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Old 06-14-2020, 06:36 PM
 
Location: Eastern Kentucky Proud
913 posts, read 1,370,683 times
Reputation: 948

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleura123 View Post
Hi everyone,

This is my first post on this thread. Not from Kentucky, but always interested in learning about new areas.

A little while ago I came across the following article about Eastern Kentucky:
Falling Behind in Kentucky

I thought it would be interesting to hear the perspective of people who actually live in EK or know the area well.

Here's a question: how prevalent is the kind of poverty described in the article - is this the norm, a significant minority, a small minority or a rarity?
Well, welcome to the Kentucky board! I suggest you look through this thread, that I started way back in 2013 now...time flies when you're having fun. And, if you have any specific questions we'll attempt to come up with what you are looking for or maybe not what you are looking for. In the mean time tell us a little about your self, I'm always a little backward about talking to folks not knowing much about them since your profile is only viewable by friends.

Thanks for stopping by...hogs




Last edited by hogsrus; 06-14-2020 at 07:01 PM..
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Old 06-15-2020, 04:57 PM
 
315 posts, read 85,624 times
Reputation: 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by hogsrus View Post
Well, welcome to the Kentucky board! I suggest you look through this thread, that I started way back in 2013 now...time flies when you're having fun. And, if you have any specific questions we'll attempt to come up with what you are looking for or maybe not what you are looking for. In the mean time tell us a little about your self, I'm always a little backward about talking to folks not knowing much about them since your profile is only viewable by friends.

Thanks for stopping by...hogs



Sure. I'm a woman, in my late 30ies. Married without children. Born and grown in France. I always loved America and spent quite a lot of time there during my college years and right after college. Haven't been there since 2008, though -and sometimes wonder to what extent the country has changed since then.

Regarding Kentucky, I rode through it on Greyhound buses a couple of times back in the early 2000s, but that's it.
I know East Tennessee a little bit, though (had a summer job in Pigeon Forge in 2001 and 2002). Pigeon Forge is super touristy with the Smokies, Dollywood, Dolly's Splash country, and other attractions. So I guess this little corner of East TN is probably different from Eastern Kentucky.

Like I said, I'm usually interested in learning about new areas. My interests include geography, sociology and real estate. I've had those interests for about as long as I can remember.
Regarding EK, the articles I've come across over the years usually painted a pretty blight picture. But hopefully, the reality is happier and brighter. And if not, maybe we can all think of ways to make it better.

Will read the thread, and looking forward to learning more about this part of the good ole US of A.
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Old 06-16-2020, 09:04 AM
 
Location: Kentucky
475 posts, read 266,492 times
Reputation: 689
I am from Southwestern KY and haven't really explored Eastern KY although I am in the process of planning some Red River Gorge trips and maybe even over to West Virginia. I have explored the Ozarks of Missouri and Arkansas quite a bit and I have some good friends from Eastern Kentucky. I wonder how similar Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia is to the Ozarks. Both areas were settled by highland Scottish who was largely poor, oppressed and looked down upon by the lowland Scots of that day, but proud of their land. When they came to America they settled in the Appalachians and Ozarks likely because that felt like home. Both areas are really scenic, rural, have some poverty issues, but overall friendly people as long as you don't try to change their lifestyle.
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Old 06-20-2020, 11:17 AM
 
11,055 posts, read 9,293,535 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fivenine View Post
I am from Southwestern KY and haven't really explored Eastern KY although I am in the process of planning some Red River Gorge trips and maybe even over to West Virginia. I have explored the Ozarks of Missouri and Arkansas quite a bit and I have some good friends from Eastern Kentucky. I wonder how similar Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia is to the Ozarks. Both areas were settled by highland Scottish who was largely poor, oppressed and looked down upon by the lowland Scots of that day, but proud of their land. When they came to America they settled in the Appalachians and Ozarks likely because that felt like home. Both areas are really scenic, rural, have some poverty issues, but overall friendly people as long as you don't try to change their lifestyle.
Lots of Scots-Irish descendants in both the Ozarks and Appalachians - probably more of them than Highland Scots descendants in the Ozarks, though both are to be found (sometimes in the same individuals, as is true of some of my Arkansas cousins). A good deal of mixing has occurred since each of those groups first came to these shores in the 18th century.

The Ozarks (and nearby Ouachitas) bear considerable physical resemblance to the Appalachians, with some differences as well. The Appalachians are usually wetter and include higher peaks and ranges, and cover a larger area. The Arkansas (and Missouri, and Oklahoma) mountains have similar forests but include midwestern and plains varieties of trees and other plants.

The people (of European background) - those whose families have been there for several generations - are of similar origin and have cultural similarities. My own Scots-Irish ancestors, who first arrived from County Derry in the 1780s, initially settled in the mountains of western NC. My branch later moved to TN, then on to Arkansas, where they settled and farmed at the foot of Backbone Mountain in the early 1850s (a choice which gave them front-row seating for the 1864 Battle of Backbone Mountain - my g-grandmother nursed the wounded afterwards). Speech, traditional food-ways, songs, stories, customs, crafts and traditional architecture (log cabins and other log structures) are similar in both places, and demonstrate Scots-Irish roots. The old ways have faded, of course, but subtle reminders remain.

You might enjoy "The Guid Scots Tongue" episode of "The Story of English" on YouTube for more info. When I first saw it several years ago, I realized the narrator was describing my own family's roots.
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Old 07-31-2020, 07:23 PM
 
Location: Campton, KY
33 posts, read 34,167 times
Reputation: 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleura123 View Post
Hi everyone,

This is my first post on this thread. Not from Kentucky, but always interested in learning about new areas.

A little while ago I came across the following article about Eastern Kentucky:
Falling Behind in Kentucky

I thought it would be interesting to hear the perspective of people who actually live in EK or know the area well.

Here's a question: how prevalent is the kind of poverty described in the article - is this the norm, a significant minority, a small minority or a rarity?
I don't know when this article was written, but the type of poverty described is still fairly common. Eastern Kentucky is an odd mix. There is a culture of "just make do" and a culture of ignorance here that spans generations. People get angry when I describe it that way, because there are also many intelligent educated people here in the region. They tend to turn a blind eye to the duality of cultures around them, refusing to see what is right in front of them. J.D. Vance nails it in his descriptions in Hillbilly Elegy. Most people here take the book as a personal attack, but he is just describing his experience growing up here. I found it very similar to my own experiences. People here hate the stereotypes of eastern Kentucky, but, as I tell my friends when we have these conversations, the problem with the stereotypes is that they are true for a large portion of the population.

This is a beautiful area with many natural wonders, but it still feels isolated from the rest of the world. This can be a good thing, as things move at a different pace here. The people here don't like change, even when it would benefit them.
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Old Today, 11:53 AM
 
Location: Southern New Hampshire
7,931 posts, read 13,882,228 times
Reputation: 25273
Quote:
Originally Posted by WolfJames View Post
I don't know when this article was written, but the type of poverty described is still fairly common. Eastern Kentucky is an odd mix. There is a culture of "just make do" and a culture of ignorance here that spans generations. People get angry when I describe it that way, because there are also many intelligent educated people here in the region. They tend to turn a blind eye to the duality of cultures around them, refusing to see what is right in front of them. J.D. Vance nails it in his descriptions in Hillbilly Elegy. Most people here take the book as a personal attack, but he is just describing his experience growing up here. I found it very similar to my own experiences. People here hate the stereotypes of eastern Kentucky, but, as I tell my friends when we have these conversations, the problem with the stereotypes is that they are true for a large portion of the population.

This is a beautiful area with many natural wonders, but it still feels isolated from the rest of the world. This can be a good thing, as things move at a different pace here. The people here don't like change, even when it would benefit them.
That's funny, I just gave someone a rep comment suggesting that she read that book.

I've used it in a couple of classes and generally my students liked it a lot (it's much easier to read than typical academic books & articles). My father's family is from Van Lear -- I've only been there a few times (most recently decades ago) and when I read Hillbilly Elegy for the first time, I had to keep putting it down because it was so painful to read. Many of my students could relate to it from growing up in poverty themselves (although not in Kentucky).

Vance was very sociological in a lot of his analysis but very anti-sociological (e.g. "it's their own fault") in lots of other places. I understand the contradictions he was dealing with because I've dealt with them myself. For those of us who have made it "past" our "roots" (as if we ever really do ...), cognitive dissonance is a way of life.
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