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Appalachians All
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 by Frank Shortt
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        Appalachians have hailed from every point of the globe. They came from Ireland, Scotland, Germany, India, Africa, etc. etc. Each ethnic group has carved out a piece of history in the mountains and valleys that range from Georgia to New York State. 
        The Africans were brought to America as slaves, manning the huge plantations of the old South. Thanks to Abraham Lincoln, the Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery in America. Ex-slaves went on to become founders of colleges, professors, inventors, and whatever else came to hand. Booker T. Washington, son of slaves, founded Tuskegee Institute to teach ex-slaves the importance of keeping up manual skills as well as enriching their minds by keeping up with the literature of the day, and the political scene. George Washington Carver, another product of slavery, was said to have more patents to his credit than anyone else of his time. His was a brilliant mind!
        The Irish came, early on, as Indentured servants, forced to work at menial jobs, for very low pay, then through hard work, became successful businessmen and public servants. Hardly a police force and fire-fighting unit across America was without an Irishman or two. Irish blood runs through the veins of many people in Appalachia.
        The Jewish segment of America was forced to our shores by unscrupulous men who hated them just because they were what they were. They became tailors, bankers, financiers, and by quietly going about their businesses, they have thrived in the land of the free. Those of Jewish descent make up a huge contingent of Appalachia.
        Much could be said about every immigrant that has graced the shores of America, especially those who settled in the Appalachian range. Some became farmers, providing food and clothing for the greater part of America. Some became coal miners in the mountains of Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Illinois,and lower Ohio. These men, at the peril of their lives, provided energy for practically every steel operation in the world, as well as providing electricity for many segments of America. They are now losing their livelihood because the men of America have decided that coal is too dangerous to have around.
        The early settlers of Appalachia cleared off farmland by the sweat of their brows and at the peril of their lives from attacks by the native peoples. The land was snake infested, teeming with undergrowth, that must be cut and burned in order to plant crops. Because of the lay of the land, which was usually straight up, these early farmers had to be able to adapt to farming in steppes. Corn, beans and root crops became the staple of these hardy pioneers. Some grew tobacco and cotton, and became dependent on slave labor to man the larger plantations. The industrial revolution, producing huge machines to do the labor of many men, helped to alleviate the need for manual laborers. The Civil war brought farming in the south to a virtual standstill for many years because most of the food-producing farms were destroyed.
        The medicinal virtues of tobacco outweigh the harmful effects of smoking the noxious weed. For many years tobacco was so plentiful in the south that the Federal Government paid farmers not to grow it. This also held true with cotton. Some southern farmers became dependent on the allotment checks afforded by the government, becoming lazy in the process.
        Blood of Appalachians flows through the veins of countless Americans of every race. Appalachia became a melting pot for every nationality under the sun. As the westward movement progressed, men became more tolerant of other races. Most of the larger cities in Appalachia have become home to some of the well-known Silicon Valley producers of computer related products.
        Appalachians have fought in every war since the very early days of America. They have shed their blood that others, from all corners of the globe, might have the same opportunities afforded them by the land of the free. Their legacy will last as long as men remember the importance of the fight for freedom all over the world.
        Long live the Appalachians!