Rural Issues Archive

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

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

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

Prayer Shawls and Homemade Quilts

  In the corner of my living room closet is a stack of handmade quilts, blankets, and throws. Some of them come from great grandmothers and were made generations ago in the rural areas of Harkey Valley and Cardon Bottoms. Others were made during my own lifetime in small homes in the growing town of
Category: Arkansas

Muzzled Oxen Part 2: The Price of Cotton

Last month we explored a recent book published by the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies entitled Muzzled Oxen: Reaping Cotton and Sowing Hope in 1920s Arkansas. Written by the late Genevieve Grant Sadler of California, the memoir explores her years in Yell County Arkansas where her family worked the cotton fields outside of Dardanelle. The
Category: African American History

Holding on to Heritage: The Oates’s Century Farm

  This story originally ran in the May issue of ABOUT the River Valley magazine in partnership with the Boiled Down Juice and McElroy House: Organization for Cultural Resources and Community Action.  Jean and Charles Oates live in Pottsville on large patch of farm land that’s been in Charles’s family since his ancestors first arrived from Gastonia, North
Category: ABOUT the River Valley

Working Girl Blues and Coal Tattoos: Women in Labor Unions in the 1970s

Written by contributor Audra Butler, this post is taken from a larger essay on women’s involvement in the American labor movement of the 1970s. “Though most of us think of the urban and pink collar organization during that decade,” writes Butler, “Appalachian women also organized and fought for better jobs and higher wages.”  She provides this
Category: Folklife

Muzzled Oxen: Reaping Cotton and Sowing Hope in 1920s Arkansas, Part 1

A recent book published by Butler Center Books, the publishing arm of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, examines life in the Yell County cotton fields in the 1920s. Written by the late Genevieve Grant Sadler, Muzzled Oxen: Reaping Cotton and Sowing Hope in 1920s Arkansas is a captivating memoir drawn from letters Sadler wrote
Category: Arkansas

Meet the Growers: Violet Bullock

If you’re a regular reader of this column, you know that for the past year the McElroy House: Organization for Cultural Resources and Community Action has been working on something we’re calling the Garden Book Project. This book will feature the stories of area growers both old and young. More than just a directory or
Category: Arkansas

Meeting the Gardeners: Terry and Shirley Sigle

If you read this column often you know that for the past year the McElroy House: Organization for Cultural Resources and Community Action has been working to put together a book of regional garden stories. We’re highlighting the people behind the gardens and exploring both how gardening shaped our history and why we need these
Category: Arkansas