Oakley Hines
Doubletop, TN, 1970
Photographer: Earl Dotter

Appalachia is often thought of as a land of devastation and poverty. There are countless stereotypical images of people defeated by their lot in life.

Our experience in the region is quite different. We have lived and worked with people full of resilience and strength as they organized to confront difficult problems.

We also found deep and rich cultural traditions and creativity as well as a sense of humor in dealing culturally with contemporary issues.

Highlander is located in Appalachia. It's earliest participants were Appalachians or "highlanders." As people gathered at workshops to discuss pressing problems, there was always time for singing together and often a dance. In the 1930s Highlander was a labor school.


Ralph Tefferteller leading a Dance
Highlander, 1930s
Photographer: Highlander Archive

Zilphia Horton on the Picket Line
Chattanooga, TN, 1940s
Photographer: Highlander Archive

Zilphia Horton, co-worker with founder Myles Horton, was a moving singer, accomplished songleader and a labor organizer.

Also interested in participatory theater, she laid the foundation for a strong, enduring cultural program at Highlander.

She traveled to communities throughout the South singing at union meetings, picket sites, organizing drives.

Appalachia : Page 1 of 4

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Originally designed by UCR / California Museum of Photography