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Who Owns Appalachia: Landownership and Its Impact by the Appalachian Land Ownership Task Force

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This book sounds like it might just be dull statistics, but there is a dramatic story behind it. The 1970s were a decade of unprecedented activism in Appalachia. It resulted in multiple national victories for mountain people: Arnold Miller was elected President of the United Mine Workers on a radically progressive platform. The first law against strip mining was passed. National legislation provided for compensation for black lung victims, and federal mine safety legislation passed. Less dramatic, but significant, was the decision by the Appalachian Regional Commission in 1978 to fund a bunch of upstarts whose first West Virginia meeting in Williamson established the Appalachian Alliance in 1977 and whose first region-wide meeting was at Highlander.  We did research at local county-seats and were preparing to do a significant study that we hoped would restructure property taxes in the region because we knew that large land-holding companies owned an excessive amount of land and paid little taxes. ARC decided to fund us to do the study with a grant of $130,000 from 1978 until 1980 that resulted in the release of a study in 1981. The report's release spurned the formation of the Kentucky Fair Tax Coalition (subequently renamed the Kentuckians for the Commonwealth). So, activism gave the impetus for this study, and this study provided the impetus for further activism.

Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 1983. 235 pages with Introduction by Charles C. Geisler, an Index, Notes, Annotated Bibliography, Appendices, and tables. Hardback in dust jacket.