by Jeremy A. Smith
This article appeared in the Volume 3, Issue 2 Fall 2021 issue of the Appalachian Curator. Click here to view a PDF of the full issue.
The ASA Special Collections Committee sponsored two events at this year’s conference, both on Saturday March 19. The Committee held a business meeting that morning to continue ongoing discussions around collaborative projects and best practices for Appalachian archives and libraries. Members in attendance were: Jeff Dey (Urban Appalachian Community Coalition), Stewart Plein (West Virginia & Regional History Center), Scott Sikes (Emory and Henry College), Jeremy Smith (Archives of Appalachia at ETSU), and Jed DeBruin (PhD candidate in the Department of Geography at the University of Kentucky) who has now joined the Committee as a student representative.
Later that morning, the Committee sponsored a session titled “Diversity in Appalachia,” which was convened by Stewart Plein. The session featured Dr. Travis Rountree (Assistant Professor of English at Western Carolina University) and Dr. Jeremy Smith. Rountree’s presentation, titled “‘Voices of Truth and Pride’: Documenting, Remembering, and Celebrating LGBTQ Voices in Western North Carolina,” focused on recent efforts to galvanize LGBTQ+ community in and around Sylva, NC through the organization of an annual Pride parade, the creation of the Western Carolina University LGBTQ Archive: Jackson County Collection, and other efforts. Smith’s presentation, titled “Calling Attention to Diverse Voices in Appalachia: Digitizing the Collections of Underrepresented Populations at the Archives of Appalachia,” described a current NEH-funded project to highlight underrepresented voices in the Archives’ collections through reparative description and collection digitization. Portia Peterson, who was scheduled to participate in the session to share work titled “Colonies and Cultures: Post-Colonial Impacts on Indigenous Cultures of North Carolina and Virginia,” was unable to attend.
Jeremy A. Smith is Director of the Archives of Appalachia, East Tennessee State University