Research Up-To-Date

The Newsletter of the Urban Appalachian Council Research Committee

September-October 2007

Editor:  Roberta M. Campbell

Contributors: Kathleen Burgoon

To subscribe or unsubscribe to this newsletter, send an e-mail to

The Research Committee was created at the founding of the Urban Appalachian Council more than thirty years ago and has always informed the council through active research. To be notified of future research committee meetings, which are open to all, please contact or phone 251-0202.

Please send your article, announcement, or website link to Roberta Campbell at Also, feel free to forward this newsletter to interested parties.

Miami University-Hamilton Celebrates Appalachian Heritage Month

By Kathleen Burgoon

Over the decades, Appalachian migrants and their descendents have made major contributions to the cultural life of the Greater Hamilton Community. Realizing that little had been done to celebrate these contributions, Miami University-Hamilton (MUH) initiated an Appalachian Heritage Month in the fall of 2006. Dating from mid-October to mid-November, the month’s activities included an illustrated talk by Appalachian photographer Shelby Lee Adams, a lecture by Kentucky author Silas House, a Blue Grass Concert, the annual O’Tucks dinner, and, finally, an evening of reflections.

The events of 2006 were so successful that Appalachian Heritage Month is being repeated this year. Noted authors Sharon McCrumb, Gurney Norman, and Curtis Ellison have already attracted larger and more diverse audiences to the campus and generated more discussion on the need for greater celebration. This year’s month will finish with another Blue Grass concert, the O’Tucks dinner, and evening of reflections. The evening of reflections has been a special success as people recalled childhood memories, challenges of migration, and contributions to the community. Mountain Mist and community residents have donated quilts for display at each event.

On a different front, Miami University-Hamilton administrators, faculty, and staff are in the process of designing courses on various aspects of Appalachia and initiating an Oral History project. These efforts include searching for grants and donors to help defray costs.

Editor’s Note: Appalachian Heritage Month is the brainchild of Kathleen Burgoon, Senior Instructor at MUH. The O’Tucks (short for Ohio Kentuckians) was founded in the 1950’s by Stanley B. Dezarn in Hamilton, Ohio. For more information about these events and related projects, go to or

Appalachian Studies Conference

The Appalachian Studies Association's thirty-first annual conference will be held March 28-30, 2008 at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. The conference theme is The Road Ahead: The Next Thirty Years of Appalachian Studies.

For more information about the Association or about being an exhibitor, applying for a scholarship, or registering for the conference, go to

Urban Appalachians on Wikipedia

The Urban Appalachian Wiki site is now online. Developed by Michael Maloney and Phillip Obermiller, the entry is a comprehensive description of urban Appalachian migrants and people living in Appalachian cities. To read it, go to

The United States of Appalachia

Jeff Biggers appeared in the Greater Cincinnati area to discuss his new book on the accomplishments and contributions of Appalachians. On October 2 and 3, Biggers was sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of History and Geography and the Department of Languages and Literature in a public event. On October 5, Biggers was featured at the Urban Appalachian Council’s thank-you dinner to volunteers, donors, and staff. Biggers’ website is

Research Notes for your information
(From the Research Committee: Debbie Zorn, Chair)

Introductions, Announcements, and Research Updates:

Roberta Campbell announced that Miami University Hamilton is planning several events for Appalachian Heritage month in October and November and that the faculty at MUH also has applied for a National Endowment for the Humanities grant for a workshop to develop faculty expertise on the Appalachian Diaspora.

Bob Ludke is working with Phyllis Shelton to find individuals to participate in an oral history literacy study. He is also working with other researchers at the institute on a project for Closing the Health Gap involving African-Americans and Appalachians. They are building baseline data on cardiovascular disease. Bob is also going to be on a panel at the next Appalachian Studies Association (ASA) conference that will discuss Appalachian identity.

Phil Obermiller shared copies of Frank X Walker’s new magazine on Afrilachians. Walker’s office is in Over-the-Rhine. Subscriptions are available at $30 for a year for individuals. Phil announced that Bill Turner is the National Endowment for the Humanities scholar-in-residence at Berea. Turner is focusing on Black coal miners in Eastern Kentucky, extending his work with the East Kentucky Social Club and he is also publishing a newsletter and a calendar. Ann McCracken is working on an abstract for a presentation on cardiovascular health at the ASA meetings. Marianne Beard informed the committee that the American Cancer Society has launched a campaign to examine health care reform.

Update on report and working groups for Research into Action:

The draft report draft report based on the Urban Appalachian Conference: Research into Action has been approved by the UAC Board.

The education working group has asked Governor Strickland resources to conduct research on young Appalachian males. There are some difficulties identifying knowledgeable individuals for the employment working group. Committee members suggested several contacts.

The Board and the committee have been discussing ways to find dispersed Appalachians.

The next meeting of the Research Committee will be at 10 am at UAC on November 16, 2007.

Additional Links:

Center for the Study of Gender and Ethnicity in Appalachia

The Appalachian Connection (newspaper)

East Tennessee State University Center for Appalachian Studies and Services

The University of Kentucky Appalachian Center

Berea College Appalachian Center

The Center for Appalachian Studies, Appalachian State University

Appalachian Studies Association

Social Areas Report of Cincinnati

Appalachian Women’s Alliance

Appalachian Studies at Miami University-Hamilton

Oral History of Appalachia Program, Marshall University

Appalachian Regional Commission

Highlander Research and Education Center

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