West Virginia University Press is the only university press, and the largest publisher of any kind, in the state of West Virginia. A part of West Virginia University, they publish books and scholarly journals by authors around the world, with a particular emphasis on Appalachian studies, history, higher education, the social sciences, and interdisciplinary books about energy, environment, and resources. They also publish works of fiction and creative nonfiction, and collaborate on innovative digital publications, notably West Virginia History: An Open Access Reader.
Charles Waddell Chesnutt (1858-1932) was an African American writer, essayist, Civil Rights activist, legal-stenography businessman, and lawyer whose novels and short stories explore race, racism, and the problematic contours of African Americans’ social and cultural identities in post-Civil War South. He was the first African American to be published by a major American publishing house and served as a beacon-point for future African American writers.
The Colonel’s Dream, written in 1905, is a compelling tale of the post-Civil War South’s degeneration into a region awash with virulent racist practices against African Americans: segregation, lynchings, disenfranchisement, convict-labor exploitation, and endemic violent repression. The events in this novel are powerfully depicted from the point of view of a philanthropic but unreliable southern white colonel. Upon his return to the South, the colonel learns to abhor this southern world, as a tale of vicious racism unfolds. Throughout this narrative, Chesnutt confronts the deteriorating position of African Americans in an increasingly hostile South. Upon its publication The Colonel’s Dream was considered too controversial and unpalatable because of its bitter criticisms of southern white prejudice and northern indifference, and so this groundbreaking story failed to gain public attention and acclaim.
This is the first scholarly edition of The Colonel’s Dream. It includes an introduction and notes by R. J. Ellis and works to reestablish this great novel’s reputation.
Secrets and snakes, rock and gospel, guilt and grace.
The Psalms of Israel Jones is the story of a father and son’s journey towards spiritual redemption. This novel tells the tale of a famous father trapped inside the suffocating world of rock and roll, and his son who is stranded within the bounds of conventional religion.
When Reverend Thomas Johnson receives an anonymous phone call, he learns his Dylanesque rock star father is acting deranged on stage, where he’s being worshipped by a cult of young people who slash their faces during performances. In his declining years, Israel Jones has begun to incite his fans to violence. They no longer want to watch the show—they want to be the show.
Eager to escape troubles with his congregation as well as gain an apology from his dad for abandoning his family, Reverend Johnson leaves town and joins Israel Jones’s Eternal Tour. This decision propels him to the center of a rock and roll hell, giving him one last chance to reconnect with his father, wife, congregation—and maybe even God.
The Psalms of Israel Jones is the 2010 Hackney Literary Award winner for an unpublished manuscript.
Problems and Prospects for the 2010's
This fourth Rural Sociological Society decennial volume provides advanced policy scholarship on rural North America during the 2010’s, closely reflecting upon the increasingly global nature of social, cultural, and economic forces and the impact of neoliberal ideology upon policy, politics, and power in rural areas.
The chapters in this volume represent the expertise of an influential group of scholars in rural sociology and related social sciences. Its five sections address the changing structure of North American agriculture, natural resources and the environment, demographics, diversity, and quality of life in rural communities.
The Tragic Story of the 1907 Monongah Mine Disaster
New paperback edition with an introduction by Robert B. Reich
Monongah: The Tragic Story of the 1907 Monongah Mine Disaster documents the events and conditions that led to the worst industrial accident in the history of the United States. This mining accident claimed hundreds of lives on the morning of December 6, 1907 and McAteer, an expert on mine and workplace health and safety, delves deeply into the economic forces and social-political landscape of the mining communities of north central West Virginia to expose the truth behind this tragedy. After nearly thirty years of exhaustive research, McAteer determines that close to 500 men and boys—many of them immigrants—lost their lives that day, leaving hundreds of women widowed and more than one thousand children orphaned.
The tragedy at Monongah led to a greater awareness of industrial working conditions, and ultimately to the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969, which McAteer helped to enact. This new paperback edition includes an introduction by Robert B. Reich, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Secretary of Labor during the Clinton administration.
Elleanor Eldridge, born of African and US indigenous descent in 1794, operated a lucrative domestic services business in nineteenth century Providence, Rhode Island. In defiance of her gender and racial background, she purchased land and built rental property from the wealth she gained as a business owner. In the 1830s, Eldridge was defrauded of her property by a white lender. In a series of common court cases as alternately defendant and plaintiff, she managed to recover it through the Rhode Island judicial system. In order to raise funds to carry out this litigation, her memoir, which includes statements from employers endorsing her respectable character, was published in 1838. Frances Harriet Whipple, an aspiring white writer in Rhode Island, narrated and co-authored Eldridge’s story, expressing a proto-feminist outrage at the male “extortioners” who caused Eldridge’s loss and distress.
Early Canals and Railroads of Pennsylvania
Stories from the Cacapon and Lost River Valley
West Virginia University Since World War II
Aspiring to Greatness: West Virginia University since World War II chronicles the emergence of WVU as a major land-grant institution. As a continuation of the work of Doherty and Summers in West Virginia University: Symbol of Unity in a Sectionalized State, this book focuses on the modern historical developments that elevated WVU from a small regional institution to one of national prominence.
Symbol of Unity in a Sectionalized State
A History of Sports in West Virginia
A Translation of the Middle High German Kaiserchronik
The Kaiserchronik (c.1152–1165) is the first verse chronicle to have been written in a language other than Latin. This story recounts the exploits of the Roman, Byzantine, Carolingian, and Holy Roman kings and rulers, from the establishment of Rome to the start of the Second Crusade. As an early example of popular history, it was written for a non-monastic audience who would have preferred to read, or may only have been able to read, in German. As a rhymed chronicle, its combined use of the styles of language found within a vernacular epic and a factual treaty was a German innovation. The Book of Emperors is the first complete translation of the Kaiserchronik from Middle High German to English. It is a rich resource not only for medieval German scholars and students, but also for those working in early cultural studies. It brings together an understanding of the conception of kingship in the German Middle Ages, from the relationship between emperor and king, to the moral, theological, and legal foundations of claims and legitimacy and the medieval epistemological approaches to historiography. This translation includes a substantial introduction that discusses the historical and philological context of the work, as well as the themes of power and kingship. Each chapter begins with a brief introduction that distinguishes historical truths from the epic fiction found within the original text.
The Civil War Correspondence of Henry McNeal Turner
America's First and Last Frontier
A beautifully produced companion volume to the public television documentary The Appalachians fills the void in information about the region, offering a rich portrait of its history and its legacy in music, literature, and film. The text includes essays by some of Appalachia’s most respected scholars and journalists; excerpts from never-before-published diaries and journals; firsthand recollections from native Appalachians including Loretta Lynn, Ricky Skaggs, and Ralph Stanley; indigenous song lyrics and poetry; and oral histories from common folk whose roots run strong and deep. The book also includes more than one hundred illustrations, both archival and newly created. Here is a wondrous book celebrating a unique and valuable heritage.
The 1968 Farmington Mine Disaster
West Virginia Edition
Stories from One of the Weirdest, Wildest, Longest Running, and Most Instense Rivalries in College Football History
The Socialist Party in West Virginia, 1898-1920
Working Class Radicals: The Socialist Party in West Virginia, 1898-1920 examines the rise and fall of organized socialism in West Virginia through an exploration of the demographics of membership, oral interview material gathered in the 1960s from party members, and the collapse of the party in the wake of the Paint Creek-Cabin Creek coal-mining strike of 1912. The first local branch of the West Virginia Socialist Party was established in Wheeling in 1901 and by 1914 several thousand West Virginians were dues-paying members of local branches. By 1910 local Socialists began to elect candidates to office and in 1912 more than 15,000 West Virginian voters cast their ballots for Socialist presidential candidate Eugene Debs. The progress that West Virginia socialists achieved on the electoral front was a reflection of the party’s strategy of increasing class-consciousness by working with existing unions to build the power of the labor movement. The party appealed to a fairly broad cross section of wage earners and its steady growth also owed much to the fact that many members of the middle class were attracted to the cause. Several factors combined to send the party into rapid decline, most importantly deep fissures between class and craft factions of the party and 1915 legislation making third party political participation difficult. Working Class Radicals offers insight into the various internal and external forces that doomed the party and serves as a cautionary tale to contemporary political leaders and organizers.
Its Farms and Forests, Mines and Oil-Wells
West Virginia: Its Farms and Forests, Mines and Oil-Wells celebrates the state of West Virginia. Originally published in 1865 as a series of studies on mineral resources, observations on agriculture, and interviews with businessmen, West Virginia details the industrial statistics, terrain, and population of a state during its infancy. With no record of natural wealth or reported transactions of agriculture or geography prior to this overview, West Virginia sparked the curiosity of non-residents, enticing investment and settlement through descriptions of abundant natural resources and an agreeable industrial condition. With an introduction by Kenneth R. Bailey, this new edition reminds us of the state’s alluring beginning and rich, yet often exploited development.
The Early Houses of Jefferson County, West Virginia, 1735-1835
Allen’s refreshing perspective illuminates the vibrant vernacular architecture of Jefferson County, connecting the housing of this area to the rich history of the Shenandoah Valley. Varying features of house siting, plan types, construction techniques, building materials, outbuildings, and exterior and interior detailing illustrate the blending of German, Scots-Irish, English, and African cultures into a distinct, regional style.
A Mingo County Chronicle
In old England, if a king didn’t like you, he would cut off your head. Now, if they don’t like you, they’ll cut off your project!
As the Johnson Administration initiated its war on poverty in the 1960s, the Mingo County Economic Opportunity Commission project was established in southern West Virginia. Huey Perry, a young, local history teacher was named the director of this program and soon he began to promote self-sufficiency among low-income and vulnerable populations. As the poor of Mingo County worked together to improve conditions, the local political infrastructure felt threatened by a shift in power. Bloody Mingo County, known for its violent labor movements, corrupt government, and the infamous Hatfield-McCoy rivalry, met Perry’s revolution with opposition and resistance.
In They’ll Cut Off Your Project, Huey Perry reveals his efforts to help the poor of an Appalachian community challenge a local regime. He describes this community’s attempts to improve school programs and conditions, establish cooperative grocery stores to bypass inflated prices, and expose electoral fraud. Along the way, Perry unfolds the local authority’s hostile backlash to such change and the extreme measures that led to an eventual investigation by the FBI. They’ll Cut Off Your Project chronicles the triumphs and failures of the war on poverty, illustrating why and how a local government that purports to work for the public’s welfare cuts off a project for social reform.
Virtually unknown outside of her adopted hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, Jane Edna Harris Hunter was one of the most influential African American social activists of the early-to mid-twentieth century. In her autobiography A Nickel and a Prayer, Hunter presents an enlightening two-part narrative that recollects her formative years in post-Civil War South and her activist years in Cleveland. First published in 1940, Hunter’s autobiography recalls a childhood filled with the pleasures and pains of family life on the former plantation where her ancestors had toiled, adventures and achievements in schools for African American children, tests and trials during her brief marriage, and recognition and respect while completing nursing training and law school. When sharing the story of her life as an activist, Hunter describes the immense obstacles she overcame while developing an interracial coalition to support the Phillis Wheatley Association and nurturing its growth from a rented home that provided accommodation for twenty-two women to a nine-story building that featured one hundred and thirty-five rooms.
This new and annotated edition of A Nickel and a Prayer includes the final chapter, “Fireside Musings,” that Hunter added to the second, limited printing of her autobiography and an introduction that lauds her as a multifaceted social activist who not only engaged in racial uplift work, but impacted African American cultural production, increased higher education opportunities for women, and invigorated African American philanthropy. This important text restores Jane Edna Harris Hunter to her rightful place among prominent African American race leaders of the twentieth century.
West Virginia and the Perils of the New Machine Age, 1945-1972
As the long boom of post-World War II economic expansion spread across the globe, dreams of white picket fences, democratic ideals, and endless opportunities flourished within the United States. Middle America experienced a period of affluent stability built upon a modern age of industrialization. Yet for the people of Appalachia, this new era brought economic, social, and environmental devastation, preventing many from realizing the American Dream. Some families suffered in silence; some joined a mass exodus from the mountains; while others, trapped by unemployment, poverty, illness, and injury became dependent upon welfare. As the one state most completely Appalachian, West Virginia symbolized the region's dilemma, even as it provided much of the labor and natural resources that fueled the nation's prosperity.
An Appalachian Reawakening: West Virginia and the Perils of the New Machine Age, 1945-1972 recounts the difficulties the state of West Virginia faced during the post-World War II period. While documenting this turmoil, this valuable analysis also traces the efforts of the New Frontier and Great Society programs, which stimulated maximum feasible participation and lead to the ultimate rise of grass roots activities and organizations that improved life and labor in the region and undermined the notion of Appalachian fatalism.
Law and Resistance During the Pittston Coal Strike of 1989-1990
The miners' strike against Pittston Coal in 1989–1990, which spread throughout southwestern Virginia, southern West Virginia, and eastern Kentucky, was one of the most important strikes in the history of American labor, and, as Richard Brisbin observes, "one of the longest and largest incidents of civil disorder and civil disobedience in the United States in the second half of the twentieth century." The company aggressively sought to break the strike, and workers and their families used a variety of tactics—lawful and unlawful—to resist Pittston's efforts as the situation quickly turned ugly.
In A Strike like No Other Strike: Law and Resistance during the Pittston Coal Strike of 1989–1990, Richard Brisbin offers a compelling study of the exercise of political power. In considering the legal significance of the strike, Brisbin asks the larger question of whether even extreme transgression or resistance can fracture the "imagined coherence of the law." He shows how each party in the strike invoked the law to justify its actions while attacking those of the other side as unlawful. In the end, both sides lost; although the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately ruled in favor of the union, most of the strikers faced elimination of their jobs and an ongoing struggle for pensions and health benefits.
WEST VIRGINIA IN THE GREAT DEPRESSION
In this paperback edition of An Appalachian New Deal: West Virginia in the Great Depression, Jerry Bruce Thomas examines the economic and social conditions of the state of West Virginia before, during, and after the Great Depression. Thomas’s exploration of personal papers by leading political and social figures, newspapers, and the published and unpublished records of federal, state, local, and private agencies, traces a region’s response to an economic depression and a presidential stimulus program. This dissection of federal and state policies implemented under Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program reveals the impact of poverty upon political, gender, race, and familial relations within the Mountain State—and the entire country. Through An Appalachian New Deal, Thomas documents the stories of ordinary citizens who survived a period of economic crisis and echoes a message from our nation’s past to a new generation enduring financial hardship and uncertainty.
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