Fading into the Horizon: the disappearance of Appalachian hollow communities and culture

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Abstract

The identity of an individual or community is highly dependent upon their cultural values and traditions. It is an industry that is causing the communities that occupy the hollows of Appalachia to lose these values and traditions. It has been found that the loss of cultural identity in Appalachian hollow communities is tied to local mountain top removal mining operations. Mountain top removal mining is the source of many jobs for these communities, but the mining process itself is causing environmental devastation and spreading disease through surrounding communities. This destruction has forced community members to choose between their health and their livelihood and is dividing the community into those who are “for” and “against” mountain top removal mining. This division of community goes against the traditions and values of the Appalachian hollow culture and is causing the eradication of communities, a lifestyle, a culture, and their identity.

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