Louisville Loves Mountains Week

In early February, the Jefferson County Chapter held Louisville Loves Mountains week, a series of events leading up to the I Love Mountains Day march and rally on February 12.  Three events were scheduled to foster a better understanding of the African American culture in the Appalachian region, to learn more about the economic issues of the area, and to encourage participation in the I Love Mountains rally.

Sadly, our first event, “From Louisville to Appalachia: Celebrating Our Common Heritage,” was postponed due to inclement weather. This event has been rescheduled for Monday, March 17.

Our second event was an I Love Mountains Day Poster-Making Party at Four Sisters on Frankfort Ave. This event was co-hosted by Kentucky Interfaith Power & Light. About 30 people, including members of Our Earth Now, came to prepare posters for the rally and energize each other. I took my two granddaughters, Courtney and Helena, and they had a great time creating and drawing, while learning about the environmental issues surrounding mountaintop removal mining and seeing that so many people care about those issues. We also enjoyed some wonderful Vietnamese cuisine for dinner. A huge thanks to Four Sisters for opening up their lovely space for this event! 

IMG_2589Martha and her granddaughers Courtney & Helena 

The third event was the Premiere Film Screening of “Appalachia 2050” at the Clifton Center. This new documentary film by Ralph Davis features interviews with Eastern Kentuckians reflecting on the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty. Interviewees also answer the question, What does Appalachia need to do to create the future it wants by the year 2050?  Louisville author Sam Avery facilitated a post-screening discussion featuring the filmmaker and four individuals interviewed in the film: Jonathan Gay, Tom Matijasic, and KFTC members Jean and John Rosenberg.  

This event exceeded everyone’s expectations with more than 200 attendees, raising over $1,100 and completely overwhelming the filmmaker. In attendance was Anne Caudill, widow of Harry Caudill, renowned Kentucky author, historian and environmentalist. In a posting on Facebook, Mr. Davis wrote, “It was Harry Caudill’s book “Night Comes to the Cumberland” that inspired my lifelong interest and pride in my Appalachian heritage, and shaking Anne’s hand that night was nearly a religious experience.”  Mr. Davis also wrote, “The night went far beyond my wildest dreams. [T]he film accomplished exactly what I wanted – it ignited thought and conversation. I have said all along that it mattered very little to me whether or not people liked or remembered the film after watching it, as long as it helped spark a dialogue about what to do next.” It was a truly remarkable night for all.  

IMG_2621Ralph Davis and Jean & John Rosenberg

This was Jefferson County’s first Louisville Loves Mountains week, and quite a success, I think. As previously mentioned, we rescheduled our first event, "From Louisville to Appalachia: Celebrating Our Common Heritage," which will be held on Monday, March 17, 7-10pm, at Hillbilly Tea, 120 S. 1st Street, Louisville.  Please come celebrate Kentucky's African American heritage in Appalachia. Kentucky writers, musicians, and Eastern Kentuckians will share their work and personal stories in celebration of the unique natural beauty, ecological importance, and cultural heritage of Kentucky's Appalachian Mountains and mountain communities. The evening lineup includes: musicians Randy Wilson, Sara Soltau, Cari Norris, and Cynthia Fletcher; poets Amber Burns and Tarsha Semakula; speakers Cassia Herron and Matisa Wilborn; and long time KFTC and Eastern Kentucky Social Club members Benny Massey and Rutland Melton. There is a $5 suggested donation, and a cash bar and food will be available for purchase. Contact our chapter organizer, Alicia Hurle, if you have any questions about the event, 502-589-3188 or alicia@kftc.org.

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