Cratis Williams gained international fame for documenting and interpreting Appalachian culture and language. Born in eastern Kentucky in1911, he spent most of his professional life as a teacher and administrator at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. His two-volume Ph.D. dissertation, “The Southern Mountaineer in Fact and Fiction,” examined how so many writers had disparaged the people of Appalachia with misleading and degrading stereotypes. Having himself experienced the humiliation resulting from such stereotyping, Williams worked tirelessly to put an end to it. With his storehouse of knowledge and his talent as a storyteller, he forcefully represented the struggle that so many people from the region have faced, that of coming to terms with what it means to be Appalachian.
Below is the Digital Heritage Moment as broadcast on the radio:
- Penland School of Crafts The widespread poverty that the Great Depression brought to Appalachia led to the founding of one of the area’s most valuable treasures: the Penland School of Crafts. Nestled deep in the […]
- John C. Campbell In a time of turbulent change in Appalachia, John C. Campbell helped define America’s understanding of this great mountain region. Campbell was born in Indiana in 1867 and studied theology […]
- Mountain Heritage Center The Mountain Heritage Center was created by Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina, in 1975. Combining a museum with a research center, it preserves the history and […]
- Allen Eaton For over forty years Allen Eaton was an important figure in the arts and crafts movement in Appalachia. In 1919 the Oregon native met Olive Campbell who was beginning her work as founder […]
- Burley Tobacco
For over 100 years burley tobacco has been an important cash crop in western North Carolina as well as in other areas of Appalachia. The large, weather-beaten, rough-timbered tobacco […]