Blacks in Appalachia and Turner’s Work Featured in the Washington Post

August 15, 2017

Recently the Washington Post called on Dr. William H. Turner, Research Scientist and Leader of the Social System and Allied Research area in the Cooperative Agricultural Research Center (CARC) – and a former research associate from 1979 to 1991 to Alex Haley, author of the Pulitzer prize-winning book Roots-for a feature story titled “African Americans in Appalachia fight to be seen as a part of coal country.”

Turner sees many parallels between the well-known economic hardships of Appalachia’s asset-limited and income-constrained citizens and the Texans served by the CAHS. Social Systems and Allied Research gathers and analyzes data on low-asset, low income Texans, to include studies of income and employment, housing, community development, health, family stability, and education, all framed around the racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity of Texas. In 2015, sixteen percent of Texas’ 26.8 million people had incomes below the poverty line ($24,250 for a family of four).

Of his involvement in the story, Turner shared that he is “pleased that one of the country’s preeminent newspapers quoted me a few times and ran two photos I took in the lengthy piece. After all, the piece focused on my hometown where my grandfather, father, older brother and uncle put in a combined 160 years into underground coal mining; there were hundreds of families like ours yet we were invisible. Notably, the writer pointed out that I am a research scientist at PV.”

Alex Haley, author of Roots, once said of Turner that he “knows more about Black people in the mountains of the American South than anyone in the world!”

Church Street in Lynch, KY., where many African American residents live.
Pictured: Church Street in Lynch, KY., where many African American residents live.

To read the full article and view Turner’s images of the area, click on this link: www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/08/10/african-americans-in-appalachia-fight-to-be-seen-as-a-part-of-coal-country/?utm_term=.4ef4ddf2c132.

Dr. William Turner
William Turner, Ph. D.
Research Scientist Leader (Social Systems and Allied Research)
(936) 261-5006
whturner@pvamu.edu