Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts & Humanities

Book Talk: To Live Here, You Have to Fight: How Women Led Appalachian Movements for Social Justice

Book Talk: To Live Here, You Have to Fight: How Women Led Appalachian Movements for Social Justice

The public is invited to a book talk by Jessica Wilkerson, author of To Live Here, You Have to Fight: How Women Led Appalachian Movements for Social Justice, on Wednesday, February 13 at 4 p.m. at the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts & Humanities at Pebble Hill.

Launched in 1964, the War on Poverty quickly took aim at the coalfields of southern Appalachia. There, the federal government found unexpected allies among working-class white women devoted to a local tradition of citizen caregiving and seasoned by decades of activism and community service.

Jessica Wilkerson tells their stories within the larger drama of efforts to enact change in the 1960s and 1970s. She shows white Appalachian women acting as leaders and soldiers in a grassroots war on poverty--shaping and sustaining programs, engaging in ideological debates, offering fresh visions of democratic participation, and facing personal political struggles. Their insistence that caregiving was valuable labor clashed with entrenched attitudes and rising criticisms of welfare. Their persistence, meanwhile, brought them into unlikely coalitions with black women, disabled miners, and others to fight for causes that ranged from poor people's rights to community health to unionization.

Jessica Wilkerson is an assistant professor of history and Southern studies at the University of Mississippi.

The event is free, open to the public, and will be followed by refreshments. Books will be available for purchase and signing. Sponsored by the Auburn University Department of History and Women's Studies Program. 

The Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts & Humanities at Pebble Hill is located at 101 S. Debardeleben Street, Auburn. For more information on the program, call 334-844-4903 or visit www.auburn.edu/cah

Last Updated: February 18, 2019