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 most recently added stories.

Recently Added:

Community-driven parallels between organizing then and archiving now

Gillian McCuistion, a technician with the archive project, draws on parallels between SHC community organizing of the 1960s and 70s and the community-driven nature of their partnership with the Southern Historical Collection today. Follow this link for access to the… Continued

On assembling the record of organizing efforts that grew out of SHC work

John Davis reflects on the Coalition’s work planting community activist seeds and frames the archive project as an opportunity to assemble the record of organizing efforts that grew out of them. Follow this link for access to the full-length panel… Continued

Jack Beckford on the Student Health Coalition Legacy Fund

Jack Beckford offers insight into the role the Student Health Coalition Legacy Fund has played in uncovering and supporting ongoing work on issues in Appalachia related to the SHC’s activism in the 1960s and 70s. He lists Appalshop, the Highlander… Continued

Preservation and access of community legacies

Margaret Ecker describes a “fringe benefit” of the archive project as it pertains to the collective memory restoration of community stories, such as those belonging to Howard and Fay Elliot of St. Charles, Va., J.W. and Kate Bradley, Maureen O’Connell,… Continued

The role of themes and tendrils in packaging the Coalition narrative

John Davis reflects on the process of being involved in the archive project, noting the joy of collectively rediscovering the Coalition narrative and the challenge of packaging it according to over-arching themes and other common threads. Biff Hollingsworth adds that,… Continued

Process vs product in community-driven archives

Biff Hollingsworth, Collecting and Public Programming Archivist with the Southern Historical Collection, elaborates on early institutional reluctance to undertake such a non-traditional and labor-intensive archive project. He emphasizes their myriad of considerations, all of which ultimately positioned this partnership as… Continued

Early reluctance to participate in the archive project

John Davis reflects on early hesitations and reluctance among some Coalitioners to participate in the archive project. Follow this link for access to the full-length panel discussion with the Websters. Recorded December 2022. Continued

The first phone call: Biff Hollingsworth connects with Margaret Ecker

Biff Hollingsworth, Collecting and Public Programming Archivist with the Southern Historical Collection, delineates more of the timeline at the start of UNC’s partnership with the Student Health Coalition. Margaret Ecker recounts their first phone call in early 2013, a conversation… Continued

On the archive project’s first iteration: a documentary film

Jack Beckford notes that prior to any official connection with the Southern Historical Collection, Margaret Ecker and Lark Hayes had decided to make a documentary film about the Coalition story–an initiative born from energy at the 2012 Landon House reunion… Continued

Early momentum for the archive project: the role of gatherings and collective memory recovery

The Websters discuss the role of Coalition (and other) gatherings in creating momentum for the archive project. John Davis notes how they spurred collective memory recovery and reflection. In reference to a 2009 Center for Health Services (CHS) gathering, Rosie… Continued

On the role of oral histories and other non-traditional approaches to archival work

Biff Hollingsworth, Collecting and Public Programming Archivist with the Southern Historical Collection, delineates various methods at the center of its community-driven partnership with the Student Health Coalition archive project, all of which are non-traditional to the standard deposit-model. Follow this… Continued

On community-driven archives and the development of a partnership: how the SHCs first got connected

Biff Hollingsworth, Collecting and Public Programming Archivist with the Southern Historical Collection, provides important context to the development of a partnership with the Coalition. He explains that at the same time Coalitioners first started to explore restoring and preserving their… Continued

Early archive project dissonance

Margaret Ecker elaborates on the early dissonance among archive project participants about who to partner with and where to document the Coalition story: at Vanderbilt’s University Archives or UNC’s Southern Historical Collection. Follow this link for access to the full-length… Continued

Impetus behind the SHC archive project

Margaret Ecker and John Davis offer insight about the initial impetus behind and collective vision for the SHC archive project. They cite the collective memory restoration that transpired at a 2012 Landon House reunion, the subsequent inspiration to further uncover… Continued

Empowering others to conduct own research

John Gaventa highlights the value of empowering others–locals in the community–to conduct their own research and act on their own knowledge against injustice. Follow this link for access to the full-length interview. Recorded October 2021. Continued

On mutual aid, solidarity, and different interactions of power

John Gaventa describes the concepts of mutual aid and solidarity as exemplified by different interactions of power. He explains that action against injustice is built from the coalition of power within ourselves and power with each other. Together, these fuel… Continued

The “Appalachianization” of rural America and around the world

John Gaventa discusses the “Appalachianization” of rural America, a trend of rising inequality, poverty, environmental damage, and deficit of public services across the U.S. No longer the exception, Gaventa emphaszies injustice in the Clearfork Valley as being relevant to the… Continued

Rethinking quiescence: “hidden transcripts” of community agency

John Gaventa reflects on his early conclusions about the role of quiescence in the Clearfork Valley, recognizing now that he may have under-appreciated ongoing forms of resistance, such as through storytelling, music, and other invisible acts. He pulls on political… Continued

The power cube

John Gaventa elaborates on his previous discussion of quiescence and the three dimensions of power with an introduction of the power cube, a rubik’s analogy he and his colleagues developed to illustrate even more dimensions at play. He explains that… Continued

What is quiescence?

Seeking to frame the role of quiescence in unjust sociopolitical structures, John Gaventa delineates the intricacies of power across three different dimensions. He cites his Oxford mentor Steven Lukes, author of Power: A Radical View, as a purveyor of the… Continued

On paternalistic industrialism: Alexander Arthur and the American Association

John Gaventa describes the British paternalism characteristic of late 19th-century industrialists, a philosophy that harnessed absentee land ownership in pursuit of capitalist economic gain. He references Alexander Arthur, Scottish-born entrepreneur, engineer, and president of the American Association, the British investment… Continued

On the interplay between land ownership and mineral rights

John Gaventa clarifies the interplay between surface land ownership and the exploitative acquisition of below-ground mineral rights by large coal companies in Appalachia. He cites The American Association, a British company that at one time owned 80,000 acres across Clairborne,… Continued

The Appalachian Land Ownership Study: an emblem of citizen-driven participatory action research

John Gaventa further describes how the 1977 flood mobilized citizens toward supplementary research into the inequities connected to land ownership, taxation practices, and other local power dynamics. They requested funding from the ARC for what over time developed into the… Continued

On the role of corporate land ownership in rural land settlement patterns

Following a 1977 flood in central Appalachia that left many people displaced, John Gaventa and others at the Highlander Center organized a study to counter conclusions by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), which failed to consider the role of corporate… Continued

Findings of the 1971 land ownership study and subsequent legal action

John Gaventa elaborates on initial findings from the 1971 land ownership study and what transpired in response. With documented evidence of inequitable corporate control over land and natural resources (due in large part to unfair property taxation practices and the… Continued

Context behind and origin of the 1971 land ownership study

John Gaventa delineates the context and probing question behind his earliest research into land ownership in Appalachia, as proposed in collaboration with Bill Dow: why are some of the wealthiest, natural resource-rich counties in East Tennessee also the poorest (in… Continued

Participatory action research in practice: who owns Appalachia?

John Gaventa recaps and differentiates between two related studies concerning land ownership in Appalachia. The first was conducted during the summer of 1971 across several East Tennessee counties. It affected Gaventa’s pursuits over the next 50 years, including publication of… Continued

The Elliot’s cement picnic table, a neighborhood fixture

Howard Elliot III, grandson of Howard and Elsie Elliot from St. Charles, Va., discusses the region’s declining population and its effect on housing. He shares the story of his efforts to salvage his grandparents’ front yard cement picnic table, which… Continued

Population decline and water runoff in southwest Virginia: Bonnie Blue

Howard Elliot III, grandson of Howard and Elsie Elliot from St. Charles, Va., elaborates on how steady population decline in southwest Virginia has created barriers to his work relocating rail lines. He names Bonnie Blue as a good example of… Continued

The Elliot’s in southwest Virginia today

Howard Elliot III, grandson of Howard and Elsie Elliot from St. Charles, Va., shares about his own work in the coal mining area of southwest Virginia 50 years later. Follow this link for access to the full-length interview. Recorded April… Continued

On the coal mining legacy of southwest Virginia

Howard Elliot III, grandson of Howard and Elsie Elliot from St. Charles, Va., discusses the coal mining legacy of southwest Virginia, namely in and around Big Stone Gap coalfield. He touches on various logistics of the work 50 years ago… Continued

Recollections of local hospitality in St. Charles, Va.

Grandson Howard Elliot III and daughter Fay, of Howard and Elsie Elliot from St. Charles, Va., reminisce their family’s hospitality toward Vanderbilt students during SHC summer health fairs. This recollection of local generosity is but one piece of a larger… Continued

On the development of Vanderbilt’s Nurse Practitioner program and other critical role expansions

Pete Moss describes one of the key developments that came about as a result, at least in part, of the Student Health Coalition’s philosophical contributions to the medical arena. He references the origination and evolution of Vanderbilt’s Nurse Practitioner (NP)… Continued

Pete Moss on the role of community organizers

Pete Moss describes how the Student Health Coalition community organizers first established relationships with local leaders, identified community needs, and drafted a plan of action for addressing said needs. Follow this link for access to the full-length interview. Recorded May… Continued

Pete Moss on mentorship and expanding the boundaries of healthcare workers

Pete Moss, who at the time of his involvement with early SHC health fairs (1970) was Vanderbilt’s Chief Resident of Pediatrics, discusses what drew him to the Coalition: the opportunity to mentor students and influence their pursuits in the medical… Continued

On the SHC’s energy of dissatisfaction vs Vanderbilt Med School’s sense of institutional fulfillment

Charles Scott, professor of Philosophy and early faculty supporter of the Student Health Coalition (SHC), concludes this 2019 gathering with poignant remarks about what transpired when the Vanderbilt Medical School assumed control of the SHC. The energy of dissatisfaction that… Continued

Bill Corr reflects on the Coalition’s and Center’s roles in providing avenues to act on values

Bill Corr recounts his introduction to the Student Health Coalition (SHC) and Center for Health Services (CHS) shortly after graduating from Vanderbilt Law School. He was working with the Tennessee Department of Public Health at the time Irwin Venick encouraged… Continued

Charles Scott and John Kennedy ruminate on the racism intrinsic to the SHC’s work in Appalachia

Charles Scott and John Kennedy discuss the racism intrinsic to the Student Health Coalition’s work, particularly in Morgan County, Tenn. Scott underlines the importance of (1) recognizing and (2) remembering the power they (as majority White students) had in these… Continued

On the empowerment intrinsic to Linda Hart’s nursing career and its role in challenging the system

Linda Hart speaks to the evolution of her nursing career, in part influenced by connections to the Student Health Coalition (SHC). Upon being recruited by Bill Dow, she worked five years as a Nurse Practitioner (NP) at the White Oak… Continued

Diane Lauver’s response to sexism with pivot toward becoming a Nurse Practitioner

In exploration of how sexism influenced Coalitioners’ career paths, Diane Lauver describes her introduction to the Nurse Practitioner role that Loretta Ford championed and that Bill Dow and Leah Albers advocated for in the SHC approach to community healthcare. Following… Continued

Margaret Ecker on early SHC work: dental screening in Williamson County, Tenn.

Margaret Ecker shares the story of Bill Dow’s and Pat Maxwell’s collaborative dental screening of children at a Headstart in Williamson County, Tenn. She frames it as an early manifestation of the SHC’s Saul Alinsky-inspired approach to addressing community public… Continued

Coeducation at Vanderbilt

Charles Scott, professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University and early supporter of the Student Health Coalition (SHC), frames the development of coeducation and feminist-driven policy reform under Chancellor Alexander Heard and the Dean of Women, Margaret Cunningham–ongoing at the time… Continued

Charles Scott meets Bill Dow

Charles Scott, professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University and early supporter of the Student Health Coalition (SHC), shares the story of how he and Bill Dow first met. Follow this link for access to the full-length discussion. Recorded May 2019. Continued

Reflections on personal growth from SHC participation

Carolyn Burr poignantly describes the profound mutual value of getting involved with projects like the Student Health Coalition (SHC), based on reflections of her own experience and the personal growth that transpired from her participation. Follow this link for access… Continued

The Coalition’s influence on Carolyn Burr’s work as an NP and personal healthcare philosophy

Carolyn Burr reflects on the Coalition values she carried forward into her future work as a Nurse Practitioner (NP). In doing so, she describes the intellectual stimulation that came from working with a diverse group of folks and its influence… Continued

Carolyn Burr on Rick Davidson’s mentorship

Carolyn Burr describes her work at the SHC health fairs in Smithville, White Oak, Briceville, and Deer Lodge from 1970-1971. She explains the nature of nursing students’ role in conducting physical exams and providing follow-up care, their skills having been… Continued

SHC’s patient-centered healthcare and its role in the expansion of Nurse Practitioners

Carolyn Burr discusses the Student Health Coalition’s (SHC) approach to healthcare, emphasizing their value of patient/community involvement and accountability. She describes Dr. Amos Christie’s direct influence on her own nursing career, as well as on the profession moving forward–namely as… Continued

What drew Carolyn Burr to the Coalition

Carolyn Burr shares how she first got involved with the Student Health Coalition (SHC) and what about the organization spoke to her, framing it as an opportunity to live out her values for sociopolitical activism in a way that was… Continued

Lobbying for the Rural Health Clinic Act

Kate Bradley recalls lobbying for Medicare’s funding of Nurse Practitioners (NPs), a motion that later became known as the Rural Health Clinic Act. Others involved in the effort included Irwin Venick, Wanda Lang, Bill Corr, and Byrd Duncan. Follow this… Continued

Kate Bradley’s post-clinic organizing work at a regional prison

Kate Bradley describes her work as the Volunteer Coordinator at a regional prison, including their development of a continuing education program. Follow this link for access to the full-length interview. Recorded October 2017 in Wartburg, Tenn. Continued