Pre-Existing Conditions

The communities served by the Student Health Coalition (SHC) had endured many decades of economic exploitation, deprivation, division, and struggle long before the organization’s arrival in the 1970s. These same communities had forged a distinctive identity of hard work, mutual aid, and making-do while developing a rich culture of music, religion, language, hunting, husbandry, healing, and folklore. Poverty and abundance existed side by side.


Decline of coal camp healthcare and subsequent basis of need for reform

Charles “Boomer” Winfrey and Maureen O’Connell discuss the local healthcare setting upon Save Our Cumberland Mountain’s (SOCM) and the Student Health Coalition’s (SHC) early stages of community organizing in East Tennessee. Maureen details several local factors which established a major… 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 on June… Continued

SHC in Mud Creek, Kentucky

[Story contributed by Jack Beckford, with assistance from Sara Platt Williams] During the Fall of 1970, the SHC was contacted by the Eastern Kentucky Welfare Rights Organization (EKWRO), centered in Floyd Co, Ky. EKWRO was already doing organizing among low-income… Continued