Who Owns Appalachia? A Contemporary Inquiry

Who owns Appalachia? From 1978 to 1981, a civil rights activist organization, a university, and a group of grassroots volunteers worked together to attempt to answer this question. These three unlikely partners collaborated to complete one of the most extensive studies of its kind in hopes of better understanding the demographics of land ownership in the Appalachian region. From Alabama to West Virginia, volunteers meticulously surveyed 80 counties in the Appalachian Land Ownership Survey. These volunteers proved invested in the betterment of their communities, and through their diligent work, this survey helped mend the broken tax systems diservicing rural Appalachia. However, it has been almost 25 years since the original survey, and Appalachian communities are faced with new challenges such as the decline of the coal mining industry and the damaging environmental effects years of degreadive mining have had on their beloved mountain region.


HIS3534 Spring 2019