Non-mining Protest and Resistance Movements in Appalachia


Much of the literature concerning protest movements in Appalachia has focused primarily upon reactions to the industrialization of mining and its effects on the community and the environment. Yet in many communities throughout the region, widespread resistance against myriad situations other than mining, such as dam construction, environmental degradation, and tourism development exists. The unifying feature of each situation is that they involve an “outside” force affecting change within a community. While commonalities between various situations can be readily identified, difficulty arises when one attempts to define a nebulous topic such as protest for many human actions that may be perceived as protest are not overtly stated, or even recognized by the participants. This Pathfinder will serve as a brief introduction to the varied forms of resistance and protest aimed at the imposition of real, or perceived, outside values. Due to the inherent vagueness of the topic, the compiler must provide artificial boundaries; this pathfinder will consider only explicitly stated protests, it will not include moonshine, migration patterns, the emergence of the field of Appalachian studies, nor protest songs.

Introductory Text: 

Corbin, David A. “Appalachia, Exploitation of”, Encyclopedia of Southern Culture . Charles Reagan Wilson and William Ferris, Eds. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill. ASU APP COLL F209.ES3 1989.

Gaventa, John. 1980. Power and Powerlessness: Quiescence and Rebellion in an Appalachian Valley . University of Illinois Press, Chicago, ASU APP COLL HC107.A127 G38.

Fisher, Stephen L., ed. 1993. Fighting Back in Appalachia: Traditions of Resistance and Change . Temple University Press, Philadelphia, ASU APP COLL HN79.A127 F54 1993.

Library of Congress Subject Headings: 

Highly Relevant:

  • Appalachian region - economic conditions
  • Appalachian region - economic conditions - case studies
  • Appalachian region - economic policy
  • Appalachian region - social conditions
  • Appalachian region - social conditions - case studies
  • Dissenters - Appalachian region
  • Community organization - Appalachian region

Also Relevant:

  • Economic development projects - Appalachian region - case studies
  • Regional planning - Appalachian region
  • Poverty - Appalachian region
  • Income distribution - Appalachian region
  • Social structure - Appalachian region, Southern
  • Appalachian region - community
  • Appalachian region - ethnicity
  • Appalachian region - rural conditions
  • Appalachian - Protest
  • Highlander

More General:

  • Power (social sciences) - case studies
  • Social systems
  • Social change
  • Social movements
  • Colonies - case studies
  • Appalachian region, Southern - civilization
  • Protest Literature - American
  • Protest movements
  • Protest movements in mass media
Clipping Files Subject Headings – W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection: 
  • Land Use
  • Appalachia - Politics and Government
  • Appalachia - Social Programs
  • Politics
  • Poverty - Appalachian Economic Conditions
  • Appalshop, Whitesburg, KY
  • Stereotypes
  • Highlander Researcher Center
Library of Congress Call Numbers: 
  • HB3525.T2W55
  • HC107.A127
  • HC107.B55
  • HC110.E5
  • HD1695.N53
  • HD5708.55
  • HD5724.F446
  • HN45.C74
  • HN79.A13
  • HN79.A137
  • HN79.A127
  • HN79.V83
  • HQ1438.A14
  • F217.A65
  • F210.A88
  • F210.C66
  • F210.W43
  • LC205.5 A6

Hinsdale, Mary Ann, Helen Lewis and S. Maxine Waller. 1995. It Comes from the People: Community Development and Local Theology . Temple University Press, Philadelphia. ASU Appalachian Collection HN79.V83 C645.

Schoenbaum, Thomas J. 1979. The New River Controversy . John F. Blair, Winston-Salem, NC. ASU Appalachian Collection HD1695.N53 S36.

Whisnant, David E.1980. Modernizing the Mountaineer: People, Power and Planning in Appalachia . Boone, NC: Appalachian Consortium
Press. HC107.A127W48 1981.

Guides, Encyclopedias, and Dictionaries: 

Abramson, Ruby and Jean Haskill. 2006. Encyclopedia of Appalachia. Knoxville, TN: The University of Tennessee Press. Subject Headings “grassroots environmental action.” ASU APP COLL F106.E53 2006. Pp 104-106, 117, 124-25,125-127, 134, 154, 164, 165, 212-213.

Corbin, David A.1989 “Appalachia, Exploitation of”, From Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. Charles Reagan Wilson and William Ferris, Eds. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill. ASU APP COLL F209.ES3 1989.

Carroll Van West, editor-in-chief. 1998 Tennessee Encyclopedia. Rutledge Hill Press, Nashville, TN. Subject headings “street car strikes and boycotts,” “strikes,” “strikes, Rayon plants at Elizabethton.” ASU APP COLL F436.T525 1998.


Burch, John. 2009. The Bibliography of Appalachia. Jefferson, North Carolina. McFarland. ASU APP COLL Z1251.A7 B87 2009 Pp. 1-5.

Appalachian Bibliography
, 1980. Morgantown, W. Va., West Virginia University Library. Z1251.A7 A6 1980. See headings “economic conditions and policies,” “development,” and “economic aspects.”

Bibliography on the Appalachian South; Books, Records, Pamphlets, Magazines and Films . Clintwood, Va., Council of the Southern Mountains. Z1251.A7 B5. See headings “sociology/nonfiction,” “history,” and “films.”

Munn, Robert F. The Southern Appalachians: a Bibliography and Guide to Studies . Z1251.A7 8 1961. See heading “social and economic studies of cities, counties, and areas.”

Mielke, David N. Women and the Appalachian Region: A Bibliography. Pp 1-6. Z1251.A7 M48 1976. See general section.

Fisher, Stephen L., ed.1993. Fighting Back in Appalachia. Temple University Press, Philadelphia. ASU APP COLL Stacks HN79.A127 F54 1993. Pps. 336-360.

Fisher, Stephen L.1982. Selective Bibliography for Appalachian Studies. The Appalachian Journal. Winter-Spring 1982 v. 9. APP COLL Stacks F216.2 A66. Pps. 209-242, especially 236-242. See sections on “Political Actors,” “Resistance,” and “Reconstruction.”

Lewis, Helen.1974-91 Helen Lewis Papers Collection 103A. “Bibliographies”; Box 1, Folder 4. Research and Activism Series. Appalachian Studies Curriculum Sub series. ASU Appalachian Archives Collection 103A.

Nelsen, Hart M., Anne K. Nelsen, with assistance of James K. Miller. 1967 Bibliography on Appalachia: A Guide to Studies Dealing with Appalachia in
General and Including Rural and Urban Working Class Attitudes Toward Religion, Education, and Social Change
. Bowling Green, Western Kentucky
University, Office of Research and Services. ASU Appalachian Collection Stacks Z1251 A7 N4.

Ross, Charlotte T., ed.1976 Bibliography of Southern Appalachia.; Appalachian Consortium Press, Boone, NC. ASU APP COLL Stacks Z1251.A7 N35.

Abstracts and Indices: 

Northernlight Search. October 29, 2002. Yielded 167 results for Appalachian protest.

America: History and Life. November 3, 2002. Yielded three results for Appalachian protest.

OCLC FirstSearch: SocAbs. October 22, 2009.

OCLC FirstSearch: Dissertations. October 22, 2009.


Appalachian Journal . Appalachian State University, Boone, NC. Semi-Annual, Autumn 1972 - Spring 1974; Quarterly, Autumn 1974 - . ASU Appalachian Collection F216.2 A66.

Mountain Life and Work (formerly Southern Mountain Life and Work. April 1925-October 1926). Berea College, Berea, Kentucky. Quarterly, April 1925 - Summer 1965; Monthly, December 1970. ASU Appalachian Collection Stacks GR103 M5.

Journal of Appalachian Studies . Morgantown, WV: Published by the Regional Research Institute, West Virginia University for the Appalachian Studies Association. Semi-annual 1995 - . ASU Appalachian Collection Stacks F160.J74.

People’s Appalachia . Morgantown, W. Va., Peoples’ Appalachian Research Collective. Quarterly, Spring 1971 - Spring 1973, Monthly, March - December 1970. ASU Appalachian Collection Stacks HC107.A127 P45.

Compiled by: 

Compiler: Michael Sheridan, 3 November 2002

Updated by: 

Updated:Hannah Furgiuele, 1 November 2009