Thursday, June 17, 2010

Appalachian Mountain Project

My writing began to materialize as a project to give ordinary, common, blue-collar workers and their families a voice. People reared in coal camps. People who have their arms, hands and legs cut off by large mining machinery. People who have lived their entire life in a four-room house. People who did not draw ordinary money at the end of the pay period but who were given scrip to spend at the Company Store. People, who often lived no better than slaves, and were told they were lucky to have all they had. I wanted to give these people an opportunity to talk to someone, to tell their stories, to have their stories recorded as a remembrance.
With all this on my shoulders, I feel I have been forced to write by an unconscious mandate. Someone must hold these precious memories up for the world to read.
The people of the Appalachian coalfields are much like the survivors of any major disasters (God or manmade). And like the victims of those disasters – my people too have been forgotten. Their own strength, courage and caring for each other have made them into pillars of strength many times without benefit of a loving or responding government. Many of the mountain people have died because of mine explosions, accidents and black lung.

B. L. Dotson-Lewis
Summersville, WV

Writing about Appalachia