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tv   Appalachia in the American Imagination  CSPAN  May 31, 2017 11:26pm-12:33am EDT

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daily. in 1979 c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies. and it's brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. >> on lectures in history, shep period university benjamin bankhearse talks about the role of appalachia. he talks about how it was viewed during the industrial revving loose as backwards hillbillies to people respected for their folk culture in the early 20th century this talk is about an hour. >> all right. let's go ahead and get started everyone. welcome to class. over the course of this semester so far, we have seen how an lash ya perhaps to a greater degree than any other american region is defined to the world and in
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the minds of its residents by outsiders. we have seen for example how industrialists employed the negative stereotype of the violent hillbilly to rationalize the seizure of thousands of acres of land on the boundary between kentucky and west virginia. the image of an lasha as an impoverished and backward area continues to haunt the region to this day. indeed many residents have absorbed an inverted negative story owe type of the region and its people and to have also construct new identities for themselves based on how they think they are perceived. a classic example of this, i think, is j.d. bounce's hi hillbillology. for these reasons, it is incumbents upon us to understand
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how stereotypes have solved over time -- eel involved over time. i'd like to start my story with a negative stereotype. i want to picture a stereotype beginning in the mid to late 19th century. among the oldest and perhaps most persistent aspects of the outside world's view of the people of the mountain south is their cultural and economic backwardness, their supposed backwardness. edgar allen poe set one of his early short stories, first published in 1844 in a location south and west of charlottesville west virginia. he called it "the ragged mountains." it's interesting. it's the only one who posts set
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in west virginia or at least having post set. those hills as ragged mountains corresponding the main karktd of the story were a place of isolation and were steeped in a "solitude that seemed absolutely virgin. kwoilts the narrator feared the area because of local tales regarding the "unkut and fierce races of men who tenanted their groves and caverns." this early gothic reynoldsering of an lasha touches on two themes premodern magicians
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survive in isolation in appalacia. the southern mountains in the words of one person are populated by "our contemporary ancestors." though the image of the mountain south as a backward and isolated region has existed in one way or another for centuries. these stereotypes only became rooted in the national consciousness after the civil war. scholars yrgd that the whole idea of appalacia as a region came into existence only in the
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late 19th century. they came into existence for two reasons. one, the rise of what is known as local color or regional literature in national magazines and, two, the rapid industrialization of the mountains resulting from the rise of the ex traction industries. but before we turn to these topics we must remember that the united states in the 1870s and 1880s was a nation seeking to understand itselfle and its place in the world, in the aftermath of extraordinary tragedy and in the midst of rapid economic change. the country as we've seen in past lectures emerge battered after the 1860s following decades of strife and the declaration of civil war. americans, particularly in the north, understandably chose to
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look at the possibilities of a new future rather than turn to their recent painful past. the u.s. in the gilded age was a nation infatuated with economic expansion, industrialization and progress. indeed americans were aware that they were living in a period of change and they were conscious that their country has emerged on the global stage as a world power. americanening knewity had brought into being thomas jefferson's dream of an i am pier. the persistence of old customs seemed a strange anomaly. but let's go back to local color literature. industrialation brought prosperity to american cities
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and resulted in the swelling of the middle urban class. this new middle class has wealth an leisure time. though economically well off many northern urban it's craved distractions from the teed yum and hum-drum of every-day city life. many found an escape in travel literature in local regional stories printed in the new monthly mag zeend that emerged during the years surrounding the war. magazines such as harper's weekly and cosmopolitan thrived on stories of love, romance, trav travel. appalacia was near the urban centers of the northeast and was in the late 19th century rural and to a large degree forested.
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it was also southern. all of this made it an ideal locale for the new america emerging in cities across the north. let's turn to our firsthandout. published in 1899 in harper's weekly. this is a pretty famous example. and it's handout number one "our contrary ancestors." it's a brief reading. if you can turn to it quickly with these questions in mind. who wants to answer that first question? wants to take a stab at that? michael? >> highlight from the text in the conditions of the colonial times and i think that's
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reflective of the colonial economy that the colin street brought to west virginia and extracted to the appalachian region in general and by saying our contemporary ancestors he's making reference to the english colonies themselves but west virginia, because of this colonial economy, hasn't been able to escape the colonial economy that made up most of the colonies, so in a way it's still stuck in the past. >> ok. interesting. certainly, he's certainly touching on this idea of sort of a pastoral, perhaps colonial past, surviving into the president, but what is a contemporary ancestor? aren't ancestors dead? isn't that the nature of one's ancestors is they pre-date you? what is a contemporary ancestor? >> it's kind of like they were
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with the evolution air theory of the caveman, it's like you found a caveman walking around. it's like oh, my gosh, we actually found one, it's awesome. our contemporary ancestors, we found this history. it's such a surprise and we canablize these people and find out where we came from. it's kind of degrading and interesting. >> it is degrading. you see as part of the feuding hillbilly stereotype, now people who aren't subhuman but their condition is degraded. >> yeah. >> that certainly comes up in much of this literature. a contemporary ancestor is who? he or she is somebody who is a past person living amongst us. this is a key component of the emerging sort of pastoral image
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of appalacia. right? it's inhabit bid a people of a bigone era. it's almost like a museum. it's like colonial williamsburg but it actually exists, it's not a museum show action right? now, why does the thing say the impoverished while those other people in up state new york are not? what saved the people of upstate new york from poverty? michael again. >> in the second paragraph he goes into this in up state new york, the building to have eerie canal and the almost interstate linkage between upstate new york and its surrounding metropolis has kept it at least in stride
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with metropolis evolution, societal evolution. >> ok. yeah. anyone else want to say something on this? yeah. absolutely. the erie canal's an important component here. yeah. >> later in the second paragraph when you talk about the rare roads, i think connecting with west virginia like we saw under the feud book and how when the railroads came into the region, ideas, businesses, but those businesses were once again outsiders, so i think it's an idea of how isolated the region was and they needed transportation and like a belief in the conventions that -- within the conventions we wanted transportation from the eastern side and we finally got that. >> good. yeah. industrialization, right! industrialization has saved the poor people of upstate new york
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from the fate that the impoverished hillbillies are suffering in 19th century appalacia. reading across the lines, how might the people of appalacia escape their poverty? in other words, how might it be abused by outside interests? yeah. great. >> so inner communication as a means of progress, it talks about. i67 thought that was interesting because he also talked about the mountain rights of literal. he talked about being able to read and write was put on this pedestal. fundamental you're able to do this, you'll be able to pull yourself out of poverty. the people of an lasha ha a different way of communicating,
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maybe couldn't be put pretty on a page. he's saying you can live if you stop killing each other and quit drinking and smoking. it's a pretty bad way to say it. >> i think you hit it. what is progress? it is integration into american progress is this idea of sort of -- of america that had come into being in the gilded age, yeah. that's what frost could say to these people is the underlying assertion here. you could see how, for instance, when we looked at the rise in the extraction astro we discussed the subject of land seizure. you could see how this kind of thinking could be used to justify certain actions, certain treatment of people. it's all in the name of
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progress. perhaps these people don't know what's best for them. we know what's best, right. all right. great, guys. while the local color authors -- back to the lecture -- saw appalachians viewed the people and the region as embarrassments and obstacles to progress. we have seen in our discussion of altina water's feud book they only got involved in the hatfield and mccoy feud when national attention was brought to the area. the really intelligencer, a wheeling newspaper bemoan the effects that the effect it had in the state. "capitalists refuse to come and
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prospect because they say they're afraid of our outlaws. you cannot get them to go into the interior to inspect our timber and coal lands for fear they'll be ambushed. the people in the mountains in the eyes of these capitalists outlined in the article, with their -- these people of the mountains with their strange way, preindustrial agrarian routine n tanned their supposed pen chant for violence had no place in the reconstructed south. there are -- as such, they should either be reformed in order to make them useful mechanics of the new industrial order or they should be marginalized entirely. many industrialists and outside investors opted for the latter option.
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workers were brought in who they believed would be better suited to industrial labor and would work longer hours for less pay. as we have seen again in our last few lectures on the extractive industries, the perception of the ignorant mountain folk -- remember, this is not -- this is a perception fostered in this local color, journalism, and also within the sort of newspaper coverage of the feud. the perception of the ignorant mountain folk did not -- that they did not make the most of their lands, that their potential -- that its potential, the potential, the rich energy resources of the land was lost on them. this underpinned attempts by outside investors to seize the mineral rights of thousands of acres of land in eastern oklahoma and kentucky in the late 19th century. the stereotype became a major
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justification for the swift acquisition of mountain land and resources by outside investors. the question is, this is a depiction of a kentucky moonshiner published in "harp "harper's weekly gloits the 19 --" in the 1880s. this is enough to talk about how it developed but did it really effect how people really perceived appalachians? we can argue about how it's -- how it came sboold play when industrialists came into the area to invest in mining, etc., but how else might it have affected people on the ground and to answer that question, i want you to turn to the secondhand-out in your page. remember -- in your packet. one of the things we talked about in our last lecture was about this appalachian di as practice that emerged in the
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1950s during one of those periods of decline in the coal industry, so we saw thousands of people from west virginia, eastern kentucky, western north carolina moved into the cities of the midwest and the eastern circuit board. all right. this was a phenomenon that continued through the 1950s and 1960s. what happened to these people when they got to the cities? and that is what 50id like to turn to now. this is a story published in the chicago public tribute. it depicts a neighborhood on the upper east side of chicago that had become associated with rural, southern, working class whites who had come in to the city to get jobs in factories, namely in the canning and food industry. front page.
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girl reporter. this is a serialized account so it stretches over several editions of the newspaper. so let's take a second to read it. i think this is particularly shocking. right. i think this is one of the most shocking sources that we've looked at all year. if you can take ak look, read it, and like we had with the last hand-out, if you'd take these questions into considerations maybe we'll talk about it as a group. there's so much questions in this. not about race, but -- let's start with an easy one. what status does the reporter and her people use to describe southern migrants? yeah.
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>> my favorite one is the plague of locusts who have last year had the lowest standard of living immoral code if at all, the savage and vicious tactics when drunk, which is most of the time. they had this stereotype in mind when they entered the jungle of the hillbillies. >> right. >> and they weren't trying to find stories that would like help them disprove their i guess claims. so they were just -- they went in with a mind set and i guess they accomplished what they were trying to write. >> uh-huh. great. yeah. yeah. >> i mean, with that, nobody feet in the fire of what's going on. they're not making anything any better. in the other article before that was taking about trying to get out of it. they're just making it worse because more people are coming in to see -- i don't know. to see what's going on and it's just not -- they're not helping at all.
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they call it like a rare, a strange breed and -- >> yes. >> feuding hillbillies and shooting cousins and -- >> you remember -- when we were discussion waller "the feud" and we were discussing the rise of feuding in appalacia as well. this will haunt people from the region to this day. this is evidence of this. where did the folks of a feuding hillbilly come from? it came from the news coverage. it was a major news story that continues to haunt people from appalacia to this date. this line. skid row dives, opium parlors and associated other dens of ini can weity. taken over by the fighting feuding southern hill bill yus
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and their shooting cousins who today concentrate one of the most lawless populations in chicago. they're linking them with a -- the perceived threats of migrants as a whole. they're linking it with other immigrant groups. i mean, i end with this kind of provocative question here at the end of this section here. which is many of you who are from appalacia. you might be confronted with these similar type stereotypes. when people ask you if you're from west virginia, for instance, you might feel that's a loaded question and they might come back with a -- all sorts of assumptions based on similar stereotypes. i think that's one of the reasons i wanted to bring this to your attention. because again, we're living in an era of dee as peoria when --
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diaspora when many will leave the appalachians for elsewhere. >> i feel that if i was in a work situation and somebody asked me where are you from and i said west virginia and they came back with one of the usual stereotypes, oh, the hillbillies are in the mountains, how do you have an education, something along those lines. i would use it more of a learning component to them. kind of expose them with what i grew up with, the beautiful areas i was around and more the natural learning viermtsds then that i got to be around. we went hiking and i think it can enhance a child's life. it wasn't the fighting drunken hillbillies that most people think of. >> that's great. >> well, it's funny because i lived in chicago first and i went to school there.
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obviously not in 1957, but like -- >> that's no surprise. >> and i know it's definitely different in that time but i left after a semester because the city was really overwhelming for me. and that's not to say that my story is the same as these migrants who are coming here and wosh ngs the sweat shops and stuff but they call them super unsocial. there's this disconnect between how they're able to connect to other people in chicago and i think that might have been because this was -- it was a huge culture shock for them, on both sides. that was creating this incredible fiction and xenophobia that was crazy then. >> wonderful. anyone have anything else on girl reporter visits the jong lgs of hillbillies? michael, last word? >> i had written down going back
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to some of the unionism, early unionism we saw in west virginia, i was wondering, since unionism in 1957 was becoming pretty prominent in chicago, this was a way also of suppressing the forming of unions in chicago as well, by painting these west virginians or people from appalacia as backwards, were industrialists trying to make a psychological move saying if you go to the union you're going to be backwards as well. >> ok. interesting. future thoughts. great. all right. thanks, guys. great. all right, thanks, guys. the mountaineers as the mountaineers as historian ronald eller has observed would become hillbillies and "poor whites in the eyes of many as a result of tourism and local
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color literature." the mountaineers would subsequently become hillbillies -- would be seen in this negative light, in other words, in light of these phenomenon. brought the people of the southern mountains to the attention of missionaries who sought to transform them into ideal citizens and integrate them into life. later in the century hillbilly culture became a way of dismissing and rationalizing the poverty of the region. so that's -- all of that is to say that that's the roots of this negative stereotype, specifically in the late 18th century. the magazines that became popular in the 1870s and 1880s and also in light of the attention brought about by industrialization and the rise of extractive industries. at the turn of the 20th century,
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like to start this section by exploring the world which sesce sharp made. who is this man, cecil sharp? he's an interesting character. many of you may have seen the film from a couple of years ago, i believe it was called "song catcher" which is a fictionalized account of his trip through southern appalacia. he's an londoner. an englishman who becomes wrapped up in a form of socialism after attending a lecture by a prominent english designer, socialite and activist william morris. he becomes convinced that one of
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the tragedies of industrial britain, industrial england is the fact that the poor, the working classes, the urban working classes of england have become distant from their own rural past that industrialization has torn them out from the countryside and put them in these appalling situations of exploitation in the inner cities. he becomes convinced that in order to -- for any real reform to occur from the bottom up in england, what needs to happen is that the english working classes need to become aware of their own history and their own culture, the culture that they developed over a millennia in the countryside. he becomes obsessed with reviving that culture. he finds several prominent institutions, the english folk dance and song soetd, which is around to this day, and other groups to celebrate the royal heritage of england.
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but as a byproduct of industrialization, so much had been lost. he was only really finding the remnants of a past -- passed glorious in england. he thought to himself after reading perhaps some of these local color stories and communicatesing with earth know musicologies in the united states, where can i go in the english speaking world where i can find evidence of that past culture? it has to be a place of isolation where -- which has been relatively untouched by industrialization or so he thought. over the course of the early 19 -- so gri -- the mid 19 teens he departs upon an appalachian journey and he goes through primarily western north carolina but also southern virginia. he spends about, i think, nine days in virginia, which -- west
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virginia. he doesn't find what he's looking for. he spends most of his time in kentucky out -- in eastern tennessee and north carolina. there, he finds extraordinary repository of old ballads that had been passed -- that he believed had been passed down from generation to generation stretching back to the colonialings who is survived in isolation. so what i want to convey to you here is that when he went to appalacia he was searching for something. he was looking for england enshrined in amber, preserved. he wasn't necessarily curious about appalachian culture. he certainly didn't -- that's not what he was looking for. he was looking for english culture as it was preserved in the mountains and that's what he found. all right.
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but he was looking for a very specific reason. remember. he was looking to take those balance la balance ads and taking them back to t the mother country. it's arguable but some scholars have argued that he might have even been hoping that such a move would cause a proletary refer loose. that's what he was hoping to do. in 1917, the publication "english folk songs." this was a phenomenal bestseller in america and in england and helped to kick start a folk revival in both countries, all right, and republished in 1932 and really draws national attention to the area in a very positive light, right?
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these are people who are still living with elizabethan, shakespearean values. he's an englishman and he's focussing on the english nature of appalacia. that leaves many in northern cities, for instance, to re-assess their image of this negative feuding hillbillies. these people become invested with a certain air of grace. he's respected on a large scale after this. sharp's obsession, however, with the underlying english character of an lashian society and music at the expense of others led to his contrary readers and most
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americans today to imagine an lasha as almost an cl exclusively white space, a white ethnic space. and this is -- i just want to draw your attention to this. this is just evidence of one of the ballads. the cherry tree carol is one of my favorites. it goes -- many earth know musicologists have argued that this balance ad might go mac too medieval passion plays in england so it's a quite an shentd -- this is cecil sharp interviewing one of his many -- one of his many subjects on the tour. this is poly patrick in clay county, kentucky, in august 1917. he went around and interviewed these people and collectsed ballads such as this. collected ballads such as this.
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sharp's work led to a resurgence in interest in the culture of the southern mountains, and went on a long to challenge the popular stereotype of a region populated by violent fueling hillbillies. in his introduction and throughout his letters he invests the people of the region with dignity and grace, describing them as leisurely cheery people in their quiet way, to whom the social instinct was very highly developed. far from the ruthless, inbred savage of the popular lore. they possess an easy, unaffected bearing and the unself-conscious manners of the w manners of the well bread. though he shared with their detractors a belief in the mountaineers inherent backwardness, he observed they possessed much of the culture of that pastoral ideal of
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pre-industrial england. his efforts to document their culture was part of his larger project to revive popular interests in english folk traditions in the hopes that by so doing the english working classes could rekindle the dignity and self-worth of their ancestors. that same dignity that he observed among the people of appalachia on his journey. he was looking for england in the mountains and that is what he found. image of the region -- sharp's image of the region as a time capsule remains with us today. it's one of the most common trops through which outside ers continue to view the culture and people of the southern mountains. it is important to address an important aspect of the legacy of sharp's work, english folk songs of the southern appalachians in the racial construction of appalachia, in the american, and indeed, british imagination, sharp was obsessed with national cultures,
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and the revival of english folk tradition at home. sharp's rendering threatened english appalachian culture continues to again to influence our perceptions not only of the mountain south, but american culture more generally. sharp's appalachia is not a place one can find on a map. it wasn't even a place on the map really in 1916. there are accounts for instance of sharp going into isolated settlements in madison county, north carolina, encountering a black man on the road and turning away because he thought, okay, if this town is inhabited by african americans, i'm not going to find english ballads there, so he didn't bother looking. so he's not interested in capturing a true depiction of the region or its culture. again, he's there with an agenda. his nine weeks actually spent in the mountains were shaped by what he pre-conditioned himself to expect. he was after english ballads at
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the expense of banjo songs. he hated the ba banjo. he ignored immigrants songs and he also loathed to a degree and in his notes he said some of them are delightful, baptist hymns and other expressions of piety. sharp had exclaimed in his correspondence that the people of the mountains, were, quote, english, by god. the success of english folk songs cemented the imabge of a white region in the public's imagination. appalachia for sharp was a place where he is other like-minded urban intellectuals could escape the harsh realities of
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industrial america and england. a place where he could find albion, a mythical depiction of the english yesteryear, alive in the hills and hollows of america's first and arguably last frontier. more than anyone, sescecil shars also responsible for publicizing the image of the region as a racial mon glot. but he would not be the last. and in that spirit, i'll ask you just a quick question. if you were to take an image of this, if you're flipping through an in-flight magazine and not paying attention, where would you assume this photograph was taken? scotland? >> ireland. >> one of the celtic countries, right? you've fallen into my trap. because this was taken in
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western north carolina in the 1990s. it's a slide of the grandfather high land games in linzville, north carolina, an event begun in 1956. and that brings us to another model through which people have understood appalachian culture and development in the 20th century. the celtic south or herder model of appalachian cultural development. the previous characteristics explored here were crafted by outsiders to explain the otherness of appalachian culture. the celtic south model examines how those positive outsider views, namely people like cecil sharp of the regions of appalachia, when those outsider views are absorbed by residents of the region and how they contributed to how southern whites and appalachians saw themselves. so these depictions, both the negative and the positive of how the -- of the region and its
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people, do have an effect on how people within the region begin to self-identify, certainly. and in the 1970s and 1980s, you see this upsurge in enthusiam for the supposed celtic roots of appalachian culture. to this end, the celtic south paradigm popularized by historians including forest mcdonald and grady mcquinny, notice their surnames, in the 1970s emerged in tandem with an upsurge in public interest in the scottish and irish roots of appalachian culture. with the intention of explaining differences between the north and south on the eve of the american civil war, mcwinnie and mcdonald argued that the nomadic culture and clannish family structures of early scottish and northern irish immigrants to the south allowed for the development of a distinct, southern, white culture. the herder cultures of north
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britain and ireland, the argument goes, emerged out of the violence and uncertainty that characterized the british frontier. when i sigh the internal frontiers of great britain, the borders between england and scotland, the borders between catholic and protestant. these meeting places between two cultures, often violent places. life was harsh and competitive in these internal frontier areas. and it's -- it necessitated the development of social strategies and skills, including individual self-reliance and tight kin-folk networks. these characteristics were then transferred to fit the needs of settlers on the american frontier after colonial migration intensified in the 18th century. again this is part of that paradigm. this is the argument put forward
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like mcdonald, mcgrady and later, david hackett fisher. the celtic southeast is built on the observation that the largest single ethnic group in the mountains and the largest european immigrant group to north america in the 18th century were of celtic origins, the scots irish and we've looked at them early on in the semester, talking about the original european migrations into the region. and we'll turn again to them in a second. the herder of scotland and ireland did not invest time in agricultural development, instead concentrating on live stock while supplementing their diet through primitive farming. mcdonald and mcwinnie stressed their sense of family and personal honor. mcwinnie and mcdonald argue that these, the sense of personal honor marked them out from their counterparts in the northern colonies. the southern culture, they
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argue, differed substantially from the agricultural heartlands of the midwest and new england, where more developed farming techniques allowed for the rise of large sedentary communities. at its heart the celtic south model was among poor whites committed to the cause of the exx confederacy. what they're trying to understand is honor within the ranks of the armies of the confederacy, but they're looking back to the early migrations and the colonial period to try to make sense of how people behaved in the 1860s. appalachia, which absorbed the majority of scottish and irish settlers and remained isolated before the civil war was at the heart of mcdonald and mcwinnie's study. other books published in the last 25 years have posited a similar model for appalachian social development.
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david hackett fisher's work stressed the scottish irish culture in the form of southern appalachian culture in society. that was central to the later development of the united states. for our purposes we'll focus on one, the herder folk way that predominanted in the tra transappalachian south. this was a culture established by the north british as they were dubbed by hackett fisher, settlers from north umbria and the scottish borders and ulster. fisher's argument shares many arguments with the celtic south model but is more nuances on several points. he avoids romanticism. the celtic south, though, like sharp's english of appalachia is
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a historical construct, a sort of useable past for those who embrace the model. it enables those of -- again look at the surnames, mcwinnie and mcdonald -- again, it enables those of scots and scots irish ancestry to make sense of their connection to the land and the national story. it is akin to benign ethnic nationalism. that leads us perhaps to our last sort of loosely defined positive depiction of appalachian culture and identity. some of you may know senator jim webb. and he's responsible, i think, in the last 20 years, for bringing about, helping to revise this sense of scots-irish
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identity among contemporary appalachians. another variation on the celtic south herder theory of southern development is found in senator webb's 2004 book, born fighter. how the scots-irish shaped america. again, you might know senator webb from his short-lived primary candidacy in the democratic primaries in 2015 and 2016. he was a senator from virginia before that, elected in 2007. and he's a prolific author. one of his perhaps best known works is this work, born fighting. it was a national bestseller. it was international. in northern ireland it gained currency, it was quite popular there as well. in a nutshell, the book claimed that the warrior impulse of the early scots irish shaped american working class culture,
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military traditions and popular politics. the book, while largely lambasted by scholars did find a sizeable popular audience and ensured that webb secured the support of voters in the districts of southern and west virginia during his campaign of 2007. again, if you're asking yourself, this all seems very abstract. so people are they'll use periodically to
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the protestants and the desen didn'ts to to frontier and is a term that achieved widespread use aj in the united states only in the early decades of the 19th century. there was a long time slide up here as a reminder of the volume of those migrations and who they were. . but, again, the term scotts irish is really a 19th century construct. descendants of the 18th century immigration in their attempt to differentiate themselves from the ways of poor catholic immigrants and crowding to american cities in the 1840s and 1850s as the irish potato. if the 18th century irish migration which would become the united states. the desen dents of those irish
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immigrants notice that in the 1840s and 1850s to be labeled irish was a negative thing. this was an era that infamously we signed in places like new york city, boston and chicago. you saw signs that said irish need not apply and polite society, irish is in dirty words. they were loads because, many of them did not speak english. the volume of the migration was large and they were roman catholic at a point where that was not an accepted aspect of polite society in america. so the second and third generation scotts irish, what they do to differentiate themselves from the other irish then arriving on american shores was to say, look, you know, we're irish but we're scotts irish. we're not irish like the catholic irish. and so doing what they attempted
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to do was say, say to other white protestants, look we were like you. our ancestors were fought in the army of washington. we're not like these new immigrants. they also made the argument -- and therefore i like you in that regard. the table of whiteness in the 19th century. there was a way of saying, look, we are as, american, as white protestant groups. and in light of this new catholic migration. so it was a way -- it was a way of trying to break into a white club. . it was a way for previously maligned group to claim respectability by association. these advocates of this new term would claim that they were
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white, protestant and like those other new englanders, their ancestors were instrumental in the founding nation. they deserved a seat at the table. in recent decades, however, the scotts irish identity has become an ethnic marker used as a way to distinguish themselves as over arcing white american identity. jd who i alluded to in the introduction, arthur of -- claimed that in that book he claimed "i may be white, but i do not identify with the wasps of the northeast, instead, i identify with the millions of working class white americans of scotts irish decent who have no college degree. to understand me" -- again this is in the words of j.d. vance "you must understand that i am a scotts irish hill billy at
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heart." he's used it as a statement of his own identity. jim webb, in a section of born fighting dedicated to the fem na of white guilt after the vietnam war, bemoaned the fact that whites, many of them that had fought in the vietnam war should be held as accountable for its execution for northeastern elites who have designed it. all wasps, webb wrote, were considered to be the same in this environment as if they had landed together on the same ship and the smart ones had gone to boston while the dumbest had made their way to west virginia. so, essentially, what's happening here is they're claiming -- these are areas of scotts irish migration. what they're doing is claiming a whiteness apart h. what people in the 19th century when claiming scotts irish man identity, saying, look, we're just as white as these others.
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in our time. in the 21th century to say, yes i may be white, but i'm not like those northeasterns. i'm not like these elites on the coast. how did claiming scotts irish identity evolve from an attempt to break into definition of whiteness in the 19th century to statement of regional and ethnic difference in an attempt to establish a whiteness apart in the 21th century. it is clear that this transformation occurred because of the culture wars of the late 20th century. somewhat argued as a rejection of the language of white privilege by segment of the white population who saw their economic standing decrease dramatically as a result of globalization and the industrialization. but that's pretty -- so let's turn to a more positive, perhaps, the most positive image that i'm doing to cause it today
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of appalachian culture in the region. i would like to end today's lecture by briefly illustrating, and i mean briefly, a third pair paradigm in which we might interpret the culture of appalachian that's one champion by allen lomax it is introduction into the episode on appalachian that he produced in the early 1990s. he explained the culture of the mountains between a number of different cultures who came together to form something distinctly american. let's give you a background. father, john lomax is the first director of the folk -- the folk life library and the library of congress. he, as a young boy, he was taken to various prisons to report -- his father john had discovered
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the influential performer in the -- during the depression. but, so allen lomax was in this culture of collecting. and he thought very -- in very sophisticated ways about american culture and regional cultures. towards the end of his life. he went with a tv crew throughout much of america recording regional cultures and stori stories. >> the fourth of the specials is called the appalachian journey. >> so according to lomax apart from being a european refuge, like had imagined. as a dynamic place, truly american region, a culture that
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over the course of millennia had produced almost a uniquely american culture -- had worked its way into the mountain psyche. which became instrumental to appalachian culture in the 19th century. he, of course, focused attention on the english scotts irish, which we examined earlier. but finally, he looked at african-american contributions to appalachian culture. and he focused on one aspect that is undeniably african nature, that's what we most associate today with ap latch ch chan. it's the most banjo and lomax points out an instrument brought in to many districts with the
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railroads and tale of the 19th century. i've been arguing with myself whether i was going to demonstrate that dominates in appalachian or not. i will leave it to you, what do you think? >> yes. >> yes. >> pretty enthusiastic. >> well, on that pace then. all right. so this is -- i'm preten tious. we're all familiar with the blue style playing. allen lomax noted the way they played down picking motion, very similar to the way west african players on instruments largely seen to be the predecessor of the american banjo, the way i'm about to play is similar to that.
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i'll have to show you what i mean. >> very briefly. . here we go. ♪ ♪ he noted that this drone string was peculiar fifth string is something that you find on many african instruments denotes sort of rhythmic quality to the way it's played. so in his estimation, appalachian culture is unique because it is that synchronized -- it betrays that multi ethnic and multi culture
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inheritance of the truly rich appalachian culture. so this is a model of -- one that places to the contributions made by all of the peoples of the mountains. we've explored over the course of the semester, of the arrival of black miners in the -- in the 1890s and 1910s through the 1920s to the development of the canal salt works and the enslaved african-americans that were used in that production. mountain culture, i would argue, is now a stand in for rural culture in america. and rural culture is racialized in much public. the songs and regional folk styles and traditions have been
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adapted to suit the needs of american looking for roots and authenticity as means of escaping of what they viewed of modern american society. in many ways, many of us who turned to bands like -- people like that are acts in the spirit. >> it has opposed to the hip-hop world is largely seen as an urban phenomena. this artificial dichotomy which perhaps find its root in the pass story yal fantasies is historically inaccurate. walker, and leading figure in the movement has bemoaned the fact that the african-americans have lost their connection to the american country side.
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and with it, a sense of their connection to american history. the racial construction as white american country side has led many whites to confuse rural and national identities. the rural in many people's estimation is american and white. the city, to the same people, is largely an immigrant world and black. the power of sharp's creation and the celtic south model, we live in an era of demographic society among many white americans, financial insecurities following the recession and fears about immigration have given rise to movements on the right and the left. these concerns have also led many to retreat in nostalgic interpretations of the past. as a solve to soothe minds troubled by more immediate pressures. for some, history and traditions are exclusive. and the american past is primary the domain of white americans.
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but the image of dynamic region presents us with another way of imagining appalachian and its place in american society. and sorry, the american story. the reality of social -- and culture formation in the region is far more complex than the anglo central model first constructed and emulated by subsequent scholars. it is this model more than any other, which -- inclusive and enjoy the richness of all of our inheritance and, again, these -- this black string bands that came in -- that emerged in the wake of the black banjo conference in -- designed as a way to reconnect african-americans to their
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world. >> i think i'll end with that. thank you all and good buy. >> american history tv and prime time continues with the panel on the legacy of president woodrow wilson and the organization of american historians annual meeting. sunday on q and a. >> in the way we actually allow resources to be used in our economy today.
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>> within a couple of years the regulators at the commission are renewing licenses but very carefully noting that propaganda stations will not be allowed and in fact early on, 1929 in that period, you had left wing station, the fact -- if i can use that political term owned by the wcfo of chicago, labor union, and -- socialist and near new york city. they wanted, for political purposes, free speech, they wanted to espouse their opinion, they were propaganda and when they were renewed they were told to expressing their opinions. >> sunday night, at 8:00 eastern. on cspan.
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>> many of whom who were resis tant. -- -- how are y'all doing, excellent. what i want y'all to do is go back in time. go back to the very beginning of the semester and/or second class. and remember we showed -- i showed you a clip of deliverance. and once we looked at deliverance i asked you to tell me


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