Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Longtime mountaintop removal foe dies at 88

Photo by Loyal Jones Appalachian Center, Berea College
Daymon Morgan, a longtime activist against mountaintop removal in Central Appalachia, died Thursday at 88. In an email to The Rural Blog, Berea College Provost Chad Berry wrote, "He was a friend to many who were fighting for environmental justice in the coalfields and well beyond."

Leading Appalachian writer Silas House, like Morgan a native of southeastern Kentucky's Leslie County, wrote to the blog: "When I first met Daymon 10 years ago and heard him tell his own struggle of fighting big industry to protect his heritage and his land, I knew there was no turning back.  In that moment I knew I had to join him in speaking out on the issue.  Daymon never spoke in hyperbole or vitriol.  He simply told the story of what was happening to his mountains and asked others to spread the word.  In the 10 years since I have seen him touch numerous lives and pass this same responsibility onto them.  He had a tremendous impact on the environmental justice movement in this country and I am so glad I had the privilege of spending time with him on his porch and on his mountain where he showed us medicinal plants and told old tales." 

Molly Koeneman, a 2011 graduate of Western Kentucky University, featured Morgan in a story while a WKU student. "Daymon Morgan stood rooted to his land, offering silent reverence in a graveyard set off the side of a gravel path winding up the side of the mountain," Koeneman wrote. "Sunlight filtered through the trees and a gentle breeze rustled the early autumn leaves. These mountains raised Morgan, and in turn, his children. These mountains are home to him and his wife. These mountains are the resting place for his parents, and Morgan sees himself being laid to rest here someday." To read Morgan's obituary, click here.

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