A rich mosaic of photographs, words, and songs, Voices from the Mountains tells the turbulent story of the Appalachian South in the twentieth century. Focusing on the abuses of the coal industry and the grassroots struggle against mine owners that began in the 1960s, Guy and Candie Carawan have gathered quotations from a variety of sources; words and music to more than fifty ballads and songs, laments and satires, hymns and protests; and more than one hundred and fifty photographs of longtime Appalachian residents, their homes, their countryside, the mines they work in, and the labor battles they have fought.
The “voices” that speak out in these pages range from the mountain people themselves to such well-known artists as Jean Ritchie, Hazel Dickens, Harriet Simpson Arnow, and Wendell Berry. Together they tell of the damage wrought by strip mining and the empty promises of land reclamation; the search for work and a new life in the North; the welfare rights, labor, antipoverty, and black lung movements; early days in the mines; disasters and negligence in the coal industry; and protest and change in the coal fields.
Dignity and despair, poverty and perseverance, tradition and change–Voices from the Mountains eloquently conveys the complex panorama of modern Appalachian life.