Appalachia

Mason Adams/Inside Appalachia

BPR is launching several new programs this Sunday including a show centered on the voices and stories of Appalachia. BPR spoke with the hosts of Inside Appalachia ahead of this weekend’s debut: 

Lilly Knoepp: I’m Lilly Knoepp, the regional reporter for Blue Ridge Public Radio. I’m here with West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s show Inside Appalachia and hosts Mason Adams and Caitlin Tan. We are so excited that BPR is going to air your award-winning show very soon. Thanks so much for being here with me today.

Photo by Doreyl Ammons Cain/Appalachian Mural Trail

Community members are celebrating a new mural in Graham County dedicated to the Beloved Women and matriarchs of the Snowbird Community on Saturday. 

The Graham Revitalization Economic Action Team project – funded by a 2019 Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation Grant – was created by local Snowbird artists and the Appalachian Mural Trail. 

“The main purpose of everything was to include Snowbird with Robbinsville,” said Jackson County artist Doreyl Ammons Cain. Cain is the co-founder of the trail and one of the lead artists of the mural.

Courtesy of ASAP

Right now, the mountains of Western North Carolina are in the thick(et) of berry season. BPR reports on the history of fruit picking in our region:

Farmers who had extra produce and not enough workers to pick it used to offer locals the option to pick fruits and vegetables themselves for a lower cost.  That started what is now called U-Pick, explains Sarah Hart, communications coordinator for Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project(ASAP).

“Blackberries, blueberries and strawberries have long been good U-Pick crops,” said Hart.

Photo Courtesy of FIND Outdoors

Just in time for Earth Day, The Cradle of Forestry in Transylvania County is re-opening this week after being closed. During the pandemic it was open on a limited schedule. 

The 6500-acre site in the Pisgah National Forest is a museum and trail system that was the location of the first national science-based forest management program established in the 19th century.  

Courtesy of Tiger Drive-In

Businesses in Appalachia - like the rest of the country - have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. But some have found themselves uniquely suited to thrive over the last year. This week for BPR and Foxfire Museum's COVID-19 oral history project, we hear from a business owner who was able to carry on with a nostalgic outdoor entertainment that brought people together - safely - during the pandemic.

Tom Major, owner of Tiger Drive In Theater was interviewed by Foxfire Museum fellow and Rabun County high schooler Zain Harding in July 2020.

Photo courtesy of Anh Pham

Life in Appalachia has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic.  For some people, the pandemic meant that they couldn’t go home. This week for BPR and Foxfire Museum's COVID-19 oral history project, we hear from Anh Pham. She’s an international boarding school student at Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School. She was interviewed by Foxfire Museum fellow and Rabun County high schooler Mario Trujillo in July 2020.

As we mark the one year anniversary of the pandemic in North Carolina, BPR is launching a new series of oral histories from Appalachia. It’s a partnership with Foxfire Museum to gather and share how COVID-19 has shaped us. We start with Rabun County middle school teachers John and Alicia Kilby, interviewed by their former student Zain Harding.

Lilly Knoepp

The pandemic has hit non-profits and museums hard due to travel and social distancing restrictions.   One museum in our region appears naturally poised to weather the pandemic.

The War Woman cabin on the property of the Foxfire Museum and Heritage Center is decorated for Christmas. It was built in the late 1880’s but is now styled as a 1940’s Appalachian cabin with a woodstove and a vintage radio that clicks on when you enter the room:

“Where the blue of the night… meets the gold of the day,” plays the radio.

Lilly Knoepp

A Haywood County art exhibit hopes to build a community beyond the art on the walls.  

In the Haywood County Arts Council Gallery in downtown Waynesville, curator Marie Cochran walks through the work of 5 artists that she brought together for the traveling version of her Affrilachian Artist Project. “Affrilachian” is a word that refers to African Americans who also identify as Appalachians. 

Lilly Knoepp

  The Appalachian Regional Commission is holding its annual summit this week in Asheville.  The federal organization funds projects in  420 counties in 13 states from Mississippi to New York – including in Western North Carolina. 

 The Appalachian Regional Commission was created in 1965 to work on economic development and infrastructure projects such as highways in the region. 

Doug Woodward

Southern Appalachian identity is complex and loosely defined.  But when it is, the portrayals are often unflattering. From whitewashing to stereotyping, the region is not all about poor hillbillies.     

Blue Ridge Public Radio followed the debate through film, literature, academia and music to learn more. In this installment we look at the echo of the film “Deliverance” across the region, from art and whitewater to the lasting stereotypes.

Walt Wolfram / North Carolina Language and Life Project

 

Appalachian English is a term linguists use to describe the speech patterns of people in Appalachia. It’s also referred to as “mountain talk.”

But there’s variation within the dialect, just as there is among the nearly 26 million people who populate the diverse region, which covers 13 states.