Southern Appalachian Studies Series
Loretta Howard, Judy Knight, and Anne Van Curen on Women in Southern Appalachia
Monday, March 27, 7 p.m., Library’s Sharon Lawson Room
In honor of Women’s History Month, Loretta Howard, Judy Knight and Anne Van Curen will present composites of women: Cherokee, African American and European who would have lived in Southern Appalachia. Each woman will speak about the lives their ethnic ancestors were compelled to live by circumstance, environment, and necessity.
Loretta Howard, who is of Cherokee, Blackfoot, Lakota and African American descent, says she will talk about “the life of a Cherokee woman through the 1700 and 1800’s including their familial and tribal responsibilities.” She will elaborate on child care, dwellings and leadership roles of the typical Cherokee woman.
Very involved in Native American functions, Howard has coordinated the First Nations of Unity Intertribal Powwow for Blount County and the Dance and Singing Exhibition held at the Clayton Center for the Arts at Maryville College. She has served as Head Lady Dancer in various Tennessee Powwows and assembled musicians and educators for the Lifelong Learning Lecture Series sponsored by Blount Memorial Hospital Senior Services. She sings with the Outdoor Sisters in performances at the Foothills Fall Festival, the Blount County Ecumenical Council and the Robbinsville Cherokee Singers at the Cherokee Fall Festival at the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum, Vonore, TN. And she was the speaker on Native American women at the United Methodist Mount Eagle Retreat Center in Clinton, AR.
Judy Knight will draw from the life of Sojourner Truth to exemplify the life of African slaves in Southern Appalachia. Knight says, “The hardships and brutalities the female African slaves were forced to endure were not diminished because they lived in Southern Appalachia.”
A member of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, Knight has also served on the board of Family Promise and is a member of Leadership Blount and Hall-Oldfield Maryville Empowerment, Inc. (HOME, Inc.). Through her work with HOME, Inc., she has been worked with the Eighth of August Emancipation Day Celebration, Kwanzaa Celebration, Home for Christmas of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center, and pre-K–6th grade Upward STARS. She is a member of the Charles M. Hall Alumni Association and the Charles M. Hall Class of 1968.
Anne Van Curen will present a monologue of an ordinary Southern Appalachian woman living and coping with the obstacles of a life in the wilderness. Van Curen says, “Women faced many hurdles trying to eke out livings in order to raise families in the mountains. Hard work, ingenuity, resourcefulness, and determination all helped women survive in a harsh climate.”
An RN at Blount Memorial Hospital, Van Curen works with hospice care. A hiking enthusiast, Van Curen is currently section-hiking the Appalachian Trail. She is a storyteller and monologist whose talent for bringing characters to life is well known in inspirational renditions of “Grandma Gatewood,” which she is currently touring in Tennessee and Georgia, including for the Mountain Conservative Trust of Georgia in Jasper, GA, and the Smoky Mountain Association Week. She is also involved with the Education Committee of Blount County United.
Open to the public, this program is sponsored by the Blount County Public Library, located at 508 N. Cusick Street, Maryville. For more information about library programs or services, call the library at 982-0981 or visit the Web site at www.blounttn.org/197.