Organizations, Programs, and Websites
American Women’s History Museum (Smithsonian)
Decades in the making, the Smithsonian Institution is building an American Women’s History Museum in our nation’s capital. Women have contributed to America’s most defining moments – times that shaped constitutional rights, yielded scientific breakthroughs, and created the symbols of our nation. Yet a diversity of women’s stories has not been widely told. To create a more equitable America, the Smithsonian is researching, disseminating, and amplifying the histories of American women through its American Women’s History Initiative in preparation for the future American Women’s History Museum. The Smithsonian wants the role of women in American history to be well-known, accurate, acknowledged, and empowering.
With a digital-first mission and focus, the Smithsonian amplifies a diversity of women’s voices throughout the Smithsonian’s museums, research centers, cultural heritage affiliates, and anywhere people are online. Through these efforts they reach millions of people in Washington, D.C., across the nation, and around the world.
Black Banjo Reclamation Project
The Black Banjo Reclamation Project is a creative eco-system curating musical, cultural, and land-based opportunities for Black, Afro-Diasporic communities around the world to work with the banjo as a tool for reclaiming ancestral wisdom & creating Afro-futures. By teaching and learning banjo playing techniques with African and Black centered perspectives, their unique facilitation of programs that include banjo building & repair, highlights the practice of land stewardship and the roots of Black liberation movements found in their folkways. Through economic solidarity and self-determination, they are paving pathways for restorative narratives to use music as a tool for healing and transforming our world.
Bluegrass Pride’s mission is to recruit, encourage, and support LGBTQ+ bluegrassers of all levels, promoting their advancement and acceptance within all areas of the bluegrass music industry and musical community. They aim to uplift the genre of bluegrass as a whole to receive LGBTQ+ folks openly, and to promote allyship with all marginalized peoples within the industry and musical community. They do so by creating opportunities for community building and resources for musical skill development, such as concerts, jam sessions, showcases, festivals, parades, tutorials, recording, and more!
Cornbread & Tortillas
Coordinated by Carla Gover and Yani Vozos, Cornbread & Tortillas is a collective of Appalachian and Latino artists based in Kentucky whose mission is to build community by sharing art, music, dance, and cultural heritage. Through outreach events, educational shows, workshops, and performances, they celebrate our similarities and differences to create unity in a diverse world.
The centerpiece of their work together is the Cornbread & Tortillas theatrical show, a dynamic bilingual production that features stories, music, and dancing. Audiences journey from the Appalachian region of Eastern Kentucky to Mexico, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and beyond, exploring connections and celebrating our shared human experience.
Decolonizing the Music Room
Decolonizing the Music Room centers Black, Brown, Indigenous, and Asian (BBIA) voices in music education and related fields by providing training and educational content to pre-service and practicing educators, and creating community programming for people of all ages. They disrupt the minimization and erasure of racially minoritized identities to build a more equitable future.
Founded by Anni Beach and her husband Vincent, Jam Pak’s stated mission is to make people and themselves happy with their music. It goes on to say: “Everything we do revolves around this goal. And from that, many good things follow.” With its focus on development of music appreciation and performance in neighborhood children and young people, JamPak truly builds community.
Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM)
The JAM program’s mission and beliefs state that they envision a world in which all children have the opportunity to experience community through the joy of participating in traditional mountain music together. Their mission is to provide communities with the tools and support they need to teach children to play and dance to traditional old-time and bluegrass music.
They believe that children who are actively engaged in traditional mountain music are more connected and better prepared to strengthen their communities for future generations.
Select Reading List
Bufwack, Mary A. and Robert K. Oermann. Finding Her Voice: The Saga of Women in Country Music. New York: Crown, 1993.
Henry, Murphy Hicks. Pretty Good for a Girl: Women in Bluegrass. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2013.
McCusker, Kristine M. Lonesome Cowgirls and Honky Tonk Angels: The Women of Barn Dance Radio. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2008.
Miles, Emma Belle. “Some Real American Music.” Harper’s Magazine 109, no. 649 (June 1904): 118–122.
Seeger, Mike. “What is Old-Time Music.” (originally published in the 1997 issue of Bluegrass Unlimited)
Wolfe, Charles K. and James E. Akenson. The Women of Country Music: A Reader. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2021.
Jennie and Pauline Bowman (The Bowman Sisters)
Cox, Bob L. Fiddlin’ Charlie Bowman: An East Tennessee Old-Time Music Pioneer and His Musical Family. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2007.
Olive Dame Campbell
Campbell, Olive Dame. Appalachian Travels: The Diary of Olive Dame Campbell. Edited by Elizabeth M. Williams. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2012.
Campbell, Olive Dame. The Life and Work of John C. Campbell. Edited by Elizabeth M. Williams. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2017
Maybelle and Sara Carter
Lasky, David and Frank Young. The Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2012.
Zwonitzer, Mark and Charles Hirshberg. Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? The Carter Family and Their Legacy in Country Music. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004.
Cousin Emmy. “Cousin Emmy by Herself,” transcribed by John Cohen. Sing Out 18, no. 2 (1968): 26–27.
Richey, Nancy. “Cousin Emmy: Playing in a Man’s World.” Kentucky Humanities (Fall 2018): 24–29.
Katherine Jackson French
DiSavino, Elizabeth. Katherine Jackson French: Kentucky’s Forgotten Ballad Collector. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2020.
Jane Hicks Gentry
Smith, Betty N. Jane Hicks Gentry: A Singer Among Singers. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1998.
Wade, Stephen. The Beautiful Music All Around Us: Field Recordings and the American Experience. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2015.
Audrey Hash Ham
Smith, Malcolm. Appalachian Fiddler Albert Hash: The Last Leaf on the Tree (Contributions to Southern Appalachian Studies, 47). Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2020.
Aunt Molly Jackson
Jones, Ramona. Make Music While You Can. Empire Publishing, 2000.
Lily May Ledford
Olson, Ted and Tony Russell. The Knoxville Sessions, 1929–1930: Knox County Stomp. Germany: Bear Family Records, 2016.
Cathy Barton Para
Hamessley, Lydia R. Unlikely Angel: The Songs of Dolly Parton. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2020.
Parton, Dolly. Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business. New York: HarperCollins, 1994.
Parton, Dolly and Robert K. Oermann. Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2020.
Bernice Johnson Reagon
Ola Belle Reed
Murphy, Clifford R., Henry Glassie, Douglas Dowling Peach, and Ola Belle Reed. Ola Belle Reed and Southern Mountain Music on the Mason-Dixon Line. Atlanta: Dust-to-Digital, 2015.
Elaine Carson Schatz
Emily and Martha Spencer
Patsy, Donna, and Roni Stoneman
Stoneman, Roni and Ellen Wright. Pressing On: The Roni Stoneman Story. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2007.
Sunshine Sue Workman
Women and Ballads
Campbell, John C. The Southern Highlander and His Homeland. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1921.
Though published in John Campbell’s name, only the preface and one chapter had been written upon his death. Olive Dame Campbell then compiled their notes and completed the manuscript.
Campbell, Olive Dame. Southern Highland Schools Maintained by Denominational and Independent Agencies. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1921.
Campbell, Olive Dame. The Danish Folk School: Its Influence in the Life of Denmark and the North. New York: Macmillan, 1928.
Hammesly, Lydia R. “A Resisting Performance of an Appalachian Traditional Murder Ballad: Giving Voice to ‘Pretty Polly.’” Women and Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture 9 (2005), 13–36.
Sharp, Cecil and Olive Dame Campbell. English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians. New York & London: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, The Knickerbocker Press, 1917.
Women and the Music Industry
k-12 Lesson Plan
Watch this space – coming soon!