Maureen O’Connell

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 as an especially stimulating group of people to be around. Their commitment to collective recreation ultimately facilitated a stronger sense of togetherness and positively impacted their work in both community organizing and healthcare. Recorded on May 20th, …

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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 of those left in the coverage cracks as a repercussion of Tennessee’s decision not to …

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Bill Dow as a community organizer in Appalachia

Maureen O’Connell and Charles “Boomer” Winfrey reflect on Bill Dow’s character and personal philosophy about community organizing. They describe him as an other-oriented person driven by creative, actionable service and mutually respectful relationships best illustrated by his perception of and interaction with the locals as his heroes. Recorded on May 20th, 2013.   Full footage …

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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 basis of need for healthcare reform. Recorded on May 20th, 2013.   Full footage of …

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Reflections on the SHC’s approach to community healthcare

Charles “Boomer” Winfrey and Maureen O’Connell consider what set the Student Health Coalition apart from other community development efforts in the Appalachian region of East Tennessee. Boomer focuses on the Coalition’s and SOCM’s value of community empowerment (by way of such activities like education and legislation). Maureen emphasizes the mutual respect between SHC participants and …

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Maureen O’Connell’s introduction to SOCM and the SHC

Maureen traces the development of her involvement with Save Our Cumberland Mountains (SOCM) and the Student Health Coalition (SHC), beginning with her 1969 introduction to Marie Cirillo and research presence in Clairfield, Tennessee. Recorded on May 20th, 2013.   Full footage of interview with Maureen O’Connell and Charles “Boomer” Winfrey.

Charles “Boomer” Winfrey

After studying geology at the University of Tennessee and working as a geologist for one year, Boomer took a job as a community organizer with Save Our Cumberland Mountains (SOCM). As he later described his role: “They needed somebody with geological training to go out and sample water and review mining plans and things and …

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J. Thomas “Tom” John, M.D.

I am a bit late in getting my bio in, best done in the earlier stages of pending dotage. I am originally from Laurinburg NC a small farming and, then, textile community in the eastern part of the state. I attended Laurinburg HS and at one time was junior Rotarian of the month. Then to …

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Interview with Maureen O’Connell by Jessie Wilkerson, August 11 2010, Southern Oral History Program, UNC Chapel Hill

Maureen O’Connell grew up in St. Louis, Ill., in the 1940s. She was a community organizer for Save Our Cumberland Mountains from 1974-1992, and she served as Executive Director of the organization from 1992-2009. She begins the interview by talking about her childhood in East St. Louis, Ill.; her father’s involvement in the labor movement; …

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Save Our Cumberland Mountains (SOCM)

Profile: SOCM began in 1971, under the leadership of J.W. Bradley who sought fair taxation of absentee land corporations. They appealed to the Tennessee government, and won their first battle. Bolstered by their success, the organization then hoped to help local communities with other issues they encountered. These prominently included fighting against strip mining in …

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