Cover for ROMALIS: Pistol Packin' Mama: Aunt Molly Jackson and the Politics of Folksong

Pistol Packin' Mama

Aunt Molly Jackson and the Politics of Folksong

Meet Aunt Molly Jackson (1880-1960), one of American folklore's most fascinating characters.

A coal miner's daughter, she grew up in eastern Kentucky, married a miner, and became a midwife, labor activist, and songwriter. Fusing hard experience with rich Appalachian musical tradition, her songs became weapons of struggle.

In 1931, at age fifty, she was "discovered" and brought north, sponsored and befriended by an illustrious circle of left-wing intellectuals and musicians, including Theodore Dreiser, Alan Lomax, and Charles Seeger and his son Pete. Along with Sarah Ogan Gunning, Jim Garland (two of Aunt Molly's half-siblings), Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, and other folk musicians, she served as a cultural broker, linking the rural working poor to big-city left-wing activism.

Shelly Romalis draws upon interviews and archival materials to construct this portrait of an Appalachian woman who remained radical, raucous, proud, poetic, offensive, self-involved, and in spirit the "real" pistol packin' mama of the song.

"Mr. Coal operator call me anything you please, blue, green, or red, I aim to see to it that these Kentucky coalminers will not dig your coal while their little children are crying and dying for milk and bread."
-- Aunt Molly Jackson

"An excellent and highly readable book about an extraordinary character." -- Alessandro Portelli, The Journal of American History

To order online:
http://www.press.uillinois.edu/books/catalog/67kzr5xn9780252067280.html

To order by phone:
(800) 621-2736 (USA/Canada)
(773) 702-7000 (International)

Related Titles

previous book next book
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Road to the New Deal, 1882-1939

Roger Daniels

Cupcakes, Pinterest, and Ladyporn

Feminized Popular Culture in the Early Twenty-First Century

Edited by Elana Levine

Smokestacks in the Hills

Rural-Industrial Workers in West Virginia

Lou Martin

Disaster Citizenship

Survivors, Solidarity, and Power in the Progressive Era

Jacob A. C. Remes

Blues Unlimited

Essential Interviews from the Original Blues Magazine

Edited by Bill Greensmith, Mike Rowe, and Mark Camarigg Foreword by Tony Russell

Cybersonic Arts

Adventures in American New Music

Gordon Mumma Edited with Commentary by Michelle Fillion

Chinese in the Woods

Logging and Lumbering in the American West

Sue Fawn Chung

Doing Women's Film History

Reframing Cinemas, Past and Future

Edited by Christine Gledhill and Julia Knight

Word Warrior

Richard Durham, Radio, and Freedom

Sonja D. Williams