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Appalachia

From Academic Kids

Appalachia is a partly rural, partly urbanized and industrialized region in and around the Appalachian Mountains in the Eastern U.S. The Eastern Townships of southeastern Quebec exhibit some similarities to Appalachia.

Eli Flam wrote:

More than twenty million people live in Appalachia, a thickly wooded area, roughly the size of Great Britain, that covers largely mountainous, often isolated areas from Alabama and Mississippi on the south to Pennsylvania and New York on the north. In between lie large chunks of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Maryland, and Ohio. [1] (http://www.worldandi.com/subscribers/americanwavesdetail.asp?num=13245)

Culture

Prior to the 20th century the people of Appalachia were geographically isolated from the rest of the country. As a result, they preserved the culture of their ancestors (many of them English, Scottish, and Scots-Irish) who settled the region in the 18th century, a culture of simple technology, self-sufficiency, and strong religious faith. Coal deposits in the region were tapped in the latter half of the 19th century and drew a new wave of immigrants, mostly from Central Europe. With this industrialization came increased urbanization.

Long characterized as backward, Appalachia has received more sympathetic treatment by historians and anthropologists in recent decades. The Foxfire project appealed to the hippie counterculture and gave the region new visibility in academia. A long-running series of documentary films by Appalachian Film Workshop take a more historical and critical view of the region, including especially such endemic and pervasive problems as those associated with coal mining, strip mining, and related social and economic issues.

See also: Appalachian folk music

Appalachian Regional Commission

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) was created by Congress in 1965 to bring the 13 Appalachian states into the mainstream of the American economy. The Commission is a partnership of federal, state, and local governments, and was created to promote economic growth and improve the quality of life in the 13-state region stretching along the Appalachian Mountains from southern New York to northern Mississippi. The region includes 406 counties, incorporating all of West Virginia and counties in 12 other states: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia

Popular portrayals

Al Capp caricatured Appalachia/Ozark culture with hillbilly Li'l Abner in his cartoon strip Dogpatch. The Dukes of Hazzard and The Beverly Hillbillies were caricature television programs. The movies Coal Miner's Daughter and The Incredible Journey of Doctor Meg Laurel give a more sensitive and accurate portrayal of life in Appalachia. The Waltons, a long running family TV serial, was sited in western Virginia.

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