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The Invisible Minority

The Invisible Minority: Urban Appalachians

Copyright Date: 1981
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    The Invisible Minority
    Book Description:

    Since 1950 more than three million people have left their homes in Appalachia in search of better jobs and a better life in the cities of the Midwest and Southeast. Today they constitute one of the largest minorities in many of those cities. Yet they have been largely overlooked as a social group and ignored as a potential political force, partly because so little has been written about them.

    This important book is the first to explore the Appalachian migration and its impact on the cities, on Appalachia, and on the migrants themselves, from the perspectives of sociology, economics, geography, and social planning. Eleven contributors offer new insights into the complex patterns of migration streams, the numbers of Appalachians in specific urban areas, their residential and occupational patterns in the cities, their adjustments to urban life and work, and the enormous social and economic impact of this mass movement.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-6401-4
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Tables
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Maps
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Introduction Urban Appalachians: Unknown and Unnoticed
    (pp. 1-6)

    Since 1950 over three million people have migrated from the Appalachian region to the cities of the southern, eastern, and midwestern United States. In size, this migration compares to the total Irish immigration of 4.7 million or the Italian immigration of 5.0 million between 1820 and 1970 and is far larger than the Puerto Rican postwar migration of 1.0 million. Perhaps because it occurred entirely within the boundaries of the continental United States or because it involved people who already spoke the language and shared many of the national customs, it has remained a largely ignored aspect of changing America....

  7. Part I: Appalachians as an Urban Ethnic Group

    • 1 The Question of Appalachian Ethnicity
      (pp. 9-19)

      Considerable confusion exists as to whether Appalachians can legitimately be included among the ethnic groups of this nation. This essay attempts to deal with the more salient questions which flow through. the discussion of Appalachians as an ethnic group. Regional, cultural, and class issues will be examined, a working definition of ethnicity presented, and both the positive and negative aspects of Appalachian ethnicity investigated. Finally, I will offer a few suggestions for research based on the perspective of Appalachians as an ethnic group. Perhaps a brief survey of what is being said and written on this topic will help to...

    • 2 Stereotypes of Appalachian Migrants
      (pp. 20-32)

      Jokes about Appalachian migrants illustrate the many negative stereotypes about them held by much of the native population in the midwestern cities to which they have migrated. The social implications of such ethnic jokes are an important issue.

      Since sensitivity is required in discussing these jokes (as with black, Polish, or any other ethnic jokes), the reader should realize that no offense is intended; the jokes are used here simply to demonstrate how the image of a population can be established and reinforced. It should also be known that the authors, being children of a coal miner from Cobblers Knob...

  8. Part II: Migration of Appalachians to Urban Areas

    • 3 Appalachian Migration to Midwestern Cities
      (pp. 35-78)

      During the three decades from 1940 to 1970, the processes of migration within, to, and from Southern Appalachia were among the most important consequences as well as causes of regional social change. Appalachia, like any area, is significantly altered, for example, when a large proportion of its population, particularly the young, productive persons, find it necessary and desirable to leave. The enormous migration from Southern Appalachia is, then, a reflection—indeed an index—of the tremendous social changes in the region.

      Brown and Hillery (1962) have documented Appalachia’s great loss through migration from 1940 to 1960, but the extent and...

    • 4 The Residential Distribution of Urban Appalachians
      (pp. 79-94)

      The majority of migrants from the Appalachian region are living in metropolitan areas. Cities such as Atlanta, Washington, Detroit, and Chicago have traditionally had large Appalachian minorities to which large numbers of newcomers are added annually. Appalachians are conveniently regarded as marginal people who impose significant social costs upon urban America. Recent studies, however, have challenged many of the casual assumptions about Appalachian migration, the adjustment of migrants, and their relationship to urban poverty and public welfare which are associated with the hillbilly stereotype.¹ The assumptions include the residential distribution of Appalachians in the city.

      Classical models of urban ecology...

    • 5 Population Changes and Trends in Appalachia
      (pp. 95-104)

      The changes in Appalachia, as in any other area, can be partially understood by the dynamics taking place within the population. By observing the critical demographic events occurring within Appalachia, we can determine important patterns of change and the direction of change. The following discussion reveals recent trends in the population of Appalachia; specifically, fertility, mortality, migration (movement into and from Appalachia), and significant characteristics of its population such as the age structure.

      Probably the factor having the most significant and extraordinary consequences for the Appalachian region has been the great out-migration. During the two decades from 1950 to 1970...

    • 6 Implications of Changes in Appalachia for Urban Areas
      (pp. 105-112)

      Any assessment of the many changes that have taken place within Appalachia in the past three decades needs to take into account the impact of the vast redistribution of the Appalachian population. These demographic factors have social consequences that reflect the many technological, economic, political, and environmental changes influencing the Appalachian regions. It is false to see these changes only within a regional context, however, for this region is a part of a total system of economies, technologies, energy resources, and policies. For example, approaches to solving future energy needs of the United States population must consider the role of...

  9. Part III: Attainments of Appalachians in Urban Areas

    • 7 Economic Costs and Returns of Appalachian Out-Migration
      (pp. 115-129)

      The Southern Appalachian Region experienced heavy net out-migration between 1940 and 1970 (Brown and Hillery, 1962). Although such contemporary problems as the energy crisis, rampant inflation, and ominous signs of a recession make it unusually difficult to predict the future course of population movements in Appalachia, there are several reasons for analyzing the region’s migration experience during recent times.

      First, Appalachian migrants are popularly believed to be net social costs in the urban point of destination. Unfortunately, few studies have dealt with this issue, primarily because of severe measurement problems. A correct determination of the Appalachian migrant’s net economic impact...

    • 8 Occupational Patterns of Appalachian Migrants
      (pp. 130-139)

      Each year thousands of young men and women migrate from the rural neighborhoods and towns of Appalachia to industrial areas elsewhere. They are ambitious and generally rather optimistic. Through migration they seek to enhance their economic lot in life, for the holding power of Appalachia-a region long characterized by underemployment, relatively low wages, and widespread rural poverty-cannot complete with the “pull” of other, relatively more prosperous regions. Like the earlier European immigrants who turned to America, they look toward the promise of work opportunities in the Ohio Valley and in the teeming metropolises of the North and East.

      Some migrants...

    • 9 Occupational Adjustment of Appalachians in Cleveland
      (pp. 140-153)

      During the 1940s isolation of the rural Appalachian social system decreased rapidly, while the important processes of interaction and communication with the outside increased in intensity. Those first few who out-migrated—especially during and immediately after the war years—contributed to the intensity of these two social processes through visitations and other contacts, either by visits “down home” or by relatives visiting them in the city. A crucial indirect result of the availability of jobs in cities such as Cleveland was the weakening of the boundary maintenance mechanisms of the rural social system. Regardless of physical, cultural, or mental preparation for city...

    • 10 Accounting for the Occupational Placements of Appalachian Migrants
      (pp. 154-162)

      The post-World War II period has been a time of heavy migration from rural Appalachian communities to urban areas in the North. Many have migrated to the city because of the excitement it is thought to offer, but most probably have come in search of work (Photiadis, 1965). Although no national survey has been made of the occupational achievements of Appalachian migrants, the findings of local studies indicate that these migrants, in general, fare worse than other residents in urban areas. John D. Photiadis (1970) has documented the experiences of male West Virginia migrants to Cleveland, Ohio. At the time...

  10. Conclusion The Prospects for Urban Appalachians
    (pp. 163-174)

    The preceding articles collectively represent the greatest step yet taken toward understanding Appalachian Mountain people now living outside their native region. Prior to this publication the most important work wasMountain Families in Transition(Schwarzweller, Brown, and Mangalam, 1971), which described both the premigration and the postmigration cultural and socioeconomic situation of Eastern Kentucky mountaineers. Its chief limitation, attributable to sample limitations, was that it did not adequately describe social conditions in innercity Appalachian neighborhoods. The primary contribution of this work was that the authors described the rural Appalachian cultural system without reverting to either romanticism or the pathology (cultural...

  11. References
    (pp. 175-184)
  12. Index
    (pp. 185-192)
  13. Contributors
    (pp. 193-193)