The Coalition worked in Tracy City, Tenn. in the summer of 1975. It had originally evolved as a community around a coal mine economy, but that industry had nearly disappeared by the 1970s. Student leaders, as had become their practice, were drawn to investigate Tracy City because of its isolation from health care services and its impoverished economy, including an unemployment rate of 13%. Initial contact with the community leaders was limited to the editor of the local newspaper, but eventually grew into networking with the abundant number of churches in and around the county.
Tracy City is located in Grundy County, in southeastern Tennessee, near the Alabama/Georgia state lines, closer to Chattanooga than to Knoxville or Nashville.