The Student Health Coalition Archive Project describes a collaboration between underserved communities and college students in the 1960s through the 1980s.  The goal of the collaboration: improve access to health care, by means of community organizing, primarily in the rural south.

The archive represents an innovative community-driven approach to preserving history, weaving together individual stories and memories that in the aggregate build a narrative about the work, the era, community organizing, and health care delivery.
This website serves as a portal to the Archive, and an invitation to participate.

Project Themes

Recently Added Stories

Heart of Gold

Brought to us by Margaret Ecker and others involved in its 2013 production, this special collection of insights from several Student Health Coalition figureheads in the 1970s features Bill Corr, Bill Dow, Carolyn Burr, and Dal Macon. Each of them… Continued

Square Morman’s sons on 1960s civil unrest and Tent City

Dana Ellis, a nurse and co-director of the West Tennessee Student Health Coalition, asks two of Square Morman’s sons what it was like in the early 1960s — from racial tensions to the development of “Tent City.” Recorded June 1st,… Continued

Highlights from JW Bradley’s collection of papers

Biff Hollingsworth, archivist at UNC’s Wilson Special Collections Library’s Southern Historical Collection, comes across some highlights from JW Bradley’s recently donated collection of papers. The first is a newspaper clipping of JW, president of Save Our Cumberland Mountains (SOCM), with… Continued
Diane Lauver's Legacy Plant

Resilient Reba: A bittersweet story from Diane Lauver

During a health fair in the 70s, I stayed with a couple in Elgin, TN: Reba and Bud Smithers. Another health fair worker, Angela stayed with me at their home. A few experiences with this couple left me with strong… Continued

David Morrow on the personal legacy of his student activism

I became involved with the Appalachian Student Health Coalition when I was an undergraduate at Vanderbilt. In 1977, the summer after my graduation, I worked as a community organizer in Copperhill, Tennessee, where the Coalition concentrated on environmental and occupational… Continued

Negro League’s Josh Gibson in contrast to MLB’s first black ballplayer Jackie Robinson

Ron Carson explains why he considers Josh Gibson of the Negro League’s Homestead Grays to have been the best black ball player ever, and how racist behavioral expectations contributed to Jackie Robinson’s acceptance in MLB. Full footage of Ron Carson’s… Continued

First integrated band in St. Charles, VA: Smith Carson and the Black and White Melody Boys

Ron Carson shares about his grandfather’s, Smith Carson, first integrated band in the area: the Black and White Melody Boys. Their legacy throughout the South includes having played with Louis Armstrong and Elvis Presley. Full footage of Ron Carson’s tour… Continued

The renaming of “Negro Head Rock”

Ron Carson showcases an old check with an emblem of what used to be called “Negro Head Rock” and shares the story about his grandmother’s 1968 petition to have it renamed. It’s now known as Stoneface Rock. Interestingly, former Student… Continued

Recently Added Personal Profiles

Diane Lauver's Legacy Plant

Resilient Reba: A bittersweet story from Diane Lauver

During a health fair in the 70s, I stayed with a couple in Elgin, TN: Reba and Bud Smithers. Another health fair worker, Angela stayed with me at their home. A few experiences with this couple left me with strong… Continued

David Morrow on the personal legacy of his student activism

I became involved with the Appalachian Student Health Coalition when I was an undergraduate at Vanderbilt. In 1977, the summer after my graduation, I worked as a community organizer in Copperhill, Tennessee, where the Coalition concentrated on environmental and occupational… Continued
Bill Dow in Smithville TN, 1970

Bill Dow

Bill Dow co-founded the Student Health Coalition while in medical school at Vanderbilt University, in 1969. He was a visionary. He inspired a generation of student activists and made lasting relationships with leaders in rural communities around the rural South.… Continued

Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)

The Tennessee Valley Authority provided support to the Student Health Coalition early on, beginning in 1970.  A TVA van traveled to the Coalition health fairs and included x-ray, lab facilities, and staff to run it.  Retired TVA vans eventually served… Continued