[Contributed by Frank Pacosa, March 2017]
Heartfelt memories of my SHC days rumble through
Bill was the seminal influence. Never met a man who could say more with so few words. His admonition to always question and look deeper for motives especially when dealing with people in power was a class you could not find in any university catalog but Bill taught it, lived it, and breathed it. All he asked for tuition was that you follow him into the mountains and see what he saw in the lives of “po’ folk.”
You could walk away but could never forget: the poverty of gnarled hands, black lung, polluted streams, and leveled mountaintops. The stolid indomitable strength of their leaders who were never much for show or many words but you always listened. Music that at once infused the people’s spirit and contained it because no matter how lively the sound there was always an underlying restraint that created a dynamic tension. That tension reflected the peoples’ lives. Proud but retrained. We urban chatter heads almost didn’t know how to talk to them. But we learned to sit long on porches, talk slow with lots of empty spaces. And when you got up to go after a couple of hours there was always “What’s your hurry? Stay awhile.”
And it always came back to Bill as the every man explaining the people and their ways. I remember when we talked after his mother’s death and he told me that a southern tradition was to dig your parent’s grave. I shook then as I do now writing this. Even though I’ve been a hospice volunteer and was present when a 5-year-old patient of mine died, lifting her hands up to as if to a light that only she could see. To dig your parent’s grave? He dug for his mother’s death and didn’t bat an eye telling me. But the shockwave of his grief weakened my knees and almost toppled me.
How can you ever begin to tell anyone about what the SHC was and who Bill Dow was?
The SHC experience started a crack in my personal protective armor that years later would open.
- Was the Student Health Coalition radical? Dal Macon responds.
- Virginia Munford
- Video: Bill Dow and Ayrshire Farm
- The Story Behind the Photograph
- The Origin Story: In the words of Bill Dow
- Stories: Frank Pacosa on Bill Dow and SHC Summers
- Stories: Frank Pacosa in Memory of Bill Dow
- Reflections on the SHC’s approach to community healthcare
- Records of the Center for Health Services, Eskind Biomedical Library, Vanderbilt University
- Rebecca Joffrion Ingle
- Randy Hodges Collection on the Solar Greenhouse Employment Project, Southern Historical Collection, UNC Chapel Hill
- Randy Hodges
- Pete Moss Reflects
- Pete Moss
- Nurse Practitioners, in the beginning…
- Mo & Boomer
- Marie Cirillo
- John E. Davis
- Jack Beckford
- J. Thomas “Tom” John, M.D.
- Interview with Laura Heise by Elizabeth Cooper, March 31 2012, Southern Oral History Program, UNC Chapel Hill
- Hearts of Gold
- Gathering the Seed Corn: Archiving the Bill Dow Papers
- Diane Lauver
- Dal Macon’s introduction to Bill Dow and the Student Health Coalition
- Community reception of Student Health Coalition participants
- Bob Hartmann on the importance of defining health beyond the physical
- Bob Hartmann
- Bill Dow’s Broccoli Story
- Bill Dow Papers, Southern Historical Collection, UNC Chapel Hill
- Bill Dow on Healthcare Policy, 1973
- Bill Dow as a community organizer in Appalachia
- Bill Corr
- “Imagine, if you can, these two young Turks trying to give advice to the Governor of Mississippi”