The larger narrative of the Coalition work has been made possible through the steady accretion of individual stories, collected over time. Some participants have written down a brief memory about a hog butchering or home visit or other snapshot from the past. Others have recorded longer stories with help from an interviewer, using a tape recorder or video camera. Still others have provided a fuller telling of the birth and growth of a whole community’s engagement with health care, environmental issues, and political power. All stories are listed below.
Within each story you will find links to profiles of individuals described in the story, timelines, and places, and other connected stories.
Here’s link to a wonderful video clip, edited by Rick Davidson, that describes the connections between young student activists and local musicians in east Tennessee.
Contributed by Jack Beckford, with Assistance from Sara Platt Williams During the Fall of 1970, SHC was contacted by the Eastern Kentucky Welfare Rights Organization (EKWRO), centered in Floyd Co, KY. EKWRO was already doing organizing among low-income residents in … Continued
Reflections of Jean Carney, recorded in October 2017, on the history of the Stanton, Tennessee health clinic. In the clip, Carney talks about how segregation created healthcare disparities in her community.
Written by Caryl Carpenter On October 23rd, in 2017, a doctor, a lawyer, an archivist, and an old lady started out to make history, or more accurately, to record history – the history of Mountain People’s Health Councils (MPHC) in … Continued
[Contributed by Perry Steele, 15 May 2017] I was finishing my sophomore year at Vanderbilt. Nixon hadn’t drafted me. For some reason Professor Scott suggested I could be a community organizer. Having no other plans for the summer, I was … Continued
[Contributed by Frank Pacosa, April 2017] Memories of Bill Dow and the Vanderbilt SHC Summer Health Fairs It was all about Bill and the world he opened to me. That gravely voice stilled me. And often in his mouth was … Continued
[Contributed by Frank Pacosa, March 2017] Heartfelt memories of my SHC days rumble through Bill was the seminal influence. Never met a man who could say more with so few words. His admonition to always question and look deeper for … Continued
In this video clip, Dana Ellis reflects on her personal experiences as a student nurse working with community leaders in rural west Tennessee back in the early 1970s and how that work affected her career and her life.
In 2013, just as the Affordable Care Act was about to get rolled out, Bill Corr took time out of his busy schedule as Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services to reflect on the resonance between the Coalition work of forty years ago and … Continued
Community leaders recognized early on the added value that expanded role nurses brought to the table. In this video clip, community leaders Marie Cirillo and Betty Anderson recollect their efforts to lobby for legal changes that would support expanded role nurses.
Dana Ellis discusses how she got involved and her experience with the first Student Health Coalition cohort to visit communities in West Tennessee in 1973.
[Story contributed by Angela Carroll Healy, M.D.] Dear All, Seeing the videos and reading the memories of other Coalitioners has made me want to share what working with the Student Health Coalition meant to me. I was a Brooklyn girl, … Continued
After the 1975 health fair In St. Charles, Virginia, the local health council worked tirelessly to build a permanent clinic. By 1976, that clinic had opened to the public. And over time, it grew into a network of 12 regional … Continued
On training nurses, reuniting with fellow Coalitioners, and being a non-conformist. Learn more about Pete Moss on his profile page.
Interview with Carolyn Burr, recorded at a 2013 Student Health Coalition reunion in Nashville, Tennessee. In this clip, Burr reflects on how the experience of working with the Coalition shaped her values and future career in nursing.
Learn more about Rod Lorenz on his profile page.
Learn more about Dal Macon on his profile page.
Contributed by Dr. Brent Blue, February 2016 “I remember I took these photos when I was first introduced to Jess and Steele. I believe John Gaventa was with us. The Huddleston’s freely admitted that due to my long hair, if … Continued
Several years before he died, Bill Dow agreed to participate in recorded conversations about his farming philosophies, with the idea that he would use the recordings to compose a book about sustainable agriculture. He died in 2012, before the project … Continued
On SOCM, tax equalization, and “getting to the roots of problems and not just providing services.”
Margaret Ecker reminisces with the Appalachian Student Health Coalition at a gathering in 2013. Her story about the students’ dress code was influenced by the clip below of Kate and J. W. Bradley, where they discuss what their community said … Continued
Contributed by Rosalie Hammond, December 2015 During the summer of 1971, I spent a good deal of time on health fair follow-up. We had always been committed to doing more than just identify clinical problems at the health fairs. As … Continued
Contributed by Rosalie Hammond, December 2015 I first heard about the Student Health Coalition in the spring of 1970 from Lark Hayes at the end of my freshman year. I had not read Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. I had … Continued
On strip mining, community organization, and “[having] fun while trying to change the world.” Interview with Maureen O’Connell and Charles “Boomer” Winfrey, recorded at a May 2013 reunion of the Student Health Coalition in Nashville, Tennessee.
Contributed by John Emmeus Davis, 2015 At one emotional pole of the SHC experience was the gravity and ferocity of the organization’s founder, Bill Dow. He usually displayed little patience for peers whose personal commitment to SHC’s Appalachian mission was … Continued
Rod Lorenz on the entrepreneurial endeavors of his host family. Learn more about Rod Lorenz.
Ann Baile Hamric on hospitality, creative home heating, and wasps in the outhouse. Learn more about Rod Lorenz.
Ann Baile Hamric on continuing care, local resources, and navigating through Appalachia.
An interview with Dr. Tom John, recorded by Margaret Ecker, 2013.
Video clip from Appalachian Genesis courtesy of Appalshop Film Archives (Whitesburg, KY).
An interview with Martha Stucker.
An interview with Charles Scott, professor of philosophy at Vanderbilt University and early supporter and participant in the Student Health Coalition.
[Contributed John WIlliams] Bill had a friend named Fortenberry who was a staffer for the Mississippi State Senate in the 1970’s. In 1976 lignite coal (a low grade of coal) was discovered in Mississippi, so the state started considering the … Continued
[Contributed by Pat Kalmans] The whole bee thing with Bill started in Nashville on the Vanderbilt campus. Bill had been wanting to raise bees for a while, but didn’t want to necessarily mail order the suckers. One day, literally out … Continued
[Contributed by Neil McBride] OK, I’ll join with two stories that suggest that Bill’s conversion from radical mountain agitator to organic farmer was not as sudden and distinct as some might think. They also address the sense that when Bill … Continued
[Story contributed by Trip Van Noppen] In 1975, I began working for SOCM and moved into the Ponderosa, the really old farmhouse outside of Lake City that Bill had somehow obtained for general housing needs. Jimmy Dean and Granny Loomis … Continued
[Story contributed by Betsy Scott Metzger] I was hiking in the Smokies recently and it started to rain heavily. Some of the group started complaining but I welcomed it. I remembered all of those weekends we spent camping. One night … Continued
An interview with Kate Bradley about how she received the money to build a health clinic in Petros, TN.
An interview with Betty Anderson on what it was like working with SOCM, and Bill Dow. She also discusses the importance of community organizations.
On organic farming and the state’s resistance to nurturing broccoli.
My name is Biff Hollingsworth and I am the Collecting and Outreach Archivist for the Southern Historical Collection at UNC Chapel Hill. My main responsibility at the Southern is to curate new collections and projects, which means that I work on … Continued
[Story contributed by Margaret Ecker, RN, MSN] Sometime around 1975, local friends in Lake City offered us newly minted community organizers this abandoned house for a dwelling. We lived communally, our numbers fluctuating with the season. We lived with a … Continued
[Story contributed by Margaret Ecker, RN, MSN] My first job as a nurse practitioner began around 1975, in Briceville, Tennsessee, in a community-run clinic housed in a trailer and managed by a local board chaired by the venerable Byrd Duncan. … Continued
[This story was contributed by Richard Davidson, M.D.] After an initial scouting year in the summer of 1969, the Student Health Coalition began health fairs and community organizing in Appalachia in the summer of 1970. After several months of hard … Continued