Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Mother of Appalachian Studies to Speak at Library in Abingdon

 by Leslie Grace

 Myths and misconceptions about Appalachia abound in the popular imagination. 

The Washington County Public Library begins a series of programs in June to dispel these myths. Featuring a number of scholars, activists and authors, the series is called Appalachian Homecoming.

It begins Sunday, June 17 at 3 p.m. in the main library's conference room with an appearance by Helen Matthews Lewis. Lewis was a pioneer in the field of Appalachian studies, a term that did not exist before her work. 

She lived and worked in the coalfields and studied family structure and gender relations in the 60s and 70s. She saw Appalachia as an "internal colony" of the U.S., a model that influenced a generation of Appalachian scholars and activists. She describes herself as part of the "long movement for women's rights," and her work influenced the civil rights movement.

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