Decades ago, when I started researching what would become Met Her on the Mountain in Madison County, North Carolina, I was advised to seek out the county’s foremost folklorist, Richard Dillingham (pictured above left). It was great advice. Richard was a font of historical, political, and cultural background of Madison County as well as the 1970 kidnap, rape, and murder of VISTA federal anti-poverty worker Nancy Dean Morgan.
Met Her on the Mountain Papers
Richard requested only one thing of me: If my book was ever written and published, he asked if I would donate my papers from the project to the Liston Ramsey Center for Appalachian Studies at Mars Hill University, the campus where Richard had spent his career. I agreed.
And so, in December of 2021, I loaded seven file boxes in the back of our Volvo and drove from my home in Durham, North Carolina, to Mars Hill. There, I met with Richard and Karen Paar (pictured above right), Director/Archivist of the Ramsey Center, and turned over my papers to them.
All members of our immediate family are Duke University graduates, and I had previously agreed to turn the bulk of my journalism papers to the David Rubenstein Rare Book Collection at Duke’s Perkins Library. However, I felt that the papers associated with Met Her on the Mountain belonged in Madison County. Given that the Morgan murder had been such a searing event for this area, it was important that they be available to local students and scholars.
Upcoming Virtual Event
I’m also excited to share that I will be participating in a free virtual event with Malaprop’s Bookstore on Wednesday, April 6th at 6 p.m. EST. I hope you’ll be able to join me!
Photos taken by Sarah M. Brown.
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