|Map of the Allegheny and Cumberland Plateau--Central Appalachia|
|Appalachian Mountain Cabin|
"Manifest Destiny was a phrase which invoked the idea of divine sanction for the territorial expansion of the United States. It first appeared in print in 1845, in the July-August issue of the United States Magazine and Democratic Review. The anonymous author, thought to be its editor John L. O'Sullivan, proclaimed "our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our multiplying millions." http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h337.html
It is interesting to note that when Alice Geddes Lloyd came to Knott County Kentucky shortly after the turn of the 20th century she made a public commitment to never meddle in three issues: religion, politics, and moonshining. Oh, how much better off Appalachia would be if all the others who followed Ms. Lloyd to the mountains had taken similar positions..
|Photo of Albert Stewart, Appalachian Hero|
During my Upward Bound days, in my first year on the Stuart Robinson Campus at Blackey, Kentucky, in Letcher County, I had the educational experience of meeting Harry M. Caudill. I do not use the term educational in the same sense that many others refer to Harry M. Caudill. He spoke to the Upward Bound group that summer and his best seller "Night Comes To The Cumberlands" had just come out not long before. Each student in the program had been provided a copy of the book and it was the basic text in our summer history course that year. Many of the students in that group, who were among the brightest in the area, showed up for Caudill's speech carrying their book and many well grounded criticisms of his low regard for his fellow Appalachians. While he was a pretty good historian and writer, Harry M. Caudill did more to help perpetuate negative stereotypes of Appalachians than nearly any other native of the region. His interpretation of historical and sociological data, when it referred to Appalachia and Appalachians, was nearly always wrong. His conclusions were derogatory, defamatory, and debilitating. He was guilty of believing, expressing, and spreading most of the prejudices which continue to damage Appalachian people to this very day. "Night Comes To The Cumberlands" is the last book anyone should ever read about Appalachia. It should only be read after the student of Appalachia and Appalachian culture has read and learned enough to be able to see through the cultural fallacies in Caudill's work.
Another work which is often well spoken of but has served as a millstone around the necks of Appalachians is "Deliverance" by James Dickey. Far more people have seen the movie than have read the book. Based on reviews by my friends in the Appalachian movement at the time, I have chosen to never bother to read the novel. I have seen key scenes from the movie and based on their devastating portrayals of mountain people have chosen to never watch the entire film. I am considering reversing myself and reading the book in the near future in order to write a blog posting about the damage Dickey did to the Appalachian image.
But, to return to the stated subject of this posting, the name Appalachia is pronounced "Ap uh latch uh". Any other pronounciation is a dead give away to natives that the speaker knows little or nothing about the region and its people. It is also a pretty good indicator they probably care less. If you are among the thousands of people who mispronounce the name, learn the difference and change. Whether you are a native Appalachian or a non-native, show enough respect for the land, culture, and people of the region to learn about it, help educate others about it, and protect and defend the land, its culture, and its people.