Urban Appalachian Council Records Available in ARB

By Suzanne Maggard

Appalachian Festival

Music at an Appalachian Festival

After World War II and through the 1960s and 1970s, millions of people fled Appalachia in search of jobs and a better life.  Cincinnati’s proximity to Appalachian counties in Kentucky and Ohio and its industries encouraged many migrants to settle in this area.  The migrants brought unique music, cultural traditions, and stories.  The experiences of Cincinnati’s Appalachian migrants varied.  Some found good jobs and quickly moved into suburban homes, but a significant number of migrants struggled with the adjustment to urban life.  Many of these migrants settled in blighted neighborhoods such as Appalachian Advocate NewsletterOver-the-Rhine and Lower Price Hill where they experienced poverty, stereotypes, and little help from social service agencies.  After years of struggle by groups and individuals including Michael Maloney, Ernie Myatt, Dr. Frank Foster, and the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission, the Urban Appalachian Council was established in 1974 to combat these problems.   The goals of the Urban Appalachian Council included attacking stereotypes, promoting Appalachian culture, helping to organize the neighborhoods where Appalachians lived, establishing a resource center to make cultural and social planning information on mountain migrants accessible, and creating a research program.  The initial financial support came from the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission, the Appalachian Fund, the Great Cincinnati Foundation, and the Community Commitment Foundation.

Appalachian StorytellerThe Archives and Rare Books Library holds some early records of the Urban Appalachian Council which includes meeting minutes, newsletters, flyers, news clippings and photographs.  Along with the history of the organization itself, the collection shows how the Urban Appalachian Council supported and promoted Appalachian culture in Cincinnati.  The collection includes material related to the library and outreach programs like Appalachian storytelling sponsored by the Urban Appalachian Council.   Lilly-Marge Kelly served as the UAC librarian/storyteller in the late 1970s and early 1980s and presented “Appalachian Tales & Such” to children and adults in Cincinnati.  In addition, the collection contains records, flyers, Appalachian Festival Flyercorrespondence, and reports related to Appalachian Festivals held in Cincinnati.  The first of these exhibitions was organized by the Junior League of Cincinnati in 1971 and featured handmade goods.  Strong attendance numbers of around 7000 people resulted in a second exhibition in 1972, called the “Appalachian Festival.”  New that year was music, special films, craft demonstrations, and art exhibits.  The festivals continued to the 1980s.

The Urban Appalachian Council records at ARB also include general information on Appalachian culture and copies of studies on Appalachian migration and culture conducted in the 1970s and early 1980s.  In addition, a vast amount of newsclippings available in these records tell the stories of many of the Appalachian migrants and trace changing attitudes towards them in Cincinnati and the quest to establish services to meet their needs.  A finding aid for the collection is available in on the OhioLINK Finding Aid Repository.  Other material related to Urban Appalachians and the Urban Appalachian Council available in the Archives and Rare Books Library include:

Books: 

Ohio Urban Appalachian Awareness Project.  From Mountain to Metropolis:  Urban Appalachians in Ohio.  Cincinnati, Ohio:  Ohio Urban Appalachian Awareness Project, 1978.  Call Number:  C.U. 901.M2 fr

Ohio Urban Appalachian Awareness Project.  A report on Appalachians in Akron, Ohio.  Cincinnati, Ohio:  The Ohio Urban Appalachian Awareness Project, 1978.  Call Number:  C.U.902 .O4ak

Ohio Urban Appalachian Awareness Project.  A report on Appalachians in Cleveland, Ohio.  Cincinnati, Ohio:  The Ohio Urban Appalachian Awareness Project, 1978.  Call Number:  C.U.902 .O4cl

Ohio Urban Appalachian Awareness Project.  A report on Appalachians in Toledo, Ohio.  Cincinnati, Ohio:  The Ohio Urban Appalachian Awareness Project, 1978.  Call Number:  C.U.902 .O4to

Ohio Urban Appalachian Awareness Project.   A report on Appalachians in Columbus, Ohio.  Cincinnati, Ohio:  The Ohio Urban Appalachian Awareness Project, 1978.  Call Number:  C.U.902 .O4co

Ohio Urban Appalachian Awareness Project.  A report on Appalachians in Dayton, Ohio.  Cincinnati, Ohio:  The Ohio Urban Appalachian Awareness Project, 1978.  Call Number:  C.U.902 .O4da

Shapiro, Henry D. and Jonathan D. Sarna, ed.  Ethnic Diversity and Civic Identity:  Patterns of Conflict and Cohesion in Cincinnati Since 1820.  Chicago:  University of Illinois Press, 1992.  Call Number:  C.U. 801.S44 et 1992

Wagner, Thomas E. and Phillip J. Obermiller. Valuing Our Past, Creating Our Future:  The Founding of the Urban Appalachian Council.  Berea, Kentucky:  Berea College Press, 1999.  Call Number:  C.U. 813.W2va 1999.

Weiland, Steven and Phillip Obermiller, ed.  Perspectives on Urban Appalachian:  An Introduction to Mountain Life, Migration, and Urban Adaptation and a Guide to the Improvement of Social Services.  Cincinnati: Ohio Urban Appalachian Awareness Project, 1978.

Archival Collections:

Cincinnati Human Relations Commission records.  UA-81-11 and UA-02-08

 

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