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Zilphia Horton was a musicologist, accordion player, teacher, labor organizer, and activist. I look forward to telling her story. Read more

Asheville, NC Journalism
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This project was successfully funded on December 8, 2010.

Zilphia Horton was a musicologist, accordion player, teacher, labor organizer, and activist. I look forward to telling her story.

Asheville, NC Journalism
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About this project

At first, I wasn't sure Kickstarter would be the right way to begin funding research for this book. It seemed a precarious sort of net-casting, hoping the little fish will swim in on their own.

But then I considered the legacy Zilphia Horton left behind. She was a woman whose path began when she tried to organize her father's coal field into a union. From the little research I've been able to do so far, I'm already clear on Zilphia's firm belief in the power of a community. Whether she was singing for pickets, organizing a theater troupe or a dance, or whether she was sitting in a classroom asking as-yet-unempowered people to teach the group a song to sing together...Horton understood well that the first step to accomplishing anything seemingly insurmountable was to ask for collaboration.

Candie Carawan (who works at Highlander Research & Education Center - where Zilphia did much of her work as a music leader, organizer, teacher, etc.) recently told me:

"[Zilphia Horton] knew that people who came to Highlander from grassroots communities did not feel powerful. They had little formal education and little money and not much power in their communities. Often however, they had strong cultural traditions and came from places where cultural expression, particularly singing, were survival skills. She understood that singing together can be a unifying experience and an empowering one. She taught songs that she knew, and she always asked what the people themselves knew and could teach."

So, in that spirit, I hereby cast my net. Thank you so much, in advance.

Your investment in this project will allow me to conduct exhaustive research and bring you a story which will not only fill in some holes in the history of American "protest" music, but will also share the legacy of a woman whose name deserves to be more widely known. If you're not comfortable joining this site to make a pledge to the project, you can send a check payable to me at the following address:

Kim Ruehl
c/o No Depression
PO Box 31332
Seattle, WA 98103

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Rewards

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    33 backers

    A zine with outtakes from research and interviews, including photos, and a hand-written thank-you note.

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    Pledge $50 or more

    13 backers

    A mix CD, deluxe edition of the zine, and a hand-written thank-you note.

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    10 backers

    A copy of the book, post-cards from the road, your name in the acknowledgements, and $50 package.

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    2 backers

    An autographed copy of the book, plus the $100 package.

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    0 backers

    Whenever I discuss this book with anyone, I will thank you by name. Also, you can choose a word I must use and tell me what chapter it needs to be in. You'll also get the $100 package.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more

    0 backers

    If you live within 200 miles of Seattle, WA, or Asheville, NC, I will come to your house for a private book-club-style reading with you and your friends. I'll even bring beer/wine/coffee (your choice). If you don't live that near Seattle or Asheville, I'll send you a special book club guide, an extra autographed copy of the book, and snacks. Plus the $500 package.

Funding period

- (37 days)