Friday, June 08, 2018

Quick hits: the history of hillbilly TV; a photo essay of life in former coal boomtowns; supporting rural LGBTQ seniors

Hubie Bobo Lane, Chauncey, Ohio (Rich-Joseph Facun photo)
Here's a roundup of stories with rural resonance; if you do or see similar work that should be shared on The Rural Blog, email us at

Photojournalist Rich-Joseph Facun brings us a stark, breathtaking photo essay in The Washington Post chronicling life in former coal towns of Appalachian Ohio. See the project here.

For The Bitter Southerner, Gabe Bullard writes a thoughtful essay about the history of television portrayals of rural America, from Andy Griffith to "Duck Dynasty." "When the newscasts were full of footage from My Lai and Saigon, from Selma and Birmingham, Americans looked for laughs in Hooterville. They sought them in Cornfield County, Pixley, and Mayberry. These were fictional rural places full of carefree, unencumbered country folks. There was no racial strife in these burgs because everyone was white. In these worlds, the sheriff didn’t carry a gun, a man could join the Marines and never talk about the war in Vietnam, and nobody even thought about the War on Poverty."  Read more here.

Life in rural areas can be isolating, especially for LGBTQ senior citizens. A new report from The John A. Hartford Foundation outlines strategies employed to help such seniors feel connected to national and local LGBTQ communities as well as how to ensure rural health providers are qualified to care for their needs. Read more here.

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