Appalshop at 50
Dreadful Memories: The Life of Sarah Ogan Gunning
Directed by Mimi Pickering
For decades, Sarah Ogan Gunning wrote and performed hauntingly beautiful ballads about the lives of working people. Born in the eastern Kentucky coalfields in 1910, Gunning lived through the organizing drives and coal mine strikes of the 1920s and ’30s and the bitter poverty of the Great Depression. Facing starvation, Sarah, her brother Jim Garland, and her half sister “Aunt Molly” Jackson moved their families to New York City where they had an early influence on the folk music revival.
This program intercuts Gunning’s most affecting songs with rare documentary film clips and photographs of early mining life. Comments from relatives and such friends as Pete Seeger, Hazel Dickens, and Archie Green help to tell Gunning’s story and speak of her personal strength and cultural significance. 1988, U.S., digital video, 38 minutes. Recommended for 12+.
Appalshop at 50 is a year-long celebration of the non-profit organization based in Whitesburg, KY dedicated to production and presentation of the stories about Appalachia that commercial media doesn’t tell by challenging stereotypes, supporting grassroot efforts to achieve justice and equity, and celebrating cultural diversity. As part of the Speed’s celebration of the art of Kentucky, we will present work from Appalshop at one Owsley Free Sunday each month throughout 2019.