Memphis Tennessee Garrison
The Remarkable Story of a Black Appalachian Woman

Edited by Ancella R. Bickley and Lynda Ann Ewen

“One of the first books to show how Appalachian blacks—like those in the Cotton Belt South and the Northern migrants—successfully pitted their intellect against historical realities and contradiction, and won!”

William H. Turner, co-editor of Blacks in Appalachia

“Anecdotally rich. Memphis Tennessee Garrison: The Remarkable Story of a Black Appalachian Woman fills the gap in historical accounts of mining. Of particular interest is her work on the NAACP and her recollections of its less-remembered cultural mission in the black community—organizing the Negro Artists Series—as well as its political one.”

Publishers Weekly

As a black Appalachian woman, Memphis Tennessee Garrison belonged to a demographic category triply ignored by historians.

The daughter of former slaves, she moved to McDowell County, West Virginia, at an early age and died at ninety-eight in Huntington. The coalfields of McDowell County were among the richest seams in the nation. As Garrison makes clear, the backbone of the early mining work force—those who laid the railroad tracks, manned the coke ovens, and dug the coal—were black miners. These miners and their families created communities that became the centers of the struggle for unions, better education, and expanded civil rights. Memphis Tennessee Garrison, an innovative teacher, administrative worker at U.S. Steel, and vice president of the National Board of the NAACP at the height of the civil rights struggle (1963-66), was involved with all of these struggles.

In many ways, this oral history, based on interview transcripts, is the untold and multidimensional story of African American life in West Virginia, as seen through the eyes of a remarkable woman. She portrays a courageous people who organize to improve their working conditions, send their children to school and then to college, own land, and support a wide range of cultural and political activities.

Ancella Bickley is a retired professor of English and Vice President for Academic Affairs at West Virginia State College.

Lynda Ann Ewen is a professor of sociology at Marshall University, where she directs the Oral History of Appalachia Program and is co-director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Gender in Appalachia.

Order a print copy

Paperback · $19.96 · Add to Cart

Retail price: $24.95 · Save 20% ($19.96)

Hardcover · $35.96 · Add to Cart

Retail price: $44.95 · Save 20% ($35.96)

Find at a local bookstore


Download an electronic copy

Amazon Kindle Store Barnes & Noble NOOK Google Play iBooks Store

Availability and price vary according to vendor.

Share    Facebook icon  Email icon


Desk Copy Examination Copy Review Copy

Permission to reprint
Permission to photocopy or include in a course pack via Copyright Clearance Center

In Series

Series in Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in Appalachia

Related Subjects

Gender Studies · Appalachian Studies · Americas · North America · United States · Appalachia · African American Studies · Monograph · Women’s Studies · Ohio and Regional · Biography · Creative Nonfiction · Literary Studies · American History · History · Women’s History



Retail price: $24.95, S.
Release date: Jun. 2001
288 pages · 6 × 9 in.
Rights: World


Retail price: $44.95, S.
Release date: Jun. 2001
282 pages · 6 × 9 in.
Rights: World


Release date: Jun. 2001
≅ 282 pages