Appalachia’s past can be explored geologically, historically or even archaeologically but no one knows the stories like the people that have lived through it.
Jason Barton and Shane Simmons started The Appalachian Project in February to let these voices be heard. Simmons and Barton interview older people throughout Appalachia that have interesting stories to tell about the past.
“We’re losing stories everyday as these older people pass away. Things are changing so much in the world that we just want to capture some of the stories, how things used to be, before they disappear,” said Barton.
TAP interviews senior citizens from North Carolina to Kentucky and West Virginia that have different life stories than many younger people today. From canning pickles and planting gardens to building log cabins by hand and mining coal by lamplight, these stories have helped shape the area’s past.
“There’s such a negative light being cast on Appalachia. There is a part of Appalachia that is that, just like anywhere in the world, but there’s a much bigger positive, interesting side to this place,” said Barton.
Simmons and Barton record their interviews with video cameras and voice recorders. They publish their findings on a Facebook page which has nearly 6,500 followers from across the nation and several different countries.
“We’ve got beautiful scenery, mountains, interesting people. That’s a story of Appalachia that rarely gets told and we’re trying to capture that and show people the true side of the story,” said Simmons.
If you know of an interesting candidate for TAP or are interested in learning more, follow The Appalachian Project on Facebook.
TAP is hoping to publish an e-book and video documentary before the end of the year.
Kelsey Gerhardt may be reached at 606-302-9093 or on Twitter @kgerhardtmbdn.