Opinionated Article: Virginia Tech Professors Get $3 Million Grant to Create Monuments to Untold Stories Across Appalachia
Appalachia has been a melting pot of cultures, languages, and customs for centuries, with each group leaving its unique imprint on the land. The Monacans were the first to call the region home, followed by European settlers, African American slaves, and immigrants from all over the world. However, whoever has called Appalachia home has been subject to exploitation and oppression by those residing elsewhere.
Two Virginia Tech professors are trying to change that by creating a Monuments Across Appalachian Virginia project that aims to commemorate untold stories of peoples who haven’t received historical recognition. Emily Satterwhite, an associate professor and director of Appalachian Studies, and Katrina Powell, a professor of rhetoric and writing, have received a $3 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to work with community groups across Virginia’s Appalachia region to design and build six to ten monuments that reflect the history of the area.
The project scope includes uncovering stories that have been hidden for far too long. For example, the forced displacement of 500 families by the federal government in the 1930s to create Shenandoah National Park is a story that the National Park Service has shied away from for decades, but Powell heard it often growing up in Madison County. Satterwhite, on the other hand, grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, where she encountered stereotypes of Appalachia that abounded.
It’s time that the stories of Appalachian Virginia are told and acknowledged, and monuments are built to honor those who have been wronged and exploited. The Monuments Across Appalachian Virginia project will not only create monuments that commemorate the past but will also help connect visitors and community members to the land they inhabit. By understanding the region’s complicated and often hurtful past, community members can become better stewards of the place they call home.
One issue that the Monuments Across Appalachian Virginia project hopes to bring attention to is The Mountain Valley Pipeline, which has been mired in controversy. The proposed pipeline would transport natural gas across 303 miles from the shale fields of West Virginia through Virginia to a compressor facility in North Carolina. It would cross streams, wetlands, and steep terrain, threatening the safety of nearby communities, habitats, and wildlife. However, the pipeline is being supported by investors who are willing to overlook the potential risk and harm to the environment.
– The Monuments Across Appalachian Virginia project will work with community groups to design the six to ten monuments that will commemorate untold stories of peoples who haven’t received historical recognition
– The project hopes to connect visitors and community members to the land they inhabit by understanding the region’s complicated and often hurtful past
– The pipeline is being supported by investors who are willing to overlook the potential risk and harm to the environment
The Monuments Across Appalachian Virginia project is an initiative that recognizes the untold stories of the Appalachian Virginia region and aims to build monuments to honor those who have been wronged and exploited. By understanding the complicated and often hurtful past of the region, community members can become better stewards of the land they inhabit. The project will also bring attention to environmental issues like The Mountain Valley Pipeline.
In conclusion, the Monuments Across Appalachian Virginia project is a step in the right direction towards acknowledging and honoring the diverse cultures, languages, and customs that have shaped the region. However, it’s just the beginning, and much more work needs to be done to address the issues faced by the inhabitants of the region. We need to acknowledge the past and work towards building a better future for all those who call Appalachia home.