Read PDF Do, Die, or Get Along: A Tale of Two Appalachian Towns

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Do, Die, or Get Along weaves together voices oftwenty-six people who have intimate connections to two neighboringtowns in the southwestern Virginia coal.
Table of contents

Subjects Oral history. Community life -- Virginia -- Saint Paul. Community life -- Virginia -- Dante. Coal mines and mining -- Virginia -- Saint Paul -- History. Coal mines and mining -- Virginia -- Dante -- History.

America's poorest white town: abandoned by coal, swallowed by drugs

Company towns -- Virginia -- Case studies. Saint Paul Va. Dante Va. Paul Civility in St. Paul Great Depression and Dante Race relations in Dante Unionization The two towns interfacing, diverging Mining safety The Strip Mine Act of Regional planning and river politics Company town with no company The Pittston Strike of Changing attitudes Women, conservationists, and the economy Education and youth Changing strategy for regional renewal No-company town fights on.

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Notes Includes bibliographical references p. View online Borrow Buy Freely available Show 0 more links None of your libraries hold this item. Found at these bookshops Searching - please wait We were unable to find this edition in any bookshop we are able to search. These online bookshops told us they have this item:. Like others with no opportunities and little hope, she has struggled to put enough food on the table for her children as food stamps have been cut time and again in recent years. Single mothers, she says, feel the cuts more than anyone else. The food stamps last "probably till the middle of each month", Katie says.

For the rest of the month, she relies on the goodwill of neighbours and relatives to feed her daughter and two sons. Often faced with choosing between feeding herself or her children, Katie frequently goes to bed hungry. I love my kids; I want the best for my kids,"she concludes. Nothing improves for her or the others like her after the elections, she says before heading off into the hollow and along the gravel path that leads to her trailer home.


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Although neither Clinton nor Trump have threatened to do away with the food stamps programme, the Republican and Democratic parties share a long history of making deep cuts to it. In Booneville , people are bracing themselves for more. Hayes Smith, 54, stands in the driveway of his small wooden home, which shares a lot with a crumbling shack and a deserted trailer home.


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Talking over the barking of two dogs chained to rusty old cars in his front garden, he explains that he used to receive food stamps. Although he plans to vote for Trump, Hayes says: "That's a shame we just got them two people to vote for. Hillary's a snake in the grass and Trump probably is too.

In eight years, things will be the same here or even worse. I can see each month go by and it gets a little worse here. Against the bleak backdrop of job losses, institutional inattention, developmental neglect and negative stereotyping, many locals are openly resentful of the federal government and distrustful of outsiders and the media. Owsley County voted an overwhelming But many residents of the poverty-ridden county say they feel abandoned by both parties. Carl Noble, a year-old retiree, sits on a rocking chair on his porch watching the occasional car pass along the country road that leads from Booneville to neighbouring Breathitt County, where he worked in the coal mines for 26 years.

He speaks softly, almost mumbling, and his sentences are punctuated with a wheezing sound caused by black lung disease - the result of inhaling coal dust for two-and-a-half decades. He gets up, walks cautiously towards the screen door and then disappears inside. A few moments later he is back on the rocking chair with a Pepsi in his hand. In , Carl had to leave his job to have open heart surgery. Unable to work afterwards, he spent two years hopping through bureaucratic hoops to get governmental compensation for his lung condition and disability benefits. The things that Hillary and Donald stand for is just not something I like.

One's no better than the other. I'm voting for my grandchildren," he says. Carl's father died when he was 11 years old. Reflecting on not being able to complete his studies, he says: "Free education - I'm for it. You're in one of the poorest counties, well, in the United States. Carl was a supporter of Donald Trump until the recent media uproar over the sexist comments the Republican presidential hopeful has made.

Now he plans to vote for Clinton. Although his wife, Della, says she hasn't yet decided how she'll vote, she echoes many of her husband's sentiments. She recalls how her son was unable to find a job in Owsley County after graduating from university. He spent years working in West Virginia before moving back to Booneville and finding a job in Lexington, an hour's drive away.

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It doesn't look right now," Della says. One's no better than the other," she adds. Whether it's a Democrat or a Republican, there's no jobs. Like many residents of Booneville , Della resents depictions of low-income communities in the Appalachian region as lazy and uneducated. We're looked at like backwoods people who don't know anything, but that's not right. There's good people here," she says. I see people that want to work," she says, explaining that people don't want to be dependent on food stamps and welfare. Eric Kerl is an editorial board member of the International Socialist Review Journal and a writer who focuses on the Appalachian region.

He argues that mainstream media depictions of white poverty, particularly in Appalachia, is laden with sweeping stereotypes and "poor-bashing" generalisations. The phenomenon has a long history in popular culture and media coverage of the region, Eric explains, pointing to how the Appalachians are portrayed as uneducated "hillbillies, racist illiterates and sexual deviants". Call of the Wildman, a reality television series, followed the exploits of Ernie Brown Jr, an almost completely toothless Kentuckian also known as the Turtle Man for his appearance in a viral YouTube video.

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For four seasons, the series documented Brown's animal removal business, following him as he went to people's homes and businesses to catch racoons, possums, snakes and other vermin. In July , the show set a then-record of 1. The show, which played on offensive tropes about obesity, poverty and the supposed ignorance of poor communities, was cancelled in Yet, at its peak it attracted more than 2. In , the popular comedy show Saturday Night Live SNL introduced a skit called Appalachian Emergency Room, which drew on stereotypes of Appalachians as uniformly poor, uneducated and dirty.

Further back still, the film Deliverance - starring John Voight and Burt Reynolds, among others - tells the tale of four Atlanta men who wind up separated while canoeing in the northern Georgia Appalachia region. While trying to find their companions, two of the story's protagonists are captured by local Appalachian men who proceed to rape one of them.

More recently, a series of articles in mainstream US newspapers and media outlets have deemed Appalachia as "Trump country". Last month, New York Times columnist Roger Cohen visited Paris, Kentucky, writing a portrayal of the region as almost homogenously right-wing. Evoking sweeping generalisations, he continued: "The race is tightening once again because Trump's perceived character - a strong leader with a simple message, never flinching from a fight, cutting through political correctness with a bracing bluntness - resonates in places like Appalachia where courage, country and cussedness are core values.

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In September, The Atlantic published an analysis of data on Trump supporters. For his part, Eric argues that Trump represents the interests of America's wealthiest class even if he commands high support among the middle class and a fair, if exaggerated, degree of support among working-class whites.