Participation Type

Paper

Session Title

Session 7.07 Ethnicity and Race

Session Abstract or Summary

This session will introduce participants to James Edwin Campbell of Pomeroy, Ohio - a teacher, a poet, and an early advocate for the advancement of African-Americans in the late 19th century – through several of his selected literary works. Campbell’s life, though tragically short, was immensely productive and will be considered from an historical as well as an academic perspective.

Campbell was an Appalachian African-American poet who celebrated an experience that was particular to the blacks of the river towns of Pomeroy, Ohio, Gallipolis, Ohio and Point Pleasant, WV. Campbell’s work stands in unique contrast to his contemporaries’ plaintive longings for the ante-bellum south. Campbell sings the praises of the “aunties and uncles” who spent their days in the salt works and coal mines and who retained the language forms, traditional songs and dances, and cultural mores of African Americans who were, at the same time, Appalachian.

Most of Campbell’s compositions employ musical themes, and metaphoric dances and songs illustrate the role of both in everyday life. Campbell composed in both Standard English and in Appalachian and Black English dialects. Presenters will explore both literary and linguistic components of Campbell’s work as well as identify the particular traditional mountain music and dance themes he employed.

The biographical manuscript currently in development will tell the full story of this little-known pioneer in the field of poetry, dialect representation and community activism.

Note:

Campbell is also featured in Our Town: Pomeroy, Ohio (screening of this film is being proposed for a separate session).

Presentation #1 Title

J. Edwin Campbell: African American Poet, Educator and Activist

Presentation #1 Abstract or Summary

This session will introduce participants to James Edwin Campbell of Pomeroy, Ohio - a teacher, a poet, and an early advocate for the advancement of African-Americans in the late 19th century – through several of his selected literary works. Campbell’s life, though tragically short, was immensely productive and will be considered from an historical as well as an academic perspective. Campbell was an Appalachian African-American poet who celebrated an experience that was particular to the blacks of the river towns of Pomeroy, Ohio, Gallipolis, Ohio and Point Pleasant, WV. Campbell’s work stands in unique contrast to his contemporaries’ plaintive longings for the ante-bellum south. Campbell sings the praises of the “aunties and uncles” who spent their days in the salt works and coal mines and who retained the language forms, traditional songs and dances, and cultural mores of African Americans who were, at the same time, Appalachian. Most of Campbell’s compositions employ musical themes, and metaphoric dances and songs illustrate the role of both in everyday life. Campbell composed in both Standard English and in Appalachian and Black English dialects. Presenters will explore both literary and linguistic components of Campbell’s work as well as identify the particular traditional mountain music and dance themes he employed. The biographical manuscript currently in development will tell the full story of this little-known pioneer in the field of poetry, dialect representation and community activism. Note: Campbell is also featured in Our Town: Pomeroy, Ohio (screening of this film is being proposed for a separate session).

At-A-Glance Bio- Presenter #1

Michelle O'Malley is an Assistant Professor of Linguistics at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Michelle's teaching and preferred areas of inquiry include phonetics/phonology, dialects and language development. Her recent publications include book chapters on language processing and memory constructs that suport the process. Michelle also directs a summer study abroad program in Edinburgh, Scotland that allows students to study Gaelic, Scots and Cultural History as it applies to the Scots today and to those who contributed to the settlement of the Appalachian region.

At-A-Glance Bio- Presenter #2

Christina Veladota is an Associate Professor of English and Literature at Washington State Community College in Marietta, Ohio where she specializes in poetry. Dr. Veladota's poetry has been published widely, including in the Mid-American Review, Bellingham Review, and The Journal. She has work forthcoming in The Laurel Review, Dialogist, and Winter Tangerine Review. In 2010, Finishing Line Press published her chapbook The Girl & Her Lions. She is a recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award for 2014. and, among her many accomplishments, she counts the blog she maintains, maybesopoetry.com, where she reviews and promotes the work of women writers.

At-A-Glance Bio- Presenter #3

Liz Smathers-Shaw, fifth generation folk musician originally from Western North Carolina, was the first fiddle instructor in the Appalachian Music Program at Warren Wilson College, and has taught thousands to play traditional music at private lessons, college courses, festival workshops and traditional music camps such as the John C. Campbell Folk School and the Augusta Heritage Workshops. Liz's family’s music is the subject of documentaries, doctoral dissertations and included in Foxfire 7.In addition to her accomplishments in traditional music, Liz has served as field producer for several documentaries, consulted for MSNBC, and was featured for her community organizing on the Daily Show.

At-A-Glance Bio- Presenter #4

Jack Wright, who will serve as the session respondent/convener, is a retired professor from the Ohio University School of Film and recipient of the annual Appalachian Studies Association’s Cratis Williams Service Award (2010) and the Producer of: Music of Coal: Mining Songs from the Appalachian Coalfields.

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Mar 28th, 2:30 PM Mar 28th, 3:45 PM

J. Edwin Campbell: African American Poet, Educator and Activist

This session will introduce participants to James Edwin Campbell of Pomeroy, Ohio - a teacher, a poet, and an early advocate for the advancement of African-Americans in the late 19th century – through several of his selected literary works. Campbell’s life, though tragically short, was immensely productive and will be considered from an historical as well as an academic perspective. Campbell was an Appalachian African-American poet who celebrated an experience that was particular to the blacks of the river towns of Pomeroy, Ohio, Gallipolis, Ohio and Point Pleasant, WV. Campbell’s work stands in unique contrast to his contemporaries’ plaintive longings for the ante-bellum south. Campbell sings the praises of the “aunties and uncles” who spent their days in the salt works and coal mines and who retained the language forms, traditional songs and dances, and cultural mores of African Americans who were, at the same time, Appalachian. Most of Campbell’s compositions employ musical themes, and metaphoric dances and songs illustrate the role of both in everyday life. Campbell composed in both Standard English and in Appalachian and Black English dialects. Presenters will explore both literary and linguistic components of Campbell’s work as well as identify the particular traditional mountain music and dance themes he employed. The biographical manuscript currently in development will tell the full story of this little-known pioneer in the field of poetry, dialect representation and community activism. Note: Campbell is also featured in Our Town: Pomeroy, Ohio (screening of this film is being proposed for a separate session).