Dr. William H. Turner presents The Harlan Renaissance

Event date: 

Friday, October 29, 2021 - 7:00pm
2720 Frankfort Avenue
Louisville, KY 40206

Masks are required for in-person events.

Register HERE.

 

The Harlan Renaissance is an intimate remembrance of kinship and community in eastern Kentucky’s coal towns written by one of the luminaries of Appalachian studies, William Turner. Turner reconstructs Black life in the company towns in and around Harlan County during coal’s final postwar boom years, which built toward an enduring bust as the children of Black miners, like the author, left the region in search of better opportunities.

The Harlan Renaissance invites readers into what might be an unfamiliar Appalachia: one studded by large and vibrant Black communities, where families took the pulse of the nation through magazines like Jet and Ebony and through the news that traveled within Black churches, schools, and restaurants. Difficult choices for the future were made as parents considered the unpredictable nature of Appalachia’s economic realities alongside the unpredictable nature of a national movement toward civil rights.

Unfolding through layers of sociological insight and oral history, The Harlan Renaissance centers the sympathetic perspectives and critical eye of a master narrator of Black life.

 
“Bill Turner knows more about black life and culture in the mountains of the American South than anybody in the world.” — Alex Haley || Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Roots & The Autobiography of Malcolm X

“A warm and insightful memoir of Black life in Appalachia’s coal camps that offers a bounty of correctives to the persistent myth that all mountain people are white and all poverty is self-made.”
Elizabeth Catte, author of What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia and Pure America: Eugenics and the Making of Modern Virginia

“Heartfelt portraits that are original, compelling, revelatory, and deeply human.”
David Ritz, author of Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin

“One of the oldest and most enduring myths about the Appalachian Mountains is that they are now and always have been overwhelmingly populated by white Scots-Irish. Dr. William H. Turner has written a new book, The Harlan Renaissance: Stories of Black Life in Appalachian Coal Towns, that kills that myth about whiteness and, for good measure, buries several more myths as well.”
Daily Yonder

“It’s a book only Turner could write, and without it, this slice of American culture would be lost forever.”
Berea College Magazine

 

William H. Turner, PhD, the fifth of ten children, was born in 1946 in the coal town of Lynch, Kentucky, in Harlan County. His grandfathers, father, four uncles and older brother were coal miners.

Bill has spent his professional career studying and working on behalf of marginalized communities, helping them create opportunities in the larger world while not abandoning their important cultural ties. He is best-known for his ground-breaking research on African-American communities in Appalachia, but Bill’s work is universal. As an academic and a consultant, he has studied economic systems and social structures in the urban South and burgeoning Latino communities in the Southwest. What he strives for on behalf of his clients and their communities is what we all want: prosperity, understanding and respect.

Today, Bill and his wife, Vivian – the retired President of the R.J. Reynolds Foundation in Winston-Salem, N.C. – live near their children and grandchildren in Houston.

The Harlan Renaissance: Stories of Black Life in Appalachian Coal Towns Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781952271212
Availability: On Our Shelves in the last 24 hours. Click to see a specific store location's stock.
Published: West Virginia University Press - October 1st, 2021

A personal remembrance from the preeminent chronicler of Black life in Appalachia.

The Harlan Renaissance is an intimate remembrance of kinship and community in eastern Kentucky’s coal towns written by one of the luminaries of Appalachian studies, William Turner.


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Event Summary: 

“Bill Turner knows more about black life and culture in the mountains of the American South than anybody in the world.” — Alex Haley || Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Roots & The Autobiography of Malcolm X