- Ron Pen
Appalachia is the inextricable union of a place and a people bound in a vibrant but invisible web of culture specific to the Appalachian Mountains. While there is the physical reality of a mountain range, the concept of “Appalachia” as a region is a synthetic construct that developed towards the end of the 19th century. The borders of this region are fluid and subject to continuous interpretation and negotiation. Mountains are not constrained by political boundaries; identity is engendered by geography and culture. A highly inclusive definition based on economics formulated by the Appalachian Regional Commission in 1965 included 410 “economically distressed” counties scattered through 13 states. A more focused definition envisions a core “Southern Appalachian Region” consisting of eastern Kentucky, eastern Tennessee, western North Carolina, western Virginia, and the entire state of West Virginia. Small portions of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Alabama, Maryland, and South Carolina are generally considered an extension of this Southern Appalachian hearth....