Helen Matthews Lewis: Living Social Justice in Appalachia

Helen Matthews Lewis: Living Social Justice in Appalachia

Helen Matthews Lewis: Living Social Justice in Appalachia

Helen Matthews Lewis: Living Social Justice in Appalachia

Excerpt

Many in the Appalachian studies community have been urging Helen Lewis for years to find the appropriate context to tell her story, to reflect upon a life that has been at “the nexus of social movements in the region calling for social, economic, and environmental justice” and in “the forefront of a new pedagogy, which envisioned student empowerment and community engagement” (see Patricia Beaver’s introduction to chapter 2). At long last, Patricia Beaver and Judith Jennings, working in close collaboration with Helen, have created Helen Matthews Lewis: Living Social Justice in Appalachia. Using a chronological and thematic format, this book presents Helen’s many accomplishments and contributions, viewing her life as a vantage point for exploring key aspects of the Appalachian movement during the second half of the twentieth century and the first decade of the twenty-first.

I am honored to have been asked to write the introduction for this important book. I have known Helen since the early 1970s, have benefited immeasurably from her spirit and mentoring, and have spent much of my political and intellectual life learning from and building upon her ideas and examples. Countless others could offer similar testimony on the various ways Helen has touched their lives, and some of them do so in brief essays throughout the book.

There are a number of ways to assess the legacy of a person’s life work. The chronology and bibliography included as part of this book offer some notion of why Helen is considered by so many to be the most important public intellectual in Appalachia. She helped give birth to Appalachian studies and has taught and lectured at many of the leading educational institutions in the Ap-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.