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Historically Marginalized Communities Resources: Appalachian

This guide includes information about which Special Collections and University Archives holdings contain materials about the history of historically marginalized communities.

Virginia Tech's College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences offers a minor in Appalachian Studies that focuses on the unique literature and language of the Appalachian Region. Just what geographic area is included in the Appalachian Region is debatable but the Appalachian Regional Commission, established by Congress in 1965, defines it as "a 205,000-square-mile region that follows the spine of the Appalachian Mountains from southern New York to northern Mississippi. It includes all of West Virginia and parts of 12 other states: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia." (

The mainly rural region has historically been heavily invested in mining, forestry, agriculture, chemical, and heavy industry and its residents have had a higher instance of life at or below the poverty line than in other parts of the country. The region is home to a rich cultural heritage including bluegrass music, the Hatfield-McCoy Feud, folk heroes like John Henry, and folklore like the Mothman.

Suggested books & manuscripts in Special Collections and University Archives

Online resources

Suggested search terms

  • Appalachian
  • Appalachian Region
  • Appalachia
  • Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
  • Melungeon
  • Blue Ridge Mountains
  • Allegheny Mountains
  • Great Smoky Mountains
  • Asheville, North Carolina
  • Birmingham, Alabama
  • Charleston, West Virginia
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Greenville, South Carolina
  • Huntington, West Virginia
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Roanoke, Virginia
  • Scranton, Pennsylvania
  • Wheeling, West Virginia

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Anthony Wright de Hernandez
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Community Collections Archivist
Special Collections and University Archives (0434)