On display now through February 16, 2012, “Appalachian News” was created by local journalist Bill Archer, who is well known for his knowledge and appreciation of regional culture and history. The exhibit, inside BC’s Art Gallery on the first floor of Lansdell Hall, is open and free to the public, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Limited weekend hours are available and can be obtained by calling 276-326-4558 during weekdays.
“Newspapers play a vital role in delivering news to people in both rural and urban settings, but because of the geographical challenges associated with the Appalachian Mountain Range, newspapers tend to be preserved and handled with care for future generations,” said Archer. “Several of the newspapers in this collection were preserved and framed because of the way they conveyed national news stories, while others are significant because of the way the newspaper presented stories of local interest.”
From coal mining to the marriage of two towns, the front page stories and photos in “Appalachian News” feature historic headlines from the Bluefield Daily Telegraph and former area newspapers, including The Sunset News-Observer. Compiled and framed by Archer, a senior editor at the Bluefield Daily Telegraph, the exhibit includes events that date back to the 1800s and stories that focus on war, space exploration, the attacks of September 11, and the last lynching in Mercer County (WV).
“Some stories are provocative and address very serious issues as they were presented at an earlier point in American history, while one exhibit shows a lighter side of how careful readers can detect interesting aspects of a newspaper that veteran journalists might have missed,” said Archer. “While the reporters and photographers change through the years, the date that a story or photo appeared in the newspaper locks the moment in time and places it in the greater context of history. As a result, newspapers provide a unique perspective for future historians who are searching for who we were.”
“Appalachian News” is one of many symposium events scheduled by the college this academic year to celebrate the history, culture, people and traditions of the region. “A Celebration of Appalachia” began in September 2011 and will continue through May 2012 with lectures, concerts, exhibits, discussions, movies, theatre, field trips, and other educational and entertaining activities, all open to the campus community and community at-large.
In addition to “Appalachian News,” other symposium events scheduled and confirmed for the spring of 2012 include:
— “African American Influences on Music of the Appalachian Region,” a concert by Bill Archer and Karl Miller, Thursday, January 26 at 7 p.m. in BC’s Quick Shott Café Coffeehouse, Shott Hall
— “Appalachian Festival,” Saturday, April 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., outside on the BC Quad (inside the Dome Gymnasium in the event of inclement weather), featuring vendors, demonstrators, Appalachian author book sales and signings, storytelling, Bluegrass music, clogging, and square dancing
For more information about the “Appalachian News” exhibit or “A Celebration of Appalachia,” contact the BC Office of Public Relations by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 276-326-4212.