Rural Archive

McElroy House Story Plants

This was first published in ABOUT the River Valley magazine in partnership with the McElroy House. It’s been a while since we posted here on the BDJ, mostly due to the growing work of the McElroy House. The McElroy House and the Boiled Down Juice share a close relationship; The Boiled Down Juice is an idea
Category: ABOUT the River Valley

The Children Will Expect This of Us: A Response to the Rebel Ride

    This short piece was submitted as a letter to the editor of the Courier newspaper  (hence the short length) on behalf of the McElroy House: Organization for Cultural Resources.  This coming Sunday there will be a Rebel Ride at Old Post Road Park in response to recent national calls to remove the Confederate flag
Category: African American

Friday Video Myles Horton: Radical Hillbilly

Here’s some Friday inspiration. Myles Horton was one of the founders of the Highlander Research and Education Center, most widely known for its role in the civil rights movement and in the Appalachian People’s Movements. He was interviewed by Bill Moyers in 1981 where he discusses his childhood, the creation of Highlander, and his theories
Category: Community Action

Storm Cellar Stories

  Recently my dear friend Suzanne Alford-Hodges loaned me her copy of the amazing book Garden Sass: A Catalog of Arkansas Folkways. Written in 1975 by Nancy McDonough, this book is much like a regional version of the famed Foxfire series, a combination of folklore, oral histories and photos from around the state. The subtitle
Category: Arkansas

Honoring Local Women’s Stories: Storytelling and Oral History Event at the McElroy House

    Growing up in an intergenerational family with my grandmother in the home, family gatherings and daily life were filled with stories about the lives of people who had long since passed on. Likewise, the landscape was marked by these stories. I knew that my grandfather made a home on what is now a
Category: Arkansas

A New CSA, Garden Project Update, Pecan Workshop, Caregiver Workshop, and Other News!

Since I first started writing this column back in 2011 I have tried to use this space as both a place to share stories related to local and regional history and location to share information that can help us explore the past with the goal of moving into a more loving future. And by loving
Category: Arkansas

Muzzled Oxen Part 4: Malaria and Tornados

  In several past columns I’ve discussed the recent publication Muzzled Oxen: Reaping Cotton and Sowing Hope in 1920s Arkansas. Written by the late Genevieve Grant Sadler of California and published by the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, this memoir tells of Sadler’s time in the bottoms outside of Dardanelle, Arkansas where she and her
Category: African American

Hard and Simple: A Return to Older Ways of Farming at Bright Moon Ranch

This piece was written in partnership with ABOUT the River Valley magazine and the McElroy House: Organization for Cultural Resources and Community Action. You can view the original article here.  We write a feature piece each month for ABOUT the River Valley. Want to subscribe to this magazine? Go here.  Your subscription helps support our work! Chicken and hog farms are common in central Arkansas.
Category: ABOUT the River Valley

Friday Video: Zilphia Horton Cultural Organizing Project

This week’s Friday Video highlights the work of Highlander Research and Education Center’s Zilphia Horton Cultural Organizing Project. This program brings together cultural organizers from around the south to learn from other grassroots organizations and develop strategies for their home communities. Drawing from local cultures, participants gain skills to help them better advocate for community
Category: Arkansas

Community Singings and Square Dances: Muzzled Oxen Part 3

If you’ve been reading this column lately you’re familiar with our regular features on the recently published book, Muzzled Oxen: Reaping Cotton and Sowing Hope in 1920s Arkansas. Published by Butler Center Books, a branch of the Central Arkansas Library system, this three hundred fifty page memoir documents the stories of Genevieve Grant Sadler, a
Category: African American History