Mountain Feminist: Helen Matthews Lewis, Appalachian Studies, and the Long Women's Movement

An article from Southern Cultures 17:3, The Memory Issue

Edited by Jessica Wilkerson, David P. Cline

  • eBook ISBN: 978-0-8078-8279-5
    Published: September 2011

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Distributed for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Center for the Study of the American South

Voices from the Southern Oral History Program

Mountain Feminist

Helen Matthews Lewis, Appalachian Studies, and the Long Women’s Movement

from an interview by Jessica Wilkerson

compiled and introduced by Jessica Wilkerson and David P. Cline

The “Grandmother of Appalachian Studies” reveals the parallels between the Civil Rights and Women’s movements, as well as her highly ambivalent feelings about her own marriage—and much more.

“They didn’t take us to jail. They pulled us out individually, and the policeman said to me, ‘What would your daddy think if he saw you dancing with a nigger?’”

About the Authors

Jessica Wilkerson is a doctoral candidate in Women’s and Gender History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research explores women’s activism in the Mountain South in the 1970s. She is currently working with the Southern Oral History Program on the women’s movement phase of their ongoing Long Civil Rights Movement research.
For more information about Jessica Wilkerson, visit the Author Page.

David P. Cline is the Associate Director of the Southern Oral History Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author of Creating Choice: A Community Responds to the Need for Abortion and Birth Control, 1961–1973, and is currently working on several projects concerned with the intersection between Christian faith and social activism.
For more information about David P. Cline, visit the Author Page.