Stories

The larger narrative of the Coalition work has been made possible through the steady accumulation of individual stories submitted to the archive over time. Some participants have written down a brief memory about a hog butchering, their home visit, or some other snapshot from the past. Others have recorded longer stories using a tape recorder or video camera. Still others have provided a fuller telling of the birth and growth of a whole community’s engagement with health care, environmental issues, and political power. All stories are collected into this section, organized by categories listed in the drop down menu and on the left side of this screen. See below for quick access to the ten most recently added stories.

Recently Added:

New River Boys

As illustration of the depth and strength of relationship between the communities and the students, witness the example of the New River Boys. The Boys were a distinguished bluegrass band in the early 1970s. They played in venues around the… Continued

Betty Anderson’s introduction to SOCM

Betty Anderson shares how she first became involved with Save Our Cumberland Mountains (SOCM) and the Student Health Coalition. Included in her account is a story about how she and others responded to opposition of the rural health clinics in… Continued

Reflections on the SHC’s sense of fashion

Kate Bradley and Marie Cirillo share some laughs thinking back to the effort Student Health Coalition (SHC) participants put toward demonstrating modesty and respect so as to cultivate relationships with community members. But sporting bowl cuts, long skirts, and duct-taped… Continued

Art Van Zee on community hosts Howard and Elsie Elliot

Art Van Zee reminisces Howard and Elsie Elliot, a local couple with whom many Student Health Coalition (SHC) participants were welcomed to stay. He highlights their hospitality as a hallmark of the Coalition’s community-centered approach to effective organizing. Continued

On the SHC’s provision of hope as fuel for systemic change to rural healthcare

Kate and J.W. Bradley share sweet reflections of the friendships made during the Student Health Coalition’s (SHC’s) community organizing efforts in rural Tennessee, and explain that the organization’s leader, Bill Dow, gave them hope to change what they’d always been… Continued

Charles “Boomer” Winfrey on the Coal Creek War of 1892-1893

Charles “Boomer” Winfrey delineates the historical account of Coal Creek, Tennessee’s Coal Creek War (the battle atop Militia Hill at Fort Anderson) to Maureen O’Connell, Tom John, and Biff Hollingsworth. He explains the conflict’s origins within a larger context of… Continued

Minnie Bommer’s encounter with hospital segregation

Having overcome the adversity of racially biased employment discrimination imposed upon her at the outset of her nursing career, Minnie Bommer shares also about the realities of healthcare inequities and segregation experienced post-hire at a hospital in Covington, Tenn. Recorded… Continued

Minnie Bommer on racially charged employment discrimination and her journey to nursing career

Minnie Bommer shares her tumultuous experience at the outset of her nursing career, detailing the extent of racially biased obstacles intended to bar her from hire at hospitals in Tipton County, Tenn. Recorded on June 1, 2018.   Full footage… Continued

SOCM’s and the SHC’s culture of ‘family fun’

Maureen O’Connell and Charles “Boomer” Winfrey reflect on the value of having fun, highlighting the Student Health Coalition (SHC) as an especially stimulating group of people to be around. Their commitment to collective recreation ultimately facilitated a stronger sense of… Continued

Where can the SHC go from here?

Charles “Boomer” Winfrey and Maureen O’Connell ruminate on work left to be done in the eastern Tennessee region of Appalachia. Their focus pertains mostly to the ongoing need for augmented healthcare resources, drug education and reform, and meeting the needs… Continued

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