If you are interested in Appalachia, reserve three Wednesdays in July to participate in the John B. Stephenson Lecture Series at Lees-McRae College. Scholar, teacher, humanist and caretaker of Southern Appalachia, John B. Stephenson began his career at Lees-McRae College and rose to be the president of Berea College. He left an enduring legacy of devoted stewardship of the mountains. This series of programs honors his memory and carries forward his devotion to our Southern mountains.
Beginning at 7:00 p.m. on July 13, 20 and 27, Lees-McRae College will present a diverse set of programs: old-time musicians, a novelist and children’s author and an Appalachian scholar who is an expert on black Appalachia will share their expertise with the public in presentations that promise to be both entertaining and enlightening.
On July 13 in the Carson Library on the campus, Trevor McKenzie and Jim Lloyd will present a selection of old-time mountain music with their commentary on the roots of this part of Appalachian Culture. Trevor is a graduate student in Appalachian Studies at Appalachian State University. He grew up in Rural Retreat, Virginia, where he began studying traditional Appalachian music at Jim Lloyd’s barbershop in 1998. Both musicians have mastered a variety of instruments and season their playing and singing with a deep knowledge of the music’s basis in the culture.
On July 20 in Evans Auditorium in the Cannon Student Center, Gloria Houston will discuss her literary career and her struggles to succeed as an author. Her recently published book, Miss Dorothy and Her Bookmobile, reveals an important part of this Mitchell County native’s roots and has received excellent reviews. Her many books have played an important role in revealing the rich cultural heritage of our region.
On July 27 in Carson Library, Appalachian scholar Dr. William Turner will lecture on black Appalachia. Born in Lynch, Kentucky, Bill Turner pioneered the study of African Americans in Appalachia. His book Blacks in Appalachia published in 1985 is a seminal work in the field. Today he holds the NEH Chair in Appalachian Studies at Berea College. A protégé of John Stephenson, Turner will provide a fitting conclusion for this summer’s lecture series.
“Lees-McRae College and the community are fortunate to have these vital creative and scholarly guardians of our culture spend evenings with us,” said Dr. Michael Joslin, director of the Stephenson Center for Appalachia at Lees-McRae College. “We invite everyone to spend one or all three evenings with us this summer.”
The Stephenson Lecture Series is free and open to the public. Each program begins at 7:00 p.m. For information contact Meghan Wright at (828) 898-8729.