? Explain the expectations Americans should have for the people they vote for into office?




A poverty rate is the ratio of the persons below poverty level to the total number of persons for whom poverty status has been determined. The map uses natural breaks in the distribution to organize the data into groups of common values.





Poverty Map



  1. What does this map illustrate?
  2. What does “Per Capita” mean? Why is it important to include on this map?
  3. Where in Appalachia do living conditions remain particularly adverse today?
  4. In what ways do you think the War on Poverty worked or failed the people of the Appalachia?
  5. Where do you think of when you think about people in living in poverty? Is it the United States? Why or why not?
  6. What is the main cause of poverty according to President Johnson in his speech?
  7. According to the Atlantaga.gov, the per capita income of people that live in Atlanta is 29,913 dollars, how does this compare to Eastern Kentucky? What are the main causes of that, do you think?



A high school completion rate is the percentage of adults, 25 years and over, completing 12 years or more of school. The map uses natural breaks in the distribution to organize the data into groups of common values.

 High School Map

  1. What does this map depict?
  2. What regions constitute or make up the Appalachian region?
  3. Explain the correlation, link, or relationship between high school graduation and poverty?
  4. Did the War on Poverty not address education? Should it have?
  5. Have conditions in the Appalachia improved since 1964?
  6. When the President’s Appalachian Regional Commission was issued in 1963, they characterized Appalachia as having a “lack of urbanization.” What does that mean? Is urbanization important? Why or why not?



 Boy Miner

  1.  What is this picture showing you?
  2. Describe the little boy and the man in this picture?
  3. Why is this boy working in a coal mine?
  4. Should children be allowed here? Why or why not?
  5. In what way does this break the law now?
  6. What about if you were this little boy, how would working in a coal mine change your life and world view?



 King Coal



  1. What do you see in this political cartoon?
  2. Why is the king so evil looking?
  3. Who do you think the “king” represents?
  4. How does this cartoon depict the Appalachia region?
  5. During slavery in the United States, the industry in the South was called “King Cotton.” In Appalachia, it appears to be called “King Coal.” Is the cartoonist (the person who created the cartoon) trying to draw a connection between Appalachia and the South?
  6. What similarities or connections might you compare with the people in Appalachia to the people in slavery? Differences?




Mining Safety Standards




  1. Explain this cartoon?
  2. How does this cartoon make you feel?
  3. What social issues is this cartoon dealing with?
  4. Why is this relevant to the people of Appalachia?
  5. What do you think is the motive behind this cartoon?
  6. Describe each person in this cartoon? How is each person being depicted?



 Miner Strike



  1. What is happening in this picture?
  2. Describe the argument and the counterargument shown in this picture?
  3. What does, “Coal Feeds My Family” mean?
  4. In your family, what industry, business, or job do you depend on for survival?
  5. Describe the effects on a group of people when an industry leaves or goes out of business?
  6. What do you think these people are feeling right now?









 Make-Do Shelter



  1. Describe what these living conditions must be like?
  2. What is a “make-do” shelter mean?
  3. How would you describe this picture to someone who was blind? Write a paragraph about a photo using descriptive words for that person who cannot see the picture.
  4. Notice the weather, color, time of day, etc., and explain what the author is trying to convey, communicate, or show in their photograph?
  5. Has much has changed since 1964? Why or why not?
  6. As the people of Appalachia’s living conditions improved, worsen, or remained the same since the passage of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 or, commonly referred to as the, War on Poverty? Explain how and why?



Mom and two boys




  1. Describe what this picture is trying to say?
  2. How does this picture depict this family?
  3. Does this picture hurt or help this family? How and why?
  4. Explain how these people must feel?
  5. Is the war on poverty over?
  6. Explain the faces of the people in the photo? What do they say or suggest?




 Bath Time


  1. What are these kids doing?
  2. Why are they doing this outside?
  3. How does poverty affect a person’s health and hygiene?
  4. What would you ask these kids if you could ask them one question?
  5. How could we help people that cannot afford the basic things in life running water? Especially in our area?
  6. Explain what stands out to you the most in this picture?





23 July 2007 – 12:43pm — Nick Stump

What I remember

Before Lyndon Johnson declared the War on Poverty, I remember how things were. I remember going to school with children whose only real meal of the day was the one they ate in thing the school cafeteria and how those same children didn’t have that extra 2 cents for another container of lukewarm cafeteria milk they were so hungry for. I didn’t drink one container of milk the entire time I went to high school–I had milk at home. I remember going to school with children who had rickets and scurvy, diseases last seen in the English Navy during the Napoleonic Wars. There was real hunger. I saw it every day. Some days I could hardly eat sitting at a table full of hungry eyes. So. I remember how it was before Lyndon Johnson’s failed War on Poverty–it was hungry. I know we hate the reporters who hop into Eastern Kentucky, take some pictures of the worst house in the county and tell their readers, “This is Eastern Kentucky.” But I do not believe this is the problem. I also know the answer is not just education. What jobs will we have to give these educated people? Most of us who got our education moved the hell out of Eastern Kentucky and took jobs in cities far away from home, because that’s where the jobs were. That is still where the jobs are. Education is fine as far as it goes–and there are a few jobs, the teaching jobs, if you’re connected to whoever runs the school board, and the government jobs. But what then? We need investment and we need a drug policy that can reach down and lift the vast numbers of addicted Appalachians out of that black hole where so many of our people are enslaved. Too many reporters? I disagree, we need for America to look right into the heart of rural America closer now, more than ever, to see the good and the bad–to see everything. Put a light on poverty and maybe someone in power with real concern will think, “Hey, maybe we ought to do something about this.” Mudcat Saunders says if you tell a rural American he’s poverty-stricken he’ll disagree every time. We don’t like being called poor, but as Mudcat says, we will admit to being broke. And that’s part of the problem, we don’t like to be called poverty-stricken. Call it pride or call it what you want, but we need more opportunity in Appalachia than a sagging coal industry and sending our children to the Army, not to fight any enemy but the enemy of trailer payments and a bit of college tuition. If it takes 50 buses full of reporters every day to get the story out, that’s just fine with me. I’m all for education. It’s a good start, but we have to have jobs and industry and the kind of real growth that give those educated kids the opportunity to stay home. For years, we been educating our children only to see them leave for areas where there was work. There is much to do. I was glad to see John Edwards make his trip through Eastern Kentucky and hope it will open people’s eyes to the real problems facing the area. Last week, Dee Davis, president of The Center For Rural Strategies in Whitesburg said, he had seen the how government can work to help people in rural America. I have seen it too, hungry children with full bellies for the first time. Lyndon Johnson and Bobby Kennedy taking the time to come and look and talk focused attention on problems that had been hidden from the eyes of America for generations. It is the responsibility of rural media outlets to shine the light on our problems as much as our successes. We don’t like it when the national media swoops in and comes out with a one-sided view of our homeland, but in all, I think there has been more good than bad in the coverage. And whether we like or not, poverty is alive and well after all these years. So bring on the newspaper reporters and the camera crews, and the magazine writers. Bring anyone who will shine a light on this national disgrace–that in this great country, there are still so many without hope, without a future and day after day, still live a life of dreams unrealized.


  1. What is this gentleman talking about in his story?
  2. How do you feel after reading his story?
  3. What kind of change did this man see from the War on Poverty?
  4. What kind of feelings does he have toward people who come a look at them?
  5. What was his solution for getting out of the poverty stricken Appalachia?
  6. Explain the quote, “there are still so many without hope, without a future and day after day, still live a life of dreams unrealized.”



I sat there in the dark alone listening to the drip of water in the distance. Dad was ahead at the face of the mine setting the black powder charges before leaving the mine for the night. I heard a creaking sound above my head, and I moved to another waiting position a few feet away. Suddenly a huge bolder about twice my size fell on the spot that I had been setting just a moment before. Dad had told me to listen to the rocks and that they would warn you before something happened.

Black powder was used for the last shot of the day, it was cheaper and the smoke would have time to clear out before the next day. During the day we used dynamite made from nitroglycerin and sawdust that did not produce as much smoke. The miners hated the round boulders that stuck to the roof between the coal seam and the sandstone ceiling. You were always bumping your head on them or when you least expected it they would fall, blocking the road way or tracks in the mine. These boulders consisted of a very heavy rock unlike the sandstone or the fossils found in the border area of the ceiling. They are black like the coal and smooth like something left over from the past when the coal was still exposed to the surface. They could be fossils like the thousands of bamboo looking rocks that have to be picked out of the coal.

That was one of my jobs to lean over the moving belt line and pick out the rocks and fossils as the coal passed by. I was about thirteen when dad starting taking me to the mine during the summer months. He said it was to give me something to keep me busy and out of trouble while school was out. On Friday he would give me ten dollars for the week and I would spend it on the Saturday movies. Once he gave me a hundred-dollar bill by mistake and I did not realize it until I paid for my movie ticket. Of course I brought him the change back.

Being a boy, I played around the mine more than I worked. As long as I made up a good pile of dummies, paper bags about a foot long and the size of the dynamite sticks, and was around when the belt started running, I was free to roam and play on the tipple or explore the mountain side.

I must have some attachment to the coal mines of the Appalachian mountains. I was born in a small coal mining community in the eastern Kentucky coal fields. Dad was a supervisor in charge of one of the mining crews. He started mining in western Kentucky and had taken a job near Seco, Kentucky in 1941. I was born that year in a coal mining town. On December 30, 1970, I awoke after having a nightmare about a coal mine disaster and I shared the vivid dream with my wife. I had never dreamed about mines or disasters before and was quite surprised. Later that day we heard on the news about the Finley Coal Co., explosion in which 38 were killed. The location of the mine was given as eastern Kentucky near Hyden, Kentucky, only a few miles from Seco where I was born. The explosion was caused by excessive coal dust and other combustible materials, insufficient rock dust, and other violations. The coal dust explosion was so extensive that dust and other materials were expelled from all eight openings of the mine.

Thirty-four widows and 103 children were left to mourn the loss. I do not know what possible connection other than being born so close to the disaster could cause me to have that dream. I only lived there a short time and had no relatives in the area.

About the Author: Hubert Crowell, Cave Explorer



  1. What is this article about?
  2. Explain what his father meant when he said to, “listen to the rocks and that they would warn you before something happened.”
  3. Describe the danger in coal mining to ones health and safety?
  4. In what region of the country did this accident take place? How does this apply to our discussion?
  5. Why do many children start working in the coal mine so early?
  6. Draw the connection between the Appalachian industry and poverty? How are they related? What happens if this industry leaves? How does coal mining impact quality of life like health, lifespan, and opportunity?







  1. Describe the life of this man singing the song and his family?  What might be like according to him?
  2. Illustrate the hope or feeling this video and pictures portray?
  3. Explain the compulsion or the need to be a miner?
  4. Why does he say that he’ll “never leave these hills, I’ll  die down in the mines”? Describe the life of a miner?
  5. Illustrate why the singer can not do something else for his job?
  6. Explain what he means by, “I’ll never deny the miners blood in me.”





A Glimpse of the Kentucky Mountains


Pine Mountain Settlement, Ky.

The Kentucky mountains: what do these words suggest to you? Do they suggest “the land of feuds and moonshine”? Since the fall of 1919, I have spent a good many, months in these mountains, especially in Harlan County, near the Virginia border.

I have heard stories of feuds, just as I have heard stories of the Civil War, and once in a long while we still get an echo of them from some distant hollow, as when Dennis—a fine-looking lad in his teens—came to the Pine Mountain Settlement School and presented his old-fashioned gun to the teacher, begging her to take him in at the school because, if he went back home he would have to kill the man who killed his father, and “I ain’t aimin’ to kill him.”

But I have never run across direct evidence of feuds that still exist. “The land of feuds and moonshine”! As true it were to call New York the city of bootleggers and robbers.

I find it difficult to give you a picture of the Kentucky mountains, and quite impossible to make general statements, for as I have gone from creek to creek in the rural districts, or from town to town along the railroad, I have been struck with the individuality of each place.

True, the towns have some features in common, such as the motion-picture shows and high-heeled slippers, with the influx of “furiners,” including Americans, Negroes, and immigrants from all parts of Europe. And the country districts still have in common little wooden or log houses and poor roads or none.

But underneath these superficial resemblances there is an individuality, the lines of which have not yet been softened by continual or long contact with one another.

Here are two mining towns side by side, each owned by a large corporation and neither permitting union lab(5r. The superintendent of one prefers foreign labor, and his camp of some 7000 to 10,000 people is composed largely of European miners and Negroes. The superintendent of the other prefers American lal or, and very few foreigners are to be seen on the streets. Both are little oligarchies; but as the type of men running them is different, so does the atmosphere of the towns differ. ‘

At. the other end of the line is a union mine. We went there once just after a strike. We were fortunate in that we had been invited by one of the public school-teachers, for the school was considered neutral group by both employers and miners. With this exception, the life of the community seemed to he pretty much in the hands of the union leaders, although we were not there long enough to check up on this impression. The superintendent’s wife told us that, as soon as the strike was called, the women and children ceased to go to her Sunday school classes!

Between these mining towns that I have spoken of the many smaller mining camps and communities of various descriptions, such as the county seat with its city government, an independent, small town whose govern-


ment corresponds to the New England township government, and many a new community which has not yet emerged from its rural atmosphere, although its population is increasing rapidly. ”

If we leave the railroad anti visit some of the isolated hollows, we shall find again this marked individuality of communities. Here is a settlement at the head of a creek in a narrow wooded valley, difficult of access from a county seat. It is small wonder that those who wish to make moonshine should have flocked to the secret coves of these woods.

On the other hand, here is another valley—not far away—more favored with “bottom lands,” which has long been settled by a steady, ambitious group of families. A few years ago some moonshiners tried to set up stills in the hollows leading into this valley, and the people of the community bantled together under the leadership of their duly appointed sheriff and, in the darkness of night, raided these stills until those who wished to disturb them had been driven beyond their jurisdiction.

As in other widely separated communities, the individualism of the parents is reflected in their children. I have often watched the children who come from the remoter hollows try to fit into the life or the Pine Mountain Settlement School. Team spirit is hard to acquire, and even when, after long and often tumultuous experience, boys or girls have learned to be “good sports” on the basketball field, their independence will often show itself in somewhat disconcerting ways; as, for instance, when Don, a high-school boy, suddenly left the field in the midst of a game, because he noticed “his pap,” whom he had not seen for several days, coming down the road.

To make great sacrifices in order to send’ their children away to school is not uncommon in the mountains ; but neither is it uncommon to see the very same parents who have made these sacrifices return to the school within a few weeks in answer to a homesick letter from the child, to take him back home came. “My child ain’t satisfied and don’t do no good”—this is sufficient reason for taking him out of school. On the other hand, many an ambitious ,boy or girl is encouraged to go on by parents who need him or her sorely at home, for “Vic’s a good girl; she’s aimin’ to make somethin’ of herself.”

Much has been written, about the rough traveling and the warm hospitality of the country folk who live up the hollows and far away from the railroads. Their isolation is fast being broken in upon by the opening up of new mines and the building of railroads and highways, for southeastern Kentucky lies within the soft-coal region and its seams are rich and thick. To understand these independent people is indeed important, but to consider them only in their isolation seems to me like studying the origins of civil codes, and stopping there. ‘ L. G.



  1. What is the author eluding to when they say, “the land of feuds and moonshine”? Is this a misconception about the Appalachian Mountain people?
  2. Illustrate what the author means by a “distant hallow”?
  3. Describe why each town the author has been to has had an “individuality” of its own? What might cause that to happen?
  4. Remember discussing the meaning of an oligarchy? What is an Oligarchy? What are some real world examples? What does the author mean by comparing coal towns to an Oligarchy?
  5. What are some of the cultural qualities that the people of Appalachia offer?
  6. Explain how this author is depicting the Appalachian Mountain folk?







  1. What can you do to change the people in your life? Explain a time in your life when someone might have helped you or your family? How did they change your life?
  2. Who are Peggy and Irma? What were their intentions or goal at first? What is the comparison that the narrator says about these two women?
  3. What was life like when Peggy and Irma got to Stinky Creek?
  4. What was the towns reaction to Peggy and Irma? What did they think of Peggy and Irma? Explain what and why?
  5. Explain the tough encounters that often meet people when they are reaching for their dreams? What makes the difference for people who preserver? Can you think of someone that has over come struggles or tough times?
  6. Explain what a dream is? What makes a dream possible? How does this change your thoughts about your dreams?
  7. After watching this video, we observed two normal women having a huge impact on a community of people! Their “Personal War on Poverty” changed a little Appalachian town. What is your “Personal War”  about and on to change? Create a plan of action to change this World, and describe a cause that is important to you? Explain how you can implement it into our community?


Works Cited



  1. Appalachian Resource Commission. (n.d.)  High School Completion Rates in Appalachia, 2000. Retrieved from: http://www.arc.gov/LoadSearch.do?action=newCriteria&search=high+school+completion+rate
  2. Appalachian Resource Commission. (n.d.) Poverty in America: Is the Past Prelude? Retrieved from: http://www.arc.gov/index.do?nodeId=2919.
  3. Appalachian Resource Commission. (n.d.) Poverty Rates in Appalachia, 2000. Retrieved from: http://www.arc.gov/index.do?nodeId=2855.
  4. Author Unknown. (December 29, 2008). LBJ – Poverty 1964 Election Ad. Retrieved from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plCkZ38ftlI&feature=related.
  5. Author Unknown. (October 19, 2008). LBJ State of Union War on Poverty. Retrieved from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfT03Ihtlds.
  6. Crowell, Hubert. (November 6, 2006). Appalachian Coal Mining. Retrieved from: http://ezinearticles.com/?Appalachian-Coal-Mining&id=348467.
  7. Fetterman, Mindy. USA Today. (January 15, 2009). Return to Stinking Creek: A personal war on poverty. Retrieved from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25CKvSVZlwM
  8. Golden Harvest. The Need in Appalachia. Retrieved on November 24, 2009. Retrieved from: http://www.gardenharvest.org/appalachiamain0704.htm.
  9. Johnson, Lyndon B. (February 17, 1965). Letter to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House on Stepping Up the War on Poverty. Retrieved from: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=27432.
  10. Johnson, Lyndon B. State of the Union. (January 8, 1964). Retrieved from: http://www.lbjlib.utexas.edu/johnson/archives.hom/speeches.hom/680117.asp
  11. Klinski, Mark. (June 2007). Youth Mission Trip to the Appalachia. Retrieved from: http://thelivingend.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/appalachian-children.jpg6. 6.
  12. Macdonald, Kim. The State of Poverty in the United States. Retrieved from: http://www.wright.edu/academics/honors/institute/2007/poverty/us_poverty.html.
  13. Marcum, Homer. (April 1964.) Speak Your Piece: We Don’t Need A War On Poverty, Just Good SchoolsRetrieved from: http://www.dailyyonder.com/files/u2/LBJ-and-Fletcher520.jpg.
  14. Mellor, Gail. September 26, 2009. Why the Appalachia Hates the Feds. http://kennysideshow.blogspot.com/2009/09/why-appalachia-hates-feds.html
  15. Merchant, Brian. (August, 25, 2009).  5 Grassroots” Groups Funded by Dirty Energy. Retrieved from: http://www.treehugger.com/coal-oil-grassroots-fake-climate-bill.jpg
  16. Moore, Adam and Sandy Staebell. (June, 20, 2005). Western Kentucky University. Retrieved from: http://www.wku.edu/Library/onlinexh/sanders/cartoons/nation/coal_mining_safety.jpg.
  17. Stump, Nick. July 23, 2007. Retrieved on November 24, 2009. Retrieved from; http://www.dailyyonder.com/speak-your-piece-we-dont-need-war-poverty-just-good-schools
  18. The Christian Monitor. (September 3, 1898). A Glimpse of the Kentucky Mountains: Pine Mountain Settlement. Retrieved from: (http://toto.lib.unca.edu/findingaids/periodicals/glimpse_ky_mountains/default_glimpse_kentucky_mountains.htm
  19. Unknown Author. February 24, 2008). Coal Miners.  Retrieved from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnFUddWam4k.
  20. Wade, Lisa. Jan 17, 2009. Based on the Documentary: A True Meaning of Pictures. http://contexts.org/socimages/2009/01/17/art-and-representation/ Retrieved November 24, 2009.
  21. Note: I could not locate the “King Coal” cartoons website for the work cited.