I am the daughter of a Vietnam Veteran. My father, Benny F. Shown, Sr., served honorably from 1967-1968 with Second Platoon in B Battery of the 29th Artillery. He served with the First Air Cavalry Division, various infantry units, and, in some cases, with Special Forces. He rarely spoke aboutContinue Reading

Mountains are in my blood. I spent my early childhood in the Appalachian Mountains of Western Pennsylvania while my extended family was (and still is) out West. My people hail from the mountainous region of Northwestern Oregon’s Willamette Valley, down the Pacific Coast Range all the way to San Diego.Continue Reading

When someone reflects on Women’s suffrage in the United States, that person might recognize women like Susan B. Anthony, Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, or Alice Paul. Here in Appalachia, however, we had our own heroine who worked tirelessly for women’s rights and issues. This Women’s History Month, Appalachia BareContinue Reading

We’ve come to the third and final post in a series about the Extraordinary Tanner family (See posts one and two.). Today, we’ll meet the trailblazing, tenacious Tanner women, who were exceptionally intelligent and highly successful in a time when women, especially African American women, weren’t afforded serious education orContinue Reading

Welcome to Part 2 of our three-part series about the Extraordinary Tanners. Today’s post centers on Henry and Carlton Tanner, sons of Benjamin and Sarah Tanner. We’ll meet younger son, Carlton, first. Though he wasn’t technically born in Appalachia, his parents were, and his story is significant to present theContinue Reading

I’ve seen the painting above, The Thankful Poor, for most of my life in various places and circles. Lately, I was curious to find the artist of such a stirring, spiritual piece, so, I googled it. The artist is Appalachia’s own Henry Ossawa Tanner, born in Allegheny County, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,Continue Reading

Some time ago, my son and I toured the Museum of Appalachia in Clinton, Tennessee. And, let me tell you, it is a treasure trove of Appalachian everything – from the pioneer days onward. The museum is located within view of Andersonville Hwy, is surrounded by an abundance of nativeContinue Reading

The absence of regional, independent bookstores in Appalachia and the South is similar to an urban sprawl in a bone-dry, flowerless space. We are all, in one way or another, readers for life. And readers search for some kind of respite, or thirst for a more tangible knowledge, or craveContinue Reading

One of my greatest joys is visiting museums. I love museums of all kinds but I’m particularly fond of author museums. It should come as no surprise that my bias leans toward Southern authors. (And, if I break it down further, I’d say, I’m even fonder of Appalachian authors.) AContinue Reading

Their similarities were keen enough to define an archetype of the Appalachian writer at mid-20th century. Their differences were such as to make each a singular talent. Jesse Stuart, James Still, and George Scarbrough knew one another and admired each other’s work. All possessed shared experiences of growing up onContinue Reading