Helen Matthews Lewis: Living Social Justice in Appalachia

By Helen M. Lewis; Patricia D. Beaver et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
Local to Global, 1975–1985

John Gaventa

It is important to develop pride in the region’s rich heritage, but it is also
important to see Appalachia as part of a worldwide process of develop-
ment and change. We must deal with economic and political questions and
build an understanding of what is happening in the region and how it is
related to the global economic system.

—Helen M. Lewis and Myles Horton, “Transnational Corporations and
the Migration of Industries in Latin America and Appalachia”

I first met Helen Lewis in 1974, about the time her work reflected in this chapter begins. I was living in Clairfield, Tennessee, trying to understand how a British-owned multinational had developed its corporate power in rural east Tennessee and east Kentucky, as well as working with a bold group of citizens to challenge that power. This work informed my later book Power and Powerlessness: Quiescence and Rebellion in an Appalachian Valley. While students in Oxford, England, Richard Greatrex and I had done some very rough videotapes in Wales of the 1974 Miners’ Strike. Helen invited me over to one of her classes at Clinch Valley College to show the tapes. As happens with many people Helen meets, I became a friend and colleague on a number of projects thereafter. I also think of Helen as a mentor in the sense of someone who inspires in others the ability to see their work differently and who helps them see new possibilities to which they can aspire.

In an article in the 2005 American Sociological Review, Michael Burawoy, a well-known scholar and past president of the American Sociological Association, argues that “the world needs public sociology—a sociology that transcends the academy—more than ever. Our potential publics are multiple,

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Helen Matthews Lewis: Living Social Justice in Appalachia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1- The Making of An Unruly Woman, 1924–1955 12
  • Chapter 2- Breaking New Ground, 1955–1977 44
  • Chapter 3- Local to Global, 1975–1985 82
  • Chapter 4- Participatory Research, 1983–1999 124
  • Chapter 5- Telling Our Stories, 1999–2010 172
  • The Final Word 221
  • Chronology 231
  • Bibliography 237
  • Contributing Activists and Scholars 251
  • Index 257
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