Loyal Jones Appalachian Center

The Appalachian Seminar & Tour for Berea College Faculty and Staff

Appalachian Tour 2013
  • Peter Slavin’s article (The Atlantic On-Line May 2013)
Appalachian Tour 2008

The next Appalachian Seminar & Tour for Faculty and Staff is tentatively scheduled for summer 2016.  For more information or to express your interest in the tour contact Sheila Lyons by e-mail at sheila_lyons@berea.edu, at extension 3140, or at CPO 2166.

For more than five decades, new faculty and staff to Berea College have embarked on a tour of Appalachia in order to learn more about the Appalachian region and to better understand the importance of the College’s Appalachian Commitment. Today, the Appalachian Seminar and Tour is underwritten by funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, which has recognized the importance and benefits of such a Berea tradition.

Throughout the years, the Appalachian Seminar and Tour has helped many Bereans become better acquainted with the region from which many of our students come, find connections between their own work and the region, and to build new relationships with Berea co-workers and faculty from other departments.

For those persons on eleven-month contracts, the College offers release-time from work assignments to participate in this learning adventure. Spouses and partners are also encouraged to attend as space allows.

The program begins with two days of on-campus seminar exploring Appalachian history, material culture, diversity, politics, stereotypes, economic development, religion, health, and contemporary issues.

The seminar is followed by five days on the road.  Recent tours have traveled from eastern Kentucky into West Virginia and east Tennessee. The 2010 tour itinerary included opportunities to:

  • Learn about mountaintop removal, herbalism, and activism while visiting Daymon Morgan’s eastern Kentucky farm, which has become surrounded by the devastation wrought by mountaintop removal mining. Morgan, an 82-year-old life-long resident of Leslie County, Kentucky, has great knowledge and love for undisturbed Appalachian land and has used medicinal herbs and other mountain plants throughout his life.
  • Better understand health and wellness in eastern Kentucky through a stop at the Frontier Nursing Service in Leslie County, Kentucky, America’s first agency devoted to midwifery.
  • Visit the world-famous arts cooperative Appalshop in Whitesburg, which has produced approximately 100 films on subjects ranging from coal mining to Appalachian culture.
  • Experience the biodiversity of an old-growth forest as we enjoy a nature-hike of Lilley Cornett Woods in Letcher County, the first and largest preserved remnant of old-growth forest in eastern Kentucky and a Registered National Natural Landmark.
  • Discover how organizations are addressing the needs of their community when we visit Hindman Settlement School, the first social settlement school in the United States, founded in 1902 by reform leaders May Stone and Katherine Petit.
  • Experience the region’s religious diversity by attending a Sunday service meeting at an Old Regular Baptist church in Virginia.
  • Experience Appalachian hospitality first-hand as we enjoy dinner and fellowship at a mountaineer family’s homestead, where you’ll be treated to a sumptuous meal and have the opportunity to interact with members of the extended family.
  • Visit the East Tennessee State University’s Gray Fossil Site, where paleontologists have recently unearthed fossils that range in age from four-and-a-half-million to seven-million years old. More than 60 different types of plants and animals have been found on site, including turtles, salamanders, bats, rhinos, camels, red pandas, and saber-toothed cats.
  • Learn more about social-change activism and community organizing by traveling to Highlander Research and Education Center, an institution that played an important part in the southern labor movement and the civil rights movement, providing training for such labor and civil rights leaders as Rosa Parks, Betty Friedan, Pete Seeger, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Stokely Carmichael.
  • Enjoy a drive out to scenic Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee, where you’ll learn more about how economic development, cultural heritage, and luxury tourism come together in Southern Appalachia. Enjoy a simple box lunch while touring the heirloom and organic gardens that supply the Blackberry kitchens.
  • Deepen our understanding of African American history and civil rights in Appalachia as we wrap-up our tour at the Green-McAdoo Cultural Center in Clinton, Tennessee, where on August 27, 1956, twelve young people walked into history and changed the world. Known as the Clinton 12, these students were the first to desegregate a state-supported high school in the South. The Center opened on August 26, 2006, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of this historic event.

We also encourage you to view the 2008 Appalachian Tour audio slideshow that contains images from the 2008 tour and commentary from former Appalachian Center Director, Dr. Chad Berry.

Last Updated August 2014

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