UACC Research Committee

The UACC Research Committee – formerly known as the UAC Research Committee – is one of the oldest continuing research groups in the Cincinnati area. First established in the 1970s, this group meets bimonthly to share updates about projects that focus on or benefit urban Appalachian communities. Participants at our meetings include researchers and community members from a wide variety of disciplines, including community development and urban planning, public health, literacy, professional writing, community-based participatory research, and Appalachian Studies. We welcome anyone interested in Appalachian research to attend our meetings.

Research has played a central role in generating awareness for urban Appalachians—their experiences, their struggles, and their successes. A long history of research devoted to this group has inspired many continued generations of scholars and community advocates to bring greater awareness and resources to urban Appalachian communities. Researchers from our group have written numerous books, journal articles, research reports, demographic studies, case studies, and news articles on topics related to the health status, education, cultural identity, literacy practices, and artistic endeavors of urban Appalachians. The UACC Research Committee continues this rich tradition by hosting bimonthly meetings where scholars, advocates, and community members present and hear the results of recently conducted research studies, and share updates on their current research projects.

The roots of this committee go back to 1972. That fall, Mike Maloney was hired to be Research and Appalachian Specialist for the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission (CHRC), which was then directed by Virginia Coffey. Dr. Frank Foster had lobbied with City Council to create a position for Maloney, so he came back from his stint at the University of North Carolina to, in Dr. Foster’s words, “finish the work he had started.” Part of Maloney’s job was to staff the Appalachian Committee of CHRC. This committee had succeeded the United Appalachian Cincinnati group, which Maloney had organized in 1968, then laid to rest when he went to UNC in 1970.

The Research Commitee was formed as a subcommittee of CHRC’s Appalachian Committee. Early members included Foster, Stuart Faber, Ben Huelsman, Ernie Mynatt, Walter Turner, Dianne Williams (later Smart), and Louise Spiegel. Louise became Chair and brought in researchers from UC and UK. From UK came Dr. James Brown, the father of Appalachian migration studies. Later Clyde McCoy, one of Brown’s students joined the committee. From UC came Thomas Wagner and then William Philliber and others. Wagner did his dissertation on Appalachian children in Cincinnati public schools and Philliber wrote Appalachian Migrants in Urban America. Phillip Obermiller joined about 1974 and later wrote the seminal article on Appalachian identity. In 1972 Huelsman and Maloney had written perhaps the earliest critique of the literature about Appalachians—an article in People’s Appalachia called “Humanism, Scientism and Southern Mountaineers.” Many community studies, articles, dissertations and books have come out of this work. Maloney described this unique collaboration in an article for a gathering of humanist anthropologists at Obermiller’s insistence. Most of these resources can be found on the UACC’s website under the Research tab.

In 1974, the Appalachian Committee merged with the Appalachian Identity Center Corporation to form the Urban Appalachian Council. The Research Committee carried on its tradition of being a place where scholars and community members could come together and collaborate. This committee has one member (Louise) who has been involved in Appalachian advocacy since 1954 and lived through the whole succession of Appalachian organizations in Cincinnati. We welcome its new incarnation as the Research Committee of the Urban Appalachian Community Coalition.

Current members are researchers, professors, and advocates within and beyond the Cincinnati region. We welcome anyone interested in Appalachian research to attend our meetings. Join the UACC Research Committee by emailing Roberta Campbell ([email protected]). Announcements and meeting days and times will be delivered from [email protected].