Dr. Alessandro Portelli, professor of American Literature at the University of Rome-La Sapienza will be speaking about his new book, They Say in Harlan County, An Oral History (Oxford University Press, 2010).

Stories of 150 residents of Harlan County, Kty., over the last 25 years will be highlighted in a free public program Nov. 3 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Tales of the dramatic mining strikes of the 1930s and 1970s will be included in the event at noon in Hyde Hall, off East Franklin Street near the Post Office.

"Portelli draws on 25 years of original interviews to take readers into the mines and inside the lives of those who work, suffer, and often die in them – from black lung, falling rock, suffocation, or simply from work that can be literally backbreaking,” says the press’ website. “With rare emotional immediacy, gripping narratives, and unforgettable characters, ‘They Say in Harlan County’ tells the real story of a culture, the resilience of its people, and the human costs of coal mining.”

Sponsored by American Studies Department at UNC , UNC History Department, Curriculum in Folklore, the Institute for the Arts and Humanities and the Center for the Study of the American South.

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