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I am firm in my belief that a teacher lives on and on through his students. Good teaching is forever and the teacher is immortal. ~ Jesse Stuart

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Displaying items by tag: Appalchian Literature

Loyal Jones

10 July 2004

"All work in Appalachia must be based on the genuine needs as expressed by mountain people themselves.  Whatever work is done must be done with the recognition that Appalachian culture is real and functioning." --Loyal Jones


Loyal Jones is a popular speaker, writer, and educator who helped advance the Appalachian studies movement of the 1970s and is recognized for his knowledge and use of Appalachian folk humor.


Born in Marble, North Carolina, on January 5, 1928, Jones grew up among mountain people who loved to tell srtories, and throughout his life he has collected humorous narratives and used them in his various careers. As a young man jones joined the U. S. navy and later attended Berea College in Kentucky, where he completed a bachelor's degree in 1954. He also served for a time in the U. S. Army and went on to finish a master of education degree at the University of North Carolina in 1961. In the ensuing decade, Jones established himself as an advocate for Appalachian causes, serving as associate director and then executive director (1967-70) for the Council of the Southern Mountains, an agency established in 1913 that was prominent in the 1960s War on Poverty.
Work at Berea College
From 1970 until his retirement in 1993, Jones directed Berea College's Appalachian Center, where he taught Appalchian studies, organized workshops and festivals, administered student service programs, and established a sound archive of interviews, stories, and music. Due to his early work, which included editing a bvook entitled Reshaping the Image of Appalachia and writing numerous articles on the region, the educator helped facilitate the development of Appalachian studies as an academic field. While at Berea, he published biographies of musicians Bradley Kincaid and Bascom Lamar Lunsford, a collection of religious humor, and along with singer-songwriter Billy Edd Wheeler four collections of Appalachian humor: Laughter in Appalachia: A Festival of Southern Mountain Humor (1986), Curing the Cross-Eyed Mule: Appalachian Mountain Humor (1989), Hometown Humor (1991), and More Laughter in Appalachia: Southern Mountain Humor (1995). His books Appalchian Values (1994; with photography by Warren Brunner) and Faith and Meaning in the Southern Uplands (1999) deal with more serious regional topics but are still laced with humor.
Jones began writing in college, but did not publish until several years later. He has been a prolific writer since with literally dozens of published articles concerning Appalachian culture and its people to his credit.
One characteristic of Jones’ writing is optimism about the resiliency of mountain people and their culture, says Ron Eller, former director of the Appalachian Center at the University of Kentucky.
"Jones’ message has been that Appalachia should be judged by its own values—family, land, traditionalism—rather than mainstream values of accumulation, wealth and power", Eller said. “In many ways, he represents the best of Appalachia, the part of Appalachian society that values people for what they really are.”
In his years of writing and speaking about the region, Jones has become one of its best-known and best-loved figures. His most recent book is Appalachian Folk Tales (Jesse Stuart Foundation, 2010).
Accomplishments and Awards

  • Member and chairman, Berea Area Human Relations Committee, 1965-1970
  • Board member, chairman, and treasurer, Kentucky Foothills Development Council, 1970-78
  • Member, Governor’s Task Force on Education, 1975
  • Member, Governor’s Task Force on Welfare Reform, 1979-80
  • Member, advisory committee, An Appalachian Experience, program in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, 1978-80
  • Member, agenda or program committees, Appalachian Studies Conference, 1980-84, 1986-89, chairman, 1989
  • Member and chairman, Hindman Settlement School Board of Directors, 1978-present
  • Director, annual Celebration of Traditional Music, 1973-1993
  • Co-director, Festival of Appalachian Humor, 1983, 1987, 1990.
  • He has also served as a board member for:
  • White House Clinics, Health Help, Inc. in McKee, Kentucky
  • On the advisory committee for the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and Museum
  • As a Berea College Appalachian Fund trustee.
  • Long-time member of Union Church in Berea
  • Thomas Wolfe Award (WNC Historical Society)
  • Mountain Spirit Award (Christian Appalachian Project),
  • Laurel Leaves Award (Appalachian Consortium)
  • President’s Medallion (Berea College)
  • Appalachian Educator Award (Carson-Newman College)
  • Appalachian Treasure Award (Morehead State University)
  • Cratis D. Williams Appalachian Service Award (Appalachian Studies Association)
  • Award of Special Merit (Berea College Alumni Association)
  • Service to Appalachia and Berea College Award (Berea College Appalachian Fund)
  • Outstanding Contributor to Appalachian Literature and Culture Award (Appalachian Writers Association)
  • Denny Plattner Award for poetry (Appalachian Heritage)
  • Special W.D. Weatherford Award (Berea College)
  • Service Award (Berea College)
  • Jim Wayne Miller Award (Hazard Community College)
  • Culture and Arts Award (East Kentucky Leadership Foundation)
  • W.D. Weatherford Award for Faith & Meaning in the Southern Uplands (Berea College)
  • Willie Parker Peace History Book Award (North Carolina Society of Historians)
  • Honorary doctorate in humane letters (Union College)

In 2008, the Berea College Board of Trustees passed a resolution to rename the Appalachian Center at Berea College the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center in recognition of his distinguished career and notable accomplishments as the Center’s founding director.
Books by Loyal Jones

With Billy Edd Wheeler, Jones co-authored
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