Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Department of English

Advisor(s)

Laura Henigman

Fletcher Linder

Andrew Witmer

Abstract

This paper is an archival study of the displaced children of families formerly living in the Shenandoah National Park which spans from Strasburg to Waynesboro, Virginia. The study looks at interviews, from the JMU Special Collections archives, of these children in the 1970-80s, nearly fifty years after their forced migration from the 197,438 acres that comprised the park. Change and pressure during the 1930s-40s combined with national policy began the nostalgic preservation and veneration of the culture of these people of the Blue Ridge Mountains; through the archives, a clear and diverse picture of the perspectives and lifestyles of people before and after the park surfaces. Through examining the lyrics of traditional and old-time music, the project explores the role these lyrics served in sustaining this Appalachian community preceding and following their displacement.

The lyrics function as a literature to the Blue Ridge people via multiple faucets, preserving, changing, and adapting to the specific culture and histories of this region in oral accounts. The work of Fiona Ritchie and Doug Orr in Wayfaring Strangers: The Musical Voyage from Scotland and Ulster to Appalachia, chronicles the transfer of traditional ballad and song to Appalachia and guides my analysis of the lyrics and the ways in which lyrics change over time as a result of experience and geographic place. My archival research records the experienced displacement of the the people of the Shenandoah National Park and the role music had in sustaining that community and in responding to change.

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