Reading Kevin D. Williamson’s article (“Left Behind,” December 16) reminded me of my experience working with urbanized Appalachians in the Indianapolis neighborhood known as Stringtown back in the early ’60s. I served on (then) Indianapolis mayor Richard Lugar’s Appalachian-affairs council. Mr. Williamson makes several references to those leaving Appalachia and moving to larger cities; my work was at the other end — working with those who had immigrated to, in this case, Indianapolis.
Appalachian immigrants in Stringtown lived in very run-down single-family homes, and efforts to interest residents in bettering the neighborhood proved challenging, as “home” remained the mountains of Kentucky and Tennessee. Only after rather thorough research and some innovative approaches to community organization was real progress made.
Those were exciting years for me and my associates. The article was appreciated.
Grand Rapids, Mich.
The Tragedy of the Reservations
Much of Kevin D. Williamson’s description of Appalachia in the December 16 cover story, “Left Behind,” could also be said of the New Mexico Pueblo Indian reservations. There, severe alcoholism and drug abuse, and sexual and physical abuse, are common. Often, more than half of the adults are unemployed, and in many cases unemployable. Industry does not find it attractive to locate in the area, and there is little opportunity in the pueblos or surrounding Anglo communities. People survive on their neighbors and continuous government-handout programs.
Regarding your note in the November 11 issue (The Week) on Winston Churchill now being on the five-pound note: This is not his first time on British currency. In 1965, just after his death, he appeared on a specially minted five-shilling coin. This coin was not meant for general circulation, as the highest-denominated coin in common use then was the half crown. This commemorative “full crown” was almost exactly the same size as a U.S. silver dollar, only slightly thicker. I was a boy then, and my father gave me several of these coins, which I still possess.