Sneedville, TN

Sneedville is located in Hancock County in northeastern Tennessee. To this day, Hancock County remains geographically and economically isolated. In 1970 and again in 1971, the Coalition conducted health fairs there. A small hospital was already located in the town, with one doctor and 16 beds. Community organizers helped to nurture a local group of residents who continued to conduct their own health education and health screenings over time. The region is well-known for its population of Melungeons, a term loosely applied to people with darker skin of unclear origins, although scholars consider an explanation to be a blending of Africans, Indigenous peoples, and Europeans, possibly including Portuguese Muslims.

See the 1970 and 1971 SHC Annual Reports for more information.

Related People:

J. Thomas “Tom” John

I am a bit late in getting my bio in, best done in the earlier stages of pending dotage. I am originally from Laurinburg, N.C., a small farming and, then, textile community in the eastern part of the state. I… Continued

Related Stories:

One of the best days ever

[Story contributed by Rosalie Hammond, December 2015] During the summer of 1971, I spent a good deal of time on health fair follow-up.  We had always been committed to doing more than just identify clinical problems at the health fairs. … Continued

Margaret Ecker’s perspective on local home-stays and her experience among the Melungeon Community

Margaret Ecker shares her perspective on the Coalition’s unique opportunity for students to stay with local families, and the power doing so had on the relationship-building element crucial to effective community organizing. As an example, she reminisces her experience among… Continued

Related Resources/Links:

Deborah Cogswell Photograph Album, Southern Historical Collection, UNC Chapel Hill

Photograph album compiled by Deborah Cogswell, circa 1971, with images from her time with the Student Health Coalition. The images document her experiences in several Appalachian communities, including: White Oak, Briceville, Sneedville, Cosby and Deer Lodge, Tenn., and Grethel (Floyd… Continued

Richard Davidson Photograph Collection, Southern Historical Collection, UNC Chapel Hill

Richard Davidson (1947-), a medical physician and educator, was among the founding participants of the Vanderbilt Student Health Coalition at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. (1970-1971) and the Mountain People’s Health Council in eastern Tennesee (1975-1976). The Student Health Coalition… Continued