A Letter to J.D. Vance

Dear Mr. Vance, I read your book Hillbilly Elegy last year. Actually, my family and I listened to it as a free trial on Audible while traveling back and forth to visit my grandfather in the hospital. He was a career coal miner by the way. Several friends and colleagues had advised me not to... Continue Reading →

Trump is Not the Problem, Urban Provincialism Is

Please allow me to speak conversationally... I was raised rural in the Appalachian Mountains. I spent my childhood split between exploring the ridgelines, hollers, and creeks with my cousins to playing Nintendo, screwing around with PCs at the onset of the internet, and watching Nickelodeon on C-Band satellite. We raised a garden for fresh vegetables... Continue Reading →

The Only Way Out for Appalachia’s Coalfields

The boom and bust cycles of coal markets have always worked to the advantage of coal companies more than Appalachian communities.  In some of Central Appalachia's coal-producing counties, over 90% of the mineral rights are owned by absentee owners—owners who manipulate local and state governments to keep property taxes low on their holdings. When markets... Continue Reading →

Exploiting Appalachia’s Heroes

Since I left the mines and joined the ranks of people fighting for justice in our world, I've met many people who I consider to be honest-to-God heroes. They are the local organizers who rose up in their own communities and sacrificed nearly everything to do what was right. They are the faces of truth,... Continue Reading →

Civil Rights and the All Mighty Economy

When I attended Clintwood High School throughout the mid-90s, there was an amazing lack of ethnic diversity.  Our school was 99.8% white. It goes without saying that we had a very limited understanding of diversity. What little we did know came in the form of 80's and 90's whitewashed television programming pulled in with our... Continue Reading →

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