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Today's Interview: Chautauqua speaker tells Appalachian history from perspective of a woman historian

Jessie Wilkerson is the author of "A Women's History of Appalachia"
West Virginia University
Jessie Wilkerson is the author of "A Women's History of Appalachia"

Historian Jessie Wilkerson, the author of “A Women’s History of Appalachia,” is the latest Chautauqua speaker for Eastern Kentucky University. She said her latest book is a history of Appalachia from the perspective of a women’s historian.

“There's been a lot of work on the history of women and gender and Appalachia, but never a book that really kind of takes a sweep or writes a sweeping history of Appalachia from that perspective.

Wilkerson is history chair at the University of West Virginia. She said her interest in women’s history dates back to childhood.

“My grandmother gave me a book, ‘The Tall Woman’ by Wilma Dykeman, who is a renowned novelist and commentator on Appalachia.”

Wilkerson said Dykeman returned a letter she wrote and encouraged her to keep working – which is what she’s done ever since.

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John McGary is a Lexington native and Navy veteran with three decades of radio, television and newspaper experience.
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