The Harlan Renaissance describes African American life in Dr. Turner’s hometown of Lynch, Kentucky, a model coal town built by U.S. Steel. The book was awarded the 2022 Weatherford Award for the best nonfiction book about Appalachia. It was also awarded the best Kentucky history book in 2023 by the Kentucky Historical Society. Dr. Turner’s first book Blacks in Appalachia, (with Edward J. Cabbell), was the first study of African Americans in the southern Appalachian region.
Dr. Turner holds a B.S. from the University of Kentucky and both a master’s and Ph.D. in Sociology and Anthropology from the University of Notre Dame. His distinguished academic career includes service as Chair of the Department of Social Sciences at Winston-Salem State University, Dean of Arts and Sciences and Interim President, Kentucky State University, Vice President for Multicultural Affairs at the University of Kentucky, Distinguished Professor of Appalachian Studies and Regional Ambassador at Berea College, and Research Scientist Leader at the Prairie View A&M University College of Agriculture and Human Sciences. Dr. Turner also served as an advisor to film maker Alex Haley on the award-winning film, Roots. Haley said, “Bill knows more about black people in the mountains of the South than anyone in the world.”
Dr. Turner’s hometown, Lynch, Kentucky was built over three years by the U.S. Steel Company as a complete community with homes, schools, a hospital, theater, hotel, and production facilities for mining coal and producing coke for the steel furnaces in Pittsburgh and Gary, Indiana. Eventually, this planned community had over 6000 residents (about 20% of which were African Americans). The town’s design innovated many now common principles of urban planning and design.
This event is co-sponsored by the University of Cincinnati’s Office of Equity, Inclusion & Community Impact, DAAP School of Planning, and Center for the City, the Urban Appalachian Community Coalition, and the Over-the-Rhine Museum.
Directions to DAAP.