Historian to discuss ‘Where Movements Meet’ on March 10 at WCU

A Mississippi historian will visit the Western Carolina University campus to give a presentation as part of the university’s observance of Women’s History Month.

Jessica Wilkerson will speak about “Where Movements Meet: From the War on Poverty to Grassroots Feminism in the Appalachian South” at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 10, in the first-floor auditorium of H.F. Robinson Administration Building.

Jessica Wilkerson

Jessica Wilkerson

Wilkerson is an assistant professor of history and Southern studies at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi. Her presentation will be based on her dissertation that traced the alliances forged and grassroots movements led by women in the Appalachian South in the 1960s and 1970s. Wilkerson was awarded the prestigious Lerner-Scott Prize by the Organization of American Historians for her research in 2015.

“The women she writes about were key leaders and foot soldiers in what contemporaries called the ‘Appalachian Movement,’ which intersected with civil rights organizations and had its roots in the War on Poverty,” said Pam Meister, curator and interim director of WCU’s Mountain Heritage Center. Women took the skills they learned in anti-poverty programs to engage in social justice activism such as labor rights and women’s rights, Meister said.

Part of WCU’s Visiting Scholars Program, Wilkerson’s presentation is co-sponsored by the Mountain Heritage Center, WCU’s Department of History, and the Appalachian Women’s Museum of Dillsboro.

Admission is free to the public program. For more information, contact the Mountain Heritage Center at 828-227-7129.